Beginners, published authors, avid writers — you've found a wonderful way to
- Devote time to writing
- Find or reclaim your unique voice
- Experiment in a non-competitive setting
- Develop new or ongoing projects
- Receive constructive feedback
- Write fiction, poetry, non-fiction, memoir, essays, plays, screenplays
I look forward to writing with you.
The Tuesday-Night Writers in Flourtown — 7:00 to 10 PM (I no longer offer the downtown workshop.)
Sit in on a Tuesday-night workshop for FREE (by appointment). Find out more about the workshop, specific dates, and enrollment by clicking on the tabs below.
For fastest response, email me: Rachel@phillywriters.com
I began writing when I adapted Louise Fitzhugh's novel, Harriet the Spy, for my elementary school's third grade theater production. After receiving my B.A. in history and French from Barnard College, I worked in film and television production and development. While at Viacom, I worked for the woman who produced the children's movie version of Harriet the Spy. I critiqued screenplays for Jonathan Demme, and was on the team that worked on refining the script for his film, Philadelphia.
After moving to Philadelphia to produce a nationally-broadcast television campaign for Advanta National Bank, I became a member of The Greater Philadelphia Writers' Wordshop, led by Alison Hicks. After writing in the workshop for eight years, Alison trained me privately, and I had the opportunity to substitute for her on many occasions. She continues to act as a guide and mentor as I lead my own workshops.
I'm currently writing my second novel and editing short pieces of fiction to submit for publication.
One of the privileges of leading the workshop is having the opportunity to read new work. I enjoy working with writers as a developmental editor to help them make their manuscripts as strong as possible.
Facilitating others' creativity has always been one of my greatest strengths and joys.
The Amherst Writers & Artists Methodology special in many ways
- Write during meetings
- Learn how to quiet your internal editor
- If you choose, read what you've written aloud
- Listeners express what left a strong impression
- No negative comments are made at this point
- Experiment without fear of ridicule
Critiques of manuscripts, polished outside of the workshop, occur on a scheduled basis.
- The leader facilitates a productive conversation and provides detailed, written input
- Workshop participants read manuscripts and provide oral and written commentsTo ensure the quality of the workshop, each session is limited to 13 people.
Where: The Resiliency Center Ambler, PA (enrollment is required).
If you're interested in sitting in to see if you'd like to enroll for the Fall 2014 or 2015 Winter and Spring sessions, please contact me at Rachel@phillywriters.com
The Flourtown workshop meets on Tuesdays from 7 to 10 PM:
Fall I 2014 (6 Tuesdays) September 9, 16, 23, 30; October 7, 14. Weather/Unforeseen-event-makeup day: October 21. Cost $240. The $80 non-refundable deposit is due by August 29. The deposit goes toward your tuition. The remainder, $160 is due on September 9. Other payment arrangements can be made by talking with me.
Fall II 2014 (6 Tuesdays) October 28; November 4, 11, 18; December 2, December 9. Weather/unforeseen-event-makeup day: December 16. Cost $240.The $80 non-refundable deposit is due by by October 14. The deposit goes toward your tuition. The remainder, $160 is due on November 4. Other payment arrangements can be made by talking with me.
How to Enroll:
Sitting in: If you're interested in sitting in to see if you'd like to enroll for the Fall 2014 or 2015 Winter and Spring sessions, please contact me to schedule you visit.
To find out if there is room in the workshop session you are interested in, or to enroll, please contact me at Rachel@phillywriters.com
In your email
- Include your name, phone number, and your mailing address.
- If there is room in the workshop, I will ask you to mail me the non-refundable deposit.
- If there are no seats available I add your name to the mailing list as long as I have your full contact information.
- Enrollment is granted in this way: First preference to people who are participating in the current or most recent session. Then, it works on a fist-come-first-serve basis.
- Writing samples are not required and will not be read.
- Enrollment is not complete until I inform you there is room in the workshop, I receive the deposit and your full contact information, including your mailing address and telephone number.
