I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced…the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always.

-Ernest Hemingway

Writing classes can help you put down what really happened with detail, deftness and precision. A good writing class provides the encouragement, skillful guidance, and sound, practical advice to master the craft of writing. Otherwise, writers can flounder for years, repeating mistakes over and over again, turning what should be a rewarding and enlightening activity into an exercise in frustration. 

Experienced authors can benefit from the structure a writing class provides to perfect and extend their technique. The Writer's Workshop offers a variety of writing courses and online writing tutorials to meet the needs of a wide range of writers.

After founding the Narrative Nonfiction program at the University of Washington in 1993, one of the first such programs in the country, I developed an online and campus-based writing program that combines the best of fiction and nonfiction writing. The Writer's Workshop is the result.

Through detailed analysis of stories, one-on-one tutoring, and precise critiquing, I help writers to quickly master the forms of fiction and nonfiction. Many of the students in my Seattle writing courses and our online tutorials have gone on to publish books and place stories in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Newsweek, Men's Journal, The Wall Street Journal, and many other periodicals. (See comments below.)

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In addition to teaching at The Writer's Workshop, the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University's Creative Writing MFA Program, and the North Cascades Institute, I contribute to Newsweek, Condé Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Saveur, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, GO, Sierra and many other places. I've written the following books: On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (University of Washington Press, 2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (University of Washington Press, 1998), Contemporary Ecofiction (Charles Scribner's, 1996) and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (Mountaineers, 1993).

This combination of teaching and professional writing experience allows me to guide students through the sometimes bewildering world of newspaper, magazine and book publication. The other instructors for our online classes--Scott Driscoll, Jana Harris, Jessica Murphy and Jonathan Waterman--have a similar combination of extensive writing and teaching experience.

This website contains detailed information about online classes, Seattle writing classes, an interview with me conducted by Christian Martin, my recent publications, student publications and advice about writing and publishing. Let me know what you think.

The tenth issue of our online literary magazine, The Writer's Workshop Review, is now live. It features an excerpt from Tom Robbins' memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie, an interview with him and other outstanding stories. For more: http://www.thewritersworkshopreview.net/issue.cgi.

Check out The Writer's Workshop blog, which will keep you updated on writing classes, publishing opportunities, and news in the travel, food and wine writing world. For more: http://www.thewritersworkshop.net/wordpress/.

There's still room in my spring Seattle Writing Class, Follow the Story, our online writing classes and my Travel, Food and Wine Writing course in Vaison la Romaine, France (May 22 - 28) Take a look at the course descriptions below. Sign up early to reserve a slot.

My first novel, The Storms of Denali, was recently published. Please take a look at the trailer below and the following reviews/ interviews. To buy a copy, click the following link: http://www.alaska.edu/uapress/browse/detail/index.xml?id=463

Please contact me about Seattle writing classes, online writing tutorials, freelance writing or any other subject. I look forward to hearing from you!


Nicholas O'Connell, M.F.A., Ph.D.


The Nature of Narrative: Spring Creative Writing Class

The Nature of Narrative will introduce you to the essential building blocks of dramatic writing, whether in fiction, nonfiction or film. The alternating pattern of scene and sequel forms the basis of all dramatic writing, pulling readers into your story and not letting them go until the end. This pattern is as essential as breathing, but is often misunderstood by writers. This eight-week course will show you how to incorporate these techniques in your own work to provide drama, pacing, tension and resolution in your creative nonfiction, short stories, novels and memoirs.

The Seattle writing course will run March 23 to May 4 on Wednesday evenings (and on Monday evening, March 28) from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North).

In addition to the classroom work, I’ll schedule individual conferences with each of you. This will give me a chance to go over your story or book chapter with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it. There will be six assignments: a 150-word story idea or book concept statement, a 250-word stimulus-response scene, a 150-word character sketch, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter and its revision, and the creation of a blog, website, Amazon author page or Facebook page. The cost will be $625 per person. Texts: Jack Bickham’s Scene and Structure and Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. Both titles are available at the Elliott Bay Book Company.

To enroll, please send a check for $625 to Nick O’Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or click on the Buy Now button below to pay with a credit card. The course is limited to 15 participants and usually fills several weeks prior to the start of class. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or call 206-284-7121.

