Join the Writing Pad community!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Break: A Dream Retreat At A Dream Of A Price

By Antonia Crane

Here is what I love about writing retreats and why Writing Pad's Fall Break Writing Retreat on Nov. 2-4 is above and beyond all of them:

1. Stars, Baby
When I part with my cold hard cash for a writing retreat, I want to study with successful writers whose writing I admire. At Writing Pad's Fall Break, you get access to so many literary rock stars. In the Screenwriting track, you can study with Robbie Fox ("So I Married An Axe Murderer", "Playing For Keeps") who has sold 60 projects and Chris Hauty ("Never Back Down", "Homeward Bound II") who has had 12 films produced. In the Memoir/Fiction track, you can learn from bestselling memoirist Monica Holloway and award-winning writer Ron Koertge who has published 19 novels and 12 books of poetry. In the Personal Essay track,  you'll get down to business with successful journalist Taffy-Brodesser-Akner (NY Times, Self, Salon) These are critically acclaimed superstars who will give you feedback on your work and shepherd you to literary greatness.

Screenwriter Robbie Fox with Jessica Biel and Gerard Butler On Set of "Playing For Keeps" (To be released Dec.!)
2. Time
Having hours away from work, pets, spouses, dirty dishes and Facebook to concentrate on writing and learning writing craft is essential for finishing a project.  In Writing Pad's Fall Break, if you take the Personal Essay track with Taffy Brodesser-Akner, you will complete an essay and send it out for publication or die. If you sign up for the Screenwriting track or Memoir/Fiction track, you will have a weekend to finish that screenplay or book you've been dreaming about. It's that simple.

3. Writing Family
Writing retreats are an opportunity to meet with other writers, share work and get support. At the retreats that I've attended, I've met writers who champion my every success and become life long friends.

4. Money and Bang For Your Buck
Many writing retreats are expensive and have crappy food and stuffy dorm-style rooms. This one is local and reasonably priced. After a scrumptious gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner catered by a professional chef, dessert and dancing in a gorgeous loft space with an incredible view of DTLA, you go home to your comfy bed. No extravagant plane flight tickets or hotel bill necessary! It all takes place over the course of one weekend so you don't even need to take time off.

Remember: Fall Break is fast and furious, affordable, local, and you will study with uber instructors!

This is how it works: Choose your track. Here are your options:

1. Screen Writing Track with Robbie Fox, Chris Hauty and Lamar Damon
Whip that pilot or film into shape with the heavy hitters of Hollywood: Robbie Fox ("So I Married An Axe Murderer", "Playing For Keeps") and Chris Hauty ("Never Back Down", "Homeward Bound II"). Get feedback on your screenplay ideas, find out how to get an agent and how to come up with commercial ideas and get to work! Costs: $245 for Weekend Pass (includes 3 classes, meals, wine tasting, activities and art supplies),  $75 for one-class pass (add lunch for $16, wine tasting for $16, Art Games class for $16, Writing Pad Hoedown for $16 or dinner for $21).

2. Fiction/Memoir Track with Ron Koertge and Monica Holloway 
Learn how to structure your book with pizazz and get feedback from the best in the biz. This weekend intensive includes courses with Writing Pad Founder Marilyn Friedman, bestselling memoirist Monica Holloway (Driving with Dead People, Cowboy and Wills) and with prolific, award-winning novelist and poet, Ron Koertge (Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses, Stoner & Spaz). Costs: $245 for Weekend Pass (includes 3 classes, meals, wine tasting, activities and art supplies), $75 for one-class pass (add lunch for $16, wine tasting for $16, Art Games class for $16, Writing Pad Hoedown for $16 or dinner for $21).

3. Personal Essay Track with Taffy Brodesser-Akner
By the end of Taffy's Personal Essay Bootcamp, you'll have an essay ready for publication (like the 21 other writers she's helped get published!). Taffy will dig out your naughty truth, figure out your essay's beating heart, and give you the structure you need to complete that essay that's been percolating in your gut for years. Taffy's essays have been published in The New York Times, The LA Times, Self, Salon and lots of other places. If you sign up for this track, you will be with her all weekend long. You must commit. I double dog dare you. Cost: $400 Weekend Pass (includes classes, meals, wine tasting, activities and art supplies.)

I'll see you at Writing Pad's incredible Fall Break the weekend of Nov. 2-4! My recommendation to you: sign up before it is sold out.

Don't Miss Your Moment With Susan Orlean

By Antonia Crane


It's a Writing Pad miracle: Susan Orlean is coming to Writing Pad on Thursday, November 1st from 8-9:30p.m. for a fireside chat. Do you want to know how to twist one life changing moment into a bestselling book? Of course you do. This is one of those moments. Don't miss yours. Seize this opportunity to grow as a writer and hear a literary icon speak about her process

Here's the deal: Susan  has been a staff writer for the New Yorker for 20 years. She is an award-winning author who turns journalistic scoops into literary gold. In 1999, Susan parlayed her exposé of high-end flower poaching in the Florida Everglades into a New York Times bestseller with The Orchid Thief which was the inspiration for the Oscar wining movie Adaptation.  More recently, she created another bestseller with her investigation into the exotic world of a canine film star in Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Come hear Susan share her thoughts on everything from the art of storytelling, being a staff writer at The New Yorker, to being portrayed on screen by actress Meryl Streep!

After the chat, we will be gathering for a snack and drink or two. That's right, snacks, champagne, and the company of an amazing novelist! What more could you ask for? Click here to grab a spot before the event sells out! 

