I’ve taught writing at four universities, at conferences, and privately for three decades and am on the faculty of the MFA program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. My 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

TO PAY Once your participation is confirmed, you can pay via check or PayPal. Depending on when you sign up, it may be possible to split the payment in two.

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

What Students Say >>

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 This is a classic workshop limited to five writers, much smaller than the usual workshop. Participants will submit writing and critique others' fiction. I’ll teach you the art of close reading to help you reach a heightened awareness of what’s on the page—and not on the page—and how these affect how we experience the work before us. You’ll learn to better verbalize and understand your reactions to the work, receive feedback on your own work and craft guidance tailored to your manuscripts’ needs, and gain support and encouragement from me and the group. And most of all, you’ll make significant progress on your manuscript in process. The workshop will meet five Thursdays, biweekly, in Wyncote, PA, very near to SEPTA’s Jenkintown/Wyncote train station. Each writer can submit up to about 15 pages (about 3750 words) twice during the workshop. If you're interested, drop me a line at

DATES: Thursday, October 3, 17, and 31; November 14; December 5. 

TIME: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with snacks to tide us over  

FEE: $800

Two spots left! Contact me if you’d like to sign up >>

Other Workshop Offerings Have Included

Finding Your Gold

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? In this three-hour workshop, 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.

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.

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