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Creative Writing at UCLA Extension

Whether you're looking to improve your writing for personal fulfillment, want to be published, or are preparing to apply to an MFA program, the Writers' Program offers creative writing courses, workshops, and programs that will help you achieve your goals. You'll also find a supportive community of instructors, academic counselors, and fellow students to help you on your journey.

Courses may be taken individually, or as a structured program of study. Develop professional creative writing skills in multiple genres of interest including poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and more with our 21-unit Certificate in Creative Writing. This customizable program culminates in a capstone project where you'll make significant progress on a polished collection of work.

We also offer a 3-course Short Fiction Specialization, which provides an intensive approach to both generating new work and revising it in the collaborative environment of a workshop.

Find a path that works for you.


My UCLA Extension coursework, teachers, and colleagues have shaped my writing life, fueled the creation of my novel, and provided continual inspiration.

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Creative Writing

Bring your story to life with the help of our courses in areas such as fiction, children’s writing, non-fiction, stage and screenwriting, poetry and memoir writing.

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Learn techniques designed to enhance, encourage and enrich your writing in one of our many creative writing courses. Beginner to advanced-level courses available ranging in topics including novel and non-fiction writing, poetry, character development, screenplay and playwriting, writing for children and young adults and memoir writing. Enroll online or call Student Services at (858) 534-3400. Questions about our classes or certificates? Contact our department at (858) 534-5760 or [email protected] .

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Learn core creative writing skills and develop your writing in the genre of your choice by focusing on electives in the areas of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Children’s Writing, Poetry, and/or The Business of Writing.

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5 best writing workshops and classes in Los Angeles

fiction writing classes california

Some writers are self-taught. I’m really, really not one of these. I’ve taken a lot of — perhaps too many — writing workshops. I majored in English writing as an undergrad, then got a PhD in creative writing — and apparently all that still wasn’t enough, because I’ve also taken a bunch of one-off writing classes all over town!

Single creative writing classes can be great for a lot of reasons: if you have no idea what you’re doing and need some direction from a mentor, if you’re not ready to commit an MFA program but need something structured to move your writing along, if you’re working on a specific writing project and want feedback on it from a group of writers, if you have a tough time motivating yourself to write without deadlines.

There are countless writing workshops offered on the internet, but I’ve stuck to on-ground classes for this post, assuming that if you’re reading a post specific to Los Angeles, you’re interested in meeting up with fellow Angelenos IRL. Here are five options to consider: ____

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program .

You’ll really feel like you’re back in school if you sign up for a UCLA Extension class, which are held on the Westwood campus in actual classrooms, complete with chalkboards. Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting classes are offered — as well as weekend intensives and shorter workshops. Many classes are open to all; some of the intermediate or advanced classes require you to submit sample writing to be considered for admission.

Some of the classes I’ve taken here have been great, some kind of a waste of time. I recommend reading your potential instructor’s books before plunking down the money for the course — though even then, it’ll be a bit of a crapshoot. Then again, isn’t that true of anything in life?

Each class is limited to about 15 students; past and present instructors include Ben Loory ( Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day ) and Antonia Crane ( Spent ). A 10-week Introduction to Novel Writing class costs $699. UCLA Extension also offers certificate programs — the value of which I have a hard time understanding (why not just do an MFA then?) but which may appeal to you.

Writing Workshops Los Angeles .

Taking a WWLA class feels a bit like going over to a friend’s house — because these workshops are taught out of the instructor’s homes. Enjoy snacks and coffee or wine at these eight-week courses on fiction, nonfiction, poetry. You can also sign up for one to two-day seminars.

I’ve taken one fiction class with WWLA. It was more basic than what I was looking for at the time, but I enjoyed my time there and liked the people I met — a warm, supportive environment, especially for beginning writers.

Past and present instructors include Bernard Cooper and Margaret Wappler ( Neon Green ). One thing to note is that a significant number of WWLA instructors haven’t published a book — something to consider if you’re hoping for mentorship and guidance on the book publishing process. An 8-week Novel 1 class costs between $380 to $420.

Writing Pad .

This writing school offers one-day to 10-week classes ranging from more traditional short story and novel workshops to screenwriting and blogging bootcamps.

Writing Pad hosts occasional panels and events too. In fact, I found out about the school when a friend invited me to one of these; a handful of storytellers told hilarious tales about real-life experiences they’d gone through. I’ve never taken a class, but have heard good things — Many classes are capped at around 10 students, and take place in one of two locations: Writing Pad East in the Arts District, or Writing Pad West in Rancho Park. Past and present fiction instructors include Lauren Strasnick and Steph Cha ( Dead Soon Enough ). A five-week Novel 1 class costs $425.

