home Wendy Call
bio writing editing teaching events appreciation of interest en espanol

Examples of Classes & Workshops Taught

"Telling True Stories: Making Literature from Real Life"
four-hour class
The Writers' Workshoppe
234 Taylor Street
Port Townsend, Washington

12:00 to 4:00 pm
Saturday, May 3, 2014

During our four hours together, we’ll hone fifteen tools for improving the lyric and narrative quality of our nonfiction writing. This workshop offers strategies for everything from facing the blank page, to sharpening your prose, to seeing a long writing project through to completion. We’ll spend equal portions of our time completing writing exercises and considering examples from master word-workers, including James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Joan Didion, Eduardo Galeano, Elizabeth Gilbert, Zora Neale Hurston, George Orwell, and Sei Shonagon. Our guidebook for this whirlwind tour will be Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide. (You do not need to have a copy of Telling True Stories for this workshop.) Register at The Writers' Workshoppe website.

"Authoring Change: Writing Socially Engaged Nonfiction"
Six-session class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
7:10 to 9:10 pm
Wednesdays, April 30 through June 4, 2014
How can you bring together your literary sensibility and your social conscience? In this new course, we will explore what it means to write socially engaged nonfiction. Each session will help you generate (and revise) essay, memoir or commentary inspired by social and political issues. We’ll read stellar examples of social-change literature by Atwood, Baldwin, Cisneros, MLK Jr., Levertov, Neruda, Orwell, and Tolstoy. We’ll discuss the readings (15-20 pages weekly), complete writing exercises, and review out-of-class writing assignments in small groups. Register at the Hugo House website.

"You Are Here: Creating a Sense of Place on the Page"
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Saturday, March 15, 2014
1:00 to 4:00 pm
When your writing has a “sense of place,” what exactly does it have? We’ll trace the concept of “sense of place” back through two centuries, drawing on the work of everyone from architects to theologians. Then, we’ll dig into a big toolbox to help you create a strong sense of place on the page, improving everything from characterization to dialogue in the process. Writers working in all genres – or between them – are most welcome.

"Next-Level Creative Nonfiction: Elevating Essays, Memoir, Travel Writing & Literary Journalism"
online at Writers.com
eight-week class
began Monday, February 3, 2014

Each week, we’ll explore one essential element of creative nonfiction:

  1. crafting good questions,
  2. research strategies,
  3. the narrative arc,
  4. the first-person narrator,
  5. strong character development,
  6. true-to-life scenes,
  7. self-editing techniques, and
  8. that elusive thing called “style.”

We’ll dissect great examples from masters of the genre – including James Baldwin, Jo Ann Beard, Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, Zora Neale Hurston, George Orwell, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alice Walker, and David Foster Wallace, looking at the gorgeous rooms they unlock with these eight keys to fabulous nonfiction. And then you will each roll up your sleeves and get to writing, putting new skills to work in your nonfiction prose. All literary nonfiction genres, from memoir to literary journalism to lyric essay, are welcome. This online course will include short weekly assignments, with feedback from your peers and from the instructor.

"Thirty Ways to Tell the Story "
Four-hour workshop
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
single-session, four-hour class
offered July 2007, October 2008, July 2010 and February 2014
In this fast-paced afternoon, we zoom through two-and-a-half-dozen writing exercises, searching for the best way to get those words on the page. If there’s a story (factual or otherwise) you’ve been itching to tell, or a poem prowling your mind, this is your chance to anchor those words to the page. Multimedia writing prompts – questions, answers, lines of poetry, images, sounds, even smells – will help us open the dusty drawers of memory and empty them out. Each participant leaves with the raw material for a rough draft, or perhaps even a completed draft that is ready for revision.

