Writing Class Radio

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 129
  May 18, 2022   00:22:32

129: Maybe We’re All Just Homing Pigeons. Are You Home Yet?

Today on our show we share a story by Heidi Walker called Coming Home. The essay is under 800 words and finely detailed to emphasize only what the narrator would like us to focus on. We love this essay not only for its sentiment but also because the tightness of the essay proves that keeping...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 127
  Apr 20, 2022   00:26:19

127: Parenting Alone: How Will My Autistic Son Manage Without Me?

This episode is about landing an ending. It’s also about raising the bar on what we write about. In this case, storyteller Jennifer Landau writes something new and important about being a mom. She is afraid for what will happen to her son after she dies. This is especially important because like Allison and Andrea,...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 125
  Mar 23, 2022   00:20:23

125: Tossing the Shells but Not the Memories.

Welcome to Season 13. On today’s episode, you’ll hear a story which is less than 600 words and perfectly told. So much so, that we have chosen to use this story to show how to structure an essay. We’ll go over the 5Cs of a well-structured essay and why details are important. Anthony Askowitz is...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 124
  Mar 09, 2022   00:55:52

124: The Hate Hate Creates

This is the final episode in a 10-part series inspired by the men Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. This series shared stories written by Allison’s former memoir students as well as formerly incarcerated and currently incarcerated people from around the United States. Their experiences and voices, like those of many incarcerated...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 123
  Feb 23, 2022   00:23:23

123: The Words He Left Behind

This is the ninth episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. On today’s episode, you will hear a story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 122
  Feb 09, 2022   00:27:46

122: What Does 44 Years in Prison Look Like?

This is the eighth episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. In this episode, you will hear a story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 121
  Jan 26, 2022   00:28:13

121: When a Big Mistake Becomes Catastrophic

This is the seventh episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. Today on the show, we have Dewain Williams....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 120
  Jan 12, 2022   00:22:22

120: My Pen Uncovers the Real Me

This is the sixth episode in a 10-part series inspired by the memoir students Allison Langer taught in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. On this episode, Corey Devon Arthur, a journalist inside...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 119
  Dec 29, 2021   00:49:46

119: When Is it Safe to Ignore the Law?

This is the fifth episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories by her former students wrote and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. On this episode, we feature an essay by Rashmi Airan, who...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 118
  Dec 15, 2021   01:08:07

118: Standing at the Prison Gate, I Was Icarus Plummeting to Earth.

This is the fourth episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. Today’s show shares two stories by Dutch Simmons,...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 117
  Dec 01, 2021   00:35:17

117: A Day in the Life of a Prisoner

This is the third episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear new stories by her former students and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. Today’s show shares a story by Roderick Richardson, an inmate in a...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 116
  Nov 17, 2021   00:34:07

116: How Do You Fulfill a Promise When You’re Stuck in Prison?

This is the second episode in a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. You will hear stories her former students wrote after taking her class and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. To help us get this right, Xaire has agreed...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 115
  Nov 03, 2021   00:32:12

115: What I Learned from Men in Prison

Welcome to Season 12. Today, we’re starting a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. We put a call out for stories, so you will hear stories her students have written recently and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world. To help us...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 114
  Oct 20, 2021   00:22:03

114: Sometimes It's Better Said in a Song

Today on our show, we’re talking about structure, voice, commitment, and especially happy endings. The story you’ll hear was written, read, and sung by Amber Petty. What makes this story so much fun? You know it when you hear it. Amber Petty used to be an actor but now she writes and helps other writers...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 113
  Oct 06, 2021   00:21:30

113: I Was the Real Life's Queen's Gambit

Today on our show, we’re talking about how to frame a story. Not all publications are looking for the same thing. Actually, all pubs are different. On Writing Class Radio, we look for a change in the narrator or a discovery by the narrator. We want the narrator to reveal something big and vulnerable and...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 112
  Sep 22, 2021   00:18:47

112: Voice Isn't Everything, Is It?

Today on our show, we’re talking about voice in a new way. We always say, write like you speak. That’s one of the most important writing tenets, because if you write like you speak, you’re writing in the most truthful way. If you curse, curse. If you don’t speak in fancy prose, don’t write fancy...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 111
  Sep 08, 2021   00:21:33

111: It’s a Matter of Time

Today on our show, we are featuring an essay by former student Sharon Rothberg. Sharon uses a philosophical concept to work out her feelings about the death of her daughter-in-law.  Sharon’s use of time and all lingo related to time is masterful. The story structure is also exceptional as is the balanced use of humor and...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 110
  Aug 25, 2021   00:24:20

110: How to Write About Death: Use an Obsession.

For the month of August, 2021, we’re bringing back four of our listeners’ favorite episodes. Writing Class Radio brings you personal stories and tips on how to write your own stories. This episode originally aired March 3, 2020 on episode 79. Today on our show, we take a look at bringing an obsession into a story....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 109
  Aug 18, 2021   00:26:43

109: Show and Tell.