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Travel, Food and Wine Writing Class in Provence

May 22 - 28 in Vaison la Romaine

Sablet with Dentelles

Travel writing, Food writing and Wine writing are some of the most exciting genres of nonfiction, calling on all of an author's skills—dramatic scenes, character sketches, concrete detail, point of view, scene by scene construction. This six-day intensive travel writing course will introduce you to essential techniques of travel, food and wine writing and give you expert, insider advice about how to submit and publish finished stories.

In addition to learning these skills, you’ll dine at outstanding restaurants, visit some of the world’s best wineries, and explore fascinating historic sights. You’ll enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes tours unavailable to the general public. Best of all, you’ll receive up-to-date story ideas from local industry experts that you can turn into finished stories by the end of the travel writing course and submit to newspapers and magazines for publication.

The six-day travel writing class (May 22 – 28) will take place in Vaison la Romaine, one of the most beautiful medieval hill towns in Provence, and a center of its cultural and epicurean life since Roman times. The cost will be $2600. Plane tickets and travel to and from Vaison la Romaine are extra. See travel writing page on this website for more information. Buy Now

To enroll, send me a non-refundable deposit of $800 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109. Enrollment is limited to 10. For more information, contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or 206-284-7121. For more, http://www.thewritersworkshop.net/travel.htm.

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WRITING 101– Have you always wanted to write but haven’t known where to start? Have you written in the past but need a refresher on the nuts and bolts? If so, this is the course for you. It will help you communicate clearly and effectively, whether in email, reports, letters or essays. The short, targeted assignments include quick grammar exercises, keys to writing effective sentences and paragraphs, and longer assignments that illuminate the writing process, organization and composition. This class will help you to reach your potential as a writer—whether on the job or for personal growth—bringing style and confidence to your writing. Six assignments in all, including a persuasive essay and a personal essay. Text: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. $500. Instructor: Jessica Murphy.

INTRODUCTION TO NONFICTION WRITING - Nonfiction writing is by far the most popular genre of contemporary literature, offering endless opportunities for craft, creativity and publication. This course introduces you to the fundamentals of nonfiction: developing and shaping story ideas, interviewing and research, strategies for opening and structuring nonfiction stories. Students research and write a 750-word profile, a 750-word personal essay and four other targeted assignments as they learn the fundamental skills of this invaluable craft. Text: On Writing Well by William Zinsser. $500. Instructor: Jessica Murphy.

INTRODUCTION TO MAGAZINE WRITING - This course builds on the techniques of the previous class, and includes analyzing magazines, learning different story structures, unlocking the secret of making your words flow, polishing your prose and working with editors, and understanding the legal and ethical issues of magazine journalism. Five short- to medium-sized assignments and one longer (1,500 to 2,000 word story). $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE NONFICTION – "Just the facts" doesn’t have to be boring. Creative Nonfiction brings together the best of fiction and nonfiction writing. Through readings, written assignments and individual critiques, students will gain a practical grasp of dramatic scene, dialogue, character sketches and scene by scene construction. Class will discuss where to market work. Six assignments including a 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision.$500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION – This course builds on the techniques of the previous class, adding in medias res openings, first and third person points of view, creation of suspense, and further suggestions for publication. Six assignments in all, including a 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTRODUCTION TO WRITING A NONFICTION BOOK – Have you always wanted to write a book? Do you have an important story to tell? If so, this is the course for you. Nonfiction books are the largest category of manuscripts published, making up 85 percent of all the books published in a given year. Of those, 75 percent are by first-time authors. Writing a nonfiction book is a good way to break into the publishing world. This course is designed to help you produce the finished first chapter of your nonfiction book, a concept statement, an annotated table of contents and marketing report. Six assignments in all. $500. Instructor: Jessica Murphy.

ADVANCED NONFICTION BOOK: WRITING, EDITING AND PUBLISHING - This course continues the writing and refining of your manuscript with the goal of producing a finished book proposal. In addition, the course addresses writing query letters, market research, contacting publishers, seeking out literary agents, organizing publicity--all of the skills needed to obtain a contract and complete a manuscript for a first book. Six assignments in all. $500. Instructor: Jessica Murphy.

INDIVIDUAL TUTORIAL – In this class we’ll work together to set up an individualized curriculum. After consulting with you, I’ll put together a package of assignments and readings to fulfill your particular goals as a writer. The assignments might range from short 100-word story ideas, to 250- to 500-word scenes to a 2,500 story or a 3,500-word book chapter. Six assignments in all. $600. All instructors.

