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Elaine Beale: Writing a Novel – Building the Framework

5 Wednesdays, September 28 – October 26, 7-9:30pm
$275 members/$295 others   
        
Testimonials for Elaine   

     

*Combine Elaine’s class with Karen Bjorneby’s Writing a Novel – Filling in the Frame for a complete novel writing package: Writing a Novel – 10-Week Class + Final Reading/Celebration.

Writing a successful novel demands a lot of a writer: from creating compelling dialogue and description, to crafting a gripping plot. Novelists need to develop convincing characters, create settings that make their story vivid, and write in a voice that makes their work unique.

The Writing Salon is offering two five-week classes on novel writing. These will help newbie novelists make their first steps in the genre and provide guidance to those who may have already started their book.

This class will focus on building the overall framework for your novel. Topics covered will include how to put together a page-turning plot, creating story momentum, and building a network of fully developed characters.

“We’ll explore these topics through discussion and exercises,” says instructor Elaine Beale, “and homework assignments will allow students to practice the skills we talk about and to get feedback on their work in class.”

“My goal,” she continues, “is for students to leave with a novel outline they’re happy with, an understanding of their characters and their roles in the story, and a draft of their opening. We’ll also build a supportive group in which students can air their ideas, problem-solve obstacles, and share their successes.”

Elaine Beale’s second novel, Another Life Altogether, was published by Random House in 2010. It has received praise from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary, Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly, among others, and it was featured in Oprah Magazine. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing for more than a decade.

Jess Wells: Crafting the Story of Your Family – For Writers and Non-Writers Alike

5 Sundays, November 6 – December 11, 10:30am-1pm
Skip November 27
$275 members/$295 others  

Testimonials for Jess

Many families have fascinating pasts driven by courageous ancestors and wise elders. Writing a “private book” to document the saga of your family provides a precious gift for generations before and after you. But many writers and non-writers struggle with the enormity of the task. Where to start? How is writing the family saga similar to writing historical fiction? What are the differences between writing a private book for your family versus writing a memoir or fictional saga for public publication? How do I make it more interesting than a simple list of events? Can a non-writer be successful with this?

“Join me,” says instructor Jess Wells, “as we ask and answer these questions, and others”:
• Do I have to start at the very beginning?
• Do I have to concentrate on the skeletons in the closet or the bad deeds of the family?
• What are some of the basic but powerful writing techniques that I need in order to be successful with this (or any other) writing project?

“My goal,” says Jess, “is to help you jumpstart your project or navigate through entanglements you are already facing.”

Jess Wells is the author of thirteen volumes of work, including the novel A Slender Tether on the early years of Christine de Pizan, a pioneering thinker of the 14th century French court; and the novel The Mandrake Broom, dramatizing the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe (1465-1540). Wells is the winner of a San Francisco Art Commission Grant for Literature and a four-time finalist for the national Lambda Literary Award. Her work is included in dozens of anthologies and literary journals.
Nate Klug: A Formal Feeling – Poetry Workshop

5 Sundays, November 6 – December 11, 7-9:30pm
Skip November 27
$275 members/$295 others

 

It’s easy to forget, but poetry belongs to the body. Often, our senses know how to respond to a poem’s power before our minds can work out its exact meaning. Maybe this is what Emily Dickinson meant when she said that poetry began for her as a physical thrill.

Instructor Nate Klug says, “In this class we will remain true to poetry’s roots in physicality, by exploring how form relates to and inspires feeling of all sorts…from goose bumps to lump-in-your-throat sadness to contagious joy.”

“During our five weeks together, we will write our own poetry while focusing on several elements of the lyric poem—sound, metaphor, voice, and syntax. I will provide examples that help you learn to identify and employ these sometimes intimidating elements. Together, we will figure out how these formal parts work together in good poems, and we will begin to use them in our own writing. Trusting our senses, we won’t be afraid to read out loud, laugh suddenly, or get choked up.”

Participants will come away with several new poems. They will also gain exposure to the wide variety of lyric poetry being written today. First-time poets are welcome, as well as those with more experience.

Nate Klug is a poet, translator, and essayist living in Berkeley. He is the author of Rude Woods, a modern translation of Virgil’s Eclogues (The Song Cave, 2013), and Anyone, a book of poems (The University of Chicago Press, 2015). His writing has been supported by the Poetry Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the James Merrill House.