For the month of August, 2021, we’re bringing back four of our listeners’ favorite episodes. Writing Class Radio brings you personal stories and tips on how to write your own stories. This episode originally aired July 31, 2018 on episode 47. In this episode, we examine the popular writing tenet, show DON’T tell. We believe just...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 108
  Aug 11, 2021   00:23:23

108: How to Write Your Story with Joyce Maynard.

For the month of August, 2021, we’re bringing back four of our listeners’ favorite episodes. Writing Class Radio brings you personal stories and tips on how to write your own stories. This episode originally aired May 18, 2017 on episode 30. The format for this episode is a little different. Today we’re bringing you a guest...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 107
  Aug 04, 2021   00:26:41

107: Can You Hear Me if I Can’t Hear You?

For the month of August, 2021, we’re bringing back four of our listeners’ favorite episodes. Writing Class Radio brings you personal stories and tips on how to write your own stories. This episode originally aired April 20, 2017 on episode 29. Allison Langer loves the process of working out her shit and reading it out loud....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 106
  Jul 28, 2021   00:25:23

106: How Do You Know if Your Story Sucks?

On episode 106, host Allison Langer tells a story about her post cancer hair. Allison’s story was rejected by The Washington Post. Should Allison give up and write something new? Or should she continue to send her story to other publications? Most often, even expertly-written stories get rejected because they’re just not a perfect fit...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 105
  Jul 14, 2021   00:20:24

105: Teach Us Something We Don't Know

This episode is about teaching the reader/listener something they don’t know anything about. Teaching can be done in two ways. One, by taking the reader into a world foreign to most people and two, by relaying information that’s rarely discussed and possibly unknown to the average person. In the story we bring you today, listener...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 104
  Jun 30, 2021   00:16:19

104: Sleep Left Me for a Younger Woman

This episode is about commitment. Not commitment to love, exactly, but commitment to a concept. Listener Lucie Frost writes a satirical essay where sleep is her lover. She never slips from the concept. Humor writing requires committing to an idea and pushing that idea as far as you can go. Lucie Frost is a humor...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 103
  Jun 16, 2021   00:24:38

103: Is it Ok to Write the Same Story Over and Over?

On this episode, we bring you a story that the narrator has returned to and will probably return to all her life. Everyone has their themes and it’s okay to return to them at different points in our lives. Trigger warning… The story you will hear on this episode documents the loss of a child....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 102
  Jun 02, 2021   00:26:30

102: A Boyhood Brush With Breast Cancer

On this episode, we bring you a story that is not one you hear too often but addresses a very serious situation: breast cancer in men. Kevin Wood shares his essay, A Boyhood Brush with Breast Cancer. This essay was previously published on The Good Men Project. We sat on this story for a few...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 100
  May 05, 2021   00:42:32

100: Happy F*ing Mother's Day

This episode features an extreme mother story by Diana Kupershmit who is honest and vulnerable. Diana tells the truth about a very tough decision she and her husband made when their daughter Emma was born with a severe disability. Diana reads her story and then Andrea and Allison discuss the brilliant writing and why is...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 96
  Mar 03, 2021   00:37:21

96: How to Hit Your Editors in the Heart

This episode is about secrets, a mom/daughter relationship, and donor-conception, a subject that hit both Andrea and Allison in the heart. When Amanda Serenyi’s friend gets pregnant using donor sperm, Amanda freaks out because she herself was donor-conceived and her mother kept this a secret until she was 33.  When Amanda first submitted this essay,...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 95
  Feb 17, 2021   00:32:16

95: What Did it Take to Finally Get Published?

Are you writing like crazy but just can’t seem to push the send button on your submissions? Today on our show, Writing Class Radio student Margery Berger tells us what’s been holding her back. Margery Berger has told a story on this podcast before. On Episode 46: An Object is Not Just an Object she...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 94
  Feb 03, 2021   00:14:11

94: Crafting a Story is Like Solving a Puzzle

Today’s episode is about two things. 1. A great way to tell a relationship story is to choose a subject or activity that’s dear to the person you’re writing about. Then, describe that activity. 2. Stories are puzzles. There’s a false binary idea that writers are creative and therefore not good at math. We disagree....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 93
  Jan 20, 2021   00:21:18

93: Brave Listener Gets Hard Edits

We asked you, our listeners, to send in your unfinished essays. We didn’t mean first drafts. We meant those essays you’ve been working on forever that you can’t get to the bottom of. Today on our show, we bring you an unfinished essay by listener Julie Schoelzel, a writer from Keene, New Hampshire. We hope...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 92
  Jan 06, 2021   00:28:50

92: Taking the Long Road, Writing About Transformation

Today’s show is about transformation. How does the narrator change? How does the narrator grow? You’ll hear a story by Autumn Hudson, an elite body tattoo artist, who went from dropping out of school, to drug addiction, to fulfilling her dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Autumn’s story exemplifies a narrator’s transformation. Writing Class Radio...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 91
  Dec 23, 2020   00:27:39

