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 2-hour sessions that occur after our monthly first-Saturday meetings. Any work required of the students is done during the workshop session.

Classes are held at the SWW Office. Click here for directions.


Class Instructor: Kirt Hickman

The Secret(s) to a Successful Book Signing

  • 2-hour Course
  • Saturday: June 8
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Boardroom
  • $25 SWW members, $35 Nonmembers

If you’ve ever tried to sell books at a signing, you’ve learned this: Selling a few books is easy; selling a lot of books is much more difficult. According to Guerrilla Marketing for Writers, the national average for books sold at a signing is four, but your signings don’t have to be that way. There are secrets to selling books at signings (and they don’t have anything to do with talking your family and friends into coming to the store to buy your book). In “The Secret(s) to a Successful Book Signing” you’ll learn the secrets of when to sign, where to sign, what to bring, what to do (and not do), and what to say (and not say). Through this two-hour class, you can transform your signings from lonely and depressing, to fun and profitable.

Register: at any SWW meeting, by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-noon), or by using the online registration form here.

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

Bring Your Memoir to Life
By Using Storytelling Techniques

  • 3-session Course
  • Mondays: June 17 and 24, July 1
  • 3:00 – 5:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Boardroom
  • $79 SWW members, $84 Osher, $89 Nonmembers

Your memoir will become much more vivid and engaging if you bring storytelling skills to your story. This class will look at successful ways to carve out your story and tell it in a compelling way. We’ll look at plotting (yes, your life has a plot), scenes, dialog, managing sensitive information, and the ins and outs of the memoir market and self-publishing. If willing, students can share two-page excerpts from their memoir.

Register: at any SWW meeting, by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-noon), or by using the online registration form here.

Instructor’s Bio:
Rob Spiegel has been writing for 40 years making 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.


Class Instructor: Melody Groves

“I Have Paper and Pen.
Now What?”
HOW to WRITE

  • 2-session Course
  • Mondays: July 8 and July 15
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Boardroom
  • $79 for SWW members, $84 Osher, $89 Nonmembers

Do you want to write? Don’t know where to start? Have you become “stuck?” Know what you want to say, just don’t know how? What kind of story do you want to tell? Memoir can be fiction, too.

Never fear! This class will cover the beginnings and basics of fiction writing:

√  Finding An Idea
√  Creating Believable Characters
√  Building Unforgettable Scenes
√  Writing Realistic Dialogue
√  Putting It All Together
√  Revising Painlessly

Register: at any SWW meeting, by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-noon), or by using the online registration form here.

Instructor’s Bio:
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


Class Instructor: Chris Eboch

Turn Your Memories into Children’s Stories

  • 3-hour Course
  • Saturday: July 20
  • 1:00 – 4:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Boardroom
  • $49 SWW members, $54 Osher, $59 Nonmembers

What adventures did you have as a child? What kind of trouble did your children get into? What funny things have your grandchildren done? These memories could be the seeds that grow great children’s stories. This fun class will give you an overview of children’s literature, from short stories and articles to picture books and teen novels. Through hands-on exercises, we’ll explore your memories to brainstorm ideas, and then start working on stories. Whether you want to share your memoirs with your family, or write for publication, this class will get you started!

Register: at any SWW meeting, by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-noon), or by using the online registration form here.

Instructor’s Bio:
A children’s book author, Chris Eboch is the New Mexico Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a teacher for the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is the sister of screenwriter Douglas J. Eboch (Sweet Home Alabama). Chris lives in Socorro where she enjoys hiking, reading, and watching the sunset from her patio.


Class Instructor: Kirt Hickman

Independent Self-Publishing

  • 2-hour Course
  • Saturday: July 27
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • SWW Office: 3200 Carlisle Blvd NE, Boardroom
  • $25 SWW members, $35 Nonmembers

Let’s face it, most writers don’t get picked up by one of the big-five New York publishers the first time out. So unless you hit the jackpot (and I sincerely hope you do), you’ll be faced with some serious publishing decisions. Is independent self-publishing right for you? If so, how do you do it? In this class, students will learn the pros and cons of independent self-publishing (as opposed to author-services companies and small traditional publishers) in terms of cost, product quality, rights, control, marketing, time commitment, and income. Students will also learn how to create their own publishing company and publish their own books.

Topics will include:
√ Pros and Cons of Independent Self-Publishing
√ Cost
√ Book Quality
√ Intellectual Property Rights
√ Marketing
√ Time Commitment
√ Income
√ How to Self-Publish Independently
– Resources You’ll Need
– How to Create and Operate a Company
– How to Produce a Quality Book

Register: at any SWW meeting, by calling the SWW office (505-830-6034, Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-noon), or by using the online registration form here.

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.


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 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.

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.


Classes you might have missed:

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

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
♦ Websites for Writers
with Loretta Hall
♦ Poetry Class and Interactive Workshop
with Jeanne Shannon and Joanne Bodin
♦ World-Building: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Worlds on the Bias
with Betsy James
♦ Crafting a Nonfiction Book Proposal
with Loretta Hall


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