Writing Classes

Pre-Conference Class: David Corbett - The Task of Justice (Corte Madera)

Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

2019 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

The Task of Justice: Staging the Thematic Backdrop in Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Fiction

Given that evil abides by no rules, how do the forces of justice stand a chance? How the lawman hero rises to that challenge without succumbing to evil himself is known as the Task of Justice, and it lies at the heart of all great mystery-crime-thriller stories. In this pre-conference workshop, award-winning author and conference co-chair David Corbett will lead students through an exploration of this problem in its various incarnations—e.g., the Tainted Hero, the Noble Villain, the Moral No Man’s Land—with specific attention to how to present the hero’s challenge in each of the three main sub-genres: Mystery, Crime, and Thriller.

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), and his latest, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday. His writing text, The Art of Character, has been called “a writer’s bible.”

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Ying Chang Compestine - How to Write & Sell Children's Books (Corte Madera)

Saturday, June 1, 2019 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Sat., June 1 • 10:00am - 12:30pm • $95

This workshop will introduce you to what you need to know about writing and publishing, including finding a good agent, creating a winning book proposal, selling your manuscript to a reputable publisher, and marketing your book. The workshop covers the different genres of children’s books: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult.

Ying Chang Compestine is the author of 20 books including, including the acclaimed Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier and Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Betsy Graziana Fasbinder - Moving from Page to Stage (includes book)

Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 9:30am

Two Day Workshop • Sat., May 18, 9:30am - 5:00pm • Sun., May 19, 9:30am - 1:00pm • $150

This class has been canceled.

Skilled public speaking is an invaluable part of every writer’s platform. This two-day interactive workshop will help you develop the skills and confidence to engage and captivate listeners and to bring your most authentic and polished self to audiences of any size. Betsy Graziani Fasbinder is a licensed therapist and has been a public speaking trainer and coach for more than 20 years. Included in the workshop fee is a copy of the instructor’s newest book: From Page to Stage: Inspiration, Tools, and Public Speaking Tips for Writers.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Diana Toledano & Victoria Rock - Creating Chapter Books (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, June 15, 2019 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

Sat., June 15 • 10:00am - 1:00pm • $75

Chronicle Books editor Victoria Rock and illustrator Diana Toledano will share their behind-the-scenes experience on creating a chapter book, from manuscript to editing to illustration to publication! We’ll also cover tips and tricks on creating powerful chapter books, and answer frequently asked questions.Topics will include: series potential, the difference between chapter books and early chapter books, character consistency, how to create a strong cover, etc.

As a special treat, we'll have a pitch contest! The winner will be able to submit a query to agent Teresa Kietlinski, of Bookmark Literary. The agency is currently closed to submissions from authors, so don't miss this opportunity!

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - Master Writers (March)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Eight Tuesdays: Mar. 5-Apr. 30 • 6:30-8:30pm • $360

Use the support of fellow writers and well-timed feedback to move through resistance and finish your work.

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.”


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

CANCELLED: Class: Melanie Vetter - The Power of Story (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, March 31, 2019 - 2:00pm

Sunday March 31, 2019 • 2 - 5 pm  • $90

Please note: This class has been cancelled

Do you want more meaning in your life? More gratitude? Deeper connections with the people you care about? Our stories have the power to deliver all that. Melanie will show you how to write your life through the power of story—how storytelling helps you find meaning, deepen gratitude, and get closer to people who matter most (maybe even heal relationships). At the end of the workshop, Melanie will take you step by step through writing a powerful gratitude letter to someone you care about. Come find and share your story!

Melanie Vetter is the founder of Wellfleet Circle. Melanie's life’s work is dedicated to teaching and empowering others to celebrate, document and share a purposeful life using fun and joyful tools and techniques.  Melanie is a Harvard Law School trained attorney and business professional and a certified Legacy Advisor. She holds a certificate in Guided Autobiography Instruction from the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies, and is also a Certified Senior Advisor®.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Allison Landa - Writing From the Edge (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 10:00am

Saturday March 30 , 2019 • 10 am - 4 pm  • $125

Life proliferates at the continent’s ragged edge, where sunlight illuminates the water and a wide variety of species flourishes. Such is the case with writing, which grows most vivid at the roughest spots. Together we’ll explore ways to connect with what lies within and bring it to the surface through the power of the written word. This will take the form of in-class reading and writing prompts as well as group discussion.