91: Bye Bye 2020

On today’s episode hosts Andrea and Allison say goodbye to a shit year. They each took the prompt: Bye Bye 2020. Andrea got nothing and explains that the story she kept coming to–about her daughter having a rough time–is a story she’s not yet prepared to tell. Nothing else felt honest.  Allison writes about her...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 90
  Dec 02, 2020   00:17:23

90: The Upside to a Downside

On today’s episode you’ll hear a story that takes a bad situation and finds the good. We don’t love sappy happy endings, but honest happy endings are the best, especially when they bring joy to the world. Jamie Katz got married on her balcony during lockdown and was greeted with some pleasant surprises. Her story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 88
  Nov 09, 2020   00:34:08

88: Should I Stay or Should I Leave This Country?

Today’s episode is part of a series called Home. Writing Class Radio helped produce a documentary to help end homelessness for Chapman Partnership, a homeless center in South Florida. On this episode, you will hear a story by writer Tiffanie Drayton who takes an idea that most Americans hold about our country and turns it...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 87
  Oct 21, 2020   00:18:11

87: At Home in My Skin

Today’s show is part of a series called Home. Writing Class Radio helped produce a documentary to help end homelessness for Chapman Partnership, a homeless center in South Florida. We put out a public call for submissions for stories about home. The call brought so many different and fascinating takes. Thank you to all the...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 86
  Oct 07, 2020   00:20:48

86: Torn Between Two Houses Feeling Like a Fool

Today’s show is the first in a four-part miniseries called Home. Writing Class Radio helped produce a documentary to help end homelessness for Chapman Partnership, a homeless center in South Florida.   We put out a public call for submissions for stories about home. The call brought so many different and fascinating takes on home. Thank...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 85
  Sep 02, 2020   00:20:09

85: What Does Your TV Habit Say About You?

This episode is about story structure and all things done well in an essay. LiAnne Yu tells a story about watching TV with her Chinese immigrant parents. As a narrator she brings us into her world–dinners in front of the TV with her parents. She uses detail to reveal character–Mork & Mindy, Sex and the...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 84
  Aug 05, 2020   00:18:35

84: Who's Your Voice of Reason?

This episode is about using a character to express the voice of reason. So often in a story, the narrator is in a bind and can’t see clearly. In the story we bring you today, the narrator’s wife says something that opens the narrator’s mind to a different point of view. The narrator went years...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 83
  Jul 01, 2020   00:22:21

83: Every Word Matters

Today on our show, we’re talking about how every word in a story matters. We have a story to share that illustrates this point so well. Essayist, teacher, and Writing Class Radio listener Amy Paturel submitted her story called “The Other Love of His Life,” which was originally published in Newsweek, April 2009.  Amy’s story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 82
  Jun 03, 2020   00:06:32

82: A Poet's Response to Senseless Murders

This episode of Writing Class Radio is dedicated to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those who have lost their lives in a senseless murder. The story we share with you on this episode is by student and poet Zorina Frey. Last Saturday, May 30, 2020, Andrea gave students a writing prompt and 14 minutes...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 81
  May 06, 2020   00:37:15

81: An Insider Conversation with a Literary Agent

Today on our show, we share a New York Times Modern Love essay we love by Jessica Strawser, editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest. Her essay caught the attention of literary agent Barbara Poelle, an agent with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and the author of Funny You Should Ask: Mostly Serious Answers to Mostly Serious Questions...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 80
  Apr 01, 2020   00:27:24

80: You Have Permission to Write or Not to Write

Today on our show, we are talking about what we can’t stop talking about, the coronavirus. Every email, text, call starts with, “How are you holding up?” It’s beautiful and exhausting, so we put out a call for coronavirus stories. We have two stories to share. One is by our own Andrea Askowitz who is...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 79
  Mar 03, 2020   00:23:17

79: How to Write About Death: Use an Obsession

Today on our show, we take a look at bringing an obsession into a story. It’s possible to go deep into an obsession that has almost nothing to do with the story you are trying to tell without being distracting. That obsession can deepen the meaning of the story by giving us a peek into...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 78
  Feb 05, 2020   00:15:53

78: Writing Helps You Figure Out How You Think

Today on our show, we’re talking about how writing helps you figure out how you think. And helps you see yourself, specifically your failures more clearly because it’s hard to ignore a pattern when you see it in writing. We share an essay by listener, Karen Debonis who’s story, “Even the Weak Can Weather the...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 77
  Jan 08, 2020   00:35:53

77: Gotta Be a Good Literary Citizen if You Wanna Get Published

Today on our show, we’re talking to Susan Shapiro about literary citizenship.  A literary citizen is someone who does good things for other literary people like re-tweet their published essays, share insider dos and don’ts, and hook people up with editors. Being a good literary citizen will help you get published because it shows that...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 76
  Dec 04, 2019   00:35:54

