Elaine Beale: Intro to Creative Writing, Novel Writing, Inspiring the Muse & More!

Hi Jane and Elaine,

I just wanted to send a note of thanks for Elaine’s “Intro to Creative Writing” class. In five short weeks, I moved from writing bad journal entries to developing short scenes with fully imagined characters. I call that progress!

Thanks for creating a safe and inviting place to learn and write Elaine.

Best wishes,



WOW! Elaine, thank you. I just downloaded your edits and I so appreciate the time and thought that went into your feedback. You’re awesome! I have really enjoyed this class and I very much appreciate you. I feel like I got a college semester in just these five week sessions.

I signed up for your one day in May, and look forward to learning more as I go. Thank you so much for your time and effort. I got way more than I ever expected when I signed up with Writing Salon.

See you later,


Dear Elaine,

Thank you for teaching two incredible workshops this Spring.  I admire your dedication to your craft and to your students.  You were supportive, insightful, inspiring, and creative throughout, and you’ve reignited my passion for reading and writing.

 Take good care,


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Alison Luterman: Personal Essays & Memoirs, Poetry

Alison’s Next Class: Write from Real Life: Personal Essays & Memoirs

Hello Writing Salon,

I recently completed a nine-week personal essay course with Alison Luterman. Alison led the classes skillfully. She quickly established safety in the group, presented interesting and inspiring articles by other writers, and gently facilitated group discussions (encouraging us to listen without judgement and making sure each person had an opportunity to speak). She also generously shared her knowledge as a writer and gave kind and helpful (and sometimes challenging) feedback about our personal writing.

I highly recommend her classes to any writer, both experienced and new.

Kind regards
Kaye Cleave

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Cary Groner: Fiction Gym & Fiction Gym Continuation

Cary’s Upcoming Classes: Fiction Gym & Fiction Gym Continuation

Hello Writing Salon,

I just finished Fiction Gym Workshop with Cary Groner, and I could not be more satisfied with Cary as a teacher or with my overall experience in the course. In class, Cary is a calm, kind, intelligent – I’ll go ahead and say wise – presence. He gives excellent feedback, and his praise is meaningful because he is unafraid to tell student writers when a piece of work isn’t there yet (better, he can explain why). He’s drily funny. It’s telling that a couple students in our group were taking the class for a second time.

The workshop itself is thoughtfully organized. Each week is devoted to a specific aspect of craft, with excellent readings that support the lesson. There’s also a writing exercise that is tailored to the topic at hand but also open enough that you feel you’re working on real stories, not just prompts designed to get your juices flowing in an amateurish way. I spent some time looking for a writing course that was suitable for savvy beginners – the kind of people who aspire to take their fiction seriously someday, and want the kind of rigorous, supportive, specific instruction that will really help them get there.

I agree with the student who said that Cary’s course appears to pack as many of the beneficial aspects of an MFA program as possible into a nine-week course. It was just what I needed. I’ll be back for the continuation class later this fall.

-Katherine S., Berkeley CA

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Shirin Bridges: Children’s Picture Books; Juvenile Fiction; Getting Your Book Published

Shirin’s Upcoming  Classes: Acting Juvenile: Writing for Ages 8 to 44;  You’ve Finished Your Book: Now What?

Hi Shirin,

I left your class a much better writer, bolstered to continue on this often lonely path, and most importantly with the desire to NOT GIVE UP! I struggle with motivation but I am bound to finish this thing because I do not want to live a life of regrets (also, hence why we’re moving to SoCal!). Thank you soo much for your words of wisdom, insight, really sage advice and time. You’ve been amazing! If we move back to SF, I will be sure to sign up for another one of your courses. Hopefully I run into you at a conference one of these days, too! I am aiming for that one in December! If I have a goal, maybe I’ll make some headway on this book for once!

If you know of any great writing classes in SoCal, please let me know. I find taking classes with peer review incredibly motivating! Please stay in touch and I’m sure I’ll be hitting you up for your editing services hopefully sooner than later!

Take care!


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Andy Touhy: Fiction Classes & More

Andy’s Upcoming Classes: Fiction Workshop: Honing the Art of Storytelling 

Hi Jane!