Santa Monica College creative writing class .

As a California resident you can take legendary creative writing teacher Jim Krusoe’s 16-week workshop at Santa Monica College for less than $200.

Jim’s the author of The Sleep Garden, Girl Factory, and Toward You , among other books, and his SMC classes — voted Best Writing Class by LA Weekly in 2012 — are open to all, at least until they fill up. Check the latest class schedule  to find out when he’s teaching next. Detailed instructions for signing up are on this post .

Beyond Baroque Workshops .

Looking for something less structured? Local literary nonprofit Beyond Baroque offers free weekly community writing workshops in fiction, poetry, and screenwriting at its historic Venice location. Drop by any week at the appointed time to get your work workshopped with fellow community writers led by a local writer-instructor.

Of course, since it’s a free, come-if-you-want type deal, you won’t get the same type of continuity you would with more formal, weeks-long classes. Each workshop will be a new adventure! And some of the instructors Beyond Baroque pulls in are pretty amazing; I went to a few of these a long, long time ago — and got to study with poet Will Alexander.

Donations are suggested. Beyond Baroque offers what it calls Professional Workshops too. For these, offerings vary widely in structure, as does the cost. (Earlier: 5 ways to give back to literary nonprofits in Los Angeles ) ____

There are many, many other small organizations and individuals in Los Angeles who offer all types of writing workshops — as well as writing coaching and editing services. If you’re interested in working with a specific local writer, try looking them up online; many teach, coach and edit.

And of course, you can always join a Meetup writing group or organize your own writing workshop. Don’t know enough writers to pull together your own group? Make some friends at these Los Angeles writing meetups where you can write in company .

Originally published 1/12/17; last updated 1/10/19

11 thoughts on “ 5 best writing workshops and classes in Los Angeles ”

Thanks, I’m looking for an avenue to writing something, anything!

The best writing workshop in LA is held by Craig Belknap in Silverlake.

I am sixteen years old coming to Los Angeles for holiday. Looking to join writing workshop Where I can learn how to write play.can any one give me some contract I be in Los Angeles on 15th February to 3rd of March

Thank you Ethan from Kuala Lumpur

That is kind of a brief period, but the schedules for all the workshops / classes coming up should be on the above websites. I would especially see if UCLA Extension and Writing Workshops LA are offering any weekend-long events.

If you’re looking for the best TV writing classes then Script Anatomy is the only place to go.

Thanks for the comprehensive list. Do you happen to know of any workshops/classes catering specifically to those who identify as women? I see several online, but I’d love to go in person (in LA). I’m new to in-person writing classes, and for some reason women-only is calling to me (at least at first). I know this list was posted at least a few months back, so I wasn’t sure if perhaps you’d found/heard of anything since then.

Thank you, Natalie

Hi Natalie — You could check out the events at the Women’s Center for Creative Work ! Those tend to be one-off events, but I think you might like the community around it. You might also find this post interesting: 5 important resources for women writers.

Hi Natalie!

I’m an LA-based poet and just recently started hosting my own creative writing workshop a month ago. Majority of our group are women writers and we would love to have you at our next event in Santa Monica this Saturday. If you’re interested in attending, feel free to email me at [email protected] .

For more details about the workshop, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/theworkshop-poetry-prose-tickets-76524046483

All the best, Mehrnaz

Thanks for this beneficial article, just a question of what do you think of the LA Performing Arts Conservatory? Thank you!

Thanks for the fantastic article about the writing workshops. If anyone is interested in a great free, on-line writing workshop, Writers of the Future has it at https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writing-workshop/ . The videos by the professional authors provide very useful information. By the time you complete the workshop, you will have a brand new story. The best part for me was the lesson that “Show not Tell” is a myth and explaining when I should use narration to tell parts of my story.

Just a heads up to others looking at the SMC option, it appears that Jim Krusoe has retired.

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Writing Tips Oasis

15 Top Writing Classes in Los Angeles

By Katrina Kwan

writing classes in los angeles

Are you a writer based in LA ?

Are you thinking about taking a writing workshop to help develop your skills?

Below we’ve featured 15 top writing classes in Los Angeles.

1. First-Draft Incubator 2.0 with Nicole Criona (LA Writers Group)

The Los Angeles Writers Group (LAWG) was founded in 2003 by Nicole Criona and Sanora Bartels with the express aim to provide writers with a community of support and feedback along their creative writing journey. LAWG offers several writing workshops, as well as private and group coaching for more intensive, personalized training. The team at LAWG offers both in-person and online workshops to help their writers learn and grow, regardless of location or time restrictions.