76: Abortion Stories Matter

On this episode, you’ll hear two stories about abortion, because we believe abortion stories must be told to keep abortions safe, legal, and accessible. If all women who had abortions told their stories, abortion would not be stigmatized, public perception would change, and laws would change.  We put a call out for abortion stories. We...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 75
  Nov 06, 2019   00:40:48

75: How to Go From Idea to Published Essay to Book Deal

Today on our show, we’re talking to Lilly Dancyger, an editor at Catapult, among many things. She’s also a freelance editor at Narratively and Barrelhouse Books, a memoir writing teacher, writer, curator of Memoir Monday, and the editor of the just-released anthology called Burn It Down. We talked to her about what she’s looking for...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 74
  Oct 02, 2019   00:37:40

74: Think Like a Writer with Dani Shapiro

We recorded this show from Miami and Madrid. If you are new to Writing Class Radio, welcome.  Today on our show, we have the brilliant and generous Dani Shapiro, author of five novels and five memoirs, plus thousands of essays and a podcast called Family Secrets. A few years ago, Andrea sat down with Dani...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 73
  Aug 28, 2019   00:30:19

73: How to Write When Shit Gets Real

Today our show is going to be a little different because shit just got really real. Three weeks ago, Allison was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. In this episode, we share the stories we wrote about this situation. We are treating this episode as if we’re in writing class by sharing our own writing...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 72
  Aug 14, 2019   00:13:34

72: Create Scenes So People Remember

Today on our show, we’re talking about how to create a scene and why scenes matter. We often bring up the writing tip show AND tell. The scene is the show. It’s the action. It’s where we put dialogue and show character. Scenes are the moments we remember. For more on show and tell, listen...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 71
  Jul 31, 2019   00:19:30

71: What’s Inside Your Container?

This episode contains content about a suicide attempt. Today on our show, we’re talking about a container, which is a cool way to structure a story. It’s a method to tell your entire story while you are contained in a place or period of time. For example, on a plane, in a meeting, or an afternoon...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 70
  Jul 17, 2019   00:16:13

70: How to Write About the Unbelievable

Today on our show, we’re talking about how to write about the unbelievable. Things like UFOs, mediums, and talking to the dead. In the story you’ll hear, our narrator hears a voice from beyond. In this episode, like many past episodes, we also get into the concept of likeable narrator. If you want more on...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 69
  Jul 03, 2019   00:23:06

69: How to Write Your Story While You're Still Living It

Today on our show, we’re talking about how to end a story when the situation is ongoing. You’ll hear an essay by the Brazilian born Miami writer, Camile Flosi Araujo. Camile brings us into her world, which changed dramatically for her when she got into a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 68
  Jun 19, 2019   00:25:32

68: What's a Meta Phor?

Today on our show, we’re talking about metaphors and how they work in a story. We share a story by Elizabeth Newdom whose story is shaped around a metaphor. Elizabeth’s essay first appeared in Motherwell, an online magazine that tells all sides of the parenting story.   We called the editors of Motherwell, Randi Olin...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 67
  Jun 05, 2019   00:11:42

67: Ready, Set, Go Get Into College

Today on our show we’re talking about perseverance, a quality important if you want to be a writer, a runner, or someone successful at crafting the dreaded college essay. What makes your essay stand out to publishers and to college admissions directors is the situation and the story. They want to see the loss or...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 66
  May 22, 2019   00:11:50

66: How to Brag and Pull it Off.

Today on our show we’re talking about bragging, specifically on the dreaded college essay. How do you brag yourself up without sounding like a total $#&%$#? (We’re PG for the high schoolers…as if). The answer is, you have to be willing to get vulnerable and reveal your ugly side, then you can brag all you...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 65
  May 08, 2019   00:23:29

65: Slow Down. You Don’t Want to Miss this Moment.

Do you know how sometimes when you’re reading a story you feel like the story slows down in a critical moment? Maybe the narrator describes the people in a room or the birds on a tree nearby. Maybe there’s a flashback to a memory. In that moment, the reader becomes hyper aware and hopefully totally...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 64
  Apr 24, 2019   00:14:08

64: Inspiration Sometimes Comes in the Form of a Dress

In class, sometimes we ask people to close their eyes and smell sunblock, or freshly baked bread. Sometimes we play a Beatles song or have students squeeze Play-Doh. Sometimes we throw out a word like pussy. Then, we ask students to write about the first thing that comes to mind. All of these prompts inspire...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 63
  Apr 10, 2019   00:26:58

63: How to Pitch to Publications

Today on our show we’re talking about pitching to publications, what to include in a query letter and all the homework you need to do before you pitch to an editor. Writer Baylea Jones shares her pitch and her story. We speak with Ravishly editor Erin Khar about what it was like to receive Baylea’s...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 62
  Mar 27, 2019   00:20:31

