Intro to Food Writing (New York and Online)

Candace was so inspired by her class with David Leite, she got an article published and started her own food blog.

"Just one week after the end of my eClass, Intro to Food Writing with David Leite, I was published in L.A. Alternative. The valuable feedback I received from David and my classmates helped me shape the article's topic, a Japanese pastry superhero, into a saleable feature article. A somewhat quirky piece to place, David's guidance helped me "think outside of the ice box" and research non-food, alternative markets for my writing. Inspired by David to think more creatively about the business of food writing, I have even started my own blog, From the Pit of My Stomach.

David's impressive credentials, combined with his saavy business and marketing sense, make for a powerful cocktail in the world of food writing. Plus, he's got a great sense of humor. For anyone serious about breaking into food writing, a class with David is a must." -- Candace Ryan, former student

 


Intro to Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines (New York)

Katie sold her piece to the NY Press, just one week into her class with Sue Shapiro.

"I came into Sue's class a little spoiled because I had read her memoirs and was already a huge fan, but she lived up to all my expectations. She shared her wealth of freelance knowledge, all her contacts, and her editing expertise. At the first class she promised that we'd all have the chance to get published. I sold my first piece to the NY Press within one week (*results not typical! But I followed her advice and it worked out so well.) With that self-esteem boost, I've gone on to freelance for the NY Post and I have more clips in the works. I can't even express my gratitude to mediabistro and Susan Shapiro for encouraging my work -- and I'm a writer! I also just sold another piece to HappenMag.com." -- Katie Naylon, former student

 


The Secrets Behind Writing and Selling Your First Book (New York)

Kimberlee sold her first book with the help and critique of Sue Shapiro.

"Sue Shapiro's How to Sell Your First Book seminar gave me the kick in the ass I needed. She glanced at my first page, looked back up at me and said, "You didn't hit it." My mouth dropped open. I loved my first page. How could she say that? She followed up with some questions, and as I was answering them, she stopped me and said, "Now that's interesting. I want to know more about that." She did this with everyone. She gave the woman sitting next to me a sexy new title. She found someone else's missing hook. Sue shared herself, her story and her wisdom with the love and generosity of a mother. I learned more from her in one day than I learned from most of my college professors over the course of a year. That's also probably because she's the fastest talker I've ever met.

Six months later, I'm thrilled to say I sold my first book! I'll be working with editor Julie Doughty at Dutton on my memoir The Devil, The Lovers, and Me: My Life in Tarot, and I am over-the-moon happy about it." -- Kimberlee Auerbach, former student and author


How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal that Sells (New York)

This class inspired Joyce to complete her book proposal -- and within months she signed on with a literary agency.

"Hello from a very satisfied student, Joyce Hanson. I took Christa Bourg's autumn 2005 course, How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal, and without exaggeration, it changed my life. Thanks to Christa's teaching skills as well as the friendly group dynamic that came out of workshopping our proposals, I was inspired to write a complete, polished proposal for my book, Becoming A Bad Girl: My Pursuit of Wicked
Women
. As a result, by February I had signed on with the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth literary agency, and I'm well on my way to finding a publisher. Thank you, Christa & mediabistro!" -- Joyce Hanson, former student and author


Travel Writing with James Sturz (New York)

Since completing James' class, Cator has written travel pieces for 6 different publications.

"I wasn’t really sure what to expect from James Sturz’s travel writing class, but I was thoroughly pleased with the results. He gave great constructive criticism, tips and amusing stories about his own experiences. I learned a great deal about editing and pitching as well. I have been writing for several years, but after taking his class I felt that I could take my writing to the next level and pitch to bigger publications.
Since completing the class I have landed travel pieces in The New York Times, Out Traveler, Flaunt, Clear, and Genre and logoonline.com. You rock James!" -- Cator Sparks, former student

 


Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines (New York)

After 5 years as a copywriter, Rachel took Sue's 5 week class and got her first op-ed piece published.

"In a sea of writing workshops, classes and seminars around the city, Sue Shapiro's Intro to Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines is truly a treasure. I have been a copywriter for over 5 years and even though ads that I write appear regularly in magazines and newspapers, I'd never actually experienced the thrill of seeing my name in print. Sue's class changed that. Sue encouraged me to add a timely lead and do some serious editing on a piece I wrote for her class, in order to make it more saleable. Her advice was dead-on. I submitted the piece to Newsday and it was printed a few weeks ago. I owe Sue big time for giving me the tools, confidence and guidance I needed to have my first op-ed published.

Sue is a phenomenal instructor who will inspire you, entertain you and most importantly, help you get published. She offers up valuable and practical insights and is 100% accessible to her students both during and outside of class. I would take another one of Sue's courses in a
heartbeat!" -- Rachel Birnbaum, former student


How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal that Sells (New York)

Kate took a chance on a one-night seminar, and got the push she needed to get her book sold.

"When I walked into Ryan Fischer Harbage's "How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal That Sells" seminar, I had a proposal for a book about competitive college cheerleaders that I liked, but didn't love. I had lots of questions -- was my proposal professional enough? Was it too first person? Was there anything I was leaving out? In the seminar, Ryan showed us the sections that should be included, told us the
counterintuitive things agents and editors look for, and explained how to write a pitch letter. And he showed me that there's lots of room for a proposal with personality.

I went home feeling pumped, and spent hours polishing up my proposal. I wrote a pitch letter and sent it to agents who represented similar books. In the morning when I checked my email, all of the agents had responded. I got to pick my favorite and, two months later, my proposal went out to editors. I now have a book deal with Touchstone Fireside, and the perfect editor who completely gets my vision. So look for Making the Castle: A Year in the Extreme World of College Cheerleading in April 2008." -- Kate Torgovnick, former student and author


Op-Ed Master Class (New York)

Pete thought getting his pieces published would be impossible -- until he completed Op-Ed and now has 3 published pieces!

"I would highly recommend Katie Orenstein's Op-Ed Master Class. She raises the bar for all attending the class. The expectation is for each one her students to publish in The New York Times or another major publication. At first, I thought it impossible; but given Katie’s fierce devotion to the craft and to the class, it’s now a personal, and hopefully obtainable, goal. She inspires serious thinking, contrarian points of view, and precision writing. Be prepared to take a hard look at yourself: not only as a writer but as a persuasive opinionist.

Since class, I'm happy to report that I have a playful commentary piece on network news published in Television Week. Also, I've had two OpEds published in the NY Blade. The most recent is titled "Are Role Models Really Necessary" and I also published a piece with a contrarian take on the characters in BrokeBack Mountain. Thanks to Katie!" -- Pete Dorogoff, media consultant, iProCommunications.com


How to Write for (and Pitch to) Women's TV Networks

(Washington, DC/New York)

Jamila thought she liked mediabistro's classes...until she attended Laurie Scheer's seminar and realized she LOVED them.

