Writing Classes

Pre-Conference Class: D.P. Lyle - Plotting the Perfect Murder (Corte Madera)

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Reigstration: $125 ($90 for Conference participants)

When your character plans and executes “The Perfect Murder,” he always, always makes a mistake or two. These errors ultimately lead your sleuth to the solution. In this session, attendees will plot the perfect murder. They will then “deconstruct” the crime while considering the many variables that make plotting a murder fun for the writer and a disaster for the antagonist. D.P. Lyle, author of Howdunit Forensics and Forensics and Fiction, discusses the perpetrator’s behavior from the social, psychological, forensic, investigative, and motivational points of view.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Pre-Conference Class: David Corbett - The Character of Crime (Corte Madera)

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Registration: $125 ($90 for Conference participants)

In this pre-conference lecture and workshop, award-winning crime novelist David Corbett will guide students in exploring the key roles that make crime fiction work, with specific focus on the specific demands of the three major subgenres of crime fiction—mystery/detective, crime, and thriller—and an emphasis on maintaining dramatic tension, creating moral complexity, and avoiding cliché.

In particular, students will learn:

  • How to create strong, compelling protagonists who push the action forward and serve the story’s theme—instead of victims of circumstance, intrepid boy scouts, ciphers, stiffs, or sleepwalkers.
  • How to create equally compelling opponents or villains who aren’t just another iteration of Lucifer or the Creature from the Black Lagoon—with the purpose of gaining an understanding that the hero’s only as compelling as his enemy, that evil must be justified to be dramatically interesting, and that there’s “no beast so fierce” as man.
  • How to create secondary characters—from sidekicks to gunsels to femmes fatales to sympathetic heavies—who elicit nuance and subtlety from the main characters, flesh out the values in conflict in the story, create moral complexity through ‘four-corner conflict,” serve the hinge points of the plot, and bring to life the story world.

David Corbett worked as a private investigator for fifteen years before becoming the widely acclaimed author of four novels, with short fiction twice chosen for Best American Mystery Stories. He has taught at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, 826 Valencia, Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor, and the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Laura Deutsch - Personal Essay & Memoir (Corte Madera)

Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 11:00am

Sat. August 6 • 11:00 am - 4:00 pm • $125

Price includes a copy of Laura Deutsch's Writing for the Senses.

Using your life as the source for personal essays, stories and memoir, you’ll learn techniques to access and shape your material and approach it from new angles. This workshop includes instruction, in-class writing, and feedback. 

Laura Deutsch helps writers and others create meaningful legacies in their lives. 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Barbara Rose Brooker - Anyone at Any Age Can Write a Book (Corte Madera)

Sunday, August 7, 2016 - 10:00am

Sunday, Aug. 7 • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm • $120

Structure your book concept into an outline and a beginning, middle, and end.

You have a draft. You’re tired of workshops. You want to publish and sell your book to film or television.Boomer Best Seller Day Workshop will show you how to develop your book concept into a structure with a beginning, middle, and end- a premise, title, table of contents, storyboard,  logline, and how to create three-dimensional characters. Writing Aerobics will guide you from concept to title, and develop your draft for publication, television, and film.

Barbara Rose Brooker has an MFA/Creative writing. She has published fiction with William Morrow, Crossing, Simon & Schuster, and other presses. Her novel, The Viagra Diaries, is being made into a TV series. God Doesn’t Make Trash, a memoir is optioned for a six segment series for television. Her books have been translated into eleven languages. She teaches creative writing workshops at San Francisco State University Extension, and at private workshops. Her new novel, To Be Continued, a sequel to The Viagra Diaries is published on Amazon/Kindle. Her new book Writing Aerobics will be published end of 2016.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Jeanne Foster - Writing Poetry (Corte Madera)

Sunday, August 21, 2016 - 10:00am

Sun., August 21 • 10:00am - 4:00pm • $130

The question is not “How to write” but “How to try to say what you really mean.”  In this course we will be writing and revising our own poems with an emphasis on saying “what you really mean.” There will be in-class exercises, time for writing in private, analysis of texts by established writers, and roundtable discussion of our own work in an honest and respectful atmosphere.  The focus is on enabling each of us to fulfill our unique potential for writing poetry.