62: The Devil's in the Details

Details matter. Details bring the reader/listener into a world they may know nothing about. They help us trust the narrator. The more specific the details; the more universal the story. In this episode we bring you a story by Inessa Freylekhman. She’s a Feng Shui expert, speaker, spiritual counselor and author. Inessa uses details well...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 61
  Mar 12, 2019   00:16:36

61: How to Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Story

On this episode, we talk about procrastination. We also talk about speaking directly to the reader from a place of experience. And giving advice, which is really hard in a story and in life. If you’re willing to be vulnerable, you can do it. We’re starting with a story by Jenni Berrett called You Aren’t...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 60
  Feb 26, 2019   00:23:38

60: If You Want to Write About Death and Get Published, Write the Truth

In this episode we’re talking about writing about death. We have a story by Leslie Gray Streeter, a columnist for the Palm Beach Post who also contributes to Modern Loss,    the online magazine dedicated to normalizing the way we talk about loss. Leslie’s story is called, What I did with My Husband’s Life Insurance Money....

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 59
  Jan 30, 2019   00:11:29

59: A Time I Had an Unpopular Opinion

In this episode we air the winner of our fall writing contest–Jen Antill. The prompt: A Time I Had an Unpopular Opinion reaped a story about a woman who is pregnant at 24, but doesn’t want to be. It turns out, she never wanted to be a mother. Starting with a prompt like a time...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 58
  Jan 23, 2019   00:18:12

58: Everyone Needs an Editor/Friend

This is the final episode of the Andrea Show. For the last seven weeks, we brought you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge on her 50th birthday in May 2018, which was inspired by a...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 57
  Jan 15, 2019   00:13:58

57: What's Your Achilles Heel?

For the next two weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 56
  Jan 08, 2019   00:12:59

56: Write About Me!

For the next three weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 55
  Dec 31, 2018   00:10:22

55: The Mean Letter You Always Wanted to Write

This week, Andrea uses the epistolary form–story written as a letter–to get her point across. The letter form is very intimate because the narrator is speaking directing to you. We hope this process will help writers get published or at least get inspire to write. For the next four weeks, we will bring you a...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 54
  Dec 25, 2018   00:23:31

54: From Writing Prompt to Published Story

For the next five weeks, we’ll bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story every...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 53
  Dec 19, 2018   00:15:32

53: Should I Edit Out the Dick Pics?

This is week three of an eight-week experiment. We’re bringing you a story a week by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 52
  Dec 12, 2018   00:14:50

52: Funny Story…My Brother Has Cancer

For the next seven weeks, we will bring you a story written and read by Writing Class Radio co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. Andrea took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. He said, “Write a short story...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 51
  Dec 05, 2018   00:14:01

51: It's Not Possible to Write 52 Bad Stories in a Row

Welcome to Season 6. For the next eight weeks, we will bring you a story a week written and read by co-host, Andrea Askowitz, with commentary by her editor, co-host, Allison Langer. This week, Andrea tells us why she took a weekly essay challenge, which was inspired by a quote by the author of Fahrenheit...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 50
  Nov 07, 2018   00:29:14

50: We Don't Care About Your Life if it Doesn't Serve this Story

This is our 50th episode and our last episode of Season 5. Today we’re talking about omitting needless words because who has time for excessive blah, blah, blah. You will hear a great example of a story that got chopped in half. Allison Langer’s story called Why I decided to ignore the judgy snobs (like...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 49
  Oct 02, 2018   00:28:26

49: This is Awkward. Nobody Wants to Talk About Money

Writing about hard topics like money is awkward. No one wants to admit that they have money. And no one wants to admit that they don’t have money. Money is one of those topics that embarrasses people or divides people. This episode talks about MONEY. In this episode, we are also asking our listeners to...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 47
  Jul 31, 2018   00:28:05

47: Show and Tell

In this episode, we examine the popular writing tenet, show DON’T tell. We believe just showing is not only impossible, but detrimental to your story. Telling gives insight into what the narrator is thinking and feeling. To test this theory, we asked our students to just SHOW. We gave the prompt: A Fight and instructed...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 46
  Jul 03, 2018   00:27:28

46: An Object is More than Just an Object

Today on our show, we’re talking about objects. Things like a pen, trash cans, reading glasses, and a scale. We can build stories around these things because these objects affect our lives. They can stand in for an emotion. The phrase for this is object correlative. T.S. Eliot used this phrase to describe “a set...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 45
  Jun 05, 2018   00:25:40

45: Identity is Fuzzy. What's Behind Your Many Faces?

