Workshop Descriptions

Weekly Writing Practice

    Turn your notebook to the next blank page. Breathe. Dig in. Give yourself a weekly writing workshop to tease out the stories you carry, to take risks, to listen to the call and response of your own voice. Interesting and challenging prompts let you explore and move forward in your craft. Giving and receiving insightful feedback develops your ear and your intuition.

Friday Morning Writing with Alida Thacher

  • 6 sessions: January 7 – February 18 (no session Jan 21)
  • Time: 10am – 12:30pm
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Cost: $120
  • Register for this workshop

Thursday Evening Writing with Alida Thacher and Thea Constantine

  • 6 sessions: January 13 – February 24 (no session Jan 20)
  • Time: 7-9:30pm
  • Location: Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont
  • Cost: $120
  • Register for this workshop

Manuscript Development & Critique with Jennifer Springsteen

Tuesday Evenings:

  • 6 sessions: January 11- February 22 (skip the evening of January 25)
  • Time: 7-9:30pm
  • Location: NE Portland, Hollywood
  • Cost: $120
  • Register for this workshop

Thursday Evenings:

    Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, or Fiction. Move your characters, conflicts and outcomes forward using manuscript-specific prompts. Receive and give thoughtful critique. Participants will be responsible for reading, marking, and responding to manuscripts each session. In addition to manuscript critiques each week, we will use prompts and do in-workshop writing to tease out the kinks in your current project and give one another feedback as it pertains to our manuscripts. You may bring a laptop or notebook- your choice. 

Monthly Workshops

Monthly Open Workshops

  • 4th Saturday of the Month, SE Portland
  • Next workshops: January 22, February 19
  • Time: 10am – noon
  • Location: TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont
  • Cost: $10 if you are new to PDX Writers/$20 others
  • Register for January 22
  • Register for February 19

Bring your notebook, grab a coffee from the espresso bar and join us for a couple of hours of writing and responding to prompts. Whether you’re an old hand or just wondering what a Portland Writers workshop is all about, this is a good opportunity to settle in and surprise yourself by what you come up with. What a great way to start a weekend! Space limited to 10 writers, so pre-registration is recommended.

Special Topic Workshops


He Said, She Said, and No One Said What They Meant: Dialogue

To want, to need, to deceive, to dissemble – infuse your dialogue with subtext and the contrariness of human communications. We will use verbal and text prompts and games to play with dialogue, looking to both illuminate character and move plot forward.

Character Analysis

Let’s really get to know our characters before we commit them to the novel or story. Through focused prompts, we will ask our characters to reveal themselves and tell us their stories. It is often surprising what they say, and that surprise might just be the hook your story needs.

Point Of View – Part 1

In this workshop, we will ask the question “Whose scene is it really?”. Write a scene from one viewpoint. Write it again from someone else’s. What about that passerby? How would they see the scene? This workshop can help you find the strongest voice of a piece, or solidify and deepen your characterizations.

Point Of View – Part 2

1st person, 3rd person, God? Which point of view serves your story? What are the pros and cons of each type? In this workshop, we will write from multiple “camera” views and find the narration that makes the story sizzle.

Setting As Character

Characters are informed and influenced by their environment. Through prompts, we will write about the environment of our story and infuse it with descriptions that bring the setting to the forefront and also give the reader more sense of the characters that live within it.


No more talking heads. No more “’I hate you!’ she screamed wildly” lines. Using theatre techniques (collaboration and improv) and writing techniques (subtext and cutting to name two), we will mold our dialogue to both illuminate character and move the plot forward.

Hammer and Nails Manuscript Workshops with Jennifer Springsteen

Bring your tool belt, roll up your sleeves, this is a different approach to our usual Manuscript Workshop. Most often putting the whole scope of your manuscript together is done in solitude, and much of it will still be done that way. But this workshop will give writers an opportunity to map out their work in community, guided by a facilitator and the insight of fellow writers and readers.

Now that you have all those scenes and chapters written, you will stretch the whole novel or novella out, figure out where each scene goes, work your chronology, find the arc in each chapter, the final pivot, and where each character finds themselves at the end. You will be able to see what scenes are missing, which are irrelevant, where characters need defining are defining, etc. Or perhaps you’ve written your scenes and chapters within  a storyline or plotline that looked good at the start  –  but disappoints you now– somehow the middle sags, or the key scenes that you expected to add tension don’t, and the ending is flat when you wanted it to pop

This workshop was designed with and for writers in current workshop: we will work visually using butcher paper & post-its, dry erase boards, and there will be laptops and journals available to capture moments of inspiration and revision. Writers will work alone and in pairs or threes. We won’t be writing to prompts as we normally do in workshops, but you will walk away with a deeper vision for the next steps in your work.

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