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Anniversary Party 2004

Writing For Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds

by Deena Metzger

Paperback – 272 pages (October 1992)
Harper San Francisco; ISBN: 0062506129 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.74 x 9.19 x 6.10

List Price: $16.00 Our Price: $12.80 You Save: $3.20 (20%)

 

Into the Deep – Techniques for going below the surface of your writing

One Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Berkeley & SF
$95 members/$110 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

Sometimes a writer skims on top of a subject. Or dog-paddles around the edges. Or is too nice. The writing is glib and clever and maybe even funny, or the story moves along from plot point to plot point, but the piece is as shallow a wading pool.

This is not to say that writing can’t entertain; it can and often does. Or that it can’t be “just a diversion.” Some of the best-selling books are “just a diversion.” But even in that diversion there is a depth, of character or relationship. A depth of emotion. So when we talk about going deeper, we’re not talking “heavy.” We’re talking texture and layering, getting beneath the skin. As writers, when we throw our stone into the pond, we want to make ripples, circles that enlarge from the base and encompass a larger area than simply a hole in the water where our stone sank. Kafka said “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

This workshop examines what can cause a writer to keep her head above water — from being in a hurry to finish, to not trusting her own voice or intuition or fear of what might be discovered or revealed, then suggests ten ways to take a deep breath and dive in. Life jackets optional.

Judy Reeves is a writer, teacher and writing practice provocateur whose books include A Writer’s Book of Days; Writing Alone, Writing Together; A Creative Writer’s Kit and The Writer’s Retreat Kit. In addition to leading private writing and creativity workshops, Judy teaches writing at UCSD Extension and in private workshops, and speaks at writing conferences internationally. She is a co-founder of San Diego Writers, Ink where she served as Executive Director. A revised edition of A Writer’s Book of Days was recently released.

“I loved the class…”

“Judy made this workshop come alive for me…”

Show a Lot, Tell a Little – What every creative writer needs to know!

luterman2.jpg Saturday, Oct. 4th, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Location: Berkeley
$95 members/$110 non-members

Note: This is an especially good class for beginners, but it’s also for anyone who wants to make their writing more colorful, evocative and lively.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the writer who learns to paint vivid images is more than halfway home. However, there comes a time in most essays, poems and stories when the underlying ideas need to be gently highlighted, a process akin to finding that long skinny vein on a shrimp and gently pulling it out. What is this story about? Where is this poem going? What is this essay trying to say? “In this workshop,” says instructor Alison Luterman, “we will write a lot and talk a little about the delicate, elusive process of making our meanings clear without overburdening our writing with too much explanation. No formulas will be offered, only some examples, and the good companionship of other writers who are struggling honestly to say what lies just beyond the tip of their tongues.”

Alison Luterman has been shamelessly telling tales from her own life ever since she could grip a sweaty pencil. She has published essays in The Sun, Radiance, Response, The East Bay Express, and The Boston Phoenix. Her book of poems, The Largest Possible Life, won The Cleveland State University Poetry Prize. She has taught poetry to thousands of school children through California Poets in the schools. The great love of her life is performing improvisational dance, singing, storytelling and poetry through the Wing It! performance ensemble. She has given workshops and readings around the country, and recently completed her first full-length play, “Saying Kaddish with my Sister.” In addition to teaching personal essay writing at the Writing Salon, she teaches playwriting through the Marin Theater Company.

Screenwriters Roundtable – You’re not alone!

Terrel Seltzer Friday, Feb. 26th, 7-10 p.m.   Berkeleyregister_off-70x18
$35 members/$45 non-members

“Are you working on a screenplay?  I know from experience what a lonely, confusing endeavor that can be,” says Terrel Seltzer. “So come have a good time talking it over with others who have chosen the same boat, rowing up that turbulent stream.  Bring a synopsis of your script, an outline, a treatment, a scene, a premise, an idea you want to try out.  Plus all your questions:  Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Classes Listed by Day of the Week (San Francisco & Berkeley)

 

SAN FRANCISCO & BERKELEY

NOTE: The list below is currently being updated to show all summer classes.

The update will be done by June 1st.

SATURDAYS

San Francisco:

I Want to Write BUT: A Kick in the “But” Class…for YOU?  – Jane Underwood
July 13: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Intro to Poetry: Finding Your Comfort Ground – Ben Jackson
July 20: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Lurking in the Shadows: Dangerous Women, Bad Boys, & Twisted Sisters – Katia Noyes
July 27: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Tiny Kingdoms: Writing and Publishing the VERY Short Story – Andy Touhy
Aug. 3: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Historical Fiction: Facts & Fibs Combined–What Fun! – Jess Wells
Aug. 10: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Full-Tilt Prose: Let Your Sentences Soar!Katia Noyes
Aug. 17-Sept. 21 (5 weeks, skip Aug. 31): 2-4:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Memoir Writing: Mine and Refine Your Memories – Kathleen McClung
Aug. 24-Sept. 28 (5 weeks, skip Aug. 31st ) 10:30 am-1 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Berkeley:

Creative Writing: Delving Deeper – Elaine Beale
June 1-29 (5 weeks): 10:30 am-1 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Writing Funny For Blogs, YouTube or…What’s That Other Thing? – PRINT! (And Getting Paid For It, Too!)– Stan Sinberg
June 1-29 (5 weeks): 2-4:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Inspiring the Muse: A Day to Jumpstart Your Writing – Elaine Beale
July 13: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

Turn Your Hard-Won Wisdom into a Self-Help or Personal Growth Book – Ruth Schwartz
July 20: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

TBA – TBA
July 27: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

TBA – TBA
Aug. 3: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

TBA – TBA
Aug. 10: 10 am to 4 pm ($95 members/$110 others)

TBA – TBA
Aug. 17-Sept. 21 (5 weeks, skip Aug. 31): 10:30 am-1 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Fabulous Fiction: Mysteries, Thrillers, Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy & More – Nick Mamatas
Aug. 17-Sept. 21 (5 weeks, skip Aug. 31) 2-4:30 pm $215 members/$245 others