Elaine Beale & Karen Bjorneby: Writing a Novel – 10-Week Class + Final Reading/Celebration

11 Wednesdays, September 28 – December 14, 7-9:30pm
Skip November 23
$550 members/$590 others

 

 

Writing a successful novel demands a lot of a writer: from creating compelling dialogue and description, to crafting a gripping plot. Novelists need to develop convincing characters, create settings that make their story vivid, and write in a voice that makes their work unique.

The Writing Salon is offering two five-week classes on novel writing. These will help newbie novelists make their first steps in the genre and provide guidance to those who may have already started their book.

In this extended 10-week class, you will participate in Elaine Beale’s Building the Framework for the first 5 weeks and Karen Bjorneby’s Filling in the Frame for the second 5 weeks. In addition, on December 14, both teachers will lead a final night of readings and discussions, topped off with a celebration after 10 weeks of novel writing.

Elaine Beale’s second novel, Another Life Altogether, was published by Random House in 2010. It has received praise from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary, Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly, among others, and it was featured in Oprah Magazine. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing for more than a decade.

Karen Bjorneby is the author of Hurricane Season, which received Foreword’s Honorable Mention as best independent/university press short fiction collection of the year. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in over two dozen publications including The Threepenny Review, The Sun, North American Review, StoryQuarterly, and online at Poetry Daily and Able Muse. She’s received a Pushcart Special Mention citation, two other Pushcart nominations, a National Magazine Award nomination, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She recently secured representation for her novel Naked, Shining, and Alive.

Alison Luterman: Falling in Love with Form

Alison_Banner3 Sundays, September 11 – September 25, 7-9:30pm
$145 members/$165 others
Testimonials for Alison    

Sonnets, villanelles and ghazals, oh my! “These forms can be like jungle gyms for the poet,” says instructor Alison Luterman, “letting us break out of our language ruts, and play with rhyme, meter, and the challenge of fitting contemporary content into an old-fashioned container. Some poets, like Molly Peacock, follow the traditional form to the letter, and yet make it fresh. Others, like Ted Berrigan, turn the form inside-out, and make a gorgeous post-Modern splash painting out of it.”

We’ll spend one evening on each of these forms and we’ll look at classic examples as well as contemporary writers, both those who strive to stay within the lines of the form, and those who defiantly bend it to their own purposes. We’ll read, talk, laugh, experiment, and write in a judgement-free zone.

“My hope in this workshop is that we’ll all get a few good starts for our own poems,” says Alison. “This class is especially for those poets who would like to expand their vocabulary and syntax, and see what playing with form can do to re-vivify their poetry practice.”

Alison Luterman loves to “rough up” traditional forms. She is the author of three books of poetry, including Desire Zoo, from Tia Chucha Press. www.alisonluterman.net

Kathy Garlick: Daily Write “Round Robin” – Creativity, Community, Commitment

September 25 – November 20
8 weeks of daily online activity (facilitated by Kathy)
Plus in-person final meeting
Sunday, November 20, 2-5pm (optional)
$225 members/$245 others

“The more you use your writing muscles,” said Jane Underwood, founder of The Writing Salon and creator of Round Robin, “the more you tone and strengthen them. In the Round Robin, you practice writing every day, just as piano students practice scales and swimmers do laps. The only difference is that the Round Robin is more fun.”

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Kate Montgomery: The Elusive Art of Comedy Writing

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting1 Saturday, July 16, 10am-4pm   Berkeley
$95 members/$110 non-members   
 Student Testimonials

“It’s one thing to tell a funny story to your friends over drinks, but to be funny on the page is an art unto itself,” says comedy writer Kate Montgomery. “Comedy is fragile and demanding. With drama, you can get away with so much. With comedy, one extra word can ruin the laugh.”

In this workshop, we’ll explore the elusive craft of comedy writing. You’ll learn the difference between situation comedy, character-driven comedy, comedy drama, and action comedy, how to structure a set up and pay off, and the ever-essential ‘rule of three’.  With a combination of screenings, short lectures, group brainstorming, individual writing exercises, games, and improv, you’ll learn how to tap into your comic side and become a more entertaining storyteller.

All are welcome to sign up for this class, whether you’re an actor who would like to start writing, an author who’s curious about crafting comedies, or a journalist who’s looking to get some laughs.

Kate Montgomery wrote, directed and produced the Sundance indie feature Christmas in the Clouds, which won top honors at festivals in Austin, Santa Fe, Vancouver, Philadelphia and Ft. Lauderdale, and endorsements from Oprah Winfrey & Roger Ebert. She executive produced the micro-indie, Ever Since the World Ended, which won at the SF Indie Fest and the London Sci-Fi Film Festival. She has optioned & sold screenplays to producers and studios in the US, Canada and UK, and works for hire as a script editor and production consultant. Her current feature projects include the Italian romantic comedy Pane Vine, and the western Stealing Lily, for which she also wrote the adaptation.