NOVEL WRITING TUTORIAL - Whether you're just embarking on the great adventure of writing a novel or are midway through the journey, this tutorial will help you find your way to completing the book. Assignments include a book idea, a 250- to 500-word scene, a character sketch, a first chapter, an outline, and a revision. Course may be repeated, adding further assignments as students progress through the writing and completing an entire manuscript. Text: The Weekend Novelist by Robert Ray. $500. Instructor: Jana Harris.

INTRODUCTION TO TRAVEL WRITING - The romance of travel writing is easy to understand. Who wouldn’t like to go on an all-expense paid trip to a Hawaiian resort? How about traveling the Whiskey Trail through the American South, visiting the best micro distilleries? Or what about a food and wine tour of Argentina? These are all trips I have turned down recently, mostly from lack of time. Would you like to go in my place? Sign up for the class you’ll learn the techniques of travel writing which can lead to getting invited on these trips. Travel writing is one of the most exciting genres of nonfiction, calling on all of an author's skills—dramatic scenes, character sketches, concrete detail, point of view, scene by scene construction. Through readings, written assignments and individual critiques, students will gain a practical grasp of these techniques. Class will discuss where to market work. Text: The Travel Writer's Handbook. Six assignments including a 1,500- to 2,500-word travel story and its revision. $500. Instructor: Nicholas O'Connell.

INTRODUCTION TO NATURE WRITING - Nature writing is one of the most appealing genres of nonfiction, providing an opportunity to reconnect with the natural world. Learn techniques such as concrete detail, dramatic scene, characterization, point of view, and a dash of humor to vividly describe your experiences of wild nature. This online nature and adventure writing class provides an extensive introduction to the art and craft of the genre. This course will offer an opportunity to learn the secrets of writing nature narratives, including shaping story ideas, keeping a nature journal, structuring stories and essays, and where to send them for publication. Text: Writing about Nature by John Murray. Six assignments include a story idea, character sketch, dramatic scene, 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision, and a cover letter. $500. Instructor: Jonathan Waterman.

INTRODUCTION TO FICTION WRITING - This introductory online fiction writing class teaches the process of writing from the ground up. Specifically targeted early writing assignments and readings help you get started with your writing. Later assignments provide you with the fundamental tools of narrative writing, including plotting, character development, and point-of-view. In the course of this fiction writing class, you’ll complete a story sketch, a story beginning, a plot chart, and a polished draft of a short story. Text: Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING - This online course builds on the skills learned in the introductory class, combining readings and writing exercises to help you master the key elements introduced during the first course. Readings and critiques will allow you to gain greater control of your short stories. In this fiction writing class, you will continue to produce new work, develop editing skills and explore the subtler shades of the fiction writing craft such as scene and sequel, fictional time, narrative distance and plotting. Text: Points of Views. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

ADVANCED FICTION WRITING - This online course helps you draft and revise your fiction, sharpens your expertise as a reader, writer, and editor, and encourages you to find your own approach to the art of fiction writing. You will strengthen your skills in working with narrative voice, dialogue, fictional use of time, and other advanced tricks of the fiction writing trade. Finally, you’ll research publishing markets and learn how to prepare your manuscript for publication. Text: Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll.

INTRODUCTION TO POETRY WRITING – Poetry, it has been said, is a telephone line to the unconscious. In poetry we learn to make wild, unorthodox associations leading to the discovery of new connections.  This poetry writing class will allow you to explore the delights of poetic form and language while learning the basics of the craft. Six assignments, including a free verse poem, dramatic monologue, nursery rhyme, and sonnet. Text: The Discovery of Poetry, by Frances Mayes. $500. Instructor: Jana Harris.

WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS – Do you have a son or daughter who loves to write but lacks quality instruction and individual attention? Does your child need help writing essays for school or college applications or simply for self-expression? If yes, consider signing up for this course, which provides expert, encouraging instruction in the art of persuasive writing. Short, targeted assignments include quick grammar exercises and keys to writing effective sentences and paragraphs. Longer assignments are focused on the argumentative basics that students will need to succeed in college: creating a strong thesis, learning to how to incorporate evidence, and establishing authority on the page through sharp organization and a proper appeal to emotions. All in all, this class will help your child reach his or her potential—whether in school or for personal growth. Six assignments in all, including a persuasive essay and a personal essay. $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll or Jessica Murphy.

INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS - From Harry Potter to Shakespeare to The Da Vinci Code, creative writing is one of the most satisfying and timeless of art forms, teaching us universal truths about ourselves and our relationship to the world. In this course, you’ll learn the building blocks of fiction and poetry. We’ll cover the component parts of poetry by studying and writing sonnets and then delve into fiction with readings and exercises to help you establish character, setting, and structure, culminating in a 1,000-word story. All in all, there are six assignments. By the end of the course you will possess the basics needed to create work that excites, moves, and transports readers. Text: Imaginative Writing by Janet Burroway. Cost: $500. Instructor: Scott Driscoll or Jessica Murphy.


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Certificate in Creative Nonfiction

Students who complete four classes from The Writer's Workshop, whether online or Seattle-based, will receive a Certificate in Creative Nonfiction. This certificate demonstrates your professional competence to employers, boosts your chances of acceptance at a M.F.A. or other graduate program, and provides a concrete measure of your personal achievement.  

Payment Options

You can pay by sending a check to Nick O'Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or click on Paypal.com to pay with a credit card.

What Former Students Say

I can't thank you enough for all that I learned from you about crafting a narrative, scene, and character portraits in your writing classes. Also, your tips for using strong verbs, rich descriptors, and setting up the framework for the book have proven invaluable. I could never have completed the book without the tools and skills you helped me acquire.

--Angela Day is the author of Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster

It was 20 years ago you urged me to submit a story I'd written in your class to the Seattle Weekly. They published it in February 1993. Best money I ever made. I've been a journalist/ reporter ever since then all over the country, including the Hartford Courant. Thank you.

 --Janice Posada is a writer for the Hartford Courant.

Nick, I am so grateful for the opportunity to take your summer nonfiction seminar through The Writer's Workshop.  It was the summer of 2008, and I was in the midst of making big changes in my professional life.  The writing class proved to be the kick-off to my new path as a food and wine writer on the east coast.  Now as wine columnist and a restaurant reviewer for the Boston Globe, I regularly use the techniques of narrative writing to bring readers into the action of a story and to create engaging scenes out of everyday moments.  Thank you for fostering a supportive learning environment in your writing classes that played a key role in my development as a professional writer.

 --Ellen Bhang is a Boston Globe Correspondent from Boston, MA

Thank you so much for the wonderful Follow The Story class.  In eight weeks you've taken my writing skills farther than the four years I spent on my Bachelor's degree in English.

- Wendy Kendall writes from Seattle, Washington.

I took your non-fiction course in the winter of '95/'96. You must have done a good job because of the 11 folks in the class, six of us have published books. The University of Oklahoma Press published my manuscript in 2005: A Room for the Summer; Adventure, Misadventure and Seduction in the Mines of the Coeur d'Alenes. The class had a great effect and I read and re-read my notes continually as I proceeded through my book.

 - Fritz Wolff is a writer from Olympia, Washington

Thanks to your guidance, my head is spinning with oodles of ways to express myself using the personal essay style.  I attended a conference for text and academic authoring in Minnesota a few weeks ago, where three of us actually composed a personal essay on napkins at a reception with a well-stocked bar.  I credited you as my inspiration.

 - Karen Hoelscher, Ph.D. writes from Bellingham, Washington.

 Do you have a compelling story? Want to learn the craft of narrative writing? Dr. Nick O’Connell teaches time-honored principles with a relaxed style in four enjoyable courses. From nut graph to structure, from lead to climax, Nick has transformed my writing career from scientific researcher to riveting narrative non-fiction author.

 - Dr. David G. Embrey is a freelance writer from Puyallup, Washington.

GUESS WHAT!!!! Equus has accepted my article! OK, so they are only paying me $50, but I really don't care about that. Thank you so much for helping me, Nick. I have really enjoyed and benefited tremendously from working through the writing process with you in this course. Your comments and assignments kept me inspired and enabled me to write an article I had been thinking about for a long time. I don't think that I could have done this without you. This is amazing! Just wanted to share the news!

 - Katharine Maccornack, Ph.D., is a writer from Summit, New Jersey.