"Six More Keys to Nonfiction Prose"
Six-session class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Six Monday evenings, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
November 4 through December 16, 2013
Six more weeks, six more keys. This time around, our keys are tools to build any sort of nonfiction project. You will learn how to: create your own writing prompts, develop a sense of place on the page, research anything, interview effectively and craft pitch-perfect dialogue, edit your own work, and understand Aristotle’s 3,200-year-old Poetics. Master writers including Gretel Ehrlich, Elizabeth Gilbert, Alexandra Fuller, Lucy Lippard, George Orwell, and oh yes, Aristotle, will be our teachers. This class is designed for those who have taken my my “Six Keys” class in the past, either at Hugo House or Centrum. Come join us for six more weeks of reading, discussion, and both in-class and take-home writing exercises.

"Six Keys to Nonfiction Prose"
Six-session class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
offered Spring 2008, Winter 2011, Winter 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
Six weeks, six keys. In each class session, we'll explore one essential element of creative nonfiction: the first-person narrator, strong character development, the narrative arc, true-to-life scenes, compelling theme, and that elusive thing called “style.” We’ll dissect great examples from masters of the genre – including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, George Orwell and David Foster Wallace, looking at the gorgeous rooms they unlock with these six keys. In each class, we’ll also roll up our sleeves and get to writing, putting our new skills to work in our nonfiction prose.

MFA Program of the Whidbey Writers Workshop
Captain Whidbey Inn
Ebey's Landing National Historic Preserve
Whidbey Island, WA
Sunday, August 11 through Tuesday, August 13, 2013

As a Guest Faculty member, I will offer one nonfiction workshop each day of the residency, as well as a reading on Sunday evening, August 11.

4:30 to 5:30 pm, Sunday, August 11, 2013
Writing Across Borders
As writers, we can open up whole worlds to readers, even if they never leave their living rooms, classrooms, or local libraries. But with new worlds come new borders. In this workshop, we'll write and talk about the joys and dangers of literary border crossings, braving cross-cultural communication in a complicated world. Through writing exercises, discussion, and an extensive resource list, we’ll explore how words and ideas change meaning as they cross borders, and what this means as we try to write "the truth."

4:30 to 5:30 pm, Monday, August 11, 2013
Keeping the Ink Flowing: Your Journal, Your Writing, Your Self
Journal-writing is often our first entry point into writing, early in life. Many of us began keeping journals as soon as we learned how to string words into simple sentences. But now that we’ve committed to the writing life for the long haul, how can journaling continue to feed our work? In this workshop we'll discuss how to keep up a journaling practice, why it’s important, and how our words can make the leap from private journal to public page. Bibliography and resource list included.

4:00 to 5:00 pm, Tuesday, August 12, 2013
Ten Tips for Telling True Stories
The craft anthology I co-edited, with the ponderously long title Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, is widely used in journalism and creative writing programs across the country and internationally. I’ll share some of my favorite bits of advice from Telling True Stories, including tools for editing your own work, writing prompts, and even relationship advice. We’ll spend about half of our time together writing. Everyone receives writing prompts to take home.

"Six Keys to Nonfiction Prose"
Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum, Port Townsend, Washington

July 8 to 15, 2012
2:00 to 3:30 pm each afternoon

Six days, six keys. In each workshop session, we explored
one essential element of creative nonfiction – tools equally useful to memoir, travel narrative, personal essay, history, or literary journalism. See the description of the 2011 PTWC series below for details.
Many thanks to all who make the Port Townsend Writers Conference such a delight and wonder each July. Make a plan to attend next year! See details here.

Chuckanut Writers Conference
Whatcom Community College
237 West Kellogg Road
Bellingham, Washington

Panel Discussion: "Writing Real Life"
1:15 to 2:15 pm, Saturday, June 23, 2012

In this panel discussion, we covered a lot of ground related to the artistic, practical, and ethical aspects of writing real life. It was an honor to share the stage with Storme Webber and Priscilla Long, and kudos to the amazing Frances McCue for brilliant cat-herding.