_____________________________________________________________________________

SUNDAYS

San Francisco:

Writing Children’s Picture Books: More than Just Child’s Play – Shirin Bridges
July 14-Aug. 11 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Daily Write Round Robin: Community, Creativity, Commitment – Jane Underwood
July 21 (mandatory attendance) and Sept. 22 10:30 am-1 pm (plus every day online between meetings) $195 members/$225 others

Journaling: Turn Your Life into Art – Ben Jackson
Aug. 18-Sept. 22 (5 weeks, skip Sept. 1st) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Persistent Poets: Fearless Poets Continuation Class – Julie Bruck
Aug. 18-Jan. 5 (6 meetings: Aug. 18, Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 5) 2:30-5 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Berkeley:

Starting Your Novel: Begin at the Beginning – Samuel Sattin
June 2-30 (5 weeks) 2-4:30 pm   $215 members/$245 others

Intro to Fiction: You Can’t Build a House without a Foundation – Junse Kim
July 14-Aug. 11 (5 weeks) 2-4:30 pm    $215 members/$245 others

TBATBA
July 14-Sept. 15 (9 weeks, skip Sept. 1st) 7-9:30 pm   $365 members/$395 others

TBA – TBA
Aug. 18-Sept. 22 (5 weeks, skip Sept. 1st) 2-4:30 pm   $215 members/$245 others

_____________________________________________________________________________

MONDAYS

San Francisco:

Starting Your Novel: Get a Foothold on Your Project – Karen Bjorneby
June 3-July 1 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

“Combo” Class: Intro to Fiction with Junse Kim, followed by Starting Your Novel with Karen Bjorneby)
July 15-Sept. 23 (skip Sept. 2; 10 weeks for same price as a 9-week class) 7-9:30 pm   $365 members/$395 others

Intro to Fiction: You Can’t Build a House without a Foundation – Junse Kim
July 15-Aug. 12 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Starting Your Novel: Get a Foothold on Your Project – Karen Bjorneby
Aug. 19-Sept. 23 (5 weeks, skip Sept. 2) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Berkeley:

Discovering Your Poetry: Uncover the Gems Alison Luterman
 July 15-Aug. 12 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others 

TBA – TBA
Aug. 19-Sept. 23 (5 weeks, skip Sept. 2) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others 

______________________________________________________________________

TUESDAYS

San Francisco:

Intro to Creative Writing: Having Fun with the Fundamentals – Jenny Pritchett
July 16-Sept. 10 (9 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Berkeley:

Write from Real Life: Personal Essays & Memoirs – Alison Luterman
July 16-Sept. 10 (9 weeks) 7-9:30 pm $365 members/$395 others

______________________________________________________________________

WEDNESDAYS

San Francisco:

Playwriting 101: A Crash Course in Writing for the Theater & Beyond – Patricia Cotter
May 29-June 26 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm $215 members/$245 others

Intro to Personal Essays: Telling Your Real Life Stories – Jenny Pritchett
July 17-Sept. 11 (9 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Berkeley:

“Combo” Special: Raw Writing & Intro to Creative Writing – Andy Touhy and Elaine Beale
July 24-Sept. 25 (10 weeks, same price as a 9-week class) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Raw Writing: Generating New Material  – Andy Touhy
July 24-Aug. 21  (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm $215 members/$245 others

Intro to Creative Writing: Having Fun with the Fundamentals  – Elaine Beale
Aug. 28-Sept. 25  (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm $215 members/$245 others

____________________________________________________________________________

THURSDAYS

San Francisco:

Honing the Art of Storytelling: Fiction Workshop – Andy Touhy
July 18-Aug. 15 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm    $215 members/$245 others

Fearless Poetry Workshop – Julie Bruck
Aug. 22-Sept. 19 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm  $215 members/$245 others

Berkeley:

Intro to Creative Writing: Having Fun with the Fundamentals – Elaine Beale
May 30-June 27 (5 weeks) 7-9:30 pm $215 members/$245 others

The Fiction Gym: Strengthening Your Writing in a Workshop Setting – Cary Groner
July 18-Sept. 12  (9 weeks) 7-9:30 pm   $365 members/$395 others

____________________________________________________________________________

FRIDAYS

San Francisco:

Honing the Art of Storytelling: Fiction Workshop Continuation – Andy Touhy
Aug. 16-Jan. 10 (Six months: Aug. 16, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, Dec. 6, Jan. 10) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Novel Writing Continuation Workshop: Don’t Stop Now! – Karen Bjorneby
Aug. 23-Jan. 17 (Six months: Aug. 23, Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15, Dec. 13, Jan. 17) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

Berkeley:

Beyond the First Draft: Works-in-Progress – Jess Wells
July 19-Dec. 6 (Six months: July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, Dec. 6) 7-9:30 pm  $365 members/$395 others

____________________________________________________________________________

SPECIAL PAYMENTS OPTION

Kathleen McClung: Memoir Writing – Mine & Refine Your Memories

mcclungnew25 Saturdays, November 5 – December 10, 2-4:30pm 
Skip November 26
$275 members/$295 others  
Testimonials for Kathleen

*Class is sold out. If you’d like to be placed on the waiting list, send an email to hello@writingsalons.com.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jess Wells: The Literary Landscape – Creating Credible Settings That Work for Your Story

1 Saturday, October 29 , 10am-4pm
$130 members/$145 others  

Testimonials for Jess

 Class is Closed!

Setting is not simple backdrop, like a green screen on which a film is shot. Setting in fiction plays an important role in theme, plot, genre, and even characterization. Instructor Jess Wells says, “It’s no accident that your intrepid heroes have to ride through a narrow mountain pass: it’s the way the author forces friend and foe into a meeting. It’s helpful that your main character is the village doctor, hosting family after family during their crisis in a little room in the front of the house. Even the relentless dark and biting wind of a distant planet illustrates both the physical challenges facing the colony of scientists but also their brooding cruelty to one another.”

