Welcome to Off Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW), the oldest continuously running writing workshop in the country. 

Established in 1946, OCWW continues to serve writers of all genres in the greater metropolitan Chicago area. Each Thursday morning between September and May, OCWW speakers address writers on topics ranging from craft to publishing options to the business of writing. Due to the COVID-19 crisis we are using remote learning through Zoom. We will resume live sessions at the Winnetka Community House when it becomes safe to do so, but will continue to use Zoom for those who cannot attend in person. Join our mailing list for the latest updates. Many of our speakers offer professional manuscript critiques for a reasonable fee. Achieve your individual writing goals while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow writers. Join us.

More questions? Email us

Become a Member

Membership to OCWW is just $40 per year. While you do not need to be a member to attend season programs, OCWW membership offers outstanding privileges. 

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Become a Speaker

OCWW speakers offer programs and workshops on a wide variety of topics related to writing of all kinds, from craft to markets to publishing. Contact us if you are an expert and would like to present at OCWW. 


Upcoming events

    • October 29, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (OCWW will be remote only through December 2020) 

    There’s something about sentences that tell me how to feel. “Sally was so sad” leaves me cold. But how do writers convey emotion and mood in not so many words? We’ll be looking at the dynamics of sentences, and doing some fun experiments.

    Bio: Goldie Goldbloom is an Australian writer living in Chicago with her eight children. Her latest novel is On Division, which was launched on September 17, 2019 from Farrar Straus and Giroux. Her fifth book, Marguerite and Eleanor, is forthcoming in 2020, also with Farrar Straus and Giroux. Her fiction and nonfiction have received many prizes and awards, including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Chicago, the Brown Foundation, Best Australian Short Stories, Le Monde and others. You can find her writing in many fine journals, including Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner and at NPR and Le Monde. Goldie teaches at the University of Chicago and in Northwestern University's MFA program for writers.

    Just Added: Goldie will accept 2 manuscripts for critique. Please see Manuscript Guidelines on our OCWW website. https://ocww.info/page-18090 

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • November 05, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW is remote only through Dec. 2020)

    While poets from Mary Oliver to Ross Gay have shown that the pastoral is not an experience limited to the poetic adventurings of straight, white men, wilderness writing is still a frontier dominated by the conventions of colonialism and domestication. However, as more of us leave the garden and go off-road, new poetic exploration occurs. In honoring the complexity of our relationship to the wild and what each individual experience of gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity might bring to the intersection of the human and non-human world, we’ll write poems or prose towards answering the questions that critic Carol Anne Douglas has posed: “What is wilderness? A European invention to make the natural world seem more mysterious and forbidding? A place in which to scare ourselves into feeling brave? A place that belongs to other species, which humans should enter only on their terms? Any place that gives humans a wilderness feeling, whether it be a child's backyard lot or a city street at night?” Through our own poetic explorations, we’ll learn to wield the chainsaw that cuts that line between ourselves and the wilderness on the page.

    Bio: Keetje Kuipers is a poet, essayist, story writer, and editor. She is the author of three poetry collections: Beautiful in the Mouth, The Keys to the Jail, and All Its Charms. Her poems have been featured in the Best American Poetry anthologies, The Academy of American Poets’ Poems have been featured in the Best American Poetry anthologies, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and NPR. In addition to her poems, Keetje’s essays and short stories have appeared in over a hundred journals and magazines. She has been a Stegner Fellow, a Bread Loaf fellow, and PEN Northwest’s Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident. Keetje lives with her wife and children on an island in the Salish Sea, a short ferry ride away from Seattle, where she teaches at Hugo House and serves as Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • November 12, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW is remote only through Dec. 2020)

    Sometimes our fictional landscapes take on a particular and peculiar quality: it's as if the characters' feelings have invaded the setting, reflecting the characters' own sense of estrangement. I am calling such landscapes "Wonderlands," which have a strong emotional charge, as the characters try to understand what laws or rules govern the odd locale they have stumbled into. A Wonderland is easy to wander into but difficult to escape from.

    I will be using examples ranging from Shakespeare's Macbeth up to Jordan Peele's film Get Out. 

    Bio: Charles Baxter is the author of six books of stories and six novels, most recently The Sun Collective (Pantheon) to be released in November. He has written two books on the writing of fiction, Burning Down the House and The Art of Subtext. His work has been translated into several languages and his novel The Feast of Love has been adapted for film. He is the Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and he lives in Minneapolis.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • November 19, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (OCWW will be remote through December 2020) 

    There’s an old saying: “Prose is the museum where all the old tools of poetry are kept.” In this course, we will study how to implement the tenets of poetry-writing to craft stronger, more evocative prose. These tenets include structure, story, music, imagination, brevity, and clarity (from Gregory Orr’s “Four Temperaments and the Forms of Poetry”). 

    We will examine the craft of prose-writing at three levels –– the word unit, the sentence unit, the paragraph unit –– in relationship to the units of poetry –– the word unit, the sentence unit, the paragraph unit. We’ll ask, “How can studying line breaks help us write more muscular, varied sentences? How can reading and writing poetry help us be more deliberate in our word choices? What can the poetic stanza teach us about paragraph pacing? “

    By the end of the session, you’ll have a clearer and deeper understanding of how to implement the tools of poetry into your fiction and nonfiction. All writers welcome. 

    Bio: Jane Huffman's poems have appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere, and she is a 2019 recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Jane is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently works for the Iowa Youth Writing Project. She is editor-in-chief of Guesthouse, an online literary journal. Twitter @janechuffman

    Jane will accept manuscripts for all genres. She will also judge our poetry contest. Please see manuscript and contest guidelines on our website ocww.info for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • December 03, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (OCWW will be remote through December 2020)

    In this session, we’ll explore some of the ways writers give voice to the sublime and the beautiful, as well as the profoundly difficult. Our workshop will serve as an experimental space to share resources for writing through difficult times. We’ll discuss these ideas while exploring elements of craft through generative exercises meant to add to your own creative work and practice. This workshop is open to writers of all levels working in poetry and/or prose.

