Past Workshops

Starting a Novel with Good Bones, with Randy Susan Meyers 

2014-Randy Susan Meyers FINAL-JPEGWhether you’re launching your very first novel or beginning your fifth, it’s so easy to get lost in the morass of researching, generating and sketching… For those beginning a draft (or those lost in their umpteenth revision) this one-day workshop provides a valuable and effective approach for building (or rebuilding) your book’s structure. We will employ the ‘how do you eat an elephant’ approach: one bite at a time. Starting with an initial idea, participants move through a step-by-step outlining process. We’ll explore “what-if’s,” create a concept paper, transition into characterization, indexing and finally spine-building. By the end of the day, you will have a strong skeleton on which to hang your story. Back by popular demand. Appropriate for memoirists too!

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 Widow of Wall Street. Meyers teaches writing at Grub Street Writers Center and Writers in Progress of Florence.  She is the mother of two grown daughters and lives in Boston with her husband.  Find out more…


Busting through Writers Block, with Cindy Littlefield 

Littlefield hi-res shot for Litro Magazine

You know how the writing process goes: inspiration strikes, your story starts off like gangbusters, and then your work comes to a screeching halt somewhere in the murky middle.  It’s easy to lose your momentum when things start to get complicated… In this half-day workshop, writers will try their hand at a number of inspiring, quirky, challenging (in a good way!), and unforgettable tricks for getting their work moving again... Working together, we’ll rewrite a classic fairy tale, get swept away in a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise, play with improvisational dialogue, and create descriptions without using the very words we know are perfect (but overused) for the job. Writers of all genre are welcome. Come prepared to play and get unstuck!

Cindy Littlefield’s fiction has appeared in Litro, Dogzplot, and the Rose & Thorn Journal, and she was a former finalist in the Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.  Find out more.


Writing the Body, with Emily Lackey

1009868_735281213435_1348986647_nThere has never been a more important time to write about our bodies. In the current political climate, especially, it feels necessary to acknowledge the way our bodies can act as deep sources of creative inspiration. Our greatest stories come not from our heads but from our hearts, our shoulders, our hands, our backs. In this workshop, we will free ourselves from the self-consciousness and doubt that comes with writing and return to where our stories first began: our bodies. Through a series of meditations, exercises, prompts, and time to write, we will tap into our most fundamental selves, celebrate our bodies in their various stages, and bring our experiences of being alive in our bodies fully to the page.

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 has received generous support from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Newnan ArtRez. Her stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, Hobart, The Rumpus, and Monkeybicycle, among others.  Read Emily’s recent blog here...   Find out more…


Dreaming on the Page, a writing workshop with Tzivia Gover

downloadDreams can offer writers themes, images, prompts, motifs or entire story lines. Likewise, crafting poems and stories from dreams can help writers discover new levels of creativity, insight, and healing. In this weekly workshop, we will use dreams and the subconscious to inspire and energize our writing. Participants will generate and share new work in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment.  We’ll explore the intersections between dreaming and writing, and learn how dreams can inspire fresh ideas or help us move through creative blocks.  We will also learn to optimize creativity by understanding the brain chemistry of the dreaming mind.

Because the aim of this workshop is to encourage creative expression, self-awareness, and growth, this workshop is perfect for writers of all levels and of every genre–whether or not you remember your dreams!  Read Tzivia’s blog here

Tzivia Gover is the author of The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep and Joy in Every Moment. She is a writer, educator, and certified dream therapist and the director of the Institute of Dream Studies. Gover has led numerous workshops and panels about dreams, mindfulness, and writing, and she holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. She is an active member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and the founder of 350 Dreamers, an international network of people who dream together for global healing.


Writing Political Fiction: Balancing Craft and Commitment, with Ellen Meeropol

unnamedFiction 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.

Ellen Meeropol is the author of three novels, Kinship of CloverOn 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

Emily+NagoskiThere 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…

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.