I took a class in Berkeley today with Andy Touhy.  WOW, is he a great teacher!!  He is so knowledgeable, articulate, thoughtful, and generous!  I learned a ton and really enjoyed exploring the short fiction form with him.  PLEASE PLEASE get him to teach more classes at the Writing Salon.  For instance, I would love to take a short fiction “continuation” class with him.  (Especially in SF since I hate schlepping over the bridge.  Such an SF’r!)

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Terrel Seltzer: Screenwriting, Webisodes & More

 I was in your Intro to Screenwriting class with Terrell Seltzer.  I wanted to provide some feedback.  I enjoyed the class very much. Terrell was so good and a wonderful teacher and resource. The six hours flew by. She is supportive, insightful, experienced and very intelligent. I could tell she was a good screenwriter.  I wanted to thank you for providing this opportunity to the community.  I really appreciate your school and what you are doing by bringing these talented people to come and teach.  Thank you for that!

And thanks again for having the Writing Salon. It’s a very special place!

Warm regards,

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Jane Underwood: The Daily Write “Round Robin”

Jane’s Next  Class: Daily Write “Round Robin” – Commitment, Community, Creativity

I don’t know what I would do without the Round Robin. For me it is a great invention right up there with Post-it Notes, Velcro, ATM’s and on-line banking.

Dale Bentson


Hi Jane!

I have been so busy the last couple of weeks with family here and working overtime, but even in the midst of all this activity, where once I might have said “I don’t have time to write,” I am now finding it. Because there is a daily commitment and a partner on the other end, I am somehow finding the 20 minutes to sit down here and write something. That is invaluable. Amazing.

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Kathleen McClung: Memoir Writing (& Poetry too)

Kathleen’s Upcoming Classes: Memoir Writing: Mine & Refine Your Memories and Memoir Writing Continuation Workshop

Dear Writing Salon,

I’m finally writing down what I’ve been thinking for months.

I just want to say what a terrific teacher Kathleen McClung is. I am still writing — not quickly, not in vast quantities, but very happily — and I continually realize anew how much I learned from Kathleen. Her clarity and her explicit instruction about the elements of memoir have all been so helpful to me. I really feel like I have come away with a grasp of what good memoir writing needs to include. Not that I can do it all the time, and not that I don’t need a constant voice in my head reminding me of what I’ve been taught! But Kathleen provided the structure and the scaffolding for me to be able to build from there.

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Julie Bruck: Fearless Poetry, Persistent Poets and More

Julie’s Upcoming Classes: Persistent Poets: Fearless Poetry Continuation Class

Hi Jane,
I recently finished Julie Bruck’s workshop, and just wanted to drop you a note to say what I know many others have said before me: that she’s fantastic! She’s able to give meaningful feedback to poets of every aesthetic and all backgrounds (post-MFA to first poetry workshop) and she’s upbeat, focused, kind, and encourages a lot of fun. I’ve taken many workshops, and I work as a creative writing teacher for high school students, and I was impressed every week by Julie’s unflagging energy and committed thoughtfulness. She’s a gem! I know why she has return students who have worked with her for years!
Best wishes,


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Journaling and/or Poetry Classes with Ben Jackson

Ben’s Upcoming Classes: Creating a Writing Practice;  Journaling: Turn Your Life into Art;  Poetry: Finding a Way In

Marielle Berg and 3/14/13:

Dear Ben,

I just wanted to let you know personally that the way you showed up with your quiet enthusiasm, gentle eagerness and patient openness made for a really great learning experience for a first-time writer like myself.

“As someone new to writing, I found your journaling class to be the perfect introduction to help me access my creative self. The class was well paced, with useful in-class discussions and writing exercises. Ben took a genuine interest in each of us and was skilled at helping newbies like myself and the more seasoned writers in the class.”

Meilee Tan 1/16/13:

“My short stint with you and the class was most inspiring and it opened up my vistas to what is possible in writing for pleasure and what I can do with my accumulated journals — a project in the making!”

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Jenny Pritchett: Raw Writing, Intro to Creative Writing, Personal Essays & More

Jenny’s Upcoming Classes: You Should Write that Down!

