SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
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: 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.

Lyzette Wanzer: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Writers

1 Saturday, January 28, 10am-4pm
$130 members/$145 non-members  

Want to be taken seriously as an author, even though you have yet to publish the Great American Novel or place an article in The Atlantic? You need to learn to treat your writing—poetry, fiction, nonfiction—as a business.

Instructor Lyzette Wanzer says, “Believe it or not, one of the best ways of getting the literary world to notice you is to manage the less-sexy aspects of your practice. That means realizing that writing is a business, not just an art. Marketing is a critical, often overlooked aspect of our craft.”

Lyzette will introduce you to several habits that will enable you to boost your writing career. In this one-day workshop, you will:

  • Discover how to connect with the Bay Area literary scene to develop local, regional, or national opportunities
  • Write several drafts of the dreaded—but all-important—Artist Statement (yes, authors need these, too, not just visual artists)
  • Polish up (or begin!) your LinkedIn profile
  • Learn to harness professional free and low-cost tools to help track your writing output, submission markets, contest entries, and grant applications
  • Develop a literary calendar
  • and much more

You will need an iPad, tablet, or laptop for this seminar-style class.

Lyzette Wanzer is an Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts. She has taught at San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, San Francisco Writers’ Conference, the Mechanics’ Institute Library, and Mill Valley Library. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Tampa Review, The MacGuffin, Ampersand Review, Pleiades, Flashquake, Glossalia Flash Fiction, International Journal on Literature and Theory, and others. She is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2012) and 642 Tiny Things to Write About (Chronicle Books, 2015). Lyzette is the recipient of grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Creative Capacity Fund, and writing residencies in New York, Oregon, Nebraska, Virginia, Arkansas, and Alberta, Canada. She is currently at work on Jaywalking, an essay collection.

Jay Ridler: Writing from the Heart II – Developing the Project that Speaks with Your Voice

5 Sundays, February 26 – March 26, 2-4:30pm
$275 members/$295 non-members
Testimonials for Jay

*Writing from the Heart II is only open to students who have attended Jay Ridler’s 5-week class or 1-day intensive.

This is a class for those who are familiar with the techniques and approaches Jay uses in helping writers find the stories and themes they care about the most: “plot talks” for digging deep into emotionally powerful material, playing with point of view and setting, compressing premises to get to the heart of the story, and more.

In Writing from the Heart II, we will develop new material in class with the intent of starting a project (either a singular one like a novel or memoir, or one made of many parts like a collection of essays or stories). Classes will focus on using elements of dramatic structure from fiction with non-fiction (and vice versa), refining voice through use of language, and using conventional and unconventional structure to make the central themes of your project shine. For guidance, we will read excerpts from Richard Rhodes, Scarlett Thomas, Bruce Holland Rodger, and others.

Critiques will follow a similar structure to Writing from the Heart, with Jay’s trademark detailed feedback, but will also include discussion of technique, style, and language to help you revise your work. “In Writing from the Heart, you discover your themes and passions as a writer,” Jay says. “In Writing from the Heart II, we take those discoveries and refine them toward a sustained voice that sings throughout your writing.”

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, Jay holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.

Kathleen McClung: Embracing the Hush Hour – Deepen Your Poetry Practice

8 Fridays, February 10, February 24, March 10, March 24, April 14, April 28, May 12, May 26, 6-8pm
$340 members/$360 others
Testimonials for Kathleen

 

Slow down from the hustle of the week and turn inward to shape and polish your poems in a warm, comfortable space. “In our time together,” says instructor Kathleen McClung, “we’ll read and talk about work by contemporary writers such as Corrinne Hales, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kim Bridgford and others. We’ll borrow and build from diverse published poems and tune into our own observations, memories, imaginations, rhythms. We’ll test drive various traditional forms—cento, ghazal, sonnet—as well as explore the elasticity of free verse, aiming for that fine balance of mystery and clarity in each line and stanza.”

The goal of this intimate 8-session class is for each person to finish a handful of new poems for potential publication. We’ll be drafting or revising a poem in between each class meeting; plan to complete 4-8 new works by the end of the class in May. Along the way we’ll share constructive feedback and discuss a variety of resources, including print and online journals, reading series, and contests as possible homes for our wide-ranging work.

