Community Writing Workshops
Come join us for a morning of writing, in a bright, beautiful space among peers! 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 Saturday of every month (First Sunday in Feb!), 9:00 am – 12:00 pm RSVP here
Writing Sex, with Emily Nagoski
There are so many reasons to write about sex. Done right, a well-placed sex scene can add depth, emotional nuance, heat and believability to your narratives. And there’s no better way to reveal character! But writing about sex can be intimidating, and it’s one of the hardest things to pull off… Spend a fun and illuminating morning with best-selling author/world renowned sex educator/kick-ass speaker/Ted-talker, Emily Nagoski, learning to write about sex in a way that is both subtle and, well, sexy, both accurate/believable and nuanced. Participants will move through a series of short exercises based on central findings from the science of sex, then learn how to transform this knowledge into writing that a reader can’t put down…
Saturday, February 16, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm ($75) Register Now…
Emily Nagoski is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller, Come As You Are: the surprising new science that will transform your sex life. She began her work as a sex educator at the University of Delaware, where volunteered as a peer sex educator while she studied psychology with minors in cognitive science and philosophy. She went on to earn a M.S. in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Health Behavior, both from Indiana University, with clinical and research training at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. After eight years working at Smith College, Emily is now working on her second book, about women’s overall wellbeing. It’s called Burnout.
Writing Across Culture, with Elletra Pauletto
One of the first rules of writing is to write what you know. But what happens when we attempt to go beyond these boundaries and explore new ways of thinking, talking and living? How do we portray a different culture, race, gender or ethnicity–something that is essentially unfamiliar to us–in a way that is respectful, authentic and whole? In this class we will read authors who have attempted to put themselves in others’ shoes, or who are writing about cultures that are not their own, and discuss whether they have done so in a way that is sensitive or appropriate to the story. Special attention will be given to identifying stereotyping and cultural blindness in our own writing, and learning how avoid falling into the sometimes subtle trap of romanticizing the exotic.
Saturday, March 16th, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ($75) Register Now…
Since receiving her MFA from Columbia University, Elettra Pauletto has divided her time between writing about her life and work in Africa–including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Senegal–and translating works of fiction and nonfiction from Italian or French into English. In both her writing and translations, she draws heavily on her experience as a former political risk analyst covering Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Her nonfiction has appeared in Pacific Standard Magazine, Quartz, and Harper’s.
Revision Strategies for Novels and Memoir, with Randy Susan Meyers
Revision can be overwhelming. Structural techniques and tools—ranging from effective computer programs to editing checklists, to judicious use of your three-hole-punch—can help marry your left and right brain. The workshop will cover three areas of revision: concrete organizational ideas, strategies for reading and editing your own work, and managing and editing manuscripts with computer tools. The workshop will also include discussion of evaluating and incorporating critique. In-class exercises will help sharpen revision techniques. Handouts will include strategy sheets, suggested readings, and examples of computer-generated tools
Saturday, March 30th, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 a.m. ($150) Register Now…
Randy Susan Meyers is the author of four novels: The Murderer’s Daughters (a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award), The Comfort of Lies, Accidents of Marriage, and recently, the critically acclaimed, The Widow of Wall Street. Meyers lives in Boston and teaches writing at Grub Street and Writers in Progress.
Young Adult Fiction, with Morgan Sheehan-Bubla
Are you curious about the growing world of young adult fiction? Do you think you may have a YA novel in you? This info-packed half-day workshop will bust a few myths, and provide a solid introduction to the YA craft. Through writing prompts, examples and discussion you’ll leave this workshop with the start of a story and a kick-ass main character. This workshop is open to teen and adult writers. Why not write what you love to read?
Saturday, April 13th, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Register Now
Morgan Sheehan-Bubla received her BFA from Tisch at New York University and MFA from the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. She teaches English at Smith and Western New England University. In the summer Morgan teaches YA fiction in the Smith Young Women’s Workshop. She is a member of the New England SCBWI, and a published poet and produced playwright.
Dialogue Intensive, with Emily Lackey
Effective dialogue is the linchpin of successful scene-writing. Dialogue can propel a story forward, reveal character, increase narrative tension: in short, dialogue done well engages readers like no other craft element. Yet, for almost all writers, writing compelling and authentic dialogue is one of the biggest hurdles. In this half-day intensive, writers will look closely at the elements of dialogue that make for effective scene work. Through exercises and examples, writers will learn how to craft dialogue that is purposeful, builds character, and develops the subtext that gives their scenes life. Participants should feel free to bring work that is already in progress, but writers of all levels and genres are welcome!
Saturday, April 20th, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ($75) Register Now
A graduate of Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf School of English, Emily received her MFA from the University of New Hampshire in 2014. Her work stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Post Road, The Literary Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Rumpus, among others. She teaches in the graduate Creative Writing program at Southern New Hampshire University.
Research and Backstory, with Jacqueline Sheehan
Research and Backstory are essential ingredients in fiction—they bring authority, authenticity, and depth to a story. But making all those fascinating facts work for you and not against you is tricky. Research can lead down a rabbit hole of evermore-tantalizing tidbits of information, bogging down process and product. Backstory is research’s evil twin, occasionally turning into an information dump that can overshadow plot. In this morning workshop, we discuss the best sources and practices for research, and how to distill just enough into our stories to lend authenticity without making them dull.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., May 11th Register Now
Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world.
First Impressions: Writing Strong Beginnings, with Emily Lackey
When it comes to sending our work out into the world, first impressions are often times all we have. With submissions piling up on editors’ and agents’ desks, writing a strong beginning is critical to getting our work noticed. But what exactly goes into a strong start? In this half-day workshop, we’ll go over the five things every first page needs, looking closely at examples of writers who do this successfully, and taking some time to work on our own. In addition to handouts, tips, and writing time, this workshop will include insights from working agents and editors about what they are looking for when they look at the first page. All genres welcome!
Saturday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., May 18th ($75) Register Now
Bad Guys We Love to Hate, with Jacqueline Sheehan
Where would Harry Potter be without Voldemort? Gatsby without Buchanan or Atticus without Bob Ewell? Great bad-guys are just as important (if not more so) to good stories as protagonists. In fact, antagonists are often the most memorable characters in literature, without which, many best-selling stories would cease to exist. If your antagonist isn’t fully realized, your story will undoubtedly suffer. But what is an antagonist, exactly, and how do you create one that is not only a great foil but also a compelling and three-dimensional character in her own right?
Spend the morning with best-selling author Jacqueline Sheehan sharpening the conflict in your fiction through that crucial, mysterious energy between protagonist and antagonist. A finely drawn antagonist is the one who is neither wholly evil nor entirely good. When we tackle the beast of a fully fleshed antagonist, we involve the reader intimately, as well as increasing the tension in our stories.
Saturday, June 15th, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ($75) Register Now