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I’ve taught writing at four universities, at conferences, and privately for three decades. Students and private clients have gone on to attend graduate school in writing, to self-publish, and to become published authors of acclaimed short stories, novels, and nonfiction at major publishing houses.

These intensive, inspiring, focused workshops are limited to five students each. We’ll meet in a lovely space (see image below) a short walk from the Jenkintown/Wyncote SEPTA regional rail station, just outside Philadelphia. Yummy snacks are provided.

In addition to these private workshops, I’m available to teach workshops at libraries, community centers, and schools.

TO SIGN UP or find out more, email

Once your participation is confirmed, you can pay via check or PayPal. For the latter, click the Register link in the site’s menu. Web processing fees are added to payments made online.

A commitment to take a workshop is a commitment to pay in full. Fees are nonrefundable except in the case of a medical emergency. In other circumstances, no refunds are offered for classes missed.

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Finding Your Gold

Sunday, February 17, 2019
(snow date Sunday, February 24)

For someone who’s inclined to write, any
powerful, formative experience is a nugget of gold. By working from that material, you can create moving stories that forge a strong bond with readers and motivate you. So what are the stories that only you can tell, because of what life has given you? Through my talks, several guided exercises that will generate new writing, and our discussions, you’ll expand and deepen your story resources and invigorate your approach. Handouts will supplement our meeting and give you materials to continue working with for years to come. All levels and genres welcome. Maximum enrollment is five. Lots of yummy and healthful snacks provided.

Date: Feb. 17 (snow date Feb. 24),
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tuition: $200

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Other Workshop Offerings Have Included:

Discover Your Story Structure
and Develop Your Story

This intensive class, with three sessions of three hours each, is a highly effective way to focus and direct your efforts for months or years to come. What is the premise of your story, memoir, or novel? How do you get to the heart of what you want to reveal and create a structure that reveals this? Our class will guide and support you in answering these questions and in building a story structure that can carry you to the end of your manuscript. We’ll examine what a story premise is, discuss our premises, spin out our plots, try several methods of structuring those plots, and break them down further to get at the heart of what we want to explore and reveal. Then we’ll get some key moments on the page. I’ll offer guidance on issues of craft, process, confidence, getting past blocks, and other concerns. I’ll also provide methods to help you work at home in a writing diary. Handouts will supplement our meetings. All levels and genres welcome. Maximum enrollment is five. Ample snacks provided.

The Voices in Your Head

The voices in a piece of writing—narrators and characters—are amazing living things that come off the page and become real to us. Writers can create many—perhaps innumerable—voices. What voices do you want to explore? There are ways of speaking and thinking that are distinctive to your family, places you’ve been, cultural environments you know. Through talks, exercises, and discussion, you’ll bring more of these unique voices to the page. Three-hour class, with a walking break and snacks.

Classic Workshop

In rotation — not running in Winter 2019

Submit work and critique others’ work—with a maximum of four writers, for close attention and intensive learning. You’ll submit up to 20 pages twice in the four-session workshop, each time receiving detailed feedback from me, feedback from other members, and a thorough in-class discussion of your work. I’ll also teach craft, tailored to manuscript needs, and offer instructive exercises. It will run for four meetings, once a month.

Morning Jump-Start

“I want to write, but I can’t find the time.” Sound familiar? This workshop gives you three hours a week to jump-start your efforts. It offers imaginative prompts designed to open doors into new areas of writing and thinking, whether for a project in process or for something new, fiction or memoir. We’ll write, share work as desired, and discuss aspects of craft in a warm, inspiring atmosphere. Ample snacks provided. Take this chance to make sure you get writing done, and use the scenes and ideas you generate to spur further writing for months to come. Each class is three hours long, with one break.Ample snacks provided. Take this chance to make sure you get writing done, and use the scenes and ideas you generate to spur further writing for months to come. All levels welcome.

The Writers’ Toolkit

Do you have all the tools you need to craft memorable fiction? This workshop offers a chance to learn or polish fundamental skills for writing powerful fiction and write in every class. Through interactive talks and exercises created and tested over decades of teaching, you’ll learn about finding the stories only you can tell, crafting plots, creating convincing settings, writing genuine dialogue, forging complex characters, using sensory details, exploring voices, and understanding and utilizing points of view. Includes a half-hour private session with me, in person or on the phone, on your work in progress. Handouts will supplement our meetings. All levels of fiction writers welcome.

Seven sessions of 3 hours, with a walking break and snacks, and a half-hour private meeting with Janet on an eighth day.

“You helped me to explore a creative side that I could never unleash on my own. You showed me how to become a risk-taker. You challenge me.”
— Kimberley Jones, teacher