creative writing Workshops

Work with an instructor and up to six other writers to hone your pieces, workshopping your writing every time the group gets together.

Additionally, once per semester we invite a member of the publishing industry (typically an editor, literary agent or publisher) to visit your workshop or outside scheduled event and share their experience and insight. For other special events and visiting speakers, click here to check out our Events page!

Manhattan workshops are held at our Upper West Side hub, while Brooklyn workshops take place in Park SlopeWestchester workshops available too!

Workshops now open for ongoing enrollment! All workshops meet for 90 minute sessions, unless otherwise noted.

If you are interested in pro-rated enrollment, please let us know!

 

Two of our Spring 2017 Memoir workshoppers enjoy a spirited end-of-semester discussion.

 
 

Spring Schedule 2018

Spring workshops begin the week of March 19th and last for ten weeks, except where otherwise noted**

 

Memoir

You’ll spend the majority of the Memoir workshop discussing various structures & points-of-view for personal non-fiction writing, setting writing goals for yourself, drafting opening scenes and finding the voice that’s best to tell your true (or true-felt) story. By the end of the workshop, each writer will have a finished draft of one essay or memoir chapter.

Ten week semester, Wednesday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

 

Mixed Genre

The focus of our Mixed Genre workshop is generating new writing in both fiction or non-fiction, making it a great fit for writers who are uncertain about the direction they want to go. You’ll spend most of your time getting words on the page, doing craft-focused exercises, finding your voice and setting writing goals. By the end of the workshop, each participant will aim to have a finished draft of one story, essay, or book chapter (and maybe more!).

Ten week semester, Monday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Ten week semester, Tuesday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Ten week semester, Thursday 7pm to 8:30pm (Manhattan)**(Runs from Jan. 18 to March 22)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

 

Fiction (Novel & Short Story)

An open forum for fiction of all types, your long or short-form projects are welcome here—and your blank pages too! A place for writers still in search of their voices and ones who've found them, by the end of the Fiction workshop each writer will aim to have a finished draft of one story or novel chapter.

Ten week semester, Tuesday 6:30pm to 8pm (Brooklyn) **(Runs from Feb. 6 to April 10)

Ten week semester, Thursday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

 

Screenwriting / Theater

Whether silver screen or red curtain, this workshop brings together writers for audiences of all sorts. Your television pilot will tighten, your play will swell with pathos, your movie idea will hit all the beats it needs (and then some!). For writers with material in hand or just ideas in mind, you'll have them laughing and crying by the time the credits roll.

Ten week semester, Thursday 5:30pm to 7pm (Manhattan)

Instructor: Gina Stevensen

I really like Gina! She is super approachable and patient. I’m excited to get working; so cool it’s an intimate class.
— LeAnn Noh, Screenwriting

Poetry of New York

“Do I contain multitudes?” Perhaps no other line has captured the vast and self-exploratory nature of New York City better than this one, from Brooklyn’s own Walt Whitman. Poetry of New York invites you to participate in that same self-investigative tradition, exploring the city’s various poetic sources—from the singular outsider musings of E.E. Cummings to the contemporary East Village slam poetry of Mahogany L. Browne—with a small group of dedicated writers. By the end of this workshop, you'll have written a chapbook-length manuscript of poems (whether or not you've ever written a line of poetry before) inspired by the city’s most treasured voices, in addition to at least one "field trip" to one of NYC's lyrical landmarks. “Do I contradict myself?” Whitman wrote. “Very well, then I contradict myself.” Come explore your very own contradictions, discover your voice through the language of the city, and become a welcome part of a beautiful poetic tradition. (You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.)

Ten week semester, Thursday 3:30pm to 5pm (Manhattan)

Instructor: Tara Mokhtari

 

Science Fiction / Fantasy / Speculative Fiction

It hasn’t happened yet, but it could. From the techno-pervasiveness of Philip K. Dick to Back to the Future’s President Biff, sci-fi is the one genre that can’t rest on its past predictions, lest they become present reality all too easily. You’re invited to imagine all the worlds that cannot be (or maybe just aren’t yet) and populate them with the concepts, conflicts and characters that keep you up at night.

