Art of the fractured

a remote writing Workshop

September 20 - november 8 

Fragments. Braids. Juxtaposition. The stories we write don’t have to be linear. Sometimes, the richest, truest version falls onto the page in pieces.

Let's pick through some fragmented and broken essays and stories together. We will then gather our own bits and pieces of things, such as found language and ephemera and other incongruities plus stray ideas, and begin to collage, erase, cut up, and rearrange these items into ... something else. The Art of the Fractured is an 8-week remote class open to writers of all genres who want to try their hand at fragmented structures. 

We will examine how to effectively combine multiple subjects, images, and motifs within a single piece. We’ll explore how to use a fragmented structure to add complexity and amplify meaning without confusing the reader. Participants can expect generative writing exercises, craft readings, and the opportunity to receive thoughtful, written instructor feedback on two short pieces.

what kind of writer should take this course?

The Art of the Fractured will be accessible yet challenging and inspiring for beginners as well as seasoned writers. The exploration of brokenness combined with inventive exercises will provide participants with new insights, a refreshed sense of direction, and some powerful new tools for entering into new work or finding a fresh take on existing work. If you have a story or essay in progress that you’d like to polish, you’re more than welcome to target the exercises in this course to your existing project. If you’d like to start something from scratch, you'll have the chance to unearth new ideas, refine them, and pin them to the page.

What are the requirements?

A willingness to experiment and deconstruct. An interest in reading and discussion. A commitment to generate several short pieces. Most important, an open mind and heart. Elephant Rock does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of age, color of skin, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, or anything else. We expect the same from our all of our participants.

how does this remote class work?

This course features lively, interactive weekly meetings via phone for 8 consecutive Wednesdays (6:30 - 8 PM CST), a dedicated Elephant Rock portal for class resources, one-on-one interaction with and feedback from course instructors, and a private Facebook community page for additional interaction among participants. Wednesday class times will be used for discussion of assigned readings according to the fragmented themes and devices around which the syllabus is structured. Class time will also include structured and thoughtfully facilitated discussion of student work. In addition to class sessions, you will receive written feedback from instructors on your work, unconventional writing exercises that lead to unexpected places in the writing, and the chance to breathe new life into your writing while immersing yourself in an open-hearted community that can last long after the course ends.

What will writers take away?

  • 5 micro essays and 2 complete short pieces to polish and/or expand after the class

  • Access to engaged mentors and a supportive community of fellow writers

  • A deeper understanding of fragmented writing

  • Strategies for using fragmented structures

  • An overview of markets for this type of writing

  • Renewed faith in your own unique voice

Who are the teachers?

This course is led by Jeannine Ouellette and Sophie Ouellette-Howitz. Jeannine holds an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches writing through the Association of Writers & Writing Program's Writer-to-Writer Program as well as through the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop. She also serves as guest lecturer on writing at the University of Minnesota. Jeannine is the author of several nonfiction books as well as the children's book Mama Moon and her essays and fiction have appeared widely in magazines and literary journals. Jeannine is the founder of Elephant Rock; read her full bio here. Sophie is a writer and editor whose work spans a variety of genres, including online horoscopes and natural health and wellness. She also works one-on-one with fiction and nonfiction writers to tighten up plot, finesse character development, and improve a manuscript's marketability. She has ghostwritten/shepherded into existence five books, including Three Loves: An Unconventional Love Triangle, an Indie Excellence Award and International Book Awards finalist.

What is the Cost?

Tuition is $490, and a non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to hold your spot. Full payment is due 15 days before the workshop begins. 

What have others had to say about elephant rock workshops?

Just this week we received a letter from a participant in our summer retreat. She said: "I am sure you know how important and influential Elephant Rock and its work is. Your care in preparing your website and description of courses attracted an incredible group of people; your light drew us together. I struggled through a couple of the exercises you presented us with, but in such a good way. Like any good exercise, it strengthened me... is strengthening me. I feel a momentum in me that I have not felt for years. I am making myself leave work at a normal time so I can come home and write." Read more love letters here. 

How Do I Register?

Contact us now at elephantrockretreats@gmail.com. Class size is limited and workshops tend to fill quickly. We hope to write with you!