“I came to Writers in Progress needing to learn about narrative flow and character development. The workshops did that for me, and much more…”
Kris Holloway, author of Monique and the Mango Rains
Community Writing Workshops
Come join us for a morning of writing in our bright, beautiful space among peers! After a short warm up, we’ll engage in a sustained writing period in response to a variety of prompts. We’ll share some of our work and receive supportive feedback. A great way to jumpstart your writing projects! Rotating instructors… Suggested donation of $10.
First SUNDAY of every month, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm RSVP here
August 4, September 8, October 6, November 3, & December 1
- December 1: Emily Lackey
- January 5: Susanne Dunlap
- February 2: Dori Ostermiller
- March 1: TBD
- April 5: Jacqueline Sheehan
The Art of Historical Fiction, with Susanne Dunlap
A work of historical fiction is so much more than period costumes and far-off settings. How does one wrestle with the trajectory of history and develop a satisfying narrative arc at the same time? How can you create characters who are believably of the period, but not hopelessly out of touch with the modern reader? And how does one integrate research without bogging down the story? In this half-day workshop, writers will learn some key craft elements to creating effective historical fiction. We’ll discuss tools and techniques for organizing your research, keeping your timeline under control, and identifying unintentional anachronisms, and then we’ll put these principals into practice with some time to write. Perfect for writers who are thinking about writing historical fiction or who are developing a work in progress!
Saturday, November 16, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75) Register Now
Susanne Dunlap is the author of seven historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult novel The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Bankstreet Children’s Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Readers Prize and the Utah Book Award. Her latest novel, Listen to the Wind, is the first volume of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa. Susanne earned her PhD in music history from Yale, is a Smith College graduate, and lives and writes in Northampton, Massachusetts with her partner Charles and her beloved dog Betty.
More Than a Pretty Place: Making Your Setting Work for Your Story, with Emily Everett
When writers create setting, they often treat the landscape as a simple visual backdrop, just a place for showing off their descriptive writing skills. But when setting works well—both in fiction and nonfiction—it’s so much more than background. Through setting, writers can build mood, tone, tension, and conflict. A well-integrated setting changes and challenges your characters, or redirects the plot. And setting plays a major role in the overall feel of the narrative. But all this is only possible when writers give setting the space it needs to grow and develop into a real place, with room for history, interaction, and complexity. In this half-day workshop, writers will look at effective examples, experiment with uncommon techniques, and learn to write places that jump off the page. Perfect for all levels and genres!
Saturday, November 23, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75) Register Now
Emily Everett is managing editor of The Common, a biannual literary magazine publishing stories, essays, poems, and images with a modern sense of place. With other editors, she selects pieces for the magazine, and edits and develops that work with authors prior to publication. Her fiction is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and Electric Lit, and has appeared in Tin House and The Tishman Review. Her nonfiction appears online for The Common and Take Magazine. She studied Literature at Smith College and Queen Mary University of London.
The Mechanics of Powerful Prose, with Randy Susan Meyers
Strong writing requires creativity. Powerful writing requires a red pen. To really engage a reader means knowing how to judge and enliven your own work. In this one-day seminar, we’ll examine key techniques for building tension, honing realistic dialogue, posing dramatic questions, writing unique descriptions and crafting killer sentences! Lecture, examples and in-class exercises with feedback.
This class will be useful for all who want to bring their fiction to a more complex level. Students should bring writing implements (whether computer, pen and paper, or ink and quill) and index cards, as well as the first few pages of a story, memoir or novel.
Saturday, December 7, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ($150) Register Now
Randy Susan Meyers is the author of five novels: The Murderer’s Daughters (a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award), The Comfort of Lies, Accidents of Marriage, The Widow of Wall Street, and recently, the critically acclaimed, Waisted. Meyers lives in Boston and teaches writing at Grub Street and Writers in Progress.
The Art of Keeping a Notebook, with Tzivia Gover
Journals and notebooks are the unsung heroes of the writer’s life, where we record, reflect and celebrate the sources of our creative works: daily observation, imagination, memory, and dream. Our journals also remind us that writing is more than just a path to publishing: it is a way of life. In this workshop, we’ll enliven our journaling practice to recharge our creativity, hone our craft, and connect more deeply with the source of our writing. Participants will be introduced to journaling prompts and practices that inspire a richer, more meaningful experience, on the page and off!
Saturday, January 4, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75) Register Now
Tzivia Gover is the author of The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep and Joy in Every Moment. She is a writer, educator, and certified dream therapist and the director of the Institute of Dream Studies. Gover has led numerous workshops and panels about dreams, mindfulness, and writing, and she holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. She is an active member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and the founder of 350 Dreamers, an international network of people who dream together for global healing.
Revision Intensive, with Emily Lackey
“The best way out is always through,” Robert Frost said in his poem “A Servant to Servants,” and the same can be said for writing: the best way to finish your work in progress is dive headfirst into the muck of your draft and find your way through. That stage—the revision stage—is where the real writing happens. But why then is it so hard to revise the thing we’ve already written? In this workshop, writers will learn real strategies for tackling the revision process. We’ll spend the morning interrogating where the reluctance to revise comes from, investigating tips to organize our projects, and exploring innovative ways to see our work anew. Then we’ll spend the afternoon putting those lessons to use, diving headfirst into our drafts and finding our way through. Writers of any genre are welcome. Participants should bring two printed copies and one digital copy (on a computer) of a draft they are interested in revising.
Saturday, January 11, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ($150) Register Now
Emily Lackey’s stories and essays have been published in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, The Literary Review, Longreads, The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, The Huffington Post, Bustle, Hobart, and Cleaver Magazine, among others. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and an artist-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Newnan ArtRez. After receiving her MFA from the University of New Hampshire in 2014, she taught writing at the University of New Hampshire and in the graduate writing program at Southern New Hampshire University.
Crafting Compelling Scenes, with Susanne Dunlap
Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, or memoir, the most important moments are rendered in scenes. Scenes are where you plunge the reader into the action, immerse them in the heart of a situation, or take them along for the ride on your character’s emotional rollercoaster. They provide the forward momentum that keeps your reader turning the pages. In this half-day workshop, we’ll identify different kinds of scenes and explore the craft of creating them. We’ll analyze examples from literature and take some time to work on a scene in your own projects. Writers of all levels are welcome
Saturday, February 1, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Register Now
Susanne Dunlap is the author of seven historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult novel The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Bankstreet Children’s Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Readers Prize and the Utah Book Award. Her latest novel, Listen to the Wind, is the first volume of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa.
Writing Sex, with Emily Nagoski
There are so many reasons to write sex. Done right, a well-placed sex scene adds depth, nuance and heat to your narratives. And there’s no better way to reveal character! But writing about sex is intimidating, and it’s one of the trickiest things to pull off… Spend a fun, illuminating morning with best-selling author/world renowned sex educator, Emily Nagoski, learning to write sex in a way that is subtle, believable and well, sexy. Participants move through a series of exercises based on findings from the science of sex, then transform this knowledge into riveting scenes.
Saturday, February 15, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Register Now
Emily Nagoski is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers, Come As You Are: the surprising new science that will transform your sex life, and Burnout. She began her work as a sex educator at the University of Delaware, where volunteered as a peer sex educator while she studied psychology with minors in cognitive science and philosophy. She went on to earn a M.S. in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Health Behavior, both from Indiana University, with clinical and research training at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.