Workshop: Self Editor's Toolkit: Improve Your Own Prose
2:30 to 3:30 pm
In this fast-paced hour we discussed tools to improve your prose at all stages of the writing process, from revising a first draft to putting the finishing touches on nearly completed work. The workshop included editing tips from well-known writers, a discussion of the four levels / stages of editing, suggested exercises, and an extensive handout (one given out and one emailed later) to help participants create a personalized self-editing toolkit.

Many thanks to Village Books and Whatcom County Community College for a truly enjoyable, fabulously well-organized, and deeply inspiring two days. Learn about this excellent conference here.

Writing Our Park: Free Writing Workshops
Audubon Center at Seward Park
5902 Lake Washington Blvd South
Southeast Seattle


11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2012
3:00 to 5:00 pm, Saturday, June 16, 2012

We tromped outside (and the rain held off) and explored Seward Park’s geologic, natural, cultural and literary history. (Yes, Seward Park has a literary history!) Details from these distinct histories of this beloved park formed the basis of writing prompts for our workshop. A total of 25 writers penned their way to a deeper understanding of Seward Park and our relationship to it.
Many thanks to 4Culture and the Seattle CityArtist Program for making these workshops possible, and to the Seward Park Audubon Center for hosting!

Literary EDGE: Professional Development for Writers
Artist Trust
Seattle, Washington
Saturdays in February and March, annually
Between 2009 and 2012 I taught four cycles of Artist Trust's Literary EDGE, a six-week (all day each Saturday) comprehensive professional development training for writers throughout the state (who can travel to Seattle). I was extremely lucky to co-teach the program with several brilliant people: writers Waverly Fitzgerald, Angela Jane Fountas and Michelle Goodman; bookseller Karen Allman;editor Jennie Goode; poet Kathleen Flenniken; and intellectual property rights lawyer Mark Wittow. The deadline for program applications falls in December each year.

"The Art of Research"
Field's End
Meeting Room, Bainbridge Public Library
1270 Madison Avenue N.
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Sunday, January 22, 2012
11:00 am to 4:00 pm (with a one-hour lunch break)

Learn how to put files, stacks, and bytes to work for your writing. Whether it’s a new online database, 50-year-old book, 300-year-old manuscript, or 500-year-old map that you need, this workshop will help you find the resources that best inform your writing. It might be an essay, novel, play, or poem you’re creating, but at some point you’ll need to do some old-fashioned research—using newfangled tools. Bring your research questions and your laptop (optional); we'll dig up the answers. A reference librarian will join us for part of the day as we navigate information superhighways and carriage roads. Register at the Field's End website.

"Just Who's Telling This (True) Story, Anyway?"
Writers & Books
740 University Avenue
Rochester, New York 14607
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
7:00 to 9:00 pm

“In nonfiction, the narrator is the only thing you can make up,” my first writing teacher told me. Just who is that slim, upright pronoun poised on the page? And who isn’t s/he? In this workshop, we delve into examples of first-person narrators from master nonfiction writers – discussing the differences among the person on the page (I-character), the storyteller (narrator), and the real-life author. Then we explore ourselves on the page. If you are writing first-person nonfiction, this workshop will give you powerful tools for taming that three-headed monster: the author, the narrator, and the “I-character.” Register via the Writers & Books website.

Writing Workshop: Inspired by the Art of Nature
Carriage Barn Visitors' Center
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
54 Elm Street
Woodstock, VT 05091
this workshop will be offered twice
Friday, September 9, 2011, 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:00 to 2:00 pm
In this two-hour workshop, we will write about (and inspired by) several of the Hudson River Valley School paintings in the collection of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. We will spend most of our time together writing, working through exercises that will allow each of us to create a full poem, extra-short-story, mini-essay, or monologue about the painting we’ve chosen. No experience or particular writing expertise is required! All are most welcome. This workshop is free and writing tools, ideas, and inspiration will all be provided.