Their workshop, First-Drive Incubator 2.0 , is led by Nicole Criona, who has over 15 years of experience assisting writers on novels, screenplays, short stories, poetry, essays, and memoirs. As a specialist in developmental editing and author coaching, Nicole is also a fellow writer and veteran of the publishing industry. This course that she offers includes 2 hours per month of private coaching, two monthly online meetings on the 2 nd and 4 th Tuesday of every month, a 10% discount on private coaching, and a 20% discount on other workshops, retreats, and online writing challenges.

First-Draft Incubator 2.0 can help you set reasonable goals, finish your book, learn tools of the trade to assist with outlining, writing scenes, character development, and so much more. For those interested, but require no coaching, the class costs $255 monthly. For existing students or former coaching clients, the course costs $195 per month. If you’re a writer who’s interested in taking the online courses only, it costs $125 per month. For more information, you can contact the team at LAWG via email or call (323) 963-3180 during regular business hours.

2. Making a Scene with Elizabeth L. Silver (Writing Workshops Los Angeles)

Writing Workshops Los Angeles (WWLA) is undoubtedly a leading authority when it comes to helping writers broaden their horizons and sharpen their creative writing skills. Originally founded by Edan Lepucki, they offer a multitude of different classes from fiction writing, nonfiction writing, poetry workshops, and more. WWLA’s talented faculty have published titles like “The Education of Margot Sanchez” by Lilliam Rivera, “Grace and the Fever” by Zan Romanoff, and Neon Green” by Margaret Wappler.

They are currently offering a memoir writing workshop called Making a Scene: How to Craft the Most Powerful Scene in Your Memoir . This class is being taught by Elizabeth L. Silver, the author of memoir “The Tincture of Time: A Parent’s Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty.” The class takes place on March 30 th , 2019 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. This class will help any aspiring memoirist to focus writing on important, high-impact scenes to really help bring your memories to life.

Enrollment to this class is limited to eight students only, so if you’re interested in taking part, be sure to sign up as soon as possible. Class enrollment for new students is $130, and only $120 for returning students of the WWLA. This particular writing class will be hosted in Encino, about a 25-minute drive from downtown LA. Light snacks, coffee, and sparkling water will be provided. For more information, you can contact the team at WWLA via email .

creative writing classes in los angeles

3. Short Story Writing Workshop with Abigail Ulman (Writing Pad)

Writing Pad was founded by writers Marilyn Friedman and Jeff Bernstein in the hopes of helping writers gain the most of their writing experience. With several locations throughout Los Angeles, Writing Pad offers an assortment of different classes for different kinds of writers. Whether you’re interested in nonfiction writing, creative fiction, screenwriting, or TV writing, Writing Pad definitely has a class to offer you.

They are currently offering Short Story 1 , a short story writing workshop taught by Abigail Ulman. Abigail is the author of “Hot Little Hands,” and was recently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. In this class, she hopes to help you with the essential elements of fiction writing, including productive outlining, plot mapping, character, plot, change, and point out mistakes that are all too common amongst inexperienced writers.

Short Story 1 is a 5-week program being hosted May 22 nd , May 29 th , Jun 5 th , June 12 th , and June 19 th from 7:30pm to 10:30pm at Writing Pad’s LA-East location. There are only four spots left, so it’s imperative that you sign up quickly before space runs out! The cost for this extensive 5-week course is $425 per person. One of the great things about Writing Pad is they also accept course payments in installments! For more information, you can contact the team at Writing Pad either via email or call (213) 325-6910.

4. Write Fiction Like A Pro with Steve Alcorn (LA County Library)

The LA County Library is a great resource for aspiring authors looking to get a leg-up in their writing careers. The LA County Library offers free writing classes through Gale Courses, so if you’re a library card holder, this is definitely a service you should try and take advantage of! Gale Courses currently offers several creative writing classes, including Writing Fiction Like A Pro with Steve Alcorn.

Steve Alcorn is a published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Over the past 10 years, he has helped more than 300,000 students develop their ideas into full stories. Many of his former students have even gone on to write and publish their own novels. He has written titles like “A Matter of Justice,” “Everything in Its Path” and the children’s storybook, “Molly Builds a Theme Park.”

Write Fiction Like A Pro will go over story structure, dramatic elements, the development of character, story ideas, outlining, plotting, and more. This is a six-week program that has several different starting dates: March 13 th , April 17 th , May 15 th , and June 12 th . There are no requirements to enter this program, although you should at least have a working PC or Mac device you can use with an up-to-date writing software. As mentioned before, this course is free to all LA County Library patrons, so be sure to enroll now !

