Classes

Fiery Orange Hands IconSouthWest Writers offers classes and workshops to advance the skills and marketability of writers. Experienced instructors guide participants through lecture, example and, often, critique to increase the quality of their writing.

What is the difference between a class and a workshop? A class is more than one session and usually includes assignments to be completed outside of class. A workshop is one session, and any work required of the students is done during the workshop session.

Classes are held at the SWW Office, unless otherwise stated.
Click here for directions.


Class Instructor: Sarah Baker

Polishing the First Chapter

  • 4-week Course
  • Wednesdays: February 6, 13, 20, and 27
  • 2:00 – 4:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Suite #114
  • $105 for SWW members, $110 Osher, $115 nonmembers

When submitting your manuscript to editors or agents, you only have a page or two to get their attention. Where do you start? How do you make an impact? What will help you get noticed? We’ll look at all aspects of making your first chapter—and the rest of your manuscript—stand out. Participants will be invited to submit their first five pages before and after the class for critique by instructor, but this is not required.

Register at the SWW meetings or call the SWW office at (505) 830-6034 (Mon-Thu, 9-12).

Instructor’s Bio:
Sarah H. Baker has lived all over the United States, but has sprouted roots in Albuquerque. Sarah writes mystery as S.H. Baker, romance as Sarah Storme, and erotica as Lydia Parks. She has more than 20 novels, a dozen novellas, and 3 audiobooks published by Kensington, Harlequin, Five Star, Siren Audio Studios, and other publishers. Sarah enjoys speaking at writers’ conferences around the country and teaching classes for UNM Continuing Education, Osher, and SouthWest Writers.


Class Instructor: Kirt Hickman

Revising Fiction:
Making Sense of the Madness

  • 8-week Course
  • Saturdays: Feb. 9, 16, 23 and Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Suite #114
  • $200 for SWW members, $205 Osher, $210 nonmembers

Write your novel and revise it to sell. With all the books, talks, classes, and workshops available on writing and self-editing, a writer can quickly become overwhelmed by advice. “Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness” cuts through the clutter and offers an organized, practical approach to self-editing that covers everything from planning your novel, to first draft, through revision, to final submission-quality manuscript. Each class will include a lecture, discussion, prepared exercises, and (time permitting) class time to work on students’ own writing projects. This course is geared toward book-length fiction, but the vast majority of the topics are applicable to short stories and creative nonfiction as well. There are no prerequisites or required materials.

Course Outline:

  • Week 1: World Building & Characterization
  • Week 2: Plot
  • Week 3: First Draft, Research, & Gross Manuscript Problems
  • Week 4: Chapter Breaks & Avoiding Information Dumps
  • Week 5: Scenes
  • Week 6: Polishing Prose
  • Week 7: Dialogue
  • Week 8: Finishing Touches & Critiques

Register at the SWW meetings or call the SWW office at (505) 830-6034 (Mon-Thu, 9-12).

Instructor’s Bio:
Kirt Hickman, author of the award-winning science-fiction thrillers Worlds Asunder and Venus Rain was a technical writer for fourteen years before branching into fiction. His methodical approach to self-editing has helped many make sense of the mass of advice available to the novice writer. He teaches self-editing classes through SouthWest Writers. He has been a mentor in the SWW mentoring program, has spoken at numerous conferences, and contributes a monthly column titled “Revising Fiction” to the SouthWest Sage. He has also written Mercury Sun, the fantasy novel Fabler’s Legend and two children’s books. His writer’s guide, Revising Fiction—Making Sense of the Madness won a New Mexico Book award for Best How-To and was a finalist in the international Ben Franklin Awards.


Class Instructor: Rob Spiegel

Blogging Your Way to Success

  • 3-week Course
  • Mondays: March 4, 11, and 18
  • 3:00 – 5:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Suite #114
  • $79 for SWW members, $84 Osher, $89 nonmembers

Blogging can build your writing skills while creating an audience. This class will explore all types of blogging, from poetry to how-to instruction, from spirituality to memoir. Rob will explain how to choose a free blogging platform, how to determine the blog length and frequency, and how to build an audience. This class will explain how you can use a blog to create the backbone of a book, just as Julie Powell did to create her bestseller, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, which went on to become a major movie.

