Creative Writing Workshops

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.

Available Workshops

The Writers’ Block: Writing in Community

Online | 6 sessions
Segment 1: Feb. 9 - March 16
Segment 2: March 23 - April 27
Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Taught by Monique Franz
Tuition: $100

This workshop offers supportive space for fiction writers (or writers of any genre) to have accountability as they approach literary projects. Students create a six-week goal for their new works or works-in-progress, then meet their targets with the support of peers and instructor. Each class will include writing tips and warm-ups before online writing sessions. Students will share their original material to gain peer feedback and (hopefully) life-long pen pals. 

Monique Franz is a novelist, playwright and songwriter who earned her MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. She recently repatriated to the U.S. after twelve years in Hong Kong where she worked as a theatre director and freelance writer, producing music and musical productions, as well as onstage and onscreen scripts. Her creative work was centered around serving children in underdeveloped countries and African asylum-seekers in the southern Chinese region. Her social justice work and life abroad inspired her debut novel, Sisters in Hong Kong, which contributed to Franz receiving both the Beverly Hiscox and Norris Church Mailer awards. 

Nonfiction Craft Essentials

Online | 6 sessions
Feb. 10 - March 17
Thursdays 6-8 p.m.
Taught by Sara Pisak
Tuition: $100

This workshop is designed for beginning or intermediate writers with a love of reading and writing. Workshop participants will engage with each other in their discussion of various nonfiction books and basic nonfiction craft elements, as well as each other’s writings. The six-week class will culminate in an online reading of one revised piece the student has written during the course.

How do we use the elements of craft to shape nonfiction stories? How do we write ourselves as characters in our own personal essays? How do we turn those closest to us into characters? The goal is to also develop an understanding of generating and revising new work. Students will be guided on their nonfiction writing journey with examples from authors Davon Loeb, Emily Bernard, s.e. smith, Beverly Donofrio and Janet Burroway, among others.

Sara Pisak is an editor, reviewer, essayist and poet. Sara earned her MFA and MA in nonfiction from Wilkes University. She recently published work in Hippocampus Magazine, Whale Road Review, Door is a Jar, The Deaf Poets Society, Five:2:One Magazine and Northern Appalachia Review, among others.

Underrepresented: Expanding Cultural Schema Through Fiction

Online | 2 sessions
Segment 1: Feb. 19 & 26
Segment 2: March 19 & 26
Saturdays 1-4 p.m.
Taught by Monique Franz
Tuition: $100

This course is ideal for writers of (and writers for) underrepresented people groups. Students will participate in writing exercises to communicate diversity through fiction that will captivate universal audiences and broaden cultural schema. The workshop will include courageous discussions on cultural perceptions and biases to help facilitate writing with a sense of responsibility for, and sensitivity towards, people of minority populations. By the end of the two sessions, students will have completed and revised three short stories that connect the unique narratives of underrepresented groups to the overall human story.

Monique Franz is a novelist, playwright and songwriter who earned her MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. She recently repatriated to the U.S. after twelve years in Hong Kong where she worked as a theatre director and freelance writer, producing music and musical productions, as well as onstage and onscreen scripts. Her creative work was centered around serving children in underdeveloped countries and African asylum-seekers in the southern Chinese region. Her social justice work and life abroad inspired her debut novel, Sisters in Hong Kong, which contributed to Franz receiving both the Beverly Hiscox and Norris Church Mailer awards.

Headlines of Your Life

Online | 6 sessions
March 1 - April 5
Tuesdays 6-7:30 p.m.
Taught by Fran Reilly
Tuition: $100

Use tools from the journalist’s toolbox to investigate and write your own life stories. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels, including beginners, who are interested in writing nonfiction memoir or personal essays. We’ll apply core elements from the journalist’s toolbox - the lede, nutgraf, timeline, interviewing, editing - to your life stories and experiment with how these adapted techniques can kickstart your writing or help you look at your stories in a different way. Sessions include instruction, in-class writing exercises and workshopping.

Fran Reilly is a media professional and writer with extensive experience in the magazine and newspaper industries, serving most recently as the director of the News Leaders Association and publisher of City Limits News. She holds an MA in creative writing with a concentration in creative nonfiction and is an MFA candidate in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University.

Writing Pandemic Stories: A Narrative Medicine Workshop for Healthcare Professionals

Online with Hybrid Option | 6 sessions
March 22 - April 26
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Taught by Vicki Mayk
Tuition: $100

Healthcare professionals have a wealth of pandemic stories to tell. This workshop, exclusively for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health-care workers, will use the tools of narrative medicine, a field which values storytelling and listening as a means to promote healing, improve care, and develop empathy for both caregivers and patients. Participants will use reflective writing to capture their own pandemic stories as well as explore ways to use narrative and compassionate listening to support the healing process in patients.

