Write-O-Rama Spring 2023
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.
This Write-O-Rama will be held virtually on Zoom. Over the course of the day, you'll take four workshops of your choice, one per hour of the event.
The first class begins at 12 pm. There will be four workshop choices per session, and each session lasts 50 minutes with a 10 minute break before the next session begins.
Choose your favorite workshop and head to the virtual room in which it’s held! The instructor will give a brief talk on the topic followed by a writing prompt or exercise. At the 50-minute mark, you can stay in the room or move to your next class of choice.
- $60: Write-O-Rama registration, giving you access to four workshops of your choice.
- $100: Write-O-Rama registration, 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.
12-1 pm PT Classes:
The Poetics of Translation with with Jeanine Walker
As many poetic mentors have attested: if you want to write poetry, translate. Today, working from the Korean (no prior knowledge of Korean required), we’ll translate a few lines and be inspired by our efforts to find new ways to form our own poetic sentences.
Let's Write a Story with Holly Day
In this class, we'll go over some of the basics of how using an outline can help you get started on a story and carry you through until the end. We'll also discuss how basic story structures change drastically depending on who your characters are and especially who the writer is.
Belonging: the Landscape of Home with Christine Hemp
Especially in times of upheaval, we seek refuge in a place of belonging, past and present. Maybe it’s the country you had to flee; or your childhood playhouse; a nook in your kitchen; or, after the pandemic, discovering that your house is no longer your home. In this mini workshop, we will explore the questions ‘What exactly is home anyway?” and “How do we write about it?”
Eat the Apple: Writing Sensual Experiences with Yasmine Ameli
Using Imtiaz Dharker’s “How to Cut a Pomegranate” as an opening text, these interactive guided writing exercises will encourage writers to practice mindful sensual awareness. Writers will eat a fruit of their choosing in real time—while also taking down observational notes on the experience; we will examine the fruit in multiple stages: unopened, mid preparation, while eating, and after consumption. We then will review our observational notes; circle the descriptions, lines, and language that excite us the most to continue; and share these discoveries in the chat.
1–2 pm PT Classes:
The Letter From Home: Jamaica Kincaid's One-Sentence Stories with Noah Zanella
In this workshop we will look at one-sentence stories by Jamaica Kincaid and examine how she uses the lyrical run-on sentence to merge flash fiction with prose poetry. We will then write our own one sentence stories in response to Kincaid’s work.
World Building with Scott Driscoll
All fiction writers engage in world building. The better job you do of it, the better chance the reader will want to follow your character into that world and cheer for them to resolve the disturbance. This 50-minute course will start with a look at exterior world building. What it is. How it’s done. How realism and fantasy settings compare. We will then explore how character internality and commentary add meaning to those worlds.
Unlock Your Stories with Margot Leitman
You have great stories to tell, you've just become numb to them. In this session we will use best-selling author Margot Leitman's tried and true prompts to unlock the true stories from your life that you've forgotten all about.
Antidote for the Flat Character with with Beth Slattery
Whether writing about fictional or real individuals, these "characters" should feel three dimensional to readers. This generative session will be spent writing new characters (and resuscitating old ones) until they are alive and kicking.
2–3 pm PT Classes:
Silent Anatomies: Writing the Body with Christie Valentin-Bati
Asian-American poet Monica Ong’s hybrid visual poetry book Silent Anatomies combines art, photography, and written poetics to discuss topics like immigration, family dynamics, and womanhood. Often her work transposes pictures of the body over text. Drawing inspiration from her use of poetry, prose, and art, participants will work with medical diagrams of the body to write their own visual and hybrid poetics.
How to Kill a Boring Sentence with Ramón Isao
Arguably, the one rule of writing is to Never Be Boring, especially at the sentence level. Join Ramón Isao for a fun, surefire method of injecting life into otherwise listless sentences.
What's Your Memoir REALLY About? with Jennifer Haupt
Perhaps the trickiest part of structuring a memoir is figuring out the container for your story. What's the driving question? What are the main events and, just as important, what doesn't belong in your book? We'll do several generative exercises to begin answering these questions during this workshop.