Jay Ridler: Fantastical Fiction – An Introduction to Writing Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, and Crime

Jay Ridler5 Sundays, October 2 – October 30, 7-9:30pm   
$275 members/$295 others
Testimonials for Jay

 

“Zombies. Vampires. Aliens. Heroes and villains and criminals. Worlds of wonder and dark alleys full of terrors. If these elements catch fire in your imagination, you’re in good company,” says instructor Jay Ridler. “Genre fiction (crime, horror, fantasy, and science fiction) requires the use of all the normative conventions of fiction, and the added challenge of breaking the laws of reality to tell amazing stories that stretch our imagination and speak to our deepest desires and fears.”

“In this class we’ll explore how genre fiction ticks from the inside out. I will show you many of the techniques involved in using magic that works within your stories, making your fantastical worlds reflect character goals and needs, and that help make the best genre stories strong and successful. There will also be in-class exercises and homework assignments to help you create stories and characters that are out of this world.”

Blending the basics of storytelling with the unique elements of genre fiction, this class is ideal for beginners as well as experienced writers familiar with the tropes and techniques of fantasy.

Jason S. Ridler is a writer, improv actor, and historian. He is the author of A TRIUMPH FOR SAKURA, BLOOD AND SAWDUST, the Spar Battersea thrillers and the upcoming BRIMSTONE FILES series for Nightshade Press. He’s published over sixty stories in such magazines and anthologies as The Big Click, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Out of the Gutter, and more. He also writes the column FXXK WRITING! for Flash Fiction Online. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.

Kate Montgomery: Write Your Screenplay in 9 Weeks – A Hands-On Workshop

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting9 Tuesdays, September 27 – November 22, 7-9:30pm
$445 members/$475 non-members   
Testimonials for Kate

 

Are you ready to start and actually finish a screenplay? That’s the goal of this 9-week course. You’ll learn all about screenplay structure, character development, story arcs & archetypes, dialogue, theme, genre, conflict, pacing, visualization, and WGA formatting while crafting the first draft of your own original screenplay.

This is a “learn by doing” approach to screenwriting. It’s fun and genuinely inspiring, but it’s also a lot of work. Writing a 90-120 page screenplay takes passion, self-discipline and commitment, but the process is more easily achieved when it’s broken down into clearly articulated goals and deadlines, and divided into manageable weekly assignments.

“It’s great to have the support of the group,” says instructor Kate Montgomery. “We’re all taking on the same challenge – and will be hitting many of the same obstacles. This includes me. Leading a hands-on workshop is a great time for me to get another spec script written. It keeps me in the same creative mode and on the same deadline schedule, which is always a benefit. No matter how seasoned a writer you are, it helps to have a deadline.”

Students do not need to have any previous screenwriting experience but each should come to the class with a story idea that can serve as a starting point for their screenplay. Access to a PC or Mac is highly recommended.

Kate Montgomery wrote, directed and produced the Sundance indie feature Christmas in the Clouds, which won top honors at festivals in Austin, Santa Fe, Vancouver, Philadelphia and Ft. Lauderdale, and endorsements from Oprah Winfrey & Roger Ebert. She executive produced the micro-indie, Ever Since the World Ended, which won at the SF Indie Fest and the London Sci-Fi Film Festival. She has optioned & sold screenplays to producers and studios in the US, Canada and UK, and works for hire as a script editor and production consultant. Her current feature projects include the Italian romantic comedy Pane Vine, and the western Stealing Lily, for which she also wrote the adaptation.

Elaine Beale: Plot & Structure – The Big Picture

elainebeale825091 Saturday, October 15, 10am-4pm 
$130 members/$145 others
Testimonials for Elaine

 

Plot and structure are the “big picture” ingredients of fiction. A good plot can turn a novel into a page-turner. The right structure will make a story more resonant and compelling and amplify its themes.

“Creating a successful structure or plot for a story or a novel can be especially challenging for writers,” says instructor Elaine Beale. “But without a good grasp of these ingredients, many writers find themselves stuck.”

This one-day workshop is designed for writers who want to better understand how to develop a coherent plot that engages the reader and a structure that brings a story to life. The class will cover key concepts such as story arc, causality, flashbacks, plot twists and revelations, as well as techniques for creating momentum, and how character development and plot are intertwined.

