Writing Workshops & Events

“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

Fall Writing Workshop Schedule:

Tuesday/Thursday Jumpstart, with Dori Ostermiller:

Both beginning and seasoned writers have difficulty carving out the time… This amazingly productive morning workshop provides a big chunk of quiet, structured writing time among peers, a handful of great ideas to get you rolling and your morning coffee, tea, muffins and fruit.  Starting with a variety of imaginative prompts, we’ll warm up, engage in a sustained writing period and then share our work in a supportive environment.  Each week includes handouts, a brief craft discussion and thoughtful, encouraging feedback on participants’ work. Make serious headway in your writing projects this year!  Appropriate for all levels and genres.  Tu and/or Th, 9:15 – 12:15.  ( $375 for one day $675 for both ).  

10-week Fall Session begins week of September 8th  (Only two spaces left)

Writing From Life, with Dori Ostermiller

This workshop will inspire you to take your writing projects to the next level, whether you’re working on fiction, memoir, or somewhere in between. Through a series of mind-opening exercises, we’ll uncover life material, hone our story-telling voices and deepen our commitment to the writing life.  Each night, we explore a new narrative craft ‘tool,’ generate writing in an encouraging environment, share work and receive valuable constructive feedback.  Monday Nights, 6-9 pm. ($350)

8-week Fall Session begins September 14 (three spaces left)

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The Art and Practice of Blogging, a monthly group with Sarah Buttenwieser 

Blogging is easy—you just have to make the commitment! Here is a chance to make a monthly date with your blogger/writer self in order to get and stay on track… This workshop will provide the accountability, ideas and skill-building to support you in writing and promoting your blog.  Each meeting, we’ll check in, explore questions about content, form and promotion. You’ll get great prompts, some valuable feedback, and a solid chunk of writing time. If you’re working up the courage to send out essays, or submit to other blogs, this class will work for you, too! This is a four-Thursday commitment6-9 pm, the second Thursday of Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec. ($175)

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser’s “Standing in the Shadows” blog has been running at the Valley Advocate for several years. She has also blogged for other sites, including Brain Child Magazine. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Salon, Full Grown People and the Manifest Station, among others.

Writing Children’s and Young Adult Fiction, with Molly Burnham

UnknownWriting for children ought to be like children: enjoyable, playful, sometimes challenging, difficult, and always mind-altering.  But where do you begin?  In this 6-week workshop, we will engage in imaginative writing exercises, explore examples from multiple genres of children’s writing, develop our critiquing skills through discussion of participants’ work, and share both informal and prepared writing in a supportive, exploratory and non-judgmental setting. Tuesdays, 7-9 pm.  ($350)  

Next 8-week Session begins September 15

Molly Burnham holds a masters in Education and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.  Her first book, Teddy Mars Almost a World Record Breaker was released in April 2015 with HarperCollins and will be followed by two more Teddy Mars books.

fbb2cacb-3ecb-483c-86c1-08212cd8f805The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing, with author Sophy Burnham

Self-publishing is increasingly accepted in today’s rapidly changing book world. After publishing 13 books (three were New York Times best-sellers,) author Sophy Burnham discovered that her agent couldn’t find a publisher for her next novel. But Sophy believed in the book and finally decided to publish it herself! This half-day seminar, based on personal experience and research, will cover the basics of self-publishing, including: doubt and self-confidence; how to begin; cost and commitment; where to find a publisher, the Contract and options; how to prepare your book for publication, and most important, promotion and publicity. Come with your ideas and all the questions you can think of. Leave with a solid plan for getting your book into the world!

Saturday, October 3rd, 9 am – noon ($75)

Sophy Burnham is the author of 14 books–three have been New York Times bestsellers.  Her work is translated into 26 languages. A frequent public speaker, Sophy has appeared on scores of TV and radio shows including Larry King Live, Oprah (twice), Today Show, Good Morning America and CBS Morning News. Her latest novel, Love, Alba will be released in August 2015. She lives in Washington D.C.

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Revising Your Book: Three Wednesdays in October with Diana Gordon

6870824758_15b8c2905eSo you’ve written a draft… now what? How do you evaluate what you’ve accomplished? Is it ready for publication, or does it need a revision?  This three-week Wednesday night workshop will help you answer the common questions raised by first drafts: Expansion or contraction? Pacing and backstory? Beginnings, middles and ends? Authentic vs. inauthentic scenes? Character arc and complexity? The first Wednesday, we’ll look at some of the bigger issues, and at your book specifically. We’ll learn to write a synopsis that will reveal the shape of your story. Second week, we’ll discuss participants’ synopses and explore how to use them effectively. On the last night, we’ll learn about line editing: how to recognize and address the pitfalls that might stand between you and publication.  All three classes will bring your first draft into clearer focus and set you on the path toward a successful revision. October 7, 14 and 21, 6-9 pm ($125)

Diana Gordon is the author of Fourth World and Nightly, at the Institute of the Possible, a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award and International Book Award. Gordon’s poems and stories have been published widely in journals such as The Massachusetts Review, Weber Studies, The Northwest Review, and Poetry Daily. She is the winner of many awards, including Glimmer Train, the Betsy Colquitt Award and the Editor’s Choice Award from The Beacon Street Review, among others. Diana is a MCC Artist Fellow in fiction, and a finalist in poetry. She is the editor for Hedgerow Books.

 Writing the Poetic: A Genre-Bending Workshop for the Poet in You, with Chivas Sandage

HS4-215x300Do you long for a breakthrough in your poetry, feel locked-in by genre or abandoned by your muse? Do you long for your prose to sing, rivet, and surprise? Beyond genre, there is another way to understand everything you will ever read and write. This workshop explores the lyric sensibility wherever we find it—including prose works by Ondaatje, Woolf, Rilke, and Tim O’Brien. We will discuss specific strategies for writing the poetic and study examples that emphasize rhythm and sound, invite compression and fragmentation, and allow a narrator to shed persona and immerse oneself in otherness. This workshop includes a full-length presentation; handouts with charts, excerpts, and intriguing prompts; and exploratory writing periods followed by participant readings and supportive discussion.

Saturday, Dec 5th, 9 am – 4 pm ($125)

Chivas Sandage’s first book, Hidden Drive (Antrim House, 2012), was a finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards in Poetry and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is at work on Salt Wind Redemption: Love & Murder in South Texas, a narrative nonfiction book about the 2012 double shooting of a teenage lesbian couple. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Bennington College.

Writers in Progress Manuscript Intensive Series:

A 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 September.  This group will provide the structure, support, inspiration and constructive feedback to help writers complete a book-length manuscript draft.

Applications accepted during the month of June.  

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