Writing Classes

Class: Erin Byrne - Illuminated Travel (SAUSALITO)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 6:00pm

4 Wednesdays; Sept. 6- Oct. 4 (no class Sept. 20), 2017 • 6:00pm-8:00 pm • $240

Have you ever wondered why a particular alleyway beckoned you, or a local character intrigued you, or an unusual ritual unsettled you?  On our travels we have few “light bulb moments” but writing that ignites connections between ourselves and the places, people, and cultures of the world transforms us and our readers.

Join Erin Byrne as we delve deeply into our travel experiences using the “anti-workshop method” she has taught at Shakespeare and Company in Paris and on Deep Travel trips.  The results are reflected in her books, and have inspired writers at all levels from emerging to highly published.  This process is invigorating for both new and more experienced writers.

You have taken one journey, now be ready to embark on another to bring your experience to light.  Illuminated Travel is a wild ride indeed.

*This is a four session workshop:*

Images and Impressions - Starting with an image or scene that has captivated us, we use a new process of questioning and tapping into the creative unconscious to explore it.

The Spark Inside Your Story - We probe deeper to discover and express one illuminating connection between ourselves and this place, or person, or scene, and write about it in such a way as to touch upon universal emotions and truths.

Shaping the Narrative - Using a process of pinpointing focus and fierce editing, we create pieces that both surprise and glow from within.

Reading Our Work - We prepare to perform our work, using techniques of Moroccan Master Storytellers, with whom Erin has taught.  The page now undergoes transformation to be ready for the stage.

  Erin Byrne is the author of Wings: Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France, winner of the Paris Book Festival Award and the Next Generation Indie Book Award; editor of Vignettes & Postcards from Paris and Vignettes & Postcards from Morocco; and writer of The Storykeeper  film.  

Erin’s travel essays, poetry, fiction and screenplays have won numerous awards including three Grand Prize Solas Awards for Travel Story of the Year, the Reader’s Favorite Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist, and an Accolade Award for film.  She has taught writing at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris and on Deep Travel trips, and is host of the LitWings event series at Book Passage, Sausalito, which features writers, photographers, and filmmakers. 

Erin reads and performs her work in many places around the world including exotic ruins in Morocco, underground caverns in Paris, and Bay Area venues that range from grungy to glittering. Her screenplay, Siesta, is in pre-production in Spain, and she is working on a novel set in the Paris Ritz during the occupation, Illuminations.  

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Pre-Conference Class: David Corbett - The Deeper Mystery (Corte Madera)

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

2017 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

The crime-mystery-thriller genre is often thought of as principally a form of entertainment, but it is also a great deal more. In this pre-conference class, award-winning author and conference co-chair David Corbett guides students through a number of techniques and thematic considerations to reach deeper into the material of their stories. The goal is to reach the more meaningful and dramatically powerful elements within the genre. Topics will include moral argument and the Unity of Opposites, the will to justice vs. the will to power, realism (and its limits), the elusive nature of truth, what is a just society, individual freedom vs. social responsibility, Satanic Villains vs. Monsters, and (as Conrad put it) man’s “miserable ingenuity in error.”

David Corbett worked 15 years for the famed private investigation firm of Palladino & Sutherland. He is the author of several novels including Done for a Dime (A New York Times Notable Book), His latest is Thirteen Confessions: Stories. His writing text, The Art of Character, has been called “a writer’s bible.”


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Pre-Conference Class: Hallie Ephron - Writing the Wave (Corte Madera)

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

2017 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

Writing the Wave: Investigation, Suspense, Action, Reflection

Typically, mystery novels unfurl in accelerating waves of establishing narrative (often investigation), building to suspense, building to action, resolving reflection, and then thrusting forward to the next wave. In this workshop we’ll examine each element of this “ISAR” wave, and learn how to construct scenes that end with a hook, grab readers, and move the story forward. Topics include: dissecting the waves in a mystery/thriller; strategies for writing investigation; strategies for writing suspense; strategies for writing action; strategies for writing reflection; hook and grab scene structure; writing the waves across a book length work, modulating the pace, building to a dramatic climax, and resolving in a final coda.

Hallie Ephron is a bestselling author of Never Tell a Lie; Come and Find Me; There Was an Old Woman; and most recently, You’ll Never Know, Dear. She is also the mystery reviewer for the Boston Globe. The daughter of screenwriters, she grew up with her famous writer sisters, Nora, Delia, and Amy.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Andrea Alban - Writers Tribe (Corte Madera)

Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 4:00pm

4 Sundays; Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, & Oct. 29, 2017 • 4:00pm-7:00 pm • $240

Polish your manuscript in a safe space built on respect and honesty.The focus is on rendering quintessential characters, vivid settings, page-turning plots, and snappy dialog. Andrea guides the group through a powerful revision process and self-editing mastery. Each writer receives a copy of Andrea’s popular mini-book: How to polish your words in 17 easy steps.