    Bio: Brian Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the US army. He is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, The New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” Award, the 2007 Poet’s Prize, and others. In addition to his poetry, he is editor of the anthology, The Kiss (2018), a diverse anthology of essays, stories, poems, and graphic memoirs. Turner’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, Poetry Daily, Harpers Magazine, and other fine journals. Turner has been awarded a United States Artists Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship a Lannan Foundation Fellowship and more. Turner is director of the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.  His recent memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, has been called, “achingly, disturbingly, shockingly beautiful.”

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • December 10, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW is remote through Dec. 2020)

    Most of us have been told this at some point: “Show, don’t tell.”

    In a nutshell, this all-too-common phrase means “Use scene, not summary, in your writing.” But many writers struggle with this idea, both conceptually and practically. What is the difference between scene and summary? How can each be used to greatest effect? What does a well-paced story look like? Award winning author Abby Geni will provide guidance on pacing, story speeds, how to balance scene and summary in your writing, and why telling is just as important as showing. Includes handouts and exercises.

    Bio: Abby Geni is the Chicago-based author of The Wildlands (September 2018), The Lightkeepers, winner of the 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction and the Chicago Review of Books Awards for Best Fiction, and The Last Animal, an Indies Introduce Debut Writers Selection and finalist for the Orion Book Award. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Iowa Fellowship. Her website is www.abbygeni.com    

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12 Program 



    • December 17, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (OCWW will be remote through December 2020)

    We know how essential revision is to our writing. Some authors make ongoing revisions while working on their drafts, while others prefer to wait until their drafts are complete, yet others put it off until courage comes knocking. No matter, there is no single magic way, and we must revise, because rewriting always brings us closer to a refined work. Or does it? And how often must we revise? How do we know when we are finished?  In this craft lecture, we will take on these questions. Ignatius will share strategies, and frame revision as a journey of discovery, wrong turns, and surprises that breathe fresh life into our stories. Ignatius will show us that revising is not so much an act of taking up a shovel and digging through the draft as it is employing a deep-well augur to find our true source. Come with notebook and pen at hand.

    Bio: Born and raised in India, Ignatius Valentine Aloysiusearned his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University. He is a lecturer, designer, and musician, and author of the novel Fishhead. Republic of Want (Tortoise Books, 2020). Ignatius was selected as a 2020-21 Creative Writing Fellow by the Ludington Writers Board and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in Michigan. He serves on the curatorial board at Ragdale Foundation, and was a featured July 2020 author for Ragdale’s By-and-for-Artists Series. Ignatius is also co-curator of Sunday Salon Chicago, a bi-monthly literary reading event series in Chicago. He is currently at work on his next novel and lives with his wife in Evanston, IL.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • January 07, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW may add access to a live session with separate registration)

    Matt returns to preview his upcoming book from Penguin Random House, which is provisionally titled Believe Care Invest: How to Make Anyone Care About Your Hero in Ten Pages or Less.  Most gatekeepers will only commit to reading your first ten pages, so how do you grab them and compel them to read the whole thing?  As usual, Matt will bring lots of examples showing off various tips and tricks.  

    Bio: Matt Bird has a Masters in Screenwriting from Columbia University.  He is the author of the Amazon bestseller The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers. He lives in Evanston with his wife (author Betsy Bird) and two adorable children.  

    9-9:30 Socializing

    9:30-12 Program 



    • January 14, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW may add a live session with separate registration)

    Every novel or short story, no matter what genre, contains an element of suspense. It's one of the universal "drivers" of fiction. It's also important to know for non-fiction work, such as true crime or investigative journalism. Learn how to incorporate suspense into your writing in a workshop from an  award-winning suspense/crime fiction author.

    Bio: Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago over 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Fifteen novels and twenty-five short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony and four times for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. She has also been nominated for the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne, and has won the IPPY and the Readers Choice Award multiple times.

    Libby will be judging a Suspense Scene Contest. Please see the Manuscript and Contest Guidelines on our website for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • January 21, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (OCWW may add a live session with separate registration)

    This workshop will encourage writers from all genres to discover compelling material through memory, observation, and imagination. Guided writing activities expose you to your own unique and (extra)ordinary content; explorations in ways of telling, structure, and form will help you identify and make work that resonates. Whether you are creating imagined new worlds or writing autobiographical pieces, fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, these explorations in emotional veracity, specificity, and universality will feed your muse.

    Bio: Patricia Ann McNair has managed a gas station, served as a medical volunteer in Honduras, sold pots and pans door to door, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and now teaches in the English and Creative Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award, and a nomination for Carnegie Foundation’s U.S. Professor of the Year. McNair’s The Temple of Air received Southern Illinois University Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award and the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. And These Are The Good Times was a Montaigne Medal finalist. Responsible Adults, a Cornerstone Press Legacy Series selection, is scheduled for release in December 2020.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • January 28, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW may add a live session with separate registration) 

    Whether you are writing a play, screenplay, teleplay, or adapting a novel or memoir into one of these dramatic forms, riveting scenes are the key to a gripping story intended to be performed by actors. 

    This workshop will deep dive into your scenes.  Participants are invited to submit their scenes ahead of time to the instructor, who will critique them and select the most compelling to be read by professional actors at the workshop. 

    The workshop will begin with a brief overview of what elements make for great scene work:

    •    A desire on the part of each character in the scene
    •   How they go about getting what they want
    •   The conflict/obstacle to them getting what they want**
    •   An escalation
    •   And an emotional change from the beginning of the scene to the end

    ***Conflict doesn’t mean people shouting at each other!  Because that doesn’t usually get a person what they want.  Ask yourself:  What’s getting in the way of what my characters want, and how does each of them go about getting that?  (Hint: Oftentimes, they try this, that, and the other thing.)

    We’ll then jump right into reading your scenes, followed by a Q&A with the instructor and the professional actors.  (Much can be gleaned from their perspective on how they approach scene work.) If your scene doesn’t make the cut, you will still have a hard copy critique from the instructor.