You Are Here: Creating a Sense of Place
Grub Street Headquarters
160 Boylston Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Monday, September 12, 2011
6:30 to 9:30 pm

My friend and fellow writer Midge Raymond and I co-taught a writing workshop at one of the country's
largest community literary centers. Here's the course
description: "As authors whose recent books are grounded
in foreign settings, Wendy and Midge will offer tips for how
to offer a strong sense of place no matter where your
scenes unfold, whether it’s a small Mexican village, the
lonely islands of the South Pacific, or a character’s own
living room. We’ll demonstrate what place can reveal
about character and how a single setting can create a
more universal picture—all with plenty of writing prompts
along the way." We had a lovely time -- we're grateful to Grub Street and to the dozen brave writers who joined us in finding a sense of place.

Brown Bag Writing Workshop
Grub Street Headquarters
160 Boylston Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
12:30 to 1:15 pm

I co-led a lunchtime freewriting blitz with Midge Raymond at one of the country's largest community literary centers.

Twenty Ways to Tell the Story: A Free-Writing Fest
The Writer's Center
58 North Main Street
White River Junction, Vermont 05001
Thursday, August 18, 2011

6:00 to 8:30 pm
In this fast-paced evening, we zoom through twenty writing exercises, searching for the best way to get those words on the page. If there’s a story (factual or otherwise) you’ve been itching to tell, or a narrative poem prowling your mind, this is your chance to anchor those words to the page. Multimedia writing prompts – questions, answers, lines of poetry, images, even scents – will help us open the dusty drawers of memory and empty them out. Each participant leaves with the raw material for a rough draft. All writers or wannabe writers age 13 and over are welcome!

"Six Keys to Nonfiction Prose"
Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum, Port Townsend, Washington

July 18 to 23, 2011
2:00 to 3:30 pm each afternoon

Six days, six keys. In each workshop session, we’ll explore
one essential element of creative nonfiction – tools that you
can use whether you are writing memoir, travel narrative,
personal essay, history, or literary journalism. We’ll dissect
examples from creative nonfiction masters and then use
these keys for our own writing projects. These workshops
can be taken independently, or all together – everyone is
welcome to attend just one, all six, or any number in
between!

Monday: Build Your Own Rainbow: Narrative Arc

Tuesday: Just Who’s Telling This Story, Anyway?
First-Person Narrator

Wednesday: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger:
Character Development

Thursday: Every Page is a Stage: Scene Shop

Friday: What’s the Big Idea? Theme

Saturday: I Love Your Je Ne Sais Quoi... Style

It was, as always, a delight to teach at Centrum: breathtaking location, engaged participants, vibrant community. See the complete workshop descriptions here.

"Telling True Stories:
Delving Into the Literature of Real Life"
The Studios of Key West
Key West, Florida

Thursday and Friday, March 31 and April 1, 2011
1:00 to 4:00 pm each day

During our six hours together, we’ll hone twenty tools for improving the literary and narrative quality of our nonfiction prose. This workshop offers strategies for everything from facing the blank page, to sharpening your prose, to seeing a long writing project through to completion. We’ll spend equal portions of our time completing writing exercises and considering examples of master word-workers, old and new, including Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Joan Didion, Eduardo Galeano, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rick Moody, George Orwell, and Sei Shonagon. Our guidebook for this whirlwind tour will be Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide. Thanks to The Studios of Key West for making this workshop possible.

"Just Who's Telling This (True) Story, Anyway? "
Four-hour workshop
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Saturday, November 13, 2010
1:00 to 5:00 pm

“In nonfiction, the narrator is the only thing you can make up,” my first writing teacher told me. Just who is that slim, upright pronoun poised on the page? And who isn’t s/he? In this workshop, we delve into examples of first-person narrators from master nonfiction writers – discussing the differences among the person on the page, the storyteller (narrator), and the real-life author. Then we explore ourselves on the page. If you are writing first-person nonfiction, this workshop will give you powerful tools for taming that three-headed monster: the author, the narrator, and the “I-character.”

