Testimonials

 What people are saying about the Loyola Writing Institute:

“I am 42 and I had NEVER written anything or taken a creative writing course, I was terrified - which is an understatement - but Stephen helped ease all of that and made everyone feel very welcome. Stephen has a great way of explaining things and he was always open to questions from the class. I found myself saying, "Wait, Stephen said don't do this or do this," and this improved my work each week as I felt my confidence growing. I also saw each of the other writers getting better each week so I know his message was sinking in. The WPC is fortunate to have Stephen dedicate his time and share his experience with classes. His experience as a writer proved invaluable and he knows which areas are troublesome for new writers and helped me overcome a lot of obstacles.”

“I wanted to tell you about my experience with Stephen Rea’s class. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to write, discuss, and critique fiction, and Stephen was the consummate professional. He created a space in which good criticism and camaraderie could flourish, and I would readily sign up for his extended courses.”

“Stephen was remarkably sensitive in directing the traffic of many different voices. He made sure each person had the opportunity to ask questions, make observations and give feedback, without ever pushing or demanding. He was great at making sure the class was balanced in that way. Sometimes it seemed someone would inhale to speak and Stephen would sense it, and crossfade to that person for their comment. In order to encourage each writer to explore their own voice, he deftly created an environment where critiques were positive and practical, and not personal. He developed a cozy, comfortable atmosphere, full of humor, always with passion and respect for writing as the foundation. It was clear that Stephen cared about each student in the room, and that he shared his experience and knowledge because of his enthusiasm for us to be our best. I adored this class, and Stephen, and I believe we all grew as writers, and as human beings, thanks to the educational space he created. I hope to study with Stephen further.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the class, learned so much about something that I have not done for years, ways to improve and do things differently. I was afraid to write dialogue and be time/location specific, but did so for the course.”

“I have to say that Mr. Rea’s class was excellent. I found he is an excellent teacher in that he accepts all students on the level they are at, and works with them to improve their abilities by acknowledging their positive points and tactfully suggesting improvement without belittling a writer’s at times fragile self-esteem. Mr. Rea is also talented in the aspect of coordination and methodology. He was never frazzled by students and gave excellent notes on writing well-crafted fiction; thus, the course was aptly named. I will take any and all classes given my Stephen Rea whenever possible. His efforts have earned my respect.”

“I've really enjoyed the classes and they have been very helpful and informative.”

“The course taught by Stephen Rea was a real eye-opener. It's a daunting subject for an older student who hasn't been in a classroom for a very long time but he made all present - ranging in age from 18 to 79 - feel relaxed and confident. He outlined what we had to do and stressed the importance of writing every day. Comments on our work were concise and helpful, and sharing our work with others gave us each a broad range of helpful advice. I would definitely recommend Stephen Rea's course to all who are interested in writing.”

“I really had fun and learned a lot. I discovered that I needed to make a few changes to my writing that will make me a better writer.”

“This workshop was exactly what I needed to start thinking like a (creative) writer again. Stephen's tips and short writing assignments were both accessible and manageable for writers of all skill levels (and varying degrees of employment!). Class discussions were always memorable, sticking with me as I wrote later down the line. I am really glad to have gotten back to writing after taking such a long break - this class gave me just what I need to be constantly thinking about the next story, character, etc. On a personal level, Stephen has the perfect personality to teach such a class. He is jovial, approachable, insightful, and has a great sense of humor. I look forward to taking a more advanced level course from Stephen in the future.”

“Just wanted you to know how much I love the course. I am learning so much. Thank you for being an amazing writing instructor!”

“I want to thank you so much for the opportunity to take Stephen Rea's writing workshop. It's been invaluable to me. Stephen Rea, personally, was great. He is very easy to be around, and has a way of lifting you up without making you feel inadequate about your skills. In this type of environment where we are just throwing ourselves out there, I think that his approach is key to why the class works so well. I also learned a lot of things, without feeling like I was wasting too much of my time just learning more rules of writing. The structure of the class and the content of what we were expected to write, allowed me so much insight to my own style and skill set, without being limited to the parameters of a (useless) assignment. Even if the writing challenges he gave us were not specifically related to my specific piece of work that I am concentrating on, somehow I managed to find so many lessons in each task and it really opened me up for HUGE improvements in my style and approach. I will definitely sign up for the next one!”

“Stephen Rea, an inspiring and appreciated teacher.”

“I really enjoyed Stephen's class and feel that I learned a great deal of the craft of writing. I relished the discussions and his insights into honing the writing skills of the entire class. It was a great mix of people and I'm hoping to take the class again.”

“I really enjoyed Stephen’s creative writing workshop. It was informative and well structured. I especially enjoyed the writing assignments because it got my brain juju going… I appreciated all the comments and I was able to use many if not all the general writing tips that Stephen spoke of: research, get rid of adverbs, get rid of weak words, always have conflict, show don’t tell, and more. Overall, I found the class to be inspiring.”

“My favorite aspect of the course was how Stephen encouraged each writer to identify and develop his or her own style. Not only did his class help me to find my own voice, it also assisted me in re-establishing creative discipline through weekly assignments and constant encouragement about slaying the monster that is writer’s block. I would highly recommend this course to anyone – regardless of experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my eight weeks, and once the class ended, I found myself wishing I was still sitting around that table with fellow writers and a witty instructor, discussing the curse of adverbs and the necessity of giving your characters memories.”

