Writing Workshops

2019 Craft Workshops

I’m excited to be facilitating The Elements of Craft, Writing Historical Fiction,
and the Get Ready to Submit series in 2019.
Workshops are held at PDX Writers in Portland, Oregon.

MARCH 2 – MARCH 30, 2019

SECRETS, LIES, and HEROIC ACTS: Character – with Jennifer Springsteen
Saturday, March 2, 2019
​Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio in NE Portland, Hollywood area
Cost: $55
Register for this workshop

​Let’s really get to know our characters before we commit them to the novel or story. Through focused prompts, we will ask our characters to reveal themselves and tell us their stories – their wants, needs, lies, and regrets. It is often surprising what they say, and that surprise might just be the hook your story needs.

WHOSE STORY IS IT, ANYWAY?: Point of View – with Kim Taylor Blakemore
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio in NE Portland, Hollywood area
Cost: $55
Register for this workshop

​Whose story is it really? 1st person, 3rd person, Omniscient? Which point of view serves your story? What are the pros and cons of each type? In this workshop, we will write from multiple “camera” views and find the narration that makes the story sizzle. This workshop can help you find the strongest voice of a piece, or solidify and deepen your characterizations.

SETTING AS CHARACTER – with Kim Taylor Blakemore
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio in NE Portland, Hollywood area
Cost: $55
Register for this workshop

Setting is a critical element of story. If written with intention, it can expose and influence characters, shape the voice and tone of the story, and ground the reader in worlds both foreign and familiar. Through prompts, we will  explore setting’s function in different genres and create evocative and rich worlds for our fiction and memoirs.

THE THINGS NOT SAID: Dialogue – with Kim Taylor Blakemore

Saturday, March 23, 2019
Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio in NE Portland, Hollywood area
Cost: $55
Register for this workshop. 

No more talking heads. No more “I hate you!” she screamed wildly lines. Through a mixture of action, character, subtext and motives, we will mold our dialogue to both illuminate character and move the plot forward.

ELEMENTS OF A SCENE – with Jennifer Springsteen
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio in NE Portland, Hollywood area
Cost: $55
Register for this workshop

Your scenes–mini versions of a plot arc–should have a beginning, middle, and end. They have a plot goal and character goals. Each scene builds upon the next in a clear and precise way. In this workshop, you will work on several scenes in your manuscript and shape them into perfection.

CONJURING THE PAST: Writing Historical Fiction
APRIL 6-27, 2019

4 Saturdays: April 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 10am to 12:30pm
Location: PDX Writers Studio, NE Portland
Cost: $345 due upon application acceptance

Please read application process below for workshop registration.
Application and questions will be sent to kimtaylorblakemore@gmail.com

*Participants in this workshop will receive a $30 discount to a Hammer & Nails individual conference.

All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Sisters Brothers. Circe. Historical fiction transports readers to unfamiliar worlds and cultures, immersing us in times that may be past but resonate in the present.

This workshop is for writers just starting a historical novel, those currently in the midst of a work-in-progress, or those who feel their novel is stuck in neutral. Through lecture, writing and research exercises, group feedback, and facilitator critique, we will work to create memorable and rich stories that bring the past to life.

In each session, we will look in-depth at our own manuscripts, focusing on the following subjects:

  • The Big Picture: World Events and Afternoon Tea – weaving great events with small
  • Research: Its All About the Primary Source – how to find it, what to take away
  • Character: My World, Not Yours – authenticity in worldview and action
  • Setting: Beyond the Castle and into the Privy Room – mining setting for voice and drama
  • Dialogue: Speaking in Tongues – how to convey historical speech
  • Voice: Watch Your Genre – using narrative voice
  • The Daily Wear: Buttons and pockets and zippers and bodices – who wore what when
  • Pass the Mutton Stew: Food and manners
  • I’m Sorry It’s Inconvenient: Historical accuracy and modern mores

The workshop is limited to 8 writers. In order to create the strongest mix of experience, you are asked to apply and submit the following:

  • Short 1-3 sentence blurb of your premise (no need for a synopsis – just the time period and general idea)
  • 1,000 words MAXIMUM from your work in progress or a previous work.
  • Applications are due by February 28th. If you are accepted, you will receive an email by March 9th.

Please submit material in the body of the email. No attachments. Applications should be sent by email to kimtaylorblakemore@gmail.com

​In addition to the in-person workshops, you will each have the opportunity to submit 20 pages for my feedback and critique – this includes a half-hour video conference call with me to review the material and to talk through any questions you have about the piece.

MAY 25 – JUNE 30, 2019

Getting close to finishing your manuscript? When our story is near completion, it’s time to dig in deeper and polish. It is also a time where we wonder, “What next?” Like all art forms, writing is communication and our manuscripts are how we long to communicate with readers.

This series will focus you on your compelling opening pages and resonant ending. It will give you deep editing skills for your final revision. You will learn how to hone your project into the perfect pitch for agents, literary magazines, and publishers. Finally, you’ll write your full synopsis: what it’s all about.

We’ve timed this series to ready you for the Willamette Writers Conference in the hopes you will pitch your well-thought-out manuscript to agents. ​

Saturdays and some Sundays: May 25, June 8 & 9, 15& 16, June 22, and June 29 & 30
(Please see descriptions below)

Time: both Saturday and Sunday workshops are from 10am to 12:30pm*
Location: PDX Writers Studio
Cost: $395 (unlike the Elements workshop, writers sign up for the entire series)
Register for this workshop

EDITING BOOTCAMP – with Kim Taylor Blakemore
Saturday, May 25

​We love it. We hate it. Without it, a story is doomed. This interactive workshop will walk you through a specific process for deep editing of paragraphs, sentences and words. We will cut and paste and move and chip away at our work until it is powerful. Please bring 2-3 copies of 3 pages of a work in progress.

 GOOD ENDINGS – with Jennifer Springsteen
Saturday, June 8

​Where you end is as important as where you started. It creates a lasting tone: the one you set in the beginning. We’ll examine good endings and write our own. We’ll look back to story starts and connect tone and character development.

THE FIRST 10 PAGES – with Kim Taylor Blakemore
Saturday & Sunday, June 15 & 16

Your first ten pages carry the promise of the story to come. They must convey genre, tone, character, conflict, and the story question. In this workshop, we’ll work to make those pages sizzle.

YOUR SYNOPSIS – with Jennifer Springsteen
Saturday, June 22* (This workshop time is 10am-1pm: heavy snacks available!)

The synopsis gives the agent of publisher the whole shabang, no back-of-book cliff hangers here. While your synopsis should utilize the narrative tone of your book, it is a different animal from the manuscript. This is where the reader learns what happens and in what order from start to finish. 

THE PITCH – with Kim Taylor Blakemore
Saturday & Sunday, June 29 & 30

​Your query letter and pitch are your manuscript’s calling cards – a good query letter can hook an editor or agent into requesting more pages. In this workshop you will hone your query, create a 50-word pitch that encapsulates the essence and heart of your story, and create a letter that grabs the attention of the editor or agent you seek.