Our creative and expository writing workshops spark imagination and teach skills. In our workshops, reluctant writers and aspiring authors can write dystopian fiction, poems in forts, college entrance essays, and more.
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All-City Comics Club (ACCC)
Saturdays: January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10 / 1 - 4 pm | Grades 6-12
Love to draw comics and want to meet other teens that do too? Interested in learning a few tips from professional comics artists? Join us for the All-City Comics Club, the monthly comics meet-up at BFI! At each three-hour meeting, participating artists will create a page or two of comics, which will then be gathered in a mini-comic publication, with a new publication created each month. ACCC will have all the materials students will need to draw comics, so just show up with your imagination! (But if you’ve got a beloved sketchbook or set of pencils you love to use, feel free to bring ‘em along.) ACCC is a “drop-in” program only. No pre-registration is required.
David Lasky is the co-author of the Eisner-Award-winning graphic novel Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song. But he is better known to children as the guy who colored Cece Bell’s awesome graphic novel, El Deafo, a Newbery Honor Book. He teaches comics at numerous venues in the Seattle area, including Richard Hugo House and Coyote Central.
Myths and You: How to Build Amazing Stories
Saturdays: February 4, 11 and 18 / 10 am - noon | Grades 6-8
Do you like mythology? Star Wars? Percy Jackson? This workshop is for you! It is full of myths, fantasy, and what makes a great story great. Learn the building blocks of traditional myths, and then create your own mythology complete with heroes, monsters, and villains from your imagination. You will be creating a mythological world that represents you.
Gabriel Honeycutt, who credits BFI for helping him grow as a person and writer. Now in his senior year at Nathan Hale High School, Gabriel loves mythology and is looking forward to sharing his passion with a community of young writers. He’s also an actor by trade, as well as a laborer and writer.
Saturdays: February 4 and 11 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 3-5
Learn comics and cartoons to create your own Spider-Man, Charlie Brown, or even yourself! We’re on a quest to see who can write the funniest and coolest comic. We’ll read comic strips and find out why they’re funny. We’ll check out superheroes and come up with our own adventures. And we’ll answer this question: What would you look like as a cartoon?
Alejandro Valdivieso, who proudly comes from Chicago and who has made sure to live in cities ever since. He works as a freelance video producer and marketing specialist for ad agencies, small businesses, and educational institutions. Alejandro is a silly guy who is passionate about colors, comics, pop culture, and making people laugh.
To Mars and Beyond! Writing Sci-Fi Stories
February 4 and 11 / 3 - 5 pm | Grades 6-12
Have you ever wanted to take a vacation the stars? Have you imagined putting your boots on Mars, or skimming over Saturn’s rings, or heading into deep space? How would you get there, and what adventures would you have? Spend two Saturdays with Seattle author Kevin Emerson learning to write your very own futuristic, realistic, out-of-this-world science fiction story. Kevin will share the interstellar secrets he learned while penning his newest novel, Last Day on Mars, including where to find inspiration for your characters and plot, how to blend fascinating research with stunning make-believe, and how to make a reader feel like they’ve really traveled to the stars.
Kevin Emerson, who is the author of sixteen novels for middle grade and YA readers, including the soon-to-be released Last Day on Mars. A former science teacher and teaching artist with Writers in the Schools and Richard Hugo House, Kevin is also a drummer and singer with the bands Northern Allies and Math and Physics Club. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant, and appeared in a Swedish TV commercial.
Saturdays: Feb 18 and 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20 (not 27), June 3, 10 / 3 - 5 pm, grades 4-12
Looking for a space to work on a piece of writing? Come on in! Our writing studio is open to students who want to work on a novel, poem, essay, story, song, newspaper article, cartoon, or any other form of writing one can dream up. Thoughtful tutors will be on hand to help with revising, editing, self-publishing projects, or other tasks related to your work. We can give you prompts to get you going, offer supportive feedback on a draft, help you with that paper due Monday, or just leave you alone to do your own thing. Stop in, and we’ll help with whatever you need. Open Studio is a “drop-in” program only. No pre-registration is required.
Rebecca Demarest, Alicia Hokanson, Alison Jennings and Patrick Mulligan. Rebecca Demarest is an award-winning book designer, author, and technical illustrator. Alicia Hokanson is a published poet and long-time English teacher. Alison Jennings is a poet and teacher, as well as a beloved tutor at BFI. With a Theatre Arts degree, Patrick Mulligan works in radio/podcasting and is currently writing a children's book
McDonald’s? I Think Not
Saturdays: February 25, March 4, March 11, March 18 / 10 am - noon | Grades 3-5
Students will learn ways to eat healthy by preparing nutritious meals and snacks, and then write fun stories from the knowledge they gain. Using nutritious foods for inspiration, students will then write fun stories, poems, and songs. Join us for four Saturdays of making and learning about what we all love: FOOD!
Hana Bezabeh and Naz Dessie. Hana and Naz are high school students and members of BFI’s Youth Advisory Board with years of experience in BFI programs. They are looking forward to sharing their passion for nutrition and educating kids about it in a fun and exciting way.
February 25 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 6-12
In old Japan, people used to come together to party and, as a group, they would write a single poem called a Renku. We will read poetry by Basho and then write poems of our own. Come hang out with us over snacks and drinks and help us make our Renku!
