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COURSE DESCRIPTION:  To create a new story is to remake an old story new. In that essence, this generative fiction workshop will renovate, refurbish, modernize, remodel, and possibly upgrade the old fairytales (such as Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, etc) into their potential timeless 21st century, with a new set of literary wardrobe and boundary, vernacular attires, and coeval, technological conditions, and circumstances. The rewrite will alter the fiction writers’ motivation from originality to novelty, fashioning a mythological universe that defies traditional approaches to storytelling, paving a daring path towards emblematic compulsions. Writers will unexpectedly, through the compelling practice of playfulness and lightheartedness, form their adaptable narration into a labor of fiction that invites authentically impulsive exploration and an intensely invigorating engagement for their readers.

Generative (ages 18+) | July 18-22 | Chautauqua Institution | Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall Prose Room

In Person: $135 


This course is designed to excite analytical and thoughtful discussions on important texts and to excite a chronic and incurable exercise in literary arrangement. We may begin to declare that writing is not a prison sentence. However, if writing were a prison sentence, watching Le Trou, The Shawshank Redemption, and Cool Hand Luke will permit us to see the clear resemblance between prison sentence and writing. Jacques Becker, in his Le Trou, studies the boundary of tools and the materiality of sound in masterminding a prison escape. Eventually, the writer like the prisoner faces a wall. Writing is a leap of faith: the wall that chains us to the abyss of thought will also liberate. Ultimately, the task of a writer is to write even when there is a wall and to use the tools available to knock that barrier down. Writing, no doubt, is a solitary act, a way into ennui and back, but no spirit, conscious of its journey into the wilderness, is ever left dangling forever on a cliff without descending into a crowd of daffodils. There is also another kind of prison we will face in the course of this class: the prison of the voice. We will learn to liberate, shape, define, and lead our voice through the immersion of sound, film, poetry, narrative splendors, and other visual singularities. I hope you will achieve this apotheosis, in the arc of this six week journey, the apotheosis of writing and living: to convert text from ex-nihil to pro-nihil.

6-WEEK ONLINE WORKSHOP (Available - Class starts on 2nd week of February  2020  - a time and day will be negotiated between registered students and instructor )

  • Maximum Class Size: 4                 FULL (Registration closed)

  • Tuition: $450

How often are we expected to meet?

Once a week for 3 hours

Are there prompts?


What if I don't like to write or read?

You are doomed.

Will there be a reading list?

Yes and this list will appear in the provided syllabus.

What to expect from the 6-week online workshop:

            *Writing exercises

            *Typed remarks to stories of all workshopped classmates.

             *Read all required text

             *Skype conference with instructor once during the course.


How do refunds work?

End of 1st week of class: 70% 

End of 2nd week of class: 40%

End of 3rd week of class: 0%

What does the instructor expect from her students?

Punctuality (be on time)

Openness (unlock your emotional wallet)

Honesty (face your fear nao rather than later)

Generosity (give more than what is asked of you)

Communication (voice your enthusiasms, concerns, and thoughts)

Regard the pain of others (Susan Sontag)—or disregard it by taking ownership. During this week, we will try on the narrative structures of our contemporaries, past and present, to develop the art of emotional and semantic substitutions to regenerate lexical limbs within our own work. We will produce pieces outside of this realm and outside of our comfort zone. Be ready to wear masks so other writers don't know what kind of literary thieves we have become. Flexible. (ages 18+)

PROSE WORKSHOP ------How to Steal the Pain of Others & Make It Your Own

  • Maximum Class Size: 12

  • Tuition: $128

July 8–12 / M–F / 1:15–3:15 p.m. / Prose Room, Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. @ Chautauqua Institution

Vi Khi Nao and Maggie Smith Talk Serendipity, Comfort Zones & Workshop ‘Breakthroughs’ with Amy Guay, July 2019

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