Workshops/Seminars

Fiery Orange Hands IconSouthWest Writers offers workshops or seminars 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, a seminar, and a class? A workshop is one session. Any work required of the students is done during the two-hour workshop. A seminar is a series of two-hour events focusing on a single aspect of writing — many times genre specific. A class can be more than one session and usually includes assignments to be completed outside of class.

In Person & Zoom
SouthWest Writers has returned to in-person gatherings for our monthly Saturday meetings but in a new location: UNM Continuing Education (UNM-CE). Our Saturday meetings/workshops will still include a Zoom component. Workshops will start at 12:30, after the regular meetings end. Go to the SWW Meeting Location page for more information about our meetings at UNM-CE.

For a schedule of all our events, go to this page. What workshops would you like to see offered? Contact our class/workshop coordinator at Info@SWWriters.com to let us know.


How to Speak in Public and Live to Tell the Tale

with Brenda Cole

  • Saturday, March 9, 2024
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm (MST)
  • In Person Only
  • SWW members: $20 ♦ Non-members: $30

Does the thought of getting up to speak in public leave you gasping for breath and a heart rate like a hummingbird? Join me for a practical workshop on how to prepare, give, and survive public speaking. We will cover:

  1. How to project, handle a microphone and present yourself in the best light
  2. How to write a “parachute”
  3. Speaking versus reading to your audience
  4. Breathing exercises and other brief methods of calming yourself

Everyone will give a 3-5 minute talk. Come prepared with 3×5 or 4×6 index cards and ideas on what you want to talk about.

Brenda Cole’s first public stage appearance was at age 6. She has performed as a soloist, actor, lecturer and on radio, television and stage. She has multiple degrees including a BA in Speech and Theatre. She has been a member of SWW for decades and is the chair of the Collegium.

To Register:
Call the SWW office at 505-830-6034 (Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am–noon) or use 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.

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


Writing the Difficult Topic

with Mary Collins

  • Saturday, April 13, 2024
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm (MST)
  • In Person & via Zoom
  • SWW members: $20 ♦ Non-members: $30

Mary handles this particular topic a lot (especially at the Yale Summer Writing Program) because of her book At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces (Beacon Press). They did a national book tour for that (her son Donald Collins is the co-author, but the book reads like a joint memoir). In the end they had to figure out how to exchange stories and experiences instead of opinions. They had to understand their pain was deeply personal but the project had way more value if they turned outward, included others, saw their story in relation to national trends. As you can imagine, a parent with a transgender child has been a HOT topic the last 7 years.

Mary Collins has taught nonfiction writing at the graduate and undergraduate level for decades, including 12 years part-time at Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Writing Program, the summer program at Yale University, and 17 years in her current job as the Program Coordinator for the Writing Minors at Central CT State University. Website: www.marycollinswriter.com

To Register:
Call the SWW office at 505-830-6034 (Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am–noon) or use 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.

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


Writing Award-Winning Fiction/Nonfiction for Children/Teens

with Chris Eboch

  • Saturday, May 11, 2024
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm (MST)
  • In Person & via Zoom
  • SWW members: $20 ♦ Non-members: $30

More information forthcoming.


From Hiaasen to Evanovich – Comedic Writing Techniques

with Lisa Haneberg

  • Saturday, June 8, 2024
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm (MST)
  • In Person & via Zoom
  • SWW members: $20 ♦ Non-members: $30

What can writers learn about characterization, plotting, dialogue, and how to layer humor from novelists Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, Janet Evanovich, and Christopher Moore? Plenty. During this 2-hour interactive workshop, participants will explore examples that highlight each author’s distinctive “secret sauce” and practice using these comedic techniques during several short writing exercises. Appropriate for all fiction and creative nonfiction writers.

Lisa Haneberg earned an MFA from Goddard College and is an award-winning humor writer. She writes about science, writing, food, nature, and the humorous aspects of every-day experiences. Lisa has published mysteries and over a dozen nonfiction books. Far From Ordinary: Predicaments, Misadventures, and Illuminations, is her latest book. Website: www.lisahaneberg.com.

To Register:
Call the SWW office at 505-830-6034 (Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am–noon) or use 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.

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


From Page to Projector: Produce and Direct Your Own Screenplay

with Steven J. Martin

  • Saturday, July 13, 2024
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm (MST)
  • In Person & via Zoom
  • SWW members: $20 ♦ Non-members: $30

In this workshop, we will go through the steps involved in drafting a screenplay that will tell your story with integrity while keeping it reasonably budgeted. We will then go through the steps of working with a professional cast and crew, garnering professional equipment, stages of production–budgeting, scheduling, casting, rehearsing, and post-production. And finally distribution in film festivals, streaming, and theater showings, all for the cost of a used car!