"Over the years, I've taken a bunch of classes and seminars from mediabistro. I've been pleased with them all. Until now. Laurie's seminar was by far the best class I have ever taken in my entire life! Not only was she enjoyable, clear, and relevant, she's the most knowledgeable instructor I've ever had. I'm not the type to make threats, but if you have any class by Laurie Scheer offered in Washington, DC, I will
register and attend every one! I will also advertise it far and wide and make every attempt to get all of my interested friends to come too!

Excellent on every level, and I can't say enough how much I got out of attending. Honestly, this is why I've gone to mediabistro events since 1999. You're better than anyone else out here! Thanks much." -- Jamila Bey, former student


4-Week TV News Reporter (New York)

Alexandra not only walked away from her class with an on-camera piece, but also gained a great contact.

"I recently finished Manoush Zomorodi's TV News Reporting Class and I have already signed up for the advanced class. Whether your goal is to be the next Diane Sawyer, or you've just always have an itch to see if being on-camera is right for you, Manoush's class is the place to be. Manoush is amazing! Her class is so hands on and everybody gets the opportunity to walk away with two professional looking on-camera pieces for their reel.

I was so impressed by how Manoush really took the time to look at everybody's work and provide individual feedback for everyone in the classroom on ways they can improve. Manoush is the type of teacher who you could contact 3 years from now for career advice and she would remember you. I definitely recommend taking one of her classes, if not all of them." --Alexandra Perakis, merchandising coordinator, Glamour magazine



Writing Comedy for TV (New York)

Alexander, an alumni of many mediabistro classes, was blown away by his class with Alan Cross.

"A few words about Alan Cross and his class. Of all the classes ive taken at mediabistro (and I've taken lots), Alan's is the best. Beyond his talent and insight he showed great individual interest in our work well beyond the limits of the classroom. More than simply offer constructive general advice on revising our writing, he showed unusually keen insight and precision in editing and shaping our work. He also brought outstanding guests -- amazing guests from places like Comedy Central -- who went well beyond the usual generalities and instead delivered specific ideas on what to do, how to do it, and in many cases who to contact. A rarity, even among the best classes. In short, more than a writing class, Alan showed us where and how to turn jokes into jobs. Everyone who wants to write comedy should take his class." --Alexander Kippen, former student


Perfect Pitch (New York and Boston)

Holly pitched her client to Daily Candy, developed a press release that got noticed, and created her own design blog.

"Wendy Knight is a fearless leader who shoots straight from the hip. Her workshop supplied me with the tools needed to pitch my client and get crackin' on my own freelance writing business. Within 30 days, I constructed a press release, developed a complete list of media contacts, and pitched to Daily Candy, who wrote about my client 2 weeks later.

In addition to the ink for my client via Daily Candy, Wendy helped me pull together a great press release that resulted in my client being noticed by Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in LA, Mix 98.5, Home Companion magazine, and New Hampshire magazine (they are devoting an entire page to her in their April issue!).

An additional thank you to Wendy for saying "In today's culture, if you don't have a website, you don't exist." I needed to hear her words of tough love, for I was sitting there, cold and alone in the world without a website! I quickly made a note to self to be someone and resolved to get a web presence pronto! With that, I launched a design blog that I contribute to daily, www.decor8.blogpsot.com, and in just one month, I have over 3,000 readers. Apartment Therapy even found out about my blog and wrote a blurb about me on their website, and I'm already picking up work from my blog space. Thanks for folks like Wendy who tell it like it is." --Holly Becker, blog designer and contributor, GKFA.com


Master the Pitch Letter (New York)

Pete perfected his pitch...and got a great assignment with Chicago Homes

"James Sturz's Master the Pitch class gave me the knowledge, structure and motivation to launch my freelancing career. His substantive guidance and criticism helped me grow as confident writer for the consumer magazine market. James injected the class with forwardly honest feedback and well-rounded experience, producing a seasoned, credible learning environment. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in a self-sustainable career, writing about what they love.

After his class, I was assigned a 750-word piece from Chicago Homes about modernist prefabricated modular housing – think Frank Lloyd Wright with Legos. Basically, I did exactly what James said – not only with the actually pitch-writing, but also with my research, calling potential sources, my initial phone contacts with the magazine, etc . . . James’ class taught be everything I needed to know to get this far. I’m quite pleased." --Pete Rognli, Master the Pitch alum


Travel Writing Seminar (Boston)

Josh's article on Ireland ran on the front page of the Boston Globe's travel section. They even bought three of his pictures!

"Wendy Knight’s Travel Writing seminar is a great introduction to the art (and science) of refining story angles, pitching an article, and seeing the process through to completion. Wendy is a seasoned pro who has written for some high-profile publications, and she’s generous in the use of personal anecdotes to illustrate the lessons she learned along the way—lessons that come in handy when you’re beginning your own career.

I have to give Wendy extra credit for going above and beyond, as well, by making herself available to me a few months after the class ended when I had a question about an article I’d pitched. Wendy gave me some great advice and, a few weeks later, I sold my article! It was great having someone like Wendy, who’s just about seen and done it all in this business, to offer perspective during the ‘waiting game’ of pitching a story and hoping for the best. In my case, it worked out perfectly. The Boston Globe did finally buy and publish my Ireland article. It ran on the front page of the Sunday travel section in October of 2005, and they bought three pictures too. Such a thrill!" --Josh Roberts, managing editor SmarterTravel.com and columnist, The American Adventurer


Op-Ed Master Class (NYC)

One week after her mb class ended, Bess published her Op-ed in the Washington Post and it was the most emailed article of the day.

"I must admit that when I enrolled in Katie Orenstein's Master Class in Op-ed writing, I thought that "Op-" stood for opinion. Needless to say, I soon learned otherwise. I also learned that Katie was going to be a tough but superb teacher. Despite getting the hang of how to write an Op-ed fairly quickly, my pitching skills were horrific. Luckily, Katie realized this and helped me get through it by assigning me twice as much work! In all seriousness, I'm thankful that she didn't let me get away with mediocrity.

I mentioned to Katie that I had an idea for a piece about a consulting company which was selling students a competitive edge. She strongly encouraged me to write about it and a week later I submitted my piece to the Op-ed page of the New York Times. When I didn't hear back from the Times, I emailed it to the Boston Globe. But once again, I received no response.

In a last ditch effort I submitted my piece to the Outlook section of the Washington Post. "Writing Wrongs" was published on the front page of the Outlook section on Sunday, January 15th. Along with the tremendous feedback I received, the opportunity has opened many doors for me as a freelance writer. I am thankful that Katie's guidance and support facilitated my early success in what I hope will be a life-long career in journalism. " -- Bess Kargman, freelance writer, multi-media producer, and Op-Ed Master Class alum


Humor Writing Boot Camp (NYC)

Joel went from having limited writing experience to being published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Village Voice.

"Before I signed up for Lynn Harris's class, I had barely been published; I was working in IT and was just starting up my writing career with a few local Op-ed articles and some other random stuff. However, by the time the class started (I accidentally signed up six months in advance), I had a couple of different humorous essays either published or under consideration by good publications. I thought I was set, and I didn't need the class anymore. But Lynn, along with my funny and talented classmates, were really able to help me punch up the humor in all my pieces, teaching me things like ending a paragraph on a joke and strengthening the impact of a funny line by taking out unnecessary words. Lynn also used her extensive freelance expertise to give us a good idea about which markets consistently look for humor. My essay was printed in the Washington Post's Style section and was my favorite one from the class, and it was the one I read during the class' "graduation performance" at CB's Gallery in March 2004.

