Donald Maass to offer OWC workshop in June 2017

Donald MaassDonald Maass, New York literary agent, author, and fiction instructor, will offer a one-day workshop in Portland on Saturday, June 10, 2017:

The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface.

Writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, but none would argue against the idea that that if you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader’s experience must be an emotional journey of its own.

On Saturday, June 10, veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass will teach exactly how to take your reader on that visceral and emotional journey.

Fee for the workshop: $150, payable to OWC

Date, time: Saturday, June 10, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Oxford Suites, Jantzen Beach

Donald Maass is the author of more than 16 novels. He now works as a literary agent, representing dozens of novelists in the science fiction, fantasy, crime, mystery, romance and thriller categories. He speaks at writer’s conferences throughout the country and lives in New York City.

Donald Maass Workshop

  • Price: $150.00
  • Click Submit to be taken to PayPal for payment.

Download this registration form to register by mail or pay by check.


2016 Stumptown Lit Set for Wednesday, Dec. 7

Stumptown Lit 2016 will showcase the work of 20 OWC author members.

Home-grown talent runs the gamut from memoir to mystery, picture books to poetry, science fiction to speculative fiction.

Authors will be on hand to mix, to mingle, and to sign their latest titles. Don’t miss this festive occasion!

Stumptown Lit will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, at June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N. Albina Avenue, in Portland.

Brief author presentations—putting the stump in Stumptown—will take place between 7:15 and 8:30 p.m.


Workshop to Teach ‘Killer First Page’

Ray RhameyJoin OWC Feb. 4, 2017, for an all-day workshop on “Crafting Compelling Stories” with Ray Rhamey.

Participants will submit first pages ahead of time for critique and analysis of what constitutes a “killer first page,” one that grabs the readers’ interest and imagination right out of the gate. Once the stage is set, Ray will continue by presenting hands-on strategies for fleshing out characters, creating dynamic dialogue, adding experiential description, and amping up tension — the key ingredients of strong storytelling. If you write fiction, this workshop will shore up shortcomings, hone strengths, and fine-tune craftsmanship. Come ready to write!

The workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Portland area. The location will be announced later.

Register now at the early-bird rate of $50. After Jan. 15, 2017, the price increases to $60. Register online, below, or download the registration form and mail it with a check to OWC, P.O. Box 15200, Portland, OR 97293.

Ray Rhamey is an author, freelance editor, and book designer. He teaches workshops at writers conferences from Massachusetts to Mexico. He is the author of “Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling,” which coaches writers on both writing and storytelling technique.

Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen says, “It’s a must-have for any novelist, published or aspiring, and one of the most readable, entertaining books on writing out there.”

Ray has edited book-length fiction for 12 years and designs book covers and interiors for independent authors and small publishers. Many writers know him through his internationally known blog, “Flogging the Quill.” Ray’s novels include vampire satire, coming-of-age mystery, and science fiction.

Register Online



Literary Lounge to Reveal the Secret Powers of Chronology

C. Lill AhrensAt the January 11, 2017, Literary Lounge features Lill Ahrens, writer, editor and instructor. She will discuss how to use effective chronology in fiction.

Though stories can leap back in time — via flashback, backstory and time travel —many bits of story information need to be in chronological order. For example, motivation before action, setup before payoff, and many more. Yet writers often “write backward” without realizing it.

Backward writing saps tension. Chronological writing creates and increases tension, propelling readers through a story to the very end.

This info-packed presentation includes Lill’s “Chronology Checklist” handout, to help you turn “backward writing” around.

C. Lill Ahrens is an award-winning author who loves to help writers succeed. As a Calyx Journal editor, OWC’s contest director, a teacher and editorial consultant, she’s read thousands of unpublished stories and discussed the finalists with fellow editors and judges. Thus she’s learned why some stories make the final cut while others fall short, and what’s needed to improve them. Many of Lill’s students and clients have become award-winning published authors.

The Januaryt Literary Lounge happens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at TaborSpace Commons, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland.


