Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Workshops Portal

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Creative Writing: Anatomy of a Scene

A scene is arguably the most fundamental building block of a story, but is often overlooked in creative writing courses. In this craft-focused module, we will dissect the structure of a great scene. Considering short examples from classic books, films and TV shows, you will discover how a great scene establishes context, advances the plot and reveals character. Using Signum’s collaborative feedback method, you will have the opportunity to develop individual scenes in a supportive workshop. Whether you are a beginning writer or looking to further your skills, this module will help you create scenes with intentionality and precision.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Crafting Unforgettable Characters

What makes a character unforgettable? Join us as we unpack techniques to create characters who leap off the page and live in the minds of your readers! Discover how to create tests that reveal who your characters truly are, how to create an effective ensemble, and how the tiniest character details change everything about your story. Using Signum’s collaborative feedback method, you will have the opportunity to discover your characters’ wants, needs and fears in a supportive workshop. Whether you are a beginning writer or looking to further your skills, this module will help you craft characters who feel like real people.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Cultures in Fantasy and Science Fiction

This module takes a deep dive into imagined culture. How can you integrate imaginary customs, traditions, art, values and social norms seamlessly into your narrative? Analyzing examples from authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert and Margaret Atwood, you will discover how details such as clothing, body language and colloquialisms can enrich your world. Whether you are a beginning writer or looking to enhance your current skills, this is the ideal module for anybody who wants to make their universe feel like a real place!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Fantastic Beasts and How to Write Them

Manticores, Owlbears and Kappas, oh my! In this quirky module, we will continue our deep dive into world-building, with a particular focus on monsters and imagined creatures. Using extracts from ancient myths and medieval bestiaries as writing prompts, you will have the opportunity to share short pieces or extracts from longer projects in a supportive workshop. Alternatively, you can let your imagination run wild as you populate a menagerie with creatures of your own devising! A fun module that will help you fill your world with uncanny fauna.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Historical Fantasy

Step back in time and unleash the fantastic! In this module, you will unlock the secrets of transporting readers into historical worlds that incorporate magic, myth and legend. Unpacking examples from authors such as Michelle Paver, Lian Hearn and Mary Robinette Kowal, you will discover how to fuse the writing techniques of realistic historical fiction with those of fantasy. You will then have the opportunity to write short pieces based on fun writing prompts and share them in a supportive workshop, or you can share extracts from an extended project if you prefer. A fascinating module that will help you bring life to worlds of wonder and delight.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Historical Fiction

Whether your story is set in fourth century Greece or nineteenth century Japan, this module is all about bringing historical worlds to life! Unpacking examples from authors such as Jean M. Auel, Lindsey Davis, Hilary Mantel and Marcus Zusak, you will discover how to draw upon primary sources, create historically authentic dialogue, use compelling details and deal with anachronisms. Using fun writing prompts, you will then have the opportunity to write short pieces and share them in a supportive workshop. A fantastic module to help you transport readers into your favorite era of history!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: History and Politics in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Let’s go deeper into world-building with this exploration of history and politics in fantasy and science fiction. How can you write a sense of history and add political conflict to enrich the setting of your world? Unpacking examples from authors such as Robert Jordan, Samantha Shannon, Frank Herbert and James S. A. Corey, you will discover how to seamlessly integrate history and politics into your world-building. You will then have the opportunity to share your own world-building in a supportive workshop. This is the perfect module for any writer who wants to make their world feel immersive.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Introduction To Writing In Community

Have you wanted to write a story but didn't know how to get words onto a blank page? Once the words were there, did you wonder how to find out if those words affected your reader the way you meant them to?

In this SPACE module, we will look at where ideas for stories come from. We will take our ideas from our thoughts to the page. Then we will learn, in a supportive community using the Collaborative Feedback method, how to ask for and receive the feedback our stories need to thrive.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Will Estes

Creative Writing: Intro to Scriptwriting (10-Minute Scenes)

Learn the fundamentals of dialogue, action, and dramatic structure in this introduction to writing for performance. Working within the limits of one set, three actors, and ten minutes, participants in this class will learn the basic building blocks of script-writing by crafting short, stand-alone narratives for the stage. Though we will be looking at a few contemporary short plays as examples, the bulk of this class will focus on writing and workshopping your own original scripts.
Precepted by Liam Daley

Creative Writing: Long Project Preparation

Well-prepared writers enjoy more completion success! We will build worlds, plan character arcs, and try to define the bones of our stories during a month of glorious sub-creation! When you declare your intentions to the group, that act of bravery alone adds momentum to your writing efforts after the month is over. (This Module is great preparation before National Novel Writing Month)


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: One Month Story

We will walk through a complete project from pre-writing through writing, revising, editing, (revising, revising, revising), proofreading, and talking about publication options. Are you interested in finally getting down that memoir of your childhood? making a storybook for your grands? turning that daydream into a novelette? This adventure is for you! Whether your story is a draft, an outline, or a daydream, your project is welcome here in a place where we are aiming to finish it!

