Welcome to Off Campus Writers' Workshop,  the lo
ngest continuously- running  program of its kind in the U.S.A.


~ Since 1946 ~

Established in 1946, OCWW serves a  now global community of writers in all genres from its metropolitan Chicago home. Join us Thursday mornings between September and May as we feature a renowned roster of speakers in seminars devoted to the craft and business of writing.

Select sessions are presented in a hybrid onsite-remote format that enables the live and online audiences to interact.

Many speakers offer professional manuscript critiques for a reasonable fee. Achieve your individual writing goals while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow writers.  Learn more.

Sessions are recorded and available for registrants to replay for the following week. 

Upcoming events

    • July 14, 2022
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Virtual Only
      • Paula Mikrut will lead a discussion about The Fourth State of Matter by Joann Beard.  

      • Though The Fourth State of Matter is an essay,  fiction writers will find a lot to like and learn from it. In fact, it was originally published in the fiction section of The New Yorker because of its artistry. We can learn a lot about effective writing by studying this essay, and there are a lot of angles from which we could approach this discussion. I would like to look at it through the lens of the great craft presentations we’ve experienced as OCWW members. I will post a few questions of my own, but I’ll also challenge you to find examples in The Fourth State of Matter of something you’ve learned during an OCWW presentation.

      • No one is asked to speak up who is not comfortable doing so. You're welcome to just listen, but the hope is you'll add your voice to our discussion and we'll have the opportunity to learn from you.

      • Accompanying your registration confirmation will be a pdf copy of the story and some ideas  to consider as you prepare for this discussion.

      • Paula Mikrut is an OCWW board member and our Zoom Goddess. 

    • August 11, 2022
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Virtual Only
      • Beth DeSchryver will lead a discussion of The Open Window  by H. H. Munro (aka Saki).

        Some claim that flash fiction is a modern form, but Munro was writing concise, high-impact stories of less than 1500 words over 100 years ago. 

        What is fascinating is how he can create distinct characters and multiple, vivid stories within the story frame with such economy. We will look at structure (how he chunks things) and character creation (selective use of detail, manipulation of the reader’s interpretation) and… enough said. It would give too much away.

        Saki is considered a master of the short story, on par with O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. His work is often mischievous and satirical regarding society, but he also explores themes of conflict in and with nature. But “The Open Window” doesn’t quite fit into either category, although you could argue it has a bit of both. It was included in the last collection of short stories published in his lifetime, Beasts and Superheroes (1914) available for free download at Project Gutenberg.

        Beth DeSchryver is a long-time member of OCWW. Her latest story, “Nameless Child,” is included in the OCWW Turning Points Anthology.

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