5. Six-Week Writing Workshop with Jonathan Blum

Jonathan Blum is the author of “Last Word” and “The Usual Uncertainties.” After having graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Jonathan resettled in Los Angeles and now offers an assortment of writing classes. He is currently offering a six-week long fiction writing workshop with a limited class size of 10 students. In this course, he helps his students workshop short stories and novel excerpts up to 20 pages to help in structure, characterization, and language.

This course runs twice a year, once in the spring between March 31 st to May 5 th , and once in the fall between September 22 nd to October 27 th . All classes take place on Sundays between 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The course fee is $575 per person. Alternatively, Jonathan offers a two-month intensive workshop for writers that not only assists with a 20-page story workshop, but case studies of select published fiction. This course goes for $720 per person, and the class is again limited to 10 students. For more information, you can contact Jonathan directly through his website’s online contact form .

6. WriteGirl Writing Workshops by WriteGirl

WriteGirl is a program honored by First Lady Michelle Obama and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. This fantastic program offers young girls the opportunity to explore the realm of creative writing and hopefully nurture their imagination and self-confidence. This Los Angeles-based organization offers dozens of writing workshops, panel discussions, and special events. Their up coming panel, Lights, America, WriteGirl! features speakers like Lauren Graham, Seth Rogan, Stephanie Katherine Grant, and Keiko Agena.

WriteGirl offers writing workshops from September all the way through June to cover topics about poetry, songwriting, journalism, screenwriting, creative nonfiction, and fiction. They just recently wrapped up their Character & Dialogue Workshop at the Linwood Dunn Theater at The Academy, Hollywood. For a full list of their upcoming events, click here . If you’re a young writer interested in this program, simply contact the team at WriteGirl via email or call (213) 253-2655 to see about getting involved.

7. Creative Writing Workshop by Writopia Lab

Writopia Lab is another great resource for young writers hoping to develop their writing skills. Writopia Lab offers a wide range of writing classes in the hopes of promoting literacy and critical thinking in children and teens. They currently offer half-day creative writing workshops in the Los Angeles Metro area. They offer creative writing workshops, classes for screenwriting, memoirs, narrative therapy, language play, graphic novels, and so much more!

You’re strongly encouraged to check out their class availability to check out the time, date, and age group for each class. Fees for half-day writing classes start at $595 per attendant. They also offer full-day writing camps during summer break and school-year breaks, with fees starting at $880 for one whole week. For more information, you can contact the team at Writopia Lab via email or call (323) 761-0453.

8. The Veterans Writing Project by The Writers Guild Foundation

The Writers Guild Foundation offers a unique writing class intended specifically for veterans. Their Veterans Writing Project helps individuals with military backgrounds to nurture and develop a passion for writing that can help them transition from their life of service. This is a year-long project that offers a weekend-long writing retreat, and a monthly follow-up with workshops and other special events.

The program’s application window to apply for the 2019-2020 year is now closed, but you’re strongly encouraged to subscribe to the Writer Guild Foundation’s email list to receive updates and to learn when the application window reopens. This program is completely free and accepts up to 50 veterans every year to participate. For more information, you can contact the Writers Guild Foundation via email or call (323) 782-4692.

9. Professional Screenwriting and Television Writing Workshop with Corey Mandell

Fiction and nonfiction writing aren’t the only avenues authors can explore when it comes to their literary creativity. Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has worked on projects with Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, the Warner Brothers, Universal, 20 th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, and more! He offers both author coaching and script consultations to interested writers.

Corey currently offers a Professional Screenwriting and Television Writing workshop for writers living in Los Angeles. His class is also offered through multi-video conference technology, so it’s actually available to students around the world. The class costs $595 per person and spans a total of 8 weeks. The course goes over narrative intensity, organic escalations, clarity, efficiency, high-impact pacing, and more. For more information, you can contact Corey directly via email .

10. Sketch Level 1 Intensive: Intro to Sketch Writing with Anna Cecilia

The best comedians know that the best rib-ticklers come about thanks to a great sense of improvisation and a keen storytelling ability. The Improve Space is a Los Angeles-based performance school that offers a wide range of workshops to help comedy writers focus on building industry relationships, help with character development, and storytelling skills. This non-profit organization is located near UCLA and offers a safe place for actors and writers alike to nurture their imagination.

