Past Workshops


October 14-November 18, 2015

Kathleen Alcalá’s 6-week workshop, co-sponsored with BARN, provided guidance and insight to a critique group of fifteen authors. 

Participant Nancy Fowler says:
It has been wonderful to receive helpful hints from Kathleen and thoughtful critiques by the group, but just as important has been the level of support and encouragement.  

And here’s a report from participant Channing Enders:
I do recommend this workshop. It can be the impetus for moving forward with an idea for a book, or for furthering a manuscript not quite ready for publication.

Our styles may be different but our intentions are the same: to bring alive a time and place that happened, or may have happened, in the past. Those of us who took the Field's End historical fiction workshop come from disparate backgrounds; some of us have editorial backgrounds, some of us freely admit we are not writers. But through the critique process we are able to help one another with the art and the craft of writing historical fiction.

We write, we bring our manuscripts for class review, and we wait—perhaps with a degree of trepidation—on what our classmates think. Our instructor, Kathleen Alcala, directs our efforts with kindness. "Be gentle," she admonishes as we whip out the editorial pencil. She tells us to first provide a positive comment on one another's work. Any criticism should be specific. 

Kathleen shares her experience as a writer of historical fiction; she provides examples from other works as well as tips and handouts to support our work.


Comic artist and graphic novelist David Lasky presented his Teen Comic Workshop on August 
20th.He wowed the participants with a slideshow depicting his metamorphosis from his first comic strip at age 22, through his mini comic adaptation phase (the Ulysses series being his most well known) to literary comics like Poe's The Raven. His message: don't be afraid to try anything that inspires you.

Lasky gave examples of comics he's written that reflect everything from fantasy/dream imagery to his poetry. He even drew comics for the health department to educate immigrants on health care issues. Eventually, he gravitated toward graphic novels, most notably The Carter Family (a biography of a country music family in the 1930s) and El Deafo, a Newbery Award–winning book he worked on with Cece Bell.

Throughout his presentation, Lasky illustrated a variety of styles and ideas to give students jumping off points in their own work. He showed the Marvel comic model, then added some of his own, such as mosaic comic pages with one large image broken up into several panels. Students spent a great deal of the session learning simple cartooning skills to express character, movement, and space in their work. Each left with their own mini comic. Photos: Isabel Gates

Looking Back at Word Soup, May 2015

Last May, during Tuesday evening sessions at the Poulsbo Library, participants were treated to WORD SOUP©, a writing workshop in the 'Stone Soup' tradition. Created by Karen Gerstenberger, the sessions included a variety of prompts and activities to inspire and ignite creative sparks. Participants explored ways to discover and free their unique creative voice, and engaged in different learning styles and senses – without criticism. Each session there were new inspirations, tools and prompts, with time to practice writing and optional sharing.
Feedback on the sessions was overwhelmingly positive: "Word Soup provided a wonderful environment for all level of writers to have dedicated time for creative writing. The sharing aspect was enjoyable. There are so many talented people in our area.”…”The creative prompts were inspiring, from the music selections she would play, to items we would select from a basket, to the smells (and tastes) of popcorn and chocolate being passed around! Each brought new ideas to draw upon as we wrote.”…”It was great to be in a place where we could share a writing sample without being critiqued.”…"I found it wonderful to hear others' stories; it opened up so many worlds."

- Isabel Gates, Field's End

Explore ways to discover and free your creative voice, engaging different learning styles and senses - without criticism. Ideal for those who want to write, used to write, or are experiencing creative blocks.


April 18, 2015 | 9AM - 5PM | Poulsbo Public Library

Book Basics for Writers:
A Day Dedicated to Your Publishing Success
with Alice B. Acheson


"13 Steps to Finding an Agent or Publisher" - First Session: 9:00 - Noon

This is your chance to learn from an expert about the best way to approach an agent or publisher, the required steps before submitting the proposal, and how to make the path easier, whatever method of publication you choose.

Note: Noon - 1:00 PM – Brown-bag lunch and informal discussion with Alice 

"Bound-for-Success Book Proposal” - Second Session: 2:00 – 5:00 PM

This session is your chance to convince an agent or editor to read your manuscript, find out what will stop them, and learn the difference between the query letter and the synopsis, and much more!

Here are quotes from workshop participants:

"The workshop actually exceeded my expectations. This was my first workshop and I was happily surprised by all the useful, truly helpful information Alice gave us. It was a gold mine."

"Alice made herself available to us during our brown-bag lunch - what a treat to have my questions answered and to hear what other writers are dealing with. Made for a very nice one-day community."

"Thank you for bringing this workshop to Poulsbo! I appreciate that Field's End is making more of their great programs available to those of us live in other parts of the county."


Field’s End (FE) - The first session is "13 Steps to Finding an Agent or Publisher."  Does that mean that writers who have not completed the manuscript won't benefit?

