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

See individual workshops for their location.

Saturday: January 6, 2018 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: New Life Presbyterian Church
(after the regular Saturday meeting)

$20 Members, $25 Osher, $30 Non-member

Jack Woodville London

Creating time and place by creating language:  Writing with a sense of history

This talk is an extension of the presentation given during the SWW meeting.  It will focus on falling out of love with your prose in order to comply with Elmore Leonard’s rule to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip, or should skip.  Readers have only he most general notion of what the story is, whether fact or fiction, and the only clues they have are the words you use.

The afternoon workshop focuses on participants actually writing, in this case focusing on “Creating time and place by creating language:  writing with a sense of history.”   We hope to identify the time, place, and conflict of your story, then find and apply, perhaps even create words that bring them alive without hitting the reader over the head with them.


Jack Woodville London studied at Oxford University and the Academy of Fiction, St. Céré, France and was the first Author of the Year of the Military Writers Society of America. He is the author of nine articles on the craft of writing and numerous articles on early 20th Century history. His craft book, A Novel Approach, a short and light-hearted work on the conventions of writing, is designed to help writers who are setting out on the path to write their first book. A Novel Approach won the E-Lit Gold Medal for non-fiction in 2015.

His World War II-era novel Virginia’s War was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contest. His ‘parallel-quel’ novel, Engaged in War, won the silver medal at the London Book Festival for General Fiction and was the Book of the Month by Good Reads. The third novel in this series, Children of a Good War, is represented by WordServe Literary Agency.

Jack also is the author of the serialized novel The (very brief) War Diary of Bart Sullivan, available to readers of his newsletter, First Draft.

Visit Jack at or contact him at He lives in Austin, Texas.



Saturday: Feb. 3, 2018   12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: New Life Presbyterian Church
(after the regular Saturday meeting)
$20 Members, $25 Osher, $30 Non-member

Marc Calderwood

Celluloid Aspirations Redux

In this workshop we’ll discuss some novels and short stories that have made transitions to film and whether or not the cross-over worked and why. Tagging 10 screenplay issues that require the attention of the novelist and/or short story writer, I’ll define the primary issues that must be considered in a current work or those things that need to be considered prior to the start of a new piece. This working supplement to last month’s Celluloid Aspirations will give you the film industry viewpoint of character, setting, plot, conflict, resolution, and more. We will discuss and work on the one tool that will allow you to determine whether or not you have a good concept for film. We will cover briefly how to approach screenwriting and what to do if you’ve read a novel that you would like to turn into a screenplay.


An award-winning screenwriter, Calderwood received his Certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA in 2007. In 2008 Marc made his writer/directorial/producer debut in the 48 Hour Film Project with the short Water Torture, an award-winning film. He’s been active as a reader for three top screenwriting sites and has read and given notes on over 300 spec screenplays.

Currently, Marc and his wife and live in Albuquerque where he writes screenplays teaches screenwriting classes privately and through UNM at OLLI. He works as a substitute teacher and in the summer he operates Hahn Youth Voices a summer film camp for local Native American students.


Saturday: March 3, 2018   12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: New Life Presbyterian Church
(after the regular Saturday meeting)
$20 Members, $25 Osher, $30 Non-member

Chris Ebock

What I Learned from Nancy Drew—Tools for Fast-Paced Plotting

Nancy Drew’s adventures have captivated girls across generations. “Grab you by the throat” openings pull readers into the story. Cliffhanger chapter endings ensure late-night reading under the covers. Action-packed plots keep readers coming back for more. A ghostwriter shares what she learned while writing about the famous sleuth—and shows how you can use these techniques to make any story or book better, from narrative nonfiction to genre novels.

Chris Eboch is the author of over 50 books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting.

Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense involving outdoor adventures amidst Southwestern landscapes. Fans of Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page.

Learn more at or her Amazon page, or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog.

Saturday: May 5 , 2018   12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: New Life Presbyterian Church
(after the regular Saturday meeting)
$20 Members, $25 Osher, $30 Non-member

Sandra Toro

Historical Fiction

Saturday: June 2  , 2018   12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: New Life Presbyterian Church
(after the regular Saturday meeting)
$20 Members, $25 Osher, $30 Non-member

Steve Brewer


You can inject humor into any kind of writing, if you do it deftly enough, and Steve Brewer will show you how at this workshop. Steve has used humor in all sorts of writing over his 40-year career, including a decade of weekly “Home Front” columns for Scripps Howard News Service. He’ll talk about how to be funny on the page, and how to make the language do the comedic work for you. He’ll also bring exercises you can use to strengthen your funny bone.

BIO: Steve Brewer writes books about crooks. His most recent crime thriller SIDE EYE was his 30th published book. His first novel, LONELY STREET, was made into a 2009 Hollywood comedy. Steve spent 22 years in daily journalism before bailing out in 1997 to write fiction and humor full-time. To keep from dying of cabin fever, he leaves the house a couple times a week to teach at the Honors College at UNM.


Workshops you might have missed:


Connect to Your Intuitive Author Within
with Chloe Rachel Galloway
♦ Niche Markets:  Multiple Streams of Income
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ How to Create a Scene – Without Getting Arrested
with Melody Groves

♦The Perfect Pitch  with Rose Marie Kern, Melody Groves and Sarah Baker


♦ The Artist’s Way Mini Intensive
with Kristen Fogle and Lydia Lea Real
♦ Outline for Success
with Gerald Hausman
♦ Blogging Your Way to Success
with Rob Speigel
♦ Books 101
with Barbe Awalt
♦ Adding Humor to Your Writing
with Steve Brewer
♦ Writing Great Dialogue: Listening to the Voices in Your Head
with Melody Groves
♦ How to Find Your Path and Follow it to Your Creative Destiny
with Sharon Niederman
♦ Making Your Fiction Shine with Cinematic Technique
with Joanne Bodin
♦ Writing from Photo to Finish
with Elizabeth Sloan
♦ Book Cover Design
with Michael Silva


♦ Turning Fact into Fiction: Bending the Truth to Make it Fit
with Melody Groves
♦ What Has to Happen Before That Can Happen: Planning the Novel, Character- vs. Plot-driving, and Bringing it into the World
with Jack W. London
♦ How to Plot: Every Good Story Needs One
with Melody Groves
♦ Write What You Don’t Know
with Mark Stevens
♦ Giving Voice to the People in Your Head
with Sarah H. Baker
♦ Websites for Writers
with Loretta Hall


♦ Getting Around Beginner’s Bumps
with Sarah Baker
♦ Write a Marketable Children’s Book in 7 Weeks
with Shirley Raye Redmond and Jennifer McKerley
♦ What a Writing Group Can Accomplish (Synergy)
with Patricia Walkow and Jim Tritten
♦ A Gathering for Picture Book Critique
with Betsy James
♦ Websites for Writers
with Loretta Hall
♦ An Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation for Writers
with Debra Falcon

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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