"Pencil In Productivity: Successful Time Management
for Time-Crunched Editors"
Northwest Independent Editors Guild
Seattle, Washington

Saturday, October 16, 2010, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Optimizing your time management skills will help you achieve your business goals—whether what you need right now is to follow through with a marketing plan, increase your billable hours, or create the right time and space for family and friends. This workshop leads you through a rigorous approach to time management tailored for professional freelancers already accustomed to managing their own time. You’ll learn to set long-term goals; break them down into achievable, SMART goals; and develop annual and monthly work plans. Wendy will also show you ways to assess time requirements for work projects, review your progress, and manage your work plans as you go. Note: Participants will be asked to track their work time for one week before the session and bring that information to the session.
See the handout from the workshop here.

"Two Times Ten: Twenty Ways to Improve Your Nonfiction"
a two-part workshop

Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum at Fort Worden State Park
Port Townsend, Washington

"First Ten (Part 1)," Monday, July 19, 2010, 2:00 to 3:30 pm
"Second Ten (Part 2)," Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 2:00 to 3:30 pm

In each half of this two-part workshop, we zoom through ten suggestions for improving the literary and narrative quality of nonfiction prose, with examples from some of our best-loved word-workers, old and new: Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rick Moody, George Orwell, and Sei Shonogan. Both sessions involve a mix of reading, discussion, and writing exercises.
These short workshops were part of the afternoon workshop program of the Port Townsend Writers' Conference. Learn more about this excellent annual conference here.

 

In late February and early March 2010 I taught a 16-hour section, titled "The Writing Life," in Artist Trust's Literary EDGE professional development program. It is an honor to co-teach this annual, six-week program for Washington State writers with Karen AllmanFor more information on applying for the 2011 EDGE program, see the Artist Trust website.

"Make a Scene!"
Four-hour workshop
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Saturday, July 11, 2009, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
A four-hour, high-energy exploration of scene-setting. Writers of both fiction and nonfiction will learn a twelve-step process to make events (re)created on the page richer and deeper. We’ll become playwrights, giving our characters their lines. We’ll be directors, too, moving our characters about the stage. We’ll work as stagehands to our stories, creating the backdrop that will transform our prose into an uninterrupted dream for our readers. Please bring a draft or outline of an important scene from a work-in-progress.
Register at the Richard Hugo House website.

"Twelve Ways to Improve Your Nonfiction Prose"
"Doce Senderos Hacia una Narrativa"
two short workshops (one in English, otro en español)

Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum at Fort Worden State Park
Port Townsend, Washington

"Twelve Ways," Monday, July 13, 2009, 2:00 to 3:30 pm
"Doce Senderos," Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 2:00 to 3:30 pm
In "Twelve Ways," we'll zoom through a dozen suggestions for improving the literary and narrative quality of your nonfiction prose, with examples from some of our best-loved nonfiction word-workers.
En "Doce Senderos" tomaremos nuestra inspiración de algunos de los y las mejores escritores de las Américas. Será una fiesta de ejercicios de "escritura libre."
These short workshops were part of the afternoon workshop program of the Port Townsend Writers' Conference. Learn more about this excellent annual conference here.

While teaching at Pacific Lutheran University in 2008-2009, I taught "Publishing Procedures," a core course in the school's Publishing and Printing Arts program. My students produced excellent marketing campaigns for recently released books by local authors. Read more at the student blogs for:
Amazing Adventures of Working Girl,
Coffeehouse Angel,
House of Hope and Fear, &
Motion of the Ocean.

Whidbey Island Writers Conference
Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland
South Whidbey High School, Langley
Whidbey Island, Washington


Fireside Chat: "Writing Beyond Borders"
Friday, February 27, 2009

"Self-Editor's Toolkit: Improve Your Own Prose"
Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Thirty Ways to Tell the Story"
Saturday, February 28, 2009

I will be giving one "fireside chat," one two-hour workshop, and one four-hour, evening workshop at this two-day writers' conference sponsored by the Whidbey Island Writers Association.