    Submission criteria: Comedy, Drama, Dramedy
    Plays, Screenplays, Teleplays
    Aim for no more than 3 characters (but no worries if there are more)
    Maximum 6 pages, less is better

    How to format a play:  Here’s the formatting criteria for the Dramatists Guild: https://www.dramatistsguild.com/script-formats

    How to format a screenplay or teleplay:  Here’s a good guide: https://screenwriting.io/what-is-standard-screenplay-format/  (especially the link to John August’s site)                                       

    This workshop is for playwrights, screenwriters, teleplay writers, as well as novelists and memoirists.

    Please see Manuscript and Contest Guidelines on the OCWW Website for details.

    Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her play Bonhoeffer’s Cost  has been produced at The Agape Actors Co-op in Austin, Texas, Philadelphia's Beacon Theater, and the Provision Theater in Chicago.  Agape also produced her farce Suffer The Long Night, co-written with her “Meet The Parents" partner, Greg Gliennaas did the Meta Theater in LA.

    Her play Address Unknown was produced in Chicago by 20% Theater Company, and Fury Theater; her solo performance, I Could Kill Him For Dying, ran at Three Cat Productions in Chicago, and her musical, Fay Burns! had a 28 Hour Workshop and two staged readings at Chicago Dramatists, where she is a Resident Playwright and heads up the screenwriting and television classes. 

    Recent Saturday Series staged readings include Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes, a comedy screenplay, directed by Second City’s Pat McKenna, and her play Right In Front of Us.

    Mary Ruth is a screenplay consultant for clients in LA and Chicago, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she heads up the screenwriting program, and teaches screenwriting at Story Studio.  She lectures regularly at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network, and has presented workshops for the Off Campus Writer’s Group, the Chicago Independent Film Project, and Renaissance Theaterworks Milwaukee. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.

    Mary Ruth will accept Comedy, Drama, Dramedy, Plays, Screenplays, and Teleplays up to 6 pages for critique. Please see manuscript guidelines on the website: ocww.info.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details

    9-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12 Program 



    • February 04, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (Out of town speakers, so remote only)



    How does a manuscript go from query to submission to acquisitions to contract? In this session, (pictured left to right) editor Terri Bischoff and literary agents Saba Sulaiman and Abby Saul will give an overview of the submission process from both the publishing house and agent perspectives, including how agents work with their clients and what editors really discuss at acquisition meetings.

    Bios: Terri Bischoff began her life in books as a bookseller at Kramerbooks in Washington, DC. After moving home to the Midwest, she worked at a feminist bookstore before purchasing and operating Booked for Murder in Madison, WI. She spent 10 years at Midnight Ink as their acquiring editor and published 36-40 books a year. Terri has a wealth of experience and knowledge in both mysteries and in bookselling, particularly as a book buyer and reviewer. Terri’s interests lie in mainstream, suspense, thrillers, quirky and humorous cozies, LGBTQIA, and diverse characters/storylines.

    Saba Sulaiman is an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she studied modern Persian literature. In children’s fiction, she is looking primarily to build her Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult lists, and is particularly interested in contemporary realistic stories. In adult, she's open to literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction, category romance (all sub-genres except paranormal), tightly plotted, character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries à la Agatha Christie, and memoir. A first-generation immigrant who is constantly negotiating her identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to highlighting more diverse voices with compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of global perspectives and address urgent and often underexplored issues in both fiction and non-fiction with veracity and heart. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba. Website: sabasulaiman.com

    Abby Saul founded The Lark Group after a decade in publishing at John Wiley & Sons, Sourcebooks, and Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She's worked with and edited bestselling and award-winning authors as well as major brands. A zealous reader who loves her iPad and the ebooks on it, she still can’t resist the lure of a print book. Abby’s personal library of beloved titles runs the gamut from literary newbies and classics, to cozy mysteries, to sappy women’s fiction, to dark and twisted thrillers. She’s looking for great and engrossing adult commercial (including mysteries/thrillers, women's, and historical) and literary fiction. She's not looking for fantasy, sci-fi, or political thrillers - and no kids' books. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Abby spends her weekends—when she’s not reading—cooking and hiking with her husband and son. A longtime OCWW contributor, you can follow her @BookySaul on Twitter.

    Saba Sulaiman will critique up to 15 single-page, single-spaced query letters on a first-come   basis.  

    Terri Bischoff will accept up to 15 20-page manuscripts on a first-come basis. Please see the manuscript guidelines on our OCWW Website for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    How does a manuscript go from query to submission to acquisitions to contract? In this session, (pictured left to right) editor Terri Bischoff and literary agents Saba Sulaiman and Abby Saul will give an overview of the submission process from both the publishing house and agent perspectives, including how agents work with their clients and what editors really discuss at acquisition meetings.
    • February 11, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote Session (out of town speaker, so remote only)

    How do we write about grief right now, when there are so many (and simultaneous) forms of grief to address? Can poems speak to job loss, loss of everyday routines, loss of future plans, missing friends we don't know  when we’ll get to see again? And what if we simply can’t write poems or prose at this moment—what do we do with the loss of our sense of being poets or writers? In this generative workshop, we’ll make space for all these questions, looking to a range of elegies not for neat answers (which don’t exist anyway) but a deepening of our attention to where we are, who we are, in the midst of crisis.

    Bio: Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers’ Award, and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and named one of the Best of 2017 by the Brooklyn Rail, Entropy, Library Journal, and others. His work has appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Tin House, Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry, Bettering American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Chen earned his MFA from Syracuse University and is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing as an off-site Texas Tech University student. He lives in frequently snowy Rochester, NY with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles. Chen is the 2018-2020 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in Residence at Brandeis University.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • February 18, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    Have you ever wondered how memoirists and essayists capture such vivid details from their past? Join author and writing coach, Nadine Kenney Johnstone, for a morning of memory mining. Nadine will lead writers through visualization exercises to resurrect crucial details from their past. During in-class writing time, the group will take those memories and morph them into engaging scenes that will captivate any reader.

