The Secret Life of Successful Mysteries

  • Saturday, May 19, 2018
  • Chris Knopf
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or thereabouts, $25 (public), $20 (FC Writers Studio Students, and Sisters in Crime)

Are you writing (or do you want to write) a thriller, a cozy, a caper, suspense, or any other type of mystery? Don’t know your puzzles from your police procedurals? Need some help with craft, structure, composition and more?

And do you want to sell your book?

Best-selling author and publisher Chris Knopf can help, whatever stage you are in in your pursuit of publication. There are pragmatic things to know that will help you get there. And once there, how to earn the best reviews, sales and acclaim your book can achieve.

This workshop is focused on those aspects of style and sensibility that will have the most impact on helping your book move on to the next level. The first rule is there are no rules, Knopf says, though there are guidelines on how to improve your chances.

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Writing for Children and Teens, Level Two

  • Thursdays, 10 a.m. to noon; Begins May 24, 2018
  • Victoria Sherrow
  • Seven weeks, $385 (Limited to six students)

Are you a writer for children and/or teens who would like to move forward with your work? This workshop is for experienced writers who have learned the basics and want to sharpen their skills and polish their work. We’ll discuss higher-level techniques for plotting, characterization, description, scene and  chapter development, theme development, and writing style, while nurturing…

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Writing for Children and Teens, Level One

  • Fridays, 10 a.m. to Noon; Beginning May 25, 2018
  • Victoria Sherrow
  • Seven weeks, $325

Do you want to write for children and/or teens? Maybe you have ideas you’d like to develop, or you have already written a book, short story or article–but you aren’t sure what to do next? Writing for young readers offers special rewards. An author’s words can bring joy and comfort and inspire a child’s creativity, curiosity and imagination. And, of course, the writing must entertain and…

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Write a Query Letter that Grabs an Agent’s or Publisher’s Attention

  • Coming in June, 2018. Stay Tuned!
  • Marilyn Allen
  • Cost: $75 (Plus optional $15 for box lunch, if desired. Lunch must be paid for at the time of registration)

You only get one chance to impress an agent with your query letter. In this master class, top literary agent Marilyn Allen provides you with insiders’ tips and techniques to accomplish just that. Marilyn is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Book Proposals and Query Letters (Penguin), and the founder of the literary agency…

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How to Publish Your Personal Stories

  • Three Thursdays: March 8, 15, 22. Noon to 2 p.m.
  • Lilly Dancyger
  • Three weeks, $150

Do you write memoir, personal essays, blogs, pieces of journalism, or other non-fiction stories about your life? Would you like to learn how and where to package, publish and get paid for your stories, including in and beyond the list of usual suspects? If so, this mini-workshop is for you!

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The Art and Craft of Novel Writing, Level Two

  • Mondays, 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Starts April 16, 2018
  • Stephanie Lehmann
  • Eight weeks, $440, Limited to 6 students.

Writing a novel involves creating a world populated by compelling characters while making sure every moment brings the story to its fullest potential. We’ll discuss developing the skills to make that happen. Approaches to plotting will receive special attention. Other topics will include voice, point of view, dialogue and challenges presented by the comma. Each student will have…

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Memoir Writing (Intermediate and Advanced)

  • Thursdays, 2-4 p.m., March 8
  • Lilly Dancyger
  • Seven weeks, $385 (Limited to six students. Instructor's approval required.)

This workshop is for writers who want guidance in completing their book-length first-person work. We’ll mine your personal stories for the universal truths you have to share with readers. We’ll tackle the challenges every memoirist faces, like how to tell your version of the truth while dealing with friends and family who may remember things differently and…

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Writing to Prompts (Non-Fiction)

  • Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon (Open); 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Full); Begins March 19, 2018
  • Carol Leonetti Dannhauser
  • Seven weeks, $335. Does not meet April 9

You should write your story. Everybody tells you so. Or maybe it’s just that voice in your head, telling you what you already know: You have a meaningful story to tell and it’s high time you got it on the page. But with a lifetime of memories, including those important events, how do you corral…

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The Ultimate Writers’ Workshop

  • Thursdays, 12:30-2:30, Begins March 29
  • Carol Dannhauser
  • Seven weeks, $385, Limit Six Participants

Over the years, this workshop has served as a springboard for memoirs, magazine stories, novels, poems, essays and Pushcart-nominated short stories. It’s the ultimate writers’ workshop! Writers from all genres are welcome. Each week, we’ll experiment with different genres and writing forms. You will receive an assignment designed to elicit a piece of writing. (You…

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Writing the Personal Essay

  • Thursdays, Noon-2, Begins March 22
  • Lilly Dancyger
  • Seven weeks, $350

Learn how to tell your life stories in a way that engages readers and illustrates universal truths. In this workshop we’ll cover the basic tenets of personal essay writing, read some of the best first-person writing being published today, and produce polished essays that are ready to publish. No navel-gazing hyper-confessional fluff, we’ll dig deeper to find…

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Pitch Party and Contest

  • Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018
  • Marilyn Allen
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or thereabouts, $30 to pitch, $15 to watch

Back by popular demand: Pitch Party 2018!

