Writing Classes

Class: Melanie Vetter - Write Your Life (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 10:00am

Saturday September 22 • 10 am - 12 pm • $60

Writing your life —two pages at a time—using universal themes such as family, career and work, and spirituality. Priming questions will help evoke memories of events and people. Writing and sharing life stories with others is an enjoyable way to gain a growing appreciation of your life and the lives of others, as well as put the past into perspective. Narrative storytelling is a wonderful way to learn about yourself, and has been shown to enhance the writer’s sense of meaning. This introductory class will include creative exercises, writing tips, writing, and sharing of stories. All levels of writing experience (from no experience to expert) are welcome and encouraged to join.

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.  She helps others preserve and share  their intangible wealth—traditions, wisdom, values, stories and love. 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

Pre-Conference Class: David Corbett - The Character of Crime (Corte Madera)

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

2018 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

The Character of Crime: Creating the Character Web in Crime, Mystery/Detective and Thriller Fiction

In this pre-conference lecture and workshop, award-winning crime novelist David Corbett will guide students in exploring the key roles that make crime fiction work, with specific focus on the specific demands of the three major subgenres of crime fiction—mystery/detective, crime, and thriller—and an emphasis on maintaining dramatic tension, creating moral complexity, and avoiding cliché.

In particular, students will learn:

  • How to create strong, compelling protagonists who push the action forward and serve the story’s theme—instead of victims of circumstance, intrepid boy scouts, ciphers, stiffs, or sleepwalkers.
  • How to create equally compelling opponents or villains who aren’t just another iteration of Lucifer or the Creature from the Black Lagoon—with the purpose of gaining an understanding that the hero’s only as compelling as his enemy, that evil must be justified to be dramatically interesting, and that there’s “no beast so fierce” as man.
  • How to create secondary characters—from Watsons to wheelmen to femmes fatales to sympathetic heavies—who elicit nuance and subtlety from the main characters, flesh out the values in conflict in the story, create moral complexity through ‘four-corner conflict,” serve the hinge points of the plot, and bring to life the story world.

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), His latest is Thirteen Confessions: Stories. His writing text, The Art of Character, has been called “a writer’s bible.”

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Kirchenbauer - Writing Tools for the Digital Age (Corte Madera Store)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 6:30pm

Two Wednesdays, October 3, second meeting choice of October 10 or 24th, 2018 • 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm • $175

Writing Tools for the Digital Age
Writing has required a hand-held instrument for thousands of years. Priests copied the Bible by tediously copying another Bible, line by line, before Gutenberg lightened their burden. Today, we are blessed with thousands of digital writing tools from Microsoft Word to Pages, Ulysses, Byword, Evernote ... and thousands of others. There are sophisticated outlining tools, mind maps, journals, dictation tools and a host of other applications designed to make your writing flexible, portable and secure.

So, how do you choose among the thousands of programs to streamline and strengthen your writing? Whether you're blogging, freelancing or writing a book, there are proven tools that will make your job so much easier. By integrating a variety of tools ... for planning, outlining, mapping, organizing ... and writing ... I can help you build an arsenal of proven tools that will make you a writing ninja very quickly. It will also give you a much deeper and richer writing environment so that your final product will be that much more powerful and compelling.

While most of the applications we’ll discuss will work on both the Apple and PC platform, a few of them will be for Apple devices with PC equivalents.

About Lary

I've been writing professionally for more than 30 years. For many years, I wrote a weekly column for major city newspapers, including an affiliate of the New York Times. I have also written fiction and nonfiction pieces, published e-books and have been writing an active blog at Exkalibur.com for almost 10 years. I am just now finishing my first novel.

I have been an ardent student of writing tools and applications since I bought my very first Apple Computer more than 30 years ago. I have tried, tested and extensively used hundreds of applications. I can save you countless hours of exploration and help you immediately establish a productive and powerful writing environment.

I have been teaching courses and workshops for over 30 years in a variety of subjects, and have served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco. My presentations include compelling slides that have rich visual content, variety and tasteful humor to enrich the audience experience and drive home the key points in a practical and memorable way.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Melissa Cistaro- Mapping Your Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 6:30pm

Four Thursdays: Oct. 4 - 25 • 6:30 - 8:30 pm • $220

Finding a structure can be one of the biggest challenges of writing a memoir. How do you choose what to put in your story and what to leave out. In this workshop you will have the opportunity to create a series of visual “memory maps” specifically for your story. We will use these personal maps as a tool for writing narratives that are both emotional and compelling. Experienced and beginning writers welcome. Materials provided.