Today we are talking about identity; how sometimes what we show on the outside is not what we feel on the inside. As a storyteller, you have to know who you are. Or try to figure out who you are through the writing. Three of our students address identity. First Aaron Curtis, who is a...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 44
  Apr 30, 2018   00:23:17

44: Voices Carry a Lot of Weight in a Story

The way a story is told out loud adds another layer to a story. On this episode, we’re talking about how our physical voices can carry a story with inflection, pace, volume, tone, and pitch. Voice can even make us love a story we might otherwise not like, or understand. Meet Asia Sampson renown poet...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 43
  Apr 02, 2018   00:21:33

43: Voices in Your Head

Writing is a gift of yourself. It should give the reader or listener a glimpse inside. It should be something true and new and vulnerable. In a story, we reveal ourselves through voice. What we mean by voice in a story is the tone, the mood, and the personality of the narrator. Voice can be...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 42
  Mar 06, 2018   00:24:00

42: Secret Pleasures, Who Are We to Judge?

On this episode, we’re talking about secret pleasures, with a twist. We’re bringing you the winner of our writing contest. We gave the prompt: Secret Pleasure and we got some good ones. Our winner, Erika Flynn from New York City is a professional mistress. She tells us how SHE is the secret pleasure. Lia Seirotti,...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 41
  Feb 05, 2018   00:28:40

41: The Moment I Knew Everything Was About to Change

We’re in season 5! We decided, after 40 episodes, to follow a schedule. So please look out for us on the first Wednesday of every month. On this episode, we’re talking about moments. Going to a moment is a storytelling technique that requires the narrator to first remember something dramatic or important and then paint...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 40
  Jan 08, 2018   00:21:58

40: Likable Narrator: Be the Biggest Asshole in the Story

On this episode, we’re talking about creating a likable narrator. The narrator is the I in the story. It’s YOU. We see this a lot with beginner writers and we probably did this too, and that is tell a story about a time we were the hero. Sad truth: no one wants to hear how...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 39
  Dec 10, 2017   00:20:21

39: Get Out of Your Way and Write

On today’s episode we’re talking about getting out of our own way when writing a story. The writing process starts with getting the truth on paper. We write about situations or problems we’re dealing with or have dealt with, things we’re still trying to understand or resolve. The goal is getting to the reason we’re...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 38
  Nov 20, 2017   00:19:04

38: Write Better by Mimicking the Masters

On today’s episode we’re talking about mimicking the masters the way you’d imagine a painting class in Paris that goes to the Louvre to practice painting like Leonardo de Vinci. We think it’s worth copying a method that works because we know it worked in the past. Learn the rules before breaking the rules. In...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 37
  Oct 31, 2017   00:33:20

37: Ready to Write that Memoir or Novel? Nov. is National Novel Writing Month

November is #NaNoWriMo (https://nanowrimo.org/), and we have executive director, Grant Faulkner (http://www.grantfaulkner.com/), on our show. Today we’re talking about novels because we go both ways. And also because storytelling principles are the same when writing fiction or nonfiction. Get inspired and join millions of people around the world who are racing to finish a book...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 36
  Oct 16, 2017   00:35:52

36: Hurricanes and Stories Define Us, Since the Beginning of Time

On this episode of Writing Class Radio we ask for your support, because producing ain’t free. Please go to writingclassradio.com and hit the donate button. This podcast is equal parts heart (the truth) and art (the craft). This episode was conceived after Hurricane Irma blew through South Florida. The entire state seemed to be preoccupied...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 35
  Sep 18, 2017   00:31:01

35: What Makes You You?

This episode of Writing Class Radio is dedicated to everyone who’s dealing with some kind of natural disaster. For us in Florida, the last two weeks have been all consuming and also terrifying. Our hearts go out to those who got hit a lot harder than we did. We love that we have this podcast...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 34
  Aug 18, 2017   00:24:12

34: Let's Ignore Writing Class Protocol and Talk About Our Lives

In this episode, we go off the rails…a little. We invited our class into Allison’s living room where in addition to writing advice, we gave life advice. Allison believes that the better we know ourselves, the better our writing will be. Andrea was scared shitless. She thought the class would be more like a therapy...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 33
  Jul 31, 2017   00:17:54

33: Great Writing Starts With a Question. What Don’t You Understand?

In this episode, you will meet the winner of Writing Class Radio’s spring writing contest. The prompt: Write about something you don’t understand. Andrea suggests that great writing starts with a question. Writing is about figuring out what you don’t understand. It’s a discovery process. Contest winner, Jeana Fleming’s reads her story. After, Andrea and...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 32
  Jul 10, 2017   00:32:08

32: Will This Ever End?