Whether you write sci-fi, historicals, erotica, or modern fiction, your setting can make or break your story. In this one-day class, we’ll ask the following:

  • What are the keys to a well-drawn fictional world?
  • What elements assist in creating an effective setting and better yet, an efficient setting that works hard for you in your story?
  • How can a setting be drawn to challenge the protagonist in his/her quest?
  • How can a setting allow the author to control movement of the characters and introduce diversity of events and characters?

We may look at the opening pages and/or the maps of well-known books from different genres, including: The Lathe of Heaven, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Perfume: Story of a Murderer, and The Hobbit. We may also take a free-form map and create a world of our own to see what a setting requires.

And of course, we’ll tip our hats to the amazing power of a beautifully written setting that transports us, transfixes us, lets us smell the flowers of a foreign land. It’s thrilling to realize, “oh that’s why it had to be Mordor!”

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.

The Writing Life

Writing from the Body

by John Lee

Paperback – 144 pages (December 1994)
St. Martin’s Press; ISBN: 0312115369 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.45 x 8.22 x 5.46

List Price: $10.95 Our Price: $9.31 You Save: $1.64 (15%)

 

Food Writing for Food Lovers

NOT BEING OFFERED THIS SESSION, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Berkeley
$85 members/$95 non-members

Are you a food enthusiast who loves to write, cook and eat? Do you devour food magazines and cookbooks in bed, or secretly dream of whipping up your own cookbook on Tuscan main dishes? Do you read restaurant reviews and think, “That’s my dream job!”? This overview class will give you a taste of food writing in all its variations: magazine and newspaper features, literary memoir,  recipes and reviews. You’ll also learn which ingredients constitute an irresistible cookbook proposal. Instructor Dianne Jacob will lead you through exercises designed to bring your simmering creativity and style to a boil, focusing on the senses, memory, and place.

Dianne Jacob is the author of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reviews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction, and More. She has been published in Writer’s Digest, Salon, Sunset, Gastronomica, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and has won two national awards as a top editor of magazines and interactive books. Dianne also judges the international cookbook awards of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and chairs the Food Writing Conference at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA.

Advanced Screenwriting – The Inside Story

Two Saturdays, 10/25 & 11/1, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
$185 members/$215 non-members; Location:
Berkeley

Many student writers, after taking Terrel Seltzer’s nine-week "Calling Card Script” class, are asking for more.  “They’re motivated and want to keep the dialogue going about screenwriting in general and their scripts in particular," Terrel. "The last day of session, I always feel protective. Like a mother bird nudging her fledglings out of the nest to fly on their own."

Advanced Screenwriting is for students who have taken the nine-week class (or equivalent} and are ready to excavate below the three-act structure surface to delve deeper into the thorny and poetic mechanics of dramatic storytelling. "Simple stories with complex characters is one of my writing mantras," says Terrel, "and these two days will be devoted to finding the true and meaningful story inside your plot, by concentrating on the main character’s transformational arc."

Students should come with 13 copies of a one-page synopsis of their script, using Dara Marks’ book, Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc” as a guide. The books is available on Amazon or on Dara Marks’ website. (Note: There will be a one-hour lunch break; a lovely cafe is located on the premises.)

Terrel Seltzer is a self-taught screenwriter. She learned the craft by watching and outlining literally hundreds of movies.  Her career started in the Bay Area, working with SF director Wayne Wang, for whom she wrote the screenplays for the independent films Chan is Missing and Dim Sum. Her two produced Hollywood screenplays are How I Got into College (with Lara Flynn Boyle and Anthony Edwards) and One Fine Day (with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Cloony). Currently, she has two projects in development: FoolProof, a spec script optioned by Cherry Road Films, and Rule #1 optioned by Panther Films.

Self-Publishing Your Book – How to navigate the road to success

lisaalpinesmaller

One Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

“Once you’ve written your book, who will deliver it to the readers?” says instructor Lisa Alpine. “Do you trust a publishing house to invest money in these financially strapped times to promote your book? Or do you jump on the self-publishing bandwagon and get it out there yourself – NOW? But if you opt for the latter, who then will design, market and distribute your book?”

Lisa will guide you over the tough terrain of getting your book birthed and onto the bookstore shelves. She will lay out the map of your many options, covering these points and more:

Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking into Magazine Writing – The rules of the game

Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm   San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

“I’ve done stories on everything from home computers to a profile of the Emmy Award-winning sound engineer who worked on Basic Instinct,” says Cary Pepper. “But my favorite was the one I did about a new reading program for kindergartners; the kids pulled me right into the class, and I learned more that one day than I ever learned in kindergarten. That’s one of the things I love most about magazine writing — it’s a constant learning process. It gives you a license to probe into the world. It’s also the most accessible way to break into professional writing. Even when you have no publishing credits, if you come up with the right idea, and pitch it to the right editor at the right time, you can get the assignment.” Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Your Writer’s Voice: How to Generate New Work & Actually Have Fun in the Process!

9 Weeks, 7-9:30 p.m. (this class is not on the current schedule of classes)
$335 members/$365 others
San Francisco

If you’re generating new ideas for a project that’s been in your head for awhile, this class is the perfect place for you. “Getting feedback on a printed manuscript is a helpful process,” says instructor Chris DeLorenzo, “but writers also need a place to explore ideas and generate first draft writing. This class is the perfect place to do that.”

Based on the Amherst Writers and Artists method, this class provides a safe, fun environment, utilizing spontaneous writing exercises that help unlock ideas for poems, stories, and dialogue. You’ll have a chance to focus on the building blocks of effective writing: description, sensory details, and narration, and you’ll find yourself actually enjoying the process!

