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.

Revising Fiction – Making Sense of the Madness

by  Kirt Hickman


Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.   Oct 4 thru Nov 22

SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE
$99 SWW members; $104 Osher members; $109 nonmembers
Register online, at a meeting or 830-6034 (M-Th 9am-noon)

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 non-fiction as well.

There are no prerequisites or required materials.


  • World Building & Characterization
  • Plot
  • First Draft, Research, & Gross Manuscript Problems
  • Chapter Breaks & Avoiding Information Dumps
  • Scenes
  • Polishing Prose
  • Dialog
  • Finishing Touches & CritiquesKirt 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 has contributed 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.




Saturday, October 14, 2017   9am-noon

Saturday, October 21, 2017 9am-noon

Instructor: Melody Groves
Where: SWW office: 3200 Carlisle NE, suite #114
Cost: $79 SWW members; $84 Osher; $89 non-members
To Register: Call Larry @ (505)803-6034 (M-Th 9-12) or at the first class

           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.

Instructor Biography:

Seven-time award-winner Melody Groves is the author of five historical fiction novels, three non-fiction books. Her dozens of magazine articles appear in Wild West, True West, New Mexico Magazine, ABQ the 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 in the Jammy Time Band.            Questions?

Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal
by Loretta Hall
January 14,21,28 and February 4 (2018)
Sunday Afternoons  2:00 to 4:00pm

SouthWestWriters Office
Carlisle Executive Offices  3200 Carlisle Blvd NE  Albuquerque, NM
Register: SWW 505-830-6034

$69 SWW Members; $74 OSHER members; $79 nonmembers
Unlike novels, nonfiction books are offered to publishers in the form of a book proposal before the manuscript is completed. (Memoirs are also offered with a book proposal, but after the manuscript is completed)

In this class you will learn what should be included in a book proposal and how to make that information compelling.  Topics also include planning a marketable book and finding appropriate publishers to submit to.  Even if you plan to self-publish your nonfiction book, it is important for you to prepare a a book proposal to convince your publisher (you!) that the book has a reasonable chance of success.

Loretta Hall has worked with four different publishers to produce her eight nonfiction books. The lessons she has learned from these experiences will give you a head start with your quest to get published. Loretta served on the SouthWest Writers board for four years and received the 2007 Parris Award. She was named Communicator of Achievement by the National Federation of Press Woman in 2016.



­World-BuildingScience Fiction, Fantasy, and Worlds on the Bias

Presented by Betsy James

6-Week Writing Challenge

In the dark of the year, it’s time to make the invisible visible, the incredible credible. Fantasy and science fiction—the “what-if?” genres, known collectively as “speculative fiction”—are worlds built by and for those parts of ourselves for which reality feels too limited. Come learn the basics of designing believable fictional worlds! Entertaining, professional sessions will get you thinking, critiquing, and working like a writer. In 6 weekly assignments of 1000 words or less you’ll explore quirks and craft, learn respectful peer critique, and develop writerly camaraderie with an assortment of fellow visionaries—who may become your support system, because you’ll also learn how to conduct your own critique group.

 Register early! Class limited to 10 students.

SWW Members: $240 ● Osher Members: $250   Non-members: $290

Tuesdays, 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm    —     October 24, 31, and November 7, 14, 21, 28
Location: SWW Office Conference Room 3200 Carlisle NE, Suite 114, Albuquerque, NM 87110

Register online at,
by phone (505-830-6034), or at any SWW meeting.

 Betsy James is the author and illustrator of 17 books for adults and children. Among other honors, her books have been named: Locus Magazine Recommended Reading 2016, New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, Voices of Youth Advocates Best Book, Junior Library Guild Selection, Canadian Children’s Book Center Best Book, International Reading Association Children’s Choice, and Tiptree Award Honor Book. She teaches speculative fiction in UNM’s Honors College and leads workshops nationally and internationally. She lives in the North Valley.  Visit her at    Her most recent fantasy, Roadsouls, is available from Amazon and/or

Classes you might have missed:


♦ 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



♦ 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


♦ Marketing for Writers
with Barbara Lemaire
♦ How-to-Write Class: I Have Paper and Pen. Now What?
with Melody Groves
♦ A 3-Day Social Media Intensive for Writers
with Barbara Lemaire
♦ Getting at It: Inviting the Good Stuff
with Betsy James
♦ Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal
with Loretta Hall
♦ Weirdness: Writing the Shadow Season
with Betsy James


♦ So! You Want to Write a Book!
with Jacqueline Murray Loring
♦ Writing Genre Fiction and Getting Published
with Sarah Baker
♦ Fundamentals of Screenwriting – Giving Your Script a Solid Foundation
with Marc Calderwood
♦ Writing for Magazines: How to Land Your First Assignment
with Melody Groves
♦ Inviting Vivid Characters, Seeing Through Their Eyes
with Betsy James
♦ Business Plans for Writers
with Fred A. Aiken
♦ Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Worlds on the Bias
with Betsy James
♦ A Three-Day Social Media Intensive for Writers
with Barbara Lemaire

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


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