Wilkes University

Online Community Writing Workshops

Inspire the creative writer in you.

Enroll in our writing workshops

Enjoy noncredit creative writing workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting. Workshops are open to adults of any age or education level and are conveniently held online via Zoom.

A highlight of the series is a weekend session on screenwriting, presented by Wilkes creative writing faculty member and screenwriter of Tigerland Ross Klavan.

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Workshops Offered

Dawn Leas

Poetry Power!

Instructor: Dawn Leas
Schedule: 6-8 p.m. Mondays for 6 weeks, beginning March 8
Genre: Poetry
Level: Beginner/intermediate

This workshop will explore the structure and language of poetry, both visually and aurally, through reading and discussing several American poets. Participants will also write and discuss their original work with the group and receive comments from the workshop leader. The final workshop will include a reading of the poems created during the six weeks to which participants can invite family and friends.

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Dates: March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5 and 12)

Workshop Fee: $120

About the Instructor

Dawn Leas is the author of A Person Worth Knowing (Foothills Publishing), Take Something When You Go (Winter Goose Publishing) and I Know When to Keep Quiet (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Literary Mama, The Pedestal Magazine, SWWIM, San Pedro River Review, and elsewhere. In past lives, she has been a copywriter, English teacher and worked in higher education. Currently, she's a writing coach, editor, and teaching artist for Arts in Education NEPA. Dawn's Website.

 Jen McLaughlin

Plot Like A Pro!

Instructor: Jen McLaughlin
Schedule: 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays for five weeks, beginning March 10
Genre: Fiction/Memoir
Level: Advanced

This five-week workshop focuses on how to plan, organize and complete a book. It begins with how to write a blurb for a story, and then dives into outlining a full novel like a professional. Once the detailed outline is written, intense workshopping will ensure that the story has all the essential elements needed: characters that breathe, settings that paint a picture, a voice that sings and a plot that drives your story toward the climactic finish. Participants will leave this workshop with a detailed, complete outline for their dream projects as well as the first few pages of their book.

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Dates: March 10, 17, 24, 31 and April 7

Workshop Fee: $120

About the Instructor

Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who was mentioned in Forbes as a breakout independent author. Under her pen name Diane Alberts, she is a bestselling author of contemporary romance with Entangled Publishing. She is also published by Penguin/Berkley and Random House and has written three books for James Patterson/Hachette. Jen's Website.

Bill Schneider

The Elements of Story

Instructor: Bill Schneider
Schedule: 6-8 p.m. Thursdays for 6 weeks, beginning March 11
Genre: Fiction
Level: Beginner

Each week, an element of story (image, voice, character, setting and story) will be explored through lecture, discussion, and writing exercises. At the end of each workshop session, a writing prompt will be assigned. Students will craft a one to two-page piece of fiction and return the following week with these assignments, to be delivered during the workshop. Participants will complete a portfolio of fiction writing samples during this workshop series.

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Dates: March 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8 and 15)

Workshop Fee: $120

About the Instructor

Bill Schneider, M.F.A. is the Managing Editor of Etruscan Press and former Associate Director of the Maslow Family Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University (2015-2020). Bill's essays and short stories have appeared in Route 7 Review (May 2017), The Hamline Lit Journal (April 2017) and Middle Gray Magazine (January 2014). He has also been published in the “No Regrets” issue of Silly Tree Anthologies (2014).

Sara Pisak

Nonfiction Essentials

Instructor: Sara Pisak
Schedule: 6-8 p.m. Fridays for six weeks, beginning March 12
Genre: Nonfiction
Level: Beginner/intermediate

How do we use the elements of craft to shape nonfiction stories? How do we write ourselves as characters in our own personal essays? How do we turn those closest to us into characters? Student will develop an understanding of generating and revising new work, and the class will culminate in an online reading of one revised piece the student has written during the course. Students will be guided on their nonfiction writing journey with examples from authors Davon Loeb, Emily Bernard, s.e. smith, Beverly Donofrio, and Janet Burroway, among others. Students will be encouraged to interact, as typically class will involve class discussion, lecture, in-class writing time, and workshopping. New work will be generated each class period with an opening and closing prompt as well as a short homework assignment that will be workshopped the following class.

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Dates: March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9 and 16

Workshop Fee: $120

About the Instructor

Sara Pisak earned her M.F.A. and M.A. in Nonfiction from Wilkes University. She is a staff reviewer at Glass Poetry Press. Her nonfiction and poetry has appeared in Door is a Jar, Five:2:One Magazine and The Deaf Poets Society, among others.

Ross Klavan

Movie Weekend!

Instructor: Ross Klavan
Schedule: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21
Genre: Screenwriting
Level: Beginner/intermediate

A complete weekend devoted to how to write a movie. We'll practice seeing the world with a film maker's eye, we'll write scenes, watch and discuss scenes, learn about action, dialogue and cinematic time. This is designed for those who've ever been curious about the art of the screenplay, or are craving a two-day immersion course, or who want to brush up their screenwriting skills.

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Dates: March 20 and 21

Workshop Fee: $100

About the Instructor

Ross Klavan is the author of the original screenplay for Tigerland (starring Colin Farrell), nominated for Independent Spirit Award, of the comic novel Schmuck and of noir novellas in collections Triple Shot, Three Strikes and Third Degree.

Additional Information

Technology Requirements

Zoom application from a computer device with camera and audio functionality. Students are expected to screen share a copy of the assigned work each week and email a Word document of the work to the instructor for comments and feedback.

Maslow Creative Writing Program

Workshops are hosted by the Maslow Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University. Write your story and learn to get published. Earn your M.A. and M.F.A. online with limited campus visits.

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Disability Statement

Arrangements for individuals with disabilities will be reasonably accommodated so long as the instructor is informed in advance.

For more details about these workshops or the Creative Writing Program, contact:
David Hicks
Director, Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing
Wilkes University
(570) 408-4527