Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions, we have answers! Read through the FAQs below or contact us at 773.477.7710 or email us for more information.

What is StoryStudio Chicago?

StoryStudio Chicago is the center for writing and related arts. Our philosophy is simple: teach the art and craft of writing in a positive, open, and encouraging setting where students can discover their unique voices.We teach classes in creative writing (fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, freelance writing, and more) and business writing for people at all levels of skill and interest, as well as creative writing summer camp for teens.

What classes do you offer?

We offer a wide range of classes and ongoing workshops for students of all levels – from absolute beginner to published author – in all genres. Many of our classes meet weekly or bi-weekly and run for six or eight sessions. We also have workshops and roundtables that meet monthly.Our single-session classes are also very popular for those of you with limited time to attend classes.A full list of classes can be found on our Courses & Events page. We’re always adding to the schedule, so if there’s something you’d like to see offered, let us know!

Who are your classes for? What are your students like?

The wide diversity of our students is one of StoryStudio’s greatest strengths. Our students come from all walks of life, all ages, and all kinds of writing experience. In one class, you might meet a recent college graduate, a young professional, a working parent, and a retiree, who all have one thing in common: the desire to write.

What makes StoryStudio different?

StoryStudio is a community of writers and provides a warm, encouraging environment for writers. We have couches and comfy chairs, artwork on the walls, coffee and tea (and often cookies!) in the kitchen. We’re laid-back and fun, but also serious about writing.We’re run not by academic administrators, but by working writers who started the center because we wanted to create a place to hang out with and learn from other writers.

Where are you located?

We have a wonderful loft space with three classrooms in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago.

I’ve never written anything before. Will I fit in?

Absolutely! We love writers who are just starting out. For a list of introductory writing classes, check out our upcoming courses and events.

I’ve been writing a long time/have my MFA/am a published author. Does StoryStudio have anything for me?

Of course! We have a number of ongoing workshops, advanced workshops, and roundtable groups for advanced writers. We’re very excited about our “In A Year” programs. Novel in a Year, Memoir in a Year, and Screenplay in a Year offer accountability, cohorts, and focus on finishing. We also bring in guest authors to teach intensive one-night classes on craft elements. For a list of workshops, see our courses and events page.

How do I decide what class is the right one for me?

Browse the website and courses and events page.  If you still have questions, give us a call at 773.477.7710 or email us at – we’re always happy to chat!

What’s the difference between a class and a workshop?

The focus of a class is on writing, discussion, and analyzing written works. There may be an element of sharing work, but the majority of class time will be spent on writing exercises or class discussion. The focus of a workshop is on sharing written work and getting feedback from the instructor and fellow students. There may be some writing exercises or discussion of craft, but the majority of class time will be spent on workshopping student writing.

Can I sit in on a class before I sign up for one?

Our classes are small and the workshop process requires trust and community, so we don’t allow casual observers. However, we do have a range of one-night classes throughout the year, which are a great way to dip your toes in the water and get a sense of what StoryStudio offers.

Who are the instructors?

Our committed and talented instructors are all working writers who bring their experience and expertise to the classroom with warmth and humor. You can read more about them on our Instructors page

How are the classes structured? Is there much reading or homework?

It depends on the class! Classes are structured differently according to type, so while an introductory class will have a strong emphasis on writing, reading, and discussion, a workshop class will spend most of its time giving feedback on student manuscripts.

How big are classes?

We cap most of our classes at 15 students to foster great discussion and lots of individual feedback.

I’m not able to commit to an 8-week class right now. What else can I do?

Many of our classes run 4 or 6 weeks if that works in your schedule. Plus, we have many single-session classes in the evenings or on Saturdays. In addition to classes, we run events, such as our popular Open House & Free Class, NaNoWriMo events, and write-ins. And of course, you can always sign up for a one-night class.

Do you offer discounts, scholarships, or sliding scale fees?

StoryStudio is entirely funded by student tuition, so we can’t offer a sliding scale. We work hard to keep our tuition affordable while still paying the electric bill and compensating our instructors (thereby helping to support working writers).

My job took over my life and I can’t come to class. Can I get a refund? Do you pro-rate courses if I miss a session?

Alas, sometimes unexpected commitments arise and we understand that. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer refunds, pro-rated fees, or credits once the class has begun. (Please see our full refund policy for more information.)

Do you offer online classes?

Not yet. But do check back in a couple months as we plan to run some pilot classes soon. To be added to a waitlist, just send us a note.

I need help writing better for work. Do you have classes to help me?

Yes! Our Words for Work program is growing. We offer customized trainings for companies and organizations, as well as a growing list of open enrollment classes. Call us us at 773.477.7710 for more information.

My child’s teacher has said s/he needs to write better at school. Can you help?

StoryStudio doesn’t currently offer youth writing coaching.

My child is an excellent writer and I want to encourage her/his storytelling. Do you have classes for young writers?

Our youth program offers creative writing summer camp for youth in grades 5 through 10.

My girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/best friend/casual acquaintance always talks about writing. Can I buy a class or a gift certificate for her/him?

Yes! A gift certificate to StoryStudio is a wonderful gift for a writer or for someone who wants to give it a try. You can find out more here, or just call us at 773.477.7710. Our gift certificates are printed out on an actual card with a personal message from you inside.

How did StoryStudio start?

Our founder, Jill Pollack, wanted to hang with other writers and focus on her fiction. While teaching at another institution, Jill got the idea for StoryStudio and opened the doors in 2003 with a whopping four students. Today, StoryStudio has more than 1,000 writers come through each year.

I don’t want a class but I want someone to read my story. Do you do that?

We do have a Manuscript Review program. You can pre-purchase a review package and receive comments and suggestions from one of our instructors.

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