Allison has published personal essays in publications including - The Guardian US, The Washington Post, & The Huffington Post. She studied writing at St. Mary's College of California, where she earned an MFA, and has held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Playa Summer Lake, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Julia and David White Artists' Colony.


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Anjali Andrea Alban - Writer's Tribe™ Spring (Corte Madera)

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 2:00pm

Four Sundays; Mar. 10, Apr. 14, May 19, & June 9, 2019 • 2 - 5 pm • $270

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. Anjali guides the group through a powerful revision process and self-editing mastery. 

Tuition includes a signed copy of THE HAPPINESS TREE & a copy of Andrea’s popular mini-book: RE-Vision Guide: How to polish your story in 18 easy steps.

Anjali 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

I love, love, love the Writer's Tribe™ and wanted to thank you for your wonderful, insightful comments. The class is exactly what I needed, and I am excited to be refocused on my novel, as well as to work with a tribe of highly talented, fellow writers. 
—Megan Pickett, author of Julius and Nero

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Linda Watanabe McFerrin - Writing and Publishing (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 10:00am

Saturday January 26, 2019 • 10:00 - 2:00 pm • $120 

**Please call 415 927-0960 ext. 1 to register for this class, room still available**

 This workshop will teach you how to get your book published and into the hands of readers. The world of publishing is changing rapidly, and each change brings new challenges.

Linda Watanabe McFerrin is almost uniquely qualified to help writers get through these issues, because she has successfully written and published books through several channels—from major publishers to self-publishing. She is a poet, travel writer, a winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. She is the founder and leader of Left Coast Writers.




51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Julia McNeal - Backstage Tips for Writers: Creating Memorable Characters (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 10:00am

Saturday March 9, 2019 • 10 am - 5 pm • $150

Award-winning actress Julia McNeal teaches solo performers and actors a distinct method of Playing Multiple Characters that she has honed over many years.  
“My experience is that this work is always effective in deepening and specifying character creation.  For years, my author friends have requested that I offer this class to writers, and finally, here it is!” – Julia McNeal
Participants will learn a way of creating characters with nuanced and authentic voices, who are psychologically, emotionally, and physically believable and compelling, 

Julia’s technique has been recommended for years to performers who find it useful for both creating characters and for switching from one character to another onstage in easy, fun and precise ways. As a writer, you probably want each character to have a unique voice, a believable drive toward action (or inaction) and a physical presence that is distinct. This technique will help give you new ways of doing that. It may even enable you to switch from voice to voice on the page, without having to tell us, every time, “said Frank.”  
You’ll come away with a set of tools that work, to use every time you approach a new character, or to deepen and specify ones you’ve known for some time. 
Participants should come prepared with a section of written material in which several characters appear, or simply some text – even if it’s a single descriptive sentence or line of dialogue – for each of three or four characters they want to see fully embodied on the page. All levels are welcome, no performance acumen or interest is required.

Note: if you are a performer creating solo work, you are also welcome to this class, but we will be focusing specifically on getting characters on the page, rather than performing them.
Critically acclaimed actress, Julia McNeal has appeared in numerous theater and film productions in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Local credits: Magic Theatre, Shotgun Players, Aurora Theatre, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Porchlight, TheatreFirst, Center Repertory Company, Pacific Alliance Theatre, First Person Singular, PlayGround (company member).  Film and TV credits include: Hal Hartley’s The Unbelievable Truth, Steve Kloves’s Flesh and Bone, and Law and Order and Law and Order SVU.  Julia is a Guest Artist in Mill Valley at Tam High’s nationally acclaimed Conservatory Theatre Ensemble.  She teaches her distinct technique for Playing Multiple Characters at The Marsh theatre and privately. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925


Subscribe to RSS - Writing Classes