Seattle Writing Classes


NEW SEATTLE WRITING CLASS! Seattle Writing Classes: The Arc of the Story: Winter Creative Writing Class

Story Craft used in Seattle writing classes.

Story Craft used in Seattle writing classes.

Readers crave stories. Structuring a piece of writing in terms of a story is the single most effective way of holding an audience’s attention. It’s the secret behind compelling short stories, nonfiction stories and the novels of Stephen King or John Grisham and popular nonfiction like Eric Larson’s Devil in the White City or Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. These authors sell millions of books because they tell a good, suspenseful story. They make readers wonder, “What will happen next?”

My new winter class, The Arc of the Story, will teach you how to tell a great story or book chapter. We’ll start by sketching the arc of the story, move to writing a scene, the fundamental building block of narrative, whether in fiction, nonfiction or film. Then we’ll write a point of view exercise to discover the ideal perspective from which to tell the story, whether first person, second person or third person point of view. Then you’ll write a 1500- to 2500-word draft of your story or book chapter with a beginning, middle and end. After receiving a detailed critique, you’ll polish and revise your story or book chapter for publication. The final assignment, a publication report, will help you find the perfect home for the story, greatly enhancing the chance of publication.

The course will run on Wednesday evenings Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 21, 28 and one Monday evening, Feb.12, 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 sketch, a 250-word dramatic scene, a 250-word point of view exercise, a 1500- to 2500-word story or book chapter, a revised story or chapter, and a 250- to 500-word publication report. 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: Story Craft by Jack Hart and The Best American Essays of the Century edited by Joyce Carol Oates, 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. The class usually fills several weeks before the starting date. For more information, contact me at or 206-284-7121.

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.



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), 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


Winter – The Arc of the Story – Genres of Narrative Writing – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Jan. 10 to Feb. 28 (No class Valentine’s Day/ Ash Wednesday) and one Monday evening Feb. 12. $625.

SpringThe Nature of Narrative: Scene and Structure – Building Blocks of Narrative Writing – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Mar. 21 to May 2; and one Monday evening, March 26. $625.

SummerWriting for Story – Dramatic Structure of Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from June 13 to August 1, (No class July 4) and one Monday evening June 18. $625.

FallRevising Your Life: Research and Writing of Fiction and Nonfiction – Wednesday evenings 7 to 9 p.m. from Oct. 17 to Nov. 28 and one Monday evening Oct. 22. $625.

Seattle Writing Classes

Seattle Writing Classes