Ten week semester, Thursday 6:30pm to 8pm (Manhattan)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

 

Children's Literature

Are you ready to start your first––or second or third––young adult or middle grade novel? Have you already begun and are looking for a supportive and engaging space to write and talk shop with other writers? In our KidLit workshop, published instructors provide the structure and space to read, draft, revise, and discuss aspects of writing for young audiences, no matter the genre. Like kids themselves, children’s literature is always changing, often just as surprisingly. Join this workshop to become part of the conversation and help to figure out where it goes next. You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.

Tuesday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Thursday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Instructor: Various instructors

Humor / Satire Writing

Comedians are so funny, aren't they?! They've got that "something special," don't they? They've got the perfect material and spot-on observations about the world. Some of them even make us laugh so hard we ugly-cry. But how do they do it? Ever wanted to try your hand at standup comedy but don't know the first thing about joke writing? That's where Mimi comes in. A stand-up, improv comedian, and actor of 10+ years appearing on some pretty cool stages across the country, she's here to help you learn how to write for laughs. With a unique blend of humor and literary techniques, she will walk you through writing for the stage, for sketches, screenplays, and even for your personal blog. No experience required! Just a willingness to learn, explore, and find the funny in everything!

Ten week semester, Monday 7pm to 8:30pm (Manhattan)

Instructor: Mimi Hayes

I truly appreciate [Alex’s] energetic effort on our behalf.
In 3 classes I’ve already learned much and have you to thank for.
— Jerome Sauvage, Fiction (Brooklyn)

Food & Travel Writing

This workshop is for the hungry ones. All things culinary are welcome, nay, celebrated here — fans of MFK Fisher, Michael Pollan, Anthony Bourdain, even Archestratus himself come to the front. Bring us your recipes! Recipes for what makes great writing and, of course, great dishes. A blend of memoir, essay, cookbook and whatever else you have lying around, this workshop meets weekly and features one writer presenting not only their piece for workshop, but (hopefully!) a dish as well. Think potluck meets prose & poetry spread out over the course of the semester and you understand why this workshop is so popular

Ten week semester, Friday 10:30am to noon (Manhattan)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

 
 
When I listen to our discussions, and [Alex’s] analysis of all the characters and the setting and how he explains what we are writing, I don’t want to go home. I want to continue talking, talking, talking about it.
— Nisreen Aljubouri, Updraft: Fiction, Brooklyn
 Summer 2017 Memoir workshop ends with a toast to new friends & good stories.

Summer 2017 Memoir workshop ends with a toast to new friends & good stories.


 

• On The Horizon •

Please let us know if you're interested in one of the workshops below at register@thewritersrock.com


 
New Mothers

“I wish I had had a space to process all that I was thinking, feeling, loving, and imagining my first few years of motherhood.” With conversations on the cultural expectations of mothers, and what it means to be creative, along with writing exercises about the triumphs and challenges of a creative life and a "new" identity, this workshop is for new mothers looking for a place to read and write about the ways that motherhood can inform the creative process, and dive into their own projects. (A safe space for breast-feeding mothers.) You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.

Tuesday 10am to 11:30am (Manhattan)

Instructor: Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

I am so glad [Alex and I] are working together. I appreciate your insightful comments and thorough analysis. It’s very helpful.
— Nathalie S., Manuscript Services
 
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Novel

For those who like to bite off as much as they can chew, and maybe a little bit more. Our novel-writing workshop gives every participant the opportunity to have large sections of your manuscript read and critiqued by serious, dedicated peers in a positive and constructive environment. Unlike Short Story, this workshop provides the time and space that novels require: to really understand the mechanics of longer plot lines, to get a feel for subtle character development, to appreciate the implications of structural choices across a novel’s entire length (or as close as we can get). For those who have partial manuscripts already and will benefit from a close group of committed readers. Cap of 6 per workshop; you will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.

