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: Corey Fischer - Telling Your Story

Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 6:45pm
photo of actor, storytelling teacher Corey Fischer

Five Thursdays: Oct 3 - Oct 31 • 6:45-8:45 pm • Tuition: $225

This class has reached the maximum enrollment. To be placed on the waiting list or to request that Book Passage offer this class again in the near future, please call Sandra at 415-927-0960, x230.

Creating on your feet, out loud, is a powerful way to explore and expand your “voice” as a writer or a storyteller. Award-winning actor/writer/director Corey Fischer uses free-writing exercises, theatre games, and prompts for group sharing in a safe and supportive setting as he guides each student in discovering, shaping and performing a particular personal story. In the final class, participants will share their stories with a small, invited audience. This class is for anyone who wants to tell their own stories – on the page or on the “stage.”

Corey Fischer, co-founder of Traveling Jewish Theatre (1978-2012), has been creating and teaching theatre over 50 years. He views autobiographical storytelling as a much-needed way to open imagination and memory and to nurture community.

What Students Say About Corey Fischer

“Corey Fischer is an amazing teacher.  I took his workshops in storytelling, performance, and improvisation whenever I could. Each time my mind opened, my body became more energized and limber, my spirit and imagination expanded – always in an atmosphere of safety, human connection, and enjoyment. I highly recommend Corey as an extraordinary teacher for anyone seeking to express their creativity, find their storytelling voice, and have a lot of fun along the way.” -- Jonathan D. Greenberg, Executive Director, Gandhi King Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, Stanford Law School

“With humor and heart, Corey guides you to the wild, unknown parts of your creativity.  He is a teacher not to be missed: a man with a lifetime of experience, an insightful perspective, and a gentle and supportive approach. He grounds you as you leap into the unknown, and expertly helps you shape what you bring back from your explorations.” – Naomi Stein, writer, performer

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Laura Deutsch - Writing from the Senses

Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 1:00pm
photo of author and writing instructor Laura Deutsch

Saturday, Oct 19 • 1:00 – 4:00 pm • Tuition: $95

The sensory details that infuse our everyday experience—the smell of a favorite dish cooking, the texture of a well-worn coat, hearing a song that reminds us of a time in our lives—can add richness and spark to what we write. Using sensory prompts, Laura will show you how to tap into your best material, enriching memory and story with imagery and detail. With her book, Writing from the Senses, as your guide, you’ll never have to stare at a blank page or computer screen again. For writers at all levels.

Laura Deutsch leads writing workshops from Tassajara to Tuscany and has taught writing at UC Berkeley and SFSU. Her writing has appeared in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, Eating Well, and other publications and has aired on public radio.

What Students Say about Laura Deutsch

"Laura was terrific — organized and original, a generous and talented teacher. This is one of the best classes I’ve taken." -- Book Passage student 

“I loved this class and am eager for more.” -- Book Passage student 

Writing from the Senses: 59 Exercises to Ignite Creativity and Revitalize Your Writing Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781611800449
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Shambhala - May 13th, 2014

Break through writer's block using your five senses!


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Tim Lea - Writing for Television – A View From the Inside and How to Get There

Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of playwright, director, television writer Tim Lea

Saturday, October 26 • 10-2 pm • Tuition: $110

Playwright, director, television writer and producer Tim Lea provides insights on a wide variety of topics from finding an agent, sample script writing, staffing, pitching stories and shows, and what to expect in your career trajectory. The class will consist of two sections – an overview of the state of the industry and the process of breaking in, and an introduction to a hands-on process for getting your first script written, read, and produced in Hollywood.

Tim Lea has worked on numerous television shows including CSI:NY, Law and Order, Criminal Intent, and Flash Forward.

 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Julia McNeal - Techniques for Writing Compelling Characters

Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of Julia McNeal, writing teacher, actor

Saturday, November 9 • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm • $150

Believable, compelling characters with nuanced authentic voices and internal drive turn a good story into a great one. An actor for over 30 years, Julia McNeal (Law & Order; Magic Theatre) has developed a distinct technique for creating multiple characters that works superbly for writers to get unique, believable voices onto the page. You’ll come away with a set of specific tools to use - that work every time - to create characters your readers can really invest in. 

What Students Are Saying about Julia McNeal

"Julia is a very sincere and effective instructor. The tools and approach she presented were totally new to me and helped me see writing in a new light. The topics covered and the takeaway lessons FAR exceeded my expectations. I'll be using the tools Julia taught for a LONG time.” – -- Dick D.

