Upcoming: Saturday, January 7, 2023 (11 a.m.–3 p.m., ET)

Scene Basics: Event & Emotion

In this FREE online class, we will discuss the basic functions of scenes in prose narrative. If you’re stuck on a draft, feel like your story is circling the drain rather than building toward a climax, or simply want to sharpen overall structure, this review will help.

Using Sandra Scofield’s handy primer, THE SCENE BOOK, we’ll discuss ways to put readers “in the moment” with our narrators and characters.

Apply here by Friday, December 23.

Cost: FREE!

Upcoming: Saturday, February 4, 2023 (11 a.m.–3 p.m., ET)

Scene Writing: Beats & Turning Points

In this second Narrative Elements class, we will examine the smallest (and most potent!) increment of scene writing—beats of action—and the way beats add up to turning points in individual scenes. If your scenes feel unfocused or muddy, the action isn’t clear, or you’re struggling to clarify how your story and characters evolve, this class is for you.

Building on the work we did in SCENE BASICS, participants will develop the tools for evaluating and revising their own drafts to create more vivid, engaging scenes.

Apply here by Friday, January 20, 2023

Cost: $100.00

Upcoming: Saturday, March 4, 2023 (11 a.m.–3 p.m., ET)

Scene Writing: Pulse & Characterization

The third class in the Narrative Elements series zeroes in on the concept of pulse: the often conflicting needs and desires that drive human action and interaction. That’s right, the juicy stuff! We’ll follow this with a discussion of the different methods of characterization, and how to create believable, memorable characters on the page.

We’ll continue the work done in classes 1 & 2 to sharpen character motivation along with action and response in scenes.

Apply here by Friday, February 17, 2023

Cost: $100


Writing Craft

The Things People Say: Writing Effective Dialogue in Fiction and Memoir

Do you ever find while writing fiction or memoir that your dialogue feels “flat” or uninspired?

Dialogue can contribute to character development, summarize situations, and reveal emotional subtext (often in direct contrast to character action!). Using a series of examples from literature and film, we will analyze and discuss a variety of approaches to getting at the things people do (and don’t) say.

Writing Craft

Being There: Defining Sense of Place in Poetry & Prose

For both poets & prose writers, a clear sense of place—one that accesses not only geographical features, but also elements of memory, cultural identity, and regional character—can ground writing in concrete detail, while allowing for the complexity of subjective experience.

This talk will examine the essential elements of defining and writing place; participants will then investigate place in their own work through guided writing exercises.

Panel Discussion

Substance as Style: What Noir Writing Can Teach Us about Literary Form

As a genre, noir fiction explores flawed protagonists, individuals attempting to negotiate a corrupt society, and propulsive, plot-driven language that embraces the vernacular. What can this very American literary form teach fiction writers about nuance in character development, innovative approaches to building tension in a narrative, and the ways setting impacts plot?

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference


Two for the Road: Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Travel, & Identity

This talk explores different approaches to the collaborative process through the lens of several projects undertaken by writer Tanya Whiton and photographer Heidi Killion (Two for the Road: Adventures in Maine). Touching on the different ways artists can work together across disciplines, it also addresses some of the challenges inherent to cross-disciplinary collaboration—and ways to overcome them.

Professional Development

Don’t Submit, Share! How to Manage the Process of Publishing in Literary Journals

Many well-intentioned writers enthusiastically set out to submit their work to literary journals, only to encounter numerous roadblocks.

This seminar demystifies the submission process by offering strategies for overcoming obstacles, clarifying personal goals, and creating a simple, actionable plan to get one’s writing in front of editors and, ultimately, readers.

Professional Development

Start Where You’re Standing: How to Create & Develop Your Writer’s Platform

Whether you’re just starting out, on the road to publication, or have already published a book, creating and maintaining your “author platform” is part of the business of being a writer. Simply put, a platform is defined by a) who you are and b) who you want to reach.

This talk will outline the essential functions and elements of an author platform (focusing on web sites, social media, and events); share tools for participants to assess their own efforts; and offer tips for integrating creative and promotional work to reflect one’s unique vision and mission as a writer.

What are you working on?