Please check the registration page for information about earning CME/CE credit for attendance.

Vicki Mayk is a nonfiction writer, teacher and editor whose work has appeared in regional and national publications. At Wilkes University, she teaches noncredit adult writing workshops and a class for first-year college students on the power of story. She began teaching narrative medicine workshops at St. Luke’s Hospice in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2012 and has studied in the narrative medicine program at Columbia University. Through her consulting business, Write to Heal, she conducts writing workshops and retreats focusing on processing trauma and loss. An award-winning writer, Mayk is the author of the book Growing Up On The Gridiron: Football, Friendship and the Tragic Life of Owen Thomas (Beacon Press 2020). Her freelance journalism and creative nonfiction have appeared in Ms. Magazine, The New York Times, The Manifest-station, Hippocampus Magazine, Literary Mama and other publications. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University.

Vicki Mayk's website

Types of Nonfiction

Online | 6 sessions
March 24 - April 28
Thursdays 6-8 p.m.
Taught by Sara Pisak
Tuition: $100

In this course, students will become more familiar with various types of nonfiction, such as place writing, literary journalism, reviews and rants, memoir and personal essay, and become comfortable workshopping and critiquing work in a group setting. This workshop is designed for intermediate writers with a love for reading as well as writing.

Workshop participants will engage with each other in their discussion of various nonfiction books and types of nonfiction, as well as each other’s writings. The six-week class will culminate in an online reading of one revised piece the student has written during the course. Students will be guided on their nonfiction writing journey with examples from authors Roxane Gay, Louise Erdrich, Thao Thai, Maureen Corrigan and Demetria Martinez, among others. New work will be generated each class period with an opening and closing prompt as well as a short homework assignment which will be workshopped the following class.

Sara Pisak is an editor, reviewer, essayist and poet. Sara earned her MFA and MA in nonfiction from Wilkes University. She recently published work in Hippocampus Magazine, Whale Road Review, Door is a Jar, The Deaf Poets Society, Five:2:One Magazine and Northern Appalachia Review, among others.

Plot Twists (and How to Write Them)

Online | 6 sessions
March 26 - April 30
Saturdays 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Taught by Megan Tidwell
Tuition: $100

Have you ever struggled to implement the perfect plot twist in your writing? To find that perfect balance of breadcrumbs so that the twist isn’t obvious, but still makes sense upon its reveal? In this workshop, students will learn what makes a plot twist effective through examination of their own works and various films famous for their plot twists. By the end of the workshop, students will have gained a working mastery of plot twist structures and implementation. 

Megan Tindell earned her MFA in screenwriting from Wilkes in 2021. In the past six months, she has worked on short films, commercials, TV shows and feature films in a variety of roles including director’s assistant and script supervisor. Tindell is currently shopping out her Victorian fantasy drama script, writing a horror comedy and in post-production for her short film Dissonance.

Playwriting: Finding Inspiration Through Improv

In Person | 1 session
April 2
Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Taught by Juliette Dunn
Tuition: $100

The workshop will focus heavily on the creative process and lightly on the writing process. Students will be taught basic improv skills, practice improv to generate ideas and develop character and then write about those characters and ideas.

Students will challenge themselves to write on the spot with a group of collaborators and explore new ways to navigate the creative process of writing. They will first learn basic improv skills, test those skills through short and long form scene work, then spend time writing through the inspiration of their discoveries in an all-day intensive workshop. All genres and levels of experience are welcome.

Juliette Dunn MFA '22 is a professional actor, teacher and playwright who has performed for over twenty years in theatre, film and television. Her play, The Puzzle, will be produced in the 100th anniversary season at the Hedgerow Theatre Company in 2023. 

Setting as Character: Craft a Setting Where Readers Get Lost in the Story

Online | 2 sessions
April 2 & 9
Saturdays 1-4 p.m.
Taught by Monique Franz
Tuition: $100

This course is intended to provide beginning and intermediate writers with tools to enrich their writing through focus on setting. Students participate in fun-filled exercises to craft captivating landscapes that support tone, characters and plot. 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. By the end of the two sessions, students will have completed and revised three short stories (or chapters) that thoroughly engage readers to be “in the setting.”

Monique Franz is a novelist, playwright and songwriter who earned her MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. She recently repatriated to the U.S. after twelve years in Hong Kong where she worked as a theatre director and freelance writer, producing music and musical productions, as well as onstage and onscreen scripts. Her creative work was centered around serving children in underdeveloped countries and African asylum-seekers in the southern Chinese region. Her social justice work and life abroad inspired her debut novel, Sisters in Hong Kong, which contributed to Franz receiving both the Beverly Hiscox and Norris Church Mailer awards.