WriterHouse

Writing Classes

Class Size

Our workshops are capped at 12 students, and the minimum to hold a class is 5. We've been in workshops elsewhere that had 16 or more students, so we feel 12 is a reasonable size. A few of our classes are designed to have smaller groups and that number is specified in the description. The prices of these are increased accordingly. Most of our seminars are capped at 12 students; a few seminars are capped at 18, as noted below. 

Inclement Weather

If the weather is questionable, we will send an email to your class list. We will also change our outgoing voicemail message, put a notice on our home page, and post messages to Facebook and Twitter. Here is the complete policy from our FAQ.

If you have other questions about our class policies, please see our FAQ.

Refund Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment for any reason, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our refund policy for cancellations is as follows:

3 weeks before the class or seminar start date: Eligible for a full refund.

1-3 weeks before the class or seminar start date: Eligible for a full credit towards a future class or seminar.

Less than 1 week before the class or seminar start date: Not eligible for credit or a refund.

In the event that we have to cancel a class or seminar for lack of enrollment or any other reason, you are eligible for a full refund or credit towards a future class. If your payment was made via PayPal, you will be eligible for a full refund, minus the nonrefundable PayPal fee.

We have a limited amount of funding to help those who want to take a class or seminar but can't afford it. In order to apply, please download and fill out our Scholarship/Subsidy Form and send it to us with your class registration and partial payment. We ask that anyone who receives subsidies please remember us with a donation when you are able.

In addition to our regular eight-week classes, we have half-day, one-day, and two-day seminars. See the current list below.

Michelle Brafman Instructor: Michelle Brafman
Cost: $60.00 Members | $65.00 Non-Members
Sunday, April 12, 2015 | 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Can an ear for dialogue be taught? Yes! This seminar will cover the basics of dialogue: how to use it in your fiction and nonfiction to create vivid scenes and deepen your characters, and how to avoid common pitfalls. We'll review passages of dialogue that illustrate all of the above. A good portion of this session will be dedicated to exercises that will help writers tune their ears. For example, we'll talk about what it means to "listen" like a writer. Students will then apply their new skills to writing a brand new scene with convincing and fresh dialogue. Please bring a notebook along with you.

Read more: Seminar: Crafting Great Dialogue

Joan Mazza Instructor: Joan Mazza
Cost: $45 Members | $50 Non-Members
Sunday, April 12, 2015
1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Whether you write a blog, journal, poetry, fiction, or memoir, you can develop habits for writing every day and find the time to do so. In this seminar, we'll discuss strategies to stay in your “writing mind,” how to catch ideas and track them, and how as little as fifteen minutes a day can keep you writing. We’ll do some writing in class to prompts and explore creating your own for times when you feel dry.

Read more: Seminar: The Secrets of Writing Every Day

Edward M Instructor: Edward M. Lerner
Cost: $90.00 Members | $100.00 Non-Members
Saturday, May 02, 2015 | 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Want your aliens to seem alien? Your elves, orcs, and zombies to stand out from the rest? In this advanced science fiction and fantasy seminar, we’ll look at physically believable “others” and how they fit their environment, behavior (alien drives and psychology), culture (drawing upon the wealth of human history), and language and communications. As our final group exercise, we’ll tackle a group-selected cultural issue, such as religion, warfare, gender roles, or the alien city.

Read more: Seminar: Science Fiction and Fantasy: Aliens and Their Societies

Jay Varner Instructor: Jay Varner
Cost: $60.00 Members | $65.00 Non-Members
Saturday, May 30, 2015 | 1:00 PM-5:00 PM

Limited to 18 students.

Do you use ten words to say what could be said in five? Do your words say what you mean? If not, as William Zinsser says, perhaps "some fuzz has worked its way into the machinery." Readers expect writers to have distilled their prose to its essence--whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, the style simple or complex. We will discuss examples of great prose, common issues with prose, and touch upon two things that make all writers cringe: grammar and punctuation.

Read more: Seminar: Clean Out the Fuzz: Crafting Prose with Meaning, Sense, and Clarity

Carl Rollyson Instructor: Carl Rollyson
Cost: $60.00 Members | $65.00 Non-Members
Sunday, June 07, 2015 | 1:00 PM-5:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

This course is for beginning and advanced writers interested in research. Every project means learning new skills and reaching out to writers and others. Nowadays, a crucial tool is social media, which means not just targeting specific sources of information, but also finding sites that allow you to discuss your research. We’ll cover how libraries, archives, and other groups are assisting researchers, and bring in your own experiences in a hands-on session that will include how to research for your projects.

Read more: Seminar: Research for Writing

Kristen-Paige Madonia Instructor: Kristen-Paige Madonia
Cost: $60.00 Members | $65.00 Non-Members
Saturday, June 20, 2015 | 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

How do we create the sound of strong characters, and, more importantly, how do we assure those voices are consistent, authentic, and distinct? In an attempt to model craft techniques used by accomplished authors, this class will use published examples and in-class writing prompts to explore our tools as writers so we can develop unique character voices. This half-day seminar is designed for fiction writers of all levels and genres.

Read more: Seminar: Do You Hear What I Hear? Developing Voice in Fiction

We offer a variety of eight-week classes, daytime and evening. Our workshops are limited to 12 students, except where otherwise specified. See the current list below.

Joel Jones Instructor: Joel Jones
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Tuesdays, April 14 -June 02, 2015 | 10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Limited to 12 students.

We’ll start with comedy sketches, exploring how to develop ideas into rich characters, and how best to situate characters to bring out the humor. Then we’ll look at fitting comedy scenes into larger works. Finally, we’ll bring these techniques to the writing of short, stand-alone comic plays for the stage, screen, or radio. This class will combine written assignments with lectures, hilarious examples, and quick-fire, in-class exercises, all in a fun “writer’s room” atmosphere.

