Workshops and Special Events

Janet has taught writing at universities, conferences, and privately for three decades. Workshops meet in a lovely space a short walk from the Jenkintown/Wyncote SEPTA regional rail station, just outside Philadelphia. Snacks are provided. 



WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL. Craft discussion, guidance, and in-class writing prompts to deepen your work in progress. Janet tailors the topics to the needs of workshop members. Meets 10 to 12:15 on five Tuesdays: Sept. 12 (exception: from 12 to 2:15), 19, and 26, and Oct. 3 and 10.


Craft guidance, in-class writing, two dates for work submission (up to 15 double-spaced pages), detailed written feedback--and snacks. Meets 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on seven Tuesdays: Sept. 12, 19, and 26 and Oct. 3, 10, 17, and 31. (No class Oct. 24.)

To send a check, email Janet for instructions at To pay via PayPal, click Payment and Shopping link. (Via link, the cost includes a portion of the fees levied by PayPal and credit-card companies.) COST: $560 by check, or $577.10 with fees.


The workshops listed above may continue, with openings for new enrollees. In addition, these workshops are likely to be offered.

1. Shaping Your Story: Building Plots that Satisfy 

DATE: To be determined, one session of 2 hours

To create a powerful, moving story, start with what makes you care about the story. This class will show you how to determine the core of your story and use that information to build a narrative arc that reflects the work’s purpose in the lives of your characters. COST: $60. 

2. Discovering and Refining Your Story Structure

DATES: To be determined, two sessions of 2 hours each. Third session (one-hour private conference) by appointment.

This group is limited to five writers who've started a novel or a memoir and written 25 pages or more. If you choose to enroll, you'll gain guidance and support for understanding the purposes of your story, deepening your awareness of its meanings, and building a story structure that can help carry you to the end of your manuscript.

In our two group meetings, rather than looking at pages of manuscripts, we'll work together. We'll examine what a story premise is, discuss our own premises, and engage in structuring efforts (including trying out several methods in the group) to get at the heart of what we want our stories to reveal. We'll also troubleshoot other challenges we face in moving stories forward. Janet will offer guidance on issues of craft, process, confidence, getting past blocks, and other concerns. She'll also provide methods to help you work at home in a writing diary. Handouts will supplement our meetings.

Your third session will consist of a 1-hour private conference with Janet to discuss current story structure and anything else you'd would like to discuss about your manuscript in process. If you'd like, you may continue working privately with Janet after the workshop ends. COST: $300.

PAYMENT POLICY: Payment is accepted by check or via credit card or PayPal (via Writers Toolkit page on this website). 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.


"I call it the Benton standard, and it has clearly worked for me." --Pam Jenoff, bestselling novelist

"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

"Janet is knowledgeable, engaging, and approachable. She pushes me to challenge myself as a writer and never settles for anything less . . . She reminds me to tell a compelling story. Her workshops have been the best learning experiences I've ever had. Janet has a special ability to draw from her students their best attributes, while encouraging them to continue improving their deficiencies." --Elvedine Wilkerson, retired school principal

"Janet is a diplomat and handles her students well--while still maintaining control, she lends an air of empathy and sensitivity."

"This course has been one of the best learning experiences I've ever had. Janet Benton is a superb teacher!"