Village Books & Paper Dreams - Fairhaven
Mon-Sat: 9am-9pm
Sun: 10am-7pm
Village Books - Lynden
Mon-Sat: 9am-8pm
Sun: 11am-5pm

Chuckanut Writers Classes

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. 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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Point-of-view entails much more than the "I," "He/she," or "You" perspective. By analyzing exceptional work and engaging in writing exercises, you'll learn how "point-of-view violations" negatively impact the reader experience and to skillfully use point-of-view craft to add depth to characters, dimension to scenes, and force to narrative flow.

4 sessions, $125

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Those who inspire help make the world a better place. If you've ever read a story of hope, struggle and triumph, or the fulfillment of a promise that resonated with you, you know what it feels like to be touched by inspirational writing. Through moving examples and exercises, we'll explore and practice ways to create writing that can inspire others, raise spirits, and connect with hearts.

3 sessions, $95

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

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 in these workshops with local author Roby Blecker. Bring examples of characters you've created or want to create to class. One-hour lunch break provided.  

1 session, $95

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

Join Roby Blecker for this linked series of practical exercises that will provide you with tools in your writing toolbox.  Our goal will be to emphasize and improve your craft as a writer. Rather than general theory, this series of classes gives you writing practice at your level, challenges you to move in and beyond that level with confidence. If you have a work in progress or if you are just thinking about ideas to work on, this class will provide you with the means to take the next step. These workshops can be taken as a whole, or you can select from some individual workshops to suit your needs and schedule. 

6 sessions, $475

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

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 “infodump” while still conveying information, and the power of character silences. One-hour lunch break provided.  

1 session, $95

Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Join author Abbe Rolnick as she takes you through the detailed process of bringing a book into the world. Course covers the inception of an idea, defining genre, acquiring writing skills, understanding the process of editing and revision, creating a compelling cover, and completing the last steps of distribution and marketing. Standards set by the publishing world and developed by the Independent Book Publishers Association will be used as a guide. She'll also explore the advantages and disadvantages of using a publisher, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and author accountability.

1 session, $45

Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Sharpen your descriptive skills and learn to make place a character in your writing. Each class, we'll meet in a different location--feel free to bring suggestions. Writing prompts and exercises, along with analysis of great writing, will demonstrate how to bring the beauty, mystery, and power of place to life on the page. First session meets in Readings Gallery at Village Books in Fairhaven; subsequent meeting places to be discussed in class.

4 sessions, $125

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Spend four evenings discovering the power of “wild mind writing”. Based on Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones, this intriguing class frees the mind through a unique practice that eliminates writer’s block. Instructor Nancy Canyon will lead new and experienced students through a variety of exercises--rewarding participants with a daily practice-style, fundamentally changing one’s writing forever. Ms. Canyon  invites all curious minds to enroll.

4 sessions, $149

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

As the building blocks of narrative, well-rendered scenes reveal character, create atmosphere, develop place, push plot, and express voice. Through detailed analysis of exceptional scenes and various writing exercises, you'll learn to deconstruct scene-writing craft and create vibrant, effective, memorable scenes that bring your writing to the next level.

4 sessions, $125

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

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 critical impact on your piece. One-hour lunch break provided.  

1 session, $95

Saturday, March 2, 2019 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Bharti Kirchner, who has published both cookbooks and novels, will show you how to use food as a tool for plot and character development and as subtext in a novel or memoir. She'll discuss how to sensuously describe a meal, a cooking scene, the ambience of a restaurant, and how to incorporate tension, and will give you a technique to determine how much description is enough. We'll study examples from published authors and will do fun easy classroom exercises to hone our skills. You'll soon be making more food references in your writing.

1 session, $29

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

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 progress. 

3 sessions, $115

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

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 how each contributes to the whole; use the variable results from reliable or unreliable narrators; and explore the same scene different ways.

1 session, $95

Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Expand your writing passion to embrace entrepreneurship, and discover resources to help manage your writing ventures. Learn the basics of a writing enterprise such as home office deductions, sales taxes, and tax reseller agreements. Topics include websites, domain names, accepting credit cards, bank accounts, crowdfunding, paperless filing systems, business plans, and more. Maya Sullivan encourages writers to find opportunities that ignite their enthusiasm and take steps to make it happen.

1 session, $39

Monday, March 11, 2019 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

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

Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

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: Story and Plot I.  

1 session, $95

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

In this sixth class of The Writer's Toolbox Series we'll look at how each earlier class affects the work which you’ve been creating for the past month by putting it all together. Prerequisite: one or more of the preceding workshops in The Writer's Toolbox Series to register for this final class.

1 session, $95

Friday, June 21, 2019 (All day) to Saturday, June 22, 2019 (All day)

Nine years ago, Whatcom Community College's Community and Continuing Education and Village Books launched the Chuckanut Writers Conference with the theme Inspiration into Action. We’re pleased to return on Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, 2019, to continue our mission—to profoundly inspire your writing life. In support of this mission, we’ve gathered a renowned faculty and developed a dynamic program with an unwavering commitment to excellence. We invite you to take part in this unique event, one we hope you’ll remember for years to come.