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"The Writer's Toolbox" Online Class Package

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9/5/2020 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

$179 for members (special discounted rate!)

$436 for nonmembers


Whether you're just getting started, you're in the middle of a manuscript, or you've written a few books, there are certain tools that every writer should have under their belt. These classes offer insight into some of the most useful strategies for getting that manuscript finished... and the next one, and the one after that. 

Before purchasing, be sure to check the dates. As always, there are no refunds on classes.

Each class can be purchased individually by clicking on the class title.

Can't make it every Saturday? No worries! All registrants will have access to the class recordings for the entire month of September.


"Write Before You Write: Outlining, Planning, Plotting with Jennifer Ziegler

     Saturday, September 5, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Before launching into writing that exciting new book idea, it's important to take key first steps that will help prevent project-killing situations. If you tend to get lost in your own story, find yourself written into logistical corners, or get told that your book is too "thin" or has "unrelatable characters," this is the class for you. This class will identify common problems, prescribe remedies, practice helpful exercises, and discuss how you can keep going until "The End." Discover the pre-writing steps you should take depending on your project and the type of writer you are.

Participants will walk away with a clearer idea of what kinds of writers they are and how they need to approach and prepare for new writing projects, plus tips and tricks they can use before launching into a writing project.

Jennifer Ziegler is the author of more than 25 books, including everything from stand-alone novels to series work to TV tie-ins, that range in genre from quirky comedy to action-adventure to dystopian. Her books have been featured on the Lone Star List and International Reading Association’s Young Adults Choice list, recommended on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” optioned for film, and adapted into stage musicals. She also had the honor of serving as The Writers’ League of Texas’s Program Director for several years. Jennifer lives with her husband, author Chris Barton, in Austin, where she continues to write books, lead writing workshops, and give presentations at schools, conferences, and book festivals.


"Research like a Pro" with Sindya Bhanoo

     Saturday, September 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Fiction is, by definition, made up. But writing strong fiction, and certainly non-fiction, often requires a fair amount of research.

In this half-day class, we will discuss strategies that journalists use to do research and gather information for their stories. How much can be done by looking at images and documents on the Internet? Once you find a good source, what questions should you ask? What, exactly, are we on the lookout for anyway? How do you synthesize what you find? And when is it time to stop and just write?

When done effectively, incorporating research into your writing provides a lucidity that is palpable to readers. It invites them to parachute into the world of your characters, to time travel, to experience life in a brand new way. To believe. Research can also help you, the writer, cut to the heart of your story. This is a generative class. We will incorporate the strategies we discuss into several exercises. You will leave this class with some new tools and new ways of thinking about your work.

Sindya Bhanoo has worked as a reporter for The New York Times, where she was the longtime Observatory columnist, and The Washington Post, where she is still a frequent contributor. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Michener Center for Writers, where she was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature in 2018 and 2019. Her fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Granta, The Masters Review and elsewhere. She was the 2020 winner of the DISQUIET Literary Prize and her work has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.


"How to Give and Receive Writing Critiques" with John Pipkin

     Saturday, September 19, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

Giving and receiving feedback is a learned skill that writers can develop and hone, and learning how to participate in and benefit from a workshop can be invaluable to any writer looking to take their craft to the next level. Allowing other writers to critique your work in a group setting (where you critique their work in turn) offers fresh eyes and a fresh perspective, helps you to zero in on problems you might be overlooking, strengthens your skills as a reader, and opens the way to communing with your peers in a safe, nurturing environment.

In this class, participants will learn what to consider when reading works with a critical eye, including how to identify what is working within a piece and, just as important, what isn't working and why, and how to identify the narrative structure and rhetorical strategies at work; how to "read like a writer" including tools for better understanding the technical aspects of storytelling and how to apply those techniques to your own stories; how to give feedback in a helpful and constructive way; and how to accept feedback in a workshop and how to apply it to your work-in-progress.

John Pipkin is the Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at UT-Austin. Originally from Baltimore, he received a Ph.D. in English from Rice University. His first novel, "Woodsburner" (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday 2009) won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize. His second novel, "The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter"(Bloomsbury 2016) was named Book of the Month by The London Times. John has received fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, and Dobie-Paisano, and he is currently completing a novel about the Tour de France during WWII.

"Strategies for Staying the Course" with P.J. Hoover

     Saturday, September 26, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

It’s hard to stick to our path, especially when everything seems like it is going against us, but don't let that stop you from reaching your goals.

Join award-winning author P. J. Hoover in this inspiring workshop that will offer solid strategies on time management, goal setting, and staying the course even when things get tough. Come prepared to change the way you think about your writing. You'll walk away with a definitive list of ideas and a plan to act upon to help create the future you want. Bring questions. Bring ideas to share.

P. J. Hoover is the award-winning author of over 20 books including The Hidden Code, a Da Vinci Code-style young adult adventure with a kick-butt heroine, and Homer's Excellent Adventure, best described as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure meets The Odyssey. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website






$179 members (sign in for member pricing)

$436 nonmembers

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Registration at the special pricing will close at the end of Friday, September 4, 2020. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email with a copy of the form as well. We are working out of our office at this time. 

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit


This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to