Both new poets and those with prior experience are welcome.

Jeanne Foster is Professor of Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College.  Her books include A Blessing of Safe Travel, A Music of Grace: the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry, Appetite: Food as Metaphor, and her most recent collection, Goodbye, Silver Sister.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Lonner Holden & Jim Baldwin - Writing from Nature Within You (Corte Madera)

Sunday, August 21, 2016 - 12:00pm

Sunday, August 21 • 12:00 – 3:00pm • $60

Our evolutionary path was defined by adapting to our environment through sensory feedback with the natural world. This interaction with nature produced neural hardwiring which gave birth to symbolic expression: creation made us, so we became creators. In this class, we will engage in direct sensory experience of natural elements which can release powerful, immediate and new imagery from the ancient body, enriching creativity. Connect with your most essential, sensory self. Take home into your writing sensory awareness practices that deepen your expressive connection with yourself, others and nature.

Lonner Holden has been writing most of his life and is a published poet. Fusing traditional nature connection practices, Ecotherapy and healing arts, he guides others on their well-being and creative path.

Jim Baldwin is a published poet and editor of Modern American Poetry for The Great Books Foundation. He taught English literature and writing for 37 years, and is a wilderness vision quest leader. He has been writing most of his life as well.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Molly Giles - First Impressions (Corte Madera)

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 10:00am

Saturday, Aug. 27 • 10:00am – 4:00pm • $105

It’s a sad fact that most editors know by the first few sentences whether they are going to publish your story or not. In this workshop we’ll take a close look at your opening page to make sure the voice is fresh, the characters engaging, the premise interesting and the grammar and spelling perfect. The workshop will include a craft talk, several writing prompts and a Q&A. Please bring copies and questions!

Molly Giles is a novelist and short story writer. She has taught fiction writing for over 30 years. Her latest book is All the Wrong Places.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - Master Writers

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 6:30pm

6 Tuesdays: Sept. 6 - Oct. 11 • 6:30 - 8:30 pm • $270

Use the support of fellow writers and well-timed feedback to move through resistance and finish your work. This class requires having taken earlier intro writers classes such as “Is There a Book in You?” or “You Can Complete That Book.”

Leslie Keenan teaches techniques for gaining confidence as a writer and developing a clear sense of what your project is about. She provides advice on the best way to get each project published, gives names of agents, editors, publishers and printers and provides a whole range of help. This is the perfect opportunity to get started on your book. Keenan has been in publishing for over 20 years as an editor, agent, publisher, writer and teacher.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - Is There a Book in You? (Corte Madera)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 6:30pm

Four Wednesdays: September 7 - 28 • 6:30 – 8:30 pm • $160

Leslie Keenan teaches techniques for gaining confidence as a writer and developing a clear sense of what your project is about. She gives advice on how to get the book published and gives names of agents, editors, publishers, and printers.

Leslie Keenan is an experienced writing instructor. One published student says, “If it weren’t for Leslie Keenan’s courses at Book Passage, I would never have written a word of fiction.” Author Eve Pell says, “Your help was really valuable since it stopped me from feeling utterly overwhelmed... I knew how to make a plan, and that’s what made the difference.”

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Monica Wesolowska - False Starts to True Stories (Corte Madera)

Sunday, September 11, 2016 - 10:00am
Sunday, September 11 • 10:00am - 2:00pm • $105
You’ve always wanted to start a memoir. Or you’ve started but can’t go on. Or you’ve finished but aren’t satisfied. Whatever your experience, false starts are part of the process. But what makes an opening feel true? In this workshop, you’ll receive professional feedback on your openings and find new ways to tell the truth. Manuscript openings (up to 10 pages) are due to the instructor by September 5th.
Monica Wesolowska, author of Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, has been teaching and editing both fiction and memoir for over a decade.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925