Since the class, I've increased my writing credits to include a semi-regular spot in the New Jersey section of The New York Times, and the now shuttered web site The Black Table, as well as having pieces in The Village Voice and mediabistro (look it up... I wrote about TV Guide). I am also using the class' lessons at my "regular gig" as a writer for the blog TV Squad (www.tvsquad.com)." -- Joel Keller, freelancer and Humor Writing Boot Camp alum


Master Class: Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines (NYC)

Our master class helped Liza to take her piece from a good idea to a salable essay.

Greg Bloom"I wanted to write in about Sue Shapiro's Master Class in Writing for NYC papers/magazines. She is absolutely amazing - and I hope she's teaching many classes and seminars in the future. A brand-new clip of mine was the product of one of the assignments (and appeared in The New York Times). I seem to have sold every class assignment. Others are upcoming in Newsweek's My Turn column and Modern Bride's back page essay.

The New York Times piece was truly serendipitous as the editor I sent it to came to speak about the City section in Sue's class, so all the elements came together on this one. I also took her "Sell Your First Book" seminar. The agent and editor were phenomenal - and both asked to see my novel! Thanks for having such an amazing instructor, not to mention one who is so generous and open in sharing her gazillion editor contacts with us!" -- Liza Monroy, Master Class with Sue Shapiro alum


12-Week Screenwriter (NYC)

Even with a broken elbow, James finished our screenwriting class with 60 new pages in hand.

Greg Bloom"Through his professional, friendly, and knowledgeable approach, D.B. Gilles' creates a focused environment that allows you trust your instincts and gets you writing--of course, those deadlines help too. It's so easy to let yourself get hung up on backstory or getting just one scene right that it prevents you from moving forward. D.B. helps you get those words on the page, so that all you need to do is go back and make it better. He really helps you bring your ideas to fruition.

And hey, I ended up dislocating an elbow, and I got more done in 12-Week Screenwriter than in other classes with both arms in tact. With my left arm out of commission, D.B. proved to be a true "right-hand" man." -- James Babbin, Austin Film Festival Quarterfinalist and 12-Week Screenwriter alum


Boot Camp for Magazine Editors(NYC)

In just 4 weeks, Stephen went from dreaming of magazine writing to getting commissioned by major magazines.

"For years I've been on the outside looking in as far as magazines are concerned, desperate for the chance to write and edit; Chris Scapelliti's tuition gave me the confidence to do something about it in the space of four weeks. To tap into Chris's expertise was a privilege, and his methods and sense of judgement will undoubtedly shape my own approach from this point on. Already I have more writing commissions from Australian GQ and Marie Claire...and hopefully an editor's job will follow before hell freezes over." --Stephen Wood, deputy chief subeditor (Sport) of the Sydney Morning Herald and Boot Camp for Magazine Editors alum


eClass: 12-Week Novelist

Laura finished her first fiction manuscript in Nicole's eClass--it worked so well, she took it again!

Greg Bloom"I took eClass: 12-Week Novelist with Nicole Bokat in the fall of 2004. I'd wanted to write a novel for some time. The class provided me with the deadlines I needed to get "write a novel" on my to-do list. And once it was on the to-do list, it actually got done.

During the 12 weeks, I cranked out a draft of a YA novel. I then spent the spring revising the manuscript. Having proven to myself I can write a novel when I make time to do it, I signed up for another 12-Week Novelist eClass in 2005. As the last book never writes the next one, this may become a yearly tradition, or at least a welcome change of pace from the non-fiction articles I normally write." -- Laura Vanderkam, Reader's Digest contributing editor


How to Become a Celebrity Interviewer (NYC)

Katrina lined up exciting interviews with celebrity singers and actors after taking a class with Precious Williams

"I signed up for How to Become a Celebrity Interviewer to meet Precious Williams. I have long read and loved her articles in the likes of UK Elle, so I guess it was no surprise how much I enjoyed her class. I took away some really nifty and useful tips. But most importantly, I was incredibly inspired.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to get out there and make the contacts and get the commissions and do good work - but it’s really important to have someone saying not just how to do it, but that you can do it. Precious wasn’t afraid to let us know some of the mistakes she’d made and learned from in the past, which made the class all the more encouraging. I'm starting to get signed up as a stringer with many companies back in Australia and I have some very exciting interviews with singers and actors already lined up! Meeting Precious definitely gave me both the inspiration and the confidence to try out this new world of celebrity interviews." -- Katrina Lawrence, beauty & lifestyle writer and How to Become a Celebrity Interviewer alum


The 12-Week TV-Writer (L.A.)

Peter has won several contests since completing our TV-writing class

Peter PhelanI'd already written initial drafts of a couple of specs sitcom scripts when I saw the class on mediabistro.com. My goal when I signed up was to get a contemporay industry perspective on what makes a great spec. Aury Wallington really delivered! Her knowledge of contemporary TV shows was really astounding, and she shared dozens of valuable dos and don'ts.

Aury presented an amazing amount of information in the three hours, and took the time to make sure all attendees' questions were answered. Since taking the class, I polished up the scripts and entered some of the competitions Aury directed us to. I've had some good news on the contest front:

My Simpsons script "Homie Makes The World Go 'Round," took best sitcom spec honors in three national contests. Thanks to those wins and several finalist spots in other competitions, the script now ranks on MovieBytes.com's "WinningScripts" database as the most award-winning TV spec of any kind - ever! And my other specs have been doing well too; I was the only writer to have two specs get a mention in the prestigious Scriptapalooza TV results announced earlier this year! -- Peter Phelan

Check out Aury Wallington's upcoming classes in LA


eClass: Master the Pitch Letter

After James' class, Juliette found the process of sending pitch letters much less daunting.

Greg Bloom"This class far exceeded my expectations. I wish that the editors I routinely work with had James' skill with language: he is an incredibly conscientious editor, and his comments on my pitches were always spot-on. His willingness to answer our practical questions about pitching etiquette and the magazine business went far beyond the call of duty.

The online format worked wonderfully for me, as I am freelancing nearly full time and have two young children. In fact, in many ways the e-class functions more smoothly than a traditional workshop: there is less awkwardness about critiquing and being critiqued, and if you miss a live chat you can read the transcript later. As for my classmates, they were almost all experienced writers who were looking to move their careers to the next level -- and I got the impression that most of them find that prospect much less daunting after taking this class." -- Juliette Guilbert, freelancer


eClass: Basic Training: An Introduction to Food Writing

Leora got so much out of David's eClass, she's taking it twice!

"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from such a well-respected, well-published food writer. David has the uncanny ability to edit, give incredibly detailed, thoughtful, constructive criticism, and still encourage his students. His critiques were always insightful and made perfect sense, and we could tell that he put a lot of time and effort into them.

