Upcoming classes: Creativity

Susan Ito

SATURDAYS, MAY 8 — 22  |  Photographs can prove to be evocative prompts for compelling pieces of creative nonfiction. What is visible in the photograph, and what is unseen? How does the photograph reflect or contradict memory? Using personal photographs, we will explore many ways to use them as inspiration for flash and short nonfiction, ranging from 140 characters (Tweet length) to 1000-word essays.

Asynchronous learning materials for this class will be available online (via the Wet Ink platform). Scheduled class sessions will take place via Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for details.

Susan Ito is the author of The Mouse Room. She co-edited the literary anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. Her work has appeared in Growing Up Asian American, Choice, Hip Mama, Literary Mama, Catapult, Hyphen,The Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is a MacDowell fellow, and has also been awarded residencies at The Mesa Refuge, Hedgebrook and the Blue Mountain Center. She has performed her solo show, The Ice Cream Gene, around the US. Her theatrical adaption of Untold, stories of reproductive stigma, was produced at Brava Theater. In addition to the Writers Grotto, she teaches at Mills College and Bay Path University. She was one of the co-organizers of Rooted and Written, a writing conference for writers of color.


Number of sessions: 3

Dates: Saturdays, May 8, 15, 22

Time: 1:00 – 3:30 pm Pacific Time

Course fee: $180

SUNDAY, MAY 9  |  Come to this class with a character you would like to develop, leave with a fleshed-out human being who will put your story into motion.

The characters who sear themselves into our memories are a mix of conflicting desires. Consider Walter White from the series Breaking Bad: A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer. He begins to cook meth to provide for his family, entering a secret life of crime. Characters with stark contradictions like this bring stories to life. They are fascinating and react to the events of our stories in fascinating ways.

In this workshop, we will examine several unforgettable characters from literature, television, and film. You will then focus on your own characters. Using character development exercises, you will identify the internal and external wants that collide within your character’s soul. We will then discuss ways to build your stories around these more fully-developed characters.

The goals of this class are:

  1. To deepen and develop your character in a way that will make them unforgettable to your readers and audiences.
  2. To give you the tools to develop your own fully-fleshed characters in the future.

This class is appropriate for all creative storytellers—fiction writers, playwrights, and screenwriters—especially those who are trying to know their characters better.

This class will meet on Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom details.

Maury Zeff’s plays have been produced around the country and received two Emerging Playwright Awards and four People’s Choice Awards from PlayGround, his home theatre company. His writing has been published in American Fiction, Southern California Review, Embark, bosque, Best of PlayGround (2014 & 2017), Crab Orchard Review (upcoming), and elsewhere. He is a former San Francisco Writers Grotto Fellow, has received playwriting commissions from PlayGround and the SF Olympians Festival, and has an MFA in Fiction from the University of San Francisco. Maury is a nominee for a 2020 Pushcart Prize in fiction.


Number of sessions: 1

Date: Sunday, May 9

Time: 11:00am – 2:00pm Pacific Time

Course fee: $80

Meghan FlahertyWEDNESDAYS, JUNE 2 — JULY 7  |  Summer can be a sluggish time. Do you need deadlines? The accountability of a class? The feedback of your fellow writers? A little inspiration just to spur you on? This workshop-based class is designed for writers of any kind of nonfiction. Bring your memoir, essay, criticism, food writing, travel writing, biography—you name it!—and work on a revision or simply generate some new material in a supportive environment.


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