Hi Jane,

I took the personal essay class taught by Jenny Pritchett, and I just HAVE to tell you what a fabulous experience it was. Jenny is, quite simply, a fantastic teacher. Each session was stimulating, challenging, and rich in content. I couldn’t wait to get up on a Saturday morning and head off to class!

Jenny’s perceptiveness, and intelligence are very evident in her teaching, and those qualities of hers work to stretch us as students. By the end end of session 5, every one of us had a solid foundation in the elements of a strong personal essay, and that is thanks to Jenny’s high-quality instruction. She’s very organized, and obviously puts thought and energy into planning cohesive instruction. Plus, she’s funny! We laughed a lot in class, learning all the while.

I was sad when the class ended! A few times, while sitting in that room and looking around the circle, I actually teared up a little with happiness at how right it felt to be there. I’m just so happy to have found the Writing Salon, and yet another great teacher in Jenny. Thank you!

Sue Granzella

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Novel Writing: ” . . . Karen Bjorneby is a fantastic teacher. . .”

Karen’s Next Class: Starting Your Novel

Hi Karen,

I just wanted to write you a note to thank you again for your class. It was really just what I needed. I hadn’t taken a writing course in a long time, and was feeling really lost, blocked and isolated in my writing. Trying to write a novel on my own the first time around was a bewildering experience, and I found myself hobbled in the end by constantly worrying over why I was doing what I was doing, anyway. Who was I to think I had something to say that anyone would care to hear? Let alone a story to tell…

…Your class helped me reconnect with the craft, and my love for it. I was really saved by your gentle, genuine approach to sharing our work. Throughout my attempts to become a writer, I have occasionally come into contact with a deeper, universal subconscious-type of wisdom that I shy away from in my everyday life. It was just a voice in my head that gave me the will to write, told me to keep going and to stay in touch with what inspired me. I heard that voice again, this time loud and clear through you, and I’m so grateful I had the chance to work with you. –Kerina

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Jay Ridler: Write Fast, Write Furious! & Writing from the Heart

Jay’s Next Class: Writing from the Heart: Uncovering Your Most Powerful Themes

Dear Jane,

Jason’s class, “Writing from the Heart,” far exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was inspiring, and helped me to overcome fears and connect with my emotions in an uninhibited way.

I particularly enjoyed Jason’s personality and his clear devotion to teaching and writing. His passion and his willingness to be vulnerable and humorous helped me and all of us to feel uninhibited and free to take risks.

His enthusiasm was contagious. I felt that it gave my writing and desires to write a real boost. Although the other writers were focused on fiction, I felt that my non-fiction work was honored. I would love to work with Jason again.

Justin Hecht


Jay is an inspiring teacher. Quick thinker and supportive teacher. I like his wit and honesty. Highly recommended.

C.J. Singh


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Junse Kim: Intro to Fiction

Junse’s Upcoming Classes: Intro to Fiction (SF) & Intro to Fiction (Berkeley)

Dear Jane,

It is my pleasure to write you to say that I was extremely impressed with the job Junse did in teaching the Intro to Fiction Writing class. He was excellent! Organized, attentive, focused, and craft-oriented. . . What he taught was a tangible, measurable skill, defining and using language that was specific and understandable–as an example, his focus on the difference between “taste” and looking at utilizing craft.

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Lisa Alpine: Travel Writing; Your Writer’s Toolbox

Lisa’s Upcoming Classes: Your Writer’s Toolbox: What’s In It? What’s Not?; Travel Writing: If You Can Live It, You Can Write It 

Dear Lisa,

Just wanted to drop a note and tell you how invigorated I  was by your workshop on Saturday. Despite the fact that I’ve been a professional writer (staff and freelance) off and on for some 25 (!) years, I have found myself in the doldrums lately as I try to redesign my life. Besides enjoying your energy and humor, I really appreciated the concrete tips on everything from vivid writing to drumming up business. You certainly packed a lot into a one-day  class. It made me feel that it *is* possible to do some of  the things I’ve dreamed of.

I ran right home and registered a web domain name, and plan to follow through on the “assignments” you gave us over the next few weeks, between freelance odd jobs, personal writing, mothering, and housekeeping… I already have a writers’ group (newly formed from  another Writing Salon class) and basic journalism experience–I just need to put my ideas into action.