Our eClass time was surprisingly animated (I was doubtful about the whole "chat" idea) and instructive. David did a great job including everyone in discussion and covering all the topics in our lectures as well as any random questions that came up along the way. I recommend this class so highly, I'm taking it again!" -- Leora Bloom, eClass: Basic Training: An Introduction to Food Writing alum


Me, Myself, and Foie Gras: Writing the Perfect Food Essay (NYC)

David's seminar inspired Nolan to write his own perfect food essay

Greg Bloom"I have long been a fan of David Leite's Culinaria food blog and his various other writings. His seminar Me, Myself, and Foie Gras: Writing the Perfect Food Essay was a truly honest and inspiring discussion about the realities of food writing. David brings a no-nonsense motivational enthusiasm for encouraging aspiring writers to "find their voice, and just get out and write." Talking about his vast experiences as a food writer provided unique insight and a relaxed, jovial atmosphere to the classroom experience.

He is a very dedicated and talented writer who obviously takes pleasure in nurturing the talents and aspirations of other writers in a very competitive industry. I look forward to taking future classes with David and seeing him read a future essay of my own, which he has helped to inspire." -- Nolan Studley, Me, Myself, and Foie Gras alum


Master Class with Sue Shapiro: Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines (NYC)

By the fourth week of Sue's class, Emily sold her piece about perfume sample girls to the New York Observer

Greg Bloom"I took Susan Shapiro's Master Class for NYC Newspapers and Magazines and by week 4, I sold a piece to the New York Observer. Sue is an amazing teacher. She's honest, insightful, and possesses a unique quality that's hard to come by: she genuinely likes helping people out.

I'm so happy that I took this class. Every new writer should be so lucky!." -- Emily Bond, Master Class with Sue Shapiro alum


Master Class with Sue Shapiro: Writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines (NYC)

Elizabeth published an Op-Ed assignment from Sue's class twice in four weeks (once as a cover story)!

Greg Bloom"A friend recommended that I take Susan Shapiro's Master Class for NYC Newspapers and Magazines. I had been published before, but not in New York City. Thanks to Sue's class, I was able to publish an Op-Ed that ran in two separate but related publications in less than four weeks. The piece originated as an assignment. After Sue's in-class critique, I submitted it. Two days later I received a call from an editor saying that he would like to run it as a cover story. Needless to say, I was elated. My only regret was that the class was only four weeks long.

I can't say enough positive things about Sue. She is a great teacher and a gifted writer. Her passion for writing and publishing is infectious, and her energy will blow you away.

Sue really breaks it all down. She'll advise you where to send or pitch your work. Her generosity of spirit is truly amazing. I'm grateful to know her, and I can't wait to take another class from her." -- Elizabeth M. Economou, Master Class with Sue Shapiro alum


Introduction to Magazine Writing (S.F.)

Mike scored a feature article contract for Wired within weeks of finishing class

Greg Bloom"I found Sally Lehrman's course extremely valuable, not least because it helped me pitch an article to a major national magazine (Wired) and close the sale. Sally ran the course as a workshop, which I really appreciated, instead of dominating the class by lecturing. She was very organized and gave terrific feedback. I'd recommend it to anyone with prior writing experience who is serious about breaking into the magazine world." -- Michael Chorost, author of Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human (Houghton Mifflin, June 2005)

 

Check out Sally Lehrman's upcoming classes in San Francisco.


Boot Camp for Journalists (NYC)

Jeff published an article about men's striped "clubbing" shirts in the Daily News!

Greg Bloom"Before Steve Friedman's class, I'd done a fair amount of online entertainment writing, but I never had the confidence, or the know-how, to crack into print. The number of my by-lines in print? Zero. Number of pitches sent? Zero.

Steve changed this. Each week he assigned a different type of article: profiles, art critiques, travel essays, you name it, which rocked me out of my comfort zone. Suddenly it was Saturday night, I had my notebook in-hand, and I began interviewing people in bars for an "around the town" type story about men's clubbing-shirts. Now, I don't know the first thing about men's fashion. And before Steve's class, I never would have dreamed of writing, much less pitching, a hands-on, investigative-journalism piece about clubbing shirts. But in his class I did. And with the class's encouragement, I sold it to the Daily News, paying for the course in one shot.

I now have a much better sense of how to pitch, where to pitch, and, best of all, the different types of stories that I can write. Oh, and just as important--if not more so--I left the class with a great group of new friends. Money well spent!"
—Jeff Wilser, Boot Camp for Journalists alum


The 12-Week Novelist (NYC)

Brand new to fiction, Mackenzie found an agent willing to work with her on developing her first novel after taking this class!

Mackenzie Dawson Parks"Just wanted to send a success story... about the mb 12-Week Novelist class I took last March... I'm a writer and editor by profession, but had never written any fiction and had no idea how or where to start. The class really helped me focus, and everyone's suggestions were incredibly valuable.

After the class ended, a few of us decided to keep meeting up. When I'd written 100 pages, I used mb's Pitching an Agent feature (which is fabulous!) and emailed it, on a lark, to one person. I expected nothing, but wanted to test the waters a bit. She responded! Nothing is official, but I'm now working with her to finish the book - which I would not have had the discipline to start, without the class." Mackenzie Dawson Parks, 12-Week Novelist alum


eClass: Basic Training: An Introduction to Magazines

Christine found a community in her online class, as well as talent she had previously only suspected she had!

Christine Rand"As a former managing editor and current online editor, I've been working with other people's words for most of my professional career. I always wanted to try my hand at magazine writing, but I wasn't sure if I had the time or the talent. MB's eClass was the perfect opportunity to test the water. While still holding down my full-time job, I was able to explore and develop my writing skills.

I sold the first article I wrote in this class to Woman's Day.

The pace of the lessons and assignments was easy to manage with my work schedule. But what I found most valuable were the inside tips Celeste Mitchell offered on the components of a successful pitch. (I still refer to my notes!) Her seasoned expertise and thoughtful guidance gave me the confidence I needed to make my first pitch. In addition to the flexible schedule MB's eClass allows, another unique aspect of this online course was the fact that although I live in L.A., people on the East Coast and even as far as Japan were in my class offering feedback. This encouraged me to expand the scope of my writing and consider what would be palatable to readers outside of L.A.

MB's eClasses offer the perfect forum to take the plunge and build on your talent, skills and experience without quitting your day job." —Christine Rand


The 12-Week TV-Writer (L.A. & eClass)

James is placing in screenwriting competitions all over the country!

James Babbin"Aury is awesome! She teaches the craft is a simple but very disciplined and fun environment. Her enthusiasm is amazing! In addition to your script, you gain a whole new love and appreciation for the medium.

This is the only class I have ever taken where everyone achieved what they set out to do. Everyone finished their script. The other students were so top-notch, while intimidating at first, it really helped me write with ease and get results. The group continues to be very supportive of one another.

Since taking the class, I placed in the top 10% as a “second rounder” at the Austin Film Festival.

