I am writing to thank you for giving me an amazing start to fiction and humor writing. I took my first Gotham class—Level 1 Fiction Writing with Tamara Guidaro—almost two years ago. Until then, I had never written fiction. The introductory lectures and Tamara’s comments on my first attempts at short stories helped me to learn the basics of creative writing: showing rather than telling, avoiding clichés, setting the scene through sensory details, and other such elements that I’d never learned in my careers in law and business. I was hooked by the end of that class.
I took three more online classes, back to back. First, Advanced Fiction Writing with Michael Davis, where I bonded with Mike and the other students through our instructive and often-hilarious weekly chats. Then, with several other Michael Davis groupies, yet another Advanced Fiction Writing class with Michael Davis, where Mike helped me to find my voice, hone my skills, and develop confidence. I started to feel like a writer at this point, and with Mike’s encouragement, I started submitting my short stories to literary journals. After Mike told me that some of my quirky weekly exercises were funny and that I should develop them, I took Humor Writing with Dave Yoo, which not only taught me great techniques, but made me laugh and generally be happy for ten weeks straight.
Earlier this year, my first short story (first workshopped in Mike’s class) was published in New Letters, and another short story (first begun as a writing exercise in Mike’s class and later workshopped in Dave’s humor class) is forthcoming in [PANK]. The other piece I workshopped in Dave’s class was selected as Winner of this year’s Glamour Essay Contest, and was one of the cover stories in Glamour’s July issue.In addition, my short stories have been selected as Finalist in the 2011 Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest and the 2011 Tobias Wolff Short Story Contest.
None of this would have been possible without the four Gotham classes I took, the awesome instructors who taught them, and my fellow students who gave me a sense of community. I feel so lucky to have had Tamara, Mike, and Dave as my teachers—all three with a great balance of tough, no-nonsense criticism and motivating encouragement. Without this mix, I would not have had the courage to finish, revise, or submit any of my stories.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!