Alice B Acheson (ABA) - To the contrary.  Those are precisely the people who might benefit the most, as hearing what to do prior to actually performing the steps, will most likely save them time, money, and energy. It's always better to know at the beginning—what the market there is for the book and how to find that market.  

FE - We've had inquiries saying that many workshops seem to neglect fiction as it is harder to market than 30 DAYS TO THINNER THIGHS.  Will you be explaining the process for both fiction and nonfiction?  Even poetry?

ABA - Yes. I always discuss all genres, and questions are always welcome about a specific book.  For example, due to the cost of producing illustrated books and children's picture books, there are very specific things those authors need to know and do -- and when to do them.

FE -  I have taken a class of yours and found the Author Questionnaire to be very helpful.  Will that be included?

ABA - Yes.  Normally, a writer would not even see the form until the publishing contract is signed.  I will provide it in the first session because it is a nifty way to organize your experience, background, and marketing ideas. Once compiled, it will help create the Pre-Pub Platform, will guide the marketing paragraph for your book proposal, and impress the publisher with your ability to help market your book.

FE -  Your second session, on writing the book proposal, sounds like it will only cover the basic steps. Couldn't writers find that in a reference book?

ABA - Yes, the steps are available, but my 40 years of publishing experience fill in the answers to "why is that step necessary," "how can I get past the gate-keepers," "what will stop an agent from reading my proposal," and "what's the best way for building a list of potential agents (or editors at publishing houses).” 

ABA - Since Field's End added a brown-bag lunch and informal discussion between the two sessions that will be a wonderful opportunity to ask any publishing question that writers previously have felt weren't pertinent, didn't understand when they read it somewhere, or felt was "too stupid."  In my classes, all "stupid" questions are welcome. In 25 years of teaching marketing and publishing questions, I've never encountered a "stupid" question.

Alice B. Acheson draws on decades of working with large and small publishers, negotiating book contracts, selling subsidiary rights, and editing and publicizing books.  She won a Literary Market Place Outside Services Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity and numerous titles she publicized landed on The New York Times bestseller list (four simultaneously).

Poetry for All - Workshop

Monday, February 23rd - 2:30 - 4:30 PM

Poulsbo Public Library – Free Workshop – All are Welcome

Co-sponsored by Field’s End Writers’ Community

Join Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen for a free, hands-on poetry workshop designed to engage participants’ imaginations, life histories and sense of empathy through language. The class includes close reading of a few contemporary poems, then using one as a model for writing our own first draft. No previous writing experience needed.  

Seating is limited, please register by calling (360) 779-2915 or stop by the Poulsbo Library. 

How to Be Your Own Best Editor with Ann Hood

Congratulations! You have finished your novel or memoir manuscript. But before you submit your book, you need to revise, revise, revise! Bestselling author and editor Ann Hood will discuss the importance of revision, share her own revising tools, and give you solid advice on how to revise your book. You will leave this lecture ready, as Yeats famously said, to cast a cold eye on your own work.
This workshop happened on October 18, 2014 at Bainbridge Island Art Museum Auditorium with Q&A and book signing.

Ann Hood is the bestselling author of the just-released novel An Italian Wife and The Obituary Writer. She is the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. She’s received two Pushcart Prizes and is on the faculty of the MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School in New York City and a frequent instructor of various conferences.

Social Media Workshops with Trish Bittman

Instructor Trish Bittman provided instruction on the most popular ways to: connect with others and/or build your business; develop your platform/brand; and write content that will get you noticed. These three-hour workshops were designed for individuals and writers at all levels.
These workshops were located at the Bainbridge Community/Senior Center Classroom.
Topics: Blogging for Writers, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Writer, blogger, and social media instructor Trish Bittman is a freelance writer and social media manager.

Word Soup

Designed for anyone who wants to write. Come and be part of a supportive, safe workshop where we will discover why we want to write, why we do (or don't) write, and explore what we want to write. We will engage in creative activities and to inspire you to listen for your own voice, and begin. Bring pencil or pen and a notebook (or laptop, if you prefer that) and join in the fun! Four Thursday Evenings: May 15 & May 22, June 5 & 12. 6:30 - 8:30 at the Bainbridge Public Library. Bring a brown-bag dinner and connect with others at 6:30; the workshop begins at 7 PM and ends at 8:30 PM.

Back to the Future: Ignite Your Writing Career with Young Adult Fiction

with Jacquelyn Mitchard
Young Adult fiction is the only mass market publishing sector that is growing instead of shrinking. And as the editor of a Young Adult imprint, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard is at its forefront. Join Mitchard for a broad-ranging forum on what works, what sells, what lasts, with writing prompts, and more. 

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the author of 20 books for adults, children, and young adults, including The Deep End of the Ocean, the first book chosen for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. A professor in the low-residency program in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Mitchard teaches Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction. She is Editor-in-Chief of Merit Press, a Young-Adult only imprint under the aegis of F&W Media, which publishes Writers Digest among many other publications.