Many thanks again!
Jennifer Dix

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Patricia Cotter: Playwriting 101 & Writing Musicals

Patricia’s Upcoming Classes: Playwriting 101: A Crash Course in Writing for the Theater & BeyondSo You Want to Write a Musical?

This was my first ever Writing Salon class! I had no idea what to expect.

First of all, Patricia is a phenomenal teacher with a wealth of knowledge and advice she’s also warm, smart and funny! I was honored to meet everyone and listen to some truly inspirational stories. It was surprising and compelling to see how open and honest people were. People shared their darkest moments, and gave themselves permission to open their hearts and souls to a room full of strangers. Powerful stuff indeed!

Having never written a play before, I learnt so much from just one day, structure, pacing, format, character development etc. I really did not want it to end. I walked away, inspired, motivated, enriched and all fired up to write. I wrote my opening scene that evening and have been writing every day since!

Thank you to everyone for a truly magical day, and special thanks to you, Patricia! I will absolutely be back for more. I can’t wait!

Hannah Kelly
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Nick Mamatas: Fabulous Fiction: Mysteries, Thrillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Romance & More

Nick’s Next Class: Fabulous Fiction: Mysteries, Thrillers, Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy & More

“Nick’s class totally met my expectations. Enjoyable and learned a whole lot. Excellent class and I would recommend it to anyone writing genre fiction (or general fiction). The in-class exercises were great, and Nick’s lectures and insight and anecdotes about the publishing industry were very helpful.” —Joel Davis


“The course exceeded my expectations – Nick’s knowledge of commercial fiction in general and his specific editorial experience were invaluable. I liked all of the exercises.  I’m not fond of the on-the-spot tests of any kind (probably all those dark years in junior high) but the exercises opened up the class to exploring some ways to generate ideas for stories. And I liked Nick’s teaching style.  Even though there is a “skeleton” that he follows, his ad lib approach with ton’s of anecdotes and sidebars was great. —Doug Jensen


“I actually learned more than I thought I would.  Also, Nick was very patient with me that I didn’t know anything about genre fiction at all.

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Kate Montgomery: Intro to Screenwriting

I’m going to have to take another writing class to be able to describe fully how amazing Kate’s class was.

Now, this may sound like a cliche, but Kate inspired me to make time in my life for what I really want to do, write stories. And that’s hard, I’m a cynical Eastern European, hard to impress and convince.But now I’m going to spend a couple of hours each week to write something down, and if she’ll invite me I’ll go to all her events and
workshops, pitch my story ideas, and do my best to create amazing work.

She is an incredibly charismatic, and it feels great to be around her. But the whole inspiration part is what makes her a standout teacher.

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Dianne Jacob: Food Writing

Hello Dianne,

Your food writing class was absolutely wonderful. You are extremely knowledgeable. I also really enjoyed the guest speaker. It added a well-balanced perspective to the great information you gave us.

The different components made the class very professional. I feel like I got my money’s worth and more.

The writing exercises were inspiring. I did not expect such diversity.

I particularly enjoyed the history facts, the variations in book styles, and your knowledge on the wide range of food careers one can participate in.

Thank You!! Excellent Job.

Saeeda Hafiz
Natural Foods Consultant and Certified Yoga Instructor

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Jess Wells: Historical Fiction, How to Write with a Fulltime Job & More

Jess’s Next Class: Jess Wells: Historical Fiction: Facts and Fibs Combined…What Fun!

Hi Jane,

I just wanted to tell you how great Jess’ short story class was yesterday. It was exactly what I was looking for! We talked about the differences in content and structure in short stories vs the novel. We discussed how novel focus more on emotion and character and short stories focus more on theme and plot. We talked about how every character in the short story somehow expressed the theme or relates to the theme in a different way. We talked about keeping our characters limited to 3-4. And we discussed how the plotting is different in the short story as well. It sort of all came together for me. Now I just have to write it! (The easy part right?).

We also workshopped the stories we’re working on then worked through the seven basic questions as they apply to our stories. We even talked about the history of the short story.

Anyway, I highly recommend this class and Jess as an instructor.