Drawing on examples from published novels and short stories, participants will look at how a writer’s choice of structure can create tension and heighten a story’s impact. The workshop will also include in-class exercises in which students try their hand at plotting, and brainstorm solutions for the plot or structural problems they may be encountering in the stories they’re working on now.

At the end of the day, participants will find themselves far better equipped to successfully integrate these “big picture” ingredients into their fiction.

Elaine Beale’s second novel, Another Life Altogether, was published by Random House in 2010. It has received praise from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary, Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly, among others, and it was featured in Oprah Magazine. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing for more than a decade.

Alison Luterman: Write from Real Life – Personal Essays & Memoirs

Alison_Banner9 Mondays, September 26 – November 21, 7-9:30pm 
$445 members/$475 others 
Testimonials for Alison    

In this class you will plunge into the personal themes that make your real life stories uniquely yours. In the first half of this class, instructor Alison Luterman will give you writing exercises carefully designed to elicit the undertones and overtones that elevate events and anecdotes into the realm of art. In the last half of class, Alison will guide you through workshopping and refining the pieces you have begun.

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Memberships

We are not offering new memberships at this time.  Previous memberships will still be honored.

 

Gift Certificates

Options:

1) $145 for a 1-day workshop
2) $295 for a 5-week class
3) $475 for a 9-week class

There is a place on the checkout form to include your gift recipient’s name and email address (for our administrative purposes). But we leave it to you to tell them about the gift certificate and/or to find a way to “present” it to them (i.e. with a card). Just let them know that when they’re ready to take a class of their own choosing, all they have to do is call (510) 982-6252, and we will sign them up over the phone.

Elaine Beale: Creative Writing Boot Camp: A One-Day Intensive

elainebeale82509

1 Saturday, April 16, 10am-4pm  Berkeley
$95 members/$110 others  Cancellation Policy
Testimonials for Elaine

Sometimes you’re just too busy to be able to attend regular writing classes. And learning the craft of writing takes a lot of time. With so many demands on your energy you’d like to take some shortcuts. You want to take the fast track to becoming a better writer.

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Steven Winn: The Persistent Poet

steven-winn6 Sundays: Jan. 24-June 5 with online interaction between meetings (1/24, 2/14, 3/13, 4/10, 5/8, 6/5) 2:30-5 pm  San Francisco
$365 members/$395 others   Cancellation/Refund Policy

The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft, said James Fenton. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation. 

“In this workshop course for continuing poets with some prior experience,” says instructor Steven Winn, “we will bring our work to class, listen closely to the reverberations and refine them into the very best poems they aspire to be.

“Students will exchange their work online in advance of each class, to make our time together as productive and fruitful as possible. The emphasis will be on honing and sharpening the thought, form, language and sound of each poem.

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Andy Touhy: Intro to Fiction – Laying the Foundation

5 Sundays, October 2 – October 30, 2-4:30pm  
$295 members/$275 others  
Testimonials for Andy

Update: Junse Kim was originally scheduled to teach this class. Andy Touhy, long-time teacher at The Writing Salon, will now be the instructor.

“We writers too often need others to tell us that our writing is good,” says instructor Andy Touhy. “And this is where it all goes horribly wrong. We become impatient for praise, obsessed with completing a story before learning the basic skills we need to write it. It’s the equivalent of, say, an aspiring carpenter who has committed to building a beautiful house, yet doesn’t know how to hammer in a nail or saw a piece of wood.”

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Junse Kim: Intro to Fiction: Laying the Foundation

inst-junsek5 Mondays, April 11 – May 9, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco 
$215 members/$245 others     Cancellation Policy 
Testimonials for Junse

COMBO SPECIAL: Intro to Fiction + Starting Your Novel

“We writers too often need others to tell us that our writing is good,” says Junse. “And this is where it all goes horribly wrong. We become impatient for praise, obsessed with completing a story before learning the basic skills we need to write it.

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Junse Kim & Elaine Beale: Combo: Intro to Fiction/Starting Your Novel

inst-junsekelainebeale8250910 Sundays, Jan. 24-March 27,  2-4:30 pm  Berkeley
$365 members/$395 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy  

CLASS CLOSED/WAITING LIST CLOSED

COMBO SPECIAL: First 5 weeks: Intro to Fiction with Junse Kim; second 5 weeks: Starting Your Novel with Elaine Beale. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class. This combo is considered to be ONE class when it comes to our cancellation/refund policy. So please read the policy. Thanks!

