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*This course is designed for those who are serious about improving their writing through an understanding of craft, with an eye toward publication or 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."

*The first class meeting will go from 7:00pm-8:30pm. All subsequent class meetings are scheduled for 7:00pm-9:30pm.



    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 Montana, the University of Tampa, Antioch, and Vanderbilt.

  1. Wednesday, January 17, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Wednesday, January 24, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Wednesday, January 31, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Wednesday, February 7, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Wednesday, February 14, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  6. Wednesday, February 21, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  7. Wednesday, February 28, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  8. Wednesday, March 7, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  9. Wednesday, March 14, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • Cary did an excellent job of creating a rigorous course that exceeded my expectations and was well worth the money I invested. He did several things that I appreciated: he respected the class members and treated us as peers; he set high standards by providing excellent examples of classic and current literature; he was flexible and responsive to the needs of the group; and he gave thorough, balanced, personalized, and helpful criticism that improved every class members’ writing skills by the end of the course. I would highly recommend Cary. He helped me grow in confidence and skill and renewed my love of writing.

    Kate Shade
  • I heartily recommend studying fiction writing with Cary Groner. He combines sensitive, keen perception with rigorous and refreshing, professional high standards, a combination that feels pretty rare among fiction teachers. Workshop writing classes rely on fellow students to be successful, but Cary had a way of quietly raising the bar, encouraging the most thoughtful and considered feedback. In my class, as in another reviewer’s, several of the students had already taken classes with him before, which also said a lot about his teaching talents.

    Emily T.
  • Cary Groner brought an infectious spirit of professionalism and hard work to this class which helped bring out an impressive set of short stories from the students. His sophisticated leadership in discussions of the essays on writing and of the published stories which he selected for his class, and of the stories written by the students in this class, developed awareness of fine points of diction, point of view, dialog, tone and conflict.

    Ed O.
  • Patience, warmth, knowledge -- these are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Cary. He is a wonderful teacher, one who is completely committed to helping his students be better writers, readers, and thinkers. When I started working with Cary, I had never before taken a creative writing class or shared my stories with other people. At first, I felt like a rookie. But Cary treated me like a writer. He both supported me and challenged me to push further, and his engaging classes opened me up to new techniques, ideas, and sources of inspiration.

    Catalina Baker


Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 3:00 am
Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 4:30 am
Event Category:


2121 Bonar St, Studio D, 2nd Fl
Berkeley, CA United States
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Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.

Due to extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19, we are open to addressing cancellations on a case-by-case basis.

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