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"Karen, do you see what you are doing to me, and all the rest of my fellow writers too? You are...so motivational! A new assignment comes and I have to sit right down and write. I even have to sit right down and write when there isn't an assignment. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
    - Carol, Unleash the Creator student

"I'm having a blast--I've learned so much thus far! [I enjoy] the enthusiasm, the encouragement, the respectful tone of the critiques...the reaching out to one another.... I'm a believer now and plan on additional classes after this one."
-- Pam S., student in Karen's Fiction 101 workshop

More Testimonials

Unleash the Creator

Facilitator:  Karen Hertzberg

Workshop Syllabus

You want to write, but you feel you lack the inspiration. Anne Lamott once said that anyone who survived their childhood had enough material to keep them writing for the rest of their lives. In this workshop, we'll learn how our own lives can inspire us and spark ideas for vibrant fiction. 

Week 1:  Freewriting: How to Free Your Creator

We'll learn how to use practice writing to shut out the voice of our critical editor and find the voices of our creators, with a special focus on getting down to the bone and touching raw emotions to spark powerful writing.

Week 2:  Creative Calisthenics/Keeping a Journal

Daily 20 minute writing exercises will help tone our creative skills. We'll continue to work on digging deep and writing hard and fast. Students will learn how to keep a writer's journal full of thoughts and observations designed to spark story concepts.

Week 3:  Conjuring Characters

Use freewriting exercises to create vibrant, three-dimensional characters for your fiction. We'll learn how to portray our characters in action by interviewing them, and letting them speak in their own voices.

Week 4:  Digging for Gold

We'll search our freewriting for the "gold" that will eventually become a finished story. Students will learn to mine their writing for characters, themes, settings and even plots, as well as how to weave pieces of their own lives into fictional stories that will "grab" readers.

This course helps students discover the art of freewriting--silencing the internal editor and freeing the subconscious mind. Through practice writing and maintaining a writer's journal, students will learn to find stories and themes in everyday life. 

PrerequisiteBasic understanding of sentence structure and grammar. Successful completion of high school English courses. 

Required Materials:  Spiral Notebook, small notepad or index cards

About the Facilitator: Karen Hertzberg is the creator of the Coffeehouse for Writers web community. Karen's fiction has appeared in literary journals, including Conversely (April, 2001), and Blue Moon Review. Her articles on the craft of writing have also appeared in Inscriptions Magazine, Whispers, Word Weave and several  other publications.

Workshop Begins:
April 19 (registration closed)

Duration: 4 weeks  


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Books recommended on this page are not required reading for participation in the course.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg's inspiring classic shows writers how to tap their creative energy by reaching deep and tapping emotional energy through freewriting.

The Writer's Idea Book
by Jack Heffron

With the aid of author Jack Heffron's prompts, you'll unearth lots of new ideas. You'll explore ideas you already have and figure out which ones to ditch. You'll even find new ways of seeing things you've already started.  "The secrets to getting ideas aren't really secrets," says Heffron. "Open your mind and heart. Open your eyes and ears. Take risks. Trust your talent and your instincts." And remember: don't write about the things that seem like good ideas. Write about the things that thrill you. 

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
by Anne Bernays

You'll use this fun, witty, well-crafted book to find a wealth of ideas through targeted lessons and writing exercises. "What If?" is the first handbook for writers based on the idea that specific exercises are one of the most powerful tools for mastering the art of fiction writing.

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