They have a long list of classes that are coming soon, including Sketch Level 1 Intensive: Intro to Sketch Writing led by Anna Cecilia. Anna herself is a sketch comedy writer, performer, and director who graduated from Harvard University. The class itself offers four intensive classes and a table read to showcase your brilliant work. Enrollment is now open, and only costs $199 per person. If you’re interested in this class, you can contact The Improv Space through their website’s online contact form to apply or request more information.

11. UCLA Extension Writer’s Program

The University of California Los Angeles’ Extension offers a fantastic writer’s program for those determined to refine their skills and prepare for a long and successful career in the industry. Widely regarded as one of the best writing programs Los Angeles has to offer, UCLA Extension offers classes for the basics of writing, fiction (for beginner, intermediate, and advanced writers), creative nonfiction (for beginner, intermediate, and advanced writers), writing for young readers, poetry, and editing and publishing courses. They also offer classes for screenwriting (both TV and film).

They are currently offering a Master Class in Novel Writing taught by Alyx Dellamonica, author of the award-winning “The Town on Blighted Sea.” This class is just one of many that you can apply for, and has a registration fee of $3860 payable upon program acceptance. It is a 30 week master-level course limited to 8 students only. Not only does it include a guaranteed entry into the James Kirkwood Literary Awards competition, but your work during the course will be considered by a literary agent upon course completion.

There are several ways to enroll into the Writer’s Program, the primary methods being either online , by phone (call 1-800-825-9971), or in person (visit the UCLA Extension Temporary Registration Office on the 1 st floor at Gayley Center at 1145 Gayley Avenue). An estimated breakdown for the program’s tuition comes to roughly $5400. You’re strongly encouraged to check out the program’s information section here .

12. One Person Show Workshop with Anne Marie Scheffler (The Second City)

The Second City is an organization that was founded in 1959 by Bernie Sahlins, Howard Alk, and Paul Sills with the aim to make big waves in the entertainment industry. Among other things, Second City offers writing workshops at their Hollywood location like their Satirical Writing Intensive and their One Person Show Workshop , currently led by Anne Marie Scheffler.

Anne Marie Scheffler is a critically acclaimed solo performer who has won several credits and awards for her writing and acting. Through this workshop, she hopes to help you take advantage of your unique voice and put it to work. One Person Show Workshop 1 is offered in a 2-day intensive starting at $200, or a 5-day course with a 1-day showcase performance for $585. Classes are available between April 8 th to April 12 th , Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 4:00pm. If you’re interested in this writing class, you can enroll here .

13. Master Class with Alan Watt (LA Writer’s Lab)

The LA Writer’s Lab was founded by Alan Watt, the author of “The 90-Day Novel” and “The 90-Day Screenplay.” Alan founded LA Writer’s Lab back in 2002 to provide a place for writers to better develop their craft and ability to tell a story. Alan himself has worked as the writer and director of the award-winning film Interior Night , so he definitely can teach aspiring writers a thing or two about how to apply their skills to their unique stories.

Alan is currently offering a Master Class in writing intended for writers hoping to complete their projects for publication or production. The class takes place over 12 weeks and costs a total of $1150 ($575 upon registration, and $575 upon the 5 th class). This class is limited to 8 students per semester and takes place on Saturdays between 10:15am to 1:15PM. Due to the small class sizes, you’re strongly encouraged to register as soon as possible to reserve your spot.

14. Organizing Your Writing with Scrivener by Neelanjana Banerjee (Writing Workshops LA)

Writing your story is one thing, but learning how to organize your ideas effectively is another. WWLA offers a class called Organizing Your Writing with Scrivener , hosted by Neelanjana Banerjee. The class takes place April 6 th and April 20 th between 11:00am to 1:00pm. The best part? It takes place online! For writers based in Los Angeles, or anywhere beyond, this means you can take part in a memorable and helpful learning experience regardless of your location.

Neelanjana is a successful author of short stories, poetry, and essays, which have been featured in Prairie Schooner, PANK, The Liner, and World Literature Today . Through this class, she hopes to help authors through their drafting stages and to help organize their notes through the well-known and industry-wide used tool Scrivener. The class is limited to 8 students only and costs $130 for new students, $120 for returning WWLA students. For more information, you can contact the team at WWLA via email .

15. Memorable Memoir Workshop with Wendy Lawless (Writing Pad)

Another fantastic class offered by Writing Pad includes Memorable Memoir Workshop with Wendy Lawless. The class takes place for seven Saturdays (June 1 st , June 8 th , June 15 th , June 22 nd , July 13 th , July 20 th , and July 27 th ) between 11:00am to 1:00pm. There are only two spots left in this course, so be sure to apply if you’re interested! The class itself costs $425 per person.