Sometimes the most influential people have no idea of the impact they have on others. I just wanted you to know what a tremendous difference you have made to my writing life and to share the great news that an essay of mine will be published in a Seal Press anthology, Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On, that is scheduled for release in May 2009. Your kindness, your style, your generous sharing of your craft, your respect for everyone... it all had a deep impact on me and gave me the courage to write from my heart.

- Susan Carol Stein is a freelance writer from Seattle.

I really appreciate all of your great feedback in the online writing class, particularly the fact that you went through my writing very carefully. Although I learned a lot in the Writers Digest Fiction course it was mostly through my efforts - instructor feedback was usually limited to two or three sentences of general comments that were not particularly helpful.  I will stick with you, Jessica Murphy and Scott Driscoll in the future.
- Bob Sproule is a freelance writer from Klamath Falls, Oregon.

I wanted to write and share with you how much your non-fiction creative writing class meant to me. With zero professional writing background, I absorbed as much as I could from your class. Here’s just a smattering of what I learned:the huge importance of an engaging opening; the use of verbs to create action and move the reader along; create tension in the reader and set them up for the solution; use action-oriented scenes. And much more.

- Steve Roberts is the author of Wine Trails of the Northwest.

Thanks to what I learned from you and Scott Driscoll, I was lucky enough to become an intern at Seattle Magazine, then a freelance writer, and now I'm the Research Editor for Seattle Magazine, Seattle Business Monthly, and Northwest Home & Garden. I really appreciated your feedback and suggestions. This is a long overdue thank you.

- Sheila Mickool is the Research Editor for Tiger Oak Publications.

About six years ago I took your Creative Nonfiction course on-line.  I enjoyed it immensely and think I even learned something.  Fast forward to October, 2006. The editorial board of the University of South Carolina Press met this afternoon.  My proposal for a book called Longitude by Wire: Finding North America was on the agenda.  At a little after two this afternoon I received this e-mail from the editor: “Project approved for publication. Congratulations.” Who would ever have thought I would get this far?  Just amazing!

- Richard Stachurski is a freelance writer from Bellevue, Washington.

If it weren’t for Nick O’Connell, I would not be a soon-to-be-published author.  Nick’s classes helped me find my unique writing voice, and his enthusiastic and insightful critiques inspired me to expand a short story idea into a book. I highly recommend Nick’s classes to anyone who has any interest in writing. You’ll not only be given structure and advice, you’ll also learn how to get your work published!

- Elisabeth Squires is the author of the bOObs: A Guide to Your Girls, published by Seal Press.

Just last week I received call from an editor at Tate Publishing who told me that a book I've written about caring for my mother has been accepted for publication. What a surprise! One of the reasons I took your course was to gain more skills to complete this book, so my dream has finally come true.

- Jennifer Sokol is the author of Six Years of Grace: Caregiving Episodes With My Mother.

I took Nick O’Connell’s class “Stalking the Nonfiction Narrative” when I was stuck on the first draft of my book. He helped me break through barriers, giving me the techniques to create a solid structure for my book. Then he worked with me as a writing coach and gave insightful feedback that enabled me to craft my story into a publishable manuscript. Throughout the whole process, he encouraged and advised me on all aspects of the writing and publishing. Nick was a huge part of my recent book sale, and I would recommend him to any writer–-whether you just want to improve your technique or to publish professionally.

- Rebecca Agiewich's novel, The Break-up Babe, was recently published by Random House.

Nick, thanks so much for all your guidance and help: the classes, the feedback, and the positive attitude towards criticism all contributed to my successful book proposal. The structure of the class plus your positive spin on incorporating suggestions really altered my attitude. Given my lifetime history of a critical mother, that was some change!

- Patty Cogen's book, Parenting Internationally Adopted Children, was published by Harvard Common Press.

Prior to taking Nick’s class, I had faced a deluge of rejections—79 alone, just for my book. He had to convince me that the essay I was writing for his class was appropriate for the “Lives” column of the Sunday Magazine section of The New York Times and encouraged me to submit it. “Too Close for Comfort” was accepted the day the editor received it and was published two weeks later. Is there a better endorsement for Nick’s teaching talents? I almost forgot--his obvious joy in craft and wonderful sense of humor.

- Debra Borchert is a freelance writer based in Seattle Washington.

