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"Writing about Trauma" ONLINE with Rachel Starnes

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Online Classroom

4/4/2020 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

$49, Members (sign in for member pricing; to become a member, click here.)

$109, Non-members

This class was previously an in-person class. All WLT classes through May 9 will be online. 

Registrants will have access to the class recording for one week. 

Sometimes true stories take us back to difficult places.

Some of the most powerful works of nonfiction are the ones that take us to the writer's darkest corners. But how do you craft art from trauma? Join us as we "take a look under the hood" at what's working in some well-known writings about traumatic events and learn how to apply these techniques to our own difficult stories.


In this class, students will

  • Develop an understanding of memory formation and the brain's reaction to trauma.
  • Learn techniques for handling imperfect memories.
  • Practice strategies for writing about difficult characters.
  • Articulate the difference between art and therapeutic journaling. (Hint: it's about prioritizing mental health over literary output.)
  • Learn about the different modes of scene, summary, and analysis and when to use each.


  • You're a writer who excels at examining a story for its craft as well as its impact. 

  • You're stuck in how to write about a difficult event or period.

  • You're open to trying new techniques for inhabiting a difficult part of your story.
  • You're a stickler for the truth, but recognize that it gets messy.


  • "The workshop was incredible and enlightening from a very refreshing viewpoint!"
  • "I rarely rate everything "excellent"....but this class deserved it."
  • "Rachel was so engaging and presented so much useful material that I could have listened to her for 3 more hours."


Rachel Starnes is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace and Other Missions Impossible. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from California State University, Fresno and her BA from the University of Texas. Her essays have appeared in The Colorado Review, Front Porch Journal, and O Magazine. Born in Austin, Texas, she has lived in Scotland, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Florida, California, and Nevada.



Online classroom



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

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

Registration will close on Friday, April 3, at 5pm. 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.

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