The Nature of Narrative: Spring Seattle Writing Class

Seattle writing classes, Fall.

Seattle writing classes, Spring.

The Nature of Narrative: Spring Creative Writing Class

The Nature of Narrative will introduce you to the essential building blocks of dramatic writing, 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 eight-session 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 24 to May 12 on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Pacific time via Zoom video conference. Course includes individual conference with instructor and detailed comments on class work. There will be six assignments:

  • 150-word story idea or book concept statement.
  • 250-word stimulus/ response scene.
  • 150-word character sketch.
  • 1500- to 2500-word fiction or nonfiction short story or book chapter and its revision.
  • Creation of a blog, website, Facebook or Amazon author page.

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 scene, a 150-word character sketch, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter and its revision, a cover letter for your story or book. 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, send a check for $625 to Nick O’Connell, 201 Newell St., Seattle, WA 98109 or you can pay via Venmo or PayPal on the link below.  The course is limited to 15 participants and usually fills several weeks prior to the start of class. For more information, see my website, www.thewritersworkshop.net or contact me at nick@thewritersworkshop.net or call 206-284-7121.



Note: This class will take place via Zoom video conference unless the ban on public gatherings due to the Coronavirus is lifted. If lifted, the class will take place in room 221 of the Good Shepherd Center (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.) in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood as well as on Zoom.

The Good Shepherd Center offers plenty of free parking for participants in the Seattle writing classes and is easily accessible from Interstate 5 via the 45th and 50th street exits.



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: www.thewritersworkshop.net/reviews.htm

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), headquarters of Seattle Tilth and a number of arts and nonprofit organizations. Enrollment is limited to 15.

Easily accessible from Interstate 5 via the 45th and 50th street exits, the Good Shepherd Center offers plenty of free parking for participants in the Seattle writing classes.

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. –  Jan. 13, 20, 27, 29, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar. $625.

SpringThe Nature of Narrative: Scene and Structure – Building Blocks of Narrative Writing – Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. March 24to May 12. $625.

SummerWriting for Story – Dramatic Structure of Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from June 10, 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29. $625.

FallRevising Your Life: Writing Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25. $625.

Seattle Writing Classes