Weekly Writing Workshops

“Dori’s writing workshops are gentle and rigorous, deep and thought-provoking…She gave me the courage to write into the darkest and richest parts of myself.  I could not have written my first book without her.”   

Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals

Tuesday/Thursday/Friday Jumpstart, with Dori Ostermiller

Even the most seasoned writers have difficulty carving out time and summoning inspiration. This popular, productive morning workshop provides quiet, structured writing time among peers, a handful of fabulous ideas to get you rolling, and your morning coffee and tea, fruit and muffins in our light-filled Florence studio… 

Starting with a variety of imaginative prompts, we will warm up, engage in a sustained writing period, then share our work and receive thoughtful, constructive feedback.  Each session includes writing time, craft tips, handouts, discussion and refreshments.  Appropriate for all levels and genres. 

Tues/Thurs or Friday mornings, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm; Spring Session starts week of March 10 Email Dori to register

Dori Ostermiller, MFA, is the recipient of a MA Cultural Council Grant and a Tobias Wolff Fiction award. Her wriing has appeared in journals such as The Bellingham Review, the MA Review,Alligator Juniper, The Rumpus, Calliope, and Chautauqua Literary Journal. Her debut novel, Outside the Ordinary World, was an Indie Next Notable book and an MLA “must read” selection. She has worked as an editor for 20+ years and has taught writing and literature at many area universities.

January Jumpstart, with Jacqueline Sheehan

A 4-week generative afternoon group to jumpstart your writing in the New Year!  Devote 3 hours a week to exploring the world of prose: mining for material, constructing characters and settings, shaping dialogue, and honing your voice. Together, we’ll experiment, play, and draft a wealth of fresh material, furnishing the basis for new shorts or longer pieces. The studio of Writers in Progress is the perfect place to hunker down during the afternoons in January.  Get your writing moving again!

4 Thursdays, starting Jan 16, 1:30 – 4:30 pm ($175) Register Now

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison.

Dreaming on the Page, a writing workshop with Tzivia Gover

Dreams can offer writers themes, images, prompts, motifs or entire story lines. Likewise, crafting poems and stories from dreams can help writers discover new levels of creativity, insight, and healing. In this weekly workshop, we will use dreams and the subconscious to inspire and energize our writing. Participants will generate and share new work in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment.  We’ll explore the intersections between dreaming and writing, and learn how dreams can inspire fresh ideas or help us move through creative blocks.  We will also learn to optimize creativity by understanding the brain chemistry of the dreaming mind. Because the aim of this workshop is to encourage creative expression, self-awareness, and growth, this workshop is perfect for writers of all levels and of every genre–whether or not you remember your dreams!  Read Tzivia’s blog here

Thursdays, 6 – 9 pm; 6-week Winter Session starts February 13 ($245) 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.

Shaping your Memoir: a Writing Workshop with Cathy Luna

 You have an important story to tell, but what’s the best way to tell it? Memoirists grapple with many of the same structural questions that face novelists and other storytellers: where does my story begin and end? In what order should the events unfold? Should I tell it chronologically, or organize events in a different way (framed, collage, braided, circular, etc.)? What structure will keep my readers engaged and also illuminate the universal themes at the heart of my story? In this six-week workshop, we will examine and play with various ways to map, scaffold, and structure our stories. Through specific craft exercises, examining published excerpts, generating new work and receiving supportive feedback, writers will try out potential structures for their memoir and gain tools for choosing and incorporating a structure that will help their story shine.

6 Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, starting Feb 26 Register Now

Cathy Luna, PhD has published excerpts from Missing Lessons, hermemoir-in-progress, in Lunch TicketCONSEQUENCE, and The River Teeth Journal.  A former  faculty member at UMass Amherst, Cathy has taught writing for more than thirty years. Since 2010, she has been a writing consultant and writing coach for Five College faculty writers.

The Art of the Story, with Emily Lackey

No matter what we write—essays, novels, memoirs—story is at the heart of everything. It’s what all strong narrative is built around: what happened to whom and where, how and why.  But writing a compelling story requires skill, and is easier said than done… In this workshop, writers will learn the individual craft elements essential to great story-telling. Each week, we will start with a brief warmup, a craft tip, and a series of prompts designed to add specific craft elements to each writer’s toolbox—setting, dialogue, subtext, conflict, backstory… By understanding and practicing these elements, we strengthen our ability to write compelling stories. This workshop is perfect for writers wishing to hone their skills, or those longing to break through a rut. Appropriate for all levels and all writers of narrative—both fiction and nonfiction!

Monday nights, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.:  8-week Spring Session begins March 2 ($325)  Register Now

Writing From Life, with Emily Lackey

Lorrie Moore once said that, “for the writer, the facts of life are like ingredients in a kitchen cupboard.” The cake we make is the story we end up telling. “That,” she says, “is how life and art are related…” No matter what we write, our experiences, observations perceptions and inclinations are the greatest inspiration and fodder for our work. In this weekly generative workshop, writers will receive a series of prompts to help them tap into their deepest material and move them into a sustained period of writing. Afterward, we’ll have the opportunity to share our work and receive thoughtful feedback from the group.  Weekly craft tips!

Wednesdays, 6-9pm: 10-week Early Spring workshop begins February 19th; 10-week Late Spring workshop begins May 6 ($395)   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.  She is at work on a book of stories and a novel.  

Building Fictional Worlds, with Susanne Dunlap

Do you want to take readers into space on a 51st-century spacecraft? Or would you prefer to ferry them to a magical world where the veil between reality and imagination is permeable? Perhaps you long to set a story among the ancient Greeks, or in Hollywood in the 1920s. Or you have a burning desire to populate today’s world with magical creatures whose powers only your imagination can limit. Whether your chosen genre is fantasy, historical, science fiction, or speculative fiction, there’s nothing more satisfying than writing a story set in an unfamiliar world. It’s the ultimate way to transport readers out of their everyday lives.

This 6-week workshop is tailored for writers who want to explore settings outside the ordinary, known world. Each week, we’ll highlight a craft topic related to world-building, including: the role of research, mapping your world, when/how to use unfamiliar languages, establishing or researching the rules of your world, and keeping your characters believable within the parameters you or history has set for your story. You’ll have ample time to write and practice the craft we’ve discussed at the start of each session. Ideal for writers at all stages and levels. The only requirement is a sense of adventure and a wildly active imagination!

6 Tuesdays, 6 – 9 pm, Starting April 7 ($240) 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 AwardHer latest novel, Listen to the Wind, is the first volume of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa.

Writers in Progress Manuscript Intensive Series, with Dori Ostermiller

A rigorous and encouraging year-long program for writers with prose manuscripts in progress that call for constructive feedback and new writing.  Writers can be working on novels, short story collections, memoirs or essay collections.  We will meet for regular Friday night/Saturday intensives over the course of the year, beginning in October.  This group will provide the structure, support, inspiration and constructive feedback to help writers complete a book-length manuscript draft.

Applications accepted between June 1st and Aug 1st Find Out More

One-day and Half-day Workshops