In-person classes and private coaching sessions available. Contact us or sign up for newsletter for more details.
For the past twelve years Francesca Lia Block has been sharing thirty years of knowledge--about the writing and publishing of adult, young adult and middle grade fiction, short stories, poetry and non-fiction--with her many students. In classes at UCLA Extension, Antioch University, online and at a private Culver City location, Francesca breaks down the basics of plot, character, setting, style and theme so that anyone with the heart, drive, and commitment can write their own best piece. Using a carefully developed system of twelve basic, interrelated questions, Francesca helps her students structure their story. More importantly, she makes strong personal connections with each individual to aid in the discovery of their book's deep emotional truth.
Starts March 30 for 10 weeks Online
This class will provide a safe space for personal growth and healing, and you will also learn the basics of writing fiction (memoirists and poets also welcome). In Wired For Story, Lisa Cron argues that story was crucial to our evolution, providing templates for survival in a dangerous world. By telling stories, we teach our readers how to navigate the dangers that come with being human, and we reinforce our own strategies for survival.
My twelve questions will help writers tell more powerful stories, hopefully to guide others, and also let us examine our own lives in different ways.
Each week you will receive a mini lecture via email. You will respond to my questions and assignments with 5 double-spaced 12 pt. font pages by the following week and give and receive feedback.
By the end of the course you will have the template to write or revise a longer piece of work. You will also have connected to yourself and to others through the healing power of story.
"I couldn't think of a better person to edit my first book. Francesca's insightful suggestions imbued my manuscript with absolute magic." ~ Gala Darling, author of Radical Self Love (Hay House)
"Francesca Lia Block is not only one of the most gifted writers of our age, she's an extraordinary teacher as well. As a student, one has the feeling that FLB is regarding one's work as tenderly and seriously as if it were her own. Here is an artist committed to baring her heart again and again, as a writer and as a teacher. Despite her numerous successes and years as a literary figure, she approaches the writing process with humility and an almost child-like joy. The opportunity to study with Francesca, as with reading one of her books, is an opportunity for transformation." ~ Clarissa Romano, Writer/ Former Senior Fiction Editor at the LA Review of Books
“Not only is Francesca one of the most gifted writing instructors I’ve ever had the honor to work with, she’s also an astonishingly insightful editor—generous, supportive, respectful, and with a deep knowledge of story craft. Her novel writing workshop gave me powerful tools to hone in on the heart of my novel. To this day, I still rely on her “Twelve Questions” technique to help find my way whenever my writing becomes lost in a dark wood.” ~ Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams (Atria Books) and creator of The Goddess Tarot
"Francesca is an amazing teacher! She breaks down the aspects of effective storytelling and characterization, all while encouraging and supporting your dream of writing a book." ~ Anna Akana, Actress, Writer
"I’ve been profoundly impacted by Francesca’s work. I carried around her books for years. I knew of no other writer who wrote about the interior lives of girls with so much empathy--and so much mystery. Every time I get the chance to study with her, I take it. She brings that same empathy, that same ear for lyricism, that same attention to every student's manuscript. She's a generous teacher, kind and creative and inspiring, just like you'd expect her to be." ~ Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Author, Uses for Boys (St. Martin's Press)
"Francesca is a veritable fount of wisdom. She knows story inside and out, and possesses a keen ability to cut straight to the heart of what's working and what isn't. She's a literary legend, but she never lets that get in the way: as a teacher she is extremely generous, meeting every student exactly where they are. An hour with Francesca is worth its weight in gold." ~ Bree Barton, Heart of Thorns trilogy, (KT/HarperCollins)
"I first stepped into Francesca’s classes with no knowledge of how to write, but with a spirit that wanted to write. I took classes with a few teachers over a couple years, but Francesca is 110% the best. Not only does she carefully and methodically teach the craft, but she encourages the spirit behind the craft. I have no doubt that without her, I would have become discouraged and quit countless times. But because of her patience, enthusiasm, and love for her students’ work, I am a writer. Not only that, but I can write well, I get paid to write, and I can write from my heart. I am so grateful to have Francesca as a teacher." ~ Stacy Lee Niemiec, Writer
"A craft ninja, a story midwife, and punk fairy-godmother-of-prose rolled into one! Francesca give you tools to demystify story-telling, helps you break your work downinto manageable parts, and inspires you to keep pushing towards "the end" with her radiant enthusiasm. I'm starting to believe that this book will get finisehd! Thank you, Francesca! ~ Delphine Hirsch
"Francesca is an excellent teacher for novel-writers at every stage of the process. Balancing enthusiastic encouragement with specific technical advice, she helped me finish my first draft. Her classroom is a safe and delightful space, especially for new writers. Her editing was truly insightful, pointing out adjustments I could make to improve my character arcs, structure, and tone. She's efficient and a great communicator, and I hope to work with her again!” ~ Susan Zeiger, Professor of English, University of California, Riverside
"It's a delicate thing, shaping another person's words and I'm so happy Francesca helped shape mine... I had just written my first manuscript and was looking for someone to help me give it a pre-submission polish. A friend suggested that I reach out to the incredible Francesca Lia Block, and thankfully she agreed to help. I cannot overstate how instrumental she was in making my dream of becoming a published author come true. Her notes, which she returned to me in record time, were insightful, clear and encouraging. I think I implemented every single one of them! A year and a half later, my book, Smile for the Camera, (published by Simon & Schuster BFYR) was on the bookshelves. Smile has received glowing reviews, including a coveted Kirkus, starred review. Currently I'm at the same stage with my second book and again, Francesca has come to the rescue. If you're looking for someone to take your writing to the next level, go to Francesca...she has a way with words" ~ Kelle James, Author, Smile for the Camera (Simon & Schuster)