Rebecca Demarest, an award-winning book designer, author, and technical illustrator living in Seattle with her husband. They have a dog-like cat named Cat and a water-dog named Teal’c. Her newest novel, Less Than Charming, launched in May 2016.
March 18, March 25, April 1 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 1-2
Have you ever wondered about an alien’s favorite flavor of ice cream? What kind of pet Bigfoot would keep? What would a dragon’s favorite toy be? Have you ever wanted to invent a creature with eight eyes, wings, and a unicorn horn … that can talk? In this workshop, you will create a character, give it a name, and give it a personality. Then you will write a script for a puppet show, with your creature as the star!
Gayle Tice, who is a writer, reader, researcher, artist, and an enthusiastic supporter of BFI’s programming, mission, and space travel supply store. She has a Bachelor of Arts in writing and visual art and enjoys mixing the two. She is an expert daydreamer. Gayle also collects odds and ends for her art projects and looks forward to sharing them with you.
Mad Writing Scientists
April 8 and 15 / 10 am - noon | Grades 1-2
Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from point A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Scientists use a mixture of logic and imagination to make new discoveries about our world. In this workshop, we will conduct experiments, use our five senses to understand them, and employ our imaginations to write fantastical short stories based on science in small groups. Students will walk away from this workshop with a published short story and the instructions for conducting three awe-inspiring experiments at home.
Faith Eakin earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education fro the University of South Florida, after which she spent two years in the U.S. Peace Corps, supporting English teachers in rural Thailand. She landed in Seattle two years ago and most recently taught first and second grade students in Queen Anne. Faith spends her time teaching kids, meditating, and traveling as often as she can. She is also a program manager at BFI.
Lost and Found Poetry
April 15 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 6-12
Having trouble finding the right words for your poem? Want to write, but don’t know what to write about? Dive into the world of found poetry where boring government documents and dry newspaper articles are transformed into imaginative and colorful poems and literary collages. We’ll learn the difference between strong words and weak words and how to use both to our advantage. Students will walk away with polished poems and a keen eye for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Ginnye Cubel, who graduated from Butler University with a BA in Creative Writing and has finally settled down in Seattle with her fiancé. Though she’s taken a break from writing, she is starting to get back to her roots and looking for opportunities to join her community through writing. She is currently the Copy Editor of The Commonline Journal and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors. She also loves coffee and cephalopods.
Level Up: Writing for Games
April 29 and May 6 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 6-12
If you’ve ever had an idea for a story and thought it would be fun to play in real life, you’re right! Stories are the heart of every game, from simple card games to the biggest AAA console titles. Working with a team of narrative designers from the video-game industry, you will develop your own game world and craft a game that you can take home and share!
Faye Hoeruf, Joanie Rich and Bay Anapol. Fay Hoeruf has been working in the games industry for the past eight years on various types of games, including AAA, indie, and casual/mobile. Joanie Rich led a tabletop gaming creative workshop at a video game convention last summer in which the participants, ages 13-30, created their own board games to take home. Bay Anapol worked with the Writers In Schools program during her post-grad work in Arkansas, helping kids of various ages cultivate their writing skills
Saturdays: April 29, May 6, May 13 / 1 - 3 pm | Grades 6-8
In this workshop, we will do a variety of fun games and activities with paper and pencil to build language awareness and explore storytelling techniques. These include writing to music, building stories from photographs, retelling fairy tales from the villain’s point-of-view, writing imaginary definitions of real words we don’t know, and roundtable storywriting. Come play with words with us!
George Potratz, who is a retired English teacher, lover of language and literature, and an amateur poet. George enjoys sharing his passion with others of any age. George has a Ph.D. in English literature and two decades of teaching experience, most recently as a high school English teacher in the Snoqualmie Valley school district
Sabotage! Ninja Stories
May 20 / 10 am - 1 pm | Grades 3-8
In Japan long ago, ninjas were masters of disguise and martial arts who carried out missions of espionage and sabotage. In this workshop, students will read histories and stories about the young men and women — that’s right, women too! — who trained to be ninjas. Then you will use your research to write a historical fiction story about a ninja charged with a dangerous mission. Students will leave this workshop with a polished short story or first chapter of a novel.
Ramón Esquivel, who has had his plays produced in theaters, colleges, and schools throughout North America. Three plays, Luna, Nasty, and Nocturnal are published through Dramatic Publishing. Ramón taught English, history, and drama in Washington DC, New York City, Seattle, and Vancouver BC. He is currently a program manager at BFI
Words on Wings: Birding and Nature Writing
Saturdays June 3 and 10 / 10 am - noon | Grades 2-6
Tanagers, warblers, waxwings and swallows. Every spring in Seattle thousands of migratory birds, great clouds of color and song, travel from their wintering places in Central and South America to land in our urban ecosystem for a few weeks. While they are here, they make our home more colorful and remind us of a larger world of interconnected landscapes. Join us as we take our writing workshop outside for a day of birding and nature writing. We’ll observe and record in vibrant detail what we see on a day in the field, and use our own experiences of travel and migration to both imagine and write about the journeys of these colorful harbingers of spring.
Bryan Wilson and Celina Steiger. Bryan works as a fearless field agent of the Bureau of Fearless Ideas. He leads the popular Mr. Geoduck and WrOBOT publishing workshops, helping to publish close to fifty student-authored books each week. Celina is a naturalist and environmental educator in Seattle. Together, they have gone on birding trips all over the world, from Seattle parks to the forests and lakes of East Africa