Andrea Alban is the author of nine books, including her debut teen novel ANYA’S WAR (an ALA honor book and shortlisted for China’s Panda Award), and bestseller THE HAPPINESS TREE. 

Andrea's Writer's Tribe is a safe and creative space to bring your work in progress. Andrea's skilled facilitation, keen literary eye, and delightful sense of humor make these Sunday afternoon gatherings the highlight of my week. Andrea is a writer's dream come true. Not only do you learn from the invaluable critiques of your own work, but her in-class critiques of your fellow writers' work are richly informative and insightful. I have queried, and had several interested responses for my novel and know that what I have learned in Andrea's Tribal circle has been in large part what I needed to get a foot in the door. 
—Nina Vincent

Thanks to Andrea and the Writer's Tribe, my story is polished and ready to go! Andrea's expertise and superb editing skills alone are worth the price of admission. Andrea guides the Tribe with profound wisdom and gentle humor. Class participants are supportive of one another, and we 'bonded" as a group. None of us wanted the class to end! 

—Gailya Magdalena


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: David Corbett - The Final Polish (Corte Madera)

Sunday, October 8, 2017 - 10:00am

Sunday Oct. 8, 2017 • 10:00-4:00 pm • $150

You’ve finished and revised your manuscript and believe it’s ready to send it out. But in today’s competitive marketplace, you may get only one chance to impress agents and editors. In this workshop, David Corbett will review your first ten pages and a one-to-two page synopsis to determine: How unique isthe voice? How compelling are the story questions? How engaging are themain characters? How high are the stakes?

Note: Manuscript and synopsis submissions need to be sent to davidcorbettauthor@gmail.com by October 1st

David Corbett — contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, and author of The Art of Character (“a writer’s bible”) — will lead students in a one-day workshop, reviewing 10-page manuscript submissions (with one-page novel synopsis) from each student and reviewing them in detail to reveal how story guides the revision process.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Amanda Conran - Write On! (Corte Madera)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 6:30pm

2 Wednesdays; Oct. 11 & 25, 2017 • 6:30pm - 8:30pm • $125

We don’t have to write alone. Are you in the middle of your first novel or trying out a short story and would like to share your ideas? Are you struggling with a plot or a scene and want some help? Are you looking for some extra motivation to finish a project or are you interested in meeting like-minded young writers? This class will foster a small, friendly, supportive critique group in which participants will learn how to critique someone else’s work kindly and constructively and how to accept suggestions for their own work in progress. We’ll learn on the job about plot, dialogue, character development, scene structure etc. and support each other on our group journey to improve our stories and craft.

**Be prepared to submit up to 5 pages ahead of time. 6 person limit. 12-16 year-olds**

Amanda Conran is the author of The Lost Celt, Goosebottom Books, 2016. She's also a children's book specialist, booktalker and the Ink book club facilitator at Book Passage.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Joan Steidinger - Writing About Women (Corte Madera)

Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 1:00pm

Sunday Oct. 15, 2017 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm • $60

In this class, you will learn how to apply women’s natural responses to your female characters in fiction or nonfiction. Using the teacher’s theory on female collaboration in competitive situations, you will learn to apply a unique female perspective and create authentic female representation in writing.

Dr. Joan Steidinger, CC-AASP, is a licensed psychologist who’s written about women since her master’s thesis. Her long-term focus has been on women’s issues in workshops, presentations, writing articles and columns, and with clients. Her book, “Sisterhood in Sports:  How female athletes collaborate and compete,” takes a close look at the emotional approach many women take toward relationships.  This book won five literary awards, including a Gold Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Women’s category.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Path to Publishing Workshop - Birthing Your Truest Stories (Corte Madera)

Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Path to Publishing Workshop: Birthing Your Truest Stories
$30 for Path to Publishing Members • $45 for Non-Members
Saturday, October 21, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Memoirist and writing teacher Jennifer Browdy joins writer and birth doula Audrey Kalman to explore the resonances between birthing and writing in this interactive class. This class will inspire writers to become their own doulas, developing a powerful internal ally to walk with them on their writing journeys. Among the questions to be explored: What tender truths are seeking to come through you? Can you express your truth more authentically in fiction than in memoir? What are the strengths of different genres, and which one is right for the story you are bringing to light? 

Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. is an associate professor of comparative literature, gender studies and media studies at Bard College. She is the founding director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Audrey Kalman is the author of two novels: What Remains Unsaid and Dance of Souls. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous print and online publications. 


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925