Fall 2014 creative writing classes

Registration is now open for the fall season in Anchorage and Juneau! Click here for information about upcoming classes in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Craig. We are also offering two half-day writing workshops at Kenai Peninsula College on Saturday, Oct. 11scroll down for information and to register.

Visit our Juneau webpage for information about fall activities in the capital. 

Lessons from a Life of Crime with John Straley

All registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis; we do not hold slots. 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.

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, November 1, 10:00 am1:00 pm
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
For fiction writers at all levels of experience



$50 non-members


Learn how to take your characters to the next level. In this workshop we’ll guide you through a series of writing prompts that will help you understand and see your characters in a new light. Learn how to craft complex characters and watch them come to life in your stories.

ESSAY WORKSHOP with Frank Soos
Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00 am–12:00 pm (12 hours)
November 8-9 and December 6-7
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
For nonfiction writers who completed Art of the Essay in fall 2013
This workshop is now full. Email 49writers (at) gmail (dot) com to go on waitlist.

$155 members/$170 non-members

As a follow-on to our fall 2013 Art of the Essay classes, we invite participants who have a completed draft of an essay begun in the class (or otherwise) and who would like some feedback on their writing to join a workshop group with Frank Soos that will meet over two weekends a month apart. The workshop will involve close reading of one another’s pieces with an eye to suggestions for improvement: areas of focus (expansion or narrowing), use of details, images and figures of speech, as well as the pattern of organization. You will be required to submit an essay that has reached an end (no fragments, please) but one you feel still needs some direction (deadline Oct. 18). Critique guidelines will be provided prior to the workshop.

Saturday, November 22, 9:00 am–12:00 pm
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
For writers of poetry at all levels of experience

$45 members


$50 non-members


In a poem, it is often the leaps between juxtaposed images that creates meaning and energy, inviting the reader into the space made on the page. The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges asserted that there is no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one. Dylan Thomas wrote that the poem should work from words, from the substance of words and the rhythm of substantial words set together, not towards words. In this hands-on workshop, writers will explore a way of thinking and viewing language that will illuminate these ideas and feed creativity well into the future.

This class will also be offered in Juneau on Monday, December 1. Click here to register.


Wednesdays, October 1-22, 6:30–8:30 pm
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage (next to Snow Goose Restaurant)
Primarily for fiction writers at all levels of experience

This class is now full.

$120 members/$135 non-members


Cheesy metaphors, purple prose, wince-making turns of phrase, the risk of offending readers and revealing ourselves: no wonder we worry about the sex scenes in our prose and fail to practice different approaches (humorous/serious, explicit/oblique) to rendering this essential feature of human relationships. Even acclaimed authors produce embarrassing failures on the page. Yet intimate moments are often essential to character revelation, story arc, and more, and the same rules of good writing apply to the physically explicit. In fact, learning how to render sex on the page, focusing on craft elements like detail, POV, and narrative stance, may yield benefits far beyond the erotic or sensational. In this generative class, we'll read what literary authors have to say about navigating this difficult terrain, and more importantly, we'll do lots of free-writes and exercises (sharing some but not all of what we write) in search of our own best strategies.

CLAIMING YOUR PLACE with Douglass Bourne
Thursdays, October 2-30, 6:00–8:00 pm
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
Appropriate for all genres and all levels of experience

$150 members/$160 non-members

Ever try to describe one of the magical places Alaska is known for? Ever try to write about home? We like to think of place as being physical, but place is intangible as much as it is tangible. Some of the most dynamic literature occurs where ideas and the physical world intersect (think Henry David Thoreau to Sherry Simpson). This class will help writers in all genres begin new projects and will help writers working on projects see their work in a new way.


Saturday, October 4, 9:00 am–12:00 pm
Anchorage Museum classroom (7th Avenue entrance)
Appropriate for all genres and all levels of experience

$45 members of 49 Writers/$45 members of SCBWI/$50 non-members


Join authors Deb Vanasse (Lucy's Dance, Out of the Wilderness, Totem Tale) with Seth Kantner and illustrator Beth Hill (Pup and Pokey) for this roundtable workshop on writing and publishing for children. From concept through publication, learn how authors and illustrators approach the development of children’s books. We’ll include time for questions and discussion of individual projects.

Saturday, October 11, 9:00am –12:00 pm
645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
Appropriate for all genres and all levels of experience

$45 members/$50 non-members

Music proves an enduring influence on writers of every genre, and has done so through the ages. Whether directly writing about it or referencing it in one way or another, or playing a favorite or inspiring piece in the background as we compose our prose and poems, music often serves an indispensable tool as we work on the silent page. In this course, we'll discuss and examine the ways music has influenced or can inform our writing, and the ways authors have brought it to bear on their work. Finally, we'll engage in some short writing exercises that engage with and illuminate our personal relationship to music.


Saturday, October 11, 9 am to noon
Kenai Peninsula College, Room 132
For fiction writers at all levels of experience

$45/members/$50 non-members

Learn how to take your characters to the next level. In this workshop we’ll guide you through a series of writing prompts that will help you understand and see your characters in a new light. Learn how to craft complex characters and watch them come to life in your stories.

Saturday, October 11, 1-4 pm
Kenai Peninsula College, Room 132
For writers at all levels of experience

$45/members/$50 non-members

In this class, we'll review the basics and terms, from first-person to third-person, objective, subjective, and omniscient, looking closely at what introductory approaches leave out: subtleties of psychic distance, transitioning between points of view, and how point of view creates character. 

October 11-November 22
This class will be taught online
For fiction writers at all levels of experience

$295 members/$350 non-members

This is your chance to jumpstart or re-start a novel using a more organic, generative process that emphasizes quick-drafting. In this online class, we will use daily writing guidance and a weekly discussion forum for considering a few craft topics like planning, premise, the protagonist's dilemma, and basic novel structure in greater depth. Our main emphasis, though, will be achieving liftoff. Your goal will be to write the first 10,000 words (or more) of a rough draft and to learn more about your own best writing processes. Some feedback will be offered but this is not a critique-centered, workshop- or revision-focused class. To get the most out of your investment, plan to dedicate an average minimum of 1 hour per day (or 5-7 hours per week) to drafting new work. And plan to have fun! We will be encouraging each other to write fearlessly. Required text: The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt.

MEMOIR MATTERS with Judith Conte
Tuesdays and Saturdays, 13 hours total
October 14 (6:30-8:30pm), Oct. 18 (10am-12pm), Oct. 25 (9:30am-12pm), Oct. 28 (6:30-8:30pm)
Nov. 4 (6:30-8:30pm) & Nov. 8 (1-3:30pm)

645 West 3rd Avenue, Anchorage
For nonfiction writers at all levels of experience
This class is now full.

$170 members/$195 non-members


This course will cover the essentials of memoir writing, including scene development, dialogue, description of place, and the memoirist’s reflection. Participants will learn how to identify the story they want to write, how to prepare a narrative outline to guide the writing from beginning to end, and how to complete a first draft. During the course, participants will have opportunities to write and edit the all-important opening and ending scenes of their memoir piece. Also included in this course is an overview of the necessary macro and micro editing skills that will help participants polish their writing. The course includes instruction with hand-outs and visuals, guided in-class writing, and group workshopping of individual memoirs. Each class will include a reading and review of published memoir pieces with a focus on those by Alaska writers.

49 Writers
 49 Alaska Writing Center