In this episode, Allison and Andrea are talking about endings. How to end an essay when often the issues we write about are ongoing. Should we know the ending when we begin? Does the end of the essay have to show a change in the narrator? Can we show change or find meaning without distance?...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 31
  Jun 18, 2017   00:25:45

31: Take Me Into Your World

In this episode, Allison and Andrea are talking about worlds again because Andrea got so excited by Nilsa’s story in the episode Can You Hear Me if I Can’t Hear You? where she brought us into the world of the hearing impaired. In class Andrea had us make a list of the worlds we live...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 30
  May 18, 2017   00:23:42

30: How to Write Your True Story with Joyce Maynard

The format for this episode is a little different. Today we’re bringing you a guest teacher, because we think it’s smart to get different perspectives. Joyce Maynard is one of Andrea’s favorite teachers in the world. Joyce has 17 books and has been writing for 50 years. She started when since she was 13. Andrea...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 29
  Apr 20, 2017   00:26:06

29: Can You Hear Me if I Can't Hear You?

This episode is about connecting through writing. It’s also about the job of storytellers to bring us into their world. New student, Nilsa Rivera, tells a story about her fear of isolation, which stems from a very unique set of circumstances–she’s hard of hearing. She uses writing to fight that fear. Andrea relates to Nilsa...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 28
  Mar 22, 2017   00:29:27

28: Who Has Time?

Get ready folks, Allison and Andrea are hosting this episode together: an episode about time. Student Allison Langer is obsessed with the lack of time she has lately. So, in class teacher, Andrea Askowitz, gave this prompt: I wish I had more time to_______. Andrea reads her story from class about wanting more time to...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 27
  Mar 02, 2017   00:24:49

27: When Is It Okay to Bullshit?

Lies seem to be the new norm in our world. There’s probably a bumper sticker that says Lies Are the New Truth. Great bumper sticker, but it has Andrea Askowitz totally freaked out. Andrea is the teacher of the class and the host for this episode, which is about lies in stories and lies in...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 26
  Feb 14, 2017   00:31:45

26: Writing is Therapy

This episode looks at writing as therapy. We look at writing as a way to understand these things we carry: secrets, pain, and shame. Allison Langer, a student in the class, is the host of this episode. Three new students share their stories. Michelle Massanet tells about a rape that she hid for 22 years...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 25
  Jan 31, 2017   00:11:13

25: A Time I Fucked Up Part 2

We picked two winners of our first annual writing contest. Listeners responded to the prompt: A Time I Fucked Up. We got tons of submissions revealing your major fuck ups and tons revealing your little mess ups. One woman’s vacation slideshow accidentally included a naked selfie. Another woman almost killed a sheep. One did kill...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 24
  Jan 10, 2017   00:20:35

24: A Time I FUCKED Up

This is the prompt we threw out to listeners for our first annual writing contest. Listeners wrote in with lots of crazy and sad and funny stories. One of our winners was Melissa Vincel, who wrote an essay that stood out for its simplicity, clarity, and subject matter. Instead of the all-too-common story about the...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 23
  Dec 13, 2016   00:24:21

23: I Fart, You Fart, We All Fart and Most of Us Deny It.

Allison Langer is a student in the class and the host on this episode of Writing Class Radio. She shares all the reasons why writing class is so much fun. FUN– a theme chosen because life has gotten too busy, too scheduled and way too serious. In writing class, we laugh. We disconnect from social...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 22
  Nov 22, 2016   00:30:40

22: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes Feels Impossible Right Now

Andrea Askowitz is the host of this episode. She talks about how writing a good story and understanding the results of this presidential election require a mammoth effort in understanding someone else’s point of view, an effort she is failing at right now. She interviews Stephen Elliott, who is the author of seven books and...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 21
  Oct 27, 2016   01:14:59

21: How To Tell Your Inappropriate Story: Live Show with Ann Randolph

Writing Class Radio goes live to the stage. This episode is part live show, part interview with star of our show, the award-winning, solo-performer, Ann Randolph. Allison Langer is our host. This episode is about the importance of telling stories–not fairy tales, but the real scary, true stories we like to hide. Allison got into...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 20
  Sep 08, 2016   00:32:06

20: Where Do I Go From Here?

This episode is about those moments in life when you have no idea how you got here, whether to stay or go, or where to go next. Allison Langer, student in the class and host for this episode, asks the questions most of us struggle with. Did you land that dream job that turned out...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 19
  Aug 23, 2016   00:26:39

19: I'm Obsessed with Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Steve Almond, and my Spin Instructor

This episode is about obsessions. Andrea Askowitz, the teacher of the class speaks to Allison Langer, co-producer and student in the class. They discuss what she learned from the Tim Ferriss podcast when he interviewed Tony Robbins. Allison heard Robbins say, “Rejection breeds obsession.” And, ”The parent whose attention you were trying to get is...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 16
  Jun 30, 2016   00:29:44

16: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone…Where the Magic Happens.

