Start off 2017 on the write foot!

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Thu, Jan 12, 2017

Happy New Year, friends and learners! We hope you had a fabulous holiday. We're 12 days into 2017. Have you settled back into reality yet? 

In the spirit of carpe diem we'll dive right in. This post is about WRITING. We have a robust, loyal writing program here at the BCAE, and our Jan/Feb term is serving up an amazing variety of writing classes with some truly talented instructors. Let's start by raising our pens in salute to Emily O'Neill.


Emily O'Neill Headshot (resize).jpg Emily O'Neill has taught the Creative Writing Workshop at the BCAE for 3 years. Her first book of poems, Pelican, was the winner of YesYes Books' first annual Pamet River Prize. Publisher's Weekly called the debut "forceful, exceptional," and the organizers of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale's Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival agreed, awarding the book its annual Reading Series prize in poetry. O'Neill recently traveled to Carbondale to accept the prize and read alongside other Devil's Kitchen award winners. Her next book from YesYes, a falling knife has no handle, is forthcoming in 2018. 

Tuesdays, Jan. 17 - Feb. 28 (7 sessions)
$210 / $179 member

Next up are two staff picks: single-session classes featured because of their unique course material, led by industry professionals (and locals!) - Amaryah Orenstein and Lee Gjertsen Malone!

Lee Gjertsen Malone Book Cover (resize).jpg
Instructor: Lee Gjertsen Malone
Date: Saturday, January 21
Time: 11:00am - 2:00pm 
Tuition: $60 ($51 for members)
If you've always thought you'd like to write for children, this is the class for you. Join middle-grade writer Lee Gjertsen Malone, author of The Last Boy at St Edith's, which was released by Simon and Schuster in 2016, for this informative and fun one-session class. You'll examine popular and critically acclaimed children's books to learn what makes them work and discuss the ins and outs of writing and publishing books for kids.

FirstImpressions_Image.gifFirst Impressions: How to Hook an Agent/Editor
with Your Opening Pages
Instructor: Amaryah Orenstein
Date: Saturday, February 11
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm 
Tuition: $89 ($76 for members)
Amaryah Orenstein has always loved to read and provide (often unsolicited) editorial advice and, as founder and literary agent at GO Literary, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women's National Book Association.

In this class she gives you an inside look at how to make a first impression with an editor or literary agent. The class will cover: common pitfalls found in first sentences and first pages, tips for how to avoid clichés and overused beginnings, and the pros and cons of using a prologue as the opening chapter of your novel.

Want more writing? Whether your interests are in workplace, digital, fiction, or travel writing, we offer different (key)strokes for different folks! Check out the rest of this term's writing courses:

(And, for those of you who need a refresher on the basics before diving into a year of storytelling)

The best way to start a written work is simply to do exactly that - START - and the dawn of a new year is the perfect time to do it. Has 2016 left its indelible mark on your mind that you have to commit to the page? Does 2017 look to your eyes like a year worth rigorously documenting? Is writing your escape from reality, or the lens through which you examine it with greater focus? Or maybe you just need to get that stupid limerick out of your head, finally. Whatever the case may be, we hope this year you'll find the spark to start. 
So, what are you waiting for? Start!


You know what pairs well with writing? Wining. Check out these great wine classes:

Riesling Royalty: The Aromatic Wines of Germany

Big Winter Wines: A World Tasting Tour

REAL Wine for Under $15: Taste & Learn

So, you've written a masterpiece. Are you ready to pitch it? Find your edge:

Connect & Communicate: Speaking With Confidence

Mindfulness & Positive Psychology

Reading People: Learn From an Ex-CIA Body Language Expert



Topics: BCAE classes, cover letter writing, Professional Development, Boston blogger, writing workshop, Boston classes, poetry class, BCAE poetry, BCAE Writing Classes, writing, publishing, Boston publishing, blogging, fantasy writing, Boston Writing Classes, travel writing, children's books, creative writing

Getting a Crash Course in Cover Letters

Posted by Becky Brackett on Mon, Oct 15, 2012

Katie's Got Class

Cover Letter Crash Course

Back to the BCAE on Wednesday, but this time it was for a more practical reason: learning to write cover letters. However, it’s fairly ironic that I received a job offer the same day of this class. I must be doing something right.

I walked into the cover letter class on a rainy night and sat down amongst a few other students. The teacher gave us each a nametag and a packet of papers. Flipping through them, I could tell the class focused on proper grammar and good writing, as well as cover letter etiquette. It was the ideal class for those who have not needed to write a cover letter in many years, or ever, and want to understand the basics.

The teacher – Christy from Communication Coaches – started the class by asking for brief introductions on ourselves: who we are and what we wanted to get from the class. Many of the students either wanted to convey a career change or ensure they hooked an employer with the cover letter.

We started with a quick refresher on basic, but important, grammatical concepts, and then divided into groups to do some additional exercises. At first I thought this would be easy as cake. Some were (like the contractions), but we talked about commonly confused words, such as uninterested and disinterested. I didn’t know when it was appropriate to use one versus the other! (What college degree?) The exercises proved to be an excellent review of concepts that most of us haven’t looked at since middle school.

The second half of the class focused on the cover letter. Fred, the other teacher, detailed the do’s and don’ts of clear writing. Then Christy offered a brief explanation of what should be included in a cover letter. She kept the format basic and very traditional: including recipient name and address, as well as your own; signing the letter; etc. We also looked at some examples where we read the cover letters and discussed what the writer did and did not do well.

In the end, the class reviewed key grammatical concepts and the pillars of clear, concise writing more so than the skill of writing cover letters. As someone seeking a job in the marketing, communications, or advertising industry, I sought more creative ways to describe my skills and employment, rather than grammar review. However, this class is perfect for those who have been in the same job for many years and look to develop a clear, well-written cover letter for a new role.

Hopefully I won’t be writing another cover letter anytime soon as I accepted the job I received – here’s to starting a new career as PR Specialist at Punchbowl!

Topics: BCAE classes, Katie Petrillo, cover letter writing, Professional Development