This workshop is open to all writers who value the synergy and support of a small group guided by an experienced teacher. Join us two Fridays a month for a replenishing “hush hour” dedicated to moving in fresh and fruitful directions, deepening our craft, and expanding our reach as poets.

Kathleen McClung, author of Almost the Rowboat, and finalist for Gunpowder Press’s 2016 Barry Sacks poetry prize, has poems in Mezzo Cammin, Unsplendid, Atlanta Review, Ekphrasis, Heron Tree, Naugatuck River Review, A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove poetry prize, Maria W. Faust sonnet award, and Shirley McClure poetry prize from the 2016 Los Gatos-Listowel Writers Festival, McClung judges sonnets for the Soul-Making Keats literary competition and reviews books for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.  She has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, the Writing Salon, and other colleges and community centers. www.kathleenmcclung.com

 

WEEKEND SPECIAL – Creative Writing Boot Camp with Jenny Pritchett

Saturday & Sunday, January 7 – January 8, 10am-4pm
$240 members/$260 non-members
Testimonials for Jenny

Bring your laptop or a pen and plenty of paper—this creative writing boot camp will shock you out of stasis and into practice. Over two days, in two six-hour sessions, Jenny Pritchett will help you tease out the creative impulse that has lain dormant beneath obligations, fear, laziness, or just plain confusion at how to get started.

“Sometimes taking a class is the only way to get back to your creative practice,” says Jenny. “Signing up is the first step. And then, when you show up to class, pen and paper in hand, with all the hopes and fears of any lapsed or beginning writer—you’re halfway there.”

Come writers, come poets, come essayists: Writers of all types and levels are invited to delve into the fundamentals of craft and process in this fun, funny, and encouraging urban retreat. We’ll read stories that inspire us and other examples of good writing—and some bad, just for fun—brainstorm ideas, and complete a variety of free-writing exercises (some short and automatic and some more involved and tiered). We’ll dive into lively discussions and pause for brief workshops, which help us reflect, connect the dots, and generate new ideas as well as break through the fears that keep us from showing up for our own work. Throughout the weekend, students will engage with their personal observations and experience—the core to their authentic voices—and emerge with ideas and inspiration about how to keep going the day AFTER class ends.

Jenny Pritchett is very self-motivated. In addition to working full-time as an editor at a local nonprofit, she has taught creative writing classes since 2006 and writes the popular blog, Jenny True: An Excruciatingly Personal Food Blog. Her debut story collection, At or Near the Surface (Fourteen Hills Press), won the 2008 Michael Rubin Book Award, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Guernica, Salon, Southwest Review, Northwest Review, Boulevard, Best of the Web 2008 (Dzanc Books), and elsewhere. She holds a degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. The former managing editor of Fourteen Hills, she has taught or lectured at SFSU, California College of the Arts, Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

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.

Nate Klug: A Formal Feeling – Poetry Workshop

5 Sundays, February 26 – March 26, 7-9:30pm
$275 members/$295 non-members

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.

Kathy Garlick: Daily Write “Round Robin”

January 15 – March 19
8 weeks of daily online activity (facilitated by Kathy)
Plus in-person final meeting
Sunday, April 2, 2-5pm (optional)
$225 members/$245 non-members

“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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Alice Templeton: Music Moves – Having Fun with Sound in Your Writing

1 Saturday, February 18, 10am-4pm
$130 members/$145 non-members

How often have you gotten stuck working on a poem or prose passage that has promise but falls flat? This frustration happens especially when a writer’s allegiance to concrete detail outweighs the pursuit of new, energetic language. Enriching the verbal musicality is one way to give depth, movement, and beauty to an otherwise lifeless draft.

Instructor Alice Templeton says, “During my recent residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, musicians would play music and swap songs every night. The experience returned me to my creative roots: songwriting. Pursuing the musical dimensions of language led my writing to places I never predicted. The poems were deeply pleasurable for me to write and to share with others, and, best of all, my work took a thematic turn toward joy.”

This workshop will offer in-class exercises to help writers become more alert to the possibilities of sound, rhythm, complex rhyme, and musical form in their work. We will write and share our discoveries with each other. Writers are also asked to bring one poem or short prose piece that they feel is stalled, to use for experimenting with insights about improvisation and musicality.