    Bio: Nadine Kenney Johnstone is the author of the memoir, Of This Much I'm Sure, which was named Book of the Year by the Chicago Writers Association and received press coverage in Cosmopolitan, Today’s Parent, MindBodyGreen, and Metro, among others. Nadine teaches at Loyola University and received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Her other stories and interviews have been featured in places such as Chicago magazine, The Magic of Memoir, the Author2Author podcast, and the Don't Keep Your Day Job podcast. She is a writing coach who works with authors around the globe, and she lives near Chicago with her family. You can find her at nadinekenneyjohnstone.com.

    Nadine will accept manuscripts for critique. See our website ocww.info for guidelines.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • February 25, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    Writing that surprises the reader with unexpected or compound-complex formal structure also surprises the reader with unexpected emotions and images, helping them identify and engage with our writing on a much deeper level. What’s the difference between “The rusty old car sat in the neighbor’s yard,” and “The old Grand Am, rust-bitten and cushion-torn, has languished for years in the neighbor’s yard”?

    In this seminar, we will examine different ways of writing sentences to appeal to the pathos of our readers, write more fluid and cumulative scenes and descriptions, as well as better writing that editors want to publish. We will look at specific devices, such as apposition, syntactic ordering and clustering, and cumulative layering. We will engage with these devices on their own and in relation to other imaginative and lyric devices, including simile, metaphor, personification, and overall character building. We will talk through how to think more deeply about our own writing processes and how to properly revise our work, making it more engaging, emotive, and lush.  

    We will look at examples from award-winning writers, including Judy Jordan, Carl Phillips, Vievee Francis, James Kimbrell, Julia Levine, Louise Gluck, and Shane McCrae in a mix of lecture, discussion, and generative exercises. Handouts will be provided before or during the event. No prior prep work is required. While most examples will be pulled from narrative poems, the examples and lessons are equally applicable to any mode of writing. Additional learning resources will also be provided.

    Bio: John McCarthy is the author of Scared Violent Like Horses (Milkweed Editions, 2019), which won the Jake Adam York Prize; and Ghost County (Midwestern Gothic Press, 2016), which was named a Best Poetry Book of 2016 by The Chicago Review of Books. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets 2015, Copper Nickel, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Journal, New Poetry from the Midwest 2017 and 2019, Pleiades, and TriQuarterly. He is the 2016 winner of The Pinch Literary Award in Poetry. John is an Associate Editor at RHINO Magazine and lives in Evanston, Illinois. 

    John will accept poetry and prose for critique. Please see the manuscript submission guidelines on our website ocww.info for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • March 04, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
    Register
    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration) Writers at all stages can benefit from building a platform, engaging with other readers and writers, and gaining recognition through branding and extracurricular writing. This presentation will touch on websites and online platforms in general, with a focus on how to engage a following of book lovers within Instagram's #bookstagram community. 


    Bio:
    Kimmery Martin is an emergency medicine doctor-turned novelist whose works of medical fiction have been praised by The Harvard Crimson, Southern Living, The Charlotte Observer and The New York Times, among others. A lifelong literary nerd, she promotes reading, interviews authors, and teaches writing seminars, speaking frequently at libraries, conferences, and bookstores around the United States. Kimmery completed her medical training at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She lives with her husband and three children in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the last two years, she’s been working on a novel about a group of female doctors on the frontlines during an emerging viral pandemic; it will be released from Penguin Random House in 2021. Her latest novel, The Antidote for Everything, is available now.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • March 11, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CST)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    Clichés take hold for a variety of reasons: they are apt, they are (prior to overuse) vivid, they are memorable, etc. The trouble is that their familiarity can make them the first phrase we reach for—and even if they adequately convey our meaning, they do not capture the imagination of the reader. Becoming thumb-worn from excessive use, clichés cease to impart anything particular or immediate—they have been reduced to approximations, vestiges of the concepts and feeling states they once evoked. As a tool of revision, a productive filter for sharpening prose is to review each draft with a focus on identifying and excising phrases, images, and ideas that a reader will have encountered before and to be fully deliberate in our literary decisions about them. Sometimes, clichés or familiar images have a place and serve a purpose, so a blanket prohibition makes no sense—the aim is that every choice serves our goals for the piece we're making. Where a cliché is simply serving as a placeholder—as they so often do—we must exercise our ingenuity to substitute something livelier and more interesting. We will walk through an exercise using a passage I'll provide to practice this specialized kind of revision.

    Bio: Ian Belknap is the founder of WRITE CLUB, a competitive readings series that's been monthly in Chicago since 2010, and has chapters in 3 other US cities. His essays, criticism, and satire have appeared in The Rumpus, Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, New City Chicago, and elsewhere. He is pursuing a Creative Writing MFA at Bennington College. He is a longtime writing instructor and coach. - https://www.writerianbelknap.com/

    Ian will accept manuscripts for critique in fiction and nonfiction.  Please see manuscript guidelines on our website: ocww.info

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing & Registration

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • March 18, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    Place is more than a physical location, and setting is more than just historical coordinates. The origins of a piece of writing can be the physical realities of the world or a casually spoken phrase that asks for further explanation. In this brief talk, we’ll begin with the question “Where are you from?” and then try to follow the answers home. 

    Eudora Welty stated that place was not only a source of inspiration in her writing:

    “It is a source of knowledge. It tells me the important things. It steers me and keeps me going straight, because place is a definer and a confiner of what I’m doing. It helps me to identify, to recognize and explain. It does so much for you of itself. It saves me. Why, you couldn’t write a story that happened nowhere. I couldn’t, anyway. I couldn’t write anything that abstract. I wouldn’t be interested in anything that abstract.”

    - From  “The Art of Fiction No. 47Paris Review Fall 1972

    “Without even leaving one’s door, one can know the whole world.” 

    - Lao Tse

    Reading: Bryan Washington’s short story “Alief,” but I highly recommend the entire collection, LOT, if participants have time to read it. It is one of the best examples of how place and setting enliven, deepen, and even define an author’s work. 

