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Writing Class Radio is for people who love stories and who get inspired by hearing other people tell their stories and who wants to learn a little bit about how to write their own stories. You'll hear students write their way to the truth. And you'll hear students trying to deal as we follow them outside of class and into their real lives. Plus you'll hear all the juicy stuff that happens in writing class---resistance, crying, break-throughs, connection. There's no better way to understand o ...
 
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Today’s show is the first in a four-part miniseries called Home. Writing Class Radio helped produce a documentary to help end homelessness for Chapman Partnership, a homeless center in South Florida. We put out a public call for submissions for stories about home. The call brought so many different and fascinating takes on home. Thank you to all th…
 
This episode is about story structure and all things done well in an essay. LiAnne Yu tells a story about watching TV with her Chinese immigrant parents. As a narrator she brings us into her world--dinners in front of the TV with her parents. She uses detail to reveal character--Mork & Mindy, Sex and the City, and Fox News. She follows the five Cs …
 
This episode is about using a character to express the voice of reason. So often in a story, the narrator is in a bind and can’t see clearly. In the story we bring you today, the narrator’s wife says something that opens the narrator’s mind to a different point of view. The narrator went years believing something that might not be true. In this sto…
 
This episode of Writing Class Radio is dedicated to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those who have lost their lives in a senseless murder. The story we share with you on this episode is by student and poet Zorina Frey. Last Saturday, May 30, 2020, Andrea gave students a writing prompt and 14 minutes to write about whatever came to mind. Zorina…
 
Today on our show, we share a New York Times Modern Love essay we love by Jessica Strawser, editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest. Her essay caught the attention of literary agent Barbara Poelle, an agent with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and the author of Funny You Should Ask: Mostly Serious Answers to Mostly Serious Questions About the Publishi…
 
Today on our show, we are talking about what we can’t stop talking about, the coronavirus. Every email, text, call starts with, “How are you holding up?” It’s beautiful and exhausting, so we put out a call for coronavirus stories. We have two stories to share. One is by our own Andrea Askowitz who is still living in Madrid. Madrid is one of the mos…
 
Today on our show, we take a look at bringing an obsession into a story. It’s possible to go deep into an obsession that has almost nothing to do with the story you are trying to tell without being distracting. That obsession can deepen the meaning of the story by giving us a peek into you, the narrator. Editors get a lot of stories about cancer, d…
 
Today on our show, we’re talking about how writing helps you figure out how you think. And helps you see yourself, specifically your failures more clearly because it’s hard to ignore a pattern when you see it in writing. We share an essay by listener, Karen Debonis who’s story, “Even the Weak Can Weather the Storm” is about what it ultimately took …
 
Today on our show, we’re talking to Susan Shapiro about literary citizenship. A literary citizen is someone who does good things for other literary people like re-tweet their published essays, share insider dos and don’ts, and hook people up with editors. Being a good literary citizen will help you get published because it shows that you know what’…
 
Today on our show, we’re talking to Lilly Dancyger, an editor at Catapult, among many things. She’s also a freelance editor at Narratively and Barrelhouse Books, a memoir writing teacher, writer, curator of Memoir Monday, and the editor of the just-released anthology called Burn It Down. We talked to her about what she’s looking for in an essay, an…
 
We recorded this show from Miami and Madrid. If you are new to Writing Class Radio, welcome. Today on our show, we have the brilliant and generous Dani Shapiro, author of five novels and five memoirs, plus thousands of essays and a podcast called Family Secrets. A few years ago, Andrea sat down with Dani and talked about thinking like a writer, rep…
 
Today our show is going to be a little different because shit just got really real. Three weeks ago, Allison was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. In this episode, we share the stories we wrote about this situation. We are treating this episode as if we’re in writing class by sharing our own writing and critiquing it, because writing and shari…
 
Today on our show, we’re talking about how to create a scene and why scenes matter. We often bring up the writing tip show AND tell. The scene is the show. It’s the action. It’s where we put dialogue and show character. Scenes are the moments we remember. For more on show and tell, listen to Episode 47: Show and Tell. You’ll hear one of Andrea Asko…
 
This episode contains content about a suicide attempt. Today on our show, we’re talking about a container, which is a cool way to structure a story. It’s a method to tell your entire story while you are contained in a place or period of time. For example, on a plane, in a meeting, or an afternoon at a hair appointment. The goal is for the narrator …
 
Today on our show, we’re talking about how to write about the unbelievable. Things like UFOs, mediums, and talking to the dead. In the story you’ll hear, our narrator hears a voice from beyond. In this episode, like many past episodes, we also get into the concept of likeable narrator. If you want more on likeable narrator, listen to these episodes…
 
Today on our show, we’re talking about how to end a story when the situation is ongoing. You’ll hear an essay by the Brazilian born Miami writer, Camile Flosi Araujo. Camile brings us into her world, which changed dramatically for her when she got into a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She made a startling discovery, not t…
 
Today on our show we’re talking about perseverance, a quality important if you want to be a writer, a runner, or someone successful at crafting the dreaded college essay. What makes your essay stand out to publishers and to college admissions directors is the situation and the story. They want to see the loss or the win, because that’s what allows …
 
Today on our show we’re talking about bragging, specifically on the dreaded college essay. How do you brag yourself up without sounding like a total $#&%$#? (We’re PG for the high schoolers...as if). The answer is, you have to be willing to get vulnerable and reveal your ugly side, then you can brag all you want. Allison has been working with high …
 
Do you know how sometimes when you’re reading a story you feel like the story slows down in a critical moment? Maybe the narrator describes the people in a room or the birds on a tree nearby. Maybe there’s a flashback to a memory. In that moment, the reader becomes hyper aware and hopefully totally drawn in. Today on our show we’re talking about sl…
 
