Here are some of my most successful Writing Workshop topics which can be done in person or virtually.
Writing Workshops are for single classes (up to 25 students) and can be 45 minutes to 2 hours long. They can follow an Author Presentation or stand on their own. So, whether you want one “Story Starter” workshop in your library, or several days of workshops to get all the students in your school writing creatively, contact me to ask about availability. And be sure to check out potential sources of funding.
Five Ways to Start a Story
Conquer the blank page! This workshop leads participants through exercises to launch stories with a character, a setting, an object description, a word prompt, and a fill-in-the-blanks instant plot. Some exercises are done alone, in pairs, or aloud as a class, as time permits.
No participant will ever be able to say, “But I have no ideas!” again.
This workshop is suited to all ages and all levels of experience and ability.
Knowing and Showing Character
Following a mini-lesson on characterization, participants first make a character profile, then learn to show that character to readers through monologue, dialogue, description, and action.
(Because you can’t attach a character profile as an addendum to your story.)
This workshop can be adapted for all ages, even the youngest writers, and it can serve as the first of a two- or three-part workshop to build characters and settings and opening scenes.
Create your characters, then set them free to wreak havoc or save the day. This workshop leads participants through exercises to build a character or two, really get to know them, then combine them in group stories based on a selection of established premises. How it all turns out is up to the characters. Character is destiny, after all.
Participants will learn the cause-and-effect relationship of characters and plots, and how to tinker with both to create more exciting, believable, and emotionally resonant stories. (Or they’ll just crack themselves up with the team plotting exercise.)
This workshop works best with grades 5+.
Writing to Build a Mood
This workshop teaches participants to write for effect. Choose a mood or genre for your story (e.g., funny/comedy, serious/drama, scary/horror, exciting/adventure), and let that guide your choices in character, setting, plot, and language.
Through exercises on story development, scene creation, and line-by-line revision, participants will learn to lead readers to just the right emotional impact.
This workshop can be adapted to every age and experience level.
From Freewrite to Flash Fiction
There are diamonds in your rough drafts. Starting with a blank page and a prompt, participants will draft a few freewrites, then scour them for a nugget of genius to transform into a short short story.
All you need to write is a pen and few minutes of focus.
This workshop is perfect for those afraid to begin or those who think they need a year on a desert island to write their story. It’s also suited to the impatient, silly, or daring. Writers willing to share their work (with me, with all, or with a partner) will get the most from it.
We tend to think of drafting as “writing” and revision as something else, but it’s through revision that the real craft of writing is learned. This workshop leads participants through story-level, scene-level, and line-level revisions, with exercises to enhance sensibility and evaluation skills, hone scene-crafting techniques, and declutter language to reveal a story’s essence.
This workshop has a lot of talk to illustrate its points, so it’s best for more experienced writers (high school students, creative writing classes, or adult writing groups) who have already drafted at least one story.
I’ve led workshops on many other themes, including:
And I’m always up for something new. Contact me to inquire about possible workshops.