Classes

On this page find information about classes I’m teaching that YOU can take!

I teach regularly for Creative Writing organizations, including Writespace, Grackle & Grackle, and WAN (Write About Now) Academy. The listings here are for classes that are coming up which are open to the public. Click the links in the class titles to find out more and to register for each course. In many cases — particularly with Grackle & Grackle and Writespace — scholarships are often available if you contact the organization and ask.

Classes listed here are offered on Zoom unless otherwise noted, which means you can take them even if you’re not in Houston, from anywhere with an internet connection.

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POETRY: GROUNDED IN PLACE BUT NOT CONFINED (Grackle & Grackle)
Tuesdays; September 6, 13, 20, 27; 6:00-9:00 p.m. central time
THIS CLASS IS SOLD OUT.

grackle painting by Kerry James Marshall

Michelle Brittan Rosado wrote that poetry of place “can be a way to dissolve the self into an anonymous landscape” as well as “a map to find ourselves, a space in which to reassemble the annihilated and recover the displaced.” How often has your childhood home been the setting for your dreams?

How often have you returned, in your writing or art or imagination, to the site of a notable first experience? What are the landscapes, real or metaphorical, we have inhabited? What liminal spaces inspire, motivate, or even unsettle us? The places which have mattered most to us live in our subconscious mind long after they stop being physically part of our lives. In this four-week class, we will look at poetry grounded in places both real and imagined. We will dissect both what makes a poem resonate with a reader and what makes particular locations so important to us.

In this generative workshop, we’ll use a variety of prompts to experiment with form and style. You can expect to write new poetry each week and have at least two of your poems workshopped in a collaborative and respectful setting.

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BUILDING A STORY WITH CHARACTER (Writespace)
Saturday, September 24th, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Have you ever written a story that just didn’t quite connect with its readers? Or have you ever finally found its resonance only once you were already three or four drafts in? One good way to captivate your readers from the outset is to begin with compelling characters. In this generative workshop, we’ll use tools from popular culture, narrative craft, and literary analysis to kickstart (or revamp!) your story with characters that seem so real they leap off the proverbial page.

​Come see why character drives plot, no matter the genre, far more than the other way around. Be sure to bring your preferred writing utensils (journal and pen, laptop, legal pad and box of sharpened pencils, etc.), a description of your favorite character from a book or movie, and an eagerness to look at character from a variety of angles. You can expect instruction, discussion, writing time, and the opportunity to share (if you wish) what you create in this class.

This class is appropriate for all levels of fiction writers and for writers looking to begin a new story or to revise an existing manuscript.

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WRITING FICTION: GOTHIC STORY ELEMENTS (Writespace)
Saturday, October 1st, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

photo by Bee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash

What do a darkly beautiful aesthetic, #WitchyGirlAutumn, and a tantalizing sense of foreboding all have in common? They can be part of the rich pageant of Gothic story elements that make so many “classic”—or “forbidden”—literary pleasures so deep. In this three-hour generative workshop, we will dip our feet into the chilling waters of Gothic literature to find out what that genre entails. Expect a multi-faceted exploration as we discuss a range of examples in visual art, film, music, and mentor texts. Our writing time will include the opportunity to use these Gothic elements to begin a story or enhance one you’ve already started. Students will have the option of sharing what they’ve written during the workshop. Come with your favorite writing utensils (a laptop, a legal pad and sharpened pencils, a leather-bound journal and a fancy feather quill—whatever works for you). Let’s kick off the Gothic season in writing style!

All levels of writing experience welcome.