- If there is no room in the workshop, I will put you on the waiting list. It's well worth being on the waiting list because very often people cancel due to changes in their schedules or lives.
I provide the feedback you need in order to make your manuscript sing. I look for what's already strong, what must stay intact as you intended, in your own voice. I also point out what isn't working as well and offer techniques for improvement. As a writer I know how hard it can be to let someone else read the manuscript to which you've devoted so much time and energy. I show you specifically where the writing or structure isn't as strong as it could be but my objective is for you to feel inspired to keep going.
E-mail me at Rachel@phillywriters.com,describe your project briefly and tell me the best way to get back to you.
Current and Recent Projects:
- Editing a middle-grade novel for a woman writing a wonderful novel with a strong heroine, great male characters, and animals who play key roles as well.
- Editing a middle-grade novel written by one of the participants in the Tuesday night workshop in Ambler. Recently, at the Push to Publish conference in Rosemont, PA, and sponsored by Philadelphia Stories, an agent asked him to send the manuscript to her for consideration.
- Helping an author determine how her self-published novel might attract more readers: Should the writing be improved? Is it the marketing? Or, could it be a combination of both?
- A patent attorney has asked me to help him increase the appeal of articles he writes for law journals in hopes of attracting more readers and more referrals.
- A writer who couldn't join the workshop received in-depth feedback about his short story.
Valerie Ellis, Editing/Line Editing, Tutoring
Valerie Ellis has 15+ years of experience as a teacher and editor in the writing field. She has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and graduate degrees from Harvard (Theater) and Bennington College (Creative Writing). She has taught college-level writing at Case-Western University, the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University, Columbia College (Chicago) and Harvard University, among others. In addition, she has taught English as a Second Language at various private schools and tutored, and edited the work of both native and non-native speakers seeking to improve their writing skills for business purposes and in order to fulfill the requirements of both undergraduate and graduate degrees. In addition, she has been a member of the editorial boards of several literary magazines and has written for a number of journals and newspapers. She is also a produced playwright and a short story writer.
Contact Valerie by e-mailing her at email@example.com
I would be glad to answer any questions you may have, or to discuss whether this workshop would suit your needs. Please e-mail me at Rachel@phillywriters.com, or call me at 484-999-0268 before 8 PM.
Please include the following information:
- Your full name.
- Your phone number, if you would prefer I call you.
- What are you looking for in a writing workshop?
I follow the Amherst Writers & Artists practices as taught by my mentor, Alison Hicks. Click here to learn more about Alison Hicks and her workshops on the Main Line and downtown. Alison's workshop is fabulous and she generously supports many local writers, myself included.
The AWA method has been used successfully with experienced writers as well as beginners, writers whose creative juices are flowing as well as those experiencing a block. It has been equally effective in helping those whose voices have traditionally been silenced by poverty, discrimination, illness, age or other obstacles to achieving the powerful combination of language and confidence needed to overcome social barriers. While the AWA method is not therapy, it has great healing potential for writers from all backgrounds. Writers who have used the AWA method have published major works and taken top prizes and awards in the U.S., Ireland, and over 500 have completed the AWA training program in workshop leadership.
Alison Hicks leads two Amherst Writers & Artists workshops, one in Havertown, and one in Center City, under the name the Greater Philadelphia Writers Wordshop Studio.The Word Studio, founded by Janet Benton, offers workshops, events, and support for writers in Chestnut Hill, PA.
Musehouse is a writers' center in Chestnut Hill, PA, which offers workshops and readings. Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno is the Executive Director. www.musehousecenter.com
The journal Philadelphia Stories offers workshops. www.philadelphiastories.org/workshops
Books about writing
If you're in my workshop, you can borrow the books listed on Amazon that I have in my library (click on the link below). Even if you're not, feel free to browse.
If you can buy only one book, I recommend Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. It is used in many writing programs as a textbook, and therefore the most recent edition is very expensive. However, used copies of previous editions are equally as valuable.
Resources for submitting your writing for publication