Each class offers students several writing sessions. After writing, students volunteer to read their work out loud and receive feedback. “What’s unique about this method,” says DeLorenzo, “is that students only offer positive feedback on what’s read out loud: no criticism. This really helps writers to grow their new projects.”

The writing exercises in this class with help you to stretch as a writer, to expand on your ideas, or return to past ideas and help you to develop them. Feedback from the instructor, as well as the other students, allows each writer to really hear what’s working in these first drafts for the first time. “That’s something writers can’t do on their own,” DeLorenzo reminds us. “We need other ears; we need other writers.”

Chris DeLorenzo has an MA in creative writing and is a certified Amherst Writers and Artists method (AWA) facilitator. He teaches writing at the University of San Francisco and has published poetry, prose and personal essays in numerous publications. He has also written two novels,  Certain Sacred Places and All That Remains.

 

 

“. . . what a gift Chris DeLorenzo has been. . .”

 

Jenny Pritchett: Personal Essays – Tell Your Real-Life Stories

5 Mondays, August 15 – September 19, 7-9:30pm   Berkeley
Skip September 5
$215 members/$245 others 

Testimonials for Jenny

Have you always wanted to write about your crazy family? What about an accident that changed the course of your life? A discovery that changed your perception of the past? A mysterious neighbor whose comings and goings excite your imagination? If you know you want to, but you don’t know where to start, this is your class. “By the end,” says Jenny, “you’ll walk away with a rough draft of a personal essay.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shirin Bridges: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions – A Rational Approach to the Business of Getting Published

Shirin Photo 9.18.153 Tuesdays, November 29 – December 13, 7-9:30pm
$145 members/$165 others   
        
Testimonials for Shirin

   

 If, like many aspiring authors, you are increasingly overwhelmed by all the publishing options now on offer—you may have even cried aloud, I wish somebody would just tell me what to do!—this is the course for you. Using simple and overt “if yes then A, if no then B” logic, this workshop will walk you through a thorough and comprehensive decision tree. Going step by step, you will see the main options available based on how you personally answer each decision-point question, and learn why some options are subsequently more appropriate than others.

You will discover the latest publishing services and sales channels. You will asses the benefits offered by each, and be warned of their potential limitations. And you’ll be inspired by case studies illustrating some successful out-of-the-box thinking from aspiring authors like yourself.

Bring a pen and notepad to class, and a one-sentence expression of why you would like to be published. Leave with an overview of the publishing labyrinth, a recommended pathway based on your individual decision-point choices, and a clear grasp of your personal next steps.

Shirin Yim Bridges has successfully transitioned from Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HarperCollins/Greenwillow, Chronicle books) to self-publisher, to award-winning publisher (Goosebottom Books). She has been featured on the front cover of Publishers Weekly, and she has taught and spoken about publishing at the California Writers’ Club, the Left Coast Writers, San Francisco State University, Illinois State University, and the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference—where she is the incoming Executive Director.
Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of our Associated Writing Programs

edited by Julie Checkoway

Hardcover
– 304 pages (April 1999)
Story Pr; ISBN: 1884910408 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 1.19 x 9.37 x 6.45

List Price: $18.99 Our Price: $13.29 You Save: $5.70 (30%)

 

The Elements of Style

by William Strunk and E.B. White

Paperback
(August 1999)
Anchor; ISBN: 020530902X;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.61 x 7.97 x 5.20

List Price: $6.95, Our Price: $5.56, You Save: $1.39 (20%)

Hardcover – 239 pages (September 1994)
Pantheon Books; ISBN: 0679435204;
Dimensions (in inches): 1.05 x 8.32 x 5.27

List Price: $14.95, Our Price: $10.47, You Save: $4.48 (30%)

 

The Art of Revision — A Rough Draft PLAY DAY!

Jane50.jpg Saturday, Feb. 24th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$85 members/$95 non-members; Berkeley

 Course description to come.

Screenwriting Seminar – How to see, hear and WRITE visually

Terrel Seltzer Saturday, Feb. 21st, 10 am-4 pm;  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members

“Most beginning screenwriters have trouble determining where the writing ends and the directing begins,” says Terrel Seltzer. “They “see” a scene in their head, but they don’t know how much detail to write down on paper, or leave out.  They usually end up with a pretty cluttered script.”

Screenwriting is the craft of writing visually and succinctly.  “It’s a very poetic form,” Terrel says, “much closer to writing a sonnet than a novel.  And rules apply.”  In this class, you’ll learn ways to think visually and then get the picture in your head down on paper. “We’ll analyze how a screenwriter breaks down a scene into pivotal beats, and then builds that scene with the interplay of description and dialogue. We’ll compare script pages to actual scenes in movies, and also use writing exercises to discuss ways to write vivid, concise description and dialogue.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry and Surprise

BruckCroppedOne Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  San Francisco
$55 members/$65 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

“When U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan decided to take up poetry,” says instructor Julie Bruck, “she began by picking tarot cards at random, writing a poem to each until she’d exhausted the deck. This, she said, was a way for her to discover her themes. By her own account, her process hasn’t changed much, but there’s a thrill that goes into unwrapping her short, highly-compressed poems that is a direct transmission of the play that goes into their making.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

garlick-2

July 10 – September 4
8 weeks of daily online activity (facilitated by Kathy)
Plus in-person final meeting
Sunday, September 4, 10:30am – 1pm (optional)
$195 members/$225 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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Alice Templeton: Embodied Writing – Giving Shape to Darkness

3 Mondays, November 28 – December 12, 7-9:30pm
$145 members/$165 others   
        

   

Many of us want to write about the difficult events in our personal lives. And news of shootings, terrorism, and natural disasters in the civic realm also call out for our response. With so much painful material circulating in and around us, the task of writing about these situations might seem straightforward, yet doubts abound: Where are the words? Hasn’t everything already been said? Who wants to hear my story?

This class offers tools to help you write about pain with clarity and complexity. “It’s natural for writers to want to avoid dark material,” says Alice Templeton, “but giving shape to the darkness can yield our best and most satisfying writing.