“Stephen pointed out the things I was doing wrong and gave me very specific advice on how to fix it. I am thrilled to see the improvement in my writing since starting this class!”

“It is a wonderful thing when an author is so knowledgeable, approachable, and interested in teaching others and does so in such an engaging way as to make his students look forward to class every week. Stephen succeeded on all fronts. His lecture portions were helpful and informative and juxtaposed nicely with our assignments and the open discussion portion of the class. His challenging and intriguing assignments were an enormous help in guiding me to focus on what is important in and how to improve my own writing. His enthusiasm, experience, generosity, and humor allowed me to connect with him and his lessons and the rest of the class. I heartily recommend his class to anyone seriously interested in learning to write or just improve their writing and I very much look forward to taking his next class. To summarize: I found Stephen knowledgeable, professional, committed, and generously approachable.”

“Stephen Rea's class was instrumental in teaching me how to improve my skills as a writer. I found each class to be both entertaining and informative. Tuesday nights became something that I looked forward to every week. I recently completed my first novel, and Stephen taught me many ways to improve the book and hopefully make it worth publishing. I recommend this class to any novice writers, especially sensitive ones, because Stephen has a knack for making even the worst writing sound - as he puts it - brilliant!”

“This was an excellent course, one of the best non-credit courses I have ever taken – and I have taken a lot of courses. The class stayed engaged through the entire course, the assignments were great and I came away wanting to write more.”

“Creative writing as a career had always been a secret dream of mine, but I never had the confidence to take the first step towards trying. After completing this course I not only feel like I've learned how to be a better technical writer, but I found my confidence, and most importantly, my passion. Now, instead of regarding my writing as a secret I keep, I've become the annoying girl at work shoving stories in people's faces demanding they read it and tell me what they think (To me that's a sparkling review of Stephen's teaching ability, but the people at work may disagree)! As a teacher he was informative and engaging. I didn't have high expectations of a non-credit workshop, but I walked out of that room every Tuesday feeling like I'd learned something. In spite of the fact that we weren't "students" at Loyola, the class was treated as important, as though there was something at stake other than getting to a graduation day. To some of us there is something more important on the line: living our dreams.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed Stephen's course. It provided incentive to write, encouragement, constructive criticism, helpful pointers and camaraderie.”

“It has been very exciting for me to move laterally from painting to writing and I thank you for having made it a comfortable, inviting and stimulating transition. I was so scared of being scared that I almost did not take the course. I am delighted now to have fought the dragon. You are a wonderful teacher.”

“This was an incredible class, and a pleasure to take. I was a bit worried going into it that there would be a focus on “free writing” in class, but this was not the case. The structure of bringing in previously written stories for evaluation was very helpful, and the weekly writing exercise assignments were even more so. Stephen’s teaching style was wonderful; he is very down-to- earth and honest in his criticisms, without being overly harsh or confrontational. He developed a very successful rapport with our class after just one or two sessions. My classmates were similarly ideal; everyone got along quite well, there were so many different styles/topics that emerged in everyone’s writing, and it was obvious that everyone took both the exercises and critiquing other peoples’ work very seriously. It was refreshing to be in a class where people cared enough to put so much effort into improving their own writing, and helping everyone else improve theirs. From my own standpoint, the quality of my writing coming out of the class is much better than it was going in. The advice and critiques I received from Stephen and my classmates has helped me immeasurably. Absolutely no regrets about taking this class; it went far beyond my hopes and expectations.”

“I really don’t have any complaints about the class structure or about Stephen’s teaching, which were both excellent. Thank you very much for allowing me to take this class; it was a great experience, very helpful, and I will keep my eyes peeled for more class offerings from the Walker Percy Center in the future!”

“I thought the class was well taught, well structured, and a very valuable experience. I wouldn't change a thing.”

“I greatly enjoyed the casual approach of the course. Considering that I haven't worked on my creative writing in quite some time, the class helped to get me back into the process in a matter that was comfortable and not overbearing. Our instructor was encouraging to everyone's writing ability and level which I felt help break any insecurities and set the tone for a supportive environment. Additionally, with such a limited number of classes, I believe the instructor did a satisfactory job at pulling in lessons/writing tips in between class critiques. Again, the tips were not incorporated in an overbearing matter, and I thought that the ones that were brought up were very helpful to someone who wants to get serious about his/her writing again. The instructor is obviously key to the enjoyment of any course, however the actual attendees play a pivotal role, as well. Negatives? I can think of none. I took this class to help spark my interest in creative writing again, and it gave me the encouragement and the push that I needed to do so. Therefore, it accomplished what I needed. I would certainly recommend this course to others.”

“The peer review was invaluable. Stephen was a great facilitator. It was a good value for the insight gained. The diversity of the group added to its strengths.”

“The course, as conducted by Stephen Rea, was very helpful, for two main reasons: 1) He made sure that we did some actual writing by giving us a few assignments which turned out to be instructive. Not only did this fire up our imaginations, it was eye-opening to see how differently various people could treat a single premise. It was also instructive to know that we could, indeed, write on demand stuff we are perhaps not personally interested in writing. 2) He had us critique each other’s writing. Besides helping us develop thicker hides, studying someone else’s work objectively often gave us insight into problems in our own work, which we had overlooked. Moreover, other readers could often see aspects of our writing—and not necessarily problems—which we couldn’t see because we are too close to it. All in all, I have to say that I found the course interesting, fun, useful, and helpful. I feel it has improved my writing and I would certainly recommend it to other people.”