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Oral Storytelling

Storytelling might just be our oldest art, crossing time, cultures, and continents. Crafting a story suitable for telling demands a heightened awareness of audience, medium, and meaning. Telling a story requires fluidity in a register both intimate and stylized. We'll create, practice, and tell our short tales in a month of cooperative fun and work. We will use a collaborative and encouraging mode of feedback to focus both on the construction of your story and on its performance. You will end the month having written an original tale, fiction or memoir or drawn from myth and legend, which has been written specifically to be shared aloud. You will also carry forward a toolkit for exploring this art.
Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Pitching Your Story

You've written an epic book or an incredible screenplay, but what comes next? In this module, we will discuss how to make your story irresistible to potential buyers and entice readers to pick up your book! Examining successful examples combined with my experience in attracting publishers and an agent, we will workshop your query letter, synopsis and blurb, before finessing your verbal pitch. Whether you are looking to a traditional writing deal or an indie career, this module will help you sell the sizzle in your narrative.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Popular History and Historical Biography

In this module, discover how to craft gripping non-fiction narratives about complex historical events and figures. Learn how to entertain and inform the reader using creative writing techniques such as close viewpoint and character conflict without sacrificing historical accuracy. Using Signum’s collaborative feedback method, you will have the opportunity to develop your own projects in a supportive workshop. Whether you're a beginning author or a history buff, this module offers a unique opportunity to spin new threads in the rich tapestry of the past.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Prologues and Opening Chapters

The first pages of a novel are absolutely crucial, but so hard to write! In this module, we focus specifically on creating a compelling opening to draw readers into your narrative. As a group, you will unpack examples from authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Harper Lee, George R.R. Martin and Herman Melville to discover how to make the reader feel they are in safe hands. Using Signum’s collaborative feedback method, you will have the opportunity to develop the opening chapter of your book in a supportive workshop. This incredible module will help you make your book impossible to put down!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction

In this module, we continue our exploration of world-building, asking deep questions about religion in fantasy and science fiction. How does religion affect the day-to-day life of your characters, or their sense of morality? To what extent do your characters believe in the soul or the afterlife? How do magic and science interact with religion? How does religion relate to spirituality in your universe? Is it possible to be an atheist in a world where gods walk among humans? In this module, you will have the opportunity to write short pieces based on writing prompts, or share your ongoing projects in a supportive workshop. This is a wondrous module for anyone who wants to deepen their imagined universes!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Setting as Character

In this module, you will discover how to make your story's setting a vivid and fully-realized character in its own right! Through fun and engaging writing exercises, you will learn techniques to create immersive environments that grow and change along with your characters. Find out how to use sensory details to create a feeling of place in your story. Using Signum’s collaborative feedback method, you will have the opportunity to develop your settings in a supportive workshop. Perfect for beginning authors or those looking to enhance their craft, this module will help you craft settings that live and breathe.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Stories in the Darkness

Join the amazing Jennie Starstuff: NASA Solar System Ambassador with Sparrow F. Alden to talk about the coolest, trippiest space physics to inspire our fiction! We’ll learn stuff on one day to use as writing prompts for peer-review on the second day. The plan is to explore star lore and archaeoastronomy; gravity and relativity (things get really weird); stars and cosmic life cycles; and life in the cosmos (alien contact? Heck, yes!). What about the amazing spaces between? We will have wonderful sonifications (sound pictures) of some of the most wonder-filled, hard to believe astro science out there—just imagine the stories we’ll create!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Story Revision Workshop

We will meet to discuss strategies for revising a piece of writing, including finding your own vision for your story, big-picture developmental editing, and crafting scenes. Writers are encouraged to apply revision strategies between sessions and discuss their work during class if they want to share. Writers will also have the opportunity to explore different editing strategies to help them shape their story into their own vision.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Catherine Conners

Creative Writing: The Hero’s Journey

How can we rise through suffering to become heroic? This module takes a deep dive into the stages of the hero’s journey structure, examining excerpts from Joseph Campbell’s classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces and considering its applicability to your story. You will have the opportunity to share and reflect upon your character’s journey in a supportive online environment. Whether your hero is slaying a dragon or exploring the dark depths of their psyche, this module will help you craft an epic journey.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: The Suspense is Killing Me!