Junse Kim & Karen Bjorneby: Combo: Intro to Fiction & Starting Your Novel

 

inst-junsekKaren Bjorneby 9.4.1410 Mondays, April 11 – June 20, 7-9:30pm   San Francisco
Skip May 28
$365 members/$395 others   Cancellation Policy

SPECIAL COMBO: First half: Intro to Fiction with Junse Kim; second half: Starting Your Novel with Karen Bjorneby. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class. This combo is ONE class when it comes to our cancellation/refund policy. Please read the policy. Thank you!

 

Jay Ridler: Writing from the Heart: Uncover Your Most Powerful Themes

Jay Ridler5 Sundays, May 15 – June 19, 7-9:30pm   Berkeley    
Skip May 29
$215 members/$245 others  Cancellation/Refund Policy  
Testimonials for Jay

To write our best, we must write from the heart. But finding what subjects mean the most to us can be difficult. Each week, Jay Ridler will lead you through a series of fun, engaging, and effective exercises to help you discover and explore the deep and most compelling themes in your  life. “And each week we’ll spend time exploring those themes in story and other forms, all the while giving and getting feedback to each other,” says Jay. “We’ll explore the people and things we love (or hate) and consider why we need to embrace them in our work. We’ll examine our fears and discuss how to face them, then how to shape them into art. In short, we’ll explore how to dig deeper into matters of the heart — joyful or terrible, mad or sad — and learn to see them as powerful story catalysts.”

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Jenny Pritchett: Raw Writing – A Class for Generating New Material

5 Saturdays, November 5 – December 10, 10:30am-1pm
Skip November 26
$275 members/$295 others  
Testimonials for Jenny

In an interview on Salon.com, Grace Paley—finalist for both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award—told A.M. Homes that every single time she sat down to write, she thought, “How come I thought I could write? How am I gonna do this? How am I gonna write this ****ing story?”

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Ben Jackson: Journaling – Turn Your Life into Art

Ben_Jackson5 Thursdays, September 29 – October 27, 7-9:30pm   
$275 members/$295 others  

Testimonials for Ben

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“I still have that navy blue hardback journal that my mom gave me for Christmas when I was ten,” says Ben. “After writing my first few entries, I was hooked. Years later, when I started writing a long sequence poem about my twin brother, I mined through journal entries all the way back to early adolescence in order to understand the recurring themes in our relationship.

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Julie Bruck: Fearless Poetry Workshop

Nine Thursdays, April 14 – June 16, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
Skip June 2
$365 members/$395 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy   
Testimonials for Julie

This workshop is intended for people who want to jump start their poetry practice and to keep the engine oiled. You’ll do plenty of writing and reading, and have lively discussions  about both the craft and the process of poetry.

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Ben Jackson: Combo Special: Journaling & Intro to Creative Writing

Ben_Jackson10 Tuesdays, April 12 – June 14, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
 $365 members/$395 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Ben

COMBO SPECIAL: First 5 weeks: Journaling: Turn Your Life into Art; second 5 weeks: Intro to Creative Writing: Fun with the Fundamentals. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class. This combo is considered to be ONE class with one starting date, in relation to our cancellation/refund policy. Please read the policy. Thank you!

Cary Groner: Fiction Workshop – Build and Refine Your Storytelling Skills

9 Wednesdays, July 13 – September 7, 7-9:30 pm  Berkeley
$365 members/$395 others  
Testimonials for Cary

When we read good stories they tend to endure in our hearts as touchstones that enrich our understanding of the world. We’ve all had the experience of reading something we like and wondering how the author developed such a breathtaking idea, with such compelling characters, and brought it to fruition. Those of us who admire good writing, and aspire to it ourselves, naturally wish to develop those skills. But without feedback from others it’s hard to escape the echo chamber and get a fresh perspective on our work.

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Jenny Pritchett: Combo Special: Raw Writing & Intro to Creative Writing

jennypritchett10 Mondays, Jan. 25-March 28, 7-9:30 pm  Berkeley
 $365 members/$395 others   Cancellation Policy

SPECIAL COMBO: First half: Raw Writing with Jenny Pritchettsecond half: Intro to Creative Writing with Jenny Pritchett. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class (discount applies only if you sign up for the combo). The combo is considered to be ONE class; our cancellation policy is applied accordingly. Please read the policy; thanks!

David Hill: Fiction Workshop: Honoring Our Finest Impulses

David Hill copyNine Wednesdays, April 13 – June 8, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
$365 members/$395 others      Cancellation/Refund Policy
Student Testimonials

Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. –– Henry Miller

“A writer should never leave a workshop feeling crestfallen or defeated. It takes a great deal of courage to begin writing at all, and it can at times feel like a lonely journey,” says David Hill. “A successful workshop is one in which every participant walks away with a better understanding of the elements of storytelling, feeling energized and eager to continue.

