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 can be more than one session and usually includes assignments to be completed outside of class. Our workshops are two-hour sessions that occur after our monthly first-Saturday meetings. Any work required of the students is done during the workshop session.

Classes are normally held at the Carlisle Executive Offices (click here for directions). Until it’s safe to meet in person again, we’ll schedule classes using the Zoom platform. For a schedule of all our events, go to this page.

What classes would you like to see offered this year? Contact our class/workshop coordinator at Info@SWWriters.com to let us know.


Upcoming Classes Via Zoom


Class Instructor: Elizabeth Layton

Social Media

  • 4-week Course
  • Tuesdays: June 7, 14, 21, and 28
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm MT (7:30 – 9:30 pm ET)
  • Platform: Zoom
  • $160 SWW members, $200 Nonmembers

If you have ever wondered how to get your business active on social media and at the same time thought this task too daunting, then this class is for you. Attendees will learn simple and effective hands-on knowledge of getting social and staying there. Step-by-step processes will include the basics of choosing the right social platform(s) for you, building the most engaging accounts, creating a simple posting schedule, and how to build an effective social media presence across any of the top social networks.

Week 1: Digital Marketing 101
Week 2: Facebook 101
Week 3: Instagram 101
Week 4: YouTube 101

Within her 20+ years as a freelance writer, Elizabeth has been a journalist, science writer, creative writer, screenwriter, copywriter, online content writer, and Social Media Guru. Over the last 10 years, Elizabeth has created, developed, and managed Social Media content for authors, local Albuquerque small business owners, non-profit agencies and businesses, large and small public events. Her email is: laytonwrites@gmail.com

Register: by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am – noon), or by using the online registration form. (Our online payment portal utilizes PayPal, but you’ll be given an option to pay by credit card without signing into PayPal.)

Zoom Meeting: The Zoom invitation link and the password will be emailed to those who register for this class. For more information, please contact the class/workshop coordinator at Info@SWWriters.com.


Class Instructor: Margaret Shannon

Writing Your Family History

  • 3-week Course
  • Saturdays: August 6, 20, and 27
  • 10:00 am – Noon MT
  • Platform: In Person*
  • $120 SWW members, $150 Nonmembers

You CAN write your family history, whether you want a “just the facts” approach of names and vital statistics, a collection of character studies of your ancestors, or a broader study of your ancestors set in the times and places in which they lived. This course will help you define the scope of your project, introduce you to resources for genealogical research, social histories and settings, and methods of documentation and citations. We will also explore plot, structure and themes in your family history and discover ways to use suspense, humor, romance, and illustrations—aspects of creative non-fiction—all to bring your family history to life. The second week of class, a field trip to the Albuquerque Main library (5th @ Copper) will introduce you to the 2nd floor Genealogy Center and the helpful volunteers of the Albuquerque Genealogical Society. The course will conclude with a discussion of ways to publish your work.

Molly Shannon is a retired United Methodist Clergywoman, owner and quilt artist of Serenity House Quilts, and author of Abbey-Ashman: Two Colonial and Pioneering Families of North America. The book is a first-place winner in the NM Press Women’s contest and has won an award (TBA) at the National Press Women’s contest. She is an active member of the Albuquerque Genealogical Society, and in their sub-groups of Writing/Publishing, Celtic Heritage, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Mayflower Societies.

Register: by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am – noon), or by using the online registration form. (Our online payment portal utilizes PayPal, but you’ll be given an option to pay by credit card without signing into PayPal.)

*In-Person: Classes will be held at the SouthWest Writers office classroom, while the 2nd class is a field trip to the ABQ Genealogy Library at 5th and Copper. For more information, please contact the class/workshop coordinator at Info@SWWriters.com.