Wendy Lawless is a two-time New York Times bestselling author who specializes in memoirs. She’s written “Chanel Bonfire” and “Heart of Glass,” both critically acclaimed memoirs! Through this class, Wendy hopes to teach her students about how to craft an emotional journey that’s both vivid in detail and compelling for your readers. You can even bring in up to 1200 words to every other class to receive helpful feedback from both Wendy and your classmates. For more information, you can call the team at Writing Pad at (213) 325-6910 or send them an email .

Are you aware of any other writing classes in Los Angeles? Please tell us about them in the comments box below!

K. Z. Kwan is a freelance writer based out of Halifax, Canada.

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“The Writing Salon has offered creative writing classes in the Bay Area since 1999…”

“everyone looked as if they were having the best time, all flickering in candlelight…”, “whether you’re an aspiring novelist who needs the structure of fixed deadlines or just a dabbler looking to broaden your creative horizons, the writing salon has something for you…”, read our news & reviews.


Announcing the 2019 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize Winner

The 2019 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize winner is John Sibley Williams for his poem “Armistice.” The finalists are Heather Campbell, Sharon Coleman, and Grace Li.

Read the Winning Poem

Announcing the 2020 jane underwood poetry prize.

The Jane Underwood Poetry Prize was established to celebrate and memorialize Jane Underwood, the founder and long-time director of The Writing Salon. Open to all poets, the prize is awarded for a single poem. This year’s final judge is David Hernandez. The submission deadline is December 1, 2020.

Learn More about the Prize

Announcing the black writers matter scholarship.

This fall we will offer three Black writers of promise a credit of $300 toward a Winter 2021 class of their choice. We welcome applications from Black writers over the age of 18 who reside in the Bay Area. The deadline to submit is November 15.

Announcing the Covid-19 Scholarship Recipients

The Scholarship recipients are Rachel Hurwitz, Joseph Kim, Lydia Kim, Victoria Turner, and Joe Vigil. Each recipient will receive a $150 credit toward a fall Writing Salon class of their choice.


The Writing Salon is a place of non-judgment, a place for mutual encouragement and dialogue, a place where ideas spark and I become inspired. Laura Koehn
I’ve finished the first draft of a novel . . . A significant accomplishment that would not have happened without the Writing Salon. Brian Byrne


I learned that I do not have to be published to find value in my own writing. That literature has an enormous value to modern society and to the individual producing it. Roger Mills

For 20 years, we have helped writers bring their voices to the page.

The Writing Salon, founded in 1999, is a creative writing school for adults. We believe that creativity empowers, heals, and transforms; that a love for language and story binds people together as a community of independent voices; that the study of the craft of writing should be open to everyone; and that critique of our own and others’ writing can be, at once, constructive and compassionate.

Visit us at our San Francisco and Berkeley classrooms.

Learn More About Us ›

Get exclusive news about upcoming classes and community events.

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San Francisco Location:   2042 Balboa St., San Francisco, CA 94121 Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm

P:   (510) 982-6252 E:   [email protected]

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Linda A. Cicero | Stanford News Service

Cultivating the power of individual expression within a vibrant community of writers

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Creative Writing Program

Creative Writing Minor

Discover your writing prowess and push the imaginative bounds of prose, poetry, and screenwriting with our undergraduate minor.

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Stegner Fellowship

An opportunity for promising writers to develop their craft in the company of peers and under the guidance of Stanford faculty.

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Stanford University

Our Community

Meet the faces of Creative Writing--the faculty, lecturers, staff, and visiting writers who guide and support our students and fellows.

In the Spotlight

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Monique Ouk | The Stanford Daily

Students and artists preach love and resilience at Poetry Live!

It was 7 p.m on Thursday, and cold winds were blowing through empty campus roads. But there was a fire blazing in Bing Concert Hall, where the audience at Poetry Live! were snapping, clapping, tapping on tables and cheering. On the stage adorned with long red drapes, students performed passionate spoken word poetry.

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Brad Yac-Diaz | The Stanford Daily

Zombie apocalypse and epistolary poetry enlighten at Stegner Fellow reading

At the fourth Stegner Fellow reading of the year, the pieces read — ranging from reflective poetry to apocalyptic fiction — led the audience to reflect on the boundaries between imagination and reality, public and private spheres in light of recent global tragedies. The reading featured two first-year fellows: Madeleine Cravens and Jemimah Wei.

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New Book Release from Michael Shewmaker

And just like that, it's February! To start off this month, we would like to spotlight a brand new collection of poetry from Michael Shewmaker, lecturer in the Creative Writing Program.

