Write-O-Rama is your chance to try out several workshops offered by Hugo House teachers all in one writing-packed day.


Sample Hugo House classes, meet our teachers, and try out genres and topics outside your purview without the pressure of registering for a full class.

Write-O-Rama happens twice a year—once in the summer and again in the winter.

The next Write-O-Rama is on Saturday, June 16.


    • $60 gives you entry to Write-O-Rama and five workshops of your choice.
    • $100 gives you entry plus a discounted Hugo House membership, which is good for one year of early registration, class and event discounts, discounts at local bookstores, and other great benefits.

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Event Overview


Registration begins at 12 p.m. The first class begins at 1 p.m. There are four class choices per 50-minute session. Choose your favorite, head to the room in which it’s held, and the instructor will give a brief talk on the topic followed by a writing prompt or exercise. At the 50-minute mark, we’ll race through the halls ringing the Write-O-Rama bell, and you can head to your next class of choice.

Class Schedule >

Classes & Teachers


Blake’s Loom of Innocence and Experience with Deborah Woodard

We’ll read a selection from Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and, turning to Blake’s illustrations for further inspiration, write a poem or short prose piece either of innocence or of experience.

Character Development with Rebecca Agiewich

How do you create characters who are heroic, sympathetic, and human all at once? In this class, we’ll and do a variety of exercises to help you get to know your character, figure out their story arc, and invest them with the larger-than-life properties that they need to jump off the page.

Essay Experiments with Waverly Fitzgerald

Try an innovative essay structure as an approach to a topic you’ve been longing to write about. Prompts will be provided for those seeking inspiration.

Gentrification and the Art of Memory with Charles Mudede

The Habit of Art: How to Navigate the Writing Life with Nicholas O’Connell

In her essay collection Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor talks about writing as a habit of art that relies as much on regular practice as on inspiration. While inspiration plays a part in any literary breakthrough, the habit of art gives concrete expression to inspiration, making the poem, story, or book possible. This class will provide practical tips about how to develop your own habit of art.

Magical Realism 101 with Stephanie Barbe Hammer

Do you love Kafka, George Saunders, Gogol, Leslie Marmon Silko, Colson Whitehead, Kathleen Alcala, and Aimee Bender? Whether you’re an experienced or beginning fiction writer, poet, or screenplay writer, you will learn a series of magical realist techniques that will energize your writing and send it to strange and wonderful places.

The Self As Character: Writing in First Person Point of View with Nicholas O’Connell

First person point of view remains one of the trickiest strategies for any writer, even though it can be one of the most effective ways of telling a story. This class will discuss first person point of view in memoir, travel pieces, humor, and other genres. In addition to learning first person strategies, participants will generate story ideas for first person narratives.

Sharing the Story with Joe Ponepinto

This session will introduce writers to the fundamentals of storytelling and illustrate how they differ from everyday communication. Topics will include: the human need for stories to define and understand the world; early myths, fables, and parables; modern metaphor and allegory; how stories communicate deeper meaning; and how to make writing appeal to readers by making it less about the author and more about the audience’s interests.

Speculative Nonfiction: Stories of the Historical Future with Kathleen Alcala

The focus of this class, as a follow-up to my nonfiction book, The Deepest Roots, is environmental, speculative nonfiction — what will the world look like in a few years? Most predictions are apocalyptic. Now as much as ever before in history, we designate “the Other” as competition for limited resources, but such thinking discourages cooperation and innovative solutions. We will brainstorm ideas, explore a couple of them in depth, and put together a quick list of resources for further investigation. You would be surprised at what you already know! If there is enough interest, a six-week class will be offered in the fall.

Time Travel and Alternate Realities with BJ Neblett

We will explore the problems, complexities and difficulties of writing effective and believable time travel and alternate realities in sci-fi and fantasy.

The Words to Say It: Writing about Illness, Trauma & Healing with Suzanne Edison

By focusing on the craft of writing, we can transform personal experience into art. We will read two poems and you’ll have a writing prompt. We will do a quick read around and discuss issues raised by the readings/writing.

Writing a Scene with Gail Folkins

A cornerstone of literary writing, scenes dramatize a moment and bring it to life for readers. This course will share some tools for effective scene-setting, from sensory detail and imagery to character, dialogue, and plot.

Writing Effective Dialogue with BJ Neblett

From proper punctuation, to avoiding ‘he said, she said’, to handling multiple speakers, to addressing ‘talking head’ syndrome, this class will focus on getting the spoken words right.

Your First Pages with Joe Ponepinto

Nothing is more critical to publishing success than having a compelling opening for your story. If your first pages don’t grab a reader, an agent, or a publisher, they’ll go on to the next submission. This session will help writers understand how to craft effective openings that keep readers engaged. Some topics include: making a connection with the reader; beginning in medias res; introducing the world of the story so the reader becomes grounded in place and time; establishing character sympathy; setting the tone (voice) and theme; starting the story’s momentum; and eliminating explanation and lecturing.

Your Ticket to Travel Writing with Lora Shinn

We’ll combine travel writing’s appeal with practical application, and find out why detail makes (or breaks) a piece. You’ll consider your favorite destinations, why others might want to visit, and learn how to select details that bring an experience alive.