Spring 2015 creative writing classes

We are pleased to introduce some new faculty members this spring and to bring back instructors whose classes you have enjoyed in past seasons. Kathleen Tarr, who taught a very successful course on spiritual writing two years ago, is back with a new class that will be enriched by her many experiences in the intervening period. Bryan Fierro, who moderated the Luis Urrea Crosscurrents last April, is teaching a class on how to write dialogue that zings. Colorado author and former Alaskan Rachel Weaver will be visiting in February and March to help those of you writing a novel or memoir to tackle the huge task of writing a book. Local poet Sandra Kleven, editor of Cirque and organizer of Poetry Parley, will lead a very interactive discussion about some of America's important poets. And Larry Weiss returns with two classes that get into the nuts and bolts of writing: one on historical research and the other on publishing your book on Kindle. 

Registration is open. Some registration fees have increased slightly as we bring them into alignment with current instructor rates but they are still exceptionally good value. Consistent with past years, in 2014, our students gave both instructors and classes a 98 percent excellence rating. 

Anchorage and Online classes: scroll down

Juneau classes: Find information on Juneau classes here.

All registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis; we do not hold slots or accept installment payments. Payment in full is required at the time of registration and before participating in a class. You can register and pay with VISA/Mastercard via our secure server by clicking the "Register Now" links below. If you prefer to pay by check or PayPal (send to 49writers@gmail.com), complete and submit our online form. Class size is limited for some courses, so we recommend you register early to avoid disappointment. Please be sure you are a current member of 49 Writers before registering at the member rate.

We do not issue refunds if you cancel but if you notify us at least 24 hours in advance, we will provide a tuition voucher in the amount of your registration (valid for one year) less a 10% cancelation fee. If 49 Writers has to cancel a class due to unforeseen circumstances, we will issue a full tuition refund.

At this time we are unable to offer distance options for regular classes (either by teleconference or Skype) and participation must be in person. Dependent on grant funding, we hope to offer the occasional class at your local library via Alaska OWL. For regular updates on classes and author events, sign up for our newsletter or follow our blog at http://49writers.blogspot.com/.

For more information, visit About Our Programs or 

 via email. If you have a physical disability and wish to participate in a class scheduled at 645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage, please  immediately so we can relocate the workshop to an integrated setting that is ADA-accessible.

Saturday, February 7, 9am-4pm (6 hours)
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)

$110 member


$130 non-member


$40 Individual Critique Consultation


You think your project is ready to publish. Or you thought it was, but you’re not getting the hoped-for results. In this full-day workshop with Deb Vanasse, author of fifteen books with a variety of presses, you’ll practice strategies for determining whether your project, large or small, is ready for market, and you’ll learns the pros and cons of various publishing options. Come ready to write, as the workshop includes a number of hands-on activities to help you fine-tune your approach, no matter how you plan to publish. Included in the registration fee is a copy of Deb’s latest book, What Every Author Should Know: No Matter How You Publish. For an additional fee, get a one-on-one critique consultation on your first five pages, to be submitted in advance.


Saturday, February 21, 9am-4pm (6 hours)
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)

$95 member


$115 non-member


This class is designed to explore the story and character possibilities unlocked my timely and original dialogue. We know that dialogue functions to further story or develop character, but are we doing it well or consistently? Can dialogue push other elements such as style, tone, voice, and structure? It can, but you must learn to identify it and more importantly, use it to your advantage. It is all about the 'what' you say as well as the 'how' and 'when' you say it! This workshop will help you strengthen your work as you push through and discover the power of "he said, she said."



Saturday, February 28, 9am-4pm (6 hours)
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)
$95 member

$115 non-member


This class will help writers tackle what may seem like the overwhelming task of writing a novel or memoir. Whether you're looking for guidance to help you along in your current drafts or are just beginning to face the challenge, Rachel will provide insight and direction to move you forward in the process. Covering critical questions related to dramatic tension and conflict, character development, dialogue, plotting, setting and scene work, this class promises an enlightening, encouraging experience to aid you in your writing, present or future.