Read more: Scene, Sketch, Scenario

Anne Marie Pace Instructor: Anne Marie Pace
Cost: $199.00 Members | $220.00 Non-Members
8 Wednesdays, April 15 -June 03, 2015 | 10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Picture books are a child’s earliest introduction to the power of story. We’ll explore elements of classic and current picture books, study the spectrum of commercial to literary picture books, examine the relationship between text and image, and most importantly, generate ideas and develop them into polished drafts. You’ll complete the class with both a deeper appreciation of the art of the picture book text and an enhanced toolbox to use in creating your own manuscripts. Includes a $10 materials fee to help build the class library.

Read more: Writing Children's Picture Books

Brendan Wolfe Instructor: Brendan Wolfe
Cost: $270.00 Members | $300.00 Non-Members
8 Mondays, April 13 -June 01, 2015 | 6:30 PM-9:00 PM

Limited to 8 students.

Arrive with a strong draft, workshop and revise it, and leave with one publishable essay or memoir piece. Students should already have a firm grasp of the tenets of creative nonfiction. An intensive examination of each writer’s work will encompass larger concerns such as organization, scene, character, setting, and development of ideas, as well as more focused issues such as sentence structure and word choice. Space is limited to eight students, who will be selected from the pool of applicants by the instructor. Please email Brendan Wolfe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a five-page excerpt of the essay you plan to work on during the class for permission to enroll.

Read more: One Essay - Advanced Creative Nonfiction

Andrew Martin Instructor: Andrew Martin
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Wednesdays, April 15 -June 03, 2015 | 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Limited to 12 students.

In this workshop, we’ll write and discuss fiction of all kinds. The work you bring to class—stories, novel excerpts, and the many rest stops in between—will be the foundation of the course, but we’ll also read some exemplary published work and generate material through in-class improvisations. And we’ll revise; oh man, will we revise. All levels of experience are welcome, as long as you’re ready to write and be a supportive, tough-minded reader.

Read more: Daytime Fiction Workshop

Hannah Barnaby Instructor: Hannah Barnaby
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Tuesdays, April 14 -June 02, 2015 | 6:30 PM-9:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Whether you’re writing short fiction or novels, your plot is the backbone of your story, the trail of stepping stones that leads from beginning to end. We’ll follow that path and, using the components of plot—conflict, rising and falling action, denouement—we’ll bring your characters, setting, and dialogue to life. We’ll spend part of each session dismantling a short story selection, then critique each other's work and do some exploratory writing exercises. Required reading: The O. Henry Prize Stories 2014. http://www.amazon.com/The-Henry-Prize-Stories-2014/dp/0345807316/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1422989931&sr=8-1  and don't forget to shop on AmazonSmile.

Read more: Evening Fiction Workshop

Rebecca Taylor Instructor: Rebecca Taylor
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Tuesdays, April 14 -June 02, 2015 | 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Limited to 12 students.

This workshop is open to students interested in the craft of writing literary creative nonfiction: prose that moves within the murky realms of Fact, Truth, and Memory. We’ll consider the nonfiction story, the personal essay, memoir, literary journalism, and pieces that defy categorization. There will be examples from literature and opportunities for experimentation, but most of all, you’ll write, bring your work before other writers, and learn from each other’s work. All levels are welcome.

Read more: Daytime Nonfiction Workshop

doug nordfors new Instructor: Douglas Nordfors
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Tuesdays, April 14 -June 02, 2015 | 6:30 PM-9:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Inspired by the concept that “good writing” and “good reading” go hand in hand, this friendly, book-club-like class is also open to readers who simply love to read. Every week, we'll focus on one or more themes, using examples from both well-known and not-so-well-known living poets. Anyone enrolled in the fall 2014 class is welcome to enroll again—we’ll be looking at all new material, including an in-depth look at the interesting overall careers of some contemporary poets.

Read more: Contemporary Poets: A Reading Group

Amie Whittemore Instructor: Amie Whittemore
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Thursdays, April 16 -June 04, 2015 | 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Limited to 12 students.

Poets at all levels are encouraged to take this workshop focused on improving your work through reading, writing, and the discussion of poems and poetic craft. Because reading other poems is one of the most useful and pleasurable ways to expand your poetic vocabulary, we’ll use Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition to structure our discussions. Students will workshop their poems in class and have the opportunity to meet individually with the instructor to discuss their work.

Read more: Daytime Poetry Workshop

Don Fry new Instructor: Don Fry
Cost: $10 Members | $25 Non-Members
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
10:00 AM-11:00 AM

Limited to 3 students.

How would you like to start solving your biggest writing problem in sixty minutes? Join writing coach Don Fry and two fellow writers in a one-hour coaching session. Each writer gets twenty minutes, while the other two listen. You learn a lot by listening to the other two writers' sessions. We'll explore your writing process to help solve your deepest problems, such as writer's block, drowning in information, procrastination, juggling writing and life, suppressing your Internal Critic, inability to stop revising, and breaking into publication. Open to all writers at any level.

Read more: Small Group Session with Writing Coach Don Fry (March)

Mark Parlette Instructor: Mark Parlette
Cost: $189.00 Members | $210.00 Non-Members
8 Mondays, April 13 -June 01, 2015 | 6:30 PM-9:00 PM

Limited to 12 students.

This workshop is open to all poets—beginners, dabblers, and dedicated writers. In it, you'll have the opportunity to create and share new work each week. We’ll use the workshop, plus a few published poems, to explore different aspects of what makes poems work—the language, the images, the ideas, the structures. In-class writing exercises and optional writing prompts will supplement our discussions, offering additional avenues to get you writing and thinking in new ways.

Read more: Evening Poetry Workshop