Register at the SWW meetings or call the SWW office at (505) 830-6034 (Mon-Thu, 9-12).

Instructor’s Biography:
Rob Spiegel has been writing for 40 years. He makes his living as a journalist, serving as senior editor for Design News, an international trade magazine. He has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. He has published six books with major publishers such as St. Martin’s Press. Rob has taught writing at UNM, CNM, Osher, and at dozens of writing conferences across the country. For 10 years, he owned a magazine (Chile Pepper) and a book publishing company. His weekly writing output includes journalism, blogs, webinars, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction..


Attendee’s Endorsement: “The value of learning (from Melody) far exceeds the expense… I am so glad I came. You have made me better.”

Class Instructor: Melody Groves

Writing for Magazines:
Bagging Your First Magazine Assignment

  • 2-week Course
  • Saturdays: April 13 and 20
  • 9:00 am – Noon
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Suite #114
  • $79 for SWW members, $84 Osher, $89 nonmembers

Thanks to the invention of the Internet, the opportunity to write for magazines is almost endless. With over 9,000 magazines published yearly, in addition to those online, the world is your oyster. But, there are tricks to bagging an assignment.

So if you’ve got a good idea but don’t know where to go or how to start, look no more. This class is for you.

In six hours we’ll cover:

✓ finding your story,
✓ finding the market,
✓ tweaking the same idea for different magazines,
✓ writing a query that sells,
✓ photo requirements,
✓ approaching an editor. And that’s just for starters.

Register at the SWW meetings or call the SWW office at (505) 830-6034 (Mon-Thu, 9-12).

Instructor’s Biography:
Eight-time award-winner Melody Groves is the author of six historical fiction novels, three non-fiction books. Her dozens of magazine articles appear in Wild West, True West, New Mexico Magazine, Enchantment Magazine and many more. Past-president of SouthWest Writers, she’s also a member of Western Writers of America. And when not writing, she plays rhythm guitar (and tambourine) in the Jammy Time Band.

Questions? melodygroves@comcast.net


Classes you might have missed:

2019

♦ Researching Your Writing Project
with Loretta Hall

2018

♦ Revising Fiction – Making Sense of the Madness
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Writing for Magazines: Bagging Your First Magazine Assignment
with Melody Groves
♦ Websites for Writers
with Loretta Hall

2017

♦ How to Write Your First Play
with Dr. Richard Peck
♦ The Business of Writing
with Fred Aiken
♦ Writing for Magazines: Bagging Your First Magazine Assignment
with Melody Groves
♦ Revising Fiction – Making Sense of the Madness
with Kirt Hickman

2016

♦ Myth in Writing
with Shari Tarbet
♦ To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme: To Form or Not to Form?
with Gayle Lauradunn
♦ Worlds Beyond Worlds: Exploring the Multiverse of SFF
with Betsy James
♦ Writing for Magazines: Bagging Your First Magazine Assignment
with Melody Groves

 


Workshop and Class Refund Policy

To ensure that SouthWest Writers can cover the cost of space rental and instructor fees, we have implemented a workshop and class refund policy. If you cancel one week before the workshop or class beginning date you will receive a full refund. Cancellations after one week prior up to 24 hours prior to the beginning of the workshop or class will receive a credit only toward a future workshop or class of your choice. If you do not cancel or don’t show up for the workshop or class you will receive no refund and no credit. For multi-session classes, if you miss a class, you receive no refund. We pay our instructors based on how many students enroll, so you are part of that roll count if you don’t cancel as detailed above.

If you have any questions or want to let us know what classes or workshops you’d like to have offered, please e-mail the workshop coordinator at programs@swwriters.com.


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