Upcoming Classes

Classes at the Grotto

Grotto instructors in the Rooted & Written program. Writers Grotto classes are all taught by seasoned professionals who have been published in their field.

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:


SATURDAY, JAN. 22nd  |  Setting sometimes feels like the red-headed stepchild of the fiction-writing process—less integral, somehow, than character or story structure. But whether you’re writing a biting social satire or a sweeping historical epic, a high-fantasy adventure or a gritty dystopian one, your characters and their stories are indelibly shaped by the physical, temporal and social world in which they exist. In order to understand what makes your novel tick, you need to know that world inside and out. This one-session course will unpack how masterful writers across genre use setting to drive story and shape character—and help you discover the world of your own novel, from its unwritten mores and environmental constraints to its narrative traditions and natural wonders.


Lisa Lerner

SATURDAYS, JAN. 29th – MARCH 5th  | When you were a kid, you were probably obsessed with the hero of a book. You loved that book because it was hilarious, or thrilling, or made you feel as though you weren’t a weirdo living on the wrong planet. Maybe it taught you things you didn’t realize were possible. Maybe it even helped you survive. In this class, we will focus on learning the essentials of writing for children: memorable characters, unique voice, strong plot, deep emotion, and a big idea.


Lisa Lerner

TUESDAYS, JAN. 25th – MARCH 8th  | When you were a kid, you were probably obsessed with the hero of a book. You loved that book because it was hilarious, or thrilling, or made you feel as though you weren’t a weirdo living on the wrong planet. Maybe it taught you things you didn’t realize were possible. Maybe it even helped you survive. In this class, we will focus on learning the essentials of writing for children: memorable characters, unique voice, strong plot, deep emotion, and a big idea.


Thaisa Frank

Thaisa Frank

WEDNESDAYS, JAN. 19th – APRIL 6th | Does your story never feel finished? Do you feel frustrated when readers say they want ‘more’ but can’t tell you what​ they mean by​ ‘more’? Do you draw a blank when you try to add “more”?This workshop presents a breakthrough approach to writing a whole and satisfying story through the use of five tools of compression and six breakthrough tools for expansion.


Preeti Vangani

Preeti Vangani

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.


Rachel Howard

SATURDAY, JAN. 8th  | In this practical one-day course you will identify the essential three C’s of your book’s opening pages—Conflict, Character, and Clock—so that your narrative engine is ready to rev.

Through a combination of lecture, discussion of readings, and student work-sharing, we will identify the key aspects of your book’s story to set into place in the opening pages. Each student will have a chance to share his or her book opening for targeted, practical feedback.


Laird Harrison

THURSDAYS, JAN. 20th – MARCH 10th  | Journalism shapes our understanding of the world, and never in living memory has its importance loomed so large. Sometimes thrilling, always challenging and occasionally dangerous, the profession offers opportunities to uncover truth, call out injustice, and reveal the world’s many delights. In this survey course, we’ll explore what journalists do and why.

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