Get ready to Join us at The Studio for mimosas, coffee and bagels on Saturday, February 3, to pitch your non-fiction work! (Fiction pitch party coming in March.) Pitch your book, or simply listen and learn as others pitch theirs out loud to top non-fiction literary agent Marilyn Allen. Your book can be finished, unfinished, or simply in the concept stage.

At the contest, you will read your query letter aloud or, if your query isn’t quite there yet, read your keynote/elevator pitch to Marilyn and audience members. Marilyn will offer gentle (yet effective!) feedback. Three winning pitches will be chosen and sent (when ready) to acquiring editors who have agreed to consider publication. If the winning pitches aren’t yet strong enough to submit they will receive one free editing session.

Entry (for those who wish to pitch) costs $30.

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Writing & Motherhood: Finding Your Voice

  • Mondays, 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Begins January 29, 2018
  • Jacqueline Burt Cote
  • Seven weeks, $335

Motherhood can be one of the most creatively inspiring times in a woman’s life, as well as one of the most transformative (not to mention challenging!). Whether you’re an experienced writer or just getting started, this workshop will help you identify and strengthen your unique voice as a mother. We’ll use your experiences as a catalyst…

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Poetry Writing Workshop, Level One

  • Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon. Begins January 20, 2018
  • Elizabeth Onusko
  • Six Weeks, $285

Have you been writing poems for a while, or have you wanted to try? Are you ready to take yourself seriously as a poet? This workshop has two goals: to offer supportive feedback on students’ poems, and to cultivate a sense of purposeful play. We will experiment with different forms and styles — ranging from…

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Poetry Writing Workshop, Level Two

  • Saturdays, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Begins January 20, 2018
  • Elizabeth Onusko
  • Six weeks, $350. Limited to 6 students.

Anne Sexton once said, “Craft is a trick you make up to let you write the poem.” In this workshop, we will use the elements of craft as lenses to look deeply into our poems. How do lines, stanzas, images, rhythm, figurative language, and voice alchemize on the page? Each week, we will explore a…

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Creative Writing

  • Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Beginning September 26 (no workshop on Election Day)
  • Rachel Basch
  • Seven weeks, $350

Writing is a lonely business. This inspiring and supportive workshop will provide an opportunity to commune with other writers, share work-in-progress, hone craft, jump start new work and sustain ongoing projects. Each week you will be offered writing prompts for at-home work designed to help you mine your own rich material, helping you energize your…

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Writing the College Essay

  • By appointment
  • Varies (see below)
  • $150 per hour, three-hour minimum

Working on a college essay? We can help. Our instructors – all journalists who have written for the New York Times, among other publications – will help you identify and write the story of you. We work one-on-one with students at our Westport studio. WE DO NOT WRITE YOUR ESSAY, you do. We simply help you…

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Summer Writing Retreat

  • August 15 & 16, 2017
  • Studio Staff
  • 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $65 per day, $100 for two days; (+$15 per day for lunch, optional)

Write In? Right On!

Spend the day at the studio writing without distractions, interruptions or lessons. We supply the space, the bagels, the coffee and the community. You share your writing hopes and intentions for the day, then work on your piece/s as you see fit.

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I Want to Write. Now What?

  • E.V. Legters
  • Seven weeks, $295

Do you have the desire to write? Do you have a story you want – or need – to tell? Ideas for a poem or short story or other work of fiction or non-fiction? Stories you’d like to bring to fruition? If so, sign up for Wednesday mornings of direction, encouragement and conversation with other new and…

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How to Get Published in the Harvard Review and Other Top Literary Journals

  • Christina Thompson
  • 1 Session, $100

In this master class for writers, Christina Thompson will discuss how writers can best approach becoming published in the Harvard Review and other top journals. Optional: Ms. Thompson will give feedback on a maximum of 3 double spaced manuscript pages from each attendee. Copies of the manuscripts will be shared with the class so everyone can learn from her constructive…

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Podcasting 101

  • Saturday, March 18
  • Ben Bogardus
  • 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., $75. Register soon as attendance is limited.

