Seattle Writing Classes


Seattle Writing Classes: Revising Your Life: Turning True Events into Compelling Stories

Seattle Writing Classes uses text Bird by Bird.

Seattle Writing Classes uses text Bird by Bird.

It may happen in the shower. On the way to work. Taking a crowded elevator. Suddenly a story idea seizes you. You must write it down! You find a pen and piece of paper, plunge into the story, and write nonstop until you finish a first draft. You put it aside. A day goes by. Two days. You pick it up again.  Sure there’s some good stuff there, but the rest of it is, well, less than perfect.

If you’re like most writers, you put the material in the drawer and hope someday to get around to finishing it. How do you push beyond the messy first draft most writers produce to craft a compelling story or book chapter? This eight-week class in nonfiction and fiction will show you how to make that happen. You’ll learn essential techniques of research, interviewing, leads, profiles, structuring, revision, and how to put the finished manuscript into the hands of the right editor.

The course will run Oct. 11 to November 29 on Wednesday evenings and one Monday evening Oct. 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.)

There will be six assignments, including a 150-word story idea, a 500-word profile, a 150-word lead, a 1500- to 2500-word first person story, a revised first person story, and a 250-word cover letter. In addition to the classroom work, I will schedule individual conferences with each student. This will give me a chance to go over your work with you one-on-one and suggest ways to improve it.

Texts: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, available at the Elliott Bay Book Company or other bookstore.

To enroll, please send me check for $625 to 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay with a credit card through the PayPal link on my website. Enrollment is limited to 15. For more information, contact me at or 206-284-7121.



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 a sequence of four enjoyable Seattle writing 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.

Narrative writing is perhaps the greatest of the literary arts, allowing writers to tell compelling stories, reach a wide audience and satisfy some of their deepest yearnings for pattern, mystery, and coherence in their lives.

While narrative writing allows for great scope and ambition, it also demands mastery of form and structure to succeed. An ability to manipulate form and structure allows a writer to create stories that entrance readers and transform their lives. The mastery of these techniques does not come easily, alas. It requires commitment to the habit of art to write excellent fiction or creative nonfiction.

My Seattle writing classes will help you develop your own habit of art, mastering the craft of narrative writing essential to creating fiction and nonfiction stories. Each quarter I offer a Seattle-based writing class in narrative writing for creative nonfiction and fiction. The emphasis varies from writing class to writing class, but all of the courses provide detailed, constructive criticism of your stories and book chapters.

The four Seattle writing classes form a sequence, introducing you to all the essential elements of creative nonfiction and fiction writing: dramatic scenes, scene by scene construction, character sketches, research and interviewing, first and third person point of view, story ideas, dramatic outlines and publishing strategies. They may be taken independently, but altogether they give you a comprehensive introduction to the art and craft of narrative writing. You’ll learn more about the craft of writing than you would in most MFA programs, at a fraction of the cost.

Every one of the Seattle writing classes requires that participants write a story or book chapter, revise it, and prepare it for publication. This focus on honing and perfecting the prose and finding a suitable outlet for it has resulted in students making real breakthroughs in their work. Many have gone on to publish their stories in magazines like Newsweek and the New York Times Magazine and sell their books to prominent publishing houses worldwide.

The Seattle writing classes take place generally on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. in the historic Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North). Enrollment is limited to 15.

Cancellation policy: Full refund up until the first night. After the first night, there will be no refund, save for a family or personal emergency. In the event of such an emergency, I will give you credit toward taking another class or a doing an online class with me.

Sign up early. The classes usually fill several weeks prior to the starting date. Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions and would like to enroll.


Nicholas O’Connell


WinterFollow the Story – Genres of Narrative Writing – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Jan. 11 to Feb. 15 and two Monday evenings Jan. 23 and 30. $625.

SpringThe Nature of Narrative: Scene and Structure – Building Blocks of Narrative Writing – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Mar. 22 to May 3 and one Monday evening April 3. $625.

SummerWriting for Story – Dramatic Structure of Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from June 14 to August 2 and one Monday evening June 19. $625.

FallRevising Your Life: Research and Writing of Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Oct. 11 to Nov. 29 and one Monday evening. $625.

Seattle Writing Classes

Seattle Writing Classes