MFA, MA, fiction writer and poet is the author of fourteen published novels, including her latest, The Burning Hour, as well as Her Daughter’s Eyes and When You Believe. Her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in Compose, Salt Hill Journal, The Coachella Review, Carve Magazine, Mason’s Road, and So to Speak.
Sometimes what comes first is the idea to write. Maybe the actual energy or even skills aren't quite there yet, but we recognize the inconsistency, the urge, the idea. In my writing classes, I like students to begin to list the stories that are pestering and calling to them, and from that point of putting the idea on paper, we move forward through exercises designed to flesh out and make the story real. Once the story is on the page, we begin to see what areas need heightening, strengthening, and deepening. We learn to converse with our stories, discovering how the story needs to be told. After that initial push toward flesh and bone, we work on shine and polish, language, imagery, specifics, details, all the elements that make it a thing of beauty. If the story is far enough along, we might consider where to send it so it can have a larger audience. As Walt Whitman said, "A poem [or story] is not finished until it is delivered."
Our Students Say It Best: "The major thing I liked about Jessica is her ability to pinpoint areas in which I need improvement and provide understandable feedback -- I never had to question her about her responses to my writing. She's an outstanding instructor and I would gladly take another of her classes. Additionally, class feedback was outstanding. Overall, the experience was more than what I bargained for." --- Writers' Program student "She brought out the best in each writer. With her leadership, the whole group clicked. I didn't want this one to end. She always made me feel worthy to be a writer." --- Writers' Program student