“For me the challenge is to believe in the uniqueness of my story and in my sincere need to express it. Once I find a creative way into the writing—a phrase, a rhythm, an image—I start to trust my project, and it becomes possible for the story to unfold.

“Our task as writers is to work against abstraction by imaginatively embodying the subject for ourselves and our readers. When we do this work, suffering often gives way to transformation.”

The class provides writing exercises, along with literary examples, to help writers get past obstacles and practice embodied ways of expressing pain. We will look at excerpts by Claudia Rankine, Alice Sebold, Paul Celan, and others. Writers of all genres are welcome.

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.

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

by Janet Burroway

Paperback – 480 pages 5th edition (July 1999)
Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0321026896 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.76 x 9.26 x 6.40

List Price: $38.00 Our Price: $30.40 You Save: $7.60 (20%)

 

Sin and Syntax : How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose

by Constance Hale

Hardcover – 224 pages 1 Ed edition (June 1, 1999)
Broadway Books; ISBN: 0767903080
Dimensions (in inches): 1.14 x 8.56 x 5.32

List Price: $20.00, Our Price: $14.00, You Save: $6.00 (30%)

 

Writers’ Round Table – Moving Images with Kai Carlson-Wee

1 Sunday, December 4, 2-5pm
Holiday Special: $50 for members & non-members

Writers’ Round Table is a brand-new series at The Writing Salon that gives participants an opportunity to appreciate the work of emerging and established authors while being exposed to unique ideas about the craft of writing and the writer’s life.

“With the widespread reach of media platforms like Youtube and Instagram, there are now more ways than ever to share your work with the world,” says Kai Carlson-Wee. In this Round Table event, Kai will look at the ways in which he’s turned his writing into visual art, whether film or photography, and he will teach us how to enlarge and enrich our own writing by working in and responding to other mediums. We will be talking about imagery and visualization, both on and off the page, and imagining our work through the five senses. No technical experience is necessary.

During the afternoon, there will be a screening of Kai’s award-winning film, Riding the Highline. He will also read from his poetry forthcoming in Rail (BOA Editions, Ltd.)—poems that have already been featured in Narrative, Best New Poets, Missouri Review, and elsewhere.

The event will be capped at 14 sign-ups, giving participants a chance to engage in intimate discussions with Kai. There will be a 15-minute break midway through the event at which time The Writing Salon will provide snacks and beverages.

Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of Rail, forthcoming from BOA Editions, Ltd. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Narrative, Best New Poets, TriQuarterly, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, and The Missouri Review, which selected his poems for the 2013 Editor’s Prize. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine and his poetry film, Riding the Highline, received Special Jury Awards at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival and the 2016 Arizona International Film Festival. With his brother Anders, he has co-authored two chapbooks, Mercy Songs (Diode Editions) and Two-Headed Boy (Organic Weapon Arts), winner of the 2015 David Blair Memorial Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and is a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford University.

Writing Personality Profiles – Break into the magazine market!

pepperforwebsite Saturday, Jan. 31st, 10 am-4 pm; Berkeley
$95 members/$110 others

One of the most popular types of magazine articles is the personality profile. Always in demand by editors and featured in publications of every stripe, the profile is a viable way for new writers to break into the magazine market. One advantage to the profile is there’s such a wealth of potential material. Anyone who’s interesting is a potential subject, and there are so many things that make people interesting!

Know of anyone who’s famous (doesn’t matter why – they can be infamous, too)…heroic (they risked their life; spoke out against injustice)…eccentric (they live in a tree; they collect cardboard boxes)…groundbreaking (they created that Web site!)…successful (and then sold if for seven million dollars)… visionary (they’re proposing a new fuel no one’s thought of yet)…artistic (whether they’re selling or not)… fascinating (which covers a lot of ground)…or interesting for any other reason? They’re all candidates for a profile!

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Dialogue Intensive – The art of putting words into someone else’s mouth

JoshMohr

This class is not being offered next session.

Five Saturdays, NO DATE AT THIS TIME, San Francisco
$185 members/$215 others

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How many times have we heard the aged expression, “We’ll see what she says about that!” There’s anticipation in hearing someone express themselves, and the same is true of fiction and creative nonfiction writing: our characters need to speak, voice their opinions, woes, aspirations, biases, phobias, regrets.  “We can write lovely exposition,” says instructor Joshua Mohr, “but readers need to hear what our characters sound like, what their preoccupations are. That way they can sculpt their own conclusions about them.” Read the rest of this entry »

Show a Lot, Tell a Little – Creative writing in a nutshell!

Saturday, Oct. 16th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members

Attention: This class is no longer available. Sorry.

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In just about any writing class, you will hear these words: “Show don’t tell!” But how do you do that?  “Ground your readers in their senses,” says Jane Underwood. “Run from abstractions, straight into the arms of all that is concrete — peaches, hurricanes, airplane roars, empty drawers, itching wounds.

During this day of sensory exploration, we’ll explore ways to come up with juicy images and details — descriptions that dance and breathe, scenes that taste and smell, characters that sing and shout, stories that are soft as the nape of a baby’s neck…or hard as a tack.

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David Hill: Intro to Fiction – Discover the Writer Within

David Hill copy5 Mondays, July 11 – Aug 8, 7-9:30pm  Berkeley
$215 members/$245 others     
Student Testimonials

“The only way, I think, to learn to write short stories is to write them, and then to try to discover what you have done.”
–Flannery O’Connor, “Writing Short Stories”

“Whether we know it or not, most of us have a well-developed, intuitive sense of how to tell a story,” says instructor David Hill. “Whenever we begin a conversation with, ‘You won’t believe what happened today,’ or, ‘Promise you won’t tell anyone this,’ what follows is most likely a story, and often a pretty good one. But when we sit down to write, we don’t know where to begin. Our knowledge of how to tell a story floats right out of our heads.”

