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Adult Education

Leading-edge Network: Writing

Whether you're a published author or your writing experience is limited to inter-office emails, the Leading-edge Writing Network offers courses and workshops that will help you improve your written communication skills. The network may be of particular interest to:

  • Budding or seasoned novelists who want to hone their craft
  • Freelance writers who want to expand their opportunities and explore new nonfiction avenues
  • People who wish to improve their workplace writing
  • Employees working in a technical field who need to clearly communicate complex material
  • Anyone who wants to try their hand at better writing and more creative communications

Course are offered in a variety of delivery modes (face-to-face, online or blended), with subjects including fiction workshops, genre writing, technical writing, memoir, feature-writing, and many more special creative fiction and non-fiction topics.

Courses offered in the Writing Network include the following:

Course Descriptions and Schedule

Fiction Writing Workshop (Beginner)  (WRCE 4050)

In this six-week beginner’s workshop, we will examine a few elements of fiction, including point of view, effective use of dialogue, scenes with more than one character, and the use of time and memory.  We will spend the first half of each 2.5-hour session discussing published short stories selected to demonstrate these elements.  In the second half of each session, we will discuss brief student exercises, with a compassionate and discerning eye to the same craft issues.

  • Point of view and voice: Who should tell this story and how?
  • Time: Use of different tenses, how to use flashbacks
  • Dialogue: Use of effective dialogue
  • Love and sex: How to write effective literary scenes without getting tawdry or sentimental
  • Open: What craft issues are bedeviling you? 

CEUs: 1.2
COST: $300

Fiction Writing Workshop (Advanced)  (WRCE 5020)

Whether your writing is experimental or traditional, you'll find direction and support in this dynamic writers' workshop. Each week, members present their work for critique from the instructor and the group. We will also discuss contemporary stories and novels, as illustrations of exemplary prose. James Rahn’s work has appeared in several magazines and journals, and he just finished writing a collection of stories and novella.

James taught fiction at the University of Pennsylvania for fifteen years, and has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University. In 1988, he started the Rittenhouse Writers’ Group—a series of quarterly fiction workshops.  Since then, members have published short stories and novels, and have received grants from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, the Pew Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

CEUs: 1.0
COST: $250    

Writing the Mystery - a Workshop WRCE 4080

Finding ideas are easy; turning those ideas into satisfying stories with solid structures and intriguing characters is not. In this class -- focusing on mystery stories because of their simple complexity, but with techniques applicable to any genre -- you’ll discover how to turn your ideas into stories worthy of a whole novel or an entire screenplay. We’ll learn how to find ideas with meat on their bones, how to build a story in three acts, how to create characters that braid with that story and each other, and, most importantly, how to move along the arc of the story with scenes that have power and momentum. Finally, we’ll end by creating endings for our stories that both satisfy and provide meaning for the entire work. All that is required is an idea and the willingness to work the heck out of it. We’ll do the rest together.

Instructor’s Biography: William Lashner is the New York Times Bestselling author of eight crime novels including BLOOD AND BONE, KILLER’S KISS, MARKED MAN, and FATAL FLAW. He is also the author of KOCKROACH, a New York Times Book Review editor’s choice for fiction, published under the pseudonym Tyler Knox. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his novels has been translated into over a dozen foreign languages. CEUs: 1.2
COST: $300