All Classes

Virtual Class: Anne Lamott - On Writing 2020 (via Livestream)

Saturday, August 8, 2020 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm
photo of author Anne Lamott

Saturday, August 8 • 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. PDT • $75 • Please note: This class will be hosted via livestream.

This workshop is a chance to spend three hours together where I can tell you everything I know about writing—from getting started to publication. I’ll discuss how to get some work done every day, sticking with it, coming up with a god awful first draft, and sticking with it till you have something you can be proud to share.

Anne Lamott is the author of 15 bestselling books including Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, Hard Laughter, and Operating Instructions. Her newest book is Almost Everything: Notes on Hope.

 

Virtual Class: Connie Josefs - Make a Scene: A Memoir Intensive (via Zoom)

Saturday, August 15, 2020 - 10:00am

Three Saturdays: August 15, 22 & 29 • 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. PST • $265 • Hosted via Zoom

Please note: This Memoir Intensive will be hosted on Zoom and will take place on three Saturday mornings, August 15, 22 & 29, from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The first meeting on August 15 will start at 9:30 am to allow time for participants to become familiar with elements of the Zoom format that will be used during class. Limited class size.

Please note: This class is currently at capacity. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email kathryn@bookpassage.com

"I find that scene making is my natural way of marking the past.”
—Virginia Woolf

We come to memoir because we have a life story to tell. But how do we write about our lives in a way that will engage a reader? Scene is the building block of narrative; it brings the reader into the moment-to-moment experience of what’s happening. When we write scene, we re-enter life experience with newfound curiosity and all of our senses. The story becomes a living, breathing thing.

This 3-week Intensive will offer a deep dive into the craft of writing scene in memoir. Topics include:

  • Flow of scene and exposition
  • Habitual scene vs. specific scene
  • Writing time and place
  • Effective use of dialogue

Workshop format includes readings, discussion, writing exercises, and supportive feedback and critique. Writers will have the opportunity to work on scenes at home and share them in class.

Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, editor and memoir coach. She has led workshops in fiction and creative non-fiction writing for 28 years, and has taught at the University of New Mexico, The Taos Writers Conference, Southwest Writers, and Santa Monica College, where she was founding editor of the literary journal, E-33: Writings from Emeritus. She holds an MFA in fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles and has worked as a writer and story analyst for film and television. More at conniejosefs.com.

What Students Are Saying about Connie Josefs

"The class went above and beyond my expectations! Connie is gifted in approach, connection, and content. She has a beautiful way of corralling the group and keeping people on track in a caring way. In addition, she has to hear people share some of their worst moments and traumas and respond with feedback on the writing, instead of as a therapist or friend. She’s truly brilliant in how she manages these delicate, intricate dynamics.” – Erin P.

"Connie was very clear & specific as to each segment she taught, answered questions thoughtfully and well AND had us do writing exercises in each segment. She is an excellent teacher. I feel so much better equipped to work on my memoir now." – Ruth M.

"The class totally met my expectations – so rich in content and experience. I only took one class – I wish I had taken all four!" – Joan L.

"Connie’s class surpassed my expectations. The instructor is deeply knowledgeable and wove many helpful concepts and exercises together to great effect." – Athena K.

Virtual Class: Wendy Walsh - Dante's Inferno (via Zoom)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 3:30pm

Nine Tuesdays: August 25 - October 20 • 3:30 - 5:30pm PT • $270 • Hosted via Zoom

The year 2021 will mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death. Join Italy and the rest of the world in celebrating this extraordinary poet by reading and studying his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. Wendy Walsh will offer a three course series that follows the three canticles of the poem, Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso.The first course, Inferno, is nine weeks long and offers an introduction to the whole poem as well as to historical and cultural times in which Dante was writing.

The other two courses, Purgatorio (Eight Tuesdays: January 5 - February 23, 3:30-5:30pm PT) and Paradiso (Eight Tuesdays: March 9 - April 27,  3:30-5:30pm PT) will ideally be held at Book Passage. Price and location TBD. For more information please contact Wendy Walsh at danteista@gmail.com.

Wendy Walsh has a PhD in Italian Literature from UC Berkeley. She has been teaching Italian language and literature since 1979.

Virtual Class: Don George - Fine-Tune Your Travel Tale: Advanced Writing Workshop (via Zoom)

Friday, August 28, 2020 - 12:00pm

Friday, Saturday & Sunday: August 28-30 • 12:00-3:00pm PT • $395 • Hosted via Zoom • Class limited to 9 attendees.

This workshop is designed for writers who have an already 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.

Virtual Class: Julia McNeal - Way One of the Five Ways In to Character (via Zoom)

Saturday, August 29, 2020 - 2:00pm

Saturday, August 29 • 2:00-4:00pm PT • $60 • Hosted via Zoom
Format: Presentation, short interactive exercise, writing time, question & answer

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.

The first of the Five Ways, “Way One,” is one 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.

If you need something to shake up your writing routine, or would like to invite some fun, energy and a new way of seeing the character(s) you are writing (even if that character is You), come play and learn on Saturday, August 29th.  You’ll come away with a whole new way of looking at characters and a concrete method of approach that you can use going forward.
 

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."

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

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 12:30pm to 3:30pm

Saturday, October 10 • 12:30 - 3:30 pm • $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.

"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 8 commercially published novels

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