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Workshops

ONLINE MASTER CLASS
via the


 

Great writers are alchemists. With nothing but keen observation, imagination and words, they can turn any situation into literary gold. Frank McCourt conveys the misery of sodden, poverty-stricken childhood winters with such engaging rhythms that you want to have been there yourself. Alice Munro translates waiting for a train into a lively, almost musical passage. PEN/Hemingway prizewinner Teju Cole transforms a dismal Arizona immigration courtroom scene into a haunting meditation on place, belonging and the routine violence of the deportation process. Nora Ephron expands the focus on a hot pastrami sandwich to include a vivid comparison of the cultures of Los Angeles and New York City.

 

If you've ever wrestled with difficult or apparently dull material ⁠— a scene that's not scenic, a banal or awkward moment, an unpleasant incident — you know how hard it is to make it come alive. More than good description is required. The writer needs to discard cultural blinders and conventional preconceptions and see with fresh eyes. It's through the writer's eyes that the reader sees the world anew.

 

In this workshop, participants will learn to find the action in inaction, the singular in the ordinary, the particular in the general, the familiar in the strange and the humor or thread of common interest in the repellent. Each session, we'll look at the different ways that great writers have used diction, point of view, tone, figurative language, juxtaposition, contrast and other devices to make apparently unpromising situations come alive. Then we'll try it ourselves in short writing exercises. Volunteers will read their pieces aloud for guided discussion. Over the three sessions, participants will develop the tools they need to write more confidently and effectively. Bring paper and pen or writing device and an open mind.

THE FINE PRINT

6-Hour Master Class

How to Spin the Straw of Life into Literary Gold with Signe Hammer

ONLINE | JAN. 24, 26 & 28 | 1:00–3:30 PM CST | $250 USD

REGISTER HERE

Facilitator

Signe Hammer has taught writing workshops for 40 years, including New York University (Award for Teaching Excellence}, the San Miguel Writers Conference and private in-person and Zoom workshops. She has been an editor at both a major book publisher and a national magazine. She has published four nonfiction books, along with short stories, poetry, reviews and many national-magazine feature articles. Her memoir was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book.

 
Previous Workshops

Memories, Dreams, Feelings:       
A Freewriting Workshop
 

How do we unlock our memories, dreams and feelings? Freewriting can be a powerful tool for liberating the treasures of the mind. Write in the moment, with evocative prompts to inspire you. Let your writing flow naturally, with no rules about how to shape it. Whatever you write is right!

 

Whether you're interested in memoir or just want to try personal writing, this Zoom workshop provides a safe space in which to explore new writing territory. In addition to prompts, short readings—including writers' reflections on opening up their own memories and feelings—will help excite, stimulate and motivate.

 

Each two-hour workshop session includes two freewriting periods. After each one, participants will have the opportunity to read their writing aloud—and to respond positively to what, in others' writing, pleases the ear or reverberates in the mind and heart. (Sharing is encouraged but never required.)

 

I respond to readings with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Workshop participation includes a 20-minute, one-on-one mentoring session with me via audio, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom, on the writing subject or question of your choice.

 

Emerge from each workshop session with the beginnings or more of two solid explorations of new territory—in writing, in memory, in dreams or feelings!

MY PANDEMIC DAYS:
A NEW COVID ZOOM WRITING POD

No more Blursdays!

Down with doomscrolling!


Write!

Our Pod offers dedicated time each week to focus on your writing in a safe, protected space.


Write for yourself, for your nearest and dearest, for the strangers you want to reach.


Explore memoir, fiction, personal essay, blog post or poem, or just write what's in your mind and heart and see what shape it takes.


Seasoned writer or beginner, everyone writes!


 

Soothe those waiting-for-the-vaccine jitters!

Banish third-wave-lockdown déjà vu!

Write!



Prompts and short readings will help inspire new writing, or new takes on a current project.


Everyone will have the chance to read aloud (sharing is encouraged but not required), and to respond positively to what, in others' writing, pleases the ear or reverberates in the mind and heart.


Emerge from each Pod session with a solid beginning or real progress on one or more narratives or poems.


Straighten the pandemic time warp. Write!



 

My Pandemic:
A Covid Zoom Writing Pod for All

Our Covid Zoom Writing Pod is a private, safe, protected space where we can explore our experiences and express our thoughts, fears and feelings about this pandemic we are all living through.

 

Our Pod offers dedicated time each week to focus on your writing. Seasoned writer or beginner, everyone writes!

 

Prompts and short readings will help inspire new writing, or new takes on a current project: "A moment when I feared things were completely out of control. A moment when I knew I could cope."

 

Write for yourself, for the people you know and love, or for the readers you hope to reach. Write memoir, fiction, personal essay, blog post or poem, or just write what's in your mind and heart and see what shape it takes.

 

Everyone will have the chance to read their writing aloud (encouraged but not required), and to respond positively to what, in others' writing, pleases the ear or reverberates in the mind and heart.

 

Emerge from each Pod session with a solid beginning or real progress on one or more narratives or poems.

 

Writing is healing,

Writing is the beginning of understanding;

Claim your voice and write!