Writing Workshops for Everyone

We offer a variety of ongoing, weekly workshops to encourage you in your writing practice and explore craft topics, and one-day or half-day workshops packed with craft tips—all taught by experienced WIP faculty.

Covid-19 Update:

In these uncertain times, we need our beloved writing community more than ever!  In some ways, now is the perfect time for creative work, which requires quiet reflection and solitude; but it’s difficult to write in a vacuum, and challenging to believe in the relevance and validity of our own voices when the world is in turmoil. 

We’re here to support you and your writing practice, by offering online workshops with the instructors you know and trust.  We use Zoom as our online platform.  To participate in a workshop, simply register as usual, and then we will be in touch with a link and password for your online class.  It couldn’t be easier.  All our online groups are limited to 8 or 9 participants and offer the same individualized attention, thoughtful feedback, inspiration and craft instruction that Writers in Progress workshops are famous for.  

We hope this new way of working together online will help jumpstart your projects, support your practice, and keep us all connected and encouraged during these difficult days. Your participation in our online workshops helps us remain strong as a community until we can open our doors again, so Thank You!

Looking forward to writing with all soon!

-Dori Ostermiller and the Writers in Progress Team

Weekly Workshops

Morning Jumpstarts, 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, some fabulous prompts to get you rolling, thoughtful, supportive feedback on your work, and your morning coffee, tea, fruit and muffins in our light-filled Florence studio.  Jumpstart your writing life this season! Craft tips and inspiring quotes each week…

Tues, Thurs, or Friday mornings, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 10-week winter session starts week of December 1  ($405)

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? 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.

Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 6-week session begins October 28 ($245)

Revision Intensive: A Six-Month Series, with Emily Lackey

Revision is a critical step of every writer’s writing process. It’s where meaning is made, stories are shaped, and craft is refined. In this six-month Revision Intensive, writers will meet twice a month to study strategies for mastering the parts of their drafts that need the most work, discuss innovative ways to see their drafts anew, set goals for the month ahead, and dive deep into the work of revision. This intensive will help writers of all genres to master the craft elements that will make their drafts stronger, give them time and space to put these lessons to use, and provide the accountability and support to get their drafts done.

Second and fourth Sunday of each month, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; six-month session begins November 8 ($500)

The Art of the Story: A Craft Workshop, with Emily Lackey

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.

Mondays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; 8-week session begins November 30 ($325)

Crafting Your Memoir, with Cathy Luna

This six-week generative online craft workshop is intended for writers who want to explore a variety of memoir-specific craft challenges, including creating dual narrative voices; the challenges of writing about real people in your life; dealing with characterization in memoir; ‘inventing’ dialogue for scenes when you may not remember precisely what was said; handling memory (or lack thereof); navigating narrative time; and believing in and owning your story. 

Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 6-week workshop begins January 6 ($245)

Writing from Life, with Emily Lackey

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, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; 10-week session begins January 6 ($395)

New Monthly Series!

The Blueprint Your Book Series, with Susanne Dunlap

Welcome to the Blueprint Your Book series, back by popular demand, and now with expanded offerings! Over the next six months, writers will have the opportunity to create and stack the building blocks of their book in a way that provides structure while still allowing ample space to discover as they write. The series includes:

  • Fine-Tuning the Fundamentals (Saturday, January 9, 9:30–12:30)
  • Focus on the Reader (Sunday, February 21, 9:30–12:30)
  • Building a Solid Book Structure (Saturday, March 13, 9:30–12:30)
  • Crafting Compelling Scenes (Saturday, April 10, 9:30–12:30)
  • The Inside Outline (Saturday, June 5, 9:30–12:30 & Saturday, June 12, 9:30–12:30)

Writers of all fiction and memoir genres are welcome to register for all six workshops in this Blueprint series for a 10% discount, or register for only specific workshops (listed in the half-day workshop section) that meet their current needs. The Inside Outline workshop is spread over two Saturdays to give plenty of time for writing and feedback.

6 half-day workshops, January to June ($405) 

Half-Day & Full-Day Workshops

Show Me How You Feel, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Emotions are the key to crafting compelling characters. But what if your character can’t express his or her feelings? The good news is that there are multiple ways to reveal emotions that your characters don’t know they’re feeling. In this workshop, writers will learn to move beyond the smile or frown to more subtle, specific and telling character details. 

