8-Week Workshop Series
Embodying Queer Stories
Please complete this form to apply for registration. Once your material is reviewed, you will be sent a code to use for registering: https://forms.gle/w9vYtJQxZXkW4sLt7
This eight-week course is open to 12 LGBTQIA+ writers. We will meet virtually on Tuesdays from 7 PM to 9 PM, starting on May 2, 2023.
Informed by the blueprint set forth in Felicia Rose Chavez’s The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, this eight-week course is open to 12 LGBTQIA+ writers who seek to center the embodied experience of their characters, regardless of the genre of their work.* The world is shaped by patriarchal white supremacist power structures, and the traditional workshop table is no different. It’s time to change that. It’s time to write our stories in our voices. Writing through the body is key. When we write through the body, we pay attention to what happens inside of us when we experience trauma and its aftershocks. When we write through the body, we pick up a pen and paper and let our words pour out, unfiltered. Writing through the body is an act of resistance. Let’s build a collaborative and supportive community of LGBTQIA+ writers. Our stories are life-giving and life-saving, but, unfortunately, even as Pride has been co-opted by rainbow capitalism, our stories are still marginalized. Whether you are a seasoned workshop participant or have never attended a workshop before, all are welcome. Together, we will create a space to share our work that is safe, constructive and inspiring.
*NOTE: While all genres are welcome, Jenni’s writing, editing and teaching experience is primarily in fiction and creative nonfiction.
What Makes This Workshop Different?
1. No gag rule. Traditional workshops implement what’s often called the “gag rule,” where a writer whose work is being discussed must stay silent for the duration of that discussion. This is detrimental to the writer and to the workshop as a whole. Instead, writers will meet briefly with me prior to having their piece workshopped. Together, we will come up with a list of questions you’d like to pose to the workshop table. During workshop, you can open the discussion by reading your work aloud, asking others to read, or guiding us through a related activity. Then you will lead the workshop discussion and I will support you. If, for instance, you feel the discussion is becoming unhelpful, I want you to say so, and I will help you steer the conversation in another direction. Remember: You know your work better than anyone, and we are here to help you more fully realize your vision.
2. You write the syllabus. Seriously. Before class starts, I’ll ask you all to tell us three writers or artists of any kind that inspire you. I’ll compile these, along with some of my own favorite pieces of art and literature, into a shared document that we can all refer to during the course.
3. Freewriting. We’ll freewrite as much as we can during class, and I’ll come up with prompts inspired by the work you submit. You are encouraged to write with a pen and paper rather than on a computer or phone, but no matter what writing implements you use, we’ll try writing without stopping, without crossing anything out, without censoring ourselves. If you want, you can share what you’ve written with us. If we don’t have as much time during the class for freewriting as we’d like (on days when more than one person is being workshopped, for example), I encourage you to take these freewriting exercises home!
4. Applying critique to your own work. It is very easy to find fault with someone else’s work. It is far more difficult and more useful—for both you and your peers—when you strive to imagine your way into their mind, to think deeply about the intention behind their words and provide feedback in a way that helps them accomplish their goals. Rather than writing critique letters of one another’s work, I’ll ask you to write one critique letter to yourself before the course is over. This letter can be a critique of one of your submissions, a list of things you love about your work and elements of craft that you want to continue honing, a culmination of everything you’ve learned, a revision plan. It can be anything you want it to be, but the goal is to practice examining your work with a generous but critical eye.
Jenni Milton is a queer writer who studied at Connecticut College, Oxford University and the Columbia Publishing Course. After graduating, she worked in book and magazine publishing at One Story, Oxford University Press, and Grove Atlantic. She earned her MFA at the Programs in Writing at UC Irvine, where she taught composition, fiction writing and literary journalism. In her final year of the program, she was Fiction Editor of the Pushcart Prize-winning journal Faultline. She now works as a copywriter, teaches for Blue Stoop, volunteers at H&H Books, and plays violin with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra and the Roxborough Orchestra. She has published work in Juked and A Distant Memory Zine and is working on a novel.