• April is National Poetry Month!

    Prose writers can click here to find one way to honor their poetry fellows. See what Pacific Northwest poets are doing in April here.
  • I’m a writer, too!

    On 12.01.09, I estimated that I had about 32,000 words left to write to complete my first draft of the opening book in my paranormal mystery series, THE LOST & FOUND.

    Here's my progress updated 2.12.10:

    33% of 32,000 (10,648 wds)
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Registration open! “Silencing the Critic” Online Class

WRAIN 500: Silencing the Critic (group strategies for dealing with the inner critic)  Sign up here
Duration: Three sessions of live interaction supplemented by handouts from instructor
Format: Online/Interactive
Dates:September 13 through 27 (Sundays, time windows: TBD)
Description: In this three-week interactive workshop, you’ll use your time to discuss the inner critic: how it manifests in your life and what to do about it. Participants are expected to join in all 3 live private chats, which I will moderate and direct, and will be given “homework” which essentially assists with behavior modification and awareness of negative self-talk issues. During these chats, you will be expected to answer specific questions related to your inner critic and offer brief responses to your “homework” assignments. My aim is to use the very small and focused live group discussion to show participants that they are not alone, that they all have good solutions to share, and that together we, as writers, can help each other through the pitfalls of the creative life.
                This class is appropriate for all creative people at all levels of ability. My specific focus will reflect creativity coaching training I’ve received from the Eric Maisel program. Handouts will cover different aspects of the inner critic. This class is limited to 6 members and will meet with me through a private platform online initially, then again in the live forum. There is an orientation period so that participants can familiarize themselves with both the platform (which is pretty easy to use) and the live forum feature. Participants are encouraged to be honest and open-minded about their problems with the inner critic in this safe, private, and nurturing environment.
               Live chats will occur on Sundays; chat meeting time will be determined after class fills. Homework and handouts discussed at live chat. This workshop will be offered again in January 2010.
Texts/materials: Announced once class is filled
Price/Payment Form:$75; PayPal
Registration Deadline: August 30 Sign up here
Class Min/Max: 3/6
Platform orientation: September 6


Magic Carpet Ride 3: sail through your magical realist manuscript with the help of a pro!

Announcing the third annual Magic Carpet Ride, an innovative one-on-one creative writing mentorship.

The purpose of the Magic Carpet Ride mentorship is to assist a promising magical realist writer from anywhere in the world in the completion of a polished manuscript by the end of the session which can then be actively submitted to potential publishers. This competitive opportunity is the first of its kind to provide specialized instruction, direction, and motivation specifically for a writer of literary magical realism.

This mentorship, valued at $2000*, will be awarded annually, and on a competitive basis, to a single applicant who is able to demonstrate:

• a deep commitment to completing their work in progress

• strong writing skills

• a desire to learn and to succeed

• a good understanding of the magical realist nature of their manuscript

Postmark deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2010 mentorship session is October 31, 2009.

Email deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2008 mentorship session is midnight [Pacific time], October 31, 2009.

Full details:

Creative solutions for the writer who doesn’t want to be yet another Voice in the Dark

Something that’s been coming up a lot with my other clients: marketing issues. These boil down as follows:

  • submitting short work
  • finding agents
  • considering self-publication
  • considering electronic publishing
  • finding venues for reading
  • making webpages
  • building reputations through P2P (person to person) networking
  • online social networking
  • maximizing Twitter

Are you struggling with any of these concerns? They seem so “business-like,” and yet, as a creative person, you have the right foundation for making these things work on terms that mesh with your creative life.

I’ve co-hosted a writers’ marketing group for years and many of the things we learned as a group can be applied across disciplines.

I’m no marketing guru, per se, but I know how to find ways to balance the creativity life with the necessary work of promotion and networking yourself.

I’m a firm believer that we make or do things to communicate with the larger world; it’s an existential question as to whether it matters to be creative if nobody notices. For me, and for most of the people I’ve worked with as clients, it definitely matters that people notice; otherwise, we’re just voices in the dark.

These days, the marketing models are changing as well, and social networking is becoming a great equalizer, making it possible for people to generate platforms of followers/fans/connections that are responsive to their creative work in a way that the old corporate framework never really supported.

Do let me know if this is an area where you are challenged or want to learn more about, and give me some details of what it is that you are challenged by or what you have already done but would like to do more of. I’m happy to discuss, perhaps even to demystify or de-stigmatize, this “business-side” application of your creativity.

Taking new clients August 1.

Playwrights! Don’t miss this great class with expert Heffron

Offered by Field’s End: A Writer’s Community:

The Play’s the Thing
Elizabeth Heffron
Registration deadline 1.17.2009

This dynamic craft course guides students in writing an original one-act play. Class sessions will consist of writing and theatrical exercises (wear comfortable clothing) that illustrate the basic principles of dramatic structure. Students will not only generate material, but also have a chance to get it on its feet. With input and guidance from the instructor and fellow participants, students will work on revising their own material. Outside readers will select two plays to be produced by Bainbridge Performing Arts as staged readings later in the spring. All students from the class are invited to observe (and perhaps audition for) the rehearsals and workshopping of the selected plays.