Saturday, November 7, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Writing and Pitching Nonfiction Articles, with Kenneth Rosen

Getting published in a magazine or journal takes creativity, insight, initiative, and above all: patience. From longform features to articles to short essays, this morning master class will help students conceive, workshop, and learn how to pitch creative nonfiction writing for regional and national publications.  Participants will be invited to send up to 5 pages of writing for individual feedback one week before the workshop.    

Monday, November 9, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  ($195)

Writing Great Artist Statements, with Jonathan Escoffery

Whether you want to enhance your craft or win more writerly time and support, chances are that someday you’ll face a competitive application process. At such times, a well-written artist statement can go a long way to make you stand out from the pack. In this session, we’ll discuss the key components that every artist statement should include, as well as other ways to make your application as strong as can be. A necessary and practical workshop for writers looking to apply to fellowships, residencies, MFA programs, and grants!

Saturday, November 21, 1-4 p.m. ($75)

Short Story Fundamentals, with Emily Lackey

The short story is a form unto itself, but what exactly is it? In this half-day workshop, writers will discover the beauty of this mysterious form. We’ll talk about the difference between an anecdote and a story, what every short story needs in order to be successful, how to develop characters and create tension in so little space, and what ideas are best suited for short stories. Perfect for writers interested in trying the form for the first time and writers who want to revisit the fundamentals to make their stories-in-progress even stronger!

Saturday, December 5, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)



Introduction to the Nonfiction Book Proposal, with Susanne Dunlap

Nonfiction books—self-help, how-to, informational—are sold on proposal, including only a few sample chapters. But memoirs, as well, benefit from having book proposals to support the pitching process, even though they do require a completed manuscript. This workshop covers the essential elements of a book proposal, with guidelines for writing them, how to format a proposal, and the basics of researching agents and publishers for your book. 

Saturday, December 12, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ($75)

Blueprint Your Book: Fine-tuning the Fundamentals, with Susanne Dunlap

In this first workshop in the Blueprint Your Book Series, writers will explore fundamental questions necessary to determine a book’s purpose, shape and scope.  We will also begin to outline and hone our stories’ initial structures. Together, we’ll brainstorm these crucial elements, draft our answers, and receive encouraging, thoughtful feedback on our efforts. Writers of all fiction and memoir genres are welcome.

Saturday, January 9, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ($75) 

Fiction Essentials: Setting and Conflict, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Setting details are often either overlooked or overused.  Some writers try to pack in a lot of setting details as a way to ‘set the stage.’  Others fear the reader will be bored and the action bogged down by any attention to place.   In this morning workshop, bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan will take you through examples and exercises that will help illuminate how to use place effectively–not just to establish ‘mood’ or engage readers’ senses, but to amplify the tension and echo the central conflict in your stories. 

Saturday, January 16, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Writing the Hard Stuff, with Donna Jenson

Use this half-day workshop as a laboratory for uncovering or discovering what you most want (but fear) to give voice to.  Writing prompts and exercises will jumpstart the dive. Then, in a supportive group of like-minded explorers you’ll share and receive feedback on where your writing resonates with power and strength.

Saturday, January 30, 1:00 – 4:00 pm ($75)

Writing by Ear: Incorporating the Poetic, with Michael Mercurio

Every writer—no matter how accomplished they may be—feels the pressure of finding the right words to invigorate their manuscripts, to tell stories that resonate with readers and that linger for a long time. In this half-day workshop, writers will explore how the origins of words we use and the sounds of them can enhance their writing across any and all genres. Incorporating these poetic sensibilities into your work can help to create meaning you didn’t know was there and to get your work to stand out when it crosses an editor’s desk!

Saturday, February 6, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

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 13, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Fiction Essentials: Narrative Pacing, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Every story has a beginning and an end, but how does a writer best navigate the space of time in-between? This task of manipulating narrative time is one of the hardest jobs a writer has to face. In this workshop, part of our “Fiction Essentials” series, we will examine the elements of pacing and learn exercises and tools for expanding and compressing, slowing down or speeding up narrative time. Through examples and specific exercises, we’ll explore the mechanics of pacing and gain a stronger understanding of how to manipulate the time in our own stories.

