TEACHING & COACHING

I taught journalism and creative nonfiction at Mills College, where I was a faculty member for more than 20 years and am now a professor emeritus. I have also taught at St. Mary's College and I currently teach classes online and in person through the Writers Grotto in San Francisco. 

In addition to classroom teaching, I conduct workplace training and provide individual coaching and editing (privately and as a workplace consultant). Contact me for a list of prepared workshops or to discuss how I might create an individualized program for your needs. I also take clients for mentoring and developmental editing.

UPCOMING CLASSES (online and in-person)

FOCUS: A FULL-DAY WRITERS RETREAT (one day, in San Francisco)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

If you’ve longed for a writing residency, fantasized about a writing colony, or just need a break from your home and family to focus on your work, join us at the Grotto for a day of uninterrupted peace, quiet, and writing! Bring an unfinished story, article, chapter, poem, screen play, query letter, or just an idea that’s been bubbling and indulge in a day of focus on your thoughts and ideas. Feel the power of writing in community, the energy of working in a hive.

For more details, and to register click HERE

NON-FICTION WRITERS WORKSHOP (on line)

April 16 to May 14, 2020; weekly lessons and workshopping (asynchronous)

Need professional support, but don’t have time to commute to a weekly class? Whether you want to strengthen an ongoing non-fiction project or generate new material, this online workshop will provide feedback and peer support to focus your ideas and move your writing up a level. You’ll submit pages every week and get feedback from a veteran magazine editor as well as your peers in supportive online critiques. Your pages can include journalism, essays, narrative non-fiction, memoir, or some blend. This workshop is not so much about instruction, but about getting feedback on your work. We’ll also consider professional concerns such as writing query letters and finding places to publish. I’ll provide ideas to help you move forward if you’re stuck – but the idea is that you will work on your own ideas or projects that are already underway.

THE LOGISTICS FOR THIS ONLINE CLASS:

  • Module goes live on Thursday morning with lecture & notes & week’s assignment.
  • Assignment is due Tuesday morning to instructor and class for feedback & support.
  • Feedback/workshop from class is due Thursday morning.

REVISE AND EDIT: LEARN HOW IN THREE WEEKS (on line)

April 21 - May 11, 2020

This three-week online course offered by a veteran editor will help you become more skillful at revising and editing, whether working with your own work or that of others. In the course, you’ll work with your own pages and those of your peers to master the art of focusing a nonfiction story and making every word essential. In the first week, we’ll look at big-picture questions – such as understanding a story’s main idea and paying attention to what the audience needs to know. The second week will focus on structure and organization, including attention to transitions and endings. And in week three, we’ll drill down to the details, with tips and checklists for self-editing and peer review.

For more details, and to register, click HERE

RECENT CLASSES

FOUR WEEKS TO CRAFT A COMPELLING PROFILE  (on line)

Thursday, Feb. 13 to March 5, 2020

Whether you’re a travel writer, a food writer, a general interest feature writer, or someone who writes business communications, you’ll need to be able to write a compelling and informative profile. Profiles are meant to engage readers emotionally and create empathy for their subjects, and they’re an excellent way to draw readers into complicated topics. They are also some of the best stories to pitch as a freelancer, having a place in everything from travel magazines to general interest publications.

A FREELANCER'S GUIDE TO WORKING WITH EDITORS  (one day in San Francisco)

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 / 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

One of the toughest parts of being a freelancer can be figuring out what your editor wants from you and when they will want it. Understanding the editorial process will minimize your frustration and can help you build solid relationships that lead to more work. By the end of this three-hour, interactive workshop you will better understand the jobs of different levels of editors at various publications. You’ll have a good sense of how stories are developed, approved, and edited. And you’ll walk away with tips about how to smooth the process, and how to deal with revision requests, photo memos, and fact checking. We’ll talk about when and how to stick to your guns – and when to compromise.

For more details, and to register click HERE

FEATURE WRITING: TELLING THE HUMAN STORY
  (six weeks in San Francisco)

Tuesdays, Oct. 15-29 and Nov. 5-19, 2019 / 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Feature stories are nonfiction pieces that focus more on human stories than factual exposition – but they still are deeply reported. They are meant to engage readers emotionally and create empathy for their subjects, and they’re an excellent way to draw readers into complicated topics. They are also some of the best stories to pitch as a freelancer, having a place in everything from travel magazines to general interest publications. In this six-week workshop, we’ll study different types of feature stories and analyze what makes them work, using published models to explore various ways to create a compelling narrative. We will cover story focus and structure; reporting and interviewing; and feature story elements such as setting, character, detail, dialogue, and action.

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