Workshops

Resources | Writing Tips | Submission Opportunities

The Writers Studio offers workshops and crafts classes in New York—where the school was founded by poet Philip Schultz in 1987—and in Hudson Valley, San Francisco, and Tucson. During the COVID-19 crisis, these in-person classes are currently held remotely, with live video chats and live critiques, which means they are currently available to you wherever you are located. Online courses you can take from anywhere are also available, with weekly online text chats and written critiques. Check here for a full list of courses. Richard teaches the Saturday Tucson Workshop and will teach an Online Level 1 Workshop during the Summer 2021 session. In the past, he has taught an occasional online workshop for Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds.

Upcoming Workshops

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Tucson Workshop

For writers of fiction, poetry, memoir, and creative nonfiction.

Length: 8 weeks
Begins: 17 Jul 2021
Ends: 04 Sep 2021
Meets: Saturdays at 10:00 am – 12:30 pm PDT (01:00 pm – 03:30 pm EDT)
Cost: $320 tuition + $25 registration fee
(Use coupon code method for $15 off 8-week writing classes. Discount must be taken at time of registration. Expires 06/16/2021)
Register online or by phone (212) 255-7075

Format: Students will share their fiction, poetry, memoir, or creative nonfiction with their classmates and the instructor in a weekly live video/audio chat and can expect immediate feedback that is helpful and encouraging, using The Writers Studio method of persona writing and critiquing.

Description: The Writers Studio Tucson Workshop, the first of our three levels, is designed for students at all levels who are new to The Writers Studio method. This Workshop is open to both beginning and experienced writers eager to learn the elements of craft, including first- and third-person narrators, tone and mood. An important goal of the workshop is to help writers understand that a narrative voice is born out of conscious creation and not merely the voice we use when speaking or keeping a journal. We encourage students to turn autobiographical fragments into publishable work by using different narrative personas to tell their story in fiction and poetry.

Through exercises, students experiment with narrative and poetic techniques. Our exercises are designed to stimulate students’ imaginations while also teaching a lot of nuts-and-bolts narrative strategies They focus on both fiction and poetry, and use published examples of both genres as models.

Each week we assign a brief reading combined with an exercise, and the teacher explains the technique that makes the piece effective. The following week students bring their written exercise to class, where it is read aloud. Classmates offer feedback, and then the teacher, who has been trained for three years in The Writers Studio method, gives the final supportive critique. A few of the eight weeks are spent revising and deepening exercises written during the term.

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Online Level 1 Workshop

For writers of fiction, poetry, memoir, and creative nonfiction.

Length: 8 weeks
Begins: 29 Jul 2021
Ends: 09 Sep 2021
Meets: Thursdays at 05:00 pm – 06:00 pm PDT (08:00 pm – 09:00 pm EDT)
Cost: $410 tuition + $25 registration fee
(Use coupon code method for $15 off 8-week writing classes. Discount must be taken at time of registration. Expires 06/16/2021)
Register online or by phone (212) 255-7075

Format: Students will share their fiction, poetry, memoir, or creative nonfictiony with their classmates and the instructor in a dedicated online classroom and can expect helpful and encouraging written feedback, using The Writers Studio method of persona writing and critiquing. Students will have the opportunity to join a weekly hour-long text chat with the instructor where they can find additional support and conversations about narrative techniques and favorite speculative genres.

Description: Our Online Level 1 workshop is an introduction to The Writers Studio that brings together students from all over the U.S. and the world to explore the myriad possibilities of narrative in fiction and poetry. Every aspect of the workshop—the weekly typed chat, the posting of assignments and critiques, and informal discussion—takes place in our dedicated online classroom, which is easy to use. Though students and teachers never meet face to face, they get to know each other quite well over the course of the eight weeks, and usually form a community much like the ones that form in on-site workshops.

The weekly routine is built around a short assignment based on a short piece of published work. These assignments are designed to introduce students to many approaches and to broaden their sense of what is possible in their own work. Part of the chat is devoted to an analysis of the week’s assignment, designed to show students what it means to create narrative voices different from the voice they might use in a journal. During the term, students have a chance to revise or continue one of their previous assignments, setting them on a path to completing their first poem or story. As the student’s understanding of technique deepens so does the clarity and emotional power of the writing.

The workshops are designed to help students learn from their own work, as well as from the work of others. Toward that end, students write at least three critiques of their classmates’ work each week, a process the teach prepares them for in advance. The teacher provides a written weekly critique of each student’s assignment, a degree of attention nearly unheard of elsewhere.

We teach techniques relevant to fiction and poetry, and the excerpts that form the foundation of the weekly assignments are drawn from both fiction and poetry. In Level I, students who already know that they want to pursue fiction should write fiction even when the assignment is poetry, and likewise students who already know they want to pursue poetry should write poetry each week even when the assignment is fiction. But because in Level 1 we sometimes have students who aren’t yet sure, students have the option of trying out both fiction and poetry. (Once they move on to Level 2, we ask them to commit to one genre.) Level 1 is designed as a 16-week sequence, which means that students take two terms before moving on to Level 2. The two terms do not have to be taken consecutively. Barring a scheduling conflict, generally students stay with the same teacher.

All you need to take a class is a computer or tablet with an internet connection. A link to our online classroom is emailed to you after you register, and tech support is available throughout the class.


Instructor History

Richard Leis is both a fiction writer and a poet, with experience writing and teaching both genres, and he has completed The Writers Studio rigorous training program. As a student, Richard attended two Writers Studio Tucson Workshops taught by Lela Scott MacNeil in the spring and summer of 2016, two Intermediate Workshops taught by Phil Ivory, and then Advanced Workshop taught by Janelle Drumwright. He now regularly attends the Master Workshop taught by Director Reneé Bibby.

Richard began teaching the Saturday morning Tucson Workshop in April 2019. He began teaching an Online Level 1 Workshop in July 2021. He also developed and launched in July 2019 an online workshop focused on writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror using the Writers Studio method of persona writing and critiquing. He is delighted to share with new students in both workshops the same helpful and encouraging feedback he received along the way.


Past Workshops

Tucson Poetry Festival 2021 Poster with illustration of mountains and details about dates and featured poets: Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, 2021 with workshops taught by Linda D. Addison, Raquel Gutiérrez, Eduardo C. Corral, and Jake Skeets, a reading, and an open mic

The 39th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is Coming Soon

Tucson Poetry Festival 2021 Poster with illustration of mountains and details about dates and featured poets: Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, 2021 with workshops taught by Linda D. Addison, Raquel Gutiérrez, Eduardo C. Corral, and Jake Skeets, a reading, and an open mic

The 39th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is coming up in two weeks! Registration is available on our website for poetry workshops taught by our featured poets on Saturday, April 17, 2021. They will also be reading that evening and there will be an open mic (would you like to read one of your own poems?!) on Sunday afternoon, April 18, 2021.

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Free Writers Studio Tucson Class Online This Thursday

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Tucson teachers Lela Scott MacNeil and I will be online for a free writing class this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to provide a writing exercise, explain The Writers Studio method, and discuss how our program can support your personal writing goals.

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Summer 2020 Writing and Teaching

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This summer 2020, I’m teaching both a Tucson Workshop and “Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds”, reading a lot of speculative poetry, and writing.

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Writing Workshops for Spring and Summer 2020

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In addition to my usual 8-week Writers Studio Tucson Workshop, I’m bringing back my popular online “Crafting Fantastic and Imaginative Worlds” workshop for poets and writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror!

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Fall 2019 Writing and Teaching

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I’m preparing lesson plans and writing new exercises for two fall workshops at the Writers Studio.