Melissa Cistaro is the author of the award-winning memoir Pieces of My Mother. Her stories, essays and interviews have appeared in numerous literary journals and national publications. She also works as an event coordinator at Book Passage and has taught memoir writing classes in the Bay Area and beyond.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Laura Deutsch - Personal Essay & Memoir (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 11:00am

Saturday October 6 • 11:00 am - 4:00 pm • $125

Using your life as the source for personal essays, stories and memoir, you’ll learn techniques to access and shape your material and approach it from new angles. This workshop includes instruction, in-class writing, and feedback.  

Laura Deutsch leads writing retreats from CA to Italy and has taught at UC Berkeley, SFSU and Dominican. Her writing has appeared in MORE magazine, the LA Times and elsewhere. She helps writers and others create meaningful legacies in their lives.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Andrea Alban - Writers Tribe (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, October 7, 2018 - 4:00pm

Four Sundays: Oct. 7, Oct. 21, Nov. 4, & Nov. 18, 2018 • 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm • $260

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. Andrea guides the group through a powerful revision process and self-editing mastery. Each writer receives a copy of Andrea’s popular mini-book: How to polish your words in 17 easy steps, and includes a signed copy of ANYA’S WAR.

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

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Janis Cooke Newman - Writing and Mindfulness (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 10:00am

Saturday October 13 • 10am-4pm • $150

Studies show that practicing mindfulness can lower stress, improve health, strengthen our relationships and increase our overall sense of happiness. But did you know mindfulness can also make you a more creative and skillful writer?

During this daylong retreat, writers will participate in short, guided meditation sessions designed to feed their writing, i.e. being present to experience, connecting with the body, accessing emotion. These will be alternated with prompted bursts of free writing and sharing of in-session work. Students will also receive instruction on how to develop an ongoing writing and meditation practice.

This retreat is intended to show writers how to use the practice of mindfulness to deepen their writing skills and generate new work. It is open to writers of all genres and levels, and to both seasoned meditation practitioners, as well as those who have never meditated before. 

Janis Cooke Newman is the author of a memoir and two critically acclaimed novels. She has completed the Jon Kabat-Zinn mindfulness training program, and has attended numerous mindfulness and meditation retreats at Green Gulch and Spirit Rock in Marin, and Against the Stream in San Francisco. 

**Class fee includes lunch and a copy of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go There You Are**

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781401307783
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hachette Books - January 1st, 2005

The time-honored national bestseller, updated with a new afterword, celebrating 10 years of influencing the way we live. When Wherever You Go, There You Are was first published in 1994, no one could have predicted that the book would launch itself onto bestseller lists nationwide and sell over 750,000 copies to date. Ten years later, the book continues to change lives.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Gary Gach - Autumn Leaves: How to Haiku (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 1:00pm

Saturday Oct. 20 • 1:00 - 4:00 pm • $60

It's no secret. Haiku is the most universal poetic format of our time. Celebrate autumn with one of Book Passage University’s classic courses. We’ll start out with basic haiku recipes. Then enjoy a brief haiku walk. As a capper, we’ll engage in a haiku workshop (playshop), sharing our discoveries. It’s amazing how many haiku are embedded in everyday life. Family-friendly – recommended for writers and non-writers of all ages (8–108)!

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: David Corbett - The Final Polish (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, December 2, 2018 - 10:00am

Sunday December 2 • 10:00 am - 4:00 pm • $130

**Please note Date Change from October 14th**

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 isthe voice? How compelling are the story questions? How engaging are themain characters? How high are the stakes?

Note: Manuscript and synopsis submissions need to be sent to davidcorbettauthor@gmail.com by Sunday, November 25th.

David Corbett — contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, and author of The Art of Character (“a writer’s bible”) — will lead students in a one-day workshop, reviewing 10-page manuscript submissions (with one-page novel synopsis) from each student and reviewing them in detail to reveal how story guides the revision process.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Don George - Travel Writing Intensive (Corte Madera Store)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 6:30pm

Seven Wednesdays: Jan. 23 - Mar. 13 (no class Mar. 6), 2019 • 6:30 - 9:00 pm • $425

Don George’s seven-week intensive travel writing class is patterned on a graduate school creative writing workshop. The emphasis is on the craft of travel writing. Weekly assignments progress from a few paragraphs to full-length articles, with the goal of writing publishable pieces. Students learn to research stories, write query letters, work with editors, and market their articles. This highly successful class has led to numerous published stories, including many tales in the annual Best Travel Writing and Lonely Planet anthologies.

**Space Limited**

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925