Originally from the Northeast, Steven J. Martin found a second home in Japan where he has been an educator in universities and international school programs for over a decade. He has been an avid writer and lover of cinema, and followed his long-time dream of building a film company by writing, directing, and producing his own feature films. To date, he has written and directed eight award-winning feature films, two award-winning short films, two music videos, and produced two more films for other directors. He has also written and directed three original stage plays.

To Register:
Call the SWW office at 505-830-6034 (Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am–noon) or use 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.

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


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.


Workshops you might have missed:

2024

♦ Find Your Niche Market
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ The Writer’s Wheel & Screenplay Hero’s Journey: 2 Keys to Organize YOUR Writing
with Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos

2023

♦ Criticism Tips and Tricks, How to Take it and How to Give It
with Patricia Walkow and Chris Allen
♦ Finding Your Niche Markets
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ Creating a Book Tour
with E. Joe Brown
♦ Book Award Competitions: Get a Running Start
with Sara Frances
♦ “Who, What, When, Where, and How” of Copyright Compliance
with C. Daniel Miller
♦ Writing a Ten-Minute Play
with Andy Mayo
♦ Preparing Print-Ready PDFs with Affinity
with RJ Mirabal
♦ Let’s Make a Scene
with Charlene Bell Dietz
♦ How to Speak in Public and Live to Tell the Tale
with Brenda Cole
♦ Military Writing Techniques and Tips
with Jim Tritten
♦ From Writer to Author
with Rose Marie Kern & Cornelia Gamlem

2022

♦ Writing a Page Turner
with Hallie Ephron
♦ Finding Your Niche Markets
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ Social Media 101
with Elizabeth Layton
♦ Keeping Your Eye on the Prose (not the press)
with Lauren Wolk
♦ Creating Three-Dimensional Characters
with Melody Groves
♦ Marketing Best Practices
with Geoff Habiger
♦ Publishing an eBook on Amazon
with Rose Marie Kern
♦ How to Speak in Public and Live to Tell the Tale
with Brenda Cole
♦ Wildness in Your Writing
with Lisa Taylor
♦ The Path from Writer to Author
with Rose Marie Kern and Cornelia Gamlem

2021

♦ Starting Your Novel in 2021: Taking it Day by Day
with Jonathan Miller
♦ Jump Start Your Writing with Short Forms
with Miriam Sagan
♦ Romance Genres and Subgenres: Understanding Reader Expectations
with Tamra Baumann and Jeffe Kennedy
♦ Writing Great Love Scenes for Romance and Other Genres
with Sarah Storme/Lydia Parks
♦ Plotting a Romance (and Other Genres)
with Robin Perini
♦ Finding Romance Publishers and Agents
with Sarah Storme/Lydia Parks
♦ Finding the Story in History
with Pamela Nowak
♦ The Art of Screenwriting
with Art Eisensen
♦ Mystery Genres & Subgenres
with Joseph Badal, Michael Avery, Keri Bovee, Charlene Bell Dietz, Marcia Rosen, Margaret Tessler, Robert D. Kidera
♦ Tips from Successful Mystery & Thriller Writers
with Keri Bovee, Charlene Bell Dietz, Patricia Smith Wood, and Robert D. Kidera
♦ The Mystery Market, Today and Tomorrow
with Pat Wood, Michael Orenduff, and Robert D. Kidera
♦ Queries and Cold Reads
with Shannon Snow and Haley Casey
♦ Taxes and Best Accounting Practices for Writers
with Brian Reinhardt
♦ Poetry Fireside Chat, August 11
with Jacqueline Murray Loring and Dan Wetmore
♦ Poetry Fireside Chat, August 18
with Preston H. Hood III
♦ Poetry Fireside Chat, August 25
with Lisa C. Taylor
♦ Insider Tips for Using the Internet
with Loretta Hall
♦ NaNoWriMo
with Kathy Kitts and Grant Faulkner
♦ Special Presentation: Speculative Fiction — An Overview
with Kirt Hickman, Bruce Kingsolver, David Lee Summers, Dollie Williams
♦ Special Presentation: Speculative Fiction — Fantasy Genres
with Joyce Hertzoff, Bruce Kingsolver, David Lee Summers, Vicky Murata, Kirt Hickman
♦ Special Presentation: Speculative Fiction — Purely Science Fiction
with Kirt Hickman, Geoff Habiger, Dollie Williams, Natalie Wright
♦ Finding the Story
with Loretta Hall and Patricia Walkow
♦ Understanding Rights & Copyrights
with Rose Marie Kern


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