Sierra Writers

Writers helping each other

Category: Writing Classes & Workshops

Story Arc Workshop: How to Apply it to Your Work – with Carolyn M. Crane

Wednesday,  June 14th
6.30 p.m. –  8 p.m.
Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library
Free to the Public

Whether writers intuit the story arc or embed it explicitly, it is a fundamental structure that every person equates with a good story–a story that works for the reader.

  • We’ll analyze a story’s arc.  Story arc exercise sheet
  • Apply theory to your own work.
  • Be ready to share your work with others.

*Bring the completed exercise with you as well as a piece of narrative or drama you are currently working on. 

carolyn crane rtCarolyn M. Crane is a produced playwright and published essayist and poet. She has taught creative writing privately through her website and at The University of Phoenix online. She will be teaching a five-week creative writing class in Grass Valley through Sierra College extension this fall. 20170614a

group story arc exercises

group story arc exercises

April 12th – Query Writing, the Elevator Speech & Writing Cover Copy – Wendy Hornsby

Wendy Hornsby photo

Wednesday, April 12th
6.30 p.m. –  8 p.m.
Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library.

According to NPR, by day Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning author WENDY HORNSBY is a genteel Professor of History, but by night is the purveyor of fictional murder most foul. Published internationally, she writes the Maggie MacGowen and Kate and Tejeda mystery series, as well as many short stories.

In addition to the Edgar Award, her work has been awarded the Mystery Scene Reviewers Choice Award, the Romantic Times Best Contemporary Suspense Award, and nominated for the Anthony Award, le Grand Prix de littérature policiere (France), and le Prix Du Roman D’Adventures (France). Publishers Weekly selected her 77th Street Requiem as one of its five best mysteries of the year. Her short stories can be found in a variety of anthologies, including several annual editions of The Best American Mystery Stories. They are collected in Nine Sons and Other Mysteries (Crippen & Landru).

Disturbing the Dark jpg wbHer most recent mystery, Disturbing the Dark, (Perseverance Press. April 2016) finds filmmaker Maggie MacGowen in Normandy, France. In the spring, Maggie’s ninety-two-year-old grandmother planted carrots in a field at the family’s farm estate in Normandy.  In August, she harvests bones.  Publisher’s Weekly declared Disturbing the Dark to be “Captivating”. Carolyn Hart found it to be, “Tense. Taut. Terrific.”

A retired Professor of History, Wendy lives with her husband in the Gold Rush country of Northern California. For more about the author, go to


Sierra Writers’ Conference 2017

Learn ~ Share ~ Grow ~ Be Inspired

Saturday January 21, 2017

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sierra College, Nevada County Campus
Building N-12

Building N-12

Hock at 2016

Hock Tjoa, President of Sierra Writers welcomes attendees to Sierra Writers Conference 2016. —Photo Credit; Catharine Bramkamp, Instagram.

Conference Tracks

The Craft of Writing
Marketing & Publishing
Guided Critique
The Road to Success
sierra college map showing N-12
Jones 2016 tweet2
Tweets from 
Sierra Writers’ Conference


Patricia Dove Miller’s Creative Writing Classes for March, April, May, June



patricia.jpb copyBirdsong Writing Practice Group.

Teaches basic “Writing Practice” (based on Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones), a cumulative series of short exercises. Quiet your inner critic, delve into your unconscious, go deeper into your writing, and increase your creativity. Helps you learn how to write, to improve your writing, or to overcome writers’ block.  For all levels of writers.
Wednesday mornings, 10:30 to noon. March 19, March 26 (skip April 2), April 9, April 16.
Deadline to register: March 5. Fee: $50.  (A second 4-week series will run from April 23 to May 14.)

The Art and Craft of Creative Writing. 

Learn the specific craft techniques you need in order to begin writing or improve your writing. We’ll do many inspiring exercises to generate material for your stories. Receive gentle, optional feedback. For both beginning and intermediate writers.
Wednesday evenings, 630 pm to 830 pm. March 19, March 26, (skip April 2), April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30. Deadline to register: March 5. Fee: $120.

Joyous Expression

A Day of Meditation and Writing Practice. Mt. Stream Meditation Center Daylong Retreat. Saturday, March 29, from 10 am to 4:30 pm, at the Mercy Center in Auburn. “Writing Practice” will be integrated with sitting meditation and walking meditation. Will be held mostly in gentle silence, except when reading our work or discussing writing issues. For all levels of writers and meditators. Limited to twenty writers.  To register:  call or email Mary Helen at 530-887-9400 or (See ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT, AND A WAITING LIST.

Half-moon Workshop

Join us once a month to do Writing Practice integrated with sitting meditation and walking meditation. Saturdays, 10 am to 1 pm. April 26, May 31, and June 28. Fee: $45 per session. Come to one session, two sessions, or all three.

Women’s Weekend Writing Retreat

Experience a peaceful weekend focused on your writing with a small group of women. Will include craft talks, exercises, feedback, discussion, readings, and time to write on your own. For intermediate and advanced writers. Limited to ten writers.
May 16-18 at a retreat center in Nevada County. Will let you know exact location and price very soon.

Advanced Critique Workshop. This ongoing class is currently full. There may be some openings in April.

 Private lessons. To meet your individual needs: coaching, editing, or manuscript consultation. Available any time.

