Classes & Workshops
Spotlight: Writing About Place
Whether you're a travel writer, a poet, or a novelist, writing about "place" is part of your work. Writing effectively about place or location is an important technique in any type of writing, really. It can also be a fun skill to focus on!
We have a class coming soon that will inspire you and help you hone your place-writing skills. Writing About Place starts on Monday, October 31, 2016. In this course, you'll dive into writing about urban settings, rural settings, interior and imagined spaces, as well as writing about a particular place. Themed lessons will be posted weekly, featuring example poems, articles, essays, and links to additional reading. Students will submit drafts weekly for thoughtful, individual feedback from the instructor.
In the article below, instructor Bernadette Geyer shows the effect that scene choice has on your story. She offers three scene variations to help you understand the impact on your readers!
Marcia & Angela
Marcia & Angela
WOW! Classes & Workshops
By Bernadette Geyer
he place in which a scene in a novel is set has a tremendous effect on how the story's characters will feel and react.
The place can also affect how your reader will understand and respond to the scene.
In order to understand how place affects a scene, let's look at a simple dialogue between two characters. In each of the three variations, the dialogue occurs in a different place.
Place 1 - A busy city street
A couple is walking along a busy street in a major city. A baby's bottle falls out of the stroller a young woman is pushing ahead of them. The couple stops as the young woman stoops down to pick up the bottle and put it back in the stroller. The man says, "We need to talk." The woman asks, "About what?" A police car whizzes past with its siren blaring loudly. The man says, "It's been a rough year for us, huh?" A cyclist on the sidewalk rings his bell and the couple steps aside to let him pass. "Yeah. I suppose so," the woman says. The couple stops at the corner and waits for the light to turn green. "Where do you see us in five years?" the man asks. People crowd around them before the light turns. The woman pulls her purse a little closer to her, nervous about pickpockets. "I don't know. I haven't really been able to think that far ahead."
Place 2 - A beach
A couple is lounging in chairs on a beach. Gulls fly overhead. Two children are collecting shells close to the water. The man says, "We need to talk." The woman asks, "About what?" A wave crashes on the shore and the children squeal. The man says, "It's been a rough year for us, huh?" A bird lands on the sand nearby and hops around looking for food. "Yeah. I suppose so," the woman says. The two stare out at the ocean. "Where do you see us in five years?" the man asks. The bird hops closer and then flies away. The woman leans back in her chair and sighs, "I don't know. I haven't really been able to think that far ahead."
Place 3 - A coffee shop
A couple is sitting in a coffee shop with their laptops in front of them. The waiter sets their cappuccinos in front of them and then walks away. The man says, "We need to talk." The woman asks, "About what?" The barista starts grinding coffee beans and the sound drowns out all other sound for a short while. The man says, "It's been a rough year for us, huh?" An older man sits at the table next to them and bumps the back of the woman's chair. She winces and says, "Yeah. I suppose so." The two stare at their laptop screens. "Where do you see us in five years?" the man asks. The woman picks up her cup, takes a sip, and sighs, "I don't know. I haven't really been able to think that far ahead."
Did the location and surroundings affect your interpretation, as a reader, of the impetus of the conversation? Consider in your own writings how you might use a specific place to enhance your reader's interpretation of a scene - either to clarify, or purposely confuse them, depending on the needs of your story.
Remember: the words may be exactly the same, but where your characters are when they say them and what they are looking at can make all the difference to your reader and your story.
Instructor: Bernadette Geyer
Workshop Length: 4 Weeks
Start Date: Monday, October 31, 2016
Cost: $100, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor.
Limit: 10 Students
What role does "place" play in your writing? How can you effectively evoke a place in your writing--be it poetry or prose? How do you write about interior or dreamed spaces? How have travel writers and other authors successfully written about place? Themed lessons will be posted weekly, featuring example poems, articles, essays, and links to additional reading. Participants will submit drafts weekly for thoughtful, individual feedback from the instructor.
View the listing for a full course description, testimonials, and an overview of what you'll be learning week by week.
About the Instructor:
Bernadette Geyer is the author of a full-length poetry collection,
The Scabbard of Her Throat
, and a poetry chapbook,
. She is the recipient of a Strauss Fellowship from the Arts Council of Fairfax County (Virginia, USA) and was a finalist for the 2011 Brittingham and Pollak Prizes. Geyer has served in the past on editorial boards of an independent press and literary journal, and has led workshops for The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She lives in Berlin, Germany, where she works as a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Her web site can be found at
Upcoming Classes & Workshops
Below are some classes and workshops that are starting soon. Click on the links to be taken to a full listing that includes a week-by-week curriculum, testimonials, instructor bio, and more. Keep in mind that most class sizes are limited, so the earlier you register the better.
All the classes operate online--whether through email, website, chat room, or group listserv, depending on the instructor's preferences--so you do not need to be present at any particular time (unless a phone chat is scheduled and arranged with your instructor). You can work at your own pace in the comfort of your own home. If you have any questions, please reply to this email or email us at:
Starts Now and Never Ends!
Narrative Voice for Novelists
| Work at Your Own Pace, Lifetime Membership, Critique of your first chapter | $118.30 (
30% Off for WOW Writers! Normally $169) | Instructor: Literary Agent Sally Apokedak
Starts Every Monday (Next Class: Oct 10):
Starts Every Friday (Self-Study Course) by Deana Riddle:
Starts the First Monday of Every Month (Next Class: Nov 7)
Starts the First Tuesday of Every Month (Next Class: Nov 8)
Starts the First Friday of Every Month (Next Class: Oct 7)
October 5, 2016
October 17, 2016
October 24, 2016
October 31, 2016
December 2, 2016
December 4, 2016
December 5, 2016
January 2, 2017
| 8 Weeks (4 classes) | $125 | Limit: 15 Students | Instructor: Chris Eboch
How to Publish a Short Story Workshop
| 4 Weeks | $90 for the course, which includes email support and feedback from the instructor; or $120 for the course and a short story critique of up to 3,000 words | Limit: 10 Students | Instructor: Gila Green
January 23, 2017
January 24, 2017
Grant Writing 101
| 4 Weeks | $175 | Limit: 10 Students | Instructors: Rebecca & SallyAnn Majoya
February 1, 2017
February 6, 2017
March 6, 2017