The 1455 Workshops

made for writers, led by writers

Strategies for Story Beginnings

October 10        1:00pm—5:00pm EST

What is the most effective way to start a short story? In this one-time class, we’ll look at pdfs of classic stories and analyze different ways writers bring a reader into a text. We’ll then practice these techniques in class. Students will receive pdfs of stories before the class starts. 

1 Class    |     4 hours    |


Creative Community

Mondays                  6:30pm—8:30pm EST
Oct 5—Dec 7

Let’s write together! Writing exercises can be a good way of exploring a character or world outside of your regular writing process. In this ongoing, drop-in class, we’ll do writing exercises organized around a topic. One week, the topic may be childhood, another travel, or food, etc. I’ll give students writing prompts, we’ll write together, and students may share their exercises if they wish, or just write on their own.

1 Class    |     2 hours     |


First-Person in stories

September 26        1:00pm—3:00pm EST

In this class, students will read examples of first person point of view, through stories by James Joyce, Jamaica Kincaid and Miranda July. Then students will practice different first person point of view through in-class exercises, which they may share with the class if they want.

1 Class    |     2 hours     |


Sensory Detail Craft Workshop

October 25         1:00pm—3:00pm EST

In this class, students will read a story by John Cheever (sent to them before the class), looking at ways he uses sensory detail. Then students will practice using sensory detail through in-class exercises, which they may share with the class if they want.

1 Class    |     2 hours    |


Starting Your Novel

October 7, 14, 21, 28   6:30pm—8:30pm EST

Designed for beginning writers who want to write a novel but haven’t been able to take the plunge. Covers research, organization, outlining, figuring out your themes, finding your voice, writing scenes. Includes exercises to walk you through all those aspects of the process, and writing prompts to help explore material.

4 Classes  |  2 hours each  |


Flash Fiction

October 24            1:00pm—4:00pm EST

Read, write, and share flash fiction. This workshop covers the various types of flash fiction and includes a lot of prompts. This is a great beginner workshop because flash fiction is fast and short. There is no delayed gratification, just lots of creativity and inspiration.

1 Class   |   3 hours    |


The Short Poem

October 10, 17 & 24  1:00pm4:00pm EST

Charles Simic has said: “The religion of the short poem in every age and in every literature has a single commandment: Less is always more. The short poem rejects preamble and summary. It is about all and everything, the metaphysics of a few words surrounded by much silence.” In this workshop we will read short poems and learn to write them. We will consider, apart from its length, the characteristics of the short poem. What is left unsaid, what is included and why? How does silence help make every word tell?

3 Class Course


The Image In poetry

November 7, 14 & 21    1:00pm4:00pm EST

What is an image and how does it occur? Pound defined it as: “…an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.” Gogol said: “The function of the image is to express life itself, not ideas or arguments about life.” In this class we will study the image in poetry but also look at photography and film. We will write and workshop poems with the aim of exploring and developing our own innate sense of the image and its possibilities.

3 Class Course


Rendering the Ordinary Extraordinary

January 16, 23 & 30    1:00pm4:00pm EST

Great poems often render what is considered ordinary extraordinary. Neruda wrote an ode to his socks; in Whitman’s Song of Myself a child asks: “What is the grass? Fetching it to me with full hands,/How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is more/than he.” In discussing student work, we address our vision of the everyday world and the images that inhabit our poems. How do we learn to elaborate on the most ordinary of objects or situations? How do we recognize the extraordinary in what is commonplace? The Mexican poet Octavio Paz has said: The purpose of poetry is to restore to mankind the possibility to wonder.

3 Class Course


Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice

Wednesdays             7:00pm8:30pm EST
Sep 23–Dec 9

Creative Energy is our natural gift. It is the essence of who we are, the very expression of our Being itself. When we cultivate a daily writing practice, we bring ourselves into communion with this part of us. Expressing and exercising this Energy daily, we build into our lives a channel of creative magic, abundance and flow–which is always ours but often remains untapped unless we practice. When we do, our lives become expressions of the life force continuously blooming and opening through us. This 12-week workshop will help you cultivate a daily writing practice. Each week we will explore how rituals, gratitude, surrender, even doubt and play, can aid our writing so that we may express more freely, and uniquely our creative selves.

12 Weekly Class Course    |


Crafting the Personal Essay

October 5, 12, 19 & 26  6:30pm–8:30pm EST

As the writer Nora Ephron famously said: “Everything is copy.” We are living through unprecedented times; each day reveals new challenges, new understandings, and new reflections on the world and our place in it. What better time to write some personal essays? The French writer Montaigne first used himself as a character in his literary investigations over four hundred years ago, and since then the personal essay has evolved to include all manner of style and inquiry: some use humor, some are fueled by memory, all are candid reflections of life and society as viewed through the intimate lens of our daily life. In class we’ll use weekly prompts, various writing exercises, and class feedback to develop work-in-progress. Essays by writers as varied as Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, Nora Ephron, and David Sedaris will be discussed to complement our creative work. The goal will be to have a fully finished essay or more by the end of the workshop. This class is open to anyone with a notebook, and now is a good time to start taking notes. Remember: everything is copy.

4 Classes    |


Improv for Writers

Tuesdays                   7:00pm9:00pm EST
Oct 13–Nov 17

Want to tickle your creativity, expand your story-telling prowess, or just play? Then this class is for you! Wherever you are in your writing and whatever you may know about improv—is the perfect place to start. You’ll deepen your sense of narrative, organization and character—and banish writer’s block— by playing classic improv games specifically adapted for writers and Zoom. You may find yourself creating a memorable story from random prompts; livening up a character as you “remember” her with your team-mates; co-creating a sci-fi “movie;” playing Head 2 of the world’s greatest 3-headed expert on Gothic literature, telling a group story one sentence at a time, or backwards, or who knows… It’s easy, it’s fun—and don’t worry—there’s nothing you can do wrong! Your instructor is the Founding Director of WIT–Washington Improv Theater, and an award-winning science writer.

6 Class Course


Workshops with Bethanne Patrick

Coming Soon

Bethanne Patrick will be leading 1455 workshops very soon. Stay tuned!

3 Class Course

Coming soon

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