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Terrel Seltzer: Screenwriting – The Fun Beginning, the Dreaded Middle, the Dynamic End

Five Tuesdays, May 17 – June 14, 7-9:30pm  Berkeley 
$215 members/$245 others  Cancellation Policy
Testimonials for Terrel

 COMBO SPECIAL: Intro to Creative Writing + Screenwriting

“In this class we’ll look at each of the three acts of a well-structured, emotionally fulfilling screenplay,” says instructor Terrel Seltzer.

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Ben Jackson: Finding a Way In: Intro to Poetry

Ben_JacksonFive Wednesdays, Jan. 27 thru Feb. 24,  7-9:30 pm   Berkeley 
$215 members/$245 others   Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Ben

COMBO SPECIAL: Finding a Way In: Intro to Poetry & Finding a Way In: Revising Your Poems

“Many people say they don’t ‘get’ poetry,” says Ben Jackson. “I don’t always ‘get’ it either. But I know what my body feels, I know what my mind processes, and that’s enough for me to find my way into a poem, whether I’m the author or the reader. I ‘get’ poetry in my own way. I believe you can too.

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Julie Bruck: Out of the Drawer & into the Light: Finish Those Poems!

Julie-B.-New1-e13297848389369 Thursdays, Jan. 28 thru March 24, 7-9:30 p.m.  San Francisco
$365 members/$395 others   Cancellation Policy
Testimonials for Julie

“It’s not where you take things from–it’s where you take them to.”–Jean-Luc Godard

A good workshop sends its members home with ideas and strategies for revision, but new (and not-so-new) poets often find revising difficult on their own: they keep accumulating fresh work without finishing what they’ve begun.

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Karen Bjorneby: Novel Writing Continuation Workshop

Karen Bjorneby 9.4.14Six Fridays, Jan. 29-June 17 (Jan. 29, Feb. 26, March 25, April 22, May 20, June 17) 7-9:30 p.m. (plus online activity between meetings)   San Francisco     
$365 members/$395 others   Cancellation Policy   Student Testimonials            

Congratulations! You’ve started your novel. You have a sense of your main character and some ideas of the plot, maybe even a full plot outline. You’ve written a few pages, gotten some feedback, and know what your strengths are. Now the challenge is: TO KEEP GOING AND NOT GIVE UP.

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Combo Special: Finding a Way In: Intro to Poetry & Revising Your Poems

Ben_Jackson10 Wednesdays, Jan. 27-March 30, 7-9:30 pm  Berkeley
 $365 members/$395 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Ben

COMBO SPECIAL: First 5 weeks: Finding a Way In: Intro to Poetry; second 5 weeks: Finding a Way In: Revising Your Poems. Ten weeks for the price of a 9-week class. This combo is considered to be ONE class with one starting date, in relation to our cancellation/refund policy. Please read the policy. Thank you!

Elaine Beale: Raw Writing: A Class for Generating New Material

Five Wednesdays, April 13 – May 11, 7-9:30 pm   Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others   Cancellation Policy
Testimonials for Elaine

COMBO SPECIAL: Raw Writing + Finding a Way In

“The first draft is the child’s draft,” writes Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird.  The first draft, she continues, is “where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place… You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page.”

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Patricia Cotter: Playwriting 101: Taking the First Step

Saturday Jan. 30th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   San Francisco
$95 members/$110 others   Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Patricia

CLOSED

How do you begin writing when you don’t even know where to start? Many writers begin their play, and then find themselves losing steam after only a few pages. Usually it’s because they aren’t quite clear about what or who they are writing about. So, then the million dollar question is: “What is your play about?”

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Alison Luterman: Write from Real Life – Personal Essays & Memoirs

Alison_Banner9 Thursdays, July 14 – September 8, 7-9:30pm 
$365 members/$395 other
Testimonials for Alison    

In this class you will plunge into the personal themes that make your real life stories uniquely yours. In the first half of this class, instructor Alison Luterman will give you writing exercises carefully designed to elicit the undertones and overtones that elevate events and anecdotes into the realm of art. In the last half of class, Alison will guide you through workshopping and refining the pieces you have begun.