    Bio: Elizabeth Wetmore variously tended bar, taught English, drove a cab, edited psychology dissertations, and painted silos and cooling towers at a petrochemical plant before becoming a writer. A West Texas native who lived in a one-room cabin in the woods outside Flagstaff, Arizona while she worked as a classical music announcer,  she is most at home in the desert, near the sea, or on the side of a mountain. She lives in Chicago, but she dreams of being bicoastal (Lake Michigan and Lake Travis). 

    She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals including the Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and others. Her novel, VALENTINE, published on March 31 by HarperCollins, debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been long-listed for the Center for Fiction's 2020 First Novel Prize. 

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • March 25, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    Do you have a backlog of abandoned stories and essays? Have you revised the life out a piece, trying to make it perfect? In this course, we’ll discuss some less common ways of waking up your prose and unlocking narrative energy. Toward this end, we’ll examine thrilling turns in several stories and essays. Some of the strategies we’ll cover include: finding and fanning hotspots; using transitions as transport; modulating register, diction, and rhythm; and making space for rough edges and mischief. 

    Optional: Bring a few "unworkable" pages from a work-in-progress. 

    Bio: Rachel Swearingen is the author of How to Walk on Water and Other Stories, winner of the 2018 New American Press Fiction Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in VICEThe Missouri Review, Kenyon ReviewOff AssignmentAgniAmerican Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, a 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. In 2019, she was named one of 30 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex. Swearingen holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a PhD from Western Michigan University, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • April 01, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    The flash fiction, the short short story, the micro-tale, the mini-essay: whatever you call them, it is in these tightly compressed forms that the techniques of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction meet and merge to create exciting new modes of expression. Through brief (under 1,000 words, and in many cases under 500) readings by historical and contemporary writers, we'll see how such tiny stories can pack a huge punch, and will explore what these “smokelong” tales can teach us about longer forms.  We'll also discuss Rose Metal Press, an independent publisher dedicated to literary work in hybrid genres, and what editors are looking for when it comes to work of this sort. You'll have the chance to do in-session exercises, and will walk out with rough drafts of a couple very short stories you can continue to hone, as well as with a new sense of how to bring economy to your sentences in writing of all lengths and genres. 

    Bio: Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent books include the novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte .Her World War I novel Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey was released by Penguin in August 2020, and her criticism appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Foundation website, The Chicago TribuneThe Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago and teaches at DePaul.

    Kathleen will judge a 500-word Short Short Contest. Entries are due March 11. Please see Manuscript and Contest Guidelines on our website for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • April 08, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    More than four decades passed since Esther Hershenhorn attended her first OCWW Writing for Children Workshop and officially took up residence in the ever-changing Children’s Book World. Her award-winning books led to her current success in teaching and coaching children’s book writers, and her work with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as an advocate for children’s book creators. In this workshop, Esther shares in Show, Don’t Tell fashion what’s new – as well as not-so-new, in stories, formats, publishers, agents and markets as well as Reader needs and Reader connections. Two submitted participants’ manuscripts will be presented for group discussion.

    Bio: The descriptive appositive TeachingAuthor describes Esther Hershenhorn perfectly. She authors picture books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction while teaching Writing for Children at Chicago’s Newberry Library and the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio.  Helping others tell their stories, especially to children, is truly her story.  She proudly considers her writers and students her “storied treasures.”  Esther is also honored to serve as the Illinois Regional Advisor Emerita for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

    Individual critiques are not available. However, two manuscripts from those submitted will be selected for group presentation and discussion. Writers can submit – between March 15 and March 22, 2021 - up to 5 pages of a picture book or the first chapter of a chapter book (early chapter, mg, YA, nonfiction) + story description/summary. Email the pages as an attachment to: esthersh@aol.com Label the subject head “Manuscript for April 8, 2021 OCWW Presentation.”

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • April 15, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote Session (out of town speaker, so remote only)

    One of the most important decisions we make as fiction writers is point of view. What are the limits and advantages of each? How do we choose, and after we do, what other things about our chosen perspective should we consider? In this session, we will examine various stylistic and formal strategies of first-person narration in particular and the way these strategies relate to characterization, voice, description, narrative distance, retrospection, narrative occasion, present action, and emotional stakes. We will explore various ways of inhabiting a first-person voice, examining how the telling of a story is inextricable from the story itself, with a particular attention to story beginnings.

    Bio: Natalie Bakopoulos is an assistant professor at Wayne State University and the author of Scorpionfish (Tin House, 2020) and The Green Shore (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Her work has appeared in Tin House, VQR, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, Granta, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, The Mississippi Review, O. Henry Prize Stories, and various other publicationsShe received her MFA from the University of Michigan. In 2015, she was a Fulbright scholar in Athens, Greece.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • April 22, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    What exactly is a writer’s “voice”? Is it a unique prose style or formal approach, a distinct tone or atmosphere in the writing, a set of thematic concerns that frames a particular point of view on the world? And what does it mean to “find” one's voice? How does one actually do that? This craft talk will address these questions by first dispensing with the notion of originality in a literary voice, or that there is any mystery or magic in its development. We will look at it as nothing more—and nothing less—than the process of writing sentences that you truly believe in, which involves something even more difficult: understanding who you think you are, who you want to be, and who you might inevitably and irrevocably be.


    BIO: Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery StoriesPloughshares, and other publications.  He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and has also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. He is a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice in English & Creative Writing at the University of Chicago, where he directs the undergraduate program.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9-9:30 Registration  

    9:30-12 Program


    • April 29, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (out of town speaker, so this session will be remote only)

    In this lecture, I’ll explain the all the reasons that life is so strange (hat-tip to William Maxwell’s “The reason life is so strange is that so often people have no choice.”) After that, we’ll examine the energy that options, or a lack of them, can bring to dramatic narratives. lyric essays, and confessional poems. You don’t need to read anything ahead of time, but we’ll likely look at excerpts from the novels “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “Salvage The Bones” by Jesmyn Ward, and “The Secret History" by Donna Tartt, as well as poems by Danez Smith, Paige Lewis, and Louise Gluck. You don’t need to read all these texts ahead of time, because some of this is subject to change. Let’s keep our options open.