About the instructor
Playwright Elizabeth Heffron’s works have been produced in the US and Canada, including Seattle New York, and Vancouver B.C. Her work includes NEW PATAGONIA, produced by the Seattle Repertory Theatre, MOSES LAKE APPROACHING PI, and MITZI’S ABORTION, which just received a world-premiere production at ACT Theatre in Seattle. She’s received a Playwriting Fellowship from Artist Trust/WSAC, is a Principal Playwright at Seattle Dramatists, and teaches playwriting for ACT’s Young Playwrights Program.
When: Saturdays, January 24, 31 & February 7, 14, 21 and 28th from 10am – 1pm

Tuition and class size: $360, limited to 12

Where: Bainbridge Public Library, Bainbridge Island, WA

Download registration form

New writing class focuses on the popular passions: food, travel, and art

Offered by Field’s End: A Writer’s Community:

Food, Travel & the Arts: Bringing What You Love to Life on the Page
Instructors: Greg Atkinson, Victoria Josslin and Nick O’Connell

Join three of Puget Sound’s experts as they share the fundamentals of writing about their passions. FoodGreg Atkinson. TravelNick O’Connell. ArtVictoria Josslin.

Each session will include a blend of lecture, writing exercises, and discussion. This class is designed for those who wish to enrich their memoirs, essays, and fiction, or simply a letter to friends. Due to our speakers’ schedules the order of topics may change.
When: Mondays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m, January 19, 26 and February 2
Tuition and class size: $120, limited to 20
Where: Bainbridge Public Library, Bainbridge Island, WA

Download registration form

Change is good for writers: Pocket change, that is. Nickels, dimes, quarters.

Read the full article at the Writer’s Rainbow main website, then think about what you can spare this time of year to ensure that 2009 isn’t remembered as

The Year Without Books.


Field’s End Conference highlights

The weather held out yet again for a third year. Hard to believe, on that 70°F day, that we’d had corn snow the entire weekend before.

Stephanie Kallos opened the event and had some funny little anecdotes about the writing life, about moving from one book to the next to the third, and all the lessons that come from those experiences.

Roy Blount, Jr. served as the keynoter for the day. We all enjoyed listening to his familiar radio voice and his stories of life as a wordsmith.

Timothy Egan, for me, was the highlight of the speakers. He closed the conference with a fascinating discussion about how he fell into writing his award-winning book, The Worst Hard Time, and touched on the significance of looking right in your own neighborhood for the stories that need to be told.

I had the pleasure of meeting many of the presenters, several familiar faces and a couple of new ones.

In her morning workshop, Rosini Lippi grabbed my respect immediately by taking the “lit-criterati” to task for building biases into literary circles. I really appreciated her comments, as I, too, think that the only thing that really matters is quality in writing, regardless of genre. Fine storytelling is all that truly matters in the end. Plot is not a four-letter word, after all. At least, not in its negative connotative form. She spent a good measure of time balancing the challenges of mainstream/commercial writers against the challenges of literary writers, suggesting the possibility of being both and still fighting the good fight to reach the right audience (despite the publishing world’s bizarre antics in this regard).

David Wagoner and Nancy Pagh headed up the second session Page One Poetry workshop and did a nice “he said, she said” approach to critiquing anonymous poems. While Wagoner is a Pacific Northwest constant in the poetry biz, Pagh served as a refreshing foil with her sunny disposition throughout the day. If we hadn’t had sun, we’d still have had Nancy Pagh.

Thomas Kohnstamm led a workshop on the importance of place and had his writers working busily at assignments he brought to the class. He also read some nice passages to inspire different ideas about how landscape can be approached in all kinds of writing.

Lyall Bush‘s discussion centered on writing at the sentence level, what can be discerned about sentence lengths and structures, and why these conscious decisions made by writers (in our case, Joan Didion and Harold Brodkey) contribute to the overall strength of the larger written passages where they are contained. I truly appreciated his choice of two extremely fine writers to illustrate his points.

I also ran into Laura Kalpakian again, whose gorgeous new novel, American Cookery, I simply had to buy; Ron Milton, who directs Bainbridge Island’s successful Ovation Music Theater; Field’s End alum, literary schmoozer, and prolific romance novelist Susan Wiggs; Alice B. Acheson, who is notable for leaving heaps of useful handouts for her workshop students; and the effervescent Sheila Rabe, who’s first in my lineup this year with good summer reading (Bikini Season).

I was happy to meet Knute Berger for the first time, but missed the ebullient Jennifer Louden ‘s very popular morning workshop and was sorry not to make the acquaintance of screenwriter Charley Pavlosky, who helped produce two of my favorite films, American Beauty and Being John Malkovich.

Now that I’m “large and in charge” with next year’s conference, I have my work cut out for me (!), but I’m more excited than ever to bring forth a host of fabulous new presenters.

Many thanks to Delight Willing, who is now retiring her position as conference chair, for running a well-organized and inspiring event!