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 Summer Session starts week of June 2 ($405)


Singing in the Dark: An Online Support Group for Writers

This four-week support group will help writers refocus their creative energy, establish weekly goals for their work, and push through the day-to-day challenges that this new reality forces upon us. Each week, writers will check in with their goals for the week, discover innovative ways to work through new challenges, and support each other in establishing achievable goals for the week ahead. Each meeting will include prompts, inspiring articles, craft tips, connection, and, of course, time to write. 

Sundays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. or 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.; 4-week June group starts June 7; 4-week July group starts July 5 ($100)

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—setting, dialogue, subtext, conflict, backstory.

Mondays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; 8-week summer session begins June 22; 8-week late summer session begins August 17 ($325)

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 summer session begins July 8; 10-week fall session begins September 16 ($395)

What’s Your Big Idea? Theme in Memoir, with Cathy Luna

The best memoirs tap into something universal in the human experience, teaching us something important about a larger theme (loss, courage, freedom, coming of age, etc.). But how, as writers, do we unearth the themes or big ideas at the heart of our own stories? And how do we structure and craft our memoirs so that these larger meanings shine? Through specific craft exercises, examining published excerpts, generating new work and receiving supportive feedback, writers will develop a strong sense of their memoir’s big themes, as well as learning powerful tools to uncover their stories’ deeper meanings. 

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

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)

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)

Half-Day & Full-Day Workshops

Putting Yourself on the Page, with Emily Lackey

When it comes to writing nonfiction, one of the hardest jobs we face as writers is making ourselves into characters. Like the other people that populate our work, we need to exist on the page as fully-formed human beings. We need to be seen by our reader and understood. We need strengths. We need weaknesses. We need flaws. We need foibles. And, above all, we need insight into ourselves that we didn’t have at the time… or maybe we still don’t have as we’re writing. In this half-day workshop, we’ll explore all of the ways we as writers can put ourselves fully on the page of our nonfiction so that the person our readers need to understand the most—our narrators—are open, honest, believable, vulnerable, and real. 

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

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

Welcome to the Blueprint Your Book series, the first of its kind at Writers in Progress! Over the next four 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. In this first workshop, 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.

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

Allies and Antagonists, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Where would Harry Potter be without Voldemort and Hermione?  Or Scout without Dill and Boo Radley? The role of secondary characters is not just to populate your story, but to drive it forward. The people close to your protagonist can be antagonists—characters who create conflict for your main character—or they can be allies, who assist the main character’s journey. Spend the morning with best-selling author, Jacqueline Sheehan, sharpening the conflict in your story through that crucial, mysterious energy between characters. 

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

Blueprint Your Book: Meeting Your Ideal Reader, with Susanne Dunlap

Knowing your reader and understanding her needs is a vital step to shaping your book. This second Blueprint Your Book workshop will focus on identifying your ideal audience, understanding that audience’s expectations, and learning vital tools and techniques for helping your reader enter the world of your book. This step is crucial for creating characters, formulating a compelling story structure, and building a world that your reader will never want to leave!

Saturday, July 11, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

What’s Your Big Idea? A Half-Day Workshop, with Cathy Luna

How, as writers, do we uncover the themes or big ideas at the heart of our own stories? In this half-day workshop, we will examine several best-selling memoirs for their themes and play with a variety of active techniques to help uncover and illuminate the big ideas within our own true stories. Workshop participants will leave with a strong sense of their memoir’s theme as well as how to structure their story around this central idea. 

Saturday, July 25, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

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

Whether you’re writing fiction or memoir, your story’s structure is crucial to creating a book that will keep readers turning the pages. But how do you find the structure for your story? In this workshop, you will discover the right structure for our book by examining the ‘present timeline’ of your stories, identifying the narrator’s place in that timeline, and determining where the story should start and end.

Saturday, August 8, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Submitting Your Work, with Emily Lackey

Back by popular demand! Every writer dreams of the day her work is in print; but the road from dreaming to publishing is  treacherous, filled with pitfalls, politics, and more places to submit than a writer knows what to do with. In this half-day workshop, writers will discover the fundamentals of submitting their work to literary journals, websites, and magazines. This professional workshop is a must!

Saturday, August 22, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Experimenting with Braided Essays, with Sarah Earle

The braided essay takes any number of differing narratives and with those “strands,” weaves them together to form a braid.  In this half-day online workshop we’ll explore some braided essay examples, brainstorm and trouble shoot ideas for your own, and have some guided writing time to help get a draft down on paper. 

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

Blueprint Your Book: The Inside Outline, with Susanne Dunlap

The Inside Outline is a powerfully simple tool that makes it possible to track both plot development and character arc in a single, living document. In this workshop, writers will create their own Inside Outline and receive personalized feedback. Once you are familiar with this technique you’ll never look back!

Saturday, September 19, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

The Fundamentals of Backstory, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Backstory is crucial when it comes to creating characters whose actions and emotions engage the reader. But the reader doesn’t need to know every detail of a character’s history, and sometimes backstory can turn into an information dump rather than driving the narrative forward. In this workshop, writers will look at techniques for uncovering their character’s unique backstory, determine which pieces are essential to the story, and practice ways to incorporate those pieces without dragging down the plot. 

Saturday, September 26, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Raising the Stakes, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Editors and agents often say that if there are no stakes, there is no story.  But what are ‘stakes,’ and how do you create them in your writing? In this workshop, writers will learn to up the ante in their narratives by increasing the internal and external conflicts acting upon a character. In-class writing exercises will help us explore what’s at risk in our stories and why, and give us tools to amplify the tension.  Spend the morning with best-selling author Jacqueline Sheehan, discovering how to keep readers on the edge of their seats!

Saturday, October 10, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($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, October 24, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

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)

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)

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 June 1st – August 1st