Thursdays, March 5, 12 & 19 and April 2, 9 & 16, 6-8pm (12 hours)
Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)

$190 member


$230 non-member


Students will consider the world's lineage of poets and poems and will shape new writing in ways that engage with the "great" poets of history via: homage, argument, variation on theme, form (and more) with the resulting work, clearly braided into the larger tradition. Participants will help select the "famous" poets to be examined. Through this process the poets of history will be transformed into literary friends. Participants will be assigned to co-teach sessions, partnering with the instructor in terms of content. At the end of the class series, a community reading will be set to showcase the poetry of the students. Certain local actors might be persuaded to portray poets they have developed as characters - such as Dorothy Parker and Theodore Roethke (Jocelyn Paine and Jerry McDonnell, respectively).


New date: Saturday, April 4, 9am-12pm (3 hours)

Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)

$50 member


$60 non-member


In this half-day class we will review online and local sources for historical research of narrative material and images. The focus will be on Alaska materials, but many of the resources are national in scope. We will review national newspaper archives, UAA and State of Alaska historical holdings, federal holdings, community museums and historical societies, interview techniques, and other sources for historical material for writers. Our priority will be free and low-cost resources.

New Date: Saturday, April 18, 9am-12pm (3 hours)

Location: 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15 (Alaska Humanities Forum)

$50 member


$60 non-member


This class is a practical review of how to format a book for publishing on Kindle, how to submit the book for publication, and how to monitor the book once published. We'll start with a brief overview of the world of electronic publishing. We will also discuss how to format for Smashwords and how to submit. Smashwords is kind of a "middleman" broker that then gets your book onto itunes, Barnes and Noble, and several other sites world-wide. Finally, we will spend a little time discussing marketing your ebook.


This class has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts. We hope to offer it in the fall. If you'd like to to receive a notice when it is rescheduled, please email us and put "Spiritual" in the subject line.


The seekers, dreamers, pilgrims, saints, mystics, and spiritual masters—what powerful writings have they shared with the world? In this brief introduction to spiritual writing, we will explore and discuss works that are rooted in the long traditions of spirituality, across faith, across genres, and across international borders. We will examine the deeper aspects of what constitutes spiritual writing with a special focus on readings from prose and poetry that are far from being mere spiritual fluff or overly-pious in nature. We will look across the ages, too, to those writers and thinkers whose essays, poems, and stories have withstood the test of time. A selection of contemporary “spiritual writings” uniquely suited to the times we live in will also be introduced.  Participants will be invited to share some of their more spiritually-minded works-in-progress in a mini-workshop. As a catalyst to further reflection, meditation, and introspection, several writing prompts directed to one’s inner journeys and spiritual paths will be offered.

ONLINE CLASSES with Andromeda Romano-Lax

These classes are asynchronous: there are no scheduled meeting times but there will be weekly assignments and expectations. and everyone will complete the work on their own time. Interaction will utilize text-based formats such as discussion boards.

Sunday, February 8–Saturday, March 7
12 hours over 4 weeks
Online, asynchronous

$195 member


 $250 non-member


Point of view is a complex topic even for intermediate and advanced writers, and there are few better ways to deepen and vary one's fiction than by experimenting with the many choices available,including 1st2nd, and 3rd person; degrees of omniscience and unreliability; and braiding of different POVs. In this generative online class, we will sample literary examples, write, and rewrite, deepening our sense of how perspective and distance create windows into character and affect a story's ultimate meaning. Suitable for all levels and ages. Emphasis will be on fiction but open to nonfiction writers and some memoir strategies will be discussed.

Sunday, March 8–Saturday, April 4
9 hours over 4 weeks
Online, asynchronous

$195 member


 $250 non-member


A scene is a story in miniature, with a beginning-middle-end structure and a purpose that must serve the overall fiction or nonfiction work. In this online class, an expanded version of the previous clinic of the same name, we will identify key elements of scene, explore the balance between scene and summary, discuss transitions and pacing, analyze strong dialogue, and learn from strong literary examples as well as workshop our own. Open to all levels and ages and suitable for fiction and nonfiction writers.

Sunday, April 5–Saturday, May 30
18+ hours over 8 weeks
Online, asynchronous

$295 member


$350 non-member


Most writing is re-writing, and in this week, we will bring our novel and creative nonfiction works-in-progress to the next level, revising at both micro and macro levels for language, structure, character arc, and more. We will reverse outline, identify common errors or weaknesses, and explore the differences between polishing and radical revision. Students should have a novel or memoir that is at least half-drafted, and preferably all or mostly drafted. This will be a workshop-intensive class. Suitable for intermediate or advanced level writers, open to fiction and nonfiction.

49 Writers
 49 Alaska Writing Center