"Telling True Stories: A Seminar on Narrative"
co-sponsored by the Press Club of Cleveland
and The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer offices
Cleveland, Ohio

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
In this participatory, four-hour workshop (with a lunch break) for Cleveland area journalists, the focus was on advanced techniques in writing narrative journalism. Forty newspaper reporters, columnists, and editors, along with magazine writers and editors, as well as university professors, gathered for this event.
Many thanks to The Plain Dealer, Kent State University, and the Press Club of Cleveland for hosting this workshop. Read an article about the workshop on page 2 of The Byliner, the Press Club's October 2008 newsletter, here.

"Writing Beyond Borders"
A short workshop

Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum at Fort Worden State Park
Port Townsend, Washington

Monday July 14, or Tuesday, July 15, 2008
2:00 to 3:30 pm
One of the best things about books is that they open up whole worlds, even if readers never leave their living rooms or local libraries. But with new worlds come new borders. Author, performance artist, and cross-border philosopher Guillermo Gómez-Peña says, “for me the border is no longer located at any fixed geopolitical site. I carry the border with me, and I find new borders wherever I go.” In this workshop, we’ll write and talk about the joys and complications of literary border crossings – both those on maps and those in our hearts. Through both writing and discussion, we’ll explore how words and ideas change meaning as they cross borders, and consider the artistic, political, and ethical implications of those crossings.
This workshop was part of the afternoon workshop program of the Port Townsend Writers' Conference. Learn more about this excellent annual conference here.
See the suggested reading list from the workshop here.

"Self Promotion for the Chronically Humble Writer"
Four-session class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
4:00 to 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday
offered the week of July 7, 2008
So, you’ve had your work published in a handful of magazines and done a reading or two. How can you take your writing career to the next level? This one-week marketing blitz is the boost your literary life needs. We’ll start on Monday with time management and goal-setting. On Tuesday we’ll  tackle queries to publishers and book proposals. Wednesday, we grapple with grant-writing. We’ll finish up on Thursday by writing our way to a writers’ conference or residency. (The dizzying pace will keep us from remembering we’re actually shy, introverted writers!) Each class session includes hands-on practice, examples, and resource lists.

"Creative Nonfiction in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico"
One-week intensive workshop
Casa Chepitos
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
10:00 am to 2:00 pm each day
offered the last week of June 2008

Delve into the fine craft of creative nonfiction in the town of San Miguel de Allende. Our base will be Casa Chepitos, a charming home on a hillside overlooking the spires of Mexico’s most famous colonial town. In this one-week intensive writing seminar, we’ll explore the essential elements of nonfiction prose. Daily four-hour sessions will be devoted to short lectures, writing exercises, group discussions, and manuscript review. We’ll focus on a different element of craft each day: character development, the first-person narrator, story arc, theme, and voice. With a maximum of ten participants, each writer’s work will receive ample attention. Partial scholarships available.

"Special Seminar in Prose”
Tuesday evening workshop
Columbia City, Seattle
offered September 2007 through May 2008
For a group of six writers who have taken other classes or workshops with Wendy, this seminar will offer both fiction and nonfiction writers a small-group setting for honing their narrative nonfiction, essays, memoir, and short stories. During each workshop session, short excerpts from four writers' work are reviewed. Wendy reads and comments on fifty manuscript pages (ten per week) from each writer during the session.

“It's Not About You: Writing Other People's Stories”
Six-session class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
offered Spring 2007 and Winter 2008
Let’s go out and find the story. Reporting needn’t lead to dry journalism. In fact, it’s the raw material of the very best creative nonfiction, from Ernest Hemingway to Susan Orlean. We’ll learn through practice the basics of “immersion reporting” – sinking into someone else’s world, taking it all in, then writing it all down. We’ll focus on the basic tools of reporting and rendering scenes on the page, and we’ll also read great examples and wrestle with the challenges (ethical and otherwise) of displaying private lives on public pages. This course requires “reporting time” outside of class time.