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing methods of storytelling. Whether you want to share your creative writing, publish your works of journalism, or just speak to a world-wide audience on a subject you’re passionate about, we’ll show you how to put together a podcast from start to finish. All you need to make one is…

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Explore Publishing Options

  • Saturday, February 25, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Kimberly Caldwell
  • One Session, $45

You’ve written a book. Now what? In this morning workshop, we’ll discuss the main paths to publication–self-publishing, traditional publishing and independent presses. We’ll explain what you need to know regardless of the path you choose. What is your book’s category and genre? Is the book really finished? What is an “elevator speech”? We’ll discuss how…

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Authors’ Workshop

  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to Noon, Begins Feb. 28; or Saturdays, 10 a.m. to Noon, Begins March 4
  • Kim Caldwell
  • Six weeks, $265

Do you have a novel or memoir in the works but don’t know how to flesh it out? Perhaps you’ve run out of steam? If so, this workshop is for you. In this small-group workshop, we will brainstorm plot arcs and subplot arcs for your work, and construct a frame on which to hang your…

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Intermediate/Advanced Memoir Writing

  • Stay Tuned!
  • Carol Leonetti Dannhauser
  • Six weeks, $350 (Limited to six students)

Explore, execute and refine the elements of your memoir in this workshop. Using examples from bestselling memoirs as teaching points, you will determine how to present, revise and strengthen your story. We will address “truth,” voice, point-of-view and narrative elements such as character arcs and writing “place” to make your story sing. This is a…

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Free Roundtable: Reach Your Writing Goals in 2018

  • Saturday, January 20, 2018
  • Faculty
  • 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., *free to FCWS STUDENTS, $15 drop-in fee for the public

Most faculty members at the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio are working writers in addition to being awesome teachers. How do they manage to meet their deadlines, write their books and stories, teach classes and follow their own creative paths? They’ll share  tips, strategies and techniques for reaching myriad writing and publishing goals at this fun…

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Writing for Magazines

  • Wednesdays, 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Beth Levine
  • Seven weeks, $295

Anyone who tells you that magazines are dead doesn’t know what veteran magazine writer Beth Levine knows: Hundreds and hundreds of general interest and niche publications exist and they rely on freelance writers to supply them with content. In this workshop, Beth will help you learn how to find salable ideas, and how to craft…

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Writing for Middle Graders and Young Adults

  • Fridays, Noon - 2 p.m.; Dec. 2, 9, (not 16), 30; Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • Seven weeks, $325

Writing for middle graders and young adults is not very different from any other fiction writing. However, there are certain perimeters and considerations that are specific to these genres. If you are serious about writing for these audiences, this course will provide that information, and give you the opportunity present your work and get professional feedback. We…

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Open Mic Reading — With a Difference!

  • January 2017, weekday evening, date and time TBC
  • Linda Legters
  • Free to all, but you must register to read

Introducing: Open Mic Nights PLUS opportunities to work with professionals on polishing your performance, be featured on BookGirlTV and have a video of your reading. There are two options: 1.) Sign up to share 3 – 5 minutes of your work – no critique required or given. No filming. 2.) Sign up to be an…

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Songwriting (Intermediate to Advanced)

  • Saturdays, 2-4 p.m., Oct. 29-Dec. 3 (No workshop on 11/26)
  • Andy "A.J." Gundell
  • 6 weeks, $325. Limited to Six Students

(This workshop presumes a fundamental knowledge of music and lyric songwriting. New students will be accepted via permission from the instructor.)

In this workshop, students are encouraged to move beyond their comfort zone, including creating songs around a central lyrical or musical idea, exploring genres/styles of music they might not have attempted before, and grasping advanced music concepts. In-class, on-the-spot writing to prompts may inspire and lead to a song; writing from different points of view beyond the autobiographical will be explored. Students may opt to write and/or complete multiple songs for review and critique.

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Working Title: Write a Winning Song

  • Wednesday evenings, 7-9 p.m., beginning Oct. 19
  • Andy "A.J." Gundell
  • 6 weeks, $325. Limited to Six Students

In this workshop, 13-time Emmy Award-Winning songwriter Andy “A.J.” Gundell takes students new to songwriting step-by-step through the process of writing and selling a modern pop song. It doesn’t matter whether lyrics or chord progressions are your strength – A.J. meets you where you are and, over the weeks, helps you write a hook, verses…

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Introduction to Scrivener

  • 2 sessions, October 5 and 19
  • Chris Friden
  • 2 sessions, Wednesdays, 6.:30-8:30p.m. $95

You’ve heard the raves about Scrivener, maybe even tapped a few keystrokes within the application, but you’re reluctant to depart from your trusty word processor. This workshop will help you to understand why you want to switch to Scrivener and how to get started––how you will unlock a more robust and intuitive way of writing on your computer by using software…

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