How do you keep the reader on the hook? This module is all about building and maintaining tension throughout your narrative. Considering examples from authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Roald Dahl and Stephen King, you will unpack techniques on the line, scene and structural levels to heighten suspense and keep the pages turning. Discover how to pull off a cliff hanger without frustrating readers, how intentional use of white space is the “secret sauce” of effective writing and much more! You will also have the opportunity to write short pieces based on writing prompts for feedback in a supportive workshop. Whatever your genre, this is a brilliant module for any writer looking to enrich their practice.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Villains

What drives a person to make bad choices? And what makes villains such fascinating characters? Is the villain really the hero of their own story, and why are we so drawn to stories of redemption? This module is all about creating characters who are as despicable as they are compelling. You will have the opportunity to write short scenes from the villain’s viewpoint and workshop them in a supportive environment. If you want to create villains your readers will love to hate, this is the module for you!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive Series

A Feast of Writing!

In one weekend, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete short story, novelette, or novella! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout room for talking about our craft and peer feedback, and an enthusiastic celebration of Story. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, make a BIG casserole to last the weekend.

Here's the plan (it's a little bit flexible):
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Friday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace
8p - class session
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Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
11a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
12noon - class session
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Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
5p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
8p - class session
9p - Frivolity!
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Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a completed first draft in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive (Dec 2022) First in the Series

Write in the New Year!

On December 30th and 31st and January 1st, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete short story! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout room for talking about our craft, peer feedback through google doc commenting and breakout room conversations, and an enthusiastic ringing in of the new year. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, make a BIG casserole to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
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Friday the 30th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace
8p - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
11a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday the 31st from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
5p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
8p - class session
9p - ringing in the new year in Grytviken, King Edward Point, Sandwich Island (time zone UTC-2)
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Sunday, the 1st from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a completed short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to begin 2023!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive (Dec 2023) Continuing Series

Write in the New Year!

On December 29th (Friday), 30th (Saturday), and 31st (Sunday), we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete short story! Our format will include eight SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout room for talking about our craft, peer feedback through google doc commenting and breakout room conversations, and an enthusiastic ringing in of the new year. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, and make a BIG casserole to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
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Friday the 29th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace
8p - class session
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Saturday the 30th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
11a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 30th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday the 30th from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - 6pm WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
6p - class session
7p - 9pm WriterSpace Bandersnatch & peer review
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Sunday, the 31st from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
3p - class session
4p - ring in the New Year with our friends in Svalbard, Norway
(you'll even have time to go to a swank New Year's Eve party and introduce yourself as an author, then sleep all day on Monday the 1st)
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Our goal is to create a completed short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to begin 2024!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive (July 2023) Continuing Series

A New Story for a New Season!

On June 30th and July 1st & 2nd, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete story! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout rooms for craft talk and work encouragement, and an enthusiastic celebration of the season. We will plan, plan, plan on the 30th and you will get an amazing first draft on the 1st and 2nd ready for editing! This even dovetails beautifully with July Camp NaNoWriMo. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, grill a BIG meal to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
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Friday the 30th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace (we will attempt to do an entire Zero Draft)
8p - class session
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Saturday the 1st from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (that's "quiet space and talking space")
11a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 1st from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday the 1st from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
5p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (completing our First Draft)
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
8p - class session
9p - Sparkler parade for those who can get their equipment outdoors to a safe spot.
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Sunday, the 2nd from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (envisioning our revisions plus machete editing!)
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a ready-for-edit short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to celebrate!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive (July 2024) Continuing Series

A New Story for a New Season!

On July 5th, 6th, and 7th, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete story! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout rooms for craft talk and work encouragement, and an enthusiastic celebration of the season. We will plan, plan, plan on the 30th and you will get an amazing first draft on the 1st and 2nd ready for editing! This even dovetails beautifully with July Camp NaNoWriMo. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, grill a BIG meal to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
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Friday the 5th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace (we will attempt to do an entire Zero Draft)
8p - class session
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Saturday the 6th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (that's "quiet space and talking space")
11a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 6th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday the 6th from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
5p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (completing our First Draft)
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
8p - class session
9p - Sparkler parade for those who can get their equipment outdoors to a safe spot.
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Sunday, the 7th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (envisioning our revisions plus machete editing!)
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a ready-for-edit short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to celebrate!