Class Instructor: Ellen Meeropol

Hearing Voices: Using Multiple Narrators to Deepen Your Novel

  • 3-week Course
  • Saturdays: May 7, 21, and 28
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm MT (2:30 – 4:30 pm ET)
  • Platform: Zoom
  • $120 SWW members, $125 Nonmembers

Multiple narrators offer a novelist the opportunity to boost conflict through the clash of different accounts of the action. When the reader has direct access to several characters’ inner thoughts and beliefs, the writer can explore complicated and controversial material with nuance and depth. This workshop will discuss situations in which a writer might choose this perspective, the pitfalls of writing from multiple POVs, and how to establish a pattern of switching narrators. We will examine literary examples of how distinct character voice is developed through diction, syntax and cadence, and then use these techniques in writing exercises to develop each character’s voice and to minimize reader confusion.

Ellen Meeropol is the author of the novels Her Sister’s Tattoo, Kinship of Clover, On Hurricane Island, House Arrest, and the forthcoming Lost Women of Azalea Court. Her work has been honored by the Women’s National Book Association, the Sarton Prize, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book.

Class registration closed.  Class is in progress


Class Instructor: Mary McArthur

Formatting Your Book Using Microsoft Word

  • 4-week Course
  • Thursdays: May 5, 12, 19, and 26
  • 3:00 – 5:00 pm MT (5:00 – 7:00 pm ET)
  • Platform: Hybrid – ZOOM or IN PERSON CLASS
  • $160 SWW members, $200 Nonmembers

Whether you plan to format and self-publish your book or want to use helpful formatting while you write, using Microsoft Word efficiently can save time, enables you to focus on your words, and helps provide a consistent and professional appearance.

First session: planning and setting up formats for text components, such as titles, headings, quotations, headers, page numbers and footnotes; direct formatting; removing unwanted formats; documenting your settings. Second session: page formatting topics, such as the relationship of text size to page size and margins; gutters and mirrored margins; vary page numbers, headers and footers. Third session: setting up a table of contents for your book and/or your own organizational purposes; bullet-proof paragraph numbering (pun intended); tips for managing graphics. Fourth session: front matter, tips for viewing/printing in two-page format; shortcuts for applying formats; saving as a PDF.

The class is primarily for Windows users; if you are a Mac user, please contact Mary before registering. Her e-mail address is marymac@hubwest.com. Mary’s book, Style is Everything in Microsoft® Word®, is available at a 25% discount to students.

Mary McArthur is the author of Style is Everything in Microsoft® Word®, winner in the Reference category of the 2021 NM/AZ Book Awards.  A long-time software support technician and trainer, she delights in assisting users to produce professional-looking documents easily and quickly through the use of styles, templates and shortcuts.

Class registration closed.  Class is in progress


Workshop and Class Refund Policy
If you cancel one week before the beginning date of the workshop or class, 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.


Classes you might have missed:

2022

♦ Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal
with Loretta Hall

2021

♦ Publishing with KDP Amazon
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ Writing Stories Children Will Love
with Chris Eboch
♦ Writing for Magazines
with Loretta Hall
♦ Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Book Covers From Art to Finish
with Rose Marie Kern and Kathy Louise Schuit
♦ Writing Scenes That Drive Your Story
with Rob Spiegel

2020

♦ Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Bring Your Memoir to Life
with Rob Spiegel
♦ Self-Publish Your Book with KDP Amazon
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ Websites for Writers
with Loretta Hall
♦ Blogging Your Way to Success
with Rob Spiegel
♦ Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal
with Loretta Hall

2019

♦ Researching Your Writing Project
with Loretta Hall
♦ Polishing the First Chapter
with Sarah Baker
♦ Blogging Your Way to Success
with Rob Spiegel
♦ Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Writing for Magazines: Bagging Your First Magazine Assignment
with Melody Groves
♦ Make Money from Writing
with Chris Eboch
♦ The Secret(s) to a Successful Book Signing
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Bring Your Memoir to Life
with Rob Spiegel
♦ Independent Self-Publishing
with Kirt Hickman
♦ Illustration: It’s Not Just for Children’s Books
with Kathy Louise Schuit
♦ Writing a Producible Play
with Richard E. Peck
♦ Self-Publish Your Book with KDP Amazon
with Rose Marie Kern

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


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