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, December 8.


    • $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.

Schedule, Classes & Teachers


Preview the schedule here!

Direct Address with Liza Birnbaum
As writers, we often carefully consider the audience for our work. But what changes when we choose to address a particular person in a particular piece? We’ll use this workshop to experiment with texts that take the form of an “I” speaking directly to a “you.” Together we’ll consider the balance of intimacy and openness in that structure, think about how a wider audience might access meaning in such work, and, most importantly, try our hand at writing towards a specific recipient of our own.

Hermit Crab Essay with Waverly Fitzgerald
Try out this popular hybrid essay form, which uses borrowed forms from other contexts to contain a story close to your heart.

Abecedarian with Waverly Fitzgerald
Explore the possibilities of the abecedarian, an essay form borrowed from poetry which is both simple in its structure, flexible in its execution and huge in its potential to contain complex subject matter.

The Essay as Adventure with Christine Hemp
This preview of Hemp’s Winter weekend class will ignite writers floundering in their subject matter, looking for direction. As true adventurers, we will call upon two skills: preparedness and intrepid impulses, writing our way into the true subject of our creative nonfiction pieces.

Exploring Fiction with Susan Meyers
What’s the secret to good stories? This session takes you “behind the scenes” to reveal the surprising twists and turns that make stories great. Come explore fiction for an hour—and find out how it might work for you!

From History to Story with Susan Meyers
You’ve got a life story to tell, but how can you turn “history” into a “story”? What should you include? And what should you leave out? Come spend an hour digging into your life—and finding out!

First Draft of History with Rebecca Morris
We will talk about great reporting and what makes it great, and about opportunities in newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, documentary film, podcasts, books, essays and blogs.

Plot with Paul Mullin
Get a crash course in plotting and find new and innovative ways to tell your story. Using fairy tales and index cards, Paul Mullin will teach you how to effectively break a story down into elemental plot points and then shuffle them up for maximum impact.

Building the Perfect Beast with BJ Neblett
Believable characters are central to fiction. We’ll discuss what makes strong, memorable characters, create some of our own, and place them into scenes to see how they react.

Here, There, Then with BJ Neblett
We all dream of going back… or forward, changing what has happened, seeking what might. Everyone has thoughts on time travel. We’ll discuss them and learn how to turn our ideas into believable, enjoyable fiction.

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.

Writing in First Person POV with Nicholas O’Connell
First person point of view remains one of the trickiest strategies for any writer, even though it is potentially 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.

The Sensory Origins of Fiction with Joe Ponepinto
Characters who fully convey their sensory experiences make stronger connections with readers and result in more effective fiction. This session reinterprets how writers can better use the physical senses to examine their characters’ emotional states, create character sympathy, and express deeper meaning in stories.

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.

Unleashing the Healing Power of Personal Storytelling with Ingrid Ricks
In this hands-on mini-workshop, NYT bestselling author Ingrid Ricks shares her own healing and empowerment journey and writing lessons learned to help you unleash the power of personal narrative for yourself. Includes tips to identify and structure your story and two narrative writing exercises to help you bring your story to life.

Intro to Travel Essays with Lora Shinn
We’ll discuss what makes a good travel essay, generate some topics for travel essays, and learn how to write great first paragraphs.

Write for Publications & Pay with Lora Shinn
A quick intro to the world of paid freelance writing, and how you can get started – even if you’re an absolute beginner.

Comics for People Who Can’t Draw with Greg Stump
Making a comic is more about visual storytelling rather than drawing, per se. In this workshop, participants will be guided through the process of creating a simple character and then making a short comic. No drawing background or experience is necessary.

The Art of the Question with Jake Uitti
Before you jump into a big assignment, you need to get to the matter’s roots. What are the important granular bits of a story or subject? We will learn how to examine the decisions people make. Let’s get deep and let’s get specific. Clarity is the key to all communication, even a great question.

Poetry as Activism with Demi Wetzel
We will craft poems that respond to the specific political, social, environmental, and economic moment we’re living in. Looking at poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Tracy K. Smith, and more, students will excavate the many functions a political poem can serve.

Getting Unstuck with Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Twenty-six hands-on methods to get your writing unblocked and flowing again.

Writing Suspense with Joshua Marie Wilkinson
A brass tacks introduction to creating page-turning stories and scenes that leave the reader yearning for more.

Writing Your Inner Feral Child with Deborah Woodard
We’ll touch upon Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the mysterious Kaspar Hauser, a legendary feral child who has inspired books and films. Then, we’ll explore a feral child alter ego. Appropriate for all genres.

Postcards from the Edge with Carolyne Wright
Even when you travel to the edge of the world, you have to write home. We will look at postcards from places both exotic and familiar, and write our own travels, real and/or imagined. We will recreate—or invent—memories and revelations in poetry and short prose.

Questions of Travel with Carolyne Wright
Elizabeth Bishop was the consummate poet of travel, and yet she asked herself, “Is it lack of imagination that makes us come / to imagined places, not just stay at home?” In her poems, the “traveler takes a notebook, writes” about the mysteries of maps, and the wonders of cultures and landscapes. “Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?” We will read a few travel poems and notebook entries from Bishop and other writers, and about write our own real and imagined places at home and away.