Our 2021-2022 series has concluded. Join our email list to be notified of our events over the summer and dates for our 2022-2023 series.
Writing a book has been compared to giving birth.
With both writing and birthing, you are bringing something new and beautiful into the world. To do this well requires tremendous creative energy, along with self-awareness about the fears that might hold you back and the need for helpers and allies in the quest for success.
In this live online workshop series, offered by memoirist and writing teacher Jennifer Browdy and novelist and birth doula Audrey Kalman, you are invited to step into a non-judgmental space where you will feel safe to discover your most tender voice, so that your truest stories can take root and blossom.
Month by month, you will:
- Discover the tools you need to birth your next creative work;
- Develop a powerful internal ally to walk with you on your writing journey;
- Enjoy the collaborative energy of a warm writing community;
- Find the courage you need to tell the story that seeks to come through you.
Each month features a stand-alone master class on a key aspect of the writing process, along with a writers’ circle for sharing and receiving productive feedback on your work, and two office hours for group collaboration and support for the creative process.
Both Jennifer and Audrey also offer individual author coaching and developmental editing for novelists and memoirists.
In this small and supportive group environment, you will:
- Discover how to apply concepts from the birthing world—such as surrender, facing fears, and working with a doula (coach)—to your writing practice
- Learn how to move beyond the fears that impede your writing journey
- Produce new work during generative writing sessions
- Receive monthly feedback during class from the group and from two seasoned writing teachers
- Find community in a small, supportive group of fellow writers
- Find accountability to the group—and to yourself
When you finish the workshop, you will come away with:
- Deeper knowledge of yourself and your writing process
- A reliable toolkit for tackling fear and uncertainty
- Several thousand words of draft material
- Confidence in your ability to serve as your own writing ally
- A writing community to cheer you on
All sessions meet on live online via Zoom.
Get a taste of our monthly prompt-based master classes!
BYTS Overview by Trimester
FIRST TRIMESTER – Gestating
Month 1: Conception – What is the “blessed unrest” that drives your story? What is the story asking to be born? What’s your story’s form: fiction, nonfiction? Length?
Month 2: Narrator, POV, and the relationship of plot and character Who will tell your story, and how? What makes readers care and engage with your characters and their story?
Month 3: Get inside your character’s head – how psychology drives plot Create rich, living characters that compel readers to keep turning the page. Uncover your character’s personal and family history and lineage. Articulate your character’s burning emotional needs and desires and discover how these drive the plot, scene by scene.
SECOND TRIMESTER – Developing the Story
Month 4: Where in the world are we? Your character in the world Discover techniques for building your character’s real or fictional world. What social and historical landscape do your characters live in and what is their place in it? What cultural events have influenced them? How do they navigate this landscape?
Month 5: Who in the world are you? Finding and cultivating your unique voice Who is telling your story, and how? What point of view is being used? Whose eyes are we looking through? Explore the narrative strategies other writers have employed and learn how to enliven your work in progress by shifting the way you tell your stories.
Month 6: Show vs. tell: Plunge into the heart of your story! What do we mean by “show vs. tell?” How can your use of sensory details bring readers into the emotional center of your story? What’s the right balance of scene vs. narration and dialogue?
THIRD TRIMESTER – Laboring and Delivering
Month 7: Narrative arc: Where is your story going? What is the relationship of plot to character? What traditional structures (hero/heroine’s journey, three-act structure, seven steps) might underpin your book? Are there non-traditional approaches that might work better? When is the right time to decide on a structure? Explore your book’s structure and timeline and different ways to put your book together.
Month 8: Intuitive revision: Staying true to your story, draft by draft Join us to explore a unique approach to revision that honors your most tender voice, drawing on your inner critic as a superpower to improve your work rather than an impediment to your creativity.
Month 9: Maintaining Momentum: Launching Your Work Into the World The generative part of your journey is complete. Now is the time to share your work more widely–whatever that means to you. For some, it may involve engaging a professional editor, seeking a literary agent, or identifying a publishing strategy. No matter your goals, it’s important to continue to support the tender voice that brought your story to life. The final session of our 9-month series will help you:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is this class only for women or mothers?
A: Not at all. We are using birth as a metaphor. You need not have direct experience with giving birth to benefit from this class.
Q: Do I have to attend every session?
A: No. Although we hope you’ll be with us through the nine-month “gestation” of your work, you are free to join month-by-month for topics most relevant to you. We also offer our monthly master classes as a standalones.
Q: What if I’m not a writer but I would like to be?
A: This class is intended for anyone with a story inside (which we believe is everyone!) that wants to be told. There are no prerequisites. And we will cultivate a welcoming atmosphere of non-judgment that will help everyone feel safe bringing their most vulnerable selves and stories to the class.