Classes

Online Class: John J. Geoghegan - How to Get Your Book Published

Sunday, September 25, 2022 - 12:00pm


Sunday, Sept. 25th, 2022

Hosted via Zoom • 12:00pm-3:00pm PT • $75


 

How to Get Your Book Published is designed to help writers improve their chance of getting their memoir, novel, or non-fiction book considered for publication by a reputable literary agent or publisher. The three hour course will cover:

  • How to identify the right literary agent, editor, or publisher for your project
  • What publishers, editors, and literary agents look for in a submission
  • Which genres offer the best prospect for getting published
  • Understanding the economics of publishing, being a literary agent, or author
  • How to write a query letter
  • How to write a non-fiction book proposal
  • How to format your manuscript
  • What a standard industry book contract looks like
  • 5 rookie mistakes first timers make
  • And much more

John J. Geoghegan began his career at Doubleday Publishers in New York City. In addition to serving as a Special Correspondent for the New York Times, he has worked as an editor and writer in both the magazine  and newspaper industries. John has written more than 100 articles for the New York Times Science section, The Wall Street JournalThe San Francisco Chronicle, WIRED, Smithsonian Air & Space, and American History magazine and other publications. He is also the author of, Operation Storm: Japan’s Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II (Crown, 2013), which The Wall Street Journal called, “a fascinating, meticulously researched and deft account,” and, Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow: A True Story of Love, Hearing Loss, Heartbreak and Redemption (New Haven Publishing, 2018), which Book Authority ranked No. 1 on its list of the 38 best books about hearing loss. Additionally, John shepherded into production, co-wrote, and served as technical consultant on Japanese SuperSub, a one-hour documentary for PBS television that the New York Times called, “consistently fascinating history.” His third, non-fiction book, When Giants Ruled the Sky, is under contract to The History Press and due in bookstores 2021.

 

What students are saying about John J. Geoghegan:

"As a writer, I’ve benefited from John’s wisdom through four books. A master at understanding how to meet reader expectations, John zeroes in on a writer’s intention, applauds what's going right, and nails that unnecessary bit of exposition or missed opportunity to drive the story forward."
—K. M., author of eight commercially published novels

 

Anne Lamott - Writing 101: COVID College Edition (Online Class)

Saturday, May 15, 2021 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm


Saturday, May 15th • Online

Live • 1:00-4:00pm PT• $75


Get your ticket now for admission to this live three-hour session!

 

This workshop is a chance to spend three hours together where I can tell you everything I know about writing, and some of what I’ve learned about life during COVID College.

I’ll discuss how to get started, making a commitment to sticking with it, writing a terrible draft, editing, creative freedom and discipline, tricks and hacks to help you get some work done every day, and the hidden blessings of our year in quarantine. As always, we will leave lots of time for your questions, on everything from getting published, to getting your hope and faith in life back.

Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Dusk, Night, Dawn; Almost Everything: Notes on Hope; Hallelujah Anyway; Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; and Operating Instructions; as well as seven novels. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.

 

Anne Lamott photo by Sam Lamott

 

Billy Collins - The Driver's Seat of Poetry: A Live Poetry Session (Online Class)

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm


Saturday, June 19th • Online

Live • 1:00-4:00pm PT• $75


Get your ticket now for admission to this live poetry session!

 


Please join me for this live, three-hour poetry session. I’ll pull from decades as a literature and poetry professor and tackle many of the enduring questions around how to create and write poetry.

What’s going on in the poet’s mind when he or she is actually composing a poem?  Is it Life and Death? Beauty? Truth? The Environment?  I think the answer for me and many other poets is that there is no room in our heads for such big, capitalized subjects when a poem is underway.  We are mostly thinking about how to keep the poem alive by advancing it line by line, and eventually, how to find an interesting place to stop.

Whether you are a practicing poet yourself, an interested reader of poetry, or both, having access to the inner workings of a poem by seeing the poem from the writer’s point of view will sharpen your abilities as a poet and add to your appreciation as a reader.

Poems arrive in their readers’ hands fully done, cooked, and set in no longer moveable type.  But every poem—even a Shakespeare sonnet—was once a work in progress, a living thing that the poet was still working on, perhaps not having a clue what should come next.

So: what I am offering here is an opportunity to enter poems in a fuller, more imaginative way by beholding their inner workings and by imagining the compositional process the poet might have gone through as the poem evolved from an inky mess on a page to a varnished thing.