"Francesca Block is a phenomenal teacher, whose excitement for writing is contagious. I have seen my writing improve significantly because of her instruction and insights, insights she helps the class find together rather than just lecturing. The classroom environment she fosters is one of the most productive and reassuring I’ve ever experienced, an oasis for any writer at any stage of the process." ~ Margaret Spilman, 2013 James Kirkwood Prize Winner, 2014 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow
"Francesca was one of my first writing instructors. She teaches writing in a holistic way -- what comes from the heart and spirit affects each and every moment of your poem, your story, your novel. She confirmed, to me, that life is art. Francesca's workshops have given me the insight to move forward in many ways." ~ Ashley Inguanta, Author, For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books, May 2014)
"Francesca Lia Block is the kind of teacher I wish I had at the beginning of my career. Her technique is deceptively simple - write the best damn book you can! Each time I get notes back I am inspired to try harder, get better, learn more." ~ George Kevin Jordan, Author, That Moment When and Hopeless (Urban Soul/Kensington Publishing)
"Francesca's novel-writing workshop was an absolute joy. She gently nudged our little half-baked ideas into big delicious possibilities, and guided us through an exciting first-draft and revision process with a keen sense of audience awareness and soul satisfaction. Her insights are spot-on, her critiques generous, her wisdom as big as the world." ~ Tracy DeBrincat, President/DeBrinc Inc / Freelance Creative Consultant and Author, Troglodyte (Elixir Press), Hollywood Buckaroo, (Black Lawrence Press)
"In her classes, Francesca creates a learning environment in which students are safe to share any topic and aspect pertaining to their writing. She does this by insisting on thoughtful and respectful peer review and models that mindfulness when presenting her own constructive criticism. In private, such as during the editing process, Francesca establishes a rapport with both experienced and aspiring writers which allow for a free flowing exchange of ideas. As a result, one's writing can not but help but be enriched under the guidance of Ms. Block." ~ Michael Stone M.Ed. (Harvard University)
"With brilliant source materials, fear-cracking exercises, tender-loving emails overflowing with encouragement, insightful manuscript critiques and editorial suggestions that shone light in the darkness of my work, Francesca opened my heart and taught me that I am a writer, that it’s okay to be afraid and that it’s essential to keep writing despite the terror and the tears. Francesca is a mentor who leads by example, instilling confidence and inspiring us with her work. Francesca’s raw and open heart, brutal honesty, and her willingness to share her life’s sufferings and celebrations—through stories, novels, poetry, on her blog, with her “30 poems in 30 days challenge—Francesca teaches us to be fearless and bold. She never holds back so we find the courage to follow her brave path. I am so grateful for the kindreds I’ve me through Francesca’s writing workshops--I enrolled in Novel I three years ago hoping to find the courage to write (which I found) but the unexpected, most wonderful gift of all was finding a tribe of soul-sisters and kindred spirits who’ve enriched my world in ways beyond words. We are the lucky ones who have been blessed by FLB’s guidance. I know every single one of my classmates would say the same." ~ LM Thorne, Writer/Standin
"Francesca is an inspiring, gifted and giving teacher. Working with her helped strengthen my knowledge of craft while exploring deeper emotional connections in my writing: she teaches with rigor and heart, a combo that's really special. She has encouraged me to be brave and true. I can't recommend working with her more." ~ Sarah Herrington, Writer, Teacher
"Francesca's class helped me to wake up from a long, creative slumber. Her compassion, encouragement and gentle approach guided me towards improving my own writing style and voice. Most of all, she inspired the confidence in me to continue beyond her class and to make writing a huge priority in my life." ~ dan eli williams, Writer
"Francesca is an incredible teacher. She not only has an eagle eye for the details of plot and character and language that make for strong writing, she invests her students with incredible self-confidence and self-belief. Moreover, her generosity of spirit is infectious. I've worked with a few other writing instructors, but Francesca stands out in her ability to build a community of writers. I've never bonded with my classmates in the way that Francesca brought our class together. She made us all supportive as well as insightful critics. Her approach brings out the best in her students and makes us all even more eager to push forward with our work." ~ Mitch Kohn, English Teacher
"Francesca has also given me valuable feedback on two novels. I am forever grateful and incredibly impressed by both her body of work and her teaching." Diane Sherry Case, Actress, Writer
"Francesca is an inspiring teacher of creative writing who combines expertise on the mechanics of the craft with a deep emotional sensibility to almost any story topic. She easily moves from advice on such things as sentence structure or character dialogue to insightful suggestions about the arc of a narrative and the intentions of an author. She is patient and caring with her students, providing the encouragement that so many of us need to keep moving forward toward our writing goals. Taking a class from her has always left me with a renewed sense of purpose (and hope!) as a writer." ~ David Menninger, UCLA Extension Student
“Almost every student commented on how they felt a genuine sense of interest and respect from Francesca, which made them listen to her more than previous speakers. They also said she shared so many ideas that they could start doing immediately, and they felt it was easy to relate to what she said in her talk… That was truly a red letter day, and we are very grateful for her visit. ~ Raul Flores, artworxLA Academy Programs Manager
"Francesca Lia Block has inspired my words like no other teacher, book, movie, song, or delicious piece of chocolate. Without her intuitively brilliant guidance and loving support, I'd be writing in circles." ~ Lilly Barels, MFA Graduate student, Creative Writing, Teacher, Yoga Instructor