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Eli Brown: Fiction Workshop: Bringing Your Stories to Life

Hi Eli,

First of all, I want to thank you for a great class. I really enjoyed it and feel I learned a lot. I definitely think I’ll use much of the information we covered in my own writing going forward.I am struggling to think of one aspect of your class that I liked best. Honestly, I liked it all. I liked the various readings you gave us, especially “Yours” by Mary Robison. I liked the in-class writing exercises. Those using visual prompts were especially fun.Your lectures were thoughtful, well-organized and very helpful. I appreciated that each had a distinct subject covered coherently and in detail. The “Three Act Structure” talk was especially useful. It is so simple and so fundamental, and yet no one in any of the other classes I’ve taken has covered it so well. I appreciated that your lectures were so comprehensive. I feel that two different listeners, one a novice and one very experienced, could both still learn something from them. And as you may have guessed, I really appreciated the talk you gave on your own process. It is very encouraging to hear a published novelist mention tricks and habits and challenges that I also employ/experience…gives one hope.
YELP Reviews

The Writing Salon

“…writers are catching on to the Writing Salon…”

Thanks for the inspiring quotes; they arrived at a good time as my project was drifting, with me being a little uneasy in my commitment to it. Great to hear that interest in your labor of love persists and writers are catching on to the Writing Salon and the community of writers it embraces. Warmest wishes for a relaxing Thanksgiving….maybe we’ll catch up at one of the Jan. classes.



After teaching Writing and Literature for more than four decades, I’ve been delighted to find community with other writers through The Writing Salon in both San Francisco and Berkeley.  Even from my home on the Peninsula, the workshops and classes have been well worth the trip.

Theresa Lebeiko, Ph.D.

“…Keep me on your mailing list!”

Thanks for the ongoing info about the Writing Salon. And thanks to you for having the guts to start and sustain your appreciated community service (and business)! Keep me on your mailing list!


“…thank you, Writing Salon, for being here…”

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the wonderful letter you sent about process or publication. I would also like to thank you for being truly interested in every one of the people who take classes at The Writing Salon, whether currently in a class or perhaps someone who has taken them in the past.

I always felt (and feel) supported in my process at the Salon, with the incredible teaching staff and the feelings of comraderie that build up among the students as well.

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“…what a great community of writers…”

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the great party Saturday, and congratulations on the fifth anniversary of  The Writing Salon [note from Jane on Jan 1st, 2014: We are now about to celebrate our 15th anniversary!]. The readings were fabulous and hilarious. What a great community of writers you have collected–I am inspired anew. I intend to take another class in the near future, although due to time and money constraints it won’t be this session, sorry to say.

In the meantime, is it possible to get copies of any of the readings from Saturday night? I am thinking in particular of those by Dale Bentson, Jeff Kennedy, Kari Kiernan and Will Walker, these being the ones that almost caused me to pass milk through my nose. (And I wasn’t even drinking milk.)

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“The Writing Salon couldn’t have a bigger fan … “

Dear Jane,

I woke up this morning in Palm Springs at 5:30 to catch a 7:00 flight and be at my desk in Mountain View by 9:30. I just got home from work now, exhausted but not too tired to check my home email to see what’s up with my writing buddies, mentors, contacts, (and now what looks like editors and publishers!) — the secret world you and the Writing Salon opened to me. Please do take some credit. If I hadn’t stumbled across the Writing Salon in an article in the Chronicle a couple years ago, I’d still be wondering ‘what if,’ which is so against my nature. Instead, I feel like fate-willing, I’ll be writing my way through my forties, my fifties, my sixties, and maybe even when I’m “Nearing Ninety.” It’s all because of you. You couldn’t have a bigger fan of the challenging, patient, generous, and valuable work you do. Thank you so much!


PS: That sure does read like a testimonial, so if you need one, feel free to use, cut, paste, etc.

Classes with Katia Noyes

Hi Jane,

Thank you for organizing Delving into the Dark Side. This was my first Writing Salon class, and it was terrific! I would love to come back and will keep my eyes on the class offerings.

I signed up for the class with hopes that I would have new ways to access a darker voice, and my expectations were certainly met. All of the exercises were stimulating, and can be repeated. I also walked away with a great list of questions that can help me develop a character’s shadow side.

