Writing Classes

Class: Melissa Cistaro - The Memoir Writer’s Survival Kit

Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of author and writing teacher Melissa Cistaro

Saturday: Sept 21 • 10:00 am - 1:00 pm • $65

How does a writer survive the long journey of writing a deeply personal story? How do we handle the stages of rejection and self-doubt? Memoirist and industry insider, Melissa Cistaro will share her circuitous path to publication and the lessons she learned along the way. In this workshop, you will wrangle some new survival skills as a writer, flex your writing muscles, gather a deeper understanding of the current memoir market – and discover ways to thrive as you explore the path of publication.

Melissa Cistaro is the bestselling author of the award-winning memoir Pieces of My Mother (US edition) and the Canadian bestseller Without My Mother (HarperCollins Canada). Melissa mentors writers and teaches memoir writing workshops in the Bay Area and internationally.

What Students Are Saying about Melissa Cistaro

"Melissa’s compassionate feedback as a writing coach along with her generosity in sharing her years of experience, greatly enhanced my journey from manuscript to book signing. Her passion for mentoring writers is an absolute blessing." - Nisha Zenhoff, Author of The Unspeakable Loss

"Melissa is everything you would hope for in a teacher. She creates a safe learning and sharing space that facilitates valuable give and take and seems to know how to nudge students just the right way. She created a wonderful learning atmosphere, provided great writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing and provided encouraging feedback that kept us on track. I can't wait to take another class with her and highly recommend her to any aspiring writer." - S. Mirfattah

"I could not have asked for a better first time memoir writing class. Melissa was great and really set the mood for a safe and supportive workshop environment. The feedback she gave during class was always encouraging and helpful. I understand now how to go about writing my memoir and, most importantly, I feel very proud and courageous for attempting to share my story." - Nina Meechoonuk

"Melissa is more than an inspiring teacher; she is a wise human being who combines a macro passion for books, with a micro ability to connect with the ink words of her students. Melissa creates a very safe space for writers to share their work, and encourages the finding of one's own voice. I can say emphatically that I am a better writer and more reflective person having taken not one, but two classes with her." - Daniel Polk

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: David Corbett - The Final Polish

Sunday, September 29, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of author and writing teacher David Corbett

Sunday: September 29 • 10:00 am - 4:00 pm • $150

This class has been canceled. 

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 is the voice? How compelling are the story questions? How engaging are the main characters? How high are the stakes?

After registering, your manuscript and synopsis must be submitted to classes@bookpassage.com by Sept. 22.

David Corbett is the award-winning author of The Art of Character and six novels, including The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday.

What Students Say about David Corbett

"To learn from David Corbett is to be in a safe space with a wise, patient teacher. David allows you room to make mistakes and learn from them; his feedback is exhaustive and extremely helpful...  With David, I have learned to create complex, real characters, define character arcs, and let them lead me into a well-knit plot. Thanks to his advice over the years, I now partner with a very good agent, and have landed a publishing deal." —Damyanti Biswas, author of You Beneath Your Skin 

"David is an insightful, passionate, supportive teacher and writing coach. He is attuned to the needs of his students and meets them wherever they are in their writing careers. He pushed me (nicely) to understand my characters deeply, to discover what made them tick, and to let them breathe on their own. That turned out to be the first book in a series and I'm still listening to David's advice as I head into the third one." —Susan C. Shea, author of Love & Death in Burgundy 

"David Corbett's teaching style should be measured by the success of his students. I and two of my classmates (see below) have progressed greatly since studying with him in 2015. My novel was published in 2016. Another classmate's novel is now with the publisher and will soon be in bookstores. A third classmate got an agent just a year after working with David. You can't argue with results!" —Rick Pullen 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Gelfand - You Can Be a Winning Writer: the 4 C’s of Successful Authors

Monday, September 9, 2019 - 6:45pm
photo of writing instructor Joan Gelfand

Four Mondays: Sep 9, Oct 14, Nov 11, Dec 9 • 6:45 – 8:45 pm • Tuition $150 (includes book)

This class has been canceled, but the book is available for purchase.

Not all writing careers are created equal. Why are some authors quickly catapulted to publishing success while others seem to take forever? Learn the secrets of how you can become a successful author: What are the four C’s and how can you make them work for you? What are your writing challenges? What is a book proposal, and who needs one? What is the difference between non-fiction and fiction proposals? Does a poetry book need a proposal? Learn about cover letters, finding the right agent (or publisher) and what to do once your book is published.


