C211 WINTER Early and Middle Grade Fiction
8 Fridays, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
P111 WINTER Workshop in Poetry
6 Thursdays, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
F101 WINTER Introduction to Fiction and Nonfiction (Level 1)
6 Mondays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
F102 WINTER Advanced Beginning and Intermediate Fiction (Level 2)
8 Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
F301 WINTER Intermediate and Advanced Fiction (Levels 2 & 3)
8 Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
F411 WINTER Master Class: Crafting the Novel (Level 4) FILLED
8 Tuesdays, 1:30 to 4 p.m.
M101 WINTER Writing About Your Life (Level 1)
8 Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
M111 WINTER Writing About Your Life: Memoir/Personal Essay (Level 2 and 3)
8 Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
M411 WINTER The Examined Life: Personal Essay (Level 4)
8 Thursdays, 1:30 to 4:00 pm
F511 WINTER Writing the Mystery Novel
8 Wednesdays, 7-9:30 p.m.

Cathrine Onyemelukwe in the N.Y. Times

We want to congratulate Cathrine Onyemelukwe for her charming story in the New York Times’ Metropolitan Diary last week!  Catherine is a longtime student in Marcelle Soviero’s memoir writing class– we are very proud to call her our own.

This Sunday 11/17: An Afternoon with TAW Lady Authors


Linda Urbach Howard, author of Expecting Miracles and Madame Bovary’s Daughter

Former WWW writer and instructors Linda Urbach Howard, Fran Dorf and Randye Kaye will be reading aloud from their moving and illuminating books this Sunday November 17, 3-5 p.m.

Price: Free but donations welcomed

Location: Theatre Artists Workshop, 5 Gregory Blvd., Norwalk, CT

What We’re Reading: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

By Rebecca Martin

Beautiful RuinsThanks to researchers at the New School, I knew before I began Jess Walters’ Beautiful Ruins that reading it would make me a better person, I just didn’t know it would make me a better writer.

As the New York Times reported October 3, a recent study reveals that reading literary fiction leaves people more empathetic than reading popular fiction or non-fiction articles about the origin of the potato(I can only assume that all of the literary and personal tales crafted in WWW creative non-fiction courses are as valuable in engendering empathy in the reader and so have chosen not be discouraged about the value of my own work—really, I’m fine). (more…)

Congratulations to Margo Epprecht

ImageCongrats to Margo Epprecht for her article in the Atlantic, the Real Reason Why Women are Leaving Wall Street, which has passed 100k clicks.  Margot has been a participant in our workshops and just completed her masters at Columbia School of Journalism.

Our writers get published

Rebecca Martin

Becky Martin, whose essay ran in today’s NY Times, is now a WWW  workshop leader.

Rebecca Martin’s funny and wonderful essay in today’s New York Times seems like a good time to send a shout-out to all of our writers, many (if not most) of whom came to us as beginners, took their writing seriously, worked hard on their craft, and submitted their work for publication.

Our writers’ publishing success speaks directly what we are about here at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.  Our mission and our purpose is simply this: to teach craft to people who take their writing seriously.  Our writers are willing to work hard to obtain the skills that are required for a writer to be published. (more…)

Elmore Leonard’s Rules of Writing

elmoreatdeskThe news today that crime novelist Elmore Leonard died at age 87 prompted us to take another look at his priceless Ten Rules of Writing.

Our favorite is #10 : Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. It’s something our writers often learn when even they get bored while reading their own work aloud in a workshop:

“Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing:

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

According to Leonard, his most important rule is one that sums up the 10:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Connecticut Romance Writers Fiction Fest 2013

Participate in the Connecticut Romance Writers Fiction Fest this fallImage
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2013
Keynote speaker: Roxanne St. Claire
Location: Hilton Hotel in Mystic, CT.  CT Romance Writers discount room rate of $169
Who:  All fiction welcome, but focus on romance
Conference featuresworkshops on craft, industry, and the writer’s life, raffle, an editor/agent hot-seat luncheon and more.   (more…)

Writing Contests for Our Mystery and Crime Writers


After the enthusiastic reception for our recent Mystery Writing Workshop with Jessica Speart, we wanted to share these related writing contests for the mystery and crime writing aficionado:

Writer’s Digest’s Thriller Suspense Contest

  • A chance to win the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize including $2,500 and a trip to the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City.
  • A chance to win the $500 Category First Prize
  • Get your thriller/suspense story promoted in Writer’s Digest and on
  • Win $100 off a purchase at
  • Receive a copy of the 2014 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • 4,000 word limit

Writer’s Digest’s Crime Writing Contest

  • A chance to win the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize including $2,500 and a trip to the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City.
  • A chance to win the $500 Category First Prize
  • Get your crime story promoted in Writer’s Digest and on
  • Win $100 off a purchase at
  • Receive a copy of the 2014 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Here’s what’s happening


"We covered a lot of material in a four hour workshop. I went home right away and used some of the tips. Seeing an immediate improvement in sentence structure it left me wanting more!"

- Morgaine Pauker

"Not every wonderful writer is a wonderful teacher, but Sandy Barron excels at both crafts. She teaches fiction writing with compassion and insight, offering the novice and experienced writers countless opportunities to hone their skills. Not only does Sandy pack each two hour class with her wonderful teaching, she also follows up with class emails loaded with  reading suggestions, poetry and other helpful tidbits.  All in all a gifted teacher!"

- Christine Pakkala

"Marcelle's 'Get Published Now' workshop was absolutely fabulous and well worth both the time and money.  She gave clear directions, and walked us through how to research and pitch to editor whichsaved me hours of time trying to figure out where to go to have my essays published. I left feeling motivated more than ever to get my work out there."

- Diane Weller