    Bio: Dean Bakopoulos is an author from Detroit, Michigan. He is an assistant professor of English at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Dean’s third novel, Summerlong, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2015. He is currently at work on a nonfiction book called Undoing, as well as a screenplay and a television pilot. Dean’s first novel, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon (Harcourt, 2005), was a New York Times Notable Book; his screenplay adaptation of the novel is being developed for the screen by James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini productions; His second novel, My American Unhappiness, published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was named one of the year’s best novels by The Chicago Tribune. He received his BA from the University of Michigan and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to teaching fiction and creative nonfiction workshops at Grinnell, Dean has taught creative writing at UW-Madison, Iowa State University, and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. The winner of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Dean also reviews books for The New York Times Book Review and ​the San Francisco Chronicle.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

  • TBD

    • May 06, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
    Register

    Joseph Scapellato's session, When What They Want is Mot Enough: Alternative Approaches to Character, has been moved up to October 15 to take the place of a speaker who can no longer attend. 

    We are working on booking another outstanding speaker. 

    We appreciate your patience and understanding.

    • May 13, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote Session (WCH not available, so session will remain remote only)

    The paths to publication are profuse and this session aims to inform you of your full range of options. In addition to outlining the process for bringing longer works—novels, short story and poetry collections, nonfiction book proposals—to the attention of agents, editors, and the reading public, we’ll discuss some of the advantages of aiming individual essays, stories, and poems at magazines and contests. There’s no single right answer for how to pursue seeing your work in print or online and this session will take a holistic approach to helping you decide when and where to send your work, how to prepare your materials, and what to expect when submitting. 

    Zachary Martin is the former Editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts and currently teaches courses in creative writing, editing, and publishing in the Lake Forest College Department of English & Creative Writing. He has previously held editorial positions at Fiction Collective Two, Sugar & Rice, and The Southeast Review. His work has appeared in Fourth Genre, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Washington Square, The Louisville Review, and elsewhere. 

    Zachary will accept manuscripts for critique. Please see manuscripts guidelines on our website.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • May 20, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
    Register

    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    In this time of ongoing public crises, many of us feel a tension between creating fictional work and engaging directly with the problems we face. Ideally, we find ways of bringing these concerns into our fiction. But even if the issue affects us directly, how should we approach writing fiction about large social and political concepts, including public health and education, #blacklivesmatter, immigration, LGBTQ rights, and #metoo? How do we make the political particular to our characters and their time and place? And how do we balance our righteous indignation with the curiosity and humility necessary to writing good fiction? In this generative workshop, we begin by looking at examples of politically and socially engaged fiction by Lucia Berlin, Edward P. Jones, and Leila Slimani before we turn our attention to the concerns most pressing to each of us. Through prompted freewriting and exercises, we will each develop a bank of socially- and politically-related objects and images to draw from in our fiction, as well as develop a character, setting, and situation specific to a social or political issue.

    Bio: Jennifer Solheim’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Bellevue Literary ReviewConfrontation, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Pinch, among others, and received Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train. The author of The Performance of Listening in Postcolonial Francophone Culture (2018, Liverpool University Press), she also serves as a Contributing Editor at Fiction Writers Review. She holds a PhD in French from the University of Michigan and an MFA in writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars; in 2019-2020, she was a BookEnds Fellow in the StonyBrook novel completion program, co-directed by Susan Scarf Merrell and Meg Wolitzer. She currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Jennifer will accept manuscripts for critique. Please see the Manuscript Guidelines on our website for details.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

    • May 27, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)
    • Remote
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    Remote (OCWW may add a live event with separate registration)

    We talk a lot about a story’s point of view—who’s telling it, why, under what circumstances. But there’s a flipside to that POV question: Who is the story’s implied listener? Are you casting your listeners as people who already know this world or people who need to be filled in? And what are the political and artistic implications of glossing a culture or setting for readers who don’t know it?

    Bio: Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novel The Great Believers, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, one of the New York Times’ Top Ten Books for 2018, winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the Stonewall Award, the Heartland Prize, the LA Times Book Prize, the Chicago Review of Books Award, and was a New York Public Library’s 2018 Best Books pick. Her other books are the novels The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime, from which four stories appeared in The Best American Short Stories. Rebecca is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University, and she is Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. Visit her at RebeccaMakkai.com or on Twitter@rebeccamakkai.

    We offer free student memberships at a discounted rate of $5.00 per session. You must send verification of your student status. Please contact Claudia Katz at ckatz17755@aol.com for details.

