Creative Writing Workshops | Wilkes University

Inspire the creative writer in you.

Enroll in our writing workshops today! Enjoy these noncredit creative writing classes in multiple topics. Workshops are open to adults of any age or education level and take place in hybrid or online formats.

Point Of View In Nonfiction

Hybrid | 6 sessions
Sept. 14 - Oct. 19
6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday
Taught by Susan Minsavage
Tuition: $100
Register for Point Of View In Nonfiction

Many nonfiction writers tell their true-life accounts from the 1st-person position of “I,” but that’s not the only option! Participants in this workshop will learn how to write themselves onto the page from many different angles, manipulating narrative distance and self-address to find the “best” self for the scene. As we work to build new skills, we’ll share work with one another in a supportive environment. By the end of the workshop sequence, participants will have produced several short pieces they may further develop as they work to portray themselves in memoir and personal essays.

Susan Minsavage holds the M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, with a concentration in creative nonfiction. A singer, educator and speech-language pathologist, she also holds advanced degrees from Misericordia University and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She is active in the NEPA classical music community and maintains a small private voice studio.

Poetry Power!

Online | 6 sessions
Sept. 15 - Oct. 20
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM on Wednesday
Taught by Dawn Leas
Tuition: $100
Register for Poetry Power!

This workshop will explore structure and language of poetry, both visually and aurally, through reading and discussing several American poets. Participants will also write and discuss their original work with the group and receive comments from the workshop leader. The final workshop will include a reading of the poems created during the six weeks to which participants can invite family and friends.

Dawn Leas is the author of A Person Worth Knowing (Foothills Publishing), Take Something When You Go, (Winter Goose Publishing), and I Know When to Keep Quiet, (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Literary Mama, The Pedestal Magazine, SWWIM, San Pedro River Review, and elsewhere. In past lives, she has been a copywriter, English teacher and worked in higher-education. Currently, she’s a writing coach, editor, and teaching artist for Arts in Education NEPA. Visit www.thehammockwriter.com

Setting As Character

Online | 6 sessions
Sept. 16 - Oct. 21
6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday
Taught by Monique Franz
Tuition: $100
Register for Setting As Character

Students participate in exciting writing exercises to increase their abilities to create captivating landscapes that support tone, characters, and theme. After brief analysis of literary works students complete their own writing challenges involving actual and fictional worlds while having opportunities to share and gain feedback from their student peers.

Monique Franz, an American novelist, playwright, and Wilkes University alumna, repatriated to the U.S. after twelve years of living in Hong Kong, and grew in her love of fiction during her travels throughout regions of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East where she held youth workshops and teaching seminars in underdeveloped areas. She founded the DB Writers Forum in Hong Kong, taught performing arts courses at the International Academy of Film and Television, and worked as a freelance writer for screen and stage. She consulted in the writing of Telema, a professional musical production, that raised city-wide awareness and funds for asylum-seekers and refugees. Her debut novel, Sisters in Hong Kong, is a fictional tale inspired by her life as a woman of color in the specialized Chinese region and her advocacy work there with asylum-seekers and refugees. www.moniquefranz.com

Writing Popular Fiction

Hybrid | 2 sessions
Oct. 23 & 24
10 a.m. - 4:30 pm. on Sunday and Saturday
Taught by Jennifer McLaughlin
Tuition: $100
Register for Writing Popular Fiction

Writers will learn how to begin (and continue!) a story in an encouraging classroom environment with fellow writers through experimentation with character, voice, setting, image and story in popular fiction. This six-week workshop begins with creating a blurb for a desired project, and includes studying excerpts across popular fiction genres, writing assignments of your outlined story, and group workshopping. Helpful, honest feedback received in this workshop will help writers learn, grow, and stay the course on their dream projects.

Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who was mentioned in Forbes as a breakout independent author. Under her pen name Diane Alberts, she is a bestselling author of contemporary romance with Entangled Publishing. She is also published by Penguin/Berkley and Random House and has written three books for James Patterson/Hachette. www.jenmclaughlin-dianealberts.com

Writing Places And Spaces

Online | 6 sessions
Oct. 25 - Nov. 29
7-9 p.m. on Monday
Taught by Vicki Mayk
Tuition: $100
Register for Writing Places And Spaces

Place plays an important role in nonfiction writing, often assuming the role of another character in memoir, essays and literary journalism. In this workshop, we’ll consider writers who have made place and location central to nonfiction. Participants will write about personal and public landscapes from a variety of perspectives, from memories of home to capturing places visited. The role that place can play in revealing character traits about individuals also will be explored. The workshop will include craft lessons examining how place is used in nonfiction, weekly prompts and workshopping of assignments. NOTE: Fiction writers may take this workshop if they are writing about real places in their work.