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Retreat Series

Write Our Hearts

Come for gentle writing. Introspection. Self expression in a circle of caring and community. Come gather virtually in the Cottage in the Woods with Sparrow: she literally wants us to prep food ahead and get away from the family and the dishes for forty eight hours to write our stories. It's so hard to find time for ourselves, so let's intentionally make that time. From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon there will be writing to prompts, conversation, ideas, blocks of free writing time. Does your heart ache to express a private grief on the page? Is your subconscious telling you to rewrite a story? Do you need to rewrite your story?

Here's the plan:
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Friday from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Eastern
8p - Community, Evening pages, and Escape
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Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - Morning session: affirmations and choices
10a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (that's "quiet space and talking space")
11a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
12noon - Noon session: Shedding Light & Writing Metaphors
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern:
3p - Group session: Recovery
4p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
5p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
6p - Group session: Encouragement and Deeper Dives
7p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
8p - Group session: Leaning In to the Circle of Our Community
9p - Sweet dreams until tomorrow
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Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - Group session: Our Story, Our Song
2p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (envisioning our stories' growth)
3p - Consolation & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to write our hearts. Is that memoir? Is that a new story just for yourself? Is that a long, long prayer in the form of a poem? Writers might write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with something that is uniquely yours. Whether this turns out to be a narrative, creative nonfiction, or a huge list of Be-Happy-Attitudes, this deserves to be on your page, just for you.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Retreat First in the Series

Write Our Hearts

Come for gentle writing. Introspection. Self expression in a circle of caring and community. Come gather virtually in the Cottage in the Woods with Sparrow: she literally wants us to prep food ahead and get away from the family and the dishes for forty eight hours to write our stories. It's so hard to find time for ourselves, so let's intentionally make that time. From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon there will be writing to prompts, conversation, ideas, blocks of free writing time. Does your heart ache to express a private grief on the page? Is your subconscious telling you to rewrite a story? Do you need to rewrite your story?

This iteration of Writing Retreat uses the Rose prompts; we hope this helps you decide on signing up based on whether you would like to repeat those prompts.

Here's the plan:
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Friday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - First session: establishing community
7p - WriterSpace: time for Evening Pages
8p - Group session: what seedlings do we have?
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Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - Morning session: affirmations and choices
10a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (that's "quiet space and talking space")
11a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
12noon - Noon session: Shedding Light & Writing Metaphors
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Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern:
3p - Group session: The Shape of our Saplings
4p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
5p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
6p - Group session: Encouragement and Deeper Dives
7p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
8p - Group session: Leaning In to the Circle of Our Community
9p - Sweet dreams until tomorrow
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Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - Group session: Our Story, Our Song
2p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (envisioning our stories' growth)
3p - Group session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to write our hearts. Is that memoir? Is that a new story just for yourself? Is that a long, long prayer in the form of a poem? Writers might write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with something that is uniquely yours. Whether this turns out to be a narrative, creative nonfiction, or a huge list of Be-Happy-Attitudes, this deserves to be on your page, just for you.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Weekend Retreat Continuing Series

Write Our Hearts

Come for gentle writing. Introspection. Self expression in a circle of caring and community. Come gather virtually in the Cottage in the Woods with Sparrow: she literally wants us to prep food ahead and get away from the family and the dishes for forty eight hours to write our stories. It's so hard to find time for ourselves, so let's intentionally make that time. From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon there will be writing to prompts, conversation, ideas, blocks of free writing time. Does your heart ache to express a private grief on the page? Is your subconscious telling you to rewrite a story? Do you need to rewrite your story?

This iteration of Writing Retreat uses the Lilac prompts; we hope this helps you decide on signing up based on whether you would like to repeat those prompts.

