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


Join us for our Fall Reading and Open House, Saturday, December 6th, 4:30 – 6:30 pm, with prose and poetry by the members of the 2013/14 Manuscript Intensive Series: Kyra Anderson, Dinah Mack, Ashley Fogle, Katie Drumm, JoAnne Jones and Jeanne Fenton.  Reception with refreshments to follow.  At the Writers in Progress Studio

Fall Writing Workshop Schedule:

Tuesday/Thursday Jumpstart, with Dori Ostermiller:

Even the most seasoned writers have difficulty carving out the time… This amazingly productive morning workshop provides a chunk of quiet, structured writing time among peers, a handful of great ideas to get you rolling and your morning coffee, 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 a brief craft discussion and thoughtful, encouraging feedback on participants’ work. Make serious headway in your writing projects this fall!  Appropriate for all levels and genres.  Tues and/or Thurs mornings, 9:15 – 12:15.  10-week fall session begins week of September 9.  Winter session begins week of December 2 ($365 for either Tuesday or Thursdays/ $565 for both Tuesday/Thursday).  Only a few spaces left!

Writing From Life, with Dori Ostermiller:

This 8-week 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 powers and deepen our commitment to the writing life.  Each night, we’ll explore a new narrative ‘tool,’ generate work in an encouraging environment, share our work and receive constructive feedback.  Monday Nights, 6-9 pm.

8-week Winter Session begins December 1st  ($350)

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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, and share both informal and prepared writing in a supportive, exploratory, and non-judgmental setting.

6 Tuesdays, 7-9 pm, starting September 23.  ($265)  

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 comes out April 2015 with HarperCollins followed by two more Teddy Mars books.

Character vs. Plot: Can’t Have One Without the Other, with Jacqueline Sheehan

5What’s the real difference between a character-driven story and one that’s plot-based?  And is one type of story better than the other?

Characters are the actors on the stages of our plots, but how we define characters will also determine the plot.  Or is it the other way around?  Should plot be the force that moves and defines our characters?  If you’re confused, you’re in great company with many writers.  Come spend the day exploring the intricacies of this ages-old debate, and learn some valuable tools for weaving your characters’ motivations seamlessly into the storyline, and ultimately strengthening both!

Saturday,  October 25, 9:30 – 4:30 pm ($125)

Jacqueline Sheehan is the New York Times bestselling author of Lost and Found, Now and Then, Picture This and Truth. She is the editor of the anthology, Women Writing in Prison, and has taught numerous workshops at Writers in Progress.

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The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, celia at elmer'swith Celia Jeffries

Tracy Kidder, Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Julia Child. Different writers, different subjects, but all are creative nonfiction writers. They communicate ideas and information, but with a twist, in a compelling and vivid style. If you are writing personal essays, memoir, travel or food essays, you’re a creative nonfiction writer. Join us for a full day and explore the terrain of this relatively new, but increasingly popular genre.  We’ll read examples from the masters, brainstorm ideas, and do some new writing. Bring a page or two of a work in progress and see how using literary techniques, from scene to dialogue to description, can ‘wake up’ your nonfiction prose.

Saturday, Nov 8, 9:30 am -4:30 pm ($120)

Celia Jeffries, MFA, has an extensive background in education, journalism, and publishing. Her work has appeared in Westview, Writer’s Chronicle and Solsticelitmag.com and the anthology Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper. among others. She has served in the Writer-in-Residence program at Forbes Library and on the faculty of Lesley University.


suzanne-strempek-sheaSensory Writing Tune-up, with Suzanne Strempek-Shea

If you tell a reader what to think, she may not be convinced, but if you make her feel something, she’s yours!  Suzanne Strempek Shea’s recent “Sense of Using the Senses” workshop prompted participants to ask if she could return to Writers in Progress every few months to speak further on the subject of enlivening and enriching both fiction and nonfiction by incorporating unique sensory detail. We experience our lives most powerfully through our senses—sight, touch, smell, taste… But too often, our characters exist as if they have no world around them.  Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, engaging of all the senses in unique ways can tip your writing from merely competent to compelling.  This half-day workshop in June will include more exercises, a review of participants’ work in progress and more exploration of published writers who successfully captivate readers’ senses. Both returning and new participants are welcome!  Date TBA ($75)

Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels, including Selling the Lite of Heaven and Becoming Finola, and three memoirs, including Songs From a Lead-lined Room and Sundays in America. The winner of the New England Book Award, she serves on the faculty at Stonecoast MFA program.

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Writers in Progress Manuscript Intensive Series:

A 10-month 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 seven 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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