Five Questions about Finishing School with Julia Patt

Curious about The Storied Imaginarium’s newest workshop, Finishing School? Instructor Julia Patt is here to answer five of your most pressing questions.


What is Finishing School?

Finishing School is a brand new workshop Carina and I have designed to help writers who have a pile of unfinished stories. Some writers have no trouble pulling neglected work out of the drawer and getting it ready for submission. The rest of us often need a little encouragement and incentive.

Finishing School will provide an opportunity for just that. Participants will have monthly deadlines, a supportive group of classmates, a forum for blowing off steam, and time to revise their work. The goal is for everyone to have at least three polished stories ready for submission by the end of the course.

How is Finishing School different from other online workshops?

In my experience, many workshops focus on producing first drafts or developing ideas, which is great and helpful in its own right. But we’re looking at the other end of the process: finishing stories. We’ve also built time into the class to talk about revisions and allow students to resubmit work. This will give writers the rare opportunity to have classmates and an instructor look at a story twice.

You’re new to The Storied Imaginarium. What’s your teaching philosophy?

I’m a strong believer in addressing each story on its own terms. Because no two stories are the same, the dictums we hear about showing and telling, switching points of view, breaking the fourth wall, etc., are not universal. I’m much more interested in discussing what a writer is up to and why than in handing down absolutes.

My own educational background deals with a lot of formalism, so I’m personally interested in how structural choices such as tense, perspective, syntax, and lyricism echo and reinforce thematic elements. In other words, we’ll talk a lot about how different stories (both workshop submissions and published examples) are put together and how they work.

You’ll see some nods to structure in how we’ll deliver critique, too. I’m especially interested in building space for evolving discussions and giving writers room to ask questions, get direct feedback, etc.

Beyond that, everything that’s true of previous Storied Imaginarium workshops is true here–Finishing School will be an inclusive, supportive space.

57b851e9937792179fb01309bac06448--bullet-bra-maria-callasDo I need an MFA or published work to enroll in Finishing School?

No, of course not. While we consider our workshops most appropriate for intermediate writers, what that means can vary significantly. Perhaps you’ve taken other online workshops or you have a writing group that meets twice a month. Maybe you have a few published stories–or more than a few. Do keep in mind that if you’ve never taken a workshop before or done any critiquing, Finishing School might be a bit daunting in terms of workload. But we’re open to writers of diverse backgrounds who are committed to finishing their stories and participating fully in the workshop environment.

Are we really going to talk about etiquette?

Yes! Or rather, we’re going to talk about the challenges of the writing life–submitting your work, writing cover letters, establishing a social media presence, attending conventions, joining critique groups, etc. These will be roundtable discussions where people can share their experiences and exchange ideas.

Finishing School will begin in late January 2018.

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Finishing School, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at The fee to attend the workshop is $600 (discounted to $500 until December 15th), payable to via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Registration packet includes detailed information on each module, expectations and etiquette, and educational materials. Space is limited.

ca. 1900 --- Woman Reclining at Desk Next to Typewriter --- Image by © CORBIS

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