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Piper Writers Studio announces fall slate of classes

August 02, 2011

Have a nearly finished novel tucked into the bottom drawer of your desk? Love to write poetry but end up disliking everything you write?

Then the Piper Writers Studio is for you!

The Piper Writers Studio, presented by Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, will offer classes by noted authors, both in person and online, beginning Sept. 15.

The Fall 2011 course offerings include an eight-week session, two four-week sessions, two online sessions, and two one-day sessions.

The class schedule includes:

Eight-week session – Cost: $400 ($360 for Piper Friends):

• "Snow on the Mountain: Breathing in New Sources for Poems," Sept. 15-Nov. 3. Instructor: Gregory Donovan. Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., Piper Writers House, ASU’s Tempe campus.

In this class, Donovan will help writers “seek out new and unique sources of inspiration for your poems as well as fresh ways to tap more familiar sources.” The class will include workshop discussions of new work produced by participants, and sessions on revision.

Four-week sessions – Cost: $400 ($360 for Piper Friends if registered for Sessions I and II). Individual sessions: $250 ($225 for Piper Friends per session):

• “Word One to Done," Session I, Sept. 15-Oct. 6. Instructor: New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole. Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., Piper Writers House, ASU’s Tempe campus.

This course will be a mix of lecture and in-class exercises. The class will cover characterization, conflict, world building, plotting, outline, execution and editing. By the end of the class the student will have completed a work of fiction somewhere between 6,000 and 30,000 words in length.

• "Perfection to Collection," Session II, Oct. 13-Nov. 3. 6-8 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus. Michael A. Stackpole will explore such topics as dissecting the story, rebuilding the story, attention to detail and Internet marketing. By the end of the class the students will have everything they need to successfully publish a work to the Internet, and to build from there into a career.

Online sessions – week of Oct. 3-24. Cost: $200 ($180 for Piper Friends):

• "Four Poems in Four Weeks," taught by Eduardo Corral, the 2011 Yale Younger Poets Prize winner. The class will focus on four types of poems: praise, narrative, imitation, and elegy. Writing prompts, class discussions, and instructor feedback will guide the writing process, from drafting to revision.

• "This is the Life: Compulsive Fiction Writing," taught by Jennifer Spiegel. During the course, Spiegel will discuss some “principles” of fiction writing and the “writing life”; workshop stories; and discuss the question of “why write.”

One-day sessions, Saturday, Oct. 8. Cost: $125 ($110 for Piper Friends):

• "Memory vs. Imagination: Essential Forces in Poetry,” 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus (lunch not included).  Poet Gregory Donovan will help participants explore “the two great powers, memory and imagination, which are always involved in writing,” and examine possibility that “greatly respecting and expanding the power of the imagination, may well be essential to the growth of a poet’s mind and work.”

• "The Art of the Very Short Story: Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, & Short-Shorts," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House (lunch not included). Author K.L. Cook will explore the poetic techniques of compression, suggestion, and experimentation and discuss published examples of the form, and guide participants as they write short-short stories of their own in an exciting and supportive workshop environment.

• "Action is Character," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus (lunch not included). Mary-Rose Hayes will explore how fictional characters can be fully realized and inhabit a real world. The course is geared to all writers.

One-day sessions, Saturday, Oct. 22; Cost: $125 ($110 for Piper Friends):

• "Engaging the Reader with Fact," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus (lunch not included). Poet Josh Rathkamp will discuss fictional techniques and universal “fact(s)” to find new ways to engage audiences and discuss hands-on ways to employ these new techniques. Participants also will study contemporary poems and their effectiveness, and write two poems.

• "Tools for Writing Dynamic Characters," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus (lunch not included). Patrick Michael Finn will discuss fictional techniques to make the characters on the pages more than characters – living people the readers will know and care about.

• "Are We There Yet? Yes We Are!" 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Piper Writers House, Tempe campus (lunch not included). Mary-Rose Hayes will discuss how an author describes a place or situation with enough power and richness so readers feel they really are walking the muddy bank of a dangerous South American river; attending a funeral on a hot afternoon in Nairobi; or in Brooklyn, standing with the neighborhood busybody behind her lace-curtained window and gazing through the same pair of binoculars.

For complete descriptions of each class, instructors’ biographies, and other class information, go to or call (480) 965-6018.

Participants in all courses will be invited to an end-of-session celebration, Nov. 10, at the Piper Writers House.