This workshop was held in the Conference Room at the Senior/Community Center. Thank you - Workshop Sold Out 4-23-14! Special Option: Feedback on Your First Ten Pages for a $30 critique fee. Would you like to have the first ten pages of your work-in-progress reviewed and receive a full-page critique from Jacquelyn Mitchard? This was available to anyone attending the workshop.

March 9, 2014  |  10AM - 2PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library  |  Workshop fee: $50, limited to 15.
Cathy Warner

Holy Ink Spiritual Writing Workshop

with Cathy Warner

Join in a day of writing into the mystery of the spiritual life. Discover what is powerful, moving, and true at a heart and soul level. Appropriate for new and experienced writers alike. Sharing is optional, confidential, and conducted in a supportive environment. Diversity of participants and beliefs is honored.

Bring a lunch and a notebook and pen or laptop computer. After the workshop, join Cathy at Eagle Harbor Book Company at 3 p.m. for a reading from her new book of spiritual poetry, Burnt Offerings.

Cathy Warner writes essays, short fiction and poetry, and is the author of Burnt Offerings (January 2014). A former pastor, she is certified as an Amherst Writers and Artists workshop leader. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and volunteers with Field’s End Writer’s Community. Her website is

January 17, 2014  |  1PM - 5PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library  |  Workshop fee: $50, limited to 15.

The William Stafford Poetry Workshop: Writing and Revising

Poets at all levels were invited to write, take a break, and regroup to receive feedback on what they wrote. They left with "next steps" for the piece written in class. Laptops were welcome.
Kathleen Flenniken is the 2012 - 2014 Washington State Poet Laureate. Her first book, Famous (2006) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Plume (2012) is a full-length collection of poems, part memoir and history lesson, part quest and cautionary tale. Plume won the WA State Book Award."A genuine treasure..." The Seattle Times.

Classroom #1 at the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art  |  100 Ravine Lane NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

The Art and Craft of Dialogue: From Basics to Mastery

Instructor: Jennie Shortridge

Even though we spend our lives listening to others speak, when it comes to committing dialogue to the page it can sound stilted and unnatural. Worse, it can bog down the narrative and pull your readers out of the story.

Spend the day learning and practicing the basic tenets of writing dialogue, moving into artistic mastery and nuance. Bring a few pages of dialogue from an existing project, or write a scene with dialogue ahead of time. You'll have time in class to analyze what you've written and work on ways to make it more effective.
Tuition $100. 
Bestselling novelist Jennie Shortridge has published five books, including her latest, Love Water Memory (Gallery/S&S). She has studied writing craft with some of the country's best writers and editors, including Pam Houston, James McManus, and Tom Jenks, who opened her eyes by saying, "Dialog is a sword fight." She's never forgotten that. Jennie is also a co-founder of and a popular writing teacher in the Northwest.

1PM - 4PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Instructor: Linda Gromko

If you have a character who is injured or falls ill (and who doesn't?), this one-day class will help you research and describe medical situations for your readers. Learn from a writer/doctor about the "inside" vocabulary particular to the medical world, and the nuances of medical conversation. Course content applies to fiction and essay writing. Ask your medical questions and come prepared for informal writing exercises to enhance your skills.

March 16, 2013  |  12:30PM - 5PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library

You're Writing the Manuscript, Now What?

Instructor: Alice B. Acheson

Searching for a publisher? Disappointed with marketing provided for your previous book? This workshop provides "a thorough destroying of illusions, replaced with real tools and great methods to deal with actual situations” –former workshop participant. You will learn strategies for finding and impressing an agent/publisher; tasks to do—and when—to gain realistic control over the marketing process and publisher support; and how to create the all-important "pre-pub platform.” Abundant handouts will cover all stages of publication. Required Pre-Class Assignment: Write your book's "sell sheet." Instructions received upon registration.

February 23, 2013  |  1PM - 4:30PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library
Erica Miner

Screenwriting: How to Adapt a Story into Film

Instructor: Erica Miner

Have you written a story that shouts "screenplay" or believe it would make a great movie? Have you read a story or novel that begs to be adapted into film? This class will instruct you in the fundamentals of adaptation from story to film. You will learn the difference between fiction writing and screenwriting, with examples taken from specific screen adaptations, as well as how to format a screenplay and create a synopsis and logline. The instructor will provide hands-on exercises either written from scratch or from pages you bring to class. You will leave with Miner's well-researched Screenwriting Resource Sheet and other informative handouts.