From Exposés To Epic Tales: A Fireside Chat with Susan Orlean 
Thurs., Nov. 1, 2012
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Event Only: $20
(Includes snacks and champagne)
Event and Copy of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend: $32
(Includes event price, paperback, snacks and champagne)
Location: Writing Pad East (Downtown LA at the Corner of 7th and Santa Fe)

Here's a little more about Susan Orlean:
Susan Orlean is the bestselling author of eight books, including My Kind of Place, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, Saturday Night and Lazy Little Loafers. In 1999, she published The Orchid Thief, a narrative about orchid poachers in Florida, which was made into the Oscar-wining movie, Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. In 2011, her book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, an account of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to international icon, was a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. It won the Ohioana Book Award and the Theatre Library Association’s Richard Wall Memorial Award. Susan has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1992. Her work can be found in Esquire, Rolling Stone, Outside, Smithsonian, and The New York Times. Orlean graduated with honors from the University of Michigan and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2003. In 2012 she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan.

Summer Comment Contest Winners

By Marilyn Friedman

We had so many fantastic story submissions for the summer comment contests. Below are the contest winners. If you didn't win this last round of contests, please continue commenting on this blog with your wonderful stories and poems. Remember, there is a new contest for October/November!

But before we tell you who won a free class at Writing Pad, here are some amazing courses that we have coming up soon on the West and East side of LA. You won't want to miss them!  Classes with an * will be held on the Westside of LA.

Comment Contest Winners
Jesse Sage Noonan
 May I have a drum roll please? The April/May Comment Contest Winner is Jesse Sage Noonan! Congratulations, Jesse! I asked the Jesse what inspires her to write. She says, "On a good day: a great novel will spark the desire to craft sentences or explore ideas for stories. On a bad day: guilt." You can read Jesse's wonderful piece about a memorable concert here.

Ethel Watson
The winner of the June/July Comment Contest is Ethel Watson!
Congratulations, Ethel! I asked Ethel about her writing practice. She says, "I like to write early in the morning at the computer, especially if I have hit on an idea or solution that I want to get down quickly. Often, though, I prefer to write in longhand in one of my many notebooks -- writing in longhand is more like meditation, and my notebooks are home to many of the writings from my Writing Pad classes and a source of inspiration. "
You can read Ethel's charming pieces about motherly talents and what's in her refrigerator here and here.

I hope to see you soon either on this blog or at Writing Pad West or East!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite Cafes and Meaningful Words Writing Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

Sometimes you just need a change of venue to get those creative juices flowing. I love writing in cafes. I escape the distractions of home and indulge in cafe latte's and tasty treats. These LA cafes have plenty of outlets, comfortable seating, and the perfect environment to motivate your fingers to start tapping on on your laptop: Bread Lounge, Bulgarini Gelato, Conservatory of Coffee, Le Pain Quotidien, Sweet Butter.

Speaking of motivation, we have a bunch of classes starting this week that will help you find the best, most productive writer inside of you. Showcase yourself as a writer! Craft an essay that will mystify an audience in Moth Me Baby starting this Sun., Oct. 21 with Pinata curator and Pushcart Prize nominee Christine Schoenwald. Or, launch your acting career with an amazing one-person show with award-winning performer and writer Lauren Weedman in Get Truthy starting this Tues., Oct. 23! Both classes include show bookings.

If screenwriting is more your thing, learn what it takes to craft an irresistible pilot in Writing A Pilot That Can Fly with Emmy-award winning writer Jeff Kahn starting Mon., Oct. 22. Jeff's sold 13 pilots and worked on every major network. He'll read your entire pilot and give you a one-on-one consult at the end of class!

Also, this Sun., Oct. 21, the amazing Annabelle Gurwitch (Huffington Post, More, LA Times) is back with Punch Up Your Prose. Annabelle's class will add TNT to your writing. She'll show you how to blow up small details and flip descriptions in surprising ways to end your stories with a BANG!

A full list of our classes is below. Click on the links to sign up before they are full, my darlings.

Note: classes with an asterix (*) will be held at our new, posh Westside location in Westwood!

Classes Starting This Week
The Found Story: Finding Your Story In The Street*
Get Your Book Published Intensive
Punch Up Your Prose: Extracting Story Gold
It's Playtime: Writing For Kids
Fist Fights, Car Chases and Shoot Outs: Writing Action Scenes for Fiction*
Moth Me Baby

Classes Starting Next Week
Writing A Pilot That Can Fly 
Get Truthy: A One-Person Show Intensive
So You Want To Be A Writer?*
Finishing School*
Do Re Mi, Baby: Humorous Songwriting Made Easy
Hanky Panky: Writing The Erotic*

From Exposés To Epic Tales: A Fireside Chat with Susan Orlean

Writing Pad Fall Break 

Book Publishing
Fiction and Memoir
Fall Break Fiction/Memoir Track
Get Your Grimm On: Finding Your Inner Fairy Tale*
True Tales: Writing A Compelling Past

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing
You've Been Featured: Writing The Magazine or Newspaper Article*
Fall Break Personal Essay Track
Query Letter Clinic: Writing The Pitch That Sells Your Story

Writing for Actors
Stand Out Stand-Up: A Comedy Workshop


Writing Prompt: Meaningful Words
Make a list of your 5 favorite words or words that you mother used when she was angry with you. Pick one. Write down an image that comes to mind when you think of that word. Add a sensory detail (sound, taste, touch or smell) that goes with that word. Now write for 10 minutes and post the results in the comments of this blog to be entered into the contest for a free class!

I am going to write about how my mother used to call me a piggy when she was mad. "Don't be a piggy," she said! It was a catch-all word she used to describe nasty behavior as well as bad table manners.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with (feel free to email me if you want to remain anonymous but still enter the comment contest).

If you need more inspiration than what I've provided, here's an amazing poem on the word F*ck by Kim Addonizio.

Write about your favorite word or a word that your mother used as a weapon!  Post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog, and you could win a free class!