MetroWest Writers’ Guild

Our Guild Retreat is Big and Awesome!

Are you ready to dedicate a whole weekend to your writing? We’ve got a lineup of 8 awesome instructors for a weekend of amazing content, new ideas, and cool prompts to keep your writing this Fall and well into the winter! A perfect precursor for NaNoWriMo or just a great way to kickstart your Fall writing season! The retreat is online Thursday, September 22nd and Friday, September 23rd. It’ll be in-person on Saturday, September 24th at St. Anne’s in-the-Fields in Lincoln.

Tickets for online-only are $20 and you can buy them here. Tickets for full weekend, which includes in-person sessions and lunch are $50 and you can buy them here

COVID Policy re: the 24th: All folk who wish to join us in-person on the 24th are strongly encouraged to wear masks and are expected to be fully vaccinated and boosted.We will have masks available for anyone who wants one. 

Session Descriptions 

Thursday, September 22nd 7:30pm (Zoom):

Allison Pottern Hoch teaches NaNoWriMo to Your Audience. For writers who are hoping to be more intentional with their outlining and NaNoWriMo project this year, Allison Pottern Hoch teaches how to keep your intended audience in mind when you’re conceiving of new stories and outlining them. This can make your writing process a little bit easier: you know who your ideal reader is, you know what they like, and you can tailor your story to be attractive to them and keep their attention! 

About Allison: Allison Pottern Hoch is a writer and event coach with over a decade of experience in marketing, publicity, sales, and event planning. She spent four years promoting academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a bookseller and event coordinator. She organized, hosted, and promoted over 150 events during her tenure, ranging in size from intimate workshops and lunches to multi-media events with over 700 attendees. She worked with veteran authors, celebrities, and debut authors alike. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University where she coordinated the Adamson Visiting Writers series. Allison is currently working on her second novel and teaching courses on writing and marketing at Grub Street and The Writer’s Loft. For more information on her workshops and coaching services, visit

Friday, September 23rd 

Online (Zoom) 5pm-6pm: Tell It Slant with Robin Stein

Emily Dickinson lived a sheltered life in Amherst, Massachusetts in the 1850s and 1869s. Yet she wrote close to two thousand poems about nature, love, immortality,death and religion. This interactive workshop will explore how her themes resonate today in the work of diverse poets such as Sandra Cisneros, Camille T. Dungy, Joy Harjo, Stanley Kunitz, Li-Young Lee and Eileen Myles. Everyone will be invited to draft a poem and share it during our session. Come prepared to chat and write!

About Robin: Robin Stein, poet and attorney, leads writing workshops, serves as president of Cappella Clausura, a choral group and works on social justice issues in her town.

Online, asynchronous in our Circle space: K.M. Veohongs teaches SciFi/Fantasy Workshop Rundown: Where to Strive for, What to Expect, and How You can Get Yourself Ready

Writers who work in Science Fiction/Fantasy and other Speculative genres have the special opportunity to attend genre-specific workshops and conferences designed just for us and our work. The workshops are competitive, but not all are creative equal. In this talk, Viable Paradise alum K.M. Veohongs gives a rundown of the different workshops, what to expect from them, and how you can prepare yourself to apply! 

K.M. Veohongs is a mixed race Thai-American speculative fiction writer from New England. Her alter ego is a veterinarian who once fought with a mandrill over a broom. You can find her on Twitter @kmveohongs posting photos of her pets and cheerfully complaining about writing.

Online, asynchronous in our Circle space: Dungeon Master Michael Gulden teaches Resonant Worldbuilding

This session will give participants concrete methods to effectively age the environments and locations of a fictional world. We’ll add dimension to places with the passing of time and historical events that will resonate in their contemporary settings.

About Michael Gulden: Michael Gulden is an experienced Dungeon Master and educator who specializes in teaching nimble and interactive storytelling techniques, perfect for authors and gamers alike. 

