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.

Thursday, September 5, 2019 - 5:00pm

"Did he really say that?" Creating Effective Dialogue in Memoir with Laura Kalpakian - September 5
Three Acts & Scene Generation with Nancy Lou Canyon - September 12
Turning People You Know into Characters on the Page with Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor - September 19
Gaining Freedom from Your Inner Critic with Cami Ostman - September 26

As a part of the fourth annual Whatcom Memoir Writing Month, this series of workshops will help you along the way as you turn your memories into memoir. The goal for each writer is 1666 words every day.  At the end of September you will have 50,000 words: a book. You will have given shape and voice to the stories and adventures you always wanted to share, the stories your readers want to hear. These workshops, all taught or led by experienced memoir writers and teachers, can be taken as a whole, or you can select from the individual workshops to suit your needs and schedule.

4 sessions




Thursday, September 5, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Part of the WhaMemWriMo Series!

Memoirs begin with memory. Writing a memoir means shaping memories--places, people, relationships, family stories, events both big and small--into a coherent narrative. This class will offer ideas, strategies, and suggestions to help you meet that challenge. We'll discuss how (and where) to begin putting the past on the page, how to develop and sustain your work, and how to use journals, letters, and photographs to enhance your story. Bring your ideas, your thoughts, your hopes, and questions. Leave with a handout to guide you, and a sense of direction. 

1 session




Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Part of the WhaMemWriMo Series!

Aristotle's Incline--a three-act plotting device, along with the literary scene--the building block of any book, provide writers with two easy tools for penning and organizing a memoir. Literary scenes locate along the timeline and big scenes--or turning-points--build dramatic tension and move the story forward. We'll examine pacing, flashback, action, dialogue, and learn how conflict is essential to writing a dramatic story. In this introductory class, we'll generate a scene list that will help you flush out your narrative. You'll leave class with a beginning time-line, Aristotle's Incline, and several scene ideas to write at your leisure. 

1 session




Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Part of the WhaMemWriMo Series!

Writing about family and friends can be a daunting task when writing memoir. Whether good, bad, or indifferent, the key to turning people you know into characters on the page is choosing the details that evoke the relationship between yourself as narrator and the person as character. Using techniques drawn from traditional storytelling and modern improvisational theater, join Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor, author of Dancing Between Bamboo Poles, in exploring how gesture, vocal quality, and silence can turn the people in our lives into vibrant characters.

1 session




Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Part of the WhaMemWriMo Series!

Do you wonder if anyone would be interested in your story? Or perhaps you worry you're not a good enough writer to write the book you want to put out into the world. Do you hear a voice in your head telling you you're wasting your time? These are the voices of the inner critic and the most important thing you can do for your writing is learn how to quiet these voices. Join author and writing coach Cami Ostman to learn how to work with the Inner Critic so that you can find the freedom, enthusiasm, and confidence to keep your fingers on the keyboard. 

1 session




Monday, October 7, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Writers, students, tinkerers, and poets-unleash your creativity with the improbable contraption that is the Typewriter. Discover the amazing curative properties analog writing can have for the frustrated creative. Smash through writer's block. Rescue confidence! Banish paralyzing self-critique as you devastate the page with your machine-gun prose. Typewriters will be provided, but you may bring your own. There's no social media here; there isn't even a delete key!

4 sessions




Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Do you have a story that is begging to be shared? Are you compelled to share your own true stories? In the spirit of live storytelling events like The Moth, this workshop will provide a safe space to craft your own story and a supportive audience with which to share it. Stephanie Dethlefs is a writer, story coach, and founder of {extra}ordinary stories, an online program for memoirists and storytellers.

2 sessions + 1 event




Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

When we step outside our usual surroundings and routines, we can see things freshly, as if for the first time. 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




Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Many writers have unfinished books (novels, poetry, business, memoirs, screenplays) they've been working on for a long time, and these unfulfilled dreams are aching for completion and, hopefully, sales and glory. This class will help you identify what's preventing completion, and find solutions for these self-allowed obstacles, as well as help you understand and prepare for the next steps of completing drafts, finding a publisher, and learning some information about marketing. 

1 session




Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm

Building Strong Characters - October 16, $95
Writing Compelling Dialogue - October 23, $95
Creating Evocative Settings, Atmosphere, and Mood - October 30, $95
Working with Story and Plot I - November 6, $95
Working with Story and Plot II - November 13, $95
Maximizing Your Uniqueness as a Storyteller - November 20, $95

Take all six workshops in The Writer's Toolbox Series and SAVE!

Join local author Roby Blecker for this linked series of practical exercises that will provide you with tools for your writing toolbox. Our goal will be to emphasize and improve your craft as a writer. Rather than general theory, the series gives you writing practice at your level and 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 series will provide you with the means to take the next step. These workshops can be taken as a whole, or you can select from the individual workshops to suit your needs and schedule. One-hour lunch break provided each session. Space is limited--register early!

6 sessions




Wednesday, October 16, 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. Bring examples of characters you've created or want to create to class. 

1 session




Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Every successful author of fiction gets asked this question. This class will look at the sources for ideas and the ways to turn those ideas into mouth-watering stories. Roby Blecker is a writer and editor, and has been helping others perfect their craft for over 27 years.

2 sessions




Wednesday, October 23, 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 "info-dump" while still conveying information, and the power of character silences. 

1 session




Wednesday, October 30, 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 how to create 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. 

1 session




Saturday, November 2, 2019 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Interested in writing? Sign up for our monthly Just Write enewsletter today!

Village Books and WCC Community and Continuing Education have established a writing instruction collaboration called Chuckanut Writers. Writing classes, seminars, and conferences will inspire and encourage writers at all stages of their writing journey.




Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

In the information economy, there's a near-endless demand for skilled writers and editors. But most aspiring wordsmiths don't know where to start. Where do you find work? What do you charge? What kinds of projects should you take on? This course answers those questions and more as you learn to build the foundation of a thriving freelancing career. 

2 sessions




Wednesday, November 6, 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




Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

It's often said that everyone has a book in them, but many never write that book because they don't know how to get started writing fiction, perhaps after years of writing reports, memos, or emails. This class will provide the basics for someone who wants to dip their toe into creating fiction for the first time. 

3 sessions




Wednesday, November 13, 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: Working with Story & Plot I.

1 session




Wednesday, November 20, 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




Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 5:45pm to 8:45pm

No matter your profession or area of expertise, you've built up a treasure trove of valuable knowledge throughout your career. So why not share that knowledge? Professional nonfiction can build thought leadership, drive leads to your business, and grow your audience. This course teaches you how to get your expertise out of your head and onto the page.

1 session