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Learn How To Write Good

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 18, 2010 5:40PM

A variety of interesting writing workshops start this weekend and the beginning of next. Some focus on creative fiction, some focus on professional nonfiction. Some run for several weeks, some last a couple hours. Some cost nothing, some cost more than our paycheck last week. So if you're at all interested in firing up your laptop and putting it to good use, there just might be a workshop of interest below.

Screenwriting: Sterling Anderson, who has written for Six Feet Under, Medium, and The Unit is offering two separate workshops this weekend. Feature films and television series will be the focus of both. He'll cover screenwriting, television writing and creative writing and discuss how to develop good writing habits and how to transition from recreational writing to professional writing. Each session is limited to 50 participants.
Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash, February 20 and 21, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. $199 non-students/ $99 students
(For a cheaper opportunity to pick Sterling Anderson's brain, he'll be speaking at a Chicago Screenwriters Network event on Sunday evening)

Write-a-Thoning: This isn't a structured workshop, but it is a structured environment that helps writers find the focus, discipline and encouragement needed to make headway on stories and poems. Anyone is welcome come to StoryStudio Chicago on Saturday, where there's plenty of space and infinite wifi, beverages, snacks and writerly conversation offer the escapes to distraction and procrastination.
StoryStudio Chicago, 4043 N. Ravenswood, #222, February 20, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., $12 non-members/ $7 members

Science Writing for Kids: This two-part Writing Under the Microscope 826CHI workshop is geared towards helping fifth through eighth grade students give a voice to their inner mad scientist. In the first session, Amanda Miller, publications editor at Northwestern University, will lead students in an experiment. In the second session, students will write about the experiment and share their stories. Space is limited to 12 students.
826CHI, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., February 20 and February 27, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., free

Cartooning: We consider cartoons a form of storytelling, so Michael Burton's Art of Cartooning workshop made our list. As part of Chicago Public Library's African American Heritage Month program, "Urban Rockwell" is presenting 90-minute cartoon technique workshops at various branches.
Thurgood Marshall, 7506 S. Racine Avenue, February 20, 1 p.m., free
Austin, 5615 W. Race Avenue, February 23, 10:30 p.m., free
Jeffery Manor, 2401 E. 100th Street, February 27, 2 p.m., free

Business Writing: Words for Work is for those who want to improve the writing required for their jobs, be it writing better more cohesive emails or more creative proposals. Instructors Jill Pollack and M. Molly Backes will work with participants to tackle writer's block, fine-tune basic grammar skills, review common writing mistakes, develop personal voice, and learn the process of revision. Admission includes lunch, and capacity is limited to 15.
StoryStudio Chicago, 4043 N. Ravenswood, #222, February 22, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., $295

Creative Writing: The Building Blocks of Creative Writing will help participants develop strong characters, point of view, and setting so they can improve their poems, stories, memoirs, or essays. Brooke Bregan, who has an MA and PhD in creative writing and has been leading writing classes and workshops for 20 years will teach the course. The deadline for registration is Feb. 22.
University of Illinois at Chicago, 1337 South Halsted, Wednesdays February 24 - March 31, 6 - 8 p.m., $350