This episode explores the different zones we live in: comfort zone, stretch zone and panic zone. Allison talks about her experience at dinner with new friends and how she complained the entire night. She realizes she ventured too far into her stretch zone and panicked. Misha Mehrel tells his story on the stage at Lip...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 15
  Jun 13, 2016   00:22:20

15: Dear Listener

This episode explores the epistolary form, which is just a snobby way to say stories written in the form of a letter. Andrea Askowitz starts with a letter written to her from her best friend in high school. Robin and Andrea wrote hundreds of letters back and forth to each other throughout their friendship. The...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 14
  May 28, 2016   00:22:37

14: Taboo: Fat, Fuck, Masturbation

In this episode, we discuss what is taboo. Is it a word, a topic? Is it the same for everyone? We learn why we need to talk about things considered taboo, and when to actually write taboo words instead of referring to them. You’ll hear from Inessa Freylekhman who’s mom tells her what not to...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 13
  May 16, 2016   00:26:29

13: Rejection Sucks. Why Do We Put Ourselves Out There?

In this episode, student and co-producer Allison Langer puts herself out there in writing and in love. The first story she tells was submitted to Modern Love, a column in the New York Times. Allison’s story got rejected, which is the subject of the second story she tells. Also in the second story, Allison compares...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 10
  Feb 24, 2016   00:34:12

10: How to Write a Story Meant to be Told Out Loud

Today, we’re talking about writing stories meant to be told out loud. Jahn Dope tells his story, Tackled, about the time he was raped. Andrea Askowitz tells her story Thank You For Listening, about the time she went 24 hours without talking about herself. Both stories were told on stage at Lip Service in front...

Writing Class Radio
Episode:
  Feb 10, 2016   00:22:01

Will You Love Me Forever or Just on Valentine's Day?

Today, we are stepping out of order because it’s February and we’re in the U.S. and we can’t avoid thinking about love. So, we’re bringing you a Valentine’s Day episode. This episode is a little different. Slightly less teachy, thought not without this lesson: A good way to approach a story is to ask a...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 9
  Jan 31, 2016   00:28:31

9: Who Cares About Your Story? What Are the Stakes?

We’re talking about stakes. And we don’t mean those slabs of meat you eat if you’re not a vegetarian, but what makes a listener or a reader care about a story. And we’re talking about what we have to lose as storytellers when we tell our stories. One thing we know about memoir writing is...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 8
  Jan 14, 2016   00:35:18

8: You Don't Have to be a Clown to Write Funny

This episode is about writing humor. Andrea tells a joke only she thinks is funny, then calls our humor expert, Jay Wexler, who confirms just how funny her joke is. Jay is an attorney and the author of five books. Later in the show, Jay shares his ten suggestions for writing humor. Andrea adds four....

Writing Class Radio
Episode:
  Dec 29, 2015   00:20:47

True Story: Nobody Likes New Year's Eve.

We’re interrupting our first semester to give you a taste of who’s to come in our second semester. You’ll meet Frenchy, who took Andrea’s writing class years ago and is now back. Does she get a kiss on New Year’s Eve? You’ll also meet Tobi Ash and hear why she’s been avoiding New Year’s celebrations...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 7
  Dec 13, 2015   00:17:48

7: Story Structure Is Sexy

How should a story be structured? Start from the very beginning by using the concept of story spine. Story spine, a technique articulated by the playwright Ken Adams, is the backbone of every traditional story. In this episode, Allison uses the story spine to write about her return to dating after having children on her...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 5
  Nov 10, 2015   00:23:30

5: The Lies We Tell

Danny and Bo reveal the lies they’ve told, especially to themselves. And then the fallout. Danny falls in love with two women but neither knows about the other. Everyone is happy, until he hears a knock at the door. Bo admits to his many sexual encounters with women, sometimes in the same day; all an...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 4
  Oct 12, 2015   00:08:18

4: Field Trip to the Fertility Clinic. Freezing Eggs at 6 a.m.

Andrea follows Inessa to the fertility clinic early one morning as she goes through the process of harvesting her eggs, an undertaking not entirely of her doing. We heard in the second episode that Mama put down $10,000 toward the procedure. Inessa paid the remaining $2,000. Turns out Inessa is not the only one in...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 3
  Oct 10, 2015   00:16:48

3: What Is the Story You Tell about Your Relationship with Your Mother?

Hear what Inessa, Danny, Bo, Jahn, Allison and Andrea confess about their relationships with their moms and how those relationships have shaped their lives. We all tell stories, including to ourselves. The truth is, you never know how the people you love will respond to what you write about them. You may be surprised. Writing...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 2
  Oct 09, 2015   00:15:23

2: How Are You? Really?

In our first class of the semester, we got the writing prompt, “How are you? Really?” Danny and Inessa are two students in the class who share exactly how they are. Danny’s story involves underwear. Inessa’s involves stabbing hormones into her belly to create eggs that may become her future children. Both stories are about...

Writing Class Radio
Episode: 1
  Oct 08, 2015   00:26:58

1: The Pilot: The Hardest Thing To Write About

Allison Langer and Andrea Askowitz created a podcast of their writing class. On this episode you’ll hear what qualifies Andrea to be the teacher. And why Allison insisted the world needs this podcast. We believe that once you write about the thing you don’t want to write about, that thing has less emotional power over...