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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, AUGUST 4th    12:30pm – 2:30pm



Robert D Kidera

What makes one book or series of books more popular than others? Often, it’s the characters more than the plot. As hard as it may be to invent a story that is completely fresh and new, it’s that easy to create characters in your stories with whom readers will connect and identify.

This workshop will consist of two sessions. In the first hour, we will examine some of the most remarkable characters in literature and determine what it is that makes them so popular and captivating, what drives readers back to them in subsequent novels or re-reads. Why do these characters “break through the clutter” and touch us so deeply?

The second hour will challenge those attending to cast a critical eye on the characters in their own books or works-in-progress. How can they be made more compelling, how can they be given greater depth, how can they be written in more forceful and fascinating ways? We will also examine the concept of “emotional set” and how attention to this aspect of our writing can make our stories and characters ring true to our readers.

Those attending this workshop are encouraged to bring pages from a work in progress along with their imaginations.

Award-winning author Robert D Kidera’s debut novel “Red Gold” earned the Tony Hillerman Award as Best Fiction of 2015 at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. It was also named as Best Mystery of 2015 and the best eBook of that year. Its sequel, “Get Lost” also was selected as Best Mystery of 2016 and best eBook of 2016 at the NM/AZ Book Awards. “Cut.Print.Kill.”, the third Gabe McKenna mystery, was released on September 5, 2017. His fourth novel “Midnight Blues” will be released in the fall of 2018, from Suspense Publishing.



Instructor: Melody Groves

 Ever wonder how writers suck you into their stories? How they make readers feel every punch, every shoulder bump, every banging of head against the blank computer screen? You can, too!


There are tricks to writing believable action and I’ll share them with you.

Action scenes should:

  • Give readers a deeper understanding of the character’s motivations
  • Propel your story forward and have consequences for your characters, whether immediately or down the road
  • Keep readers engaged
  • Make sure it rings true
  • Be unique

Instructor 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.



Saturday: October 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

Gerald Hausman 

Spontaneous Writing

The workshop will explore the following writing techniques:

  • Using the style of the best mystery stories, we will shape a series of beginnings and endings that rivet a reader’s attention.
  • How to write a successful three line short story. How to write a one-line short story.
  • How to shape voice in such a way that whether you are writing in first person, second person or third person, your style remains the same.
  • How to write naturally in present tense, past tense, and future tense.
  • How to write an unconventional outline that works.

Gerald Hausman spent more than twenty years in New Mexico where many of his American Indian stories were collected and published. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1945, Hausman is a professional storyteller. He was poet in residence at Connecticut State College as well as the City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He taught writing at The Windsor Mountain School and Santa Fe Preparatory. Two of his children’s books were made into animated films, one of them sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates and Pixar, the other by History Channel. A number of his books for adults and children have been translated into 10 foreign languages. In addition to his own writing Gerald is the editor of award-winning nonfiction and fiction titles published by Overlook-Viking, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Dutton, Persea, Houghton Mifflin and others. He, his wife Loretta and author Alice Carney teach at the Green River Writers program in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Hausmans edit for Irie Books which is dedicated to discovering new talent in literature. They have moved back to Santa Fe after many years of touring and doing workshops.

Nov. 3   TBD



Saturday, Dec 1st  12:30pm

Spinning Your Stories into Submittable Gold

 Betty Moffett and editor Pamela Yenser 

Family stories are goldmines of publishable creative non-fiction! Betty Moffett and editor Pamela Yenser will offer a workshop on “Spinning Your Stories into Submittable Gold.” The stories you have heard or told about your own family or about growing up—especially your “coming of age” stories—can be shaped into creative nonfiction and published online or in print.

This story workshop includes an opportunity for paid participants to submit a personal or family story of up to 1,000 words before the workshop for a free critique and to read or tell the revised story to a circle of listeners for additional feedback. Listeners in the reader’s circle will note what they responded to most, writing down the bones of that memory for the author to collect and use.

The workshop will conclude with current information on story publication and recordkeeping, including suggested sites where writers can gather public responses to excerpts from their future book manuscripts and explanations for accessing a PayPal-protected “Submittable” account for sending work to magazines, journals, or online publications, creating a convenient record of which submissions have been accepted or rejected, often with included notes. Chapters and poetry publications can help grow your reader base before approaching agents or publishers.



Workshops you might have missed:2018

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


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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