“Contando Cuentos Verdaderos” (Telling True Stories)
Two-day intensive seminar
a.m. Newspapers
León, Guanajuato, Mexico
offered August 2007and December 2007
This fifteen-hour intensive seminar, conducted entirely in Spanish for twenty emerging and mid-career Mexican journalists, includes a comprehensive overview of storytelling techniques in daily journalism. Through a combination of preparatory readings, lecture, group readings & discussions, and writing practice, we will focus on reporting techniques, story structure, and four key elements of narrative writing: use of dialogue, scene-setting, detail, and action.

"Fifty Ways to Tell the Story"
a seven-hour writing marathon
to benefit Hugo House
part of Write-o-Rama!
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
Saturday, December 1, 2007, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
In honor of Hugo House's biannual Write-o-Rama fundraiser, I will devote seven consecutive hours to a writing marathon. (OK, actually I'm going to take a ten-minute bathroom/refueling break each hour.) We’ll zoom through fifty multimedia writing prompts -- questions, answers, lines of poetry, images, sounds, even smells – helping you find the best way to get words on the page. Drop in for ten minutes, come for an hour, or stay for the whole gory, glorious day. Here's the whole plan:

10 am • Get the Juices Flowing
Seven writing prompts will get you started for the day.

11 am • Climb up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction
Give your writing more specificity and deeper meaning.

12 pm • Smell O Rama
all nontoxic, but not for the chemically sensitive…..

1 pm • Hora Bilingue
Write in response English-Spanish bilingual prompts.

2 pm • Thanks, Dick!
Richard Hugo himself will be our muse.

3 pm • Have Writing Prompts, Will Travel
We'll get out into the Hugo House environment.

4 pm • Merge the Mundane with the Metaphysical
Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.

“Master Class in Nonfiction Prose”
Ten-week class
Richard Hugo House
Capitol Hill, Seattle
offered Fall 2007, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Bring that long project to fruition. If you have a memoir, history, essay collection, biography, or sheaf of true travel stories that you’ve been slaving over, this class will help you (re)consider your manuscript as a whole. We’ll focus on two of the biggest challenges in writing book-length nonfiction: building a sound structure and developing a compelling narrator. In class, we will consider short excerpts of one another’s work as well as examples from nonfiction literature of the last century. The instructor will hold two individual conferences with each participant, at the beginning and end of the ten-week term.

"Writing Where We're From"
One- or two-hour workshop
Youth and Adult Detention Centers
San Antonio, Texas and Red Wing, Minnesota
offered August and September 2007
In this short workshop (first planned and co-taught with poet Yael Flusberg), we introduce poems built around the theme of "where I'm from." Each participant writes his or her own poem, and then shares them with the group if they wish. Freewriting techniques are also introduced.

“Creating an Artist's Journal”
Two-session class
Columbia City, Seattle

offered Spring 2006
Delve into the world of artist's journals. In the first class session we will begin making our soft-bound journals: measure, cut and fold paper for pages; prepare pages for binding, and sew the folios together to create a book block. We'll also learn a bit about the history of the book, with examples of traditional African, Asian and European binding styles. We'll finish sewing our book blocks at home. In the second session we will choose endpapers, closures, covers; prepare the book block and covers for final assembly; and attach the covers. We'll talk a bit about journals and look at examples from well-known writers and other artists.

Read about my teaching philosophy.

I can tailor a class for any organization or writers' group, in English or Spanish. Read about my teaching philosophy.

University courses I've taught:
• Autobiographical Writing

• Freelance Writing

Personal Essay
Lyric Essay
• Publishing Procedures
• Literary Jounalism

• Contemporary Authors in Context
• Introduction to Creative Writing (multi-genre: fiction - poetry - essay) and
• US-Mexico Borderlands

 

Photo above: A woman from Chiapas speaks at the Global Women's March in Mexico, October 2000.
Photo below: This shopkeeper beckoned me over to take her portrait in Corinto, on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, July 2001.