Classes at the Grotto
COVID-19 UPDATE: While COVID-19 guidelines prevent our gathering in person, the Writers Grotto is pleased to be able to offer our full slate of courses via the online platforms Zoom and Wet Ink. The listings below indicate whether each class is held synchronously (via Zoom), asynchronously (via Wet Ink), or in a hybrid mode, utilizing both platforms. Please wear a mask, practice social distancing, and if you’re looking for an outlet during your time at home, check out the upcoming classes below or our current slate of write-ins. Stay well!
Grotto classes are taught by working professional writers who have been published in the subject they teach. At the Grotto, only published novelists teach novel writing, only published memoirists teach the memoir, etc. Our screenwriting teachers have seen their work come to life on the big screen. It’s a distinct approach, and perhaps why we’ve been voted Best of the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine. Come to us when you’re ready to take your work to the next level. Browse our current course offerings below.
To find out about upcoming classes, subscribe to the Grottoletter, our monthly newsletter that includes writing tips from our teachers, recommendations for books about the craft of writing, and what we’re reading now. And join our Writers Grotto classes Facebook page for special news and discounts.
We strongly encourage our students to enroll early, as course offerings frequently sell out.
By registering, you agree to abide by the standards of the Writers Grotto: integrity, respect for others, and responsibility for your actions. The Writers Grotto reserves the right to cancel the registration of any individual who does not observe this code of conduct.
Check out our full list of upcoming classes below, or check out these categories:
THURSDAYS, OCT. 21st – NOV 18th | Craving a creative community? Looking for more time and structure to write? Whether you’re working on fiction or nonfiction, a short story or a memoir or something in between, this class provides a structured environment for momentum, insight, and support. No matter how much (or how little) you’ve written, you’ve got a work-in-progress. And this class will help move it along.
WEDNESDAYS, OCT. 27 — NOV. 10 | Artist statements are not just for visual artists and performers; in the 21st century, writers need them, too. You will use some incarnation of this statement on your own web page and media account, in personal and project statements for residency applications, and in letters of intent for grant and fellowship applications. Your statement needs to demonstrate that you are a thoughtful, deliberate writer who takes her literary career seriously. Bear in mind that this statement speaks for you on grant, fellowship, grad school, conference, and residency applications. Learn how to cast your work in its strongest, most evocative light. In this three-day Boot Camp, you will read several statement examples, learn how they are used, and then craft, workshop, and revise several drafts of your own statement.
WEDNESDAYS, OCT. 27th — DEC. 1st | There is a magic and mystery in the process of writing, but sometimes we lose that feeling when we write for a living or have an idea of writing as only a finished project. In this generative writing class we will use tarot, dreamwork, astrology, automatic writing and hypnosis to generate new ideas and spark our creative minds.
WEDNESDAYS, OCT. 27th – DEC. 1st | In this class, we’ll spend six weeks building stories from the foundation. We’ll celebrate the trouble at the heart of good short fiction. We’ll look at ways to get characters in and out of (or deeper into) hot water. We’ll look closely at short stories that achieve unity of purpose, precision of craft, and an emotional wallop. We’ll explore diverse forms and voices and examine not only how each story builds from the first word to the last but how tightly the structure depends upon – and enhances – our understanding of character.
THURSDAYS, OCT. 28th — DEC. 9th | One of the biggest challenges writers face is getting their work the recognition it deserves. You’ve been sending your work out—stories, articles, poems, plays—and you know it’s good work, but no one’s biting. You’ve applied for grants, travel scholarships, and writers’ conference funding, to no avail. You’d love to be invited to present work at Litquake or another high-profile reading series, or to read at a conference. You’d like to publish in literary journals that pay writers, and you’d like to start winning some writing contests. What’s the missing link? It could well be your online literary presence.
- Do you have separate social media accounts reserved and used exclusively for your life as a writer?
- Does your online presence offer evidence that you take your writing seriously, and view yourself as a literary professional, whether established or up-and-coming?
- When publishers, funders, fellowship committees, and grant panels view your profiles, will they think your presentation is polished? Will they feel your page shows signs of an upward trajectory in your literary accomplishments?
THURSDAYS, OCT. 28th & NOV. 4th | Do you have an essay draft that’s almost there, or one that keeps getting rejected that could use some expert feedback? Need a supportive group to nudge you over the finish line and actually send your work out? This personal essay “clinic” will help you finetune your draft for submission and identify potential outlets for publication.
MONDAYS, NOV. 1st — NOV. 29th | To be human is to want. And the more the characters we create want things and struggle to achieve those goals, the more emotionally satisfying our stories will be for our readers and audiences. In this class, we will start by considering the following questions:
- What is it that makes a book so compelling you can’t put it down?
- Why are characters like Michael Corleone, Lady Macbeth, and Katniss Everdeen (to name just a few) seared into our memories?
- How can we apply that same narrative urgency to our own novels, memoirs, and scripts?
We will answer these questions by looking at the craft of story structure. Using examples from literature, film, and television—as well as a case study in story construction—we will explore how a richly drawn character collides with competing wants, obstacles, and his or her own flaws to make for an irresistible, emotionally resonant narrative. …
TUESDAYS, NOV. 2nd — DEC. 14th | Cheerleading, snake-charming, handholding, and tear-wiping – how do you get your teen to write those dreaded college essays? And WHY is it so dreaded? First, kids are expected to do a type of writing with which they have little to no academic experience. Then, suddenly, their whole life is on the line if they don’t tell the greatest story ever told – in which they are the star! On top of that, they need to reflect on What It All Means and How They Are Forever Changed. Yikes!
SATURDAY, NOV. 6th | Are you looking for a way to share your work with the world but have no idea where to start? Does the thought of reading your work in front of strangers terrify you? Are you a self published author looking for ways to promote your book? This class gives an overview of how to plan your perfect author event.
SATURDAY, DEC. 5th | In this one-day workshop, we will explore innovative ways to spark new writing. We will use a variety of different media as we search for access to unique ways to enter the creative flow.
SUNDAY, DEC. 19th | Poets have been focusing their work on the body for ages — on pleasure, on identity, on beauty, on illness, and on the body as a living target. We write from our lived experiences and the way our body moves through the world shapes our stories and songs. As we revisit on the page what our bodies endure, it is necessary to build a practice centered in tenderness and care. This 3-hour online class is a generative space to explore pleasure, trauma, survival and healing through writing poetry about the body. We will dive into themes of sexuality, desire and pain, while reading poems by authors such as Leila Chatti, Derrick Austin and Destiny Birdsong.