Aury knows that you know you can do it, and helps you get it done!"—James Babbin, screeenwriter and actor


The 12-Week Novelist (L.A.)

Pete took the novel-writing class in August 2004, and by December, it was already being talked about on Page Six

Pete Davis

"Taking mediabistro.com's 12-Week Novelist with the amazing, inspiring Rachel Resnick kicked my butt into action. Without the weekly deadlines and the support and wisdom of my fellow boot campers and Rachel, I would never have completed my manuscript, "Dirt," which is a very fictionalized account of working as a reporter for The Star. Now, "Dirt" has been written about on The New York Post's "Page Six" and on LA.com and I have a meeting with a power agent in New York! The class is hardcore (expect to write a lot), but if you are serious about cranking out a first draft of your novel, this workshop is the place to do it!" —Pete Davis, author of the forthcoming novel, Dirt



The 12-Week Young Adult Novelist (eClass & NYC)

Micol sold her book whileyes, whileshe was still in class

Micol Ostow

"Kristen's comments were thoughtful and relevant, and her class was a pleasure. As a part-time YA novelist, I needed to focus my energy on my own original fiction, and thanks to Kristen, I've sold my latest idea to a leading children's book publisher! I'd highly recommend her course."—Micol Ostow, author of the forthcoming novel, 30 Guys in 30 Days (Simon Pulse, May 2005)

The next 12-Week Young Adult Novelist courses begins in January in New York City and as an eClass online.


Boot Camp for Journalists (eClass)

Sara is back at the top of her journalism game and selling things she's writing in class!

Sara Robins"I recently sold a profile I created as an assignment for my Boot Camp for Journalists class to a local magazine here in Philadelphia called The Insider. The feedback from the instructor, Allen Salkin, and the class was invaluable in helping me trim and tighten the piece. Plus, it gave me the confidence to pitch it and, even better, sell it! This class has really helped me get my "sea legs" back after a long hiatus from writing. The wide range of assignments has pushed me to try things I would never have thought of tackling on my own (an art review, for instance). Most of all, I like the way Allen treats us as professionals with all that implies. It's good to be writing again. -- Sara Robins

The next eClass: Boot Camp for Journalists with Allen Salkin begins online Thursday, Dec. 2. Apply now.


Travel Writing Boot Camp for Journalists (L.A.)

While in class, Litty published assignments in Travel + Leisure, Men's Journal, and Glamour

Litty MathewIf you're looking to take your writing to the next level, David Hochman is your ladder.

Although I thought I was a good writer, I always fell short of getting assigned the story. David's Travel Writing Boot Camp taught me more in two months about good writing and selling good writing than two years of graduate journalism school. David accomplishes this with gentle humor and generous advice.

Within the first two weeks of class, I'd broken into Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel; a month later, into Travel + Leisure, Men's Journal, and Glamour. Now, I'm working on placing a story in Saveur. If I hadn't taken his class, none of it would have happened. An added benefit, I can apply what I've learned to categories other than travel with precise results. —Litty Mathew

The next Travel Writing Boot Camp with David Hochman begins soon


The 1-Day Workshop: Personal Essay Clinic (NYC)

Holly's instructor, an assigning editor at Self, bought the essay she workshopped in class!

Holly TeichholtzI'm a magazine junkie, but nothing feeds my addiction like Self magazine. I've been subscribing continuously for years. I've always admired the magazine's writing, editing, and beautifully positive attitude, and I used to dream wistfully about seeing one of my own pieces within its pages someday. Since I am a fairly beginning magazine writer (with a day job), I'd pitched small front-of-book pieces hoping to break in. I got some encouragement, but no clips.

One day my daily MB News Feed advertised a 4-hour workshop on the personal essay with Paula Derrow, the articles director of Self. I write essays, and I thought the workshop would be an opportunity to get (possibly painful, but instructuve) feedback straight from the source.

The class had six or seven people, all talented. The essays were diverse in style and subject matter, but all were very well-written. Paula would read each essay and then spend about 25 minutes going over it with the writer in detail, noting with generosity what was good and discussing with sensitivity what needed work. Then she would suggest outlets to pitch it to. She's an amazing editor, and her feedback on our writing was incisive and helpful. She encouraged us in our writing, and her pitch suggestions were creative and helpful.

When she got to my essay, she gave me some excellent feedback and then suggested that I pitch it to Self! I was bowled over. I remember I just kept saying, "Thank you. Thank you!" I submitted the revised piece to her a week later, and Self bought it two nights ago. This outcome was beyond my wildest expectations for that evening and now I realize I am living proof that MB makes things happen for writers, including those who don't have a bulging portfolio of clips from national magazines.

I am so grateful to MB for helping me make this connection, and I feel like I have stepped into an alternate reality, one where Paula Derrow asks me, "So what else would you like to write for Self?"-- Holly Teichholtz

The next 1-Day Workshop: Personal Essay Clinic with Paula Derrow meets Monday, November 15. Apply now.


Los Angeles Classes

Laura is out of the closet about being a five-time mb course-taking champion

L:aura ShinIf it weren't for mediabistro, I'd be using my 90-words-per-minute typing skills to do data entry. Instead, I write articles for publications like Organic Style, Travel and Leisure, Saveur, The New York Times, Luxury Homes, and USA Weekend.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit I've taken four mediabistro workshops and classes—and I'm starting a fifth tonight! I can't help it. I had
tremendous experiences with Allen Salkin's pitch-perfect workshop, Robert Masello's book proposal-writing workshop, and David Hochman's Travel Writing and Personal Essay courses.

Travel Writing helped me land articles in the Times, The Robb Report and Saveur. From Personal Essay Boot Camp with David Hochman, I got another article in the Times. From the relationship I developed with David and other people in those courses, I made connections with editors at Details, Marie Claire and Travel + Leisure. David's and my classmates' commentary, ideas and willingness to help me—even months after I'd finished the courses—makes me feel like I ordered a five-course meal and then got 10 courses because of the owner's good nature. — Laura Shin

Our next round of Los Angeles classes begins soon in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and elsewhere.


Editorial Design Boot Camp (NYC)

Mag founder and art director Jeff gained confidence in his work...and strength in his portfolio

photo by Michael CogliantryMy name is Jeff Griffith and I¹m a type freak and design nerd. ("Hi, Jeff!")

Before taking Editorial Design Boot Camp with Nick Torello, I was an advertising art director for 16 years and a magazine publisher and designer of a small national magazine called ATOMIC for the past four-and-a-half years. I had won some magazine design awards in the past but was doing the magazine design based on gut instinct not any known rules or real-life experience (I'd never worked for a magazine ever). Because ATOMIC is my magazine, I knew I was designing in a vacuum and was in search of some professional advice to help hone my craft.

When I found out about the design class, I realized this was exactly what I needed to take me to the next level. And after the first week, I was even more elated about the format, which is very casual. Nick is quite talented, but cool and laid back. We all post our work on the wall and everybody speaks up to discuss one another's work. We've all learned, I think, that you need open discussion and trust in each other to push your design even further regardless of the various levels we're all at. Everybody in the class was supportive of each other and making constructive suggestions to help.