"The class was great! It really gave me lots of inspiration and ideas to work with." -- J. Henderson

"Lots of good writing exercises to develop our ability to create different characters. Julia is an excellent instructor and motivator." -- Frances D.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Leslie Keenan - You Can Complete That Book!

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 10:00am
photo of Leslie Keenan, writing coach, editor

Saturday, November 16 • 10:00am - 4:00pm • $150

Have you started a book but haven’t been able to finish it? Leave this class with a strategy for completing your book! Leslie Keenan has 30 years’ experience helping writers complete their books. She knows the most frequent reasons writers get stuck and can help writers discover how to get back in flow and write effortlessly again. Leslie also provides advice on the best way to get a book published and suggests agents, editors, publishers, and printers.

Leslie Keenan is a writing coach, teacher and editor with a proven track record of getting writers across the finish line. 

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

Anjali Andrea Alban - Writer's Tribe (Winter)

Sunday, January 5, 2020 - 2:00pm
photo of Anjali Andrea Alban

Four Sundays: Jan 5, Jan 19, Feb 2, Feb 16 • 2:00 pm - 5:00pm • $260

This class has been canceled because of the teacher's scheduling conflict. We hope you will register for the spring session instead.

Prerequisite: Must have written a picture book or first 25 pages of a novel.

Polish your manuscript in a safe space built on respect and honesty with a mission to develop self-editing mastery. The focus is on rendering quintessential characters, vivid settings, snappy dialog, and page-turning plots.

Manuscripts and students must be accepted by the instructor. 

Anjali Andrea Alban is the author of nine books, including The Happiness Tree and Anya’s War. She edits manuscripts and coaches writers on preparing submissions to editors and agents.

What Students Are Saying about Anjali Andrea Alban

What I most appreciate about Anjali is her optimism and support. She has been like a college professor giving me valuable lessons in picture book creation. I appreciate her honesty and the writing exercises she prescribed to find my voice. It's been an incredible journey with Anjali as my story midwife! —Allison Fragakis, Author

Anjali Alban is very funny. Her presentation at the New World of Publishing Conference in Santa Cruz sounded like a lively conversation with a favorite friend. Anjali is the epitome of creativity, and she relishes life, qualities that are reflected in her presentation as well as her writing. —Melanie Coon, Special Education Teacher and Memoirist

Anjali's class has improved my writing beyond my greatest expectations. Not only does the Writer's Tribe help strengthen your craft, but in providing feedback to one another, you learn 12 times the amount of helpful advice...and make friends in the process. I am looking forward to coming back! -- Megan Pickett

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Connie Josefs - Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir

Saturday, January 11, 2020 - 10:00am
photo of Connie Josefs, craft of writing memoir instructor

Saturday, January 11, 2020 • 10:00am – 1:00pm • $95 

register button

“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 Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with 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.

While the classes can be taken individually, Connie has found that the workshops were most valuable for people who did the full series. There’s a momentum that builds and it’s a bit tricky for new folks to join in, particularly after the first day. 

The 4-class series includes:

  • Who’s Talking? The Narrator in Memoir                                            Sat Jan 11   10am - 1pm
  • The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Jan 11   2:30pm - 5:30pm
  • You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Jan 12  10am - 1pm
  • The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Jan 12  2:30pm - 5:30pm

Register for the 4-class series: 

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.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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

Saturday, January 11, 2020 - 10:00am
photo of Connie Josefs, craft of writing memoir instructor

Four Classes • Saturday, Jan 11, 10am - 1pm & 2:30-5:30pm • Sunday, Jan 12, 10am - 1pm & 2:30-5:30pm • $350

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 Jan 11   10am - 1pm
The Way They Were • Writing Believable Characters in Memoir     Sat Jan 11    2:30pm - 5:30pm
You Had To Be There • Writing Scene in Memoir                              Sun Jan 12  10am - 1pm
The Shape of Time in Memoir                                                             Sun Jan 12   2:30pm - 5:30pm

Connie Josefs Connie Josefs is a writer, teacher, and writing coach who has worked extensively with 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.

While the classes can be taken individually, Connie has found that the workshops were most valuable for people who did the full series. There’s a momentum that builds and it’s a bit tricky for new folks to join in, particularly after the first day. 

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.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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