Making Modern Love (August 2021)

Take Your Essay From the Bottom of the Slush Pile to the Front Page of the New York Times Sunday Styles

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Making Modern Love

a little background info...

*This course begins August 5th, August 26th

*Weekly video calls on Thursday nights @ 7pm EST

*There is no workshop component to this course

52 slots a year, and one of them belongs to you. The New York Times’ Modern Love column is one of the few publications where an award-winning author and a novice writer have the same shot at sharing their story with millions of readers. Wherever you are in the writing phase (whether your story is just a nagging thought in the back of your mind or whether it’s a draft that’s been sitting in a drawer for three months) this course will help you get out of your own way. If the goal is to polish and publish your essay, grab a seat before they're all taken.

Over this four-week class, you will get over “writer’s block” and start producing work from week one. We will write, revise, write again, and revise again, until we’ve sharpened the details, dialogue, and the overall arc of your story. You’ll learn how to embrace the revision process and understand why you need it. We will take a deep (like, real deep) dive into what all of those published essays have in common and apply their tricks to your pages. I’ll teach you some insider tips (most of which I learned from the Editor of Modern Love himself) on how your submission stand out from thousands of others in the stack. Through each of your essay drafts, you will be able to grasp which of your details work better in which pieces of dialogue construct characters and propel your story forward and which sentences aren’t pulling their weight and have got to go. Together, we will do the work it takes to identify the key factors that separate a cute love story from a compelling story that needs to be told.

Writers can expect:
  • Two rounds of intense essay edits
  • Weekly videos posted in our online classroom
  • Assigned readings from a variety of past Modern Love essays (some that went viral and some that were forgotten immediately)
  • Craft assignments
  • Interviews with Modern Love alumni
  • Discussions about the path to publication and plan B

*Scholarships are available for writers in need of financial assistance. You can apply here.


Your Instructor


Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts August 5th, 2020 it is designed to take 4 weeks to complete. There are specific dates for students to turn in work, but other than that, the course is self-paced. There will be a weekly hour-long video posted by me each Thursday evening by 7pm.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What kind of feedback will I receive from Jessica?
You will receive two rounds of intense edits on your essay. Once on your first draft and another on your final draft. This includes line edits, notes on content and a full page of feedback to let you know what is working in your essay and what still needs work.
Have students actually been published in the NYT after taking this course?
Yes! I started teaching this course in 2018 and since then, more than three dozen writers have had essays featured in the column. This is a testament to their skills, their stories and the investment they are making in their craft. This course will help guide you toward the goal of getting your essay in the best possible shape it can be in before you submit to Modern Love.
Do I have to read other people's essays and give feedback?
No, you can leave that to me. That's my job. :)

Get started now!