Here's the plan:
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Friday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - First session: establishing community
7p - WriterSpace: time for Evening Pages
8p - Group session: what seedlings do we have?
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - Morning session: affirmations and choices
10a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (that's "quiet space and talking space")
11a - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
12noon - Noon session: Shedding Light & Writing Metaphors
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern:
3p - Group session: The Shape of our Saplings
4p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
5p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
6p - Group session: Encouragement and Deeper Dives
7p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch
8p - Group session: Leaning In to the Circle of Our Community
9p - Sweet dreams until tomorrow
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Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - Group session: Our Story, Our Song
2p - WriterSpace & Bandersnatch (envisioning our stories' growth)
3p - Group session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to write our hearts. Is that memoir? Is that a new story just for yourself? Is that a long, long prayer in the form of a poem? Writers might write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with something that is uniquely yours. Whether this turns out to be a narrative, creative nonfiction, or a huge list of Be-Happy-Attitudes, this deserves to be on your page, just for you.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Workshop

We will meet to blend learning, discussion, and playing games with reading, appreciating, and commenting on one another’s work as it is submitted for peer review. Writers are encouraged—but never required—to submit new pieces in any state of draftiness or readiness up to 2,000 words each week for peer reading and feedback. Our Collaborative Feedback method, developed here at Signum University, asks us to comment at the author's comfort level through a structured reader (not editor) response. We gather to encourage the story that the author wants to tell. Our philosophy of kindness first might just turn around your previous experience of writing groups.

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A seat has been reserved in this module for any writer (especially a beginner) of marginalized identity to support them finding their voice. Please simply write to [email protected] to identify yourself if you wish to join the class.

**

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Creative Writing: World-Building in Action



How do you world-build without losing your reader? In this module, we will consider techniques on the scene level to embed world-building seamlessly into your narrative without bogging the reader down in exposition. Considering examples from J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin and Frank Herbert, we will learn from the masters to bring your world to vivid life. Focusing on viewpoint, characterization, word choice, and narrative conflict, we will workshop how to draw your reader in and make your universe feel like a real place. No matter your genre, this module will enrich your commercial fiction and help make your vision a reality.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Writing Computers

What does a computer scientist wish that writers knew? That we are building aliens right here on Earth? That perception is not what we think it is? Join us for four weeks of learning, writing, and feedback. In "How Does Hacking Actually Work?" we'll learn to write far more complex and realistic scenes than Hollywood. In "Computer Perception" we'll talk about detecting the simple presence of volts and the most subtle patterns of the cosmos. In "Computer Interfaces" we're going to cook up stories about the Alien, the Understander, and the Quality of Misunderstanding. Finally in "Atemporal Decision Theory" we're going to ask enough questions about Truth, sentience, and honor to fill adventure after adventure with artificial and artisanal intelligences. Each week we'll have a learning and discussion day plus a day to reflect on "This idea made me ask 'what if?' and reach for my keyboard."

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden and Daroc Alden

Creative Writing: Writing for Children

What makes a good children’s story? We’re going to address chapter books, cultural stories, and learning tales all through a lens of moral, cultural, and spiritual human development. Trying our hands at these forms should lead us to a nice folder full of works-in-progress at the end of the month. The December iteration of this module is designed to complete one treasured story gift for the holidays.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Creative Writing: Writing the Hero

We need good tales of good people making heroic choices. Whether we write memoir, pure fiction, or a what-if-it-had-ended-well personal speculations, this module is about creating the characters whom we can admire, trust, emulate, and become. Writing these short scenes during difficult times balances our minds and hearts, and can be part of a personal path to hope. This module specifically allows us to write our inner heroes within a place of safety. When believing in heroes is hard, we need to write them anyway. Explore your own traumas, toils, and fears even if your bad situation is right now, and write your own next chapter, your terrified heroic first step.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Fairy Tales: An Adventure from the Writer's Perspective

Come explore Fairy Tales from the inside! In the first meeting each week Pilar Barrera will lift up a Fairy Tale technique, character archetype, or trope. We'll discuss the story at hand and how that story technique makes meaning. Then, students try their own hands at that technique! What do we learn when we push these ideas to their logical extremes? In the second meeting, Sparrow Alden will facilitate a workshop-style discussion of our original tale-telling work; we'll encourage one another as writers and appreciate one another as readers! Our goal is to complete the month with a deeper appreciation for the tales we all love and a folder with one to four good drafts of original tales.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Sparrow Alden

FanFiction: Middle-earth

Do you imagine other tales set in Tolkien's beautiful Middle-earth? First person? FRP campaign design? Screen plays? Other minds and hands will come together to create and discuss "what if" for our own fanfiction. We will use a little peer-reading and a lot of focused discussion to move each writer deeper into the story they love. Expect to end the month with a folder full of story seeds or big progress on one big project.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Introduction to Binding Books by Hand

Do you love the physical object of a book just as much as the information it contains? Do you smell your books when you get home from the library or the bookstore? Do you like working with your hands to make things? Then this module is for you!

