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 (none in December), 9:00 am – 12:00 pm RSVP here
Critical Craft Elements, with Seth Harwood
No matter what we write, fiction or nonfiction, our goal is simple: to make a reader’s imagination venture beyond mere words on the page. We want our readers to literally see our story’s events and characters in her mind’s eye. In this all-day workshop, we’ll explore ways to fully capture the imagination. Through a few time-tested techniques, participants will learn how to tie their reader’s heart to the narrator’s cinematic struggle, making her swoon with vertigo at the top of a tall building or wince from a cutting remark. Thinking back to what made us first fall in love with reading, we’ll look at how to create the sensation of seeing what is on the page in our minds. Such writing may seem elusive but is in fact an essential—and very learnable—skill.
Saturday, December 1, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm ($150) Register Now
Seth Harwood received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and went on to build a large readership for his first novel, JACK WAKES UP, by serializing it as a free audiobook online. He is the author of four additional novels, as well as two collections of short stories, and a novella in the world of Kurt Vonnegut that deals with the themes of time travel, writing, religion, and fatherhood. He currently lives in central Massachusetts and teaches creative writing for Harvard and Stanford Continuing Studies. Find out more…
The Power of the List, with Sarah Buttenwieser
Most writers have a love-hate relationship with their to-do lists, but in this half-day workshop, we’ll turn this practical strategy for ordering our work, home, and personal lives on its head! Lists actually have a lot of power, both as a narrative device in writing and as a way to approach work and creativity in general… In this half-day workshop, we’ll learn tricks for using list-making as creative inspiration. We’ll create characters in a list. We’ll complain bitterly in a list. We’ll be grateful in a list. We’ll share secrets in a list. In this fun and playful workshop, we’ll explore list-making as a creative tool that just may unlock the next story….
Saturday, December 8, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm ($75) Register Now
Sarah Buttenwieser’s essays appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Paste Magazine, Full Grown People and many others. A freelance journalist, she’s also at work on a middle grade novel. She’s taught blogging workshops at WIP. She earned her MFA in fiction at Warren Wilson College.
Getting Close to Your Characters, with Jacqueline Sheehan
One of the main reasons why readers read is to slip inside the skin of another person. The most memorable characters are those we feel closest to: the ones whose feelings we feel and whose lives we experience…. But how do writers accomplish this intimacy while thinking about so many other things, like plot and pacing and character development? Join us for a morning of experimenting with practical ways to bring the reader closer to your characters. We will particularly explore tense and point of view as vehicles for creating more immediacy. The physical movements and sensations of your characters also effect how close the reader feels. You are welcome to work on existing characters, create new ones, or simply experiment with the prompts. Appropriate for all narrative genres.
Saturday, January 26th, 9:00 am – 12:00 p.m. ($75) 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. Find out more…
Writing Political Fiction: Balancing Craft and Commitment, with Ellen Meeropol
Fiction about social justice has the potential to open eyes and change minds, to entice us to consider the world in fresh ways. In this workshop we will consider strategies to develop dramatic situations without lecturing our readers. Participants are invited to bring to the group a politically-infused novel they admire and consider why it works. Using examples from literature and writing exercises, we will work on framing language, developing characters, and structuring plot to dramatize conflicts of race, class, gender, war and peace, while avoiding the pitfalls of authorial intrusion and didacticism.
Saturday, Feb 9th, 9:00 am – 12:00 p.m. ($75) Register Now…
Ellen Meeropol is the author of three novels, Kinship of Clover, On Hurricane Island, and House Arrest. Recent essay publications include The Boston Globe, The Writer, Guernica, Necessary Fiction, and The Writers Chronicle. Ellen has an MFA in fiction from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and its current Board president. More at www.ellenmeeropol.com.
Writing Sex, with Emily Nagoski
There are so many reasons to write about sex. Maybe you’re writing a novel or short story and your characters get busy. Maybe you want to write a sexy email to your certain special someone. Maybe you’re keeping a sex journal or writing a sexual memoir, to document your personal journey. Maybe writing is how you process a trauma. Whatever the reason, writing about sex can be transformative – but it can also be intimidating. Does it sometimes squick you out? Do you fret over the “choreography”? Are you not sure you actually know enough about sex to write about it? In this workshop, Bird by Bird meets the science of sex. Through a series of short assignments, participants will write shitty first drafts of a sex scene, based on three central findings from the science of sex: the brain mechanism that governs sexual response; the differences between arousal and pleasure; and the impact of stress and love on sexual desire and pleasure. Half writing time, half teaching time.
Saturday, February 16, 9:30 – 4:30 p.m. ($150) 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.