The one thing the class really drove home is the basic formatting of a magazine. Not restrictive rules, just basics that will help me on any assignment down the road. Because of Nick's obvious passion for type and design and fundamentals, I've found some objectivity toward my design, found reasons to place elements in specific places instead of just placing them somewhere because it's fine for now or the MAC placed it there, and how to pull back on my design. "Can I put another dingbat in the corner, please, Nick????" "Bad Jeff! Pull back!"

Since the class, my portfolio has become much stronger and I've found a renewed confidence in my design. After all, it¹s all about gaining self-confidence, isn't it?. — Jeff Griffith

The next Editorial Design Boot Camp with Nick Torello begins soon.


Food Writing Boot Camp (NYC)

Michael found this intensive class a delicious introduction to the realities of food writing, with a healthy menu of skill-builders

Michael AnstendigPrior to taking Kate Krader's class, I was a high-powered publicist who harbored a secret ambition to write about food and lifestyle trends. I was getting tired of promoting other people and seeing their names in lights. I wanted my own share of the spotlight.

Kate's class was a real eye-opener to the world of food writing. It's not just restaurant reviews! It's personal essays, service articles, travel pieces and recipe writing. Food is really a way to write about ourselves and our lives, in all their quirky complexity.

Having completed Kate's class, I'm now a contributing writer to numerous publications, including Time Out New York, the Village Voice and Nation's Restaurant News. In addition, I did a sidebar article on Flushing's Chinatown for Tennis Magazine's U.S. Open issue. — Michael Anstendig

The next Food-Writing Boot Camp with Kate Krader begins soon.


Personal Essay Boot Camp (NYC)

Nita thought the personal essay form was self-indulgent until she found a great teacher and a roomful of friends to convince her otherwise

Nita RaoBefore the class, I was fact-checking and reviewing film, music and books, only rarely writing in the first person voice. I had never attempted a personal essay before and, honestly thought anything approximating the memoir genre was a bunch of confessional jive. I signed up for Paula's class after reading "The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage," which lit the way and confirmed for me how compelling a personal essay can be when used for the universal good. I wanted to learn to engage readers with that sort of intimacy, to use humor as a revelatory device, and to validate ordinary moments in time. Like Nicholson Baker; you know, nothing much happens, but that is the point. The class has changed my life by expanding my writing community. My classmates are so generous and accomplished and are explicit in ordering me to get off my duff and pitch what I have written. Paula has helped hone my writing by insisting that content comes first and that, stylistically, how something is written matters less than what it is written about. I am less inclined to flashy diction now and hopefully, more mindful of keeping my narrative clean.—Nita Rao

The next Personal Essay Boot Camp with Paula Derrow begins October 6 in New York City.


Stiletto Boot Camp: Writing for Women's Magazines (NYC)

Bryn went from PR to WWD after Stiletto Boot Camp helped her get her foot in the door

no pictureWhen I decided to take Celeste Mitchell's class, I was working for a pr firm and anxious to make the move into editorial, but to no avail (after a year or so of interviewing and sending out my resume). Taking the class not only kept me focused on my ultimate goal, it also kept me hopeful. [My fellow students were] in similar situations and realized through feedback from Celeste that I needed to keep plugging away. With the class under my belt, I had proof that writing for magazines was a serious goal of mine, even though I had been working in a
completely different industry for almost a year. Within a couple of months, I landed a job at WWD editorial working as an Associate Beauty Editor at Beauty Biz magazine.— Bryn Kenny

The next Stiletto Boot Camp with Celeste Mitchell begins soon.


Boot Camp for Journalists (Washington, D.C.)

Kathryn went from standing on the sidelines to writing for the Washington Post!

no pictureI'd slipped in and out of the writing world for a couple of years when I landed a job as an editorial assistant at a well-respected community newspaper. Watching the reporters I work with chasing down stories and winning awards helped fire my ambition to write again. I found mediabistro's Boot Camp for Journalists to be the perfect fuel to keep my dreams stoked.

Kate Marsh was a gentle guide back to the world I'd missed. The weekly assignments helped put my mind in the right frame to conjure ideas at will and report them. Sharing my work with other professionals in the class helped restore my confidence in my abilities and gave me the feedback I needed to hone my words into something meaningful and salable.

I'm currently looking forward to having my first op-ed published in The Washington Post newspaper! I've been published in Cat Fancy, Baltimore Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and Baltimore City Paper. The class was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. Thanks to excellent instruction and encouragement, I'm working on a nonfiction book about my life experiences and feel confident I will succeed. Boot camp was all I needed to put my writing life back together.—Kathryn Hudson

The next Boot Camp for Journalists with Kate Marsh begins soon in D.C.


From Headlines to Punchlines: Humor Writing for Journalists (NYC)

Rachel went from closet writer to published humor novelist with the help of a great class greater classmates

Rachel PineI've always been something of a closet writerthat is, I write for pleasure, not for publication. A journalism minor in college, I thought I'd scratched that itch long ago, but when I started trolling the Mediabistro site, it was like I'd stepped in poison ivy.

I enrolled in Humor Writing for Journalists, taught by the excellent and wonderfully talented Lynn Harris. The classes mixed assignments and workshopping with "guest stars" from publications including The New Yorker, Newsweek and Mad. All of the guests were tremendously generous and helpful to our roomful of budding humorists. In the months that followed, I saw my classmates' bylines all over the place. My former classmates and I are still mostly in touch, and get together now and then.

The class was fantasticit had me thinking 24/7 it was as if I had been given a pair of glasses through which I could see the funnier side of things -- a great way to view the world. I let what I'd learned percolate for about a year and then put together a proposal for a satirical novel. I am thrilled to report that The Twins of TriBeCa will be published by Miramax Books in the Spring of 2005! —Rachel Pine

The next From Headlines to Punchlines: Humor Writing for Journalists with Lynn Harris begins soon in New York City.


The 12-Week TV-Writer

Leslie's experience at mediabistro.com taught her that teachers don't have to be egomaniacal to be effective

no pictureNot that I was skeptical, but I used to separate myself from my television. I'd never touch the console and I'd hold the remote only for as long as it took to change the channel. There were no exaggerated pauses while I fondled the plastic. No stolen moments, slowly wiping dust off the screen.

That was before I took the class. Before I understood that television could change my life, if only I'd let it. I'm now one with my TV set and the stories it holds for me. Kidding aside, Aury is a fabulous teacher. I've taken a number of writing classes where the teacher really never gets it, can't do it or is good but too wrapped in ego to offer much support for a sniveling class of wanna be word urchins. My pleas for help to make a story come alive were often met with disdain.

Aury opens the door and guides us through the big world of TV script writing. It's the "Why not just do this" approach as opposed to the "Be grateful you're even taking a class with me" approach. She gave me ideas and new ways to solve my script writing problems. (She's also very fun to work with.)

As the next group drags themselves off the streets of New York and into her class, they too will shake off the struggles of city life and realize, "Hey, I'm gonna make a story for TV!"