Vicki Mayk’s narrative nonfiction book, Growing Up On The Gridiron: Football, Friendship and the Tragic Life of Owen Thomas, was published in September 2020 by Beacon Press. The book is the latest writing credit in a 40-year writing career in which telling true stories has been Vicki’s focus. A former reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Courier-News in Bridgewater, N.J., her freelance journalism also has appeared in national and regional publications, including Ms. magazine and The New York Times. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Hippocampus Magazine, Literary Mama, The Manifest-Station and in the anthology Air. She’s been the editor of three university magazines, most recently at Wilkes University. Learn more about her at www.vickimayk.com

Improv For Empathy

Hybrid | 6 sessions
Oct. 27 - Dec. 1
6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday
Taught by McCall Logan
Tuition: $100
Register for Improv For Empathy

Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? Then you know what improv is, but not all it can do! Sure it’s (literally) fun and games, but it can help your writing (especially with portraying authentic characters and dialogue), as well as in any career or area of life. Need help giving a presentation at work? Have trouble with the question-and-answer section of an interview or reading? Want to better connect with kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews? Want to be a more engaging speaker? Improv can help! During this workshop, you will learn not only how to do improv (like you’ve seen on TV), but also how to use it in your everyday life. In improv, there are no wrong answers and no experience needed.

McCall Logan holds an M.F.A. in playwriting and a B.A. in Theatre and Film. McCall has worked in Chicago, Illinois as an improviser, musical improviser, actor and director.

Expressing Diverse Voices In Fiction

Online | 6 sessions
Oct. 28 - Dec. 2
6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday
Taught by Monique Franz
Tuition: $100
Register for Expressing Diverse Voices In Fiction

Students will engage in stimulating writing exercises to communicate their diverse experiences through Fiction in order to captivate universal audiences and broaden cultural schema. Classes will include group discussions and writing challenges aimed to tap into students’ use of their cultural roots, ethnic realities, and human experience in order to craft them into fascinating stories. Students experiment with different subgenres to stretch literary skills and will focus on developing their literary voice to connect the unique minority narrative to the overall human story.

Monique Franz, an American novelist, playwright, and Wilkes University alumna, repatriated to the U.S. after twelve years of living in Hong Kong, and grew in her love of fiction during her travels throughout regions of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East where she held youth workshops and teaching seminars in underdeveloped areas. She founded the DB Writers Forum in Hong Kong, taught performing arts courses at the International Academy of Film and Television, and worked as a freelance writer for screen and stage. She consulted in the writing of Telema, a professional musical production, that raised city-wide awareness and funds for asylum-seekers and refugees. Her debut novel, Sisters in Hong Kong, is a fictional tale inspired by her life as a woman of color in the specialized Chinese region and her advocacy work there with asylum-seekers and refugees. www.moniquefranz.com

The Art Of Misjudgment (Screenwriting)

Online | 2 sessions
Nov. 20 & 21
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday and Saturday
Taught by Ross Klavan
Tuition: $100
Register for The Art Of Misjudgment

A different approach to writing movies (and all stories). Stories are often constructed by creating a character who desires…and then throwing obstacles in the path of that desire. We’ll do something a little off-beat. We’ll link the character’s desire to a misjudgment or mistake and then show how the misjudgments and mistakes build on one another to make the story move forward. We’ll watch film scenes, dissect them, then write our own. The basics in form, format, and style will be covered. From Eve trusting the serpent to The Joker thinking he’ll make it as a stand-up, misjudgments and mistakes are a vital aspect to storytelling.

Ross Klavan’s work spans film, TV, stage, books and radio. His screenplay for the film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and was directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Colin Farrell. Other screenplays were written for Miramax, Weinstein, Paramount, A&E, InterMedia, Walden Media, and TNT. Klavan’s darkly comic novel “Schmuck” was published by Greenpoint Press and several noir novellas have been published by Down and Out Books.