We will look at a mix of poems—old and new, familiar and odd.  I will offer some of my own as examples; after all, I was right there when they were written.  We will look at a still unfinished poem of mine, one where the paint is still wet.

This will be an interactive experience, not a lecture on poetry.  Your comments and questions, delivered in real time, will give our gathering its vitality

I hope you will sign-up for this poetry safari.  Pith helmets and insect repellent not required.

Billy Collins is the author of twelve collections of poetry including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. His new book is Whale Day: And Other Poems. A former Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York, Billy served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and as New York State Poet from 2004 to 2006. In 2016 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Florida with his wife Suzannah.

 

Online Class: Julia McNeal - Three Ways In to Evocative, Authentic Presence and Branding for Authors and Entrepreneurs

Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm



Saturday, May 22, 1:30-3:30pm PT

Hosted via Zoom • Live • $75 • Class limited to 24
 

 

Authenticity is a word that gets over-used these days, but what it refers to—credible, trustworthy expression of the essence of a thing or being—is essential to the kind of self-promotion that feels easeful and aligned. That easeful alignment relaxes you, clarifies who you are, and connects you intimately with your audience.

Every business, every book, every writer, event or online page, has an essential authenticity — a Character all its own. When you apply Julia McNeal’s acclaimed Five Ways In to Character technique to your book, your business, or your online presence, you’ll bring that character into clear and vibrant focus.

In this two-hour workshop, you’ll learn how to apply three of the Five Ways In for greatest effect in bringing your work, yourself and your brand to the marketplace. You’ll come away with practical tools you can use whenever you are promoting your work. You’ll get access to language and a tone that is intimately congruent with and evocative of who you are and what you are creating — in alignment with your most authentic intention and purpose.

Format of classes: Presentation, short interactive exercises, question/answer.

Julia McNeal’s Five Ways In to Character technique is a unique, 5-part approach for creating characters on the page and in performance. Synthesized by professional actor and coach, Julia McNeal, and honed over the last 15 years, this technique has never failed to deepen, clarify, and improve the character creation of all who apply it.

What Students Are Saying about Julia McNeal

“Julia’s Ways In is a brilliant and original set of techniques for exploring and deepening characters which go way beyond what writers usually learn and practice. A wonderful opportunity to learn from an accomplished actress how to
access the often elusive essence of characters and what makes them tick. Julia is a passionate and stimulating teacher and her classes crack open new insights and perspectives for writers committed to creating characters that are fully alive.”

"Julia's techniques help keep me excited about my writing projects rather than overwhelmed. Her classes offer a useful conceptual framework, actionable practices, and compassionate support."

Online Class: Julia McNeal - Five Ways In to Character: A Three-Class Series (Ways Four and Five)

Saturday, November 19, 2022 - 1:30pm


Way One (Sat., November 5, 1:30-3:30pm PT • $70)

Ways Two & Three (Sat., November 12, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Ways Four & Five (Sat., November 19, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Sign up for each class individually, or take all three and get a full-series discount

Online • Live • $200 for the series • Class size limited to 18

 

 

Five Ways In to Character is a unique, five-part technique for creating characters on the page and in performance. Synthesized by Julia McNeal, and honed over the last 15 years, this technique has never failed to deepen, clarify, and improve the character creation of all who apply it.

Following the great success of these online classes last year, Julia brings the entire series back to Book Passage this fall.

1. Way One of the Five Ways In to Character

The first of the Five Ways, “Way One” introduces the first of the “Outside-In” approaches of the technique. It’s the most fun to use and easiest to apply, with clear and immediate results. Even as it focuses on externally visible character details, by using this approach, deeper motivations and priorities are revealed, while characters come into individuated clarity.

Bring to class: A line or two in the voice of—or a short description of—two or three characters you are creating/writing about — fictional or real.

2) Ways Two and Three of the Five Ways In to Character

Way Two completes the “Outside-In” work of the technique — focusing on gender; and Way Three is the deep core of the technique: the Inside-Out work that opens the door to any character’s truest being and unique nature.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes—or is in the voice of—a character you are working on or thinking about.

