Chuckanut Writers Classes & Workshops

Village Books and WCC Community and Continuing Education have created a writing instruction collaboration called Chuckanut Writers. Writing classes, seminars, and conferences (including the amazing Chuckanut Writers Conference) will inspire and encourage writers at all stages of their writing journey. Check out a few of the classes that are just around the corner listed below, and click here to see the complete schedule! Don’t Wait Too Long! Community & Continuing Education classes are self-supporting and require a minimum number of students to run. Unless they hear from you in time, they may be forced to cancel a class you were planning to take due to low enrollment. Please register early.


Registration for the Chuckanut Writers Conference is now open. Act fast to save money with the early-bird special registration fee! For more information and registration details click here

Bringing Memoir Alive Through A Sense of Place

Setting and atmosphere create worlds, the where
and when of memoir. Experience settings written
by talented authors through the close reading of
scenes alive with a sense of place: landscape, season,
atmosphere, and time. Using a traditional scene
structure, we'll create a detailed setting for our memoir,
building a believable world grounded in the environment.

FULL, 1 session, $25

Journeying Through Emotions in Memoir

This class offers hands-on instruction in ways we
can write when the content or process of writing
become difficult. We will focus on the structures
and details of drafting emotional content as well
as self-care and pacing in regard to emotions
(our own and others') that arise as we do so.

FULL, 1 session, $25

How Sweet It Is

This class provides a sweet opportunity to dive into
key ingredients for writing success. We will play with
words and flavors as we generate new material,
experience sensory writing, and discover the multiple
possibilities that can stem from a simple prompt. 

1 session, $75

Seeing the World Through Poetry Package Includes:

4 sessions, $159

Seeing the World Through Poetry: "See that I see"

Poetry is often described as a way of seeing the world,
and this class will focus on this notion exclusively.
We will read poems by Robert Francis (title comes
from his poem, Summons), Robert Frost, Jack Gilbert,
Jane Kenyon, Spencer Reece and other contemporary
poets to discuss how image and form come together to
help us see in all the meanings that word brings along
with it. We will read, discuss, and write original poems.

1 session, $45

Writing Children's Books

Have you ever wanted to write a children's book,
but weren't sure where to start? We'll look at
requirements for children's books, the process
of publication, share our work in a friendly
critique-group style, and talk about revision.
Come find out what it takes to be a successful
children's writer.

4 sessions, $89

Four Essential Practices for Successful Memoir

We had so many people sign up for Cami Ostman’s first
workshop in September that we added another one!

Hear about the top three roadblocks most memoir
writers face, and the four essential (and simple)
practices you need to exercise in order to complete
your memoir. Walk out of this class with a plan that will
carry you through the rest of your writing life.

1 session, $25

Copyediting for Yourself & Others

Learn how best to copyedit and work with a writer to
make a story or article the best it can be, whether you
are the author or someone else is. Begin the
development of an "editor's eye," whether you are
writing fiction, nonfiction, or blogs, or helping others
with their writing. 

4 sessions, $145

Writing as a Spiritual Practice

People interested in spiritual practices often believe
their choices largely consist of prayer and meditation.
However, another practice which is accessible to
everyone is the simple act of writing. This workshop
encourages participants to choose a kind of writing
which resonates with them and to view that writing
as spiritual when it is done in order to touch the inner
life of the individual. 

1 session, $89

Seeing the World Through Poetry: How to Get Out of 
a Poem

Robert Frost said, "anyone can start a poem, it takes
a poet to end one." In this class we will look at model
poems, look at drafts of participant poems, and work
on original poems with a focus on how to end the
poem in both a satisfying way and the way the poem
itself demands.

1 session, $45

The Writer's Toolbox Package includes:

6 sessions, $450

The Writer's Toolbox: Building Strong Characters

Explore the creation and handling of protagonists,
antagonists, minor characters, and a "chorus"--any or
all of which can figure in your fiction. Work with
descriptions, motivation, concealing and revealing,
and the ways in which your choices affect the overall
piece. Bring examples of characters you've created or
want to create to class.

1 session, $89

Other Voices, Other Rooms: Writing the
Persona Poem

Writing from the perspective of another person (or
any other living thing) can be both freeing and
insightful, not to mention fun! In this generative
workshop, we'll look at various persona poems
and play with writing from a variety of voices and
viewpoints. Appropriate for writers at all levels.

1 session, $89

Hybrid Nonfiction: The Lyric Essay

In this generative course we'll push the boundaries
of prose and poetry, and see what writing can do.
Writing exercises, craft discussions, developing our
knowledge of poetics and language structure, and
progress toward a final collection of work. 

4 sessions, $115

Seeing the World Through Poetry: Risk

Spencer Reece once told me "all poems must take
risks." He meant risks of image, form, and content.
This class will focus on the poems students need to
write, delving into risky personal content (safely) as
well as messing about with formal technique (play is
also a form of risk!).

1 session, $45

The Writer's Toolbox: Writing Compelling

Very few works of fiction contain only one character,
and how characters interact with one another often
requires them to use direct speech. Explore the
differences between realism and reality in characters'
voices, vocabulary choices, avoiding "info-dump"
while still conveying information, and the power of
character silences. 