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Kathy Garlick: Daily Write “Round Robin” – Creativity, Community, Commitment

garlick-2September 25 – November 20
8 weeks of daily online activity (facilitated by Kathy)
Plus in-person final meeting
Sunday, November 20, 10:30am – 1pm (optional)
$250 members/$275 others 

The imagination is like a muscle: The more you use it, the better it performs and the quicker you get ideas of higher caliber.—Dean Koontz

“The more you use your writing muscles,” said Jane Underwood, founder of the Writing Salons, and creator of Round Robin, “the more you tone and strengthen them. In the Round Robin, you practice writing every day, just as piano students practice scales and swimmers do laps. The only difference is that the Round Robin is more fun.”

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Ben Jackson: Creating a Writing Practice

Ben_JacksonSaturday Jan. 30th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m  Berkeley 
$95 members/$110 others     Cancellation/Refund Policy  
Testimonials for Ben

CLOSED

What is a ‘writing practice’? What does that mean exactly? What does it entail? Are there rules? Guidelines? Examples? Says Ben, “You follow what fascinates you about your own life. You ask yourself, ‘What makes my life passionate, singular, intriguing?'”

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Kathleen McClung: Memoir Writing Continuation Class

3 Sundays, April 24, May 22, June 19 & online activity between meetings
2:30-5 pm   San Francisco  
$190 members/$200 others  
 Cancellation Policy   Testimonials for Kathleen

Prerequisite: Kathleen’s  5-week Memoir Writing class

Have you started your memoir but would love some ongoing guidance and encouragement? Are you wondering about ways to craft it that are indeed shapely, intense, fascinating…and publishable?

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Jenny Pritchett: Flash Fiction: When Less Is More

jennypritchett5 Saturdays, Feb. 27-March 26, 10:30 a.m to 1 p.m   Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others   Cancellation/Refund Policy
Student Testimonials

Class Cancelled

You’ve heard it called plenty of things: flash fiction, micro-fiction, the short-short story, prose poems. But what is this delicious, quirky art form, and how do you create it?

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Ploi Pirapokin: Speculative Fiction: A Magical class for the (Un)Real

Authorphoto3Five Saturdays, Feb. 27-March 26, 2-4:30 pm     Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others     Cancellation/Refund Policy

I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in, and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining. — Octavia Butler

“The act of writing fiction is lying; you write about people who never existed and events that never happened,” says Ploi. “Whether it’s science fiction or fantasy or mystery stories or high-brow art, all those things are essentially untrue. But it has to have a truth at the core of it all.”

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Kathleen McClung: Are You Allergic to Poetry?

mcclungnew221 Saturday, April 30, 10am-4pm  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 others    
Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Kathleen

If your answer is yes, then this non-allergenic poetry workshop is custom-made for you. Maybe you identify as a memoirist, novelist or playwright. Maybe you find the short story a more appetizing genre.  Maybe you write code for a living. But whatever kind of writing you do, devoting a day to reading, talking about, and cooking up some poems of your own — yes, poems — can add an extra dimension of strengths, strategies, and spice to your creative projects in any genre.

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Kate Montgomery: Conjure Better Characters

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting

1 Saturday, April 16, 10am-4pm   San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members     Cancellation/Refund Policy
 Student Testimonials

What makes Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Holly Golightly, and Walter White all so unforgettable? Bigger than life yet somehow also accessible, these characters have all made us feel genuine emotion. “While we may not respect all their choices,” says instructor Kate Montgomery, “they have still managed to draw us in and make us care. If our best stories have just one thing in common, it’s a protagonist who stays with us long after the book is closed, or the screen has gone dark.”

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Elaine Beale: Starting Your Novel: Taking the First Steps

Five Sundays, Feb. 28-March 27, 2-4:30 p.m.
$215 members/$245 others      Berkeley
Testimonials for Elaine

COMBO SPECIAL: Intro to Fiction/Starting Your Novel

Writing a novel can be a lonely business. It can also be pretty overwhelming when you’re doing it without guidance, input or support. If you want to start a novel or you’ve got a novel in progress, this class will provide you with the help you’ll need.

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David Hill: From Life to the Page – Crafting Stories from Our Own Experiences

David Hill copy1 Saturday, October 1, 10am-4pm   
$130 members/$145 others     
Testimonials for David

“Nothing needs to happen to a writer’s life after they are twenty. By then they’ve experienced more than enough to last their creative life.” – Flannery O’Connor

“Our own experiences provide us an abundance of source material for writing,” says instructor David Hill. “But where to begin? How do we identify those charged moments from our pasts, and more importantly, how do we give shape to those events on the page in a way that captures their essence and provides a dynamic and engaging literary experience?”