Alice Templeton’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Calyx, Asheville Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and her chapbook Archaeology won the 2008 New Women’s Voices Prize in Poetry from Finishing Line Press. Alice has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Moulin a Nef (France), Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony. She teaches creative writing and humanities at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco.

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—great material for either biography or historical fiction. Have you inherited letters or diaries? Have you heard a story at Thanksgiving that is just begging to be written? How do you go from items in the attic to fully-realized characters on the page? Could adding a fictional character increase the thematic clarity of the project?

Instructor Jess Wells says, “We will work with some of the powerful writing and storytelling techniques to craft either fact-based biography, fictive biography, or historical fiction. And if you have already started a project, we’ll help you untangle your plot or bring verve to your language.”

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.
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.

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.

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

Lori Ostlund: Let’s Begin Here – Approaching Craft in Fiction through Character, Dialogue & Scene

5 Sundays, January 22 – February 26 (skip February 12), 10:30am-1pm
$275 members/$295 non-members   

In order to write, one must read constantly, observe the world well, and take seriously the craft of writing. During this five-week course, we will focus on the last of these, the craft of writing—specifically, we will focus on three mainstays of fiction: character, dialogue, and scene.

“I think that writers often feel more comfortable writing exposition and summary than scene, perhaps because in our own lives we often feel more comfortable observing than engaging, and scene is about getting our characters to engage,” says instructor Lori Ostlund. “In this class we will focus on creating scenes as a way to develop characters, demonstrate changes in them, and increase tension.

“We will also spend a lot of time on dialogue, thinking about it as a way to reveal character and relationships and, perhaps most important, as a way to reveal the shifting power dynamics that are at work in those relationships and which create tension.”

We will look at examples from short stories and novels and engage in in-class exercises that focus on these three craft building blocks. Participants will use these exercises to create work at home, which we will workshop during the last two weeks of class. “My goal,” Lori says, “is for us to think about these craft elements in ways that are new and generative.”

Lori Ostlund’s novel After the Parade (Scribner, 2015) was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was a finalist for the 2016 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her first book, a story collection entitled The Bigness of the World, won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the 2009 California Book Award for First Fiction. Stories from it appeared in the Best American Short Stories and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Scribner reissued the collection in early 2016. Lori received the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Most recently, her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Southern Review, and the Kenyon Review.

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

Alison_Banner9 Mondays, January 16 – March 13, 7-9:30pm
$445 members/$475 non-members

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kate Montgomery: Screenwriting – The Rewrite & Polish

Katie Montgomery Screenwriting5 Tuesdays, January 17 – February 14, 7-9:30pm
$275 members/$295 non-members   
Testimonials for Kate

So, you’ve finished the first draft of your screenplay? Congratulations! This is no small feat. Celebrate. Brag a little. And take a break—you’ve earned it!

But now get ready to sit back down and start working on that rewrite.

“I’ve never heard of a first draft that was camera-ready,” says instructor Kate Montgomery, “so the key at this stage is to identify what works and what is not quite there yet. Many imperfections will be instantly obvious as you return to your script after a short break. But others will ‘hide in plain sight’. This is why it’s so helpful to have the support and feedback of fellow screenwriters who can help you spot any weaknesses or missed opportunities—and who will thank you for helping them to do the same.”

In this course, we’ll all put our first drafts through a series of “passes” to check and double-check the plotting, character development, dialogue, and pacing. Each screenwriter will learn the Hollywood process of script analysis known as “coverage”. At the very least, your screenplay should be a polished and professional writing sample that opens doors with agents and producers.

“Writing is re-writing,” says Kate. “But this doesn’t have to be a tedious chore. Through reader feedback, scene readings, and fun brainstorming and improv sessions, you will have the opportunity to see your script though fresh eyes and explore alternatives to what is currently on the page.”

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 & 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.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Jackson: Journaling – Turn Your Life into Art

Ben_Jackson5 Thursdays, January 19 – February 16, 7-9:30pm   
$275 members/$295 non-members 

Testimonials for Ben

cart_button_31

“I still have that navy blue hardback journal that my mom gave me for Christmas when I was ten,” says instructor Ben Jackson. “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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Cary Groner: Fiction Workshop – Build & 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

November 27 – December 18
3 weeks of daily online activity (facilitated by Kathy)
$85 members/$95 others

Class is closed.

“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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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?'”

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2013