Saturday, February 20, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Blueprint Your Book: Focus on the Reader, with Susanne Dunlap

It’s a joy to write just to satisfy yourself, to answer a need to get your stories down on paper and express your thoughts and ideas. But if you are looking to put your novel or memoir out into the world, it’s also important to consider your reader, right from the beginning.  This workshop helps you step back and look at what you’re writing through your potential reader’s eyes—a process that can be very revealing for you as the writer too.

Sunday, February 21, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

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. 

Saturday, February 27, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75

Blueprint Your Book: Building a Solid Structure, with Susanne Dunlap

The idea of structure often strikes fear in writers. But it needn’t! In this workshop, we examine and put into practice the underlying principles that lead to a structure that hangs together, that follows the cause-and-effect trajectory that keeps readers turning the pages. We’ll dig into the specifics of your book project and you’ll start to build your structure in a logical, cohesive way to help prevent your manuscript from going off the rails as you write forward. 

Saturday, March 13, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Finding the Voice of Your Story, with Dori Ostermiller

There’s lots of talk about voice in narrative, but what is it, exactly? If the voice of our story is the doorway through which readers enter, how do we let them in? How can we consciously create a voice that is compelling, readable and true? In this one-day workshop, we will explore what factors go into creating voice, in fiction and memoir, study some examples of amazing voices in literature, do some writing together, and learn techniques for crafting a memorable narrative voice.

Saturday, March 20, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Blueprint Your Book: 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, as well as explore the interplay between scene and narration.

Saturday, April 10, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Pitch Perfect: Querying and Other Paths to Publishing, with Susanne Dunlap

You’ve finished your manuscript (or almost, anyway). Congratulations! Now it’s time to think about how you’ll get it into readers’ hands. This workshop will address query letters to agents for traditional publishing and the basics of how to write a synopsis of your entire book. We’ll also explore the benefits and pitfalls of hybrid and self-publishing—which can be a perfectly valid way to get your book out into the world. Finally, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of all paths to publishing.

Saturday, May 15, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Blueprint Your Book: The Inside Outline, with Susanne Dunlap

This powerful tool, developed by Jennie Nash (book coach to multiple bestselling authors), will transform how you think about your project. It goes beyond the question of structure and plot to help you map out what really moves your story along. In this workshop (taught over two consecutive Saturdays), you’ll be able to start tying the external, plot-based events of your story to the internal, emotion-based truths that inform it. This workshop is great for both writers who like to outline and writers who don’t. It’s ideal if you’re just starting a manuscript, are partway through your draft, or are about to launch into a revision.

Saturday, June 5, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & Saturday, June 12, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($150)

Community Writing Workshops

Come join us for a morning of writing among peers in our bright, beautiful space!  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 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

Community Writing Workshops—Now Online!

June 7: Susanne Dunlap

July 5: Jacqueline Sheehan

August 2: Susanne Dunlap

September 6: Meghan Nesmith

October 4: Jacqueline Sheehan

November 1: Emily Everett

December 6: Emily Nagoski

Please use the form to the right to RSVP for a Community Writing Workshop. All of our Community Writing workshops will be held online for the foreseeable future. 

 


    Manuscript Intensive Series, with Dori Ostermiller

    “I never would have completed my manuscript without the structure of this group and Dori’s loving guidance. She holds an incredibly safe, nurturing yet critically honest space for creativity and the pages to emerge. It’s impossible to measure the value of this program!”
    Carla Savetsky

    Writing a book in isolation can feel like climbing Mt. Everest with no oxygen and no guide!  In order to support and guide writers through this daunting task, we offer the Manuscript Intensive Series, a year-long program for writers with prose manuscripts in progress that call for critical response and new writing.  Writers can be working on novels, short story collections, memoirs or essay collections.  This group will provide the structure, support, inspiration and critical feedback to help writers complete a book-length manuscript.

    This is serious work that gets books written! Dozens of finished manuscripts have emerged from this process, and many have gone on to publication, including Dinah Mack’s Pirates of Cologne, Dusty Miller’s Alice Ott Mystery Series, Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill, JoAnne Jones’s Headstrong, Steve Bernstein’s Stories from the Stoop, and Dori’s Outside the Ordinary World, among many others…

    Applications Accepted Through November