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“The writerly advice to ‘show, don’t tell’ is easier said than done,” says instructor Erin Van Rheenen. “‘Showing’ means crafting compelling scenes where characters say and do things in the real time of the story. The truth is, it can be hard to write a scene. My students often struggle with dialogue or pacing. Or they’re not sure how to make a conflict unfold within a specific setting.”

In this 5-week online course, we’ll draft, polish, and discuss effective scenes, paying special attention to dialogue, character, conflict, setting, and sensory detail. We’ll look at how published writers create scene, how they combine scene and narrative summary, and how we can learn from (and effectively stray from) their example.

In an energized online environment, we’ll write, read, discuss, and share, both in the larger group and in breakout rooms of 2 to 3 people. Students will be encouraged to share their drafts. Together we’ll create a place where we can take risks and have fun.


About The Writing Salon's Remote Classes

Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, The Writing Salon is running all classes in a remote learning format. You will be able to participate in live class meetings via Zoom videoconference. To attend classes, you'll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you'd like, whether on your living room couch or in your office. Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about Zoom and your remote class. If you have any questions about remote learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



    Erin Van Rheenen has written about the power of place for Atlas Obscura, the Los Angeles Times, Southwest, The Sun, and NPR. For more than two decades she has also taught students at every level, in colleges, high schools, libraries, and at the San Francisco Women’s Jail. She earned an MA in Creative Writing and American Literature from City University of New York. Erin has spent many years living abroad, and is the author of the best-selling guide, Living Abroad in Costa Rica, now in its fifth edition. She now lives in San Francisco.

  1. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, August 11, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  2. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, August 18, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  3. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, August 25, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  4. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, September 01, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  5. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, September 08, 6:30pm-9:00pm


Thu, August 12 @ 1:30 am PDT
Thu, September 9 @ 4:00 am PDT
Event Category:


Online (Synchronous)
Live Remote Meetings, ZOOM
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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 offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

Contact Us

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