Ellen teaches fiction writing classes in the San Francisco Bay area and several international locations. Check here regularly for updated schedules, class openings, and registration information.
To receive periodic emails with information about Ellen's classes, send an email and ask to be added to her writing class email list.
Ellen also works one-on-one with writers. If you're looking for a book doctor or a writing coach, or if you'd like a critical evaluation of your manuscript, contact her by email.
2013 Stanford Continuing Studies
Ellen teaches a one day seminar each semester through Stanford Continuing Studies.
For information and registration: https://continuingstudies.stanford.edu/
The Best American Short Story Seminars
We'll read the 2013 Best American Short Story collection, edited by Elizabeth Strout. The class meets for four Saturday mornings -- you can sign up for all four or just one, two or three. In each class we'll discuss five of the stories in the collection. The focus is on what we can learn as writers from these masters of the short story form.
Dates: Saturday mornings
Time: 9 AM - noon. (I'll provide bagels and coffee)
Cost: $75 per session.
Location: my house in Los Altos Hills
Novel in a Year
This year's class is full and has already begun. A new class will begin in January, 2015.
I've been reading the novels and memoirs from my most recent class and I'm thrilled to see what they've produced in a year. I've taught this class for five years and I'm convinced this works. Here's what happens:
You begin this class with a vague notion of a novel or a memoir that you'd like to write. We meet six Saturday mornings during the course of the year. In those classes, I talk about each aspect of the process: pre-writing, developing characters, plot, voice and point of view, the problematic middle of a novel, endings, and rewriting. I don't read anything until you hand in your novel or memoir at the end of the year. This class is NOT a workshop -- you don't read other students' work and they don't read yours. This is a year for you to write a novel or memoir, to have a teacher and coach to guide you along the way, and to receive a thorough critique at the end of the year. I give you deadlines and I'm available to help you through the rough spots. I do a lot of cheering from the sidelines. And sometimes I pick up the whip as well.
The cost is high. The reason for this is mostly the full critique that you receive at the end of the year. I do a line-by-line read and hand back a critique that is usually a 5 - 6 page single spaced document. You'll also meet with me for a private consultation twice during the year, usually at the midpoint and definitely after you receive my critique. I will also offer my help with query letters when you're ready to find an agent, even if that's years after our class has ended.
So: the cost. It's $4,500. Before you gasp, remember that it includes that critique. And you can pay on the installment plan.
For the first and last class I will serve lunch after class -- that's so the group gets a chance to know each other a bit -- and to celebrate our accomplishments at the end. I also assign a "writing buddy" to each member of the class. Some students have had great success with this concept -- I know of one team that still meets five years later. The writing buddies might choose to meet once a week to write at the same time, they might choose to read each other's work, they might choose just to check in with each other at the end of each week to account for their productivity. I try to match writing buddies who are looking for the same thing.
We meet from 9 am til noon, except for the first and last classes which will run til 1PM because they include lunch.
The rest of the year I'm available for consultation at any time, through email or phone calls. And of course, through the one on one in-person consultations.
If you have questions about this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also give you student testimonials—I have plenty of those. Let me know as soon as possible.
What Ellen's Students Have to Say
“I was an English major and have an MFA in creative writing and after years of workshops, Ellen remains one of my all-time favorite teachers. She has a natural talent for motivating students to write, handling the group critique dynamic, and helping you shape and push a story forward. I always left her classes with a spark of inspiration.” — Lolly Winston, NY Times Bestsellers Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately
“Why take one of Ellen Sussman's classes? Inspiration. Not enough? How about the kind of criticism that will enable you to find your own voice and move your writing from the pedestrian to the distinctive? You want still another reason? Well, then there's this: with the class comes membership in a writing fellowship that brings both shared excitement and terror. Go for it!” — Keith Raffel, Dot.Dead
“Ellen is a perfect combination of tough coach and head cheerleader. She teaches with deep understanding how a writer stuggles. While creating a warm and welcoming environment, she challenges you to find depth in your work you never knew you could achieve.” — Shelly King, author of The Moment of Everything, coming 2014