Find the beating heart of your memoir or essay with Penny Guisinger.

Sep 30, 2024 - Oct 4, 2024

Levels: All
Workshop Fee: $1375
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 10

“I apologize for writing such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” — Mark Twain. 

Keeping your writing sleek and spare while still conveying your story is a delicate balance. Regardless of whether you are writing a memoir, a full-length essay, or a flash piece, concision is one of the keys to good prose, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Guided by Penny Guisinger this course will focus on finding the beating heart of first drafts by paring away the excess, choosing a structure that serves the piece (not the writer), crafting sentences that work together, and hiring the right verbs for the job. Together, we will examine good writing at the macro and micro levels to determine what works and what doesn’t. Much attention will be paid to the difference between the wild rush of a first draft and the deliberate process of revision. You can expect to generate new work and spend time revising it toward its best iteration.

Penny Guisinger teaching a writing workshop
Instructor Penny Guisinger teaching a writing workshop.

Penny will share examples of how she has revised her own work, taking it from an unruly, wordy first draft to a polished, publishable piece. You will be given opportunities to try different approaches to shaping and honing your own work. (It’s often a messy process, so you should come prepared to get words all over yourself!) 

Daily lectures will focus on different aspects of craft: voice, structure, sentences, metaphor, sensory detail, setting, and revision. The week will include time for writing, sharing, discussions, and one-on-one interaction with the instructor. Participants will leave with multiple pieces in progress, some stage of revision completed, and ideas about what to do next. The course is designed for writers at any level of experience.

Works by Penny Guisinger

Penny Guisinger Book Covers, 2023
Author and instructor Penny Gusinger’s books: SHIFT: A Memoir of Identity and Other Illusions & Postcards from Here, the realities of rural New England life. Learn more about Penny’s latest book.

Header Photo by Patrick Tomasso.

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Instructor: Penny Guisinger

Penny Guisinger is the author of Shift: A Memoir of Identify and Other Illusions  and Postcards from Here: A Memoir in Vignettes. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Guernica, Solstice Literary Magazine, and others. Pushcart nominated, a Maine Literary Award winner, and a three-time notable in Best American Essays, she is a co-director of Iota Short Forms and a former assistant editor at Brevity. Penny is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program.