3) Ways Four and Five of the Five Ways In to Character

Ways Four and Five are both Inside-Out work (starting with the inner world of a character, and discovering how that manifests outwardly). Way Four gives you Julia’s Artist’s/Writer’s Authentic Self meditation (totally valuable on its own, with or without characters to write!), and shows you how to apply it to creating distinct characters. Way Five is the simplest Inside-Out piece of the technique—almost a no-brainer—and always worth applying last.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes—or is in the voice of—a character you are working on or thinking about (they can even be You.)

In each class, you will learn practical tools to apply every time you want to get clear, compelling, recognizable and specific characters on the page. If you need something to shake up your writing routine, invite deeper truth, energy, and new ways of seeing the character(s) you are writing (even if that character is You), come play and learn on three Saturdays: November 5th, 12th, and 19th. You’ll come away with a whole new way of looking at characters, and a concrete method of approach you can use, going forward.

The book on Julia's technique: 5 Ways In to Character: bringing intimate humanity to the page, stage, screen and easel is now available for purchase!

Format of classes: Presentation, short interactive exercises, short writing time, question/answer. Class size limited to 16 students.

NOTE: Classes will be held on ZOOM and will not be recorded. Greatest effectiveness depends on working in person, in community (this is showing up for your Writing Time). Also, not recording protects individual and artistic privacy. Julia’s Five Ways In to Character book and videos are being created as we speak, and she hopes to have them available at the time of this Series.

©2021 Julia McNeal julia@juliamcnealarts.com

What Students Are Saying about Julia McNeal

“Julia’s Ways In is a brilliant and original set of techniques for exploring and deepening characters which go way beyond what writers usually learn and practice. A wonderful opportunity to learn from an accomplished actress how to
access the often elusive essence of characters and what makes them tick. Julia is a passionate and stimulating teacher and her classes crack open new insights and perspectives for writers committed to creating characters that are fully alive.”

"Julia's techniques help keep me excited about my writing projects rather than overwhelmed. Her classes offer a useful conceptual framework, actionable practices, and compassionate support."

“Thank you Julia. This was exactly what I needed to reconnect with my writing project after losing focus amid this whole pandemic situation.”

Online Class: Julia McNeal - Five Ways In to Character: A Three-Class Series (Ways Two and Three)

Saturday, November 12, 2022 - 1:30pm


Way One (Sat., November 5, 1:30-3:30pm PT • $70)

Ways Two & Three (Sat., November 12, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Ways Four & Five (Sat., November 19, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Sign up for each class individually, or take all three and get a full-series discount

Online • Live • $200 for the series • Class size limited to 18

 

 

Five Ways In to Character is a unique, five-part technique for creating characters on the page and in performance. Synthesized by Julia McNeal, and honed over the last 15 years, this technique has never failed to deepen, clarify, and improve the character creation of all who apply it.

Following the great success of these online classes last year, Julia brings the entire series back to Book Passage this fall.

1. Way One of the Five Ways In to Character

The first of the Five Ways, “Way One” introduces the first of the “Outside-In” approaches of the technique. It’s the most fun to use and easiest to apply, with clear and immediate results. Even as it focuses on externally visible character details, by using this approach, deeper motivations and priorities are revealed, while characters come into individuated clarity.

Bring to class: A line or two in the voice of—or a short description of—two or three characters you are creating/writing about — fictional or real.

2) Ways Two and Three of the Five Ways In to Character

Way Two completes the “Outside-In” work of the technique — focusing on gender; and Way Three is the deep core of the technique: the Inside-Out work that opens the door to any character’s truest being and unique nature.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes—or is in the voice of—a character you are working on or thinking about.

3) Ways Four and Five of the Five Ways In to Character

Ways Four and Five are both Inside-Out work (starting with the inner world of a character, and discovering how that manifests outwardly). Way Four gives you Julia’s Artist’s/Writer’s Authentic Self meditation (totally valuable on its own, with or without characters to write!), and shows you how to apply it to creating distinct characters. Way Five is the simplest Inside-Out piece of the technique—almost a no-brainer—and always worth applying last.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes—or is in the voice of—a character you are working on or thinking about (they can even be You.)

In each class, you will learn practical tools to apply every time you want to get clear, compelling, recognizable and specific characters on the page. If you need something to shake up your writing routine, invite deeper truth, energy, and new ways of seeing the character(s) you are writing (even if that character is You), come play and learn on three Saturdays: November 5th, 12th, and 19th. You’ll come away with a whole new way of looking at characters, and a concrete method of approach you can use, going forward.