A copy of Joan's book, You Can Be a Winning Writer: The 4 C's Approach of Successful Authors - Craft, Commitment, Community & Confidence, is included in the class tuition.

Joan Gelfand wrote You Can Be a Winning Writer, three volumes of poetry, and an award-winning chapbook of short fiction. Her novel, Fear to Shred, will be published in September. Photo credit: ilaBrightPhotographyStudio/Lisbon/2018

What Students Are Saying about Joan Gelfand

"Attendees went home with new excitement, inspiration, and tools to build their writing carreers...you've been mentioned by name in five star reviews." - Lisa Provost, San Francisco Writer's Conference

"You are a fantastic presenter, very dynamic and straightforward. You expertly answered their deepest questions and helped guide them to a fuller understanding of the publishing world." - Suzanne Lyons, Events Managers, Oaxaca Lending Library

"Joan presented to our audience at the National Association of Memoir Writers a hands-on, popular, and very useful tutorial on how to get published." - Linda Joy Meyers

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - Master Writers (August 2019)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 6:30pm
photo of Leslie Keenan

Four Tuesdays: Aug 13 - Sept 3 • 6:30 - 8:30pm • $180

Use the support of fellow writers and well-timed feedback to move through resistance and finish your work. This class requires that you have previously taken either “Is There a Book in You?” or “You Can Complete That Book” offered by Leslie Keenan.

Leslie Keenan is an writing instructor, coach, and editor with over 30 years of experience. She lives in Marin County, California with her daughter. 

What Students Are Saying about Leslie Keenan

“If it weren’t for Leslie Keenan’s courses at Book Passage, I would never have written a word of fiction, and I would never have been published. To this day, I still use the tools she gave me for understanding my process, finding my voice, and fighting my fears.” – Tammy Kaehler, author of Dead Man’s Switch, Poisoned Pen Press

“Leslie is inspiring, compassionate and has a natural gift for creating a safe place for a writer.” – Student, “Is There a Book in You?”

“Truckloads of useful information and inspiration.” – Harvey Hyman

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - Master Writers (July 2019)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 6:30pm
photo of Leslie Keenan

Four Tuesdays: July 9 - July 30 • 6:30 - 8:30pm • $180

Use the support of fellow writers and well-timed feedback to move through resistance and finish your work. This class requires that you have previously taken either “Is There a Book in You?” or “You Can Complete That Book” offered by Leslie Keenan.

Leslie Keenan is an writing instructor, coach, and editor with over 30 years of experience. She lives in Marin County, California with her daughter. 

What Students Are Saying about Leslie Keenan

“If it weren’t for Leslie Keenan’s courses at Book Passage, I would never have written a word of fiction, and I would never have been published. To this day, I still use the tools she gave me for understanding my process, finding my voice, and fighting my fears.” – Tammy Kaehler, author of Dead Man’s Switch, Poisoned Pen Press

“Leslie is inspiring, compassionate and has a natural gift for creating a safe place for a writer.” – Student, “Is There a Book in You?”

“Truckloads of useful information and inspiration.” – Harvey Hyman

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: The Craft of Writing Memoir with Connie Josefs (4-Class Series) (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of Connie Josefs

Four Classes • Saturday, Aug 17, 10am - 1pm & 3 - 6pm • Sunday, Aug 18, 10am - 1pm & 3 - 6pm • $350

Connie Josefs' 4-class series, The Craft of Writing Memoir, is full and registration is closed.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for the 4-class series, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, ext 230.

We all have life stories to tell. But how do we write about personal experience in a way that will engage a reader? This series of four, half-day workshops focuses on the craft of writing memoir. Each workshop will provide concrete tools and strategies for transforming memory into compelling narrative. Class format includes readings, discussion and writing exercises. Experienced and aspiring writers welcome. The 4-class series includes:

Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Aug 17   10am - 1pm
The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Aug 17     3pm - 6pm
You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Aug 18  10am - 1pm
The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Aug 18    3pm - 6pm

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with writers - particularly older writers - to write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing at the University of New Mexico, the Taos Writers Conference, and Santa Monica College. She has also been a writer and story analyst for film and television.

