Writing The New Surrealism with Sarah Rose Etter

Learn to write from your subconscious to create the structures, characters, and symbolism that will take your stories from the everyday to the strange and surreal.

Your Instructor: Sarah Rose Etter - Author of "The Book of X" (Two Dollar Radio)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16

Price: $325

Class Description

While traditional writing classes focus on three-act structures, character development, and hitting the perfect ending, there is another way. The subconscious mind of the writer is full of ideas, symbolism, and emotion that can become the engine of incredible storytelling that tackles current issues like gender, race, and sexuality in the vein of Leonora Carrington, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Carmen Maria Machado, and Amelia Gray.

In this class, we’ll approach writing the way an artist approaches the canvas, creating space for play, exploration, and the freedom to create first drafts written from the depths. Then we'll learn to refine them with editing that will take the stories from abstraction to satisfyingly surreal. Here, we will explore and reject the early tenets of Surrealism in favor of a closer look at contemporary Surrealism that is modern, inclusive, and vibrant.

In this four-week class, we’ll write and share our work regularly, while reading pieces that reinforce the major goal of the class: To create work that is inherently your own, with a voice and subject matter that can’t be mistaken for any other writer.

Our focus will be on creating new work each week, alongside reading assignments that will broaden our view of literature — and your approach to your own writing. Each week, we’ll write a 1,000-2,000 word assignment based on a prompt, then you’ll receive feedback on one of your selected pieces during the final week.

BONUS: We'll join for weekly optional video calls to discuss the readings and work in progress each Sunday evening!

What This Class Covers

Week One: Writing From The Depths

The subconscious mind contains our deepest thoughts and emotions. But it’s a hard place to access once we’ve been trained to become writers and editors.

In Week One, we’ll begin a daily writing practice that helps quiet your inner editor to unlock the richest ideas in your mind. This week’s readings and assignments will explore techniques and excerpts that will give you the freedom to explore the depths.

Week Two: Writing From Juxtaposition

Surrealism, at its core, is an exercise in juxtaposition: The pairing of two seemingly unrelated entities to create an uncanny union that is rife with symbolism and emotion.

In Week Two, we’ll focus on actionable techniques for creating new worlds through juxtaposition, including unlocking word pairings, and finding the emotional anchor within your imagination. This week’s readings and assignments will show effective techniques for achieving uncanny, effective juxtaposition in your own work.

Week Three: Writing In Response to Art & Life

The link between visual art and writing is one which deserves exploration — and the influence of other art forms on writing can serve as a catalyst for your own work.

In Week Three, we’ll use visual art as a springboard to creating drafts that resonate and create new worlds. In our assignments and reading, we’ll look at the ways in which writing responds to art — and do the same for your work.

Week Four: Refining Your World & Sharing

Our work cannot exist in our heads and hands alone. This week, our focus will be on effective workshopping and editing, as well as an examination of the structures you can use to support your experimental work during the editing phase.

In Week Four, we’ll focus on the editing techniques that will bring your work from the subconscious into the most effective form possible. This week’s writing and group editing exercises will help us socialize and refine your work.

Goals Of This Class

  • Learn to quiet your inner editor, access the subconscious, and create drafts from the depths
  • Refine those drafts using tenets of contemporary surrealism
  • Learn techniques for creating new worlds through juxtaposition
  • Create work that is inherently your own, with a voice and subject matter that can’t be mistaken for any other writer
  • Support your experimental work with the appropriate structure
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