The book on Julia's technique: 5 Ways In to Character: bringing intimate humanity to the page, stage, screen and easel is now available for purchase!

Format of classes: Presentation, short interactive exercises, short writing time, question/answer. Class size limited to 16 students.

NOTE: Classes will be held on ZOOM and will not be recorded. Greatest effectiveness depends on working in person, in community (this is showing up for your Writing Time). Also, not recording protects individual and artistic privacy. Julia’s Five Ways In to Character book and videos are being created as we speak, and she hopes to have them available at the time of this Series.

©2021 Julia McNeal julia@juliamcnealarts.com

What Students Are Saying about Julia McNeal

“Julia’s Ways In is a brilliant and original set of techniques for exploring and deepening characters which go way beyond what writers usually learn and practice. A wonderful opportunity to learn from an accomplished actress how to
access the often elusive essence of characters and what makes them tick. Julia is a passionate and stimulating teacher and her classes crack open new insights and perspectives for writers committed to creating characters that are fully alive.”

"Julia's techniques help keep me excited about my writing projects rather than overwhelmed. Her classes offer a useful conceptual framework, actionable practices, and compassionate support."

“Thank you Julia. This was exactly what I needed to reconnect with my writing project after losing focus amid this whole pandemic situation.”

Online Class: Julia McNeal - Five Ways In to Character: A Three-Class Series (Way One)

Saturday, November 5, 2022 - 1:30pm



Way One (Sat., November 5, 1:30-3:30pm PT • $70)

Ways Two & Three (Sat., November 12, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Ways Four & Five (Sat., November 19, 1:30-4:00pm PT • $85)

Sign up for each class individually, or take all three and get a full-series discount

Online • Live • $200 for the series • Class size limited to 22

 

 

Five Ways In to Character is a unique, five-part technique for creating characters on the page and in performance. Synthesized by Julia McNeal, and honed over the last 15 years, this technique has never failed to deepen, clarify, and improve the character creation of all who apply it.

Following the great success of these online classes last year, Julia brings the entire series back to Book Passage this fall.

1. Way One of the Five Ways In to Character

The first of the Five Ways, “Way One” introduces the first of the “Outside-In” approaches of the technique. It’s the most fun to use and easiest to apply, with clear and immediate results. Even as it focuses on externally visible character details, by using this approach, deeper motivations and priorities are revealed, while characters come into individuated clarity.

Bring to class: A line or two in the voice of—or a short description of—two or three characters you are creating/writing about — fictional or real.

2) Ways Two and Three of the Five Ways In to Character

Way Two completes the “Outside-In” work of the technique — focusing on gender; and Way Three is the deep core of the technique: the Inside-Out work that opens the door to any character’s truest being and unique nature.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes — or is in the voice of — a character you are working on or thinking about.

3) Ways Four and Five of the Five Ways In to Character

Ways Four and Five are both Inside-Out work (starting with the inner world of a character, and discovering how that manifests outwardly). Way Four gives you Julia’s Artist’s/Writer’s Authentic Self meditation (totally valuable on its own, with or without characters to write!) and shows you how to apply it to creating distinct characters. Way Five is the simplest Inside-Out piece of the technique — almost a no-brainer — and always worth applying last.

Bring to class: A notebook and pen (rather than a device) to write with, and a short paragraph (1 – 5 sentences) that describes — or is in the voice of — a character you are working on or thinking about (they can even be You.)

In each class, you will learn practical tools to apply every time you want to get clear, compelling, recognizable and specific characters on the page. If you need something to shake up your writing routine, invite deeper truth, energy, and new ways of seeing the character(s) you are writing (even if that character is You), come play and learn on three Saturdays: November 5th, 12th, and 19th. You’ll come away with a whole new way of looking at characters, and a concrete method of approach you can use, going forward.

The book on Julia's technique: 5 Ways In to Character: bringing intimate humanity to the page, stage, screen and easel is now available for purchase!

Format of classes: Presentation, short interactive exercises, short writing time, question/answer. Class size limited to 18 students.

NOTE: Classes will be held on ZOOM and will not be recorded. Greatest effectiveness depends on working in person, in community (this is showing up for your Writing Time). Also, not recording protects individual and artistic privacy.

