Writing Workshops

How They Work

Most workshops are available both online (via Zoom) and face-to-face. Watch for upcoming dates, times, and formats. Class sizes are typically limited to five writers.

If you see a workshop that interests you, please let me know! I will often run a workshop with a minimum of three students, so if I have three students interested in a course, I will set it up according to your convenience as far as format, days, and time.

Are you a business, school, or other organization interested in contracting with me to provide a workshop? Please contact me. I’m happy to tailor a workshop to your needs.

Available Workshops at a Glance

  • The Art of Revision
  • Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales: On the Trail of Timelessness
  • Flash Fiction: Writing in Snapshots
  • Flash Memoir: Writing in Snapshots
  • The Memoir Essay
  • Prose From Poetry: Generating Ideas
  • Reinventing the Hero
  • Spark: Everyday Creativity
  • Voicing the Land: Environmental Writing
  • Water’s Edge: Writing That Heals

See below for more details on each workshop.

The Art of Revision

Revision is where the magic happens in writing, when you wash the mud and silt from your sliver of gold, polish it, and mold it into art. During this 5-week course, we’ll workshop your creative work-in-progress (up to twenty pages), looking at elements like form, style, voice, character, and pacing.

Four weeks. $75. Contact Crystal to register.

Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales: On the Trail of Timelessness

There’s a reason that ancient stories still resonate with us. In this 4-week course, we’ll look at what makes fables, myths, and fairy tales so timeless and apply these elements to modern-day storytelling. Bring your favorite stories to share and prepare to do some writing!

Six weeks. $100. Contact Crystal to register.

Flash Fiction: Writing in Snapshots

Flash fiction is a form of writing that embraces the short-short story, typically fewer than 750 words. Like any flash writing, it requires a careful economy of language in which every word, every line of dialogue, and every movement matters. Good flash fiction has the ability to hint at a larger story without giving away all its secrets.

This course will explore some of the best examples of flash fiction. We’ll play around with the six-word story, the 140-word story (“twitterature”), the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words), focusing on the barest, stripped-down elements of fiction.

Four weeks. $75. Contact Crystal to register.

Flash Memoir: Writing in Snapshots

Flash memoir is a form of creative nonfiction that tells a true story about your life in under 1,000 words. If the memoir essay (see below) is a slice of your life, the flash memoir is a snapshot in which every detail, every light and shadow, every word and gesture is saturated with meaning. Flash memoir requires a unique interplay of discipline and poetry, which is excellent training for any kind of writing.

During this 4-week course, we’ll look at examples of effective flash memoir, and then play with the genre using a combination of journaling, free-writing, and using actual photographs.

Four weeks. $75. Contact Crystal to register.

The Memoir Essay

The memoir essay, short nonfiction writing that draws from a particular memory, has become one of the most popular forms of creative nonfiction. It allows you to write creatively and deeply about a period of your life–an afternoon, a summer, or a period of five years, for example–that gives you cause to reflect. The most successful memoir essays speak to something universally relatable; they give us another way to understand how to be human.

This course will guide you through generating material (it’s okay if you already have some ideas), sifting and refining your memories, and structuring them into an artistic, literary form. You will leave this course with a polished draft.

Eight weeks. $125. Contact Crystal to register.

Prose From Poetry: Generating Ideas

This is a series for the writer interested in generating new material. We will gather once a week for four weeks to read, write, and share with a unique method guaranteed to produce writing fuel. At each meeting, we’ll share some poetry, think deeply, then write in short bursts without editing or censoring ourselves. At the end of the writing segment, each of us will share our work. Because these workshops produce very rough writing, this is not a place for critique, only for unrestrained creativity and fellowship.

The Prose From Poetry series is a great way to get unstuck, set writing goals, and build a tribe. Because each series is different, you can take this course over and over whenever you need a jumpstart.

Four weeks. $75. Contact Crystal to register.

Reinventing the Hero

Mythologist Joseph Campbell is best known for his theory, based on Jungian psychology, of the journey of an archetypal hero that can be found in cultures around the world. Writers and filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Richard Adams, and Dan Brown have achieved enormous success using Campbell’s work as a blueprint for plot and character development. However, Campbell’s theory has been criticized as outdated and simplistic, ignoring the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and politics.

In this course, we’ll look for what is useful in Campbell’s theory, but also imagine what a different archetypal hero might look like. This course will come with a reading list of books that follow the journey of Campbell’s hero as well as books that reinvent that journey and, consequently, the hero.

Six weeks. $100. Contact Crystal to register.

Spark: Everyday Creativity

If you find yourself thinking, “I’m just not a creative person,” or wishing you could see the sparks of artistic magic others seem to find without effort, this is the class for you. Creativity is not a fixed trait, like being born with blue eyes or curly hair; it is a skill, a practice, and a way of life that can be cultivated.

This course is fast-paced and fun. Because play is at the heart of creativity, we’ll dig deep to unbury your inner child and let it loose. Come prepared to laugh, experiment, look a little silly (but not too silly), and, of course, write.

Four weeks. $75. Contact Crystal to register.

Voicing the Land: Environmental Writing

America has an especially rich history of environmental writing. Although many of us think of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden as the forerunner of modern environmentalism, writing (and storytelling) about the land extends much further back and crosses cultures.

This course will look at the different ways writers have approached the land and life that surrounds us and write our way into the ongoing conversation.

Six weeks. $100. Contact Crystal to register.

Water’s Edge: Writing That Heals

Building on Brené Brown‘s work on the power of vulnerability and Elizabeth Gilbert‘s insistence that we all have a creative genius inside us, we will gather as a comfortable group once a week to nurture our creativity, to listen and reflect, and to write in ways that can support healing. This class does not offer feedback or critique, but uses writing as a form of therapy, self-knowledge, and even spirituality, in which we focus on the therapeutic powers of deep, reflective writing.

Whatever you are healing from–loss, addiction, abuse, or an unnamed pain–bring your courage, your vulnerability, your empathy, and a pencil with a good eraser.

Eight weeks. $125. Contact Crystal to register.