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Jenny Pritchett: Intro to Creative Writing – Having Fun with the Fundamentals

jennypritchettFive Tuesdays, April 12 – May 10, 7-9:30pm   Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others   Cancellation Policy
Testimonials for Jenny

COMBO SPECIAL: Intro to Creative Writing + Screenwriting

Think you want to write, but not sure where to start? “Good news,” says Jenny Pritchett, “all you have to do is show up to class!” In this fun, fast-paced class for beginners, you’ll use your own experiences and observations — your unique movement through the world — as jumping-off points to investigate all types of writing: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, humor, essays and more. “We’ll address the intersection of reality and imagination,” says Jenny, “with a little reading, weekly writing exercises, handouts and discussion to get your pens (and brains!) flexing.

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Ben Jackson: Finding a Way In – Revising Your Poems

Ben_Jackson5 Wednesdays, May 18 – June 157-9:30 pm   Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others
Testimonials    Cancellation/Refund Policy

COMBO SPECIAL: Raw Writing + Finding a Way In

What are your favorite strategies when you revise your poems? Do you try to make your images clearer and more surprising? Do you experiment with the length of your lines? When you’ve written a draft that isn’t quite working, have you ever tried turning the poem into a sonnet or a villanelle? At times, do you find that you simply don’t know what to do?

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Kathleen McClung: Memoir Writing – Mine & Refine Your Memories

mcclungnew25 Saturdays: May 14 – June 25, 10:30am-1pm  San Francisco
Skip May 28 & June 4
$215 members/$245 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy  
Testimonials for Kathleen

Memoir is not reserved only for the rich and famous. Beautiful and haunting memoirs—books and essays—can grow out of our ordinary lives, carefully observed. Both the distant past and the not-so-long ago can be mined, remembered and re-created in writing. This class is a guide to the mining and refining process.

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Kate Montgomery: Intro to Screenwriting: Take the Leap!

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting

Five Saturdays, May 14 – June 18, 2-4:30pm  San Francisco
Skip May 28
$215 members/$245 others    Cancellation/Refund Policy
Testimonials for Kate

 

“Let’s face it, you’re already in the film business—you’ve seen more movies than you can count. And if you’re reading this, then you’ve also thought about writing one yourself. The industry is rapidly expanding and there’s more demand now than ever before for good screenwriters. But where to begin? How do you make your investment in time and study pay off?”

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Karen Bjorneby: Starting Your Novel – Get a Foothold on Your Project

Karen Bjorneby 9.4.145 Mondays, May 16 – June 20, 7-9:30pm  San Francisco
Skip May 30
$215 members/$245 others       Cancellation/Refund Policy 
Student Testimonials

COMBO SPECIAL: Intro to Fiction + Starting Your Novel

You want to write a novel, or you are writing a novel, so come to this workshop where you’ll meet other people who are doing what you’re doing, or want to do. “We’ll talk about your idea – how to make sure it has enough weight to carry a novel,” say Karen Bjorneby.

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Elizabeth Gjelten: Live Words – Plays & Performance

5 Sundays, October 2 – October 30, 10:30am-1pm
$275 members/$295 others

“At its root, theater is about change — change that happens both in the characters and in the audience,” says instructor Elizabeth Gjelten. “How do we create that change? How do we create characters who are complex, real, and ripe for change? And how do we show that change, in the moment, in what they say and do?”

In this class, we’ll learn and practice a number of tools and exercises for generating new writing for performance — including plays and solo pieces — and for taking that raw material to the next level. These tools are geared to shake up habits of thought and tongue, to generate vivid images, to trick our minds into getting out of the way, to go deeper, to invoke. We’ll also begin to explore some of the basic building blocks of performance text, including dramatic structure, subtext, dialogue that sounds vital and real, and monologues that contain discovery and show rather than tell. We’ll learn how to read plays and other performance texts as writers, to use them as tools for our own writing process.

This class is for writers of all levels interested in writing for performance, including playwrights and solo writer-performers, as well as dancers and other multidisciplinary artists who want to incorporate text into their performances.

Elizabeth Gjelten is a playwright, poet, teacher, and community-based theater-maker. Her full-length plays include “Hunter’s Point” (St. Boniface Church Theater and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival), “What the Birds Carry” (The Pear Avenue Theater and Mae West Fest), and “Dance Lessons” (Venue 9 and Working Woman Festival). A graduate of SFSU’s MFA Creative Writing Program, she has taught playwriting/writing for performance in various academic and community settings, including New College of California, SFSU, JFK University, and juvenile detention facilities. She has received the Bay Area’s TITAN Award and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Honorary Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, as well as major funding for her work from the SF Arts Commission and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Her poetry chapbook, say I am you (self/other), was published by Modest Proposal.

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