Bird by Bird in Seattle Writing Classes.


There’s still room in my fall writing class, Revising Your Life, which is a great choice for those getting back into writing, working on a memoir, or simply honing your craft. For more:

Revising Your Life: Turning True Events into Compelling Stories

It may happen in the shower. On the way to work. Taking a crowded elevator. Suddenly a story idea seizes you. You must write it down! You find a pen and piece of paper, plunge into the story, and write nonstop until you finish a first draft. You put it aside. A day goes by. Two days. You pick it up again.  Sure there’s some good stuff there, but the rest of it is, well, less than perfect.

If you’re like most writers, you put the material in the drawer and hope someday to get around to finishing it. How do you push beyond the messy first draft most writers produce to craft a compelling story or book chapter? This eight-week class in nonfiction and fiction will show you how to make that happen. You’ll learn essential techniques of research, interviewing, writing scenes, character sketches, structuring, revision, and how to put the finished manuscript into the hands of the right editor.

The course will run Oct. 14 to Dec. 2 on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story idea, a 250-word research assignment, a 1500- to 2500-word first person story, a revised first person story, and a 250-word cover letter. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Both titles are available at the Elliott Bay Book Company, 206-624-6600.

To enroll, please send a check for $625 to Nick O’Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or click on the Buy Now button below to pay with a credit card. The course is limited to 15 participants and usually fills several weeks prior to the start of class. For more information, contact me at or call 206-284-7121.