In this workshop students will discover the writer within themselves, developing their understanding of the craft through the practice of writing. We will focus on the fundamentals of fiction: plot, setting, and character development. In addition to reading and lively discussion of brief essays on craft and exemplary works of fiction, students will engage in a variety of writing exercises designed to deepen their understanding of how fiction works.

Writers of all levels are welcome, both beginners and those who want to brush up on the fundamentals.

David William Hill served as assistant editor for two oral history books: Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives (McSweeney’s, 2008) and Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy (McSweeney’s, 2014). He currently serves on the editorial staff of Chicago Quarterly Review. His fiction has appeared in [PANK], Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and Cimarron Review, among others, and he was a finalist for both a Glimmer Train prize and the Montana Prize in Fiction. He holds an MFA from San Francisco State University and has taught creative writing at San Francisco State, Academy of Art University, and City University of Hong Kong.

Karen Bjorneby: Writing a Novel – Filling in the Frame

5 Wednesdays, November 2 – December 7, 7-9:30pm
Skip November 23
$275 members/$295 others
Testimonials for Karen   
        

   

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.

Once you have a rough outline and a feel for your characters, you have to write the novel, scene by scene. This class will focus on how to build fully grounded, richly textured dramatic scenes that keep the plot moving forward while deepening character. Topics will include point of view and narrative distance; dialogue; capturing emotion on the page; the use of flashbacks and backstory; and building suspense.

Through class discussion, handouts, and writing exercises, students will learn to craft scenes that both move the plot forward and deepen character. Each student will receive feedback on weekly homework assignments. “My expectation,” says instructor Karen Bjorneby, “is that by the end of the class you’ll have written the first 30-35 pages of your novel, roughly carrying you to the first plot turn. You will also leave class with methods to keep going through the long haul of writing a book.”

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.

Finding Your Writer’s Voice

by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall

Paperback – 256 pages (January 1997)
St. Martin’s Press; ISBN: 0312151284 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 8.27 x 5.51

List Price: $13.95 Our Price: $11.86 You Save: $2.09 (15%)

 

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English

by Patricia T. O’Connor

Paperback – 227 pages (August 1998)
Riverhead Books; ISBN: 1573226254 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.67 x 8.06 x 5.20

List Price: $11.00 Our Price: $8.80 You Save: $2.20 (20%)

Hardcover – 227 pages (September 1996)
Putnam Pub Group (T); ISBN: 0399141960 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.97 x 8.38 x 5.44

List Price: $16.95 Our Price: $11.87 You Save: $5.08 (30%)

 

“Let Me Ask You a Question” – The Art of the Interview

Saturday, May 2nd, 2:30-5:30 p.m.
$55 members/$65 non-members    San Francisco

Special Package Deal: Take this afternoon Interviewing workshop along with Cary’s morning “Breaking into Magazine Writing” workshop and get a discount: $95 for members, $115 for non-members.  You must be sure to select the “Breaking into Mags/Interviewing” option when you register.

“In order to write a good magazine article, you have to do good research,” says instructor Cary Pepper. “And part of doing good research is doing a good interview. In this class you’ll learn: how to get that interview…the pros and cons of interviewing in person and by phone…how to prepare so you’re at your best… techniques for getting good quotations…how to control an interview…what to do when things don’t go as planned…how to make the most of unexpected moments…and what to do if an interview begins to go bad.

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Screenwriting Seminar: Know your ending before you begin

Terrel Seltzer Saturday, Feb. 21st, 10 am-4 pm;  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members

NOTE: THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL

“There’s a deep DNA structure for a good movie idea,” says screenwriter Terrel Seltzer. “Someone we care about wants something badly (Act One), and is having a terrible time getting it (Act Two).”  So what about Act Three?  “It’s the answer to the question:  Will they get it… or not?” says Terrel, “and it’s crucial.  A story’s ending needs to stick in the mind.  It pretty much determines whether the audience likes the movie or not.”   On script level, it’s also decisive. An otherwise great script will likely be passed on if it doesn’t end well.  Luckily — and regardless of the type of story you’re telling —  there are common elements in a successful third act.

“A screenwriter needs to know the ending of the story before they start writing,” says Terrel.  “Every word in your script is building to the climatic battle scene.”  In this seminar, we’ll analyze the structure of a compelling third act by using writing exercises that help clarify the question/answer nature of good, dramatic screenwriting, and by discussing and watching movie endings that worked, and some that didn’t.   Students can prepare by watching films from this list:  Good Will Hunting, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Thelma and Louise, Fatal Attraction, Million Dollar Baby, Lost in Translation, Diner, Rain Man, Road to Perdition.

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Want to Sell Your Book? Write a Fabulous Book Proposal

dianne-jacobheadshot20081Five Weeks, 7-9:30 p.m  Berkeley
$185 members/$215 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

Have you started working on a nonfiction book or memoir (or already completed one?). Have you written your book proposal yet? If not, you’re going to need one. Typically, a proposal is written before the book, but if you’ve already written the book, you’ll still need one. The proposal is the document you send to literary agents and/or editors. It’s essentially a sales pitch, making a case for why the book needs to be written, why now, and why you’re the best person for the job.

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Telling the Truth with Lies – Fiction Workshop

Nine Weeknights, 7-9:30 p.m. Berkeley
$335 members/$365 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

When we write fiction we discover deeper truth about ourselves, other people, and the world. By wandering the world of the imagination, we surprise ourselves with the stories we discover. And, when we tell those stories, we change our readers by allowing them to enter experiences that are often very different than their own.

In this workshop, participants will deepen their knowledge about how to find and tell fictional stories. They’ll learn more about the art and the craft of fiction—through doing in-class exercises and optional homework assignments, getting feedback on their work, and reading excerpts from published writers.
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Q & A Roundtable: The Ins and Outs of Publishing Commerical Fiction

One Friday, 7 to 10 p.m. (this class is not currently scheduled)
$35 members/$45 non-members      Berkeley & SF

“‘But what do editors  want!’ is something I hear all the time, and the answer is always ‘It depends,’ says Nick Mamatas. “I’ve edited an award-winning science fiction magazine, published a ghost anthology with a major publisher, and now  work full-time running a science fiction imprint. I’ve also sold several books of my own, in various genres, to publishers of all shapes and sizes.