    9:00-9:30 Socializing 

    9:30-12:00  Program

Past events

October 22, 2020 Megan Stielstra - Sprung from Necessity: On Urgency and the Personal Essay
October 15, 2020 Joseph Scapellato - When What They Want Is Not Enough: Alternative Approaches to Character
October 08, 2020 Christina Clancy: Creating Characters Who Step Off the Page
October 01, 2020 Marcelo Hernandez Castillo - Poetry of Abundance: Exploring the Contemporary Long Poem
September 24, 2020 Fred Shafer - The Experiments the Reader Doesn’t See ( Session 4)
September 24, 2020 Fred Shafer - The Experiments the Reader Doesn’t See (4 Pack)
September 17, 2020 Fred Shafer - The Experiments the Reader Doesn’t See ( Session 3)
September 10, 2020 Fred Shafer - The Experiments the Reader Doesn’t See ( Session 2)
September 03, 2020 Fred Shafer - The Experiments the Reader Doesn’t See ( Session 1)
August 20, 2020 OCWW's Summer Series Program
May 28, 2020 Abby Geni - First Chapter-Remote Session
May 21, 2020 Amy Hassinger - Voice: The Solo Symphony- Remote Session
May 14, 2020 Just Added: Ellen Bass - From Detail to Discovery
May 07, 2020 Joanna Mackenzie/Marcy Posner - Finding Your Agent 101- Remote Session
April 30, 2020 Jane Hertenstein - The Memoir/Fiction Hybrid: Writing that Doesn’t Fit a Category- Remote Session
April 23, 2020 Brian Turner: 10 Tools from the Writer's Rucksack
April 16, 2020 Jennifer Solheim - Sounds and Silences Remote Session
April 02, 2020 Ben Hoffman - Strangeness and Originality -Special Remote Evening Session
March 26, 2020 Mark Belden-Writing From Abundance Remote Session
March 19, 2020 Abby Saul - What You Should Know About Genre and Comparative Titles( Remote Session)
March 12, 2020 Frances de Pontes Peebles - The 23rd Draft: The Art and Logic of Revision
March 05, 2020 Ines Bellina - Social Media for Your Writing Life
February 27, 2020 Rachel Jamison Webster - The Inner Argument
February 20, 2020 John McCarthy - Transcending the Narrative: reimagining how we write emotions in poetry and prose
February 13, 2020 Kate Hannigan - Tapping Your Inner Ten-Year-Old: Writing Fiction and Nonfiction for Young Readers
February 06, 2020 Sophie Lucido Johnson - It's Kind of Funny, Actually: The Basics of Humor Writing
January 30, 2020 Mary Ruth Clarke - The Scene's The Thing: Compelling Scene Workshop and Contest
January 23, 2020 Stuart Dybek- Poetry for Fiction Writers: What Fiction Writers Can Learn from Poems
January 16, 2020 Eric Rampson - Give as Good as You Get: The Workshop Workshop
January 09, 2020 Eileen Favorite - Writing the Novel Synopsis
January 02, 2020 Goldie Goldbloom - The Poetics of Place: Making Landscape Essential to Fiction (rather than a boring digression)
December 19, 2019 Rebecca Makkai - Researching Into the Void
December 12, 2019 David Berner - Don’t Think; Just Write: How to Stop Overanalyzing and Simply Tell a Good Story
December 05, 2019 Patricia McNair - In Love and Kissing in the Dark: A Short Story Workshop
November 21, 2019 Nadine Kenney Johnstone - Write Your Truth
November 14, 2019 Will Boast - Play It Another Way: Experimenting with Tone
November 07, 2019 Zoe Zolbrod - Deeper than the Sum of its Parts -SPECIAL OFF-SITE EVENING SESSION
October 31, 2019 Sara Connell - Every Story is a Ghost Story
October 24, 2019 Vu Tran - What's In a Character
October 17, 2019 Randy Nichols - Find Yourself on the Write Side of the Law
October 10, 2019 Jac Jemc - The Unifying Power of Motif
October 03, 2019 Joe Scapellatto - Prose Poetics: Letting Your Sentences Sing
September 26, 2019 Fred Shafer - The Two Plots - Session 4
September 19, 2019 Fred Shafer - The Two Plots - Session 3
September 12, 2019 Fred Shafer - The Two Plots - Session 2
September 05, 2019 Fred Shafer - The Two Plots - 4 PACK
September 05, 2019 Fred Shafer - The Two Plots - Session 1
May 30, 2019 Abby Geni- Writing a Literary Thriller
May 23, 2019 Matthew Bird- Crafting Compelling Scenes and Meaningful Themes
May 16, 2019 Emily Clark Victorson, Andrea Hall, and Anna Michels- Meet the Editors
May 09, 2019 Michelle Fallkoff-Dialogue Tips for Young Adult and Adult Fiction
May 02, 2019 Sharon Darrow-Emotion and Revision: Finding the "Emotional Core" of Character in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
April 25, 2019 Jennifer Solheim-Want to Improve your Writing? Rx: Read Like a Writer
April 18, 2019 Jay Rehak- Publishing Cohort-Written Fiction: Putting it Together
April 11, 2019 Mary Anne Mohanraj- Writing the Taboo
April 04, 2019 Kelly McNees- Create Conflict that Propels your Plot
March 28, 2019 Eric Rampson-An Arc of Arcs or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Story Structure
March 21, 2019 Abby Saul and Tina Schwartz-The Agent Challenge
March 14, 2019 Joseph Scapellato-Finding Shape and “Stepping Up”: Practical Alternatives to Plotting Fiction
March 07, 2019 Mary Robinette Kowal - Conceptualizing the Modern Short Story
February 28, 2019 Rachel Swearingen - The Magic and Mechanics of Imagery
February 21, 2019 Jay Bonansinga - Storytelling Fundamentals for the Digital Era
February 14, 2019 John S. Green - Book Readings That Sell Your Book
February 07, 2019 Rebecca Makkai - We Need To Talk
January 24, 2019 Stuart Dybek- Closure
January 17, 2019 Richard Thomas - Writing Short Stories: The Art, The Structure, and Why You Should
January 10, 2019 Sara Connell - 21 Ways to Get Published
January 03, 2019 Jay Rehak -Team-Writing an Episodic Novel
December 27, 2018 Rebekah Frumkin - Writing Humor
December 20, 2018 Jane Hertenstein - Holiday Flash
December 13, 2018 Emily Tedrowe– Taking Character Development to the Next Level
December 06, 2018 Mary Ruth Clark - Writing Cinematic Scenes
November 29, 2018 Patricia McNair - Is it Hot in Here or Is It Just My Writing? How to Handle Sex on the Page
November 15, 2018 Steven Trumpeter - Radical Revision
November 08, 2018 Goldie Goldbloom - When All the World Was Green: the Deep Mystery of Gorgeous Fiction
November 01, 2018 Rebecca Johns - Diving Deep into Three Act Structure
October 25, 2018 Vu Tran - What Movies Can Teach Us As Writers