Being Bold with Narrative Time with Peter Mountford
Your stories — true or made up — don't have to be timid with time. In this class we'll look at ways to make big moves in time: stretching, chopping, halting, scattering. Flashbacks, flash forwards, nested flashbacks, we'll do it all.
3–4 pm PT Classes:
Poetry Under Pressure: Finding the Freedom in Constraints with Jennifer Perrine
Constraints can help us shake off our usual writing habits, nudge our poetry in a new direction, or find language for what seems unspeakable. We’ll write using several playful and poetic constraints—such as lipograms, acrostics, and bout rimés—to discover what happens when we write our way through tricky restrictions.
Subtexts and Subtweets in Modern Fiction with Carolyn Abram
As more and more communication moves online, fiction writers are faced with a dilemma–how do you depict a conversation when it's happening over text, online? In this fast-paced class, we'll look at some examples from modern fiction, talk about the ways that text-based exchanges differ from their IRL counterparts, and practice converting texts into a fiction dialogue.
Writing the Possible: Micro Memoirs with Darien Hsu Gee
Micro prose (300 words or less) provides an unexpected pathway into the narrative of our lives. Poet Maggie Smith’s heartfelt and captivating memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautiful, is filled with 208 micro memoirs, lyrical vignettes about the hardest and most beautiful moments of her life. We’ll discuss the micro prose form, do an in-class writing prompt, then explore what’s possible with the work and getting it into the world.
Someday This Will Be Funny: Mine Your Life for Humor with Natasha Moni
How do you find your comedic voice in literary writing? Looking beyond the usual suspects to comedy itself, this class will use prompts/quotes from modern comedic geniuses to jumpstart your own exploration of humor. From quick wit to slow burn, we will try several exercises to get you out of your editor mind, leaving you with comedic suggestions/resources to explore on your own.
Margot Leitman is an award-winning storyteller, best-selling author, speaker and teacher. A former story scout for "This American Life," she is considered a leading expert in the growing field of storytelling. Leitman has written two books on the subject: the best-selling, Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need and her latest What’s Your Story? A Workbook For the Storyteller in All of Us both from Sasquatch Books. Her comedic memoir, Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase is available from Seal Press/Perseus Books
Peter Mountford is the author of the novels A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism (2012 Washington State Book Award in fiction), and The Dismal Science (a NYT editor's choice). His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Southern Review, The Atlantic, The Sun, Granta, and The Missouri Review. He is currently on faculty at Sierra Nevada University's MFA program, teaches at Creative Nonfiction, Hugo House, and is a writing coach and developmental editor. Peter's former students and clients have gone on to publish numerous books and stories and articles, and include two NYT best-selling novelists (Tara Conklin and Rachel Griffin).
Teaching Style and Philosophy: I believe the best I can do for students is help free them from the tyranny of talent and the whims of inspiration, which are fair-weather friends. Instead, I want you to hone your personal aesthetic, and to develop an authorial voice, and most importantly develop fluency with the elements of craft. One you can control what's happening on the page with ease, producing publishable work is no longer a mysterious fluke, but a familiar and non-scary process.
Born in the North and raised in the South by native Dutch and Indian parents, Natasha Kochicheril Moni writes and resides in the Columbia River Gorge. Her poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews have been published in over 70 magazines, anthologies, and journals including DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Verse, The Rumpus, and Entropy. Natasha's poetry collections include The Cardiologist's Daughter (Two Sylvias Press, 2014), Lay Down Your Fleece (Shirt Pocket Press, 2017), Nearly (dancing girl press, 2018), and A Nation (Imagined) (winner of the 2018 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Competition, 2018). As a former editor for Crab Creek Review, panelist for Artist Trust and Hedgebrook, and intern at Small Press Distribution Books, Natasha enjoys mentoring writers on their submission and publication journeys.