“What people think they already know about publishing commercial fiction – such as creating platforms and following trends – often hurts them as much as what they really don’t know. Writing last year’s movie isn’t going to cut it .”

Bring plenty of questions about agents, editors, submissions (or self-publishing), and commercial-versus-literary fiction to this free-form, wine & cheese get-together — and get answers from a working pro.

Note: The focus of this roundtable will be on commercial fiction (ie. science fiction, fantasy, horror, mysteries, and romance). Nick also teaches our 5-week Commercial Fiction class.

Nick Mamatas is the author of three novels: Under My Roof (Counterpoint), Move Under Ground (Prime Books), and the forthcoming Sensation (PM Press). He’s also published over sixty short stories in genre magazines, literary journals, and anthologies, some of which were recently collected in You Might Sleep (Prime Books). His fiction has been nominated for both the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards, and as editor of the online magazine Clarkesworld Nick has been nominated for the World Fantasy award and science fiction’s Hugo award. He currently teaches online at Western Connecticut State University, edits science fiction and fantasy for VIZ Media, and is awaiting the release of his next anthology, Haunted Legends (Tor Books), co-edited with Ellen Datlow.

Read Testimonials for Nick here

Writers’ Round Table – Let’s Talk Publishing with Peg Alford Pursell & Brooks Roddan

1 Sunday, November 6, 2-5pm
$65 members/$75 others

Writers’ Round Table is a brand-new series at The Writing Salon that gives participants an opportunity to appreciate the work of established authors while being exposed to unique ideas about the craft of writing and the writer’s life.

In this November event, The Writing Salon has invited Peg Alford Pursell and Brooks Roddan, two influential Bay Area writer-publishers who will read and reflect on their own creative work and lead discussions about the ins and outs of publishing.

The main theme of the afternoon will be centered around how we bring our creative works into the public sphere. Peg and Brooks will read creative pieces that they have published which have somehow informed or challenged their own views of publishing. They will also provide in-depth accounts of their experiences as publishers and editors and will offer helpful tips about approaching the often-confounding task of publishing.

The event will be capped at 12 sign-ups, giving participants a chance to engage in intimate discussions with Peg and Brooks. There will be a 15-minute break midway through the event at which time The Writing Salon will provide snacks and beverages.

Peg Alford Pursell is the author of the forthcoming book of flash and hybrid prose, SHOW HER A FLOWER, A BIRD, A SHADOW (ELJ Publications). Her work has been published in The Cortland Review, The Journal of Compressed Arts, RHINO, among others, and shortlisted for the Flannery O’Connor Award. She produces Why There Are Words, the acclaimed Bay Area reading series she founded six years ago, and is the founding editor of WTAW Press, an independent publisher of literary books.  www.pegalfordpursell.com

Brooks Roddan lives in San Francisco’s historic Presidio district and escapes as often as he can to his cabin in Wyoming. A poet, he’s written seven chapbooks and books, including The Light of the Light (Blue Earth Press), The Frog Club (Readymade Books), and Days by Themselves (Blue Earth Press). Writing as Thomas Fuller, a pseudonym, his first novel Monsieur Ambivalence received an award in the Fiction Category at the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. His first book of non-fiction, Mare Island, came out in 2016. Roddan is the founding editor of IF SF Press.

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.

In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop

by Steve Kowit

Paperback – 288 pages (June 1995)
Tilbury House Publishers; ISBN: 0884481492 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.76 x 8.94 x 5.96

List Price: $14.95 Our Price: $11.96 You Save: $2.99 (20%)

 

Get Published: 100 Top Magazine EditorsTell You How

by Diana Gage and Marcia Coppess

Paperback – 590 pages Rev&Updtd edition (March 1994)
Henry Holt (Paper); ISBN: 0805026894 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 1.68 x 8.94 x 5.98

List Price: $17.95 Our Price: $15.26 You Save: $2.69 (15%)

 

Beginnings & Endings for Poets-Delight and Wisdom!

elizabeth-perry-2Sunday, April 19th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  San Francisco
$55 members/$65 non-members

This mini-workshop may well whet your appetite for more, in which case you may want to consider Julie Bruck’s 9-week “Fearless Poetry Workshop” on Thursday evenings in SF, or Alison Luterman’s “Magpie Poetry Workshop,” also on Thursday evenings, but in Berkeley.

Robert Frost famously wrote “a poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”  After you’ve drafted a poem, how do you find the true beginning–the place where the delight begins?  And how do you know when you’ve followed the poem to a wise ending?  In this workshop, we’ll examine a generous mix of how other poets have chosen beginnings and endings for their poems.  Then we’ll look at (and listen to) our own drafts, focusing on identifying the emotional starting point for the poem and how to craft an ending that enlarges the poem’s intention without sacrificing authenticity.  You’ll need a draft of a poem that you’ve been working on and a willingness to listen to your work and the work of others with an open mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Crafting Childhood in Fiction and Memoir

mcclungnew22

This Class is Not Being Offered Next Session

Saturday, NO DATE AT THIS TIME, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
$95 members/$110 others

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Writing truthfully and artfully about our early childhood—before age 12—calls for a fine balance of skill and compassion, memory and imagination.  This mini-workshop, designed for both beginning and experienced writers, will provide practice and guidance to illuminate and enrich creative projects exploring the events, people, places, and inner worlds of childhood.