This class is an introduction to the materials, tools, and methods of making books by hand. Whether you're looking to make "junk journals" on a tight budget or want to rebind your favorite tome in leather, you'll find the information you need in this module!

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Course Outline:

• Class 1: Brief History of Book Binding and Tools Overview
• Class 2: Materials and Terms - The Anatomy of a Book
• Class 3: Text Block Assembly 1 - Glued Binding Options - Perfect Binding and Double Fan Binding
• Class 4: Text Block Assembly 2 - Sewn Binding Options - Kettle Stitch, Coptic Binding, and Japanese Stab Binding
• Class 5: Cover Assembly 1 - How To Make a Softcover - Paperback and Wrap Covers
• Class 6: Cover Assembly 2 - How To Make a Hardback - Classic/English Binding and Hollow Back Case Binding
• Class 7: Cover Decoration and Finishing - Traditional and Modern Methods
• Class 8: Overflow, Resources for Further Research, and Final Q & A
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Precepted by Praise Moyer

Introduction to Watercolor Painting

Do you love to look at paintings, but aren’t sure how to make them yourself? Do you want to paint, but you don’t have room to store flammable, smelly chemicals like turpentine? Do oil/acrylic canvases and easels take up too much room for you to work in a small space? If you’ve painted watercolor before, have you wondered why they looked washed out or why you get certain unexpected textures in your color mixes? Then this module is for you!

This class is an introduction to the materials, tools, and methods of watercolor painting. Whether you're brand new to making art, a seasoned painter who wants to connect with other makers, or you just want to find out how Tolkien created many of his Middle-earth illustrations, you’ll find a place in this module!

Course Outline:
• Class 1: Defining Watercolor – What makes Watercolor different from other art media?
• Class 2: Materials and Terms – What you need and where to get it
• Class 3: Prep – What to do before you start painting
• Class 4: Composition – Tips for visually interesting paintings and how to save your whites
• Class 5: Values – How to get good tone, range, and contrast
• Class 6: Color Mixing – Sediments vs. stains and how to make harmonious paintings
• Class 7: Texture – Tips for interesting textures and brushwork
• Class 8: Overflow, Resources for Further Research, and Final Q & A
Precepted by Praise Moyer

Level Up Your Term Paper(s): Preparing for Conferences

Do you have a general idea or old class paper that you’d like to refresh for an academic conference? This module is for individuals who are interested in turning a past or current research project into an abstract (proposal) and script or outline for a 20-minute conference paper. Bring some past writing (or a bunch of notes) to our first meeting, and we will brainstorm possible venues; wrangle past writing into conference-accessible outlines; draft and peer review abstracts; and write or outline some paragraphs or sections for oral delivery. Everyone is welcome, but this class is specifically designed for novice conference presenters who have a specific topic (or past paper) in mind and would like directed guidance and weekly accountability during the revision and preparation process.
Precepted by Faith Acker

Writers' Workshop: Storycrafting with the “Mutinous Crew” of Ursula K. Le Guin

What are the tools of the writer’s craft, and how can we sharpen them? In this module, we will learn about the writer’s toolkit through guided writing exercises and group discussion. We will use exercises from Ursula K Le Guin’s book Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story to explore tools like pacing, narration, point of view, syntax, and diction. Practice your writing technique, hone your craft, and embark on a journey with us through the “Sea of Story.”


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Writers' Workshop: The Different Body Problem

It's a sometimes inconvenient fact that characters have bodies, and sometimes, those bodies directly affect the stories we write about them. Writing characters who live in bodies that do not perform according to the cultural standard is a skill like any other part of the writer's craft.

In this course, we will look at examples from literature of how authors have dealt with what we usually call disabilities. Some have done well, others have materially harmed people with their writing.

We will also work with one another to hone our craft as writers who are telling stories so that we can find the new and inspirational, while leaving behind the worn-out clichés that make the lives of people like your preceptor materially harder.

Note: Texts will be provided by the preceptor.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Christopher Bartlett

Writing Your Memoir

Your story is unique. Do you want to set it down on paper for yourself? For your family? No other person has accumulated your experiences; no other person has had your potential, learning, drive, disappointments, challenges, triumphs, and quiet joys. We'll explore a variety of media and forms for memoir writing, from picture books to blogs. We'll interview one another with kindness and encouragement and draw amazing stories out of each other—and ourselves.


Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].