In class, sometimes we ask people to close their eyes and smell sunblock, or freshly baked bread. Sometimes we play a Beatles song or have students squeeze Play-Doh. Sometimes we throw out a word like pussy. Then, we ask students to write about the first thing that comes to mind. All of these prompts inspire stories. Today on our show we’re talking…
 
Today on our show we’re talking about pitching to publications, what to include in a query letter and all the homework you need to do before you pitch to an editor. Writer Baylea Jones shares her pitch and her story. We speak with Ravishly editor Erin Khar about what it was like to receive Baylea’s pitch, as well as why she chose Baylea’s story. Er…
 
Details matter. Details bring the reader/listener into a world they may know nothing about. They help us trust the narrator. The more specific the details; the more universal the story. In this episode we bring you a story by Inessa Freylekhman. She’s a Feng Shui expert, speaker, spiritual counselor and author. Inessa uses details well throughout h…
 
On this episode, we talk about procrastination. We also talk about speaking directly to the reader from a place of experience. And giving advice, which is really hard in a story and in life. If you're willing to be vulnerable, you can do it. We’re starting with a story by Jenni Berrett called You Aren’t Lazy--You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and…
 
In this episode we’re talking about writing about death. We have a story by Leslie Gray Streeter, a columnist for the Palm Beach Post who also contributes to Modern Loss, the online magazine dedicated to normalizing the way we talk about loss. Leslie’s story is called, What I did with My Husband’s Life Insurance Money. Leslie uses humor and a conve…
 
In this episode we air the winner of our fall writing contest--Jen Antill. The prompt: A Time I Had an Unpopular Opinion reaped a story about a woman who is pregnant at 24, but doesn’t want to be. It turns out, she never wanted to be a mother. Starting with a prompt like a time you had an unpopular opinion can lead to a story with tension, conflict…
 
This is the final episode of the Andrea Show. For the last seven weeks, we brought you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge on her 50th birthday in May 2018, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451,…
 
For the next two weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to …
 
This week, Andrea uses the epistolary form--story written as a letter--to get her point across. The letter form is very intimate because the narrator is speaking directing to you. We hope this process will help writers get published or at least get inspire to write. For the next four weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Clas…
 
For the next five weeks, we'll bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to w…
 
This is week three of an eight-week experiment. We’re bringing you a story a week by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story every week. It’s n…
 
For the next seven weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible t…
 
Welcome to Season 6. For the next eight weeks, we will bring you a story a week written and read by co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. This week, Andrea tells us why she took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short s…
 
This is our 50th episode and our last episode of Season 5. Today we’re talking about omitting needless words because who has time for excessive blah, blah, blah. You will hear a great example of a story that got chopped in half. Allison Langer’s story called Why I decided to ignore the judgy snobs (like me) and have my babies on my own was publishe…
 
Writing about hard topics like money is awkward. No one wants to admit that they have money. And no one wants to admit that they don’t have money. Money is one of those topics that embarrasses people or divides people. This episode talks about MONEY. In this episode, we are also asking our listeners to join the movement of people who believe in the…
 
Today on our show we’re talking about compassion, families, and the legacy they leave. We’re also talking about how to write about those people in our lives who have fucked us up. And who hasn’t been fucked up by a parent? However, nobody wants to hear a rant. We must get to know the characters from all sides, which means, all the good things and a…
 
Today on our show, we're talking about objects. Things like a pen, trash cans, reading glasses, and a scale. We can build stories around these things because these objects affect our lives. They can stand in for an emotion. The phrase for this is object correlative. T.S. Eliot used this phrase to describe “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of …
 
Today we are talking about identity; how sometimes what we show on the outside is not what we feel on the inside. As a storyteller, you have to know who you are. Or try to figure out who you are through the writing. Three of our students address identity. First Aaron Curtis, who is a blogger and bookseller writes about being mistaken for a Republic…
 
The way a story is told out loud adds another layer to a story. On this episode, we’re talking about how our physical voices can carry a story with inflection, pace, volume, tone, and pitch. Voice can even make us love a story we might otherwise not like, or understand. Meet Asia Sampson renown poet and founder of The Asia Project (spoken word, poe…
 
On this episode, we’re talking about secret pleasures, with a twist. We’re bringing you the winner of our writing contest. We gave the prompt: Secret Pleasure and we got some good ones. Our winner, Erika Flynn from New York City is a professional mistress. She tells us how SHE is the secret pleasure. Lia Seirotti, a student in our class, tells a st…
 
We’re in season 5! We decided, after 40 episodes, to follow a schedule. So please look out for us on the first Wednesday of every month. On this episode, we’re talking about moments. Going to a moment is a storytelling technique that requires the narrator to first remember something dramatic or important and then paint a scene. This technique works…
 
On this episode, we’re talking about creating a likable narrator. The narrator is the I in the story. It’s YOU. We see this a lot with beginner writers and we probably did this too, and that is tell a story about a time we were the hero. Sad truth: no one wants to hear how great you are. This is true in life too. What people connect to in stories a…
 
On today’s episode we’re talking about getting out of our own way when writing a story. The writing process starts with getting the truth on paper. We write about situations or problems we’re dealing with or have dealt with, things we’re still trying to understand or resolve. The goal is getting to the reason we’re writing the story and what the st…
 
On today’s episode we’re talking about mimicking the masters the way you’d imagine a painting class in Paris that goes to the Louvre to practice painting like Leonardo de Vinci. We think it’s worth copying a method that works because we know it worked in the past. Learn the rules before breaking the rules. In this episode, you'll hear stories that …
 
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