“My goal is to help memoirists, fiction writers, and poets write faithfully and evocatively about the girls and boys that they — or their fictional characters — once were,” says instructor Kathleen McClung. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Your Writer’s Voice – Learn how to hear what’s already there

delorenzochris.jpg Saturday, July 17th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members

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Note: We also offer a 9-week version of this class, which many people take on a regular basis.  It’s an excellent class for beginners or anyone else who wants to keep generating new material while exploring their voice as a writer.

We all have unique “writing voices,” but often we can’t really “hear” those voices ourselves, even when others can. This half-day workshop will aim to help you hear the sound of your authentic writing voice, because once you feel secure with the individuality of your voice, you’ll grow immeasurably as a writer.

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Going Deeper – Taking Your Poetry & Prose to the Next Level

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Berkeley
$95 members/$110 others
(this class is not currently scheduled)

What does it take to create vivid, powerful poetry or prose that offers a transformative experience to our readers? How can we engage so deeply with our own material  that we, too, are changed in the writing of it? Poet Mary Oliver famously said, “I don’t ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depth of my seeing.” In this workshop with award-winning poet and memoirist Ruth L. Schwartz, you’ll spend the day exploring how to “see” more clearly and more deeply, both in your outer and our inner worlds. You’ll examine the ways in which this kind of seeing can both complicate and enrich your relationship to “truth” in your writing.

“We’ll work to expand our curiosity on every level, including our curiosity about language and form, as well as about our subject matter,” says Ruth.  “Finally, we will explore notions of beauty, and how the ability to see beauty in unlikely places can both deepen our relationship to our material – and more fully engage our readers. In the process, we’ll expand the range of (e)motion available to us, as writers and as human beings.”

Note: CEUs are available for licensed MFTs or LCSWs.

Ruth L. Schwartz is the author of four award-winning books of poems, including Edgewater, a 2001 National Poetry Series winner selected by Jane Hirshfield.  Her memoir, Death in Reverse, documents the year following her donation of a kidney to her former partner.  Her poems and essays have appeared frequently in The Sun (sometimes under a pseudonym, at the editors’ request), and she has received numerous literary fellowships, honors and prizes. Ruth is currently a Distinguished Visiting Writer in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Ashland University and also teaches privately.  In addition, she is a practicing hypnotherapist and shaman who honors and wrestles with pain, beauty and truth in all their disguises.

Alison Luterman: Celebrating Your Voice

Alison_Banner1 Saturday, July 9, 10am-4pm  Berkeley
$95 members/$110 others  
Testimonials for Alison   

“What is that elusive thing called ‘voice’?” asks instructor Alison Luterman. “How do we find and cultivate our own unique voice, and how do we learn to love and work with what we’ve got?”

“We all know the experience of reading a few lines of poetry or prose and being able to identify the author even without looking. That’s a voice. A page of Toni Morrison does not sound or feel like a page of David Sedaris. And a page of whatever you write should not look or feel like that of the person sitting next to you around the table, even if you desperately admire his or her writing.”

This workshop will start with our relationship to our own physical voices, the ones that growl and squeak and betray our emotions, the voices that whisper and shout inside of us. We’ll remember the songs and sounds of our youth, that primal soundtrack that formed us. “There’s an incredible richness of memory and association available to us through that early music,” says Alison. “Like Proust’s madeleine, it can be a memory trigger for the hundreds of stories and poems that are lying await inside of us.”

In this workshop we will read, write, share, and repeat. There also may be some singing but participation is completely voluntary. No one will be put on the spot.

Alison Luterman has published essays in The Sun, Modern Love, L.A. Review, Radiance, Response, The East Bay Express, The Boston Phoenix, and Salon. She has also written an e-book of essays entitled Feral City, about midlife domestication, remarriage, and second chances (available from SheBooks). Alison is also the author of three books of poetry: The Largest Possible LifeSee How We Almost Fly, and Desire Zoo. Last but not least, she writes plays, including Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Glitter and Spew, and a musical, The Chain. Visit her website for more details.

Cary Groner: The Fiction Gym – A Workshop Focused on Craft

9 Wednesdays, January 18 – March 15, 7-9:30pm
$445 members/$475 non-members 
Testimonials for Cary

*This course is designed for those who are serious about improving their writing through an understanding of craft, with an eye toward publication and applying to MFA programs.

Fiction writing engages our hearts, challenges our minds, and helps us connect with our own inner lives and those of our readers. It’s also an excellent way to have fun. This workshop will create a common ground for participants to discover more about their interests as writers, to mentor each other, and to improve at this most ineffable of crafts.

We’ll begin with exercises and homework assignments designed to free the imagination and encourage exploration. We’ll discuss each other’s assignments, then segue gently into more structured work incorporating foundational aspects of fiction that include character, point of view, motivation, conflict, and dialogue.

Because few things are more humbling, or enlightening, than sampling masters of the trade, we’ll also read published stories and discuss them in the context of these craft considerations. By the end of the course, participants will have written several exercises and completed one story, short or long.

“Good writing is about empathy—how writers understand their characters and how the reader comes to share that understanding,” says instructor Cary Groner. “This course is designed to develop that empathy through exercises and assignments, then strengthen the writer’s craft through drafting and revision of a story.”

Cary Groner’s debut novel, Exiles (Spiegel & Grau / Random House), was a Chicago Tribune best book of 2011. His short stories have won numerous awards, including the Glimmer Train fiction open, and appeared there and in other venues that include American Fiction, Mississippi Review, Southern California Review, Sycamore Review, Tampa Review, Zymbol, and Salamander.  Cary earned his MFA in 2009 from the University of Arizona, where he also taught undergraduate fiction writing. His students have been accepted at several prestigious MFA programs, including the University of Texas’s Michener Center, Johns Hopkins, the University of Tampa, and Antioch.

Inventing Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

by William Zinsser

Paperback – 224 pages Revised edition (May 1998)
Houghton Mifflin Co (Pap); ISBN: 0395901502 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.63 x 8.28 x 5.55

List Price: $13.00 Our Price: $10.40 You Save: $2.60 (20%)

 

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