Katia was an excellent teacher on every front. She created a safe, comfortable environment. She effectively incorporated the use of different media: music to get us physically moving and writing, video, and audio book. She gave us great examples, and shared her experiences in getting into the shadow in her own writing. Activities and discussions were nicely woven together, and the day flew by. The feedback she gave was appropriate for on-the-spot writing. She encouraged us to keep going, and gave us good ideas and questions to consider. I really like that Katia had each of us share a writing goal for the next week and encouraged us to be accountable by emailing someone when we completed our goal.

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Blogging for Writers with Britt Bravo

“Britt’s class exceeded my expectations. Britt was very vibrant and warm and made what could have been godawful boring exciting and interesting. She was extremely helpful and approachable. I give her an “excellent” rating on all counts.” – Dorothy Calimeris

Britt’s” Blogging For Writers” was refreshing and fun. I loved her ease and creativity with which she guided us through the material and kept it interesting throughout the day. I am inspired and ready to get started! A big Thank You Britt!


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For Ruth Schwartz (“Writing Dangerously” Workshop)

Dear Jane,

I LOVED everything about this workshop! Ruth did everything right. Good prompts, good guidance, shared knowledge, interesting personality, great listener, great speaker, useful feedback. I wish you were offering a monthly Saturday or Sunday class with her. I’d sign up right now!

Will settle down now with tea and her book of poems. The ones I have already read are quite wonderful.

Thank You!


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Fiction Classes in SF ” . . . Josh is a fabulous teacher. . .”

Dear Jane,

Josh Mohrmanages to give super-supportive enthusiastic encouragement and precise, practical, advice. The double word score! I learned so much, read all kinds of instructive stuff that I would never have otherwise encountered, and got constructive suggestions for more things to do. I’ve also gotten renewed motivation to write.

Josh is a fabulous teacher. Have him teach more classes!

Anna Williams

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Writing Funny with Stan Sinberg

Stan had a deep, credible background in humor writing and so had a lot to impart. I learned a tremendous amount about the structure and tools for developing humorous pieces.  I found his formal understanding of what works and doesn’t work with humor writing, how to approach pieces, the most helpful.  I enjoyed the examples that he offered to explain his theories and points. There were so many moments in the class that made me laugh, it made  it fun.

David Nelson-Gal

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“…You guys set the bar high…”


I’m sure you don’t remember me, but five years ago I took a Writing Salon workshop with an instructor there named Laura (can’t recall her last name at the moment but she had longish blond hair). Anyway, my name is Vinny Carrella and The Writing Salon was my FIRST exposure to fiction writing. I wrote my first short story there and subsequently went on to write a prize-winning story called The Serpent Box and the Poison Jar that received enough attention to land me an agent. This led to me writing my first novel (same title).

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Humor Writing: “Pamela is a gem!”

It was packed with information, inspiration and encouragement. Pamela is a wonderful teacher. She nurtured everyone in the humor writing class!


“Pamela is a gem. I’d follow her anywhere.”–Diana Lyster


“I was so high after this class that I went home and wrote until 4 AM! Still exhausted but so worth it.”- Liz K


Re: the humor writing class: “Excellent teacher… Exceeded my expectations — the process was just amazing… I loved the critiques — Beth P.

“…I highly recommend her class!”

Dear Jane,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed taking Personal Essays on Saturdays from Suzy Parker. Not only is she a fun and funny person, but she is extremely knowledgeable. Her classes were well organized with a lot of variety. We always started with a warm-up which got the creativity flowing and she provided copies (usually crappy ones–ha!) of a variety of writing types which tied to the topic we were writing about at the time.

Suzy pushed me in directions I may not have thought about with my writing, and I appreciate that shove. She gave good feedback on critiques and was generous with her sources, and encouraging in her efforts to get us to publish, publish, publish. She is a down to earth person, and we all felt very comfortable in the writing group, mostly because she made is so easy to be there. The time flew by each Saturday…I’ll miss it this coming week. I highly recommend her class!