September Literary Lounge to feature short fiction

The September Literary Lounge will feature its second annual evening short, short story readings, snacks, beverages and fun.

The event happens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at the June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N. Albina, in Portland.

Moderator Ed Goldberg will keep the program going as several writers read from their current work and will also read from his work. Ed Goldberg is a Shamus Award-winning author and on-air host of All Classical radio at KQAC-FM. He produces radio shows, conducts author interviews, and reviews films. He has been a regular emcee for Oregon Writers Colony events, where he brings his trademark humor to the proceedings.

Readers are:

Katherine Boyer is an author and speaker. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She has been published in Inspire Me Today, New Connexion, Street Roots, The Willamette Writer, and Portland Family magazine, and the VoiceCatcher journal. Her book, Mending the Net, outlines methods to heal yourself, even if you grew up in a dysfunctional family.

Karen Alexander-Brown first honed her authorial skills by writing as a pastime while on tours as a professional dancer. She’s the author and producer of several short plays and a musical for the Fertile Ground Festival, has written several published academic articles, and currently writes both fiction and creative non-fiction.

Rosemary Lombard, a musicologist intrigued by the behavior of pet turtles, returned to school in her 40s to become an animal behaviorist/ethologist. Her work in progress, Diode’s Experiment: A Box Turtle Investigates the Human World, is about the relationships between the turtles and humans and the turtles’ quest to communicate with them. She has won prizes in nonfiction and poetry, the latter published most recently in The Poeming Pigeon and Nature Writing. Her chapbook, Turtles All the Way: Poems, is in production at Finishing Line Press.

Emily Pittman Newberry’s writing explores the challenges of living as spiritual beings in a material world. OneSpirit Press published two of her books. She wrote the poetry for the artist Shu-Ju Wang’s artist’s book Water, and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She co-facilitates art therapy workshops for LGBTQ senior citizens and can’t believe how blessed she is to watch her two sons blossom.

Stephen Whitney, takes a strong approach to his creativity and has a genuine desire to write. He loves experimenting with form and technique and has a wide variety of work known for its irony and satire. His poems, stories and essays have been recognized and accepted by various anthologies, magazines, and journals that include Third World Communications, The Black Scholar, African American Review, USA Today, Willamette Week, Timberline Review, Poetry Corners, Exhibition, Reed, The Owl and L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.

Margaret Van See Wolf has always loved writing, but put it aside for many years while she raised a family. Now she writes romance, light sci-fi, and fantasy. Her newest book, Dragonfly World, will be released soon. Watch for it on Amazon Kindle.


Halloween Treat: The Haunting of Colonyhouse


Do you love to be scared? Were you weaned on Alfred Hitchcock? Is Edgar Allan Poe your alter ego? Are you fascinated by all things that go bump in the night?

If so, please join Queen of Halloween, Becky Kjelstrom, and Empress of Terror, D’Norgia Taylor, for a weekend of fearsomely delicious food and writerly exploration of the sinister and macabre.


  • Colonyhouse in eerie finery
  • Discussions on what scares us and how to develop petrifying ideas
  • Workshop “It Wasn’t a Dark and Stormy Night: Moving beyond the Clichés”
  • Evening readings
  • Friday, share a favorite frightening story or short bit
  • Saturday, share your story in progress
  • Gentle critique
  • Time to write
  • Food: Witch Fingers, Graveyard Brownies, Death by Veggies, Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers, Bloody Puddin’, Putrefied Punch and more. (Vegetarian and gluten-free available on request)

The Haunting of Colonyhouse happens the weekend of October 28-30 at Colonyhouse, Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The cost: $125 double occupancy ($165 for nonmembers, which includes a year of membership in OWC). The price includes Halloween-themed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, and desserts.

Sign up using the form below.

*Image: Tim Evanson via Compfight cc

Halloween at Colonyhouse 2016

It's Halloween at Colonyhouse. Join us for a weekend of reading, writing, and spooky fun.
  • We probably won't need to call you, but just in case we need to reach you for an emergency.