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Writing Strange and Innovative Fiction

4-Weeks • with Leonora Desar • Beginners / All Levels

  • Starts Nov 4
  • 250 US dollars
  • Online via Zoom

Available spots

Class Description

In this class, we’ll challenge the idea of what makes a story. We’ll start by reinventing the wheel of inspiration and steal from what we know. During the first two weeks, we’ll pluck characters that already exist—from movies, pop culture, history—to use as springboards for our own inventions. Then, we’ll learn how to use magic. We’ll look at speculative pieces and examine how they plunge us into a different reality. We'll examine the voice and tone that give them their authority. Finally, we’ll experiment with form. From lists to Wikipedia page entries, we’ll learn how to subvert the norms of what a story is supposed to be. This class is designed for beginners or more seasoned writers looking to break through writer’s block. Classes will feature a combination of craft lectures, discussion of assigned reading, and generative writing assignments. There will also be short readings and exercises to complete at home, taking 1- 3 hours. You will be encouraged to share work and receive on-the-spot verbal instructor and peer feedback. Two short reading assignments will be emailed prior to the first class. For beginners and more seasoned writers looking to break through writer's block. OUTLINE WEEK ONE After the credits roll: We’ll look at short pieces that create a second life for beloved characters. Then we’ll write our own. WEEK TWO Being Amelia Earhart: We’ll pluck figures from history and give them a new life. WEEK THREE Magic & the Mundane: We’ll learn how to blend the banal with the surreal, making the familiar ring more true. We’ll also examine the casual, matter- WEEK FOUR Experimenting with Form ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR LEONORA DESAR's fiction has appeared in places such as River Styx, Passages North, The Cincinnati Review, Black Warrior Review, and Columbia Journal, where she was chosen as a finalist by Ottessa Moshfegh. She has been selected for The Best Small Fictions 2019 and 2021, Best Microfiction 2019, 2020, 2021, and the Wigleaf Top 50. She was a runner-up/finalist in Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, judged by Stuart Dybek, and Crazyhorse’s Crazyshorts! contest. Her journalism has appeared in Psychology Today,, Parenting magazine,, Business Insider, and others. She holds an MFA in fiction from NYU, where she taught creative writing, and an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalis

Upcoming Sessions

Cancellation Policy

If you withdraw from a workshop TEN DAYS OR MORE before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop OR a full refund (minus 10%, a transaction fee that is non-refundable and that we would otherwise be charged). If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive a refund minus 20%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We cannot offer credit or any refund. If you are absent on the day of your workshop or miss it for any reason, we are unable to offer any kind of refund or credit. If we have to cancel a class you have paid for, you will receive a full refund, without the service charge deducted. For our full listing of policies, visit www.PioneerValleyWriters.Com, Policies page (under Home). To withdraw and receive a partial refund according to the above, please get in touch with Joy at

Contact Details

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