In it for the long haul? StoryStudio Chicago is right there with you.
Becoming an advanced writer takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and our “In A Year” programs and Advanced Writing Workshops are designed to help you cross the finish line… and get published.
With multiple year-long and monthly programs to choose from, you’ll find the right fit for you and your manuscript.
What’s Different About Our “In a Year” and Advanced Programs? Everything.
In addition to great teaching, these programs feature:
- Teaching Artists
The instructors for our Advanced Courses are rockstars. They are dedicated members of the literary community who are actively publishing novels, memoirs, and collections.
- Cohort & Community
Who said you have to go it alone? Taking continuous classes with the same cohort of students will give you the chance build strong and lasting bonds, participate in the community, and be listed as a StoryStudio VIP student with “first chance” opportunities for future classes.
Though time and space can be in short supply, having a friendly and encouraging cohort will help you meet those word count goals and deadlines. It’s quite a motivator!
- Meet Editors and Authors
In addition to your wonderful instructor, visiting authors and editors will come to class, providing invaluable advice and insights.
- Manuscript Review
You’ll get clear and professional advice with a manuscript review; an author letter with ideas and suggestions and comments; and a private meeting.
NOVEL IN A YEAR
First Draft Cohort A is for students who are ready to propel a novel draft forward but are newer to the formal study of creative writing. Whether you’re on page 1 or page 201, this year-long course with Abby Geni will help you draft and learn about narrative craft and structure.
Application period is now closed.
First Draft Cohort B is for students at any stage of novel drafting, but with a strong background in the formal study of creative writing. This year-long course with Rebecca Makkai will presume a solid craft vocabulary, serious workshop experience, and advanced writing skill.
Application period is now closed.
Note: All submissions will be considered for both A & B cohorts.
Revise and Launch offers students the tools and skills to polish up their full manuscripts, learn about the revision and publication process, and prepare to send their work out into the world. You’ll also get a full-manuscript critique from Abby Geni at the end of the course.
For the nonfiction writers, Memoir In A Year taught by Nadine Kenney Johnstone will help and support you during the long road from plotting to composition to revision and beyond. Application period will open soon. Sessions begin October 2018.
Our Advanced Fiction Workshop meets once a month for seven months, with energetic workshops and craft lectures, as well as tips on sending out your work for publication. This workshop is ideal for dedicated writers committed to improving their skills.
Also consider our Advanced Short Fiction Workshop with Ben Hoffman, an advanced workshop focused on the craft of short fiction. This eight-week course will mix craft lecture, reading and discussion of a range of published stories, structured workshop, and revision exercises.
Want to know more? Sign up to be notified when an information session has been scheduled and the application submission period is open.
Novel in a Year: First Draft Cohort B
In addition to being StoryStudio’s Artistic Director, Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the forthcoming novel The Great Believers (June 2018), the story collection Music for Wartime, as well as the novels The Hundred-Year House (a BookPage “Best Book” of 2014 and winner of the Chicago Writers Association Award) and The Borrower (a Booklist Top Ten Debut). Her short fiction was featured in The Best American Short Stories anthology in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and appears regularly in publications such as Harper’s, Tin House, and Ploughshares, and on public radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca has taught at the Tin House Writers’ Conference, Northwestern University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Novel in a Year: First Draft Cohort A
Novel in a Year: Revise and Launch
Award-winning author Abby Geni won the 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for her novel, The Lightkeepers, and The Last Animal (2013), a finalist for the Orion Book Award and a winner of the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. Her stories have won first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and the Chautauqua Contest and have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Geni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Iowa Fellowship. “Novel Novice” workshops offer detailed craft lessons and provide intensive feedback on your manuscript. You will study every aspect of the writing process, from grammar to characterization to structure to revision.
Novel in a Year: YA and Middle Grade
James Klise is the author of two award-winning novels for teens. His most recent book, The Art of Secrets won the 2015 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. It was also an Illinois Reads pick, a Booklist Editors’ Choice winner, and a Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” selection. His previous novel, Loved Drugged, was named a Stonewall Honor Book by the American Library Association, as well as a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Story Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, Sou’wester, and elsewhere. He works as a school librarian in Chicago.
Nadine Kenney Johnstone
Memoir in a Year
Nadine Kenney Johnstone is the author of the memoir, Of This Much I’m Sure, winner of the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year award. Coverage of her memoir has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Today’s Parent, MindBodyGreen, Metro, and Chicago Health Magazine, among others. She teaches at Loyola University and received her MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Her other work has been featured in various magazines and anthologies, including Chicago Magazine, The Moth, PANK, and The Magic of Memoir. Nadine is a writing coach who presents at conferences internationally. She lives near Chicago with her family.
Advanced Fiction Workshop
A.X. Ahmad was raised in India and educated at Vassar College and M.I.T. His essays and stories have been published in literary magazines and listed in Best American Essays. As A.X. Ahmad, he is the author of the suspense novels The Caretaker and The Last Taxi Ride, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015. He taught novel writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, from 2012 to 2016, and created the “Novel Year” program for advanced novelists. He was awarded a 2015–16 Artist’s Fellowship grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
What Our Students Have To Say…
I have nothing but praise and gratitude for Rebecca Makkai and Novel in a Year. I came in scared, full of ideas, without much else. I left with confidence, momentum, and a good portion of a novel written, not to mention a viable plan for beyond the class. One of the best steps I could have taken as a writer. So valuable.
– Rob Dorjath
StoryStudio is such a wonderful community, and all the classes and workshops have really helped push me to try new things and put myself out there.
—Maddie Reynolds, author, Of Love and Illusions, forthcoming 2018 (Entangled Teen)
I am a former StoryStudio student, and my first book came out in May 2017. I don’t think this would have happened had I not taken some classes [at the studio] and thus pushed up my writing game.
—Andy Boyle, author, Adulthood for Beginners
StoryStudio not only helped me become a much better writer, it also helped me become part of a community of writers.
—Amelia Brunskill, author, The Window