The Seattle Public Library's 2019 Seattle Writes program series will feature over 30 writing workshops at Library locations throughout the city from Aug. 30 through Dec. 17. Learn how to publish your book, craft effective scenes, represent characters that are different from you, write a memoir, get feedback on your work at a writing circle, use ancient storytelling tools, step inside a character's head and more.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but seating is limited and will be on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the start of each class. Attendees are asked to bring a pen, pencil and paper or fully charged laptop to each class.

Accommodation requests may be made with seven days advance notice. Email the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) or call 206-615-1380 (V/TTY).


You Can Publish Your Own Book - Instructors: Erik Cornelius & Topaz. Join local writers as they show you the ropes. They've done it themselves and are proof you do not need money to get into print. They will show you the free resources they used and answer your questions.

Romance Sub-plots for Genre Fiction - Instructor: Jasmine Silvera. Learn how romantic attraction between characters can be used to add dimension to conflict and raise the stakes in the plot while avoiding the common pitfalls that elicit reader groans (and not the good kind). Come prepared to troubleshoot your work with short writing exercises designed to help round out characters and deepen their interactions.

Writing Outside the Map - Instructor: Laura Da’. This generative writing course uses the conceit of the map as a central metaphor for crafting new work and evoking place. The creation, crossing and elimination of boundaries of language, place and narrative will underpin writing prompts and extension activities designed to encourage new work and invigorate the revision process.

Writing Circles with Hugo House - Instructor: varies by location. Looking for inspiration, feedback and ways to make connections with other writers? Drop by one of our ongoing writing circles led by established local writers. Bring something you're working on, or just come ready to write. These writing events are co-sponsored by Hugo House.

Writing Effective Scenes - Instructor: Gail Folkins. We’ll look at effective scene-setting such as sensory detail, character, dialog and plot. Through examples, discussion and a writing exercise, students will practice using these building blocks to craft their own scenes. Fiction and creative nonfiction writers are welcome.

What the English Teacher Wants You to Know - Instructor: Georgia Stewart McDade. Get insight on how to make paragraphs and essays better by avoiding some of the most common errors writers make. You’ll feel more comfortable with the mechanics of writing so you can relax and write what it is you have to say. Bring your questions and get an English teacher’s take!

Finding Your Story - Instructor: Theo Pauline Nestor. Many writers experience a longing to write about their own lives but little idea of where to begin, of where to dig to unearth the stories you know are there somewhere. Together, we will drill down and find those stories.

Interiority: Thoughts and Feelings in Fiction - Instructor: Karen Finneyfrock. When and how often should the writer invite the reader to step inside a character's thoughts? Through sample texts and writing exercises, we will examine the work of internality in fiction. This class is best for a fiction writer already working on a novel or short story.

Representing Race Plus - Instructor: Nisi Shawl. How do you realistically represent characters who are different from you in more than one way? Exercises, examples and discussion help you depict the busy intersections of race and gender, age and ability, and many other diverse backgrounds, showing them in your work’s setting, action, dialogue and relationships.

Story Seeds and Pitches - Instructor: Reagan Jackson. So you want to be a journalist. What are your ideas and how do you pitch them? The first part of this two-hour workshop will focus on getting your creative juices flowing and brainstorming all the potential topics you might want to write about. Then, we'll explore how who you are in the world influences the stories you are able to craft. The second part of the workshop will be writing short pitches.

The Journey with Author/Illustrator Don Tate - Instructor: Don Tate. Overnight success does not always happen overnight. In fact, for Don Tate, overnight success took 30-plus years to attain. This self-described "Longest-coming up-and-comer" will share his journey from reluctant grade-school reader to published illustrator, and then on to becoming an award-winning children’s book author. Tate will discuss some lessons learned and myths vs. reality, and will offer practical advice for authors and illustrators. This presentation is part of the fall kick-off meeting for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators of Western Washington.

Developing Interesting Characters - Instructor: Elise Hooper. Let’s take those characters who have been rattling around in your head and get to know them better. Through discussion and a series of writing exercises, we’ll add depth and complexity to the characters who populate your fiction and put them in action to provide ideas for future scenes.

Better Fiction Through Facts - Instructor: Kristen Millares Young. We research to build the authority to astonish. The pivot from fact to epiphany compels us to keep reading, and that which has been felt is hard to forget. In this generative class, you will learn to infuse narrative with lyric accuracy through careful study of a pagan ceremony detailed in Ursula K. Le Guin’s "Lavinia." Remember to worship the story. Research guides but does not control. Let small details bear the weight of your knowledge. Leave class with a new scene inspired by Le Guin.

Secrets of Solid Story Structure - Instructor: Brian McDonald. This workshop focuses on three-act structure and theme, and how utilizing these ancient storytelling tools helps writers create more meaningful and compelling tales. You'll learn how to construct acts that build upon each other and propel the story seamlessly forward. Also covered will be how plot and character work in concert to support a story’s theme.

You Wrote a Book, Now What? Understanding Today’s Publishing Choices - Instructor: Beth Jusino. This workshop takes an unbiased and unvarnished look at a modern writer’s publishing options, from “Big 5” traditional publishers to small presses to self publishing (with or without the support of service companies) to “hybrid” and other emerging models. Taught by a publishing professional who works on and appreciates both sides of the fence, this class gets past the hype and examines pros and cons of each choice, realistic costs and income potential, as well as scams and pitfalls to avoid. Most importantly, it helps writers seeking publication understand their own goals, strengths, and how to make a decision that's best for them.


Seattle Writes supports local writers through programs, workshops, write-ins and by providing spaces to work throughout the city. The program series is made possible with the generous support of a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership.

The Library brings people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. We support universal access to information and ideas, and form strong partnerships with community organizations to offer classes and workshops that are accessible to all.