What’s Different About These Courses

I’ve been leading this workshop for nearly 5 years now. Although I bring as much of my own energy as possible to making it a great opportunity for each person, it’s the experience of writing with a small group of writers that makes this workshop special. I am merely the facilitator of a certain kind of magic we conjure together.

I look forward to writing with you.

Rachel Kobin

What Can I Expect Each Night?

The First Half — Writing Together

The facilitator offers two “prompts” designed to help quiet your internal critic who has a tendency to block our creativity. These prompts are optional. This is your time to write whatever you choose.

What is a Prompt?

Think of a prompt as a spark — a phrase you can use to begin your writing, or a suggestion of something to think about as you write. It gets you started, and then you take it wherever it leads.

Reading Aloud and Response to Writing

After we write, everyone has the option to read what they just wrote out loud. The other writers and the facilitator respond by commenting on what stood out to them and what they found good and strong about the writing they just heard. In response to your fresh, unedited work, any questions or suggestions are deferred until you bring in work you have polished outside of the workshop.

The Power of Positivity

Some can find the positive-comments-only structure frustrating. Research has found that by it is a natural process to slough off our weaknesses as we come to understand more clearly our strengths. However, during the Fall, Winter, and Spring, there is the opportunity to have polished work critiqued, and private editing is also available.

The Break

Once the writing and reading aloud portion of the evening is over, we take a brief break, socialize and enjoy light refreshments. Please inform me if you have a life-threatening food allergy.

The Second Half During the Summer — Write, Write, Write!

During the summer, everyone’s schedule fluctuates considerably. Therefore, the summer course has no manuscript critique portion (see below). After the break, the remaining time is dedicated to getting more writing done, and to discussing topics writers face.These topics can be suggested by anyone in the workshop and might include anything from writer’s block to writing techniques.

The Second Half During the Fall, Winter, and Spring — Manuscript Feedback

When we return from the break, we take care of administrative tasks and announcements. Then, I facilitate productive discussions about one or two manuscripts submitted by writers the previous week. When you submit a manuscript, members of the class offer both oral and written comments, and I write comments on your manuscript and provide a written summary.

Reading and commenting on others’ work is a vital part of the workshop. Each member benefits enormously from hearing comments from a variety of people, and reading others’ work improves editing and writing skills.

How Many Pages Can I Submit?

The length of manuscripts we read depends on the length of the course, and the form (prose, poetry, screenplay, etc.). For full-length books, consider private editing.

What is Your Refund Policy?

Generally, my policy is no refunds. Like any course, you sign up and if your schedule changes, no refund is available.  Once you are in the workshop, if your circumstances change drastically, I will try to work something out if I can, but please understand: as much as I wish I could do this for free, it is how I make my living.

These are the conditions under which refunds will be issued during the summer: If fewer than 3 people sign up for a given night, I will cancel that night; it’s simply not enough people to have a lively conversation about our writing. Cancellation due to my own illness, extreme weather, or problems with the building, will also result in a refund. Otherwise, I will assess each situation on an individual basis.

Don’t see the answer to your question? Email Rachel Kobin at Rachel @ phillywriters.com.

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