Recent News

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Take a course with Laleh Khadivi, the Stein Visiting Writer - submit Course Preference Form for English 190V!

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Ed Robertson | Unsplash

Spring 2023 enrollment: Course Preference Form is open!

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Upcoming Events

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Journaling Kickback with the Peer Advisors

Do you like journaling? Do you like delectable snacks? Do you like friendship?

If yes... come to our Journaling Kickback…

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The Writer's Studio: The Epistolary Poem

On March 6, please join us for The Epistolary Poem , a Writer's Studio workshop hosted by Madeleine Cravens.

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Poetry-in-Conversation with Brittany Perham

Please join the Creative Writing Program for the next installment of this year's Poetry-in-Conversation interview series. Jones Lecturer  …

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All the Flowers Kneeling

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A Hundred Lovers

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Song of the Closing Doors

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The Red Arrow

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If I Survive You

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Mailing Address

Creative Writing Program 450 Jane Stanford Way, Bldg. 460 Stanford, CA 94305-2087

Connect With Us

Creative Writing Program Margaret Jacks Hall, Room 223 Phone : 650-723-0011 creative1 [at] stanford.edu Campus Map

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fiction writing classes california

California Resources for Writers

Here you’ll find a collection of resources for writers in California, from conferences to local critique groups to literary magazines. If you’re looking for writing groups near you, writing workshops near you, creative writing classes near you, or simply a place to hang out with writers or submit your work, these are some California writing organizations you might want to check out:


For more than a decade, WriteByNight has helped writers in California and beyond achieve their literary goals. And we want you to be next! Claim your free consultation to learn about WBN’s customizable one-on-one writers’ services , including:

Book Coaching :  If you’re writing a book and want some help along the way.

Manuscript Critique : If you’ve written a book and want a beta read, critique, or writing workshop.

Editing/Proofreading : If you’ve written a book and want someone to polish it for you.

Publication Assistance : If you’ve written a book and want help finding an agent or publisher.

Not ready to chat? That’s cool. Until you are, why not sign up for our weekly message full of education and inspiration for writers and aspiring writers. You’ll also receive a free diagnostic tool, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

California Writers Club

1,600 members and 19 branches throughout the state, “all joined together for the common goal of educating ourselves and the community on the craft of writing and the realities of getting our work published.”

Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

Every summer for over 40 years, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley has brought together poets, prose writers and screenwriters for weeks of writing workshops, individual conferences, lectures, panels, readings, and discussions of the craft and the business of writing.

Independent Writers of Southern California

Provides writers of the greater Los Angeles area with several opportunities to meet with other writers each month, through casual get-togethers in various areas. Offers seminars, writing groups, panel discussions and more.

Inland Empire California Writers Club

For the purpose of providing a forum for educating both members and the public in the craft of writing and in marketing their works. Meets the fourth Saturday of every month at the Ovitt Family Community Library in Ontario, California.

Sacramento Poetry Center

While maintaining close ties with the area’s universities and colleges, the SPC affords associated artists the opportunity to explore poetry unrestricted, empowering literary artists to improve their work and performance. Offers writing workshops, contests and more.

San Diego Writers, Ink

A nonprofit offering writing classes, writing groups and workshops, readings and other literary events at The Ink Spot and other locations throughout San Diego County.

San Francisco Writers Conference

An annual four-day conference boasting over 50 panel discussions, parties, pitch sessions, readings and much more.

Southern California Writers Association

An organization of diverse writers working with articles, essays, web content, children’s writing, short stories, novels of all genres, plays, screenwriting and poetry. Meetings in Orange County.

Southern California Writers’ Conference

This conference is held annually in both Los Angeles and San Diego and offers writing workshops, readings, and more. Its philosophy: “A writer is a writer before, as well as after, publication.”

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

The largest and most comprehensive continuing education writing program worldwide, it offers more than 450 annual open-enrollment writing workshops and courses onsite and online in novel writing, short fiction, personal essay, memoir, poetry, playwriting and more.

Ventura County Writers Club

This not-for-profit offers guest speakers and panels, writing workshops, critique groups, contests, and more, as well as monthly meetings in Camarillo.

The Writing Salon

A school of creative writing for adults (beginners to advanced) in San Francisco. Offers small classes held in comfortable, cozy settings. Classes include fiction, poetry, personal essays, memoirs, screenwriting and more.

