Course Syllabus

Jump Start Your Writing Practice Boot Camp

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This course will help anyone who wants to begin a project or initiate a regular writing practice in a way that is low-stress, adaptable, and effective. Here, we focus on process: how one idea, day, or freewrite can lead to something more. We also review basic elements of story, and you’ll generate plenty of new work in response to prompts. In the final week, you’ll start to consider putting ideas together into a structure—and you’ll have the tools to go back and do it all again, generating more writing and building your project or practice.

Week 1: The Basics

This week you will consider the building blocks of story. You will have a chance to think about the elements of craft and about how a story is put together on a micro and macro level. You will also break down the process of writing, both cognitively and practically.

Week 2: Digging Deeper Into Character, Setting, Point of View & Voice

As you dig deeper into the building blocks of story, you will begin to develop characters and setting, consider the kinds of details you want to include, play around with point of view, and find your voice emerging. These exercises help you understand various approaches for your work and give you options for developing these key aspects of story, while also moving your story or project forward.

Week 3: Structure and What It Can Teach Us

This week you’ll look at different approaches to structure, both micro and macro. You will consider what a scene is and how to create one, how scenes can come together to make a larger essay or chapter or story, and how these larger pieces of text come together in a full narrative arc. You will have a chance to try chronological and other structures, and to consider how the structure you choose might  also can help better understand your story – where you think it begins and ends, and what you need to include in it.

Week 4: Revision And Publishing (If You Want To) Or Keeping It Going

In the final week, you will think about where you’re headed next. Do you want to potentially publish the work you’ve started work as an essay or book? Maybe you want something to share with family or friends. Or perhaps you want to work on revising your project for yourself. We will look at revision exercises you can do by yourself and with others, on both the sentence level and project level. We will also have a brief overview of publishing options and how to work toward publishing, if that is what you want. Also we’ll have tips and approaches for keeping your new writing practice going, no matter your goals.

“Jump Start Your Writing Practice,” was developed by Suzanne Cope. Suzanne Cope is the author of the book Power Hungry: Women of the Black Panther Party and Freedom Summer and Their Fight to Feed a Movement (Chicago Review Press, November 2021) and Small Batch (2014). She has written about food, culture, and social change for the New York Times, the AtlanticFood & Wine, BBC, Eater, among others. Cope is the recipient of a grant from the Culinary Historians of New York, and a finalist for the New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship, both in support of her book Power Hungry. She teaches writing at New York University and lives in Brooklyn. Her website is