Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Book workshops offered by noted writer Joyce Maynard

For those who may not be familiar with the author's name, Joyce Maynard is a prolific writer who has written books, articles and essays for many years. Her novel, To Die For, was a particular favorite of mine, both tightly written and with enough detail to be fully resonant and believable. It was loosely based on a true event, a murder caused by a teacher who had a love affair with one of her students and then manipulated him to do her bidding.
This was later made into a movie with Nicole Kidman and a young Joaquin Phoenix as the "student and lover". Joyce herself even appeared in the movie in a brief appearance as Kidman's lawyer. Watch carefully and you'll see her for a moment on the courthouse steps as Kidman is being led out of court.
To see samples of Maynard's writing and more information about this author, you can check out her website at
Meanwhile, those who live in California might want to participate in an ongoing writers' workshop in Mill Valley

Here are the details and further info is also available at:"

October 27 - December 17 — $250 tuition

Here is what Joyce wrote about this workshop (courtesy of Joyce Maynard):
" I want to tell you about a new kind of workshop I’ve decided to run. Where, as some of you know, I have previously hosted one-day intensives here at my home in Mill Valley, (and no doubt I’ll be doing those again in the future), I’m going to be running an ongoing writing group, to be held on Monday nights, starting next month.

In the past, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with a writer over a period of time, I’ve seen enormous growth and development in the work. I look forward to helping a new group of writers move forward in the process that has given me so much joy over the years

The format of these workshops will be different from the one-day workshop, naturally. We’ll meet here at 7 pm, for two and a half hours of reading and discussion of your work, with each writer in the group having a chance to share what she’s been up to each time we meet, but focusing in greater depth on one or two particular pieces of work each session. Over the course of the weeks I’ll also make time for some over-arching discussion of partiular issues of the writing process likely to apply to everyone. (Those include story structure, voice, point of view, language, dialogue, character development, pace and the overall discipline of the writer, among other things. ) And of course, no evening like this would be complete (in my book, at least) if it didn’t feature some nice homemade baking to sustain us, as we work. No doubt pie will be featured, somewhere along the line. Also my poppy seed cake.

Traditionally, my classes have tended to focus on personal narrative and memoir, but I want you to know that if it’s fiction that interests you, I’ll be open to working with you writers of fiction as well. I tend to believe that the questions that every writer faces -- whether it’s fiction or nonfiction she or he is tackling -- are largely the same, and so many of them come down to the simple but endlessly complex topic of how to tell a story in a way that moves one’s readers or listeners, and possibly in such a way as to reveal to them something they didn’t know or understand before. That’s the central question we’ll be exploring, over the weeks ahead.

Initially, I’ll plan on six meetings (two per month), running from October 27 through December 17. The group will be limited to ten students (but I will need commitments from six students to run the workshop.) Cost of the six sessions will be $250.

With my other workshops, I have periodically been able to offer scholarships, but for now at least, I have to limit this particular group to full paying students. Down the line, that may change.

To reserve a space in the workshop, send your check for the full amount to me at Joyce Maynard, 500 Edgewood Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941. I won’t cash your check until I’m sure we’ve got a quorum, though I don’t anticipate this will be an issue.

1-Day intensive on memoir and personal narrative

December 1 — 9am - 5pm

Personal narrative and memoir (both book-length, or shorter essay/column). Issues explored include: locating your story, creating a structure, the difference between chronological and emotional storytelling, point of view, point of entry, language, pace, how to end an essay, the revision process. Participants are asked to submit hard copy of a piece of first person writing, no longer than 2500 words (shorter is fine). Manuscript submission deadline is November 25.

All students will receive the email addresses of other members of the group, to give everyone an opportunity to familiarize himself or herself with the others' writing. We’ll workshop each student’s manuscript in a way that will prove instructive not only for that student, but for all in the group. Maximum students: 9.

Cost of this workshop is $225, lunch included. To reserve a place in the group, send your check to Joyce Maynard, 500 Edgewood Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941. If workshop is filled, your check will be promptly returned. Students wishing to continue working with Joyce may be considered for an ongoing weekly writing workshop to begin in the fall. Email Joyce for more information or go to Email links are provided there.


Judi Fennell said...

I love when authors mentor aspiring authors. I've never done one of these workshops, but others who have, really benefitted from them.

gautami tripathy said...

I added your blog to my blogroll. Will visit you here.

Gathers seems more like a circus to me for some months now.