1 session, $89

The Open Road: Writing Poems of Travel and

In this workshop, we will consider how other poets
have recorded their travel experiences, and work on
exploring our own travel narratives in a variety of
poetic styles and approaches. Appropriate for writers
at all levels.

1 session, $89

Seeing the World Through Poetry: The Violence
Within/The Violence Without

This class takes its premise from the Wallace Stevens
quote: "the nobility of poetry is a violence from within
that protects us from a violence without. It is the
imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality."
We will write several poems, based on models, that use
the wrestling of imagination and reality as their central
premise both in terms of form and content.

1 session, $45

The Writer's Toolbox: Creating Evocative Settings,
Atmosphere, and Mood

Where you place your characters in time and space
can have great effect on your fiction and can also be
the spark that hooks readers into your story. Look at
the creation of mood by showing, rather than telling,
and examine the differences between mainstream
fiction, genre fiction, and historical fiction in terms
of their impact on your piece.

1 session, $89

Writing Effective Reports and Designing
Professional Documents

Would you like to streamline the process of writing
reports? Do you want to increase the effectiveness
of your professional documents? In this interactive
workshop, you'll gain strategies for writing reports
that achieve results. We'll also cover document
design, organization, and sentence-level clarity.

1 session, $59

Poetry as Memoir

When we think of memoir, we tend to think of prose
accounts, but for centuries poets have been telling
their life stories through poems. In this workshop,
we'll explore how you can write about important moments
in your life in poems. We'll look at some examples
of memoir poems, and then, through lively and playful
writing exercises, begin to craft our own memoirs
in verse. 

1 session, $89

Work in Progress Guided Critique Group:
Fiction and Nonfiction

Bring your work in progress! Class includes 30 minutes
of instruction (triggered by the previous week's issues),
followed by two hours of reading and constructive
criticism. You'll have the opportunity to read your own
stories or articles as well as listen to and comment on
everyone else's. Be surprised by how quickly you learn
what works and what doesn't, and how strangers can
polish your prose! 

3 sessions, $115

The Writer's Toolbox: Working with Story
and Plot I

We'll explore the differences between story and plot;
learn to move the story along by means of planned
plot points, creating scenes, and deciding if each is
character-driven or plot-driven; use the variable results
from reliable or unreliable narrators; and explore the
same scene different ways.

1 session, $89

The Creative Article: Quickest Way to Publication

Writing articles for publication works out your writing
muscle, builds your portfolio and platform, and pays
the bills. This three-part workshop includes exploration
of article types, blueprints for structure, leads and
conclusions, titles, and fictional techniques that enliven
nonfiction--with time built in to share your work in

3 sessions, $115

Threads and Themes: Discovering the Why of
Your Memoir

The first draft of memoir writing and personal essays
requires detailed, vivid storytelling. Rarely do these
stories cohere on their own, however. It's a skill of its
own to step back and assess what you've written, to
look for emergent patterns, threads and themes that
can then be more fully explored and developed. This
course will provide guidelines and techniques to
thoughtfully assess your important stories and begin
shaping a larger, more complex work. 

2 sessions, $45

New York, New York: Understanding the
Big 5 Publishers

New York corporate publishers--Macmillan, Hachette,
HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon &
Schuster--have an overwhelming presence in book
publishing, but exactly how? Are they "gatekeepers"
or "tastemakers"? Why do they buy and promote what
they do? Is it better to be indie, small-press, or Big
Time New York? Come get your questions answered!

1 session, $29

Poetry Workshop: Cinnamon Words

Every writer or poet has a personal lexicon, the words
that keep reappearing in her work. These words carry
the writer's particular, personal meanings and help
create her distinct, recognizable voice. In this
generative workshop, we'll work from prompts and
exercises to discover our personal lexicons and draft
exciting new work. Participants are encouraged to
bring one or two poems-in-progress, and expect to
leave with a draft of a new poem. 

1 session, $29

The Writer's Toolbox: Working with Story
and Plot II

Create vital story arcs and apply them to your
beginnings, middles, and ends; learn techniques
to use if the story goes off track; and move from the
opening to the closing by sustaining tension and
creating a continuing sense of discovery in the reader.
Also identify your "darlings" and decide whether
or not to kill them. Prerequisite: Working with
Story & Plot I.

1 session, $89

The Writer's Toolbox: Maximizing Your
Uniqueness as a Storyteller

In this sixth class of The Writer's Toolbox Series we'll
explore voice, choosing point of view, natural length,
natural style, your own individual tone, and following
or breaking rules. Then we'll put it all together.
Prerequisite: one or more of the preceding workshops
in The Writer's Toolbox Series to register for this final

1 session, $89

Writing the Body Whole

"Your body is the ground metaphor of your life, the
expression of your existence…" Gabrielle Roth's quote
informs the framework of this course as we write "from
the inside out, not the outside in." Pens and journals are
the only tools required to spelunk in our own crevices to
discover what is calling to be written about. 

1 session, $75

Get to know our Chuckanut Writers instructors a little better with indepth interviews on our blog, like our recent Q & A with Ron Leatherbarrow!

And don't forget to sign up for our Just Write! newsletter, which always lists upcoming classes, workshops, and writing events, along with fun writing prompts, book reviews, and online tools and resources!