Fall 2012 Classes

Scene Structure: How to Build a Novel One Plank at a Time
Instructor: James Thayer

Literary agent Donald Maass says a novel is “a large, complex, fluid and difficult-to-manage undertaking.” Individual scenes are like beads on a necklace: put enough of them together and you have a novel. A scene is a basic unit of a novel, and understanding the structure of a scene is critical for writers. The course will review powerful and proven techniques for creating scenes, including how to start a scene and how to end it, the essential pattern of almost all scenes, ways to obtain maximum effect from your scenes, and how to avoid prospect-killing mistakes. No matter what stage of writing you're in, this class will guide you in building sturdy and exciting frameworks for your stories and novels.

Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012

James Thayer is the author of thirteen critically acclaimed novels and a writers’ manual, The Essential Guide to Writing a Novel. He is a fiction-writing instructor at the University of Washington extension program. A graduate of Washington State University and the University of Chicago Law School, he lives in Seattle.

Read an interview with James Thayer.

Fall 2012 Classes

Deep Revision
Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

For writers who have already produced a rough draft, this class offers the opportunity to revise and polish an essay, short story, or book manuscript. We’ll begin with an overview, examining themes and structure. Then we’ll tighten our focus to look at the dynamics of each scene or chapter, the shape of each paragraph, and the efficacy of each sentence. We’ll discuss publication strategies so writers are ready for the next step. The goal is to have a piece ready to submit or (for longer works) a detailed plan for completion.

Dates: Mondays, September 17 & 24; October 1, 8, 15, & 22, 2012

Waverly Fitzgerald has been teaching writing classes since her first novel was published by Doubleday in 1977. She has written four historical novels, a family history, and a nonfiction book (Slow Time). With coauthor Curt Colbert, she wrote Dial C for Chihuahua, the first in a series of humorous mystery novels due in October 2012. Fitzgerald has received a residency from Hedgebrook, a fellowship from Jack Straw, and a grant from Washington State’s Artist Trust.

Fall 2012 Classes

Writing Fantasy: The Rules of Magic
Instructor: Janet Lee Carey

It's commonly thought that fantasy fiction is easy to write because there are no rules. Just the opposite is true. Fantasy writers understand that the vast freedoms of the genre necessitate a strict set of rules. Break the rules and the magic disappears. How can we create within this paradox? Whether you're already writing fantasy or interested in trying the genre, come join us for this interactive workshop with World Building, Plot and Character Relationship, Mythical Story Sources, and more. In class we will play with writing games that explore new worlds, enrich your work, and restore your story passion.

Date: Sunday, September 16, 2012

Janet Lee Carey was raised in the redwood forests of California. In the whispering woods she dreamed of magic worlds. She is the award-winning author of eight young adult novels including Dragonswood (Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal starred reviews). School Library Journal calls her work, "fantasy at its best—original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving." With ten years’ experience teaching college novel-writing classes, Carey also tours the US and abroad presenting at book festivals, libraries, and writing conferences.

Read an interview with Janet Lee Carey.

Summer 2012 Classes

Marketing Your Book to Agents or Publishers
Instructor: Alice B. Acheson

You've written your book or have a partial manuscript. Now you must write the query letter and synopsis. Where to begin? Reference books seem to have conflicting methods. Is there "one way" to do it? Which details must be included? Which statements should be avoided? Alice Acheson shares what works, what doesn't—and why. While much of this class will focus on fiction, the process can benefit nonfiction writers working on memoirs, biographies, or other creative nonfiction. Saturday will focus on the query letter. It may not be "perfect" when you leave the class, but you'll have a clear idea how to complete the final polish. Sunday will focus on putting the "sell" into the synopsis, using and amplifying what has been learned. For individualized attention, the class is limited to 12 students.

Dates: Saturday, June 30, 2012 and Sunday, July 1, 2012

Alice B. Acheson is a Marketing Specialist and Publishing Consultant with decades of experience. She has negotiated book contracts, sold subsidiary rights, and edited and publicized books. She is the recipient of the Literary Market Place Outside Services Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity. As an editor at a major New York City publisher, she read the "slush" pile and spotted the "go/no-go" elements of a project. As a publicist, she has handled many titles that have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. Nationally, she has taught workshops on marketing tools, pitching manuscripts, and publishing choices. She lives in Friday Harbor.

Winter 2012 Classes

Writing Your Memoir
Instructor: Corbin Lewars

Your memoir is a story from your life, not the story of your life. Understanding your theme helps keep you focused as well as provides guidance to what you should include in your memoir. Through lecture, discussions, and readings we will explore the importance of theme, the art of using judgment, forms of memoir, how to weave musings along with plot to keep the story going, and that sticky thing called truth. The instructor will give home writing assignments and provide oral feedback during class. Students who have a draft of their memoir will be able to utilize what they have already written. Students will have the opportunity to workshop scenes in small groups, and will leave the class with a compelling opening scene and a scene that blends musing and judgment. This class is for anyone writing a memoir, whether you are in the brainstorming stage, working on a revision, or somewhere in between.