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Connie Josefs - The Shape of Time in Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, August 18, 2019 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
photo of Connie Josefs

Sunday, August 18, 2019 • 3:00 – 6:00 pm • $95

Connie Josefs' class, The Shape of Time in Memoir, and the 4-class series, The Craft of Writing Memoir, are full and registration is closed.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for this class or the 4-class series, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, ext 230.

 

“You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that... Nothing goes away.” —Margaret Atwood  Time can be one of the the most challenging aspects of memoir. We view events from two vantage points: then and now. How do writers accommodate this shifting narrative stance? How do we effectively utilize hindsight to gain access to narratives of the past? This workshop will explore how memoirists organize time, voice and point of view to structure scenes and create coherence.

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with writers - particularly older writers - to write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing at the University of New Mexico, the Taos Writers Conference, and Santa Monica College. She has also been a writer and story analyst for film and television.

4-class series includes:

Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Aug 17   10am - 1pm
The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Aug 17     3pm - 6pm
You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Aug 18  10am - 1pm
The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Aug 18    3pm - 6pm

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Connie Josefs - You Had To Be There - Writing Scene in Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, August 18, 2019 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
photo of Connie Josefs

Sunday, August 18, 2019 • 10:00am – 1:00pm • $95 

Connie Josefs' class, Writing Scene in Memoir, and the 4-class series, The Craft of Writing Memoir, are full and registration is closed.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for this class or the 4-class series, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, ext 230.


“I find that scene making is my natural way of marking the past.” —Virginia Woolf  Scene is the building block of narrative; it brings the reader into the immediate experience of a story. But how do we determine when to move from scene to exposition? This workshop will examine the varied effects of scene and exposition in memoir and explore how they are used effectively to bring personal experience to the page.

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with writers - particularly older writers - to write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing at the University of New Mexico, the Taos Writers Conference, and Santa Monica College. She has also been a writer and story analyst for film and television.

The 4-class series,The Craft of Writing Memoir, includes:

Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Aug 17   10am - 1pm
The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Aug 17     3pm - 6pm
You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Aug 18  10am - 1pm
The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Aug 18    3pm - 6pm

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Connie Josefs - The Way They Were - Writing Believable Characters in Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
photo of Connie Josefs

Saturday, August 17, 2019 • 3:00 – 6:00 pm • $95 

Connie Josefs' class, The Way They Were: Writing Believable Characters, and the 4-class series, The Craft of Writing Memoir, are full and registration is closed.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for this class or the 4-class series, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, ext 230.

 

“I write to discover what I know.” ― Flannery O'Connor How do we get the people we know onto the page? When writing memoir, it’s all too easy to take our characters for granted because we know them. Complexity develops in characters as we discover them, moment by moment. This workshop will provide tools to help memoir writers reach beyond the familiar and craft characters in vivid and memorable detail.

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with writers - particularly older writers - to write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing at the University of New Mexico, the Taos Writers Conference, and Santa Monica College. She has also been a writer and story analyst for film and television.

The 4-class series,The Craft of Writing Memoir, includes:

Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Aug 17   10am - 1pm
The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Aug 17     3pm - 6pm
You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Aug 18  10am - 1pm
The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Aug 18    3pm - 6pm

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Connie Josefs - Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of Connie Josefs

Saturday, August 17, 2019 • 10:00am – 1:00pm • $95 

Connie Josefs' class, Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir, and the 4-class series, The Craft of Writing Memoir, are full and registration is closed.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for this class or the 4-class series, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, ext 230.


“Get the narrator and you’ve got the piece.” —Vivian Gornick The narrator’s voice is central to the success of any memoir. It releases the story from the raw material of our lives and illuminates shape, forward movement, tone and theme. How do we find the right voice to tell our story? In this workshop, we will explore the concept of narrator as persona, a construct that emphasizes certain parts of ourselves and omits others. We will also explore the assets and liabilities of writing in first person. 

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with writers - particularly older writers - to write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing at the University of New Mexico, the Taos Writers Conference, and Santa Monica College. She has also been a writer and story analyst for film and television.

The 4-class series includes:

  • Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Aug 17   10am - 1pm
  • The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Aug 17     3pm - 6pm
  • You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Aug 18  10am - 1pm
  • The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Aug 18    3pm - 6pm

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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