“Writing Short Fiction”
Western Connecticut State University, MFA Virtual Summer Residency (online)
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 2 – 4:30
Short can be deep. Quick can cut to the quick. Short stories can shatter your heart. In this workshop, we’ll break down examples of short prose that packs a punch, investigate what makes them powerful, and apply those elements to our own craft. We’ll do generative writing exercises with the aim of leaving the workshop with a completed flash piece and share our prose (not required).
Martha’s Vineyard Creative Writing Conference
“Writing Mythical Transformation in Fairytales & Fiction”
The Little Mermaid sacrifices her tail for a human soul. Gregor Samsa, feeling insignificant, becomes a cockroach. The nymph Daphne turns into a tree to escape lovesick Apollo. Throughout literature, characters transform because they are hungry. They transform because they’re restless, because they’re seeking liberation from domesticity, obscurity, prescribed roles, their own bodies. They transform for fun. As writers, we use transformation to illuminate the raw places inside our protagonists and their worlds. Our characters escape, they devour, they create life—and they discover their true selves by stripping away their known skin. In this one-day class, we’ll explore these ideas through craft talk, discussion of sample texts, and in-class writing.
Taught for: Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop (online)
“Writing Genre-Bending Fiction”
Fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, noir. How much–if at all–should we consider genre when crafting our stories? Can we reject the stuffy philosophy that genre writing is not literary (yes!)? We’ll talk about how to mix genres and bend their “rules” to write memorable fiction. Sci-fi romance! Fantasy-noir! Mystery-magical realist-western! We’ll break down our favorite genres and why we love them, and apply those elements to our own craft. And, we’ll read masterful examples, do generative writing exercises, and share our work (not required).”
Taught for: Story Studio Chicago (online course)
I absolutely loved everything about this class. I feel like Lara was extremely organized and was able to use the class time extremely well. I don’t feel like a second was wasted. It was so beautifully structured, and I would love to see other instructors use this similar approach. I loved that it was a mix of teaching about craft, writing craft, and sharing what we wrote. Love, love, love the class and would take any other class with Lara Ehrlich again!
I really enjoyed Lara’s class – she handled the topic deftly and encouraged a lot of wonderful discussion. I definitely left with new insights into the role (magic) transformation can play in story.
I really enjoyed this workshop, and I particularly enjoyed the depth of experience Lara brought to the class. Her approach to understanding myth and the idea of transformation was really interesting, and her examples were so diverse that the class broadened my idea of what it means to write about transformation. The writing exercises were also really helpful in working through detail-based descriptions of transformation for characters I’m working on. I also really enjoyed how Lara brought an optimistic outlook to the idea of transformation—other people might see the dark or disturbing side of it, but Lara’s examples really brought to light the magic of it and the ability for transformation to bring about happiness or a better life.