Online, asynchronous in our Circle space: Kyra Cook teaches 3 Act Structure–Break it in and then Break Out! 

You’ve known the 3-Act Structure since you learned your first story. Our storytelling tradition feels hardwired for 3 Acts, and that’s totally fine. But did you know there is so much more out there? In this talk, we’ll deep dives into the 3-Act Structure and then discuss great works that totally break the mold. We’ll talk about other storytelling traditions and how they deal with structure. This is great for the writer who wants to learn more about 3-Act Structure AND for the writer who is looking to experiment more with their structure for an upcoming project. 

Saturday, September 24th (In-Person! With Lunch!)

Peter Medeiros teaches Escalation–It’s gonna Get Worse Before it Gets Better! 

It’s a cliché among writers that we love to “torture” our characters. If you just finished a good Cormac McCarthy or the latest Leigh Barudo, you can see that maybe there is some truth in this. When the characters are in trouble, we can’t help but turn the pages. 

But as readers, we can also tell when there is too much doom and gloom. Not everything needs to be grimdark. And there are only so many times you can kill off your protagonist’s best friend. 

So how do we make things harder for our characters without resorting to increasingly gruesome injuries? What if the story we are trying to tell is less The Road and more The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet? This workshop will answer that question! 

Whether you are writing realist or speculative fiction–or even poetry and memoir–readers expect some kind of escalation over time. We will explore alternatives to what we might view as “standard” escalation and conflict–good guys and bad guys duking it out–and interrogate alternative forms of plotting. Participants should expect to leave the workshop with at least one draft of a scene, a brief outline for “next scenes,” and new strategies for making lives hard on our characters (and readers) in any genre. 

About Peter: 

Peter Medeiros teaches writing and Kung Fu–though never at the same time. His teaching in and around Boston remains a major inspiration for much of his fiction. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. He been publishing fiction since 2013, and was most recently featured in the February 2020 issue of Red Planet Magazine. He has a particular passion for weird fiction, horror, SciFi, fantasy, and everything uncanny. Peter is represented by Susan Velazquez of JABerwocky Literary.

Deb Norkin teaches Processing Critique: It’s More Than Swapping Pages

Critique is vital. Looking at our work through the eyes of others is the only way to ensure that the story they read is the story we intend. In this session, I will share critiquing strategies to make your work stronger, your resolve deeper, and will move you closer to your writing goals. We’ll review how to identify appropriate critique partners, differentiate useful from harmful critique and how to internalize new information, especially when it’s bad. Embrace feedback! It’s the only way to push through mental roadblocks and propel your work forward!

About Deb Norkin: 

My fiction and non-fiction has been published in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. I am the Food Writing Editor for Zest! a section of Pangyrus literary journal, and a board member at the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). Of late, I’ve been teaching virtual cooking classes. Though I don’t only write about food, I will always write about food. For information about editorial services, writing support, and cooking classes, contact me at

Erin Dionne teaches SAY WHAT!? Crafting Realistic Dialogue

Writing convincing, natural-sounding dialogue is one of the most difficult challenges for writers of all levels. In this active workshop session we will identify what constitutes “good” dialogue, the significance of what is not being said, how to differentiate characters through dialogue, and when to use slang, profanity, and regional dialects. Together, we’ll explore the common conversational ailments of  “floating head syndrome” and its cousin, “locomotion-itis” –and strategize ways to avoid them. Be prepared to read aloud—developing an “ear” for dialogue requires listening skills as well as writing skills! 

Participants will leave with:

–       Strategies for improving dialogue

–       Better understanding of how dialogue contributes to story elements

–       Writing exercises to apply to their current project

About Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne writes middle grade novels, picture books, and nonfiction. Her latest novel for tweens is Secrets of a Fangirl(Scholastic 2019). She’s written six other books for young readers. Her most recent picture book is Balletball(Charlesbridge, 2020). Bad Choices Make Good Stories (Table