October 18, 2018 Kelly McNees - Muscle Up a Sagging Middle:How to Build and Sustain Page-Turning Momentum
October 11, 2018 Hannah Gamble - Resistance in Writing
October 04, 2018 Amanda Goldblatt - Associative Structures: Making Relationships & Resonance
September 27, 2018 Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #4
September 20, 2018 Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #3
September 13, 2018 Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #2
September 06, 2018 Fred Shafer- The Music of Sentences #1
September 06, 2018 Fred Shafer-The Music of Sentences 4 Pack 2018-2019 Members Only
May 31, 2018 Kelly McNees- Writing Great Endings
May 24, 2018 Keir Graff - Book Reviews and the Library Market
May 17, 2018 David W. Berner — Writing Great Beginnings
May 10, 2018 Sarah Terez Rosenblum - Writing Sex - Off-Site Evening Event
May 03, 2018 Jac Jemc — Haunting as Narrative Driver and Resonance Builder - Evening Event
April 26, 2018 Abby Saul & Tina P. Schwartz - Agent Hunting 101
April 19, 2018 Mary Anne Mohanraj - Writing Complex Identities
April 12, 2018 Barbara Barnett and Richard Davidson - The Path to Publishing Success
April 05, 2018 Amy Hassinger - What is Creative Non-Fiction and Why is it the Next Big Thing in Your Writing Life?
March 29, 2018 Abby Geni - Making Revision Manageable
March 22, 2018 Peter Ferry - Never Give Up: The Writing, Resting, Shopping, Despairing, Evolution and Redemption of a Short Story
March 15, 2018 Matt Bird - Writing for Strangers
March 08, 2018 Susanna Calkins - Bringing in Research While Telling a Compelling Tale
March 01, 2018 Nadine Kenney Johnstone - Make Your Story Meaningful
February 22, 2018 Mary Ruth Clarke-Adapting Fiction for the Performing Arts: Is It a Play? TV Show? Movie?
February 15, 2018 Jay Bonansinga - Writing the Modern Page-Turner
February 08, 2018 Stuart Dybek - Rewriting Is Telling Yourself The Story Again and Again and Again
February 01, 2018 Natasha Tarpley - Writing For and About Children of Color
January 25, 2018 Goldie Goldbloom - Meet Your Conflicts Head On!
January 18, 2018 Hannah Gamble - "Moves" to Spice Up Your Writing: Using the Absurd to Convey Emotional Truths
January 11, 2018 Richard Thomas - What Editors Look for in Short Fiction: Key Elements Paired with Your Unique Voice
January 04, 2018 Amy Jo Cousins - Hot Romance on a Cold Winter Day
December 14, 2017 Jennifer Solheim - Shake Up your Thinking with the Tools of Oulipo: Generate New Work or Reenvision Character, Scene, Plot and More in Works-in Progress
December 07, 2017 Eric Rampson - Go Do The Voodoo That You Do So Well: Finding (and Using) the Fun in Your Writing
November 30, 2017 Zoe Zolbrod - Using Your Personal Life to Enrich Your Writing
November 16, 2017 Kelly McNees - Five Elements Essential to Snagging an Editor's Interest
November 09, 2017 Esther Hershenhorn - Children’s Book Writing Group 101: The WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW!
November 02, 2017 Rebecca Johns - Creating Characters- Off-Site Evening Event
October 26, 2017 Christine Sneed - The Writer's Voice
October 19, 2017 Jamie Freveletti - Tips from an International Best-Selling Author
October 12, 2017 Rebecca Makkai - I'm Stuck
October 05, 2017 Lori Rader-Day - Point of View, Your Story's Foundation
September 28, 2017 Fred Shafer 30th Anniversary Celebration Luncheon
September 28, 2017 Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling Revisited Session 4
September 21, 2017 Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling Revisited Session 3
September 14, 2017 Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling Revisited Session 2
September 07, 2017 Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling Revisited
September 07, 2017 Fred Shafer - Showing vs Telling Revisited Member 4 Pack
May 25, 2017 Rebecca Makkai - Making a Scene
May 18, 2017 Abby Geni - Setting & Description
May 11, 2017 Lori Rader Day - Using Mystery Tools for Any Story
May 04, 2017 Christine Sneed - Breaking Into the Literary Fiction Market
April 27, 2017 Ellen T. McKnight - Best of Both: Plot and Pace with Depth
April 20, 2017 Ellen T. McKnight - Best of Both: Depth and Artistry with Plot
April 13, 2017 Ellen Blum Barish - Identifying Your Writer’s Voice
April 06, 2017 Frances De Pontes Peebles - Keeping The Pace
March 30, 2017 Jamie Freveletti - Writing Action and Conflict
March 23, 2017 Mary Robinette Kowal - The Rest of the Cast
March 16, 2017 Abby Saul - Copy that Sells Your Book
March 09, 2017 Mare Swallow - Building Your Literary Community
March 02, 2017 Zoe Zolbrod - Strategies for Structuring Memoir and Long Narratives
February 23, 2017 Randy Richardson - The Art of Self-Promotion *SPECIAL EVENT*
February 16, 2017 Patricia McNair - The Writer's Road Trip
February 09, 2017 Rachel Harvith - Make Your Dialogue Work
February 02, 2017 Sarah Hammond - The Big Idea
January 26, 2017 Susanna Calkins - Critiquing and Being Critiqued
January 19, 2017 Shawn Shiflett - Building Characters From Real People
January 12, 2017 Christine Maul Rice - How to develop your unique voice on the page
January 05, 2017 Eric Rampson - Creating and Using Humor
December 15, 2016 Richard Thomas - Neo Noir and the Fiction of Darkness
December 08, 2016 Peter Ferry - Character Devolpment
December 01, 2016 Samantha Hoffman - The Art of Revision
November 17, 2016 Christine Sneed - Conflict in Genre v. Literary Fiction
November 10, 2016 Dana Kaye - Launch Your Own Publicity Campaign
November 03, 2016 Jennifer Day - Reading, Writing and the Value of Literary Criticism *SPECIAL EVENT*
October 27, 2016 Rebecca Johns - Structuring Your Novel *Special Event*
October 20, 2016 Jane Hertenstein - Flash Memoir
October 13, 2016 Jennifer Rupp - Book Readings That Sell Your Book
October 06, 2016 Rebecca Makkai - Build It Up
September 29, 2016 9/29 Fred Shafer - The Role of Questions in Fiction Writing
September 22, 2016 9/22 Fred Shafer - The Role of Questions in Fiction Writing
September 15, 2016 9/15 Fred Shafer - The Role of Questions in Fiction Writing
September 08, 2016