March Master Class: Play Before You Write

Deepening Your Story & Escaping Writer’s Block through Pre-writing

with Solveig Eggerz

Solveig Eggerz profile picDiscover the meaning or “aboutness” of your story through pre-writing. Participants will experiment with several pre-writing methods focused on protagonist, place, and conflict, experiencing how each exercise deepens the meaning of the story and paves the way to a confident first draft. Participants will come away with an understanding of the pre-writing process as well as the beginnings of a good story.

A native of Iceland, Solveig Eggerz is the author of Seal Woman, an award-winning novel informed by the selkie legend. For many years she told folk and fairy tales in schools in Alexandria, Virginia. Using a blend of told and written story, she teaches writing at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD as well as “Sharing our Stories,” a writing program for individuals emerging from difficult circumstances. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from Catholic University. Her writing has appeared in such places as The Northern Virginia Review, Delmarva Review, Palo Alto Review.

Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: Visual Arts Center 1812 West Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Price: $55 for members; $70 for non-members
Click here to register today!

Thank you to the Visual Arts Center for partnering with us on this Master Class.







July Master Classes on Using Scrivener Writing Tools




Scrivener is a flexible word processor and project management tool geared toward helping writers plan, structure, compose, and revise long documents. Store and view research materials (including images, webpages, and PDFs) alongside your writing, or use the distraction-free mode to keep focused. Organize your work from a bird’s-eye view with the outliner or corkboard.


headshot_jhughesJennifer Hughes provides Q&A, customer tech support, and other odds and ends for Literature & Latte, developer of the popular writing software Scrivener and Scapple. She was the technical editor for Pearson’s Scrivener Absolute Beginner’s Guide and contributed to editing Wiley’s Scrivener for Dummies. Outside of work, she uses Scrivener for everything from writing novels to organizing recipes.


Master Class with Howard Yoon: Perfecting your Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Howard-1Literary non-fiction agent Howard Yoon will conduct this Master Class about the publishing industry as it relates to what you’re writing and how you’re writing it.

Whether you are finishing up a non-fiction manuscript or just getting started on a new book, learn to fine-tune your ideas based on:

1 – Knowing what publishers want.

2 – Knowing what you do best as a writer.

You will be able to talk directly to Howard in an intimate group setting with plenty of one-on-one time.

Registration is limited to no more than 10 attendees

$65 for Members; $100 for Non-Members

May 27, 2:00 pm – 4:45 pm

St. John’s Parish Hall, 2401 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23223

Click here to register today! (more…)

David Robbins Master Class

The third Art of the Narrative Master Class is being offered by NY Times bestselling author and professor of creative writing, David L. Robbins. The class will go for eight sessions, and focus on the structure of good story-telling. David RobbinsRobbins will guide students through the writing and workshopping of several short fiction pieces. Instructional emphasis will not be on the imagination – the finding of the story inside the author – but on the actual craft, technique and skills needed to tell each story.
The two prior master class groups have remarked that David’s classes are not only informative and eye-opening but fun and a little crazy as well!

Admission is limited to only 12 spots. The class fee is $500 ($550 for non-JRW members) and may be tax deductible as the entire amount will be donated to The Podium Foundation and James River Writers. (Please consult your tax advisor to be certain.) A non-refundable $250 deposit is due by March; remainder due by April 23. (Deposit will be refunded only if the minimum number of 8 seats is not filled.)

Dates: Thursdays, March 19 -May 14
Times: 6:30 – 9:15pm
Location: VCU Honors College, 700 W. Grace St., RVA

David L. Robbins is the author of twelve successful novels. His work has been published around the world, and at the conclusion of this workshop, he will jet off to Vietnam in pursuit of his thirteenth. He has won awards for screenwriting, essays, and his novels, and his second stage play, Sam & Carol, will be produced in Richmond this April by Henley Street Theatre. In addition to serving as co-founder for James River Writers and The Podium Foundation, David has partnered with the Virginia War Memorial to found The Mighty Pen Project, a writing program for veterans and military family members. His website is

Click here to register today!

Editing Master Class with Erica Orloff

Erica Orloff

On December 6, 2014, Erica Orloff will teach a Master Class that will help you take your work to the next level!

From the Drawer to Publication: The Recipe for Editing and Polishing Your Manuscript

You’re struggling through a seemingly endless edit. Perhaps you have one of those manuscripts “in a drawer” (or under the bed or stored on your old laptop), or maybe you have 50,000 unpolished words from a recent month of crazed novel writing. You want to do something with it—submit or indie publish—but you know it’s not quite “there” yet.

Then this is the Master Class for you.


Master Class with Literary Agent John Cusick

On August 29th, JRW will host a Master Class featuring Greenhouse Literary Agent John Cusick.  During the three hour class, Standing Out: Catching and Keeping an Agent, John will work with a small group of participants to identify key strategies to attracting the attention of the right agent and developing a successful relationship.

Registration for the Master Class will be capped at no more than twelve participants, as Mr. Cusick will work directly with each attending writer to hone their query letter and discuss their first two pages.  These items will need to be submitted in advance as double-spaced, 12pt font Microsoft Word documents.  Master Class attendees should be prepared to have their query letter and first pages shared with and critiqued by other class members. (more…)

April 2014 Writing Show and Master Class Recaps: Mining for Stories with Carrie and John Gregory Brown

April Writing Show Recap
Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction
by Kris Spisak, KS Writing

Surrounded by the Broadberry’s chic chandeliers, stomachs happy from a sumptuous spread, April’s Writing Show audience had a night to remember. Author and JRW advisory board chair Virginia Pye moderated the evening, introducing us to veteran novelists and professors Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, who discussed mining one’s own geographical and personal history as a writer.  (more…)

Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

Married novelists Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown have spent their working lives writing and teaching side by side in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Sweet Briar College, where John is the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and directs the College’s Creative Writing program. Carrie now serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at nearby Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Carrie and John have published ten books between them and raised three children on the campus at Sweet Briar. 

James River Writers recently spoke with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, who discussed “using what you know and where you’re from in fiction” at JRW’s Writing Show on Thursday, April 24. The couple also taught Learning to See: A Master Class for Writers in the Art and Practice of Looking on Friday, April 25.

Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

Question One:

K: John, you wrote in the voice of a young girl (Meredith Eagen), a woman (Meredith’s stepmother Catherine), and a black man (Murphy Warrington) in your first novel, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, and you earned praise for creating authentic voices for these three characters. Writing in the voice of a person of another race can be risky, and you did not attempt to write Murphy’s dialogue the way a black New Orleans man of his time and class would have spoken. (more…)

Creativity Toolkit: Master Class with Clay McLeod Chapman


clayCreativity Tool Kit: A Master Class with Clay McLeod Chapman.  The author of Tribe: Homeroom Headhunter will offer a fun workshop examining creativity and how to jump-start yours. Hands-on instruction will leave you with concrete take-aways for defeating the blank page!

June 19; 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, not included