Help us add to this list, Californians! Do you know of writing groups near you, writing workshops near you, creative writing classes near you, or a California literary journal we should be aware of? Let us know here

Today's session was awesome. I feel unblocked. I have concrete tools I can use to unblock over and over again from now on. And I have writing I want to do in front of me. That's just amazing for a single session! Sid Kemp Boca Raton, Florida

Client Credits

WBN has helped writers publish with:

Simon & Schuster Little, Brown & Co. St. Martin’s Press Amazon Slate Threepenny Review Huffington Post

WriteByNight, LLC 235 West End Avenue, 6H New York, New York 10023

646.374.8174 [email protected]

Certificate Program in Writing

Natalie Lynn Harrison has published work in independent literary journals.

Graduate, Certificate Program in Writing Read Natalie Lynn Harrison's story .

Getting Started

We recommend beginning with ENGLISH X429 The Craft of Reading , ENGLISH X421 The Craft of Writing or ENGLISH X13 Writing Skills Workshop .

Online Availability

Courses in this certificate are offered online and in the classroom.

Duration of Study

8 courses for a minimum of 16 semester units (240 hours of instruction).

Estimated Cost

Calling all writers: join our community and get serious about your craft. Ready your work for publication or simply gain formal training. You'll read exemplary literary works and learn from published writers who provide structure, support and thoughtful feedback.

Directors of several San Francisco Bay Area M.F.A. programs helped develop the UC Berkeley Department of English–approved curriculum. Whether your goal is publication or landing a coveted spot in an M.F.A. writing program, this flexible program can meet your needs and schedule.

Required Courses

3 Course(s)

0 Course(s)

You may enroll in individual courses without registering for the certificate.

We recommend beginning the certificate with the following required courses.

Not Available

Electives (Literature)

2 Course(s)

Electives (Writing Workshop)

Courses of related interest, certificate and program policies.

Contact Information

To contact the department office, email [email protected]u .

88% of writing graduates surveyed are likely to recommend UC Berkeley Extension.

94% of writing graduates surveyed felt more qualified to submit their writing for publication after completing our Writing program.

87% of writing graduates surveyed felt more qualified to apply to an M.F.A. degree after completing our program.

85% of writing graduates surveyed would consider taking another course with UC Berkeley Extension.


There are no prerequisites for the Certificate Program in Writing, but a bachelor's degree is recommended.

Curriculum Requirements

The Certificate Program in Writing comprises 8 courses for a minimum of 16 semester units (240 hours of instruction), which includes 3 required courses and 5 restricted electives selected from 2 categories: literature (2 courses) and writing workshops (3 courses). Candidates must pay a nonrefundable certificate application fee.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. To receive the certificate, you must maintain an overall minimum 2.5 grade point average, with a grade of C or better in each course. A Certificate With Distinction will be awarded to those who complete the certificate with a GPA of 3.9. All coursework must be completed within five years. The completion of two courses per year is recommended in order to maintain sufficient academic progress in the certificate.

How to Register

By registering, you declare your intention to complete the curriculum. To register online for the Certificate Program in Writing, complete these two steps:

Each course is priced individually, and you pay the course fee at the time of enrollment. The certificate has an estimated total cost of approximately $6,000 (not including course materials or registration fee). Course fees are subject to change.

Certificate and Award Request

Once you have completed the certificate coursework, notify UC Berkeley Extension that you have completed the curriculum and request your certificate. Send an email to [email protected] or call (510) 643-1110. After your records have been reviewed, verified and approved, your certificate will be sent to you in the mail. The review of your records is usually completed within six to eight weeks after you request the certificate.

Advisory Board

To ensure that your professional certificate is of the highest quality, UC Berkeley Extension turns to experienced writers, outstanding teachers and published authors for advisers and instructors.

Stephen Albert , M.F.A., University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, also holds an M.A. from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and a teaching credential from the UC Berkeley School of Education

Lewis Buzbee  is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction. He also teaches in the M.F.A. in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco.

Thaisa Frank , award-winning author and instructor in the creative writing graduate programs at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco, as well as at UC Berkeley Extension

Deborah Lichtman , Ph.D., author, teacher, curriculum instructor and former director of the University of San Francisco creative writing graduate program

Lynn Mundell , M.F.A., American University, creative writer, co-founder/co-editor of  100 Word Story , an editorial professional with 30 years of experience working in newspapers, the arts and corporations

Jane Anne Staw , Ph.D., author and teacher in the University of San Francisco creative writing graduate program, as well as an honored instructor at UC Berkeley Extension

Hertha Sweet Wong , Ph.D., associate professor in UC Berkeley's English Department and chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Art Practice

Session Time-Out

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