If you have questions or want to register for any of these classes, please call or write me as soon as possible.

Patricia Dove Miller
530-265-5165 (home); 619-300-1265 (cell)

Let Them Speak! Using Dialogue to Power Your Writing – April 10

Let Them Speak!  Using Dialogue to Power Your Writing

Sierra Writers hosts a free workshop for writers with Director Sandra Rockman on Wednesday, April 10, 6:30 pm in the Madelyn Helling Library Community Room.  In this hands-on class, Sandra will show how to strengthen your writing through dialogue, using examples from novels and plays. Participants are encouraged to bring a short one-page narrative section of their work for an exercise in adding dialogue to narration for a more powerful “show” rather than “tell.”

Sandra moved to Nevada County in 1978 and joined the nascent Foothill Theatre Company, first as an actress, then director, and finally Artistic Director until 1992.  She has acted in or directed more than 30 productions, including the 2012 Sierra Stages’ “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” for which she received an Elly nomination for Best Director of a Musical. She currently teaches workshops in acting, improvisation and playwriting. Sandra’s articles, stories and essays have also been published in newspapers, journals and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul II.

Sierra Writers offers free monthly meetings for writers of all genres, experience and expertise to meet, share and learn. Meetings are the second Wednesday of every month at 980 Helling Way, Nevada City.  For more information, log on to or call 205-5068.

Community Writing Events

Writers Forum – Feb. 4th
Mike Lambert, Publisher – Wildwood Literary Review

The members of the Wildwood Writers’ Workshop are presenting some of their favorite writing products in a Writers Forum to be held on Feb. 4th in the Community Center. This will be the 2nd annual celebration of their work; a similar event was held last year in early Feb. The Workshop members will provide readings, re-enactments, and excerpts from their original writing pieces from the last couple of years that they are most proud of. The Forum will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the Oak Room at the Community Center. An extra feature of the event will be a Decadent Dessert Buffet that will be offered at the break period for the session. Admission is $3 per person and seating is limited to only 80 people.  Deserts will be provided by some of the attendees – you can get free admission if you wish to bring your favorite desert instead of buying a ticket. Buy tickets to this event at the Recreation Department office at the Comm. Center. Or, pick up a ‘will bring desert chit’ there, too. Contact Mike Lambert if you’d like to attend.

Write Your Story – Feb. 10th
Jan Fishler, Author/Workshop Leader

Local author Jan Fishler will present “Write Your Story,” a memoir-writing workshop, at The Parsonage Bed and Breakfast on Broad Street in Nevada City on Sunday, February 10, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. The event is open to people of all ability levels who wish to record a legacy for family, bring life experiences to the printed page, or heal a painful memory.

Fishler’s workshop is designed to help aspiring writers start the creative process and stay motivated. In her four-hour session, she will teach participants a quick and easy methodology that enables them to write painlessly and effectively. States Fishler, “By escaping our judgmental left brain and tapping into the power of the subconscious, our stories come to life and practically write themselves. Even individuals who think they can’t write find themselves becoming amazingly productive.”

The cost of the workshop is $60 per person, and space is limited to 15 participants. For additional information, visit or call Fishler at 530-264-5105.

About Jan Fishler:
Jan Fishler is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir). She presents her memoir-writing method to small groups and national organizations. Her professional background includes 25 years as a corporate scriptwriter, video producer, instructional designer, and freelance writer for profit and nonprofit sectors. She is the producer of the DVD writing series The Path to Publication, distributed by Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio and in The Huffington Post.

About The Parsonage Bed & Breakfast:
The Parsonage Bed & Breakfast is filled with history dating back to the mid-1800s. It is located at 427 Broad Street in downtown Nevada City and provides a comfortable setting for engaging the writing process.

Writing Classes With Pat Miller

BIRDSONG: A Writing Practice Group
Learn how to do “Writing Practice” (based on Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones), a cumulative series of short easy exercises. Quiet your inner critic, delve into your unconscious, go deeper into your writing, and increase your creativity.   . . .  READ MORE

Learn how to begin your story or work on a draft-in-progress. Learn specific craft techniques to improve your writing, and how to give and receive gentle feedback. For memoir, short story, novel or essay. For all levels of experience.  . . .  READ MORE

Discover Your Story Memoir Workshop

How to write your own amazing Mini-Memoir, just 5 minutes at a time!

We all have a book inside of us —or at least, important stories and memories that need to be recorded as part of our family history. But how to begin? And how to stay motivated to get it done? Finally, there’s a simple and incredibly fast process that works for everyone –even if you think you can’t write! By escaping our judgmental left brain and tapping into the power of the subconscious, our stories come to life and practically write themselves. In this half-day workshop, you’ll learn this amazing process and discover the joy of painless writing…that’s incredibly rewarding.

The workshop will be taught by Jan Fishler, author of Searching for Jane Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir). During the process of writing her own memoir, Jan developed a powerful memoir writing process that anyone can follow.

Discover Your Story Memoir Workshop
July 7, 2012     10 a.m – 2 p.m
Call for more information


–   Record your legacy for the family.
–   Document something amazing to share…as only you can.
–   Heal a painful memory.
–   Write for your own fun and enjoyment!
–   Tell a richer story than anything captured on video.

© 2017 Sierra Writers

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