And for the next 12 weeks, that's exactly what will happen. I give the class four starsthe highest rating possible for a class in this category. —Leslie Mazer

The next 12-Week TV-Writer with Aury Wallington begins September 11 in Los Angeles.


Personal Essay Boot Camp (L.A.)

Rochelle let David Hochman coax out the personal essays within...and onto the pages of the Washington Post

Rochelle LevyThroughout my varied career, I've written radio newscasts, magazine articles and TV miniseries treatments. For the past five years, I've been the Editorial Director at the American Film Institute. But, for a while now, I've been feeling creatively unfulfilled. I've had an irrational urge to reach deep into my psyche, scrutinize decades of gunk and share my discoveries with millions of readers. I wanted to write a personal essay.

So, last October, I enrolled in David Hochman's Personal Essay Boot Camp a nd immediately discovered that David Hochman is not who he seems. As we read our essays aloud each Wednesday night, he'd sit there all Buddha-like, hands folded, save for the occasional scratching of pen on paper. "I'm the next Calvin Trillin!" I'd think smugly. Except I wasn't. Because David's comments touched on every problem I thought I'd successfully hidden beneath delightful descriptions and droll dialogue. Using his inside voice, David calmly imparted the lessons of the Personal Essay: Specificity. Originality. And-most difficult of all-emotional depth.

As one who agonizes over every word, a weekly deadline was most welcome. And David was adept at advising each of us according to our own idiosyncratic writing styles. Which made for a class that was challenging, enlightening, and, dare I say, exhilarating.

I'm still at AFI, but I'm excited about my own writing again. I just sold a personal essay to the Washington Post and I've made contacts at the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Salon. Never underestimate the power of the HochMan.—Rochelle Levy

Personal Essay Boot Camp with David Hochman begins soon in Santa Monica.


The 12-Week Screenwriter (NYC)

Melissa finished her script in 12 weeks...and landed it as a prestigious contest's finalist weeks later!

Melissa HealyThe gift of the 12-week screenwriter with D.B. Gilles is not just having smart, funny, like-minded people read and critique your work, nor is it being led by an accomplished instructor with a wonderful head of hair (those are merely the shiny wrapping and the big silver bow), but it is having that weekly deadline that motivates you to take what's in your head and transforms it into screenplay format (oh, courier!). A screenplay I wrote in this class is currently a semi-finalist in the Fade In magazine screenwriting contest. I could have never finished it if it wasn't for those deadlines and I would have never tried to make it as funny if I didn't have the sound of the class' laughter as inspiration.—Melissa Healy

The next 12-Week Screenwriter with D.B. Gilles begins online Tuesday, Sept. 21. Apply now.

 


Boot Camp for Journalists (L.A.)

Katherine pitched and sold to the L.A. Times Weekend Calendar section before class was even through!

no pictureI’ll never procrastinate over writing pitch letters again after taking mb’s Boot Camp Class for Journalists taught by Lew Harris. When I signed up for Lew’s class I had three years of experience as an arts and entertainment contributor to The Los Angeles Times’ Community Newspapers. Most of my stories were assigned to me by my editor. I had managed to sell a few pieces on my own to other sections of the Times but I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to get published elsewhere because I dreaded the pitching process.

It wasn’t until Lew’s class and his frank feedback that I realized that I’d been giving away too much of the story in my pitches. I.e.,"You should be able to say it in about three paragraphs."

Lew is a very friendly and down-to-earth teacher. He’s supportive and insightful. His no nonsense approach to my ideas and my work helped me refine my writing process. He helped me become a more efficient and succinct writer. During class I pitched and sold a feature story to the L.A. Times Weekend Calendar section in less time than it usually took me to just draft a pitch letter.

As a result, I’m more confident about writing pitches which also helped me establish a connection with a national newspaper. Since Lew’s class I’ve sold
stories to The Christian Science Monitor. —Katherine Tolford

The next Boot Camp for Journalists with Lew Harris begins soon.


Food Writing Boot Camp (NYC)

Dinki learned that her love for food and her unique voice can be nurtured and appreciated in an intimate, intensive class.

Dinki O'ConnorOkay, so here I am—this hot-blooded, scotch bonnet Jamaican girl who grew up thriving on the world's greatest oxtails, curry goat, and rum cake. Despite my mom's active campaign against such a career, I want to be a food and wine writer.

Lo and behold, mediabistro.com's Food Writing Boot Camp surfaces on my e-mail and I'm like, "Yes,yes, yes!" More than anything in the world, it was important to me that I felt like my voice was being taken seriously, more than just embraced, by my classmates and my teacher.

I am a black woman and so my experience with food and wine, whether it's in my mother's kitchen or at The River Cafe, comes from that perspective, not entirely, but in large part. What I learned is that every person in that class had a very distinct voice that came from very different experiences—the poetic satire of Chef Steve, the cultivated voice of Senora Publisher, the quest-filled voice of Sara, the academically elegant voice of the Professor, the maternal, loving voice of Claudia, the sultry intelligence of the Southern Bell, and the straight-up comedy of the ladywho writes "Butter is so evil..." It just goes on and on and on...Everybody was there with not only their love for, but their love for the written word and in that respect, I truly felt connected (Oh yeah, and the food was pretty damn good too... Hooray for pate!)--—Dinki O'Connor

The next Food Writing Boot Camp with Kate Krader begins soon.


Basic Training: Magazines (L.A.)

Stephanie feels ready to turn her love for magazines into a career writing for magazines.

Stephanie Schramm I love magazines. I read them every chance I get. Although I have limited writing experience, I jumped at the opportunity to take Basic Training: An Introduction to Magazine Writing. The instructor, Oliver Jones, was very inspiring. Through his work at People Magazine and Us Weekly, Oliver gave us an inside look at the world of entertainment journalism. He taught us how to pitch, who to pitch to, and what editors really want.

Oliver is a great teacher. He made everyone feel very comfortable. His intelligence and humor made the class not only challenging but enjoyable. During the workshop period of the class, the other students gave insightful critiques.

I am still at my current job working as an assistant in the entertainment field but I now feel like I have the confidence and knowledge to pursue my dream of writing for magazines. Based on my experience, I would definitely take another mediabistro course. —Stephanie Schramm, executive assistant, Paramount

The next Basic Training: Introduction to Magazine-Writing begins again soon in West Hollywood.


Personal Essay Boot Camp (L.A.)

Full-time freelancer Kate never would have completed her essay for publication in Newsweek if not for Boot Camp.

Kate Hahn Without Personal Essay Boot Camp, I would not have written the personal essay that was eventually published in Newsweek. I simply would not have taken the time to do it. And even if I had, I probably would not have thought it was good enough to submit to a publication. That's the great thing about this class. It forces (or maybe I should say "inspires" since no actual coercion is involved) you to write something on a different topic each week. Then you get such concise and helpful notes from David and your classmates that you know if your piece is ready to be sent out for consideration. I still refer to the handouts we received in class, and am working on pitching some of the
publications we discussed. David knows good writing and he can help make your writing better. I am already a full-time freelancer, but I am thrilled to be working on essays as they allow me to make my voice heard in a way that articles can't. —Kate Hahn

Personal Essay Boot Camp with David Hochman begins again soon in Santa Monica.


Boot Camp for Journalists (Chicago)

Maureen went from bored corporate communicator to fascinated freelanced in 8 weeks

Maureen JenkinsOkay, so I wasn't a complete novice when I, an aspiring freelance writer, signed up for Boot Camp for Journalists in Chicago. Even though I now work in corporate communications, I spent 10 of the past 15 years as a reporter for various U.S. newspapers. But it's one thing to hold a cushy staff reporting job; it's quite another to have to hustle to get your byline in print. Bored with my current gig, I hoped to jumpstart my creative writing juices by doing freelance pieces for outside publications.

Ever the procrastinating writer, I needed something to help me get my butt in gear. And did Boot Camp ever do it! Our class was filled with smart, well-rounded and fascinating women (and aman!) who were serious about getting published. The writing feedback we gave and got from each other was invaluable - and so was the support, whether we were discussing pitch letters, editor contacts, or story leads. And fostering that congenial atmosphere was instructor Lucinda Hahn.

My ultimate goal is to ditch corporate America and pursue a freelance writing career in Italy, so when I read Lucinda's instructor bio—and discovered that she'd spent five years working as a European-based freelancer—I knew I'd likely found a kindred spirit. I couldn't have been more right. Her understanding of the freelance marketplace, combined with the years she spent editing and writing for Chicago magazine, made her the perfect advisor. Even though our class ended last fall, Lucinda's still out there rooting us students on, encouraging us to pitch and place stories.

Not only were the Boot Camp assignments good practice, a couple of mine turned into cold cash. My first piece, a personal essay where I waxed poetic about my obsession with "The Golden Girls," was published by the Chicago Tribune. I was able to turn my exhibition assignment into a 50-word front-of-the-book item for Chicago magazine. And since Boot Camp ended, I've had three features published by the Chicago Sun-Times (where I worked years ago), and have secured two assignments for Black Enterprise, a business magazine with 468,000 monthly readers. Thanks to the confidence I gleaned from Boot Camp, I'm ready to pitch my dream publications: The New York Times' Travel section and Travel + Leisure. I'm shooting for the stars and intend to reach them!Maureen Jenkins


The 12-Week Novelist (L.A.)

Larry got a dose of reality (plus, he finished his novel!) in an intense but friendly atmosphere

Larry GassanI am a freelance art director and print-production expert. I had not written anything longer than a research paper since college. I decided to take the 12-Week Novelist class with Rachel Resnick to find out what it takes to write a novel. The mediabistro.com pitch was right, and the small class-size was a definitely plus.

Rachel Resnick brought sharp focus to everyone's work and the process. The classes were intense. I quickly learned that my initial idea for a comic novel was not working, and proceeded to radically re-tool it as noir all the way to the finish. I completed my first draft with minutes to spare.

My life has changed in several ways. My non-fiction pieces got a whole lot better. I have a more realistic set of illusions and expectations on the next step of the general writing process. I also made some cool friends from the class experience.— Larry Gassan

The next 12-Week Novelist with Rachel Resnick begins soon in Santa Monica.


Travel-Writing Boot Camp (NYC)

Jean went from self-funded trips to film festivals to commissioned trips hang gliding in Rio

Jean TangI was a corporate lawyer turned entertainment and food journalist, nostalgic for a cash-rich time when ski weekends in Park City could be hailed as easily as yellow cabs. But self-funded trips to film festivals have a way of (self) petering out. Soon my travel bug—getting meaner by the minute—propelled me towards James Sturz's class.

The best part of travel-writing is the people you meet: I connected with an instant network of writers with the same depth of passion -- seasoned travellers with whom I have shared feedback, pitches, and leads. A fellow student -- a witty writer named Robin Cherry -- introduced me to one of my top three editor/publications. Then there's James himself, a novelist and travel-writing success whose modest, quiet manner and spot-on feedback won me over in six minutes. You will come away with a sculptor's eye for perspectives.

Since the class, I've been hang gliding in Rio, whitewater rafting at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, off-road motoring in Barbados, and cruising in Greece, Italy, and the French Riviera. All within the past year, and all for 'work.' You can find my byline in Lexus magazine, MSN, Salon, Time Out New York, and The New York Sun. I still write film features for the Boston Globe and will be co-authoring a cookbook soon...so I get the best of my other fields, too. I am leaving soon for China and Vietnam, where I'll be turning pleasure into work...and vice versa. — Jean Tang

The next Travel Writing Boot Camp with James Sturz begins soon.


Travel-Writing Boot Camp (NYC)

Ethan thought travel writing might be a great hobby—The New York Times thought differently

Ethan Todras-WhitehillI had always thought of travel writing as the ideal job, but I was well aware that many others felt the same way. I decided to take
mediabistro's Travel Writing Boot Camp for Journalists with James Sturz because the two goals I have for my youth are to travel and to get something published. Travel writing seemed ideal, if only as a hobby.

When I came to the first class, I was expecting academic exercises in travel writing, not focused assignments with a view towards publishing the work written for class. It quickly became apparent that good writing was only half the criteria for an assignment well done; the other half was how good your pitch letter was and how well you had targeted your work to the publication.

James was fantastic. He pulled no punches and held no hands. He let me know when I had something and when I didn't. He was perfectly willing to let me or anyone else know if something I had written wasn't good enough (or not targeted enough) for the publication I was looking to pitch. What James taught us—and what I think most travel—writing hopefuls don't realize-is that if you're a talented writer, breaking into travel writing is about effort.

James and the class helped me workshop a pitch for The New York Times-the first I ever sent out-and they accepted it. I workshopped the story as well, and the Times ended up accepting and publishing the article. It was only 400 words in the City Section, but hey, it's a start! Now I have a bona fide clip; I know how the business works; and maybe, just maybe, travel writing will be more than just a hobby for me. — Ethan Todras-Whitehill

The next Travel Writing Boot Camp with James Sturz begins soon.


The 12-Week Novelist (NYC)

Natalie went from having a dream of novel-writing to having a literary agent to represent her

Nathalie HazanBefore taking the 12-Week Novelist, I was a branding and marketing specialist, consulting with Fortune 500 companies and traveling to such exotic locales as Wichita and Boise! I loved my job—in theory. The expense account, travel and respect of high level corporate individuals was exciting, but I always found myself writing little blurbs and short stories and saving them in my drafts folder. It was a secret dream of mine to become a writer but I never thought it would be possible. I decided to take the mediabistro.com class after being awoken one night with an idea for a book title and a main character. I agonized over which class to take for two weeks and wrote the first chapter, sending it in as my writing sample.

Since taking the class, I've been fortunate to have made an amazing group of friends and fellow writers. Our class has kept in touch and drawn a special bond. I've secured a literary agent for representation of the manuscript I began in class (!!!) and am working full-time to complete it. — Nathalie Hazan

The next 12-Week Novelist begins soon in New York City.