Jennifer (JP) Perrine is the author of four award-winning books of poetry: Again, The Body Is No Machine, In the Human Zoo, and No Confession, No Mass. Perrine’s recent poems, stories, and essays appear in The Missouri Review, New Letters, The Seventh Wave Magazine, Buckman Journal, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. A resident of Portland, Oregon, Perrine co-hosts the Incite: Queer Writers Read series, teaches creative writing to youth and adults, and serves as a wilderness guide.
Beth Slattery moved to Seattle after eighteen years of teaching creative writing and literature at Indiana University East. Since her relocation, she has been writing and editing. Beth is currently working on a collection of personal essays about her mid-life marriage to a Zimbabwean, a move from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, and a reluctant acceptance of the call to adventure. Her most recent publications appear in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies and Southern Women’s Review. Beth’s recent editing work includes being a “beta” reader for an author with a multi-book publishing contract, content and copy editing of a personal essay collection, and providing comprehensive editing services on an edited academic volume that was later published by Oxford University Press. She has an M.A. in fiction writing from Miami University and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine—Stonecoast.
Carolyn Abram is a Seattle-based writer. Her work tends to focus on the intersection of technology and everyday life. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications, including the New California Writing Anthology and The Offbeat. Her work has also appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Lilith. She is the author of eight editions of Facebook for Dummies. She holds degrees from Stanford and California College of the Arts.
Holly Day has worked as a freelance writer for over 30 years, with over 7,000 articles, poems, and short stories published internationally, including in Analog SF, Harvard Review, and Maintenant. She has had several dozen books and chapbooks published by both major and independent publishers, most recently, the nonfiction books, Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Tattoo FAQ, and History Lover’s Guide to Minneapolis; and the poetry books, A Book of Beasts, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, Bound in Ice, and Cross-Referencing a Book of Summer. Her writing has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, a 49th Parallel Prize, an Isaac Asimov Award, multiple Pushcart awards, and a Rhysling Award, and she has received two Midwest Writer’s Grants, a Plainsongs Award, the Sam Ragan Prize for Poetry, and the Dwarf Star Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
Jeanine Walker is the author of The Two of Them Might Outlast Me (2022). She has received writing fellowships from Artist Trust, the Jack Straw Cultural Center, Wonju, UNESCO City of Literature, and Inprint. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A poet with a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Houston, Jeanine is a long-time poetry teacher and most recently taught English at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, South Korea.
A chapter of Christine Hemp’s memoir, Wild Ride Home, was recently published in The New York Times. Her poems and essays have also appeared in Salon.com, Iowa Review, Psychology Today, and on NPR. She believes that to write well, we must live well, not in terms of "professional success" or achieving the "perfect" essay. story, or poem, but in how we embrace the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, and the ecstatic. Only then can we offer our readers the truths they thirst for.
Jennifer Haupt is the author of the novels In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills and Come As You Are. She was awarded the 2021 Washington State Book Award for General Nonfiction as the editor of Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19. Her essays and articles have been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, The Rumpus, The Sun, and many other publications. She teaches at Hugo House and elsewhere.
Scott Driscoll is an award-winning instructor (UW, Educational Outreach Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Arts and Humanities 2006), and his debut novel, Better You Go Home, was selected as the Foreword Reviews First Book Contest winner. He was the 1989 winner of the University of Washington’s Milliman Award for Fiction.
Ramón Isao is a recipient of the Tim McGinness Award for Fiction, as well as fellowships from Artist Trust and Jack Straw Cultural Center. His stories appear in such journals as The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, Moss, and Hobart, and his screen credits include ZMD and Dead Body. He holds an MFA from Columbia University and serves as Fiction Editor at New Orleans Review.
Darien Hsu Gee
Darien Hsu Gee is the author of five novels published by Penguin Random House that have been translated into eleven languages. In 2022, she served as executive editor for Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro Essays on Being in the World. In 2021, her collection of micro essays, Allegiance, received the Bronze IPPY award (Essays). Her poetry chapbook, Other Small Histories, won the 2019 Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship award, judged by Patricia Smith. In 2015, she received the Hawaiʻi Book Publishers’ Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award of Excellence for her nonfiction book, Writing the Hawaiʻi Memoir. Darien lives with her family on the island of Hawaiʻi.