Nick is one of the most approachable and helpful writing teachers I’ve ever met. He’s not just a good teacher, but a veteran writer himself, who knows all of the ins and outs of the business. I’d recommend his classes not only to the beginner, but also to established writers who are looking to improve and broaden their skill set.

- Cory Graff’s book Strike and Return: American Airpower and the Fight for Iwo Jima was published by Specialty Press.

Before taking Nick O'Connell's Creative Nonfiction course, I sent stories off to editors with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I was nervous that I would be found out. The truth was I was winging it. I didn't know how to write a nut graph or a compelling lead. From scenic leads to nut graphs and character development, I learned techniques that made my stories stand out. That's how I landed my job as Associate Editor at San Francisco Downtown Magazine, only six months after taking Nick's course. I was up against Brown and Oxford graduates--one of whom was on staff at Time Out magazine--but I was offered the job because my stories had strong themes, clear structures and, most importantly, kept the reader reading. Nick's course gave me the confidence and, most importantly, the techniques I needed to bring my stories to life.

- Vanessa Sharp is Associate Editor of San Francisco Downtown Magazine 

I have learned how to write under your guidance. A plain sentence I speak with tears in my eyes. I'm so grateful to learn! In fact when I compare the progress I'm making as a writer with that of friends in elite MFA programs on the east coast, I think I have learned much more. I really do, and they are paying $20,000 plus travel for their degrees. The students work with many brilliant, famous writers who are neither brilliant or memorable teachers. I see my friends struggle with the basic scaffolding of story construction even though their language is often poetic and beautiful. No one is talking to them about how to tell a story. The long and the short of it is that I am immeasurably grateful that I found your program.

- Jo Ellen Warner is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington.  

The essay I wrote with your help is in this week's issue of Newsweek. It is quite exciting - thanks for your help and encouragement. There is very little change from the original, so we must have done good!

- John Hare's personal essay "Tough Enough to Give up Snuff" appeared in Newsweek. He lives in Yuba City, California.   

I have taken Professor O'Connell's Creative Nonfiction class via email from France. The study of writing techniques, related readings and feedback from the assignments is very effective. In fact, I have already been hired to write articles regularly for The Riviera Times!

- Mary C. Mascarella is a freelance writer based in Nice, France.  

Nick O'Connell's teaching was of great help in improving my writing and editing skills. The personal essay I did for the class on my whitewater rapids trip was published in Newsweek's "My Turn" column. He helped me clarify my language and eliminate excess verbiage. He also showed me how to craft a compelling lead paragraph, one that transports the reader into the landscape of the story from the first word.

- Judy Gelber is a freelance writer from Boca Raton, Florida.   

Nick’s great sense of humor, his keen eye for clean, compelling prose, and his years of practical writing experience make learning productive and entertaining. Nick successfully guided me through my first job as a newspaper reporter and has provided advice and mentoring since. He’s a great teacher for the beginning writer and a superb coach for the experienced professional.

- Deirdre Allen Timmons is a Seattle-based contributor to Underwire, Seattle Homes and Lifestyles and many other places. She’s currently working on her second screenplay.  

Nick's classes have been critical for me to get started as a professional writer. He teaches an excellent mix of craft and marketing--both of which are essential for successful writing. He taught me how to write a gripping lead, set the scene, and finish in a way that brings the piece full circle. On the marketing side, Nick willingly shares his own strategies for breaking into publications. I found his tips about querying editors, as well as his market insights, invaluable and have used them successfully in publishing my first essay--a story about my first car. I'm grateful for his encouragement of my career in writing. In the fall, I will study Creative Nonfiction at the University of Idaho's MFA program. I'll also be TA'ing and hope to model my teaching style on his!

- Jeff Jones is a freelance writer based in Moscow, Idaho.

Nick O'Connell's class really opened up my eyes to using fictional techniques (dialogue, telling detail, characterization) in my nonfiction writing. Writing assignments I produced for Creative Nonfiction were later incorporated into Inside the Pike Place Market (1999). I highly recommend Nick's classes to other writers looking for direction and inspiration.

- Braiden Rex-Johnson is a food, wine and travel writer and author of the best-selling Pike Place Market Cookbook (2003).

Copyright The Writer's Workshop, an on-campus and online program offering writing classes, Seattle writing classes, online writing classes and travel writing classes.

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