Maren Smith

“…I would have loved to keep going on…”

I loved the class. Judy was professional, knowledgable and generous with guidance and inspiration. The writing exercises were useful. The reading aloud always helps. The tips and techniques were solid and I felt she had a good, grounded base of experience to share. She came with us to lunch and was very approachable and down to earth.
The time passed quickly and I would have loved to keep going on. I would attend other workshops by her at the Writing Salon. Her teaching style is inspiring, encouraging and sent me away wanting to write. Always a good sign! The class was a great value. I really felt I got my money’s worth.

Sarah Scott

“…Maureen is a terrific memoir teacher…”


Maureen is a terrific memoir teacher. She’s quite intelligent, thoughtful about the writing and the experiences represented, and sensitive to each person in a very patient way. . . .She’s able to balance helpful directives/comments about writing in general along with specific comments to an individual writer. The class structure she uses has been very useful to me: using carefully chosen examples/excerpts from other writers (she’s very well read in this genre) to illustrate a particular way of writing memoir. She then assigns that approach for the following week. She’s also a very good writer herself. She’s also quite open about using her own experiences as examples, and she’s clearly had quite a range of them.

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Berkeley Poetry Workshop: “. . . James is a terrific teacher…”

James Arthur was an outstanding teacher, one of the best writing teachers I’ve had and I’ve had quite a few!! I really liked his class [The Poem You Weren't Expecting] and am hoping he will teach again in the fall! . . .The course met my expectations very well! It helped me come at writing poetry in new ways which I really appreciated!

Peggy Rasmussen

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Into the Deep with Judy Reeves

I loved the class. Judy was professional, knowledegable and generous with guidance and inspiration. The writing exercises were useful. The reading aloud always helps. The tips and techniques were solid and I felt she had a good, grounded base of experience to share. She came with us to lunch and was very approachable and down to earth.

The time passed quickly and I would have loved to keep going on. I would attend other workshops by her at the Writing Salon. Her teaching style is inspiring, encouraging and sent me away wanting to write. Always a good sign! The class was a great value. I really felt I got my money’s worth.

Sarah Scott

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Magazine Writing: “. . . great instruction. Thank you, Cary”

Hi Cary,

It’s been quite some time since our last class. I’ve been busy implementing what I learned from you [in Freelance Magazine Writing] and wanted to share the results.

After all those rewrites on my class article about Ferry Point, I set it aside and developed a totally different article. The idea came from my experience working with boat covers. Fallout from cargo ships and airplanes seemed to be causing unusual damage to boat covers in marinas near seaports and airports. I wanted to find out more about the link and thought others would be interested, too.

I pitched the article in an email to the Marine Fabricator magazine, expecting to wait for weeks before hearing something like “Well . . . . maybe . . . . could work . . . . how about a little 25 words or less blurb . . . ” Instead, Chris replied before 2 hours had passed and gave me an assignment, on spec, for an 800 word article, plus photos and captions. Since it was my first time working with them, he couldn’t commit to pay me until after he’d seen the article. Oh, and by the way, could I make the deadline in 4 weeks?

Of course I said yes.

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Testimonials for Aurora Brackett

I’ve taken Aurora Brackett’s Fundamentals class twice and I wish I could just continue to hang out there. In part it’s because I feel safest calling myself a beginner, but the larger part is that it continues to be both fun and rewarding, while at the same time safe. Aurora is nurturing of the uncertain writer, continually recognizing the vibrant and original in everyone’s work, and successfully modeling that approach to her students. It’s not just platitudes, either; the thing I miss the most when not in her classes is the insightful and constructive comments she provides on specific aspects of my work. Her comments never fail to help illuminate the heart of what my words are aiming for, and motivate me to clarify and flesh out my writing experience.
Thank you, Aurora!
Sheila Meltzer
Testimonials & Reviews for Doug Goetsch

Here are testimonials from Doug’s students at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, where he has taught for a dozen years. Also, at the end, are a several rave reviews in praise of his poetry.

“Douglas Goetsch is a born teacher. He brings a vast array of examples to every point. He is energetic about life, words and people. He was thoroughly organized in every presentation. Now to practice what he set before us…”
– Anne Gleason, Cincinnati, OH

“His expertise, knowledge and experience seemed phenomenal. His in-class humor, direction and exercises stimulated excellent discussion, creativity and production of new material… Doug did a great job adapting to my needs and working through problems individually.”
– Stuart Schurtz, Mason City, IA

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