©2021 Julia McNeal julia@juliamcnealarts.com

What Students Are Saying about Julia McNeal

“Julia’s Ways In is a brilliant and original set of techniques for exploring and deepening characters which go way beyond what writers usually learn and practice. A wonderful opportunity to learn from an accomplished actress how to
access the often elusive essence of characters and what makes them tick. Julia is a passionate and stimulating teacher and her classes crack open new insights and perspectives for writers committed to creating characters that are fully alive.”

"Julia's techniques help keep me excited about my writing projects rather than overwhelmed. Her classes offer a useful conceptual framework, actionable practices, and compassionate support."

“Thank you Julia. This was exactly what I needed to reconnect with my writing project after losing focus amid this whole pandemic situation.”

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Matisse and Picasso: Masters of Modernism

Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Two Saturdays: May 8th and 15th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $85


Often seen as opposing influences in a new direction for art in the Western World, these two artists, both rebels, used highly disparate but equally important means to forge a new way of seeing and representing their worlds.  Matisse, a serene Frenchman, happily married, and Picasso, a flamboyant Spaniard and womanizer, need to be studied side by side and with attention to their childhoods, their early works, their early collectors, their dealers, their critics, and their legacy. We will study their contemporaries as well and note how their experiments with Fauvism (Matisse) and Cubism (Picasso) spawned developments in France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the USA. Of special interest are their late works involving not painting but in the case of Picasso, creating pottery vessels and in the case of Matisse, cutting up pieces of colored paper! We will meet collectors like the Steins of San Francisco, Shchukin in Russia, dealers Ambrose Vollard and Daniel Kahnweiler, and some obstreperous Americans.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Art History with Kerrin Meis - Innocents Abroad: American Artists in Europe, 1830-1930

Saturday, April 10, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm


Three Saturdays: April 10th, 17th & 24th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • Live • 1:00-3:00pm PT • $120

The lure of Europe—Paris, Venice, Rome, and the Italian Countryside—proved irresistible for some of the most creative painters and sculptors of America.

Learn what attracted them, under whose influence they happily fell, and the remarkable works they created. Our cast of characters includes Samuel F.B. Morse, George Healy, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Harriet Hosmer, Anne Whitney, Thomas Cole, George Inness, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Robert Frederick Blum, Mary Cassatt, Lilla Cabot Perry, Theodore Robinson, Maurice Prendergast, Robert Henri, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and Arthur Matthews whose studies at the Academie Julian significantly altered artistic theory in California.

Suggested Reading:

  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough
  • Venice: The American View, 1860-1920 by Margaretta M. Lovell
  • The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914 by Theodore Stebbins, Jr.

Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

 

Online Class: Don George - Fine-Tune Your Travel Tale: Advanced Writing Workshop

Friday, April 2, 2021 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm


Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 2nd-4th, 2021

Hosted via Zoom • 2:00-5:00pm PT • $395

Class limited to nine attendees


 

This workshop is designed for writers who have an already finished or almost finished travel story of up to 3,000 words that they would like to workshop and refine. Participants will be asked to send their story to Don George and all the workshop participants before the first class. In each workshop, we will closely discuss and critique three pieces. In addition to individual critiques, we will also discuss the art of great travel writing — how to lead into a piece, how to structure a story arc, how to bring a place and scene to life, and how to create a compelling close.

Don George is the author of The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George and of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing and the editor of ten anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, Better Than Fiction, and An Innocent Abroad. George is Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, where he writes feature articles and the monthly Trip Lit column. He is also Editor of BBC Travel's literary travel column, Chance Encounters.
 

What students are saying about Don George:

“Don George's travel writing workshop was a rigorous, profound, magical experience, the product of a uniquely nurturing environment. Taking his courses has encouraged me to write without fear of failure, and with greater confidence and creativity than ever before. Any writer—whether officially a travel writer, or any other writer considering issues of place—should jump at the chance to work with him."
—Diane Vadino

"I have always wanted to take a writing workshop from Don George, but was never able to because I did not live in the Bay Area. When he offered his workshop virtually this year, I jumped at the chance and could not be happier with the experience. It motivated me to work on a piece and the feedback I received from the other attendees enabled me to take an "okay" piece I had written and turn it into a piece I'm really proud of by the end of the workshop. I ended up going in a different direction than intended, but it ended up being the right direction I could not see by myself. I would have not been able to get my writing to where it needed to be without Don and the workshop participants. I would sign up for another virtual workshop with Don George in a heartbeat.”
—Lisa Boice

 

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