Six Fridays, July 19-Dec. 6 (monthly meetings: July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, Dec. 6) 7-9:30 pm, plus online interaction between meetings   $365 members/$395 others   Berkeley
Testimonials for Jess    


Note: This class is especially appropriate for (but not limited to) students who have taken any of Jess’s other classes.

You’ve begun your detective novel, but now you’re stuck when it comes to the next twist in plot; how do you keep up the suspense? Or maybe the cast of characters in your short story has grown too unwieldy; how do you fix that? Or what about the memoir you’ve been working on? You’ve got a fascinating story — everyone says so — but you’re still unsure of the difference between having a great story and actually knowing what your theme is.

Whatever the obstacle that’s holding you back, don’t give up. Just keep at it. Take it one step at a time. Why not join this ongoing, in-person, online workshop? Then get to work on moving your plot from stuck to thriving, paring down your cast of characters to a harmonious bunch, and discovering the theme that makes your memoir uniquely yours. In short, get guidance, feedback and support from instructor Jess Wells and fellow students to move your work — novel, short story, historical or fantastical fiction, or memoir — toward beautiful, satisfying completion.

You’ll meet with Jess for six in-person group sessions, plus participate in online interactions between sessions, spanning six months of instruction and collective brainstorming!

Each workshop meeting will begin with instruction on a key to great writing and/or the writer’s life, and then go into a round-robin where each attendee can discuss plot developments, show work, ask questions, and receive support for being a writer. There may be homework, exercises and suggested readings, examples of the greats of the short story etc., if the class wants it.

“Whether you’re moving from nonfiction to fiction, from corporate writing to fantasy, from a great outline and concept but few pages, from a beginning short story or a written novel that’s overly tangled, our work together can help you,” Jess says. “If writer’s block or a busy life get in the way of progress, we can discuss that as well. It’s your time and it’s all about you.”

Jess Wells is thrilled to announce the signing of her new novel, A Slender Tether, to Fireship Press. It’s her fourth novel and second work of historical fiction.  Jess is also the author of five books of short stories and the recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission Grant for Literature in 2008.  Her previous work, The Mandrake Broom, is available from Amazon.  She blogs at and at, and teaches “How to Write Historical Fiction,” “Theme Plot and Characterization,” “Fundamentals of the Short Story,” and “How to Write with a Full-Time Job: Time Management for Writers,” at The Writing Salon and other venues around the country.

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