Monday 7pm to 10pm (Manhattan)

Thursday 10am to 11:30am (Brooklyn)

 

Interfaith x Secular Workshop

As New Yorkers, we cross thousands of boundaries a day via subway, taxi, or on foot, crisscrossing the city and our lives. Let’s all get off the subway at the same stop and walk into a writing space together. With our Interfaith x Secular Workshop, we invite writers of all backgrounds and faiths—or non-faiths—to gather in one space and grapple with the same questions together in individual and collaborative writing. How can we strengthen our communities? How can we listen to each other better? How can we amplify quiet voices and interrogate the loudest ones with understanding and compassion—and critical thought? This workshop is a chance to explore the various ways humans have tackled these biggest of questions, and who knows? You might even uncover an answer or two along the way.

Monday 7pm to 8:30pm (Manhattan)

Instructor: Alex Henderson

Two writers discussing craft in our Spring 2017 Mixed Genre workshop

 
The Stories of Others

If you've ever found yourself sucked in to a conversation between two strangers, know that you're not alone. And in the best of cases, they're only strangers because you haven't gotten to know them yet. It's thanks to writers listening and writing them down that so many of the world's best stories can be amplified and heard outside of their original contexts. Thankfully we can always improve our ability to pause, listen, and record others' lives into moving narratives that treat the truth with craft and care. The Stories of Others is a workshop for writers of creative or academic nonfiction that deals with true subjects, whether historical, technological, political, environmental, journalistic, religious, or anything else under the sun. What matters here is an eye for detail, an ear for voice, and a desire to channel the world through your words so that new readers might enter it more fully. The world is a noisy place. Let's keep listening. (You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.)

Thursday 10am to 11:30am (Manhattan)

Freelancer's Studio

The freelancer’s life is a special balance, flying solo while still part of a team, working alone but collaborating with editors, photographers, graphic designers, sources, and the Time Warner Cable tech who picked right now to show up. If you’re looking for a stable but stimulating place to work on the pieces you're hoping to shop around, Freelancer’s Studio is it. Everything from personal essays to service writing to cultural criticism is welcome here. Meet with other freelancers to talk shop, trade insights and offer feedback, while benefiting from the guidance of an instructor who’s been on all sides of the pitching process––submitting, accepting, rejecting, commissioning and writing them. Freelancing means working on your own most of the time, but with this workshop, you’re invited to work on your own, together.

Thursday 10am to 11:30am (Manhattan)

 
Romance Writing

Every romance builds to its own happily ever after, but not everyone’s happily ever after looks the same. This workshop is your chance to discover yours. Romance Writing offers a supportive and open-minded workshop environment for genre die-hards and the genre-curious alike. Exploration of love and sex of all flavors is welcome here, in whatever setting you’re most comfortable writing. That means contemporary realism side-by-side with supernatural and urban fantasy, with plenty of room for historical, inspirational and fan-fiction treatments as well. We know writing about sex isn’t always easy, but our instructors’ judicious (and never judgmental) eye for the craft will have you writing into the sunset in whatever direction you choose––and what could be more happily ever after than that? (You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped every week.)

Tuesday 11:30am to 1pm (Manhattan)

Wednesday 7pm to 8:30pm (Brooklyn)

Director Alex Henderson with a writing student in our Winter 2017 Mixed Genre workshop.

Historical Fiction

Coming soon! Email register@thewritersrock.com if you want to be the first to hear when this workshop is offered.

Graphic Novels & Comics

Coming soon! Email register@thewritersrock.com if you want to be the first to hear when this workshop is offered.

 
Nature Writing

Coming soon! Email register@thewritersrock.com if you want to be the first to hear when this workshop is offered.

Mystery

Coming soon! Email register@thewritersrock.com if you want to be the first to hear when this workshop is offered.

 
Travel Writing

Coming soon! Email register@thewritersrock.com if you want to be the first to hear when this workshop is offered.

Early Winter 2017 Mixed Genre workshop in progress—before we added our bookshelf!