Dates: Thursday, March 15, 22, and 29, 2012

Corbin Lewars is the author of Creating a Life: The Memoir of a Writer and Mom in the Making (2010), which was nominated for the 2011 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and Washington State Book Awards. Her novel Swings is out for submission and she is currently working on her second memoir. Her essays have been featured in over 25 publications as well as several anthologies. Lewars blogs for the Seattle PI and Ballard News Tribune. She has been coaching writers for 10 years, was editor of the women's publication, Verve, and has been a writing instructor for 15 years, currently through Richard Hugo House in Seattle.

Winter 2012 Classes

Marketing Your Book to Agents or Publishers
Instructor: Alice B. Acheson

You've written your book or have a partial manuscript. Now you must write the query letter and synopsis. Where to begin? Reference books seem to have conflicting methods. Is there "one way" to do it? Which details must be included? Which statements should be avoided? Alice Acheson shares what works, what doesn't—and why. While much of this class will focus on fiction, the process can benefit nonfiction writers working on memoirs, biographies, or other creative nonfiction. Saturday will focus on the query letter. It may not be "perfect" when you leave the class, but you'll have a clear idea how to complete the final polish.  Sunday will focus on putting the "sell" into the synopsis, using and amplifying what has been learned. For individualized attention, the class is limited to 10 students.

Dates: Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012

Alice B. Acheson is a Marketing Specialist and Publishing Consultant with decades of experience. She has negotiated book contracts, sold subsidiary rights, and edited and publicized books. She is the recipient of the Literary Market Place Outside Services Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity. As an editor at a major New York City publisher, she read the "slush" pile and spotted the "go/no-go" elements of a project. As a publicist, she has handled many titles that have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. Nationally, she has taught workshops on marketing tools, pitching manuscripts, and publishing choices. She lives in Friday Harbor.

Winter 2012 Classes

The Art of Research
Instructor: Wendy Call

Learn how to put files, stacks, and bytes to work for your writing. Whether it’s a new online database, 50-year-old book, 300-year-old manuscript, or 500-year-old map that you need, this workshop will help you find the resources that best inform your writing. It might be an essay, novel, play, or poem you’re creating, but at some point you’ll need to do some old-fashioned research—using newfangled tools. Bring your research questions and your laptop (optional); we'll dig up the answers. A reference librarian will join us for part of the day as we navigate information superhighways and carriage roads.

Date: Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wendy Call is the 2011 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell College of Iowa. She has been Writer in Residence at more than a dozen institutions, including universities, arts schools, a national park, and a public hospital. Call is the author of No Word for Welcome (2011), co-editor of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide (2007), and translator of Mexican poetry and short fiction. She has completed research for her writing in a hospital emergency room, in forests and rural villages, and in historical archives on three continents—but her most relied-upon source is her local, public library.

Photo credit: Rosanne Olson


Fall 2011 Classes

Character Development Intensive
Instructor: James Thayer

Readers remember a novel's characters long after the plot has been forgotten. We still love Lonesome Dove's Augustus McCrae, but who can remember all that happened to him? We love Oliver Twist, but can't recall all the ordeals Dickens put him through. Almost all successful fictional protagonists have nine personality traits. We will discuss each trait, showing why it is important. Bestselling authors use certain techniques to write enduring characters. We will focus on these techniques and learn to create 1) vivid physical descriptions, 2) memorable personality traits, and 3) external conditions in the story that make a character more appealing. We will also cover specific techniques for crafting the hero, the buddy, and the villain. We will emphasize dialogue, including proven methods to make it dramatic and convincing. The instructor will provide handouts and include in-class exercises.

Date: Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall 2011 Classes

Writing the Picture Book
Instructor: George Shannon

The picture book for children (ages birth to 8) includes most subgenres found in adult literature—all in 32 pages. What can you say that's new? Plenty, if you say it in your unique voice, and say it well. Through lecture, discussion, writing exercises, readings, and in-class critiques we will explore the possibilities, criteria, and craft of writing picture books for friends and family as well as publishers. This course will focus primarily on the verbal elements of the picture book, but visual elements will naturally be part of the discussion. Students are encouraged to bring a work-in-progress to class. They will also begin at least two new picture book texts (via class exercises), and complete one of those manuscripts by the end of the course. Students will receive a written critique from the instructor.

Dates: Thursday, October 13, 20, 27 and November 3, 2011

Fall 2011 Classes

Writing Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Priscilla Long

You’d like to write creative nonfiction essays, but you’re not sure which form they should take. In this class, we’ll explore the exciting range of forms proliferating in the world of creative nonfiction. Examples include numbered forms, questions, straightforward ten-paragraph essays, and others. We will also work on sentence craft. We'll scrutinize virtuoso sentences written by master writers and work on moving our own skills in that direction. Students will produce three short, finished creative nonfiction essays, generated through in-class exercises and home assignments. The instructor will provide oral and written feedback. The required text is The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life by Priscilla Long. This class is for all writing levels, from beginning to advanced. Bring a notebook and expect to have fun.

Dates: Monday, September 19 and 26, October 3, 10, 17, and 24, 2011

Winter 2011 Classes

Writing the Teen Novel
Instructor: Suzanne Selfors

Walk into any bookstore and you'll notice the young adult section has doubled. Teenagers are reading! And there’s a variety of styles and subjects—it’s not just about vampires. While stories vary, at the heart of every teen novel is the coming-of-age theme. Using popular YA novels as examples, this class will explore the unique aspects of writing for teens. We’ll discuss concerns such as “Do I have to sound like a teenager?” “Should I worry about trends?” and “How do I get in touch with my inner teen?” Each class will be a blend of lecture and workshop. Writers of all levels are welcome, but a first chapter of a work-in-progress is required. The instructor and class members will read the chapters before discussion in the workshop sessions. Students will receive a written critique from the instructor. Students should mail up to 12 double-spaced pages from their first chapters along with their application. Before class begins, students will be notified as to how many copies to bring to the first class.

Dates: Thursday, February 24 and March 3, 10, and 17, 2011

Winter 2011 Classes

Marketing Your Book to Agents or Publishers
Instructor: Alice B. Acheson

You've written your book or have a partial manuscript. Now you must write the query letter and synopsis. Where to begin? Reference books seem to have conflicting methods. Is there "one way" to do it? What details must be included? What potholes should be avoided? Alice Acheson shares what works, what doesn't—and why. While much of this class will focus on fiction, the process can benefit nonfiction writers working on memoirs, biographies, or other creative nonfiction. Saturday will focus on the query letter. Your query may not be "perfect" when you leave, but you'll have a clear idea how to do the final polish. Sunday will focus on putting the "sell" into the synopsis, using what has been learned and amplifying it. For individualized attention, the class is limited to 10 students.

After registering, students will receive, via email, guidelines for writing a one-page query and a synopsis, plus an example of a query that succeeded. Before January 28, students should email directly to the instructor their query letter and synopsis and bring to class 12 copies of each. Between Saturday and Sunday classes, students will be asked to read all synopses and be ready to comment.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, February 5 and 6, 2011

Winter 2011 Classes

Writing for the Nonfiction Magazine Market
Instructor: Bruce Barcott

You've got a great magazine story idea, or you love magazines and want to write for them, but the whole slick-print world seems impenetrable. Not so. Magazine editors are always looking for fresh ideas and new writers. Bruce Barcott writes for National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and other periodicals. In this class, he will work with students to identify viable nonfiction story ideas and match them with potential magazines and editors. Students will develop story ideas, proposals, and articles as class assignments. The instructor will help students report, write, and edit their stories into shape and give oral and written feedback. No experience necessary.

Dates: Monday, January 10, 24, 31 and February 7, 2011

Fall 2010 Classes

Reading Like a Writer
Instructor: Julie Larios

We turn to books for many reasons—for intellectual stimulation, entertainment, solace, the satisfaction of personal curiosity, the mastering of new skills, and the simple camaraderie of fellow readers. Each of these pleasures can be developed and deepened by learning how to read like a writer. Using the book Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose as a guide, we'll look at strategies writers use to pull readers into their stories. We'll focus on devices both large and small (from narrative arcs to the artful sentence) and share careful observations about a handful of wonderful books, including the National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Dates: Sunday, November 7 and November 14, 2010

Fall 2010 Classes

Beginning Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Shawn Wong

Nearly everyone says or overhears someone say, "I have a great idea for a novel." How do fiction writers get from idea to written pages? How do you give yourself practical writing assignments to meet your goal? What tricks can you play on yourself to move your writing ability from one level to another? How can you be an objective editor of your writing? There is no tried-and-true path to writing fiction, but Shawn Wong's students for the past 26 years at UW have gone on to write and publish short stories and novels and win writing awards. What he tells them will be compressed into four sessions. In other words, let's skip the apprenticeship and get straight to the writing.

Dates: Thursday, September 23 and 30, October 7 and 14, 2010

Winter 2010 Classes

Point of View in Practice
Instructor: Margaret Nevinski

"Start thinking of POV tools, not POV rules," says writer Alicia Rasley. In this hands-on workshop, we'll explore POV tools available to writers in the context of their own work. Writing exercises, shared aloud for group discussion, will focus on applying POV choices to the students' own writing. Students will submit a 3-page writing sample before the class begins. The instructor will discuss a number of these pages each week from the perspective of POV. This workshop is for writers who have taken the Field's End class "Point of View" (Fall 2009), or who have a finished or in-progress fiction manuscript.

Dates: Wednesday, March 24, 31 and April 7, 14, 2010

Winter 2010 Classes

Speculative Fiction
Instructor: Cat Rambo

The field of speculative fiction allows writers to play with talking objects, spaceships, and transformations of the unlikely to the unlikelier. In this workshop, we'll discuss the basics of story writing and how the considerations of speculative fiction do (and don't) alter those basics. We'll also discuss how to build convincing worlds and cultures. In-class writing exercises will focus on sparking creativity, establishing characters, and plotting.

Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winter 2010 Classes

Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal
Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

Writers of nonfiction books (including travel and memoir) need a book proposal to attract agents and publishers. But writing this marketing tool is very different from writing the book itself. Unlike popular one-day classes which provide the format and send the writer off to do the work alone, this class provides ongoing support and structure as you write the proposal. By the end of four weeks, you will have a complete proposal including a concept statement, marketing research, author credentials, an outline and a sample chapter. Even if all you have at the moment is an idea for a book, this class will help you develop your material.

Dates: Thursday, January 28 and February 4, 11, 18, 2010

Fall 2009 Classes

Brass Tacks: The Right Sentence and the Telling Detail
Instructor: Priscilla Long

First-rate writers use all the sentence forms and choose them to carry particular meanings or emotions. This hands-on course is designed for writers of all levels—beginner to advanced— interested in revising several short works or books-in-progress. We'll scrutinize brilliant sentences and paragraphs and apply our discoveries as we reshape our own works to intensify content. Diction (word choice) is equally important. Students will explore techniques for gathering language that is more original, more resonant, and still true to one's individual voice.

Dates: Monday, October 19 and 26, November 2 and 9, 2009

Fall 2009 Classes

Point of View
Instructor: Margaret Nevinski

Choosing a point of view (POV) is one of the most important decisions a writer makes when beginning a new piece of fiction. However, confusion abounds about different POVs and which is most effective for a particular story. This hands-on class will explore the complex world of POV and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. Students will submit a writing sample before the class starts. Depending on the number of students, the instructor will discuss 1-2 pieces of submitted writing from students each week from the perspective of POV. During each session, students will write POV exercises and be encouraged to share them aloud and discuss.

Dates: Wednesday, September 30 and October 7, 14, 21, 2009

Winter 2009 Classes

Writing the Middle-Grade Novel
Instructor: Suzanne Selfors

Dates: Monday, February 23 and March 2, 9, 16, 2009

Using popular middle-grade novels as examples, Selfors will explore the unique aspects of this genre for the reader age 8-12. Writers of all levels are welcome, but a completed first chapter of a middle grade novel is required. The class will combine lecture and workshop, during which chapters will be read by the instructor and all class members before discussion in the workshop sessions. Students should mail one copy of the chapter (no more than eight double-spaced pages) along with their application. Once the number of students is set, each person will be notified about the number of copies to bring to the first class.

Fall 2008 Classes

Secrets to a Clear, Compelling Sentence
Instructor: Gary Kinder

In this workshop, students did a variety of writing and editing exercises to improve their prose.

True Stories: Personal Narrative and Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Barbara Sjoholm

This 5-week course explored various forms of essays that can be used to record and examine events of a life.

Winter 2008 Classes

Truth or Consequences: Keeping Fiction True
Instructor: Garth Stein

This 8-hour course focused on techniques to maintain the dramatic truth in fiction.

Instructor: Brenda Peterson

This 10-hour course included exercises and guidelines to strengthen the narrative arc in memoir.

Instructor: Garrett Bennet

In this 5-hour course offered over two Saturdays, students learned how good dialog reveals character and strengthens any story.

Fall 2007 Classes

Writing the Personal Essay for College Applicants
Instructor: Marian Merkel

High school students received instruction and feedback on their college application essays.

Bringing History Alive in Fiction
Instructor: Kathleen Acala

This 12-hour craft course focused on shaping historical research and source materials into fiction that appeals to the modern audience.

Writing Literary Collage: New Forms in Nonfiction
Instructor: Priscilla Long

In this 10-hour craft course, students explored new nonfiction forms.

Summer 2007 Classes

The Original Idea: The Heart of Your Story
Instructor: Bob Mayer

Field’s End’s first online class took place during the month of July. Students participated in group discussions and shared their work via the Internet.

Winter 2007 Classes

The Play’s the Thing
Instructor: Elizabeth Heffron

In this 15-hour workshop, students wrote a one-act play.

Writing the Picture Book Text
Instructor: George Shannon

This 10-hour craft course explored storytelling skills for the picture book.

Fall 2006 Classes

Art of the Short
Instructor: Matt Briggs 

This 4-hour craft class centered on short forms in writing.

Who I Am: Writing the Personal Essay for College Applicants
Instructor: Susan Wiggs

This 4-hour craft class helped teens preparing for college.


Writing Historical Fiction
Instructor: Kathleen Alcalá

In this 12-hour craft class, students learned about issues surrounding historical fiction.


Your Nonfiction Book Project: Putting It All Together
Instructor: Sheila Rabe

This 8-hour craft class
focused on nonfiction book proposals.

Winter 2006 Classes

Young Writers Workshop on Fiction
Instructor: David Guterson

This 18-hour fiction workshop was for teens.


The Art of the Paragraph
Instructor: Priscilla Long

In this 10-hour craft class, students delved into the effectiveness of the paragraph.


Beyond Nip and Tuck: Advanced Revision in Fiction
Instructor: Carole Glickfeld

This 18-hour workshop
offered advanced revision techniques.

Fall 2005 Classes

How to Write the First Page of Your Novel
Instructor: Bharti Kirchner

This 4-hour craft class focused on getting started on your novel.


Craft for Prose Junkies
Instructor: Cheryl Slean

This 12-hour class for “prose junkies” concentrated on different aspects of writing craft.


Writing As Play: Nurturing the Young Writer
Instructor: George Shannon

In this 1.5 hour workshop, students were
encouraged to use play in their writing.

Spring 2005 Classes

An Agent’s Point of View
Instructor: Elizabeth Wales

In this 1.5 hour lecture class, a literary agent discussed her role in the publishing process.


On the Road: Exploring the World Through Writing Your Travels
Instructor: Irene Wanner

This 12-hour class focused on the special requirements of travel writing.

Winter 2005 Classes

Don’t Dream It ... Do It
Instructor: Susan Wiggs

In this 6-hour workshop, students learned how to take steps to make their writing dreams a reality.  


Writing Literature for Children
Instructor: George Shannon

This 12-hour craft class presented an overview of writing for children.

Fall 2004 Classes

From Imitation to Imagination
Instructor: Priscilla Long

This 10-hour class focused on crafting prose.


From Page to Stage: Writing the One-Act Play
Instructor: Amy Wheeler

In this 12-hour class, students wrote a one-act play and learned elements of playwriting.


No Tricks and No Secrets: An Editor’s Perspective on Publishing Your Work
Instructor: Robin Desser

In this 1.5 hour class, an editor delivered a lecture about the publishing world.

Spring 2004 Classes

The Craft of Poetry
Instructor: Sharon Cumberland

This 12-hour craft class taught the elements of poetry.


Navigating the Past: A Guide for Writers
Instructor: Laura Kalpakian

This 8-hour craft class
revealed the issues to watch when writing about the past.

Winter 2004 Classes

Becoming a Writer: Approaches and Practices
Instructor: Priscilla Long

Do you want to be a writer? This 10-hour craft class explored how.


Measure for Measure: Detail and Narrative Pace
Instructor: Irene Wanner

In this 12-hour craft class, students learned how to master detail and pacing in their fiction.


Revising Your Fiction Manuscript
Instructor: Carole Glickfeld

This 12-hour craft workshop provided revision techniques for fiction writers.

Fall 2003 Classes

Anatomy of a Character
Instructor: Skye Moody

This 12-hour fiction craft class analyzed character development.


The Arc of the Story
Instructor: Kathleen Alcalá

In this 12-hour fiction workshop, students learned about story arc in novels and short stories.

Devotion and Discipline of a Writing Life
Instructor: Naomi Shihab Nye

This 1.5-hour workshop
delivered reflections on the joys and rigors of the writing life.

Spring 2003 Classes

The Art of Poetry

Instructors: Northwest poets (in order of appearance) Richard Kenney, Linda Bierds, John Willson, Colleen J. McElroy, Roger Fanning, and Sam Hamill

Six classes with six poets delved into poetic craft.


Strategies to Unmask the Conscious/Subconscious Theme in Your Short Story or Novel
Instructor: Michael Collins

In this 12-hour short story workshop, fiction writers explored the theme of theme.

Dangerous Sentences

Instructor: David Long

A 6-hour fiction workshop
concentrated on sentence craft.

Winter 2003 Classes

The Art of the Sentence (back by popular demand)
Instructor: Priscilla Long

This 10-hour craft class continued the exploration of the sentence.


Coming to Terms with the Place We Call Home
Instructor: Robert Michael Pyle

In this 2-day writing workshop, students focused on the meanings and theme of home.


Creating a Work of Short Fiction or Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Priscilla Long

This 6-hour craft class delved into the short form, whether fiction or creative nonfiction.

Writing Creative Nonfiction

Instructor: Nick O’Connell

This 12-hour class provided techniques for writing creative nonfiction.

Revising Your Fiction Manuscript
Instructor: Carole Glickfeld

In this 12-hour fiction workshop, fiction writers learned revision techniques.


What Happens Next? Structure and Momentum in the Short Story
Instructor: Michael Byers

This 12-hour fiction class
analyzed the short story in terms of building a structure and pacing.

Fall 2002 Classes

The Art of the Sentence: Moving Your Writing from Competent to Brilliant Through More Sophisticated Sentencing

Instructor: Priscilla Long

This 10-hour craft class explored the possibilities of the sentence.


The Art of Fiction
Instructor: David Guterson

In this 12-hour lecture class, students learned about the craft of writing fiction.