Register now for upcoming classes at the Grotto! Early enrollment is strongly recommended, as course offerings frequently sell out. If a class is filled to capacity, please contact the instructor to request waiting-list placement.
All upcoming classes are listed below. You may also browse these categories:
SUNDAYS, OCTOBER 21 — NOVEMBER 4 | In this three-morning class, we’ll go over the basics of great memoir writing. How do you draw readers into your world using sensory detail–the sounds of the BART as it rushes through the tunnel, the smell of your childhood home, the taste of morning coffee? How do you write both summary and scene? How do you make your dialogue sound authentic? How do you deal with time shifts? How can you make your voice sing on the page? Excerpts from memoirs will be used for inspiration as well as Judith Barrington’s Memoir Writing.→ READ MORE
TUESDAYS, OCTOBER 23—NOVEMBER 20 | One of the most difficult narrative issues in fiction writing is how to emotionally move your readers. Often, what we writers render on the page are concepts of drama meant to profoundly affect the reader, but it does not. In this five-week process class we will dissect the intricate concepts of how emotions are developed in fiction, and master how to recognize and apply narrative craft that develop dramatic emotions in ways that can move our readers. These skills will be developed through in-class writing exercises and assignments, focusing on interior monologue, characters’ perceptions, creating motivations, and more.→ READ MORE
SUNDAYS, OCTOBER 28 & NOVEMBER 4 | Are you an educator or activist with a story but don’t know where to start? Does your community involvement both inspire you and eat up potential writing time? Committing yourself to writing—just like committing to social engagement or spiritual practice—takes time and faith. This two-day workshop will re-inspire and renew those on the front lines who need both. Whether you’re reflecting on a lifetime of engagement, helping others develop their voices, recording group oral histories, or journaling the resistance, you’re telling two stories—the personal and the cultural, the private and the public.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3 | Those interested in screenwriting often begin with the same questions (and some misconceptions) about how and why writing a screenwriting for film and television is different from other forms of writing. What is the lifecycle of a screenplay or tv pilot? What is different about writing with collaborators (such as directors and actors) in mind? What is the relationship of the screenwriter to the audience? What does it mean to write in the immediate present? Why do some ideas lend themselves well to the screenplay form and others not so well? What, in practical terms, does it mean to “write in pictures”?→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 | Why do some memoirs take off from the first page, while others stall out before the end of chapter one? More importantly: How can you make sure the memoir you’re writing gets all the necessary gears lined up on those all-important first five pages?
In this combination craft lecture and trouble-shooting workshop, you’ll learn the three Cs of narrative engine: Character, Conflict, and Clock. What’s clock, you say? Glad you asked. It’s a simple but elusive element that’s crucial to your story’s drive—but many memoir writers don’t realize their pages are missing it.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18 | The beauty of nonfiction books is that they can frequently be sold on the basis of a 40- to 60-page proposal. What is a proposal? Essentially, it is a business plan for a book – a document that outlines your basic premise, provides data on competing titles, includes audience research, summarizes chapter contents and includes other core information that convinces a publisher to give you a wad of money so you can take time off and write it. Memoirs, narrative journalism, business books, histories, and biographies can all be sold on proposal.→ READ MORE