Helen Wan

Four sessions 6-8pm: Wed 5/11, Tues 5/24, Tues 5/31, Tues 6/7. No class 5/17.

Fees & Payment Options:
Full class tuition: $325 General / $300 Members
Full payment due before first class.
Deposit: $80 General / $75 Members
Try out the first class and see what you think! Just pay a deposit due before the first class.

Why you should take this class: Novelist Helen Wan, author of The Partner Track (St. Martin’s Press 2013) invites you to learn how to take personal experiences and transform them into the workings of a novel. She wrote her own novel while working as a corporate lawyer in an AAWW writing workshop.

I hear from aspiring writers all the time that they’d love to write about an actual real-life experience, but don’t know how to start because they fear their story is “too personal.” I was fortunate to turn my 15-year corporate law career into a debut novel about an Asian American woman competing at a powerful law firm and a new career as an author. My book began as a homework assignment in an “Intro to Fiction” workshop with Terrence Cheng at AAWW. So it can be done. Over the course of this four week workshop, using assigned readings and your original works of fiction, we will examine:

– How to get over the fear of telling “too personal” a story.

– How to turn your scribblings about your real life into fiction — developing voice, character, story, plot, conflict, and theme.

– How to get over the boundaries of “sticking to the facts, ma’am” (Hint: you don’t have to!).

–  How to “pitch” personal life experience as author platform in the mainstream publishing business (especially a story featuring an Asian-American or other “non-traditional” protagonist).

For this course, we’ll read published novel excerpts, articles on the art and business of publishing, and your student manuscripts. Everyone will get to submit work once (15 to 20 pages of your original work, double-spaced). Everyone is welcome, but especially recommended for those with prior experience taking a workshop format class. Limited to 12 students. I look forward to meeting you and reading and discussing your work! HAPPY WRITING!

Note: We’ll need three volunteers who are brave enough to workshop the first day of class, 5/11. They should be able to email work to Helen by Monday May 2, to give folks a chance to read and gather their comments.

PC: Anna Campanelli Photography

Helen Wan is an author, lawyer, and frequent speaker on diversity and inclusion in the law and media. Her debut novel, The Partner Track (St. Martin’s Press), about a young Asian American woman up for partnership at a powerful law firm, became the subject of a Washington Post Magazine cover story, was optioned for television, and is now taught in universities and law schools. Before becoming a full-time author, Helen practiced corporate law in New York for over 15 years. She is a graduate of Amherst College and Virginia Law. She is now finishing her second novel, which explores our complicated relationship with ambition. Helen’s author website is helenwan.com and you can follow her on Twitter @helenwan1. [Photography credit: Anna Campanelli]


To register, please fill out this form, and submit payment for one of the options below:

Full Payment – General $325
Full Payment – AAWW Member $300
Deposit – General $80
Deposit – AAWW Member $75

Questions? Contact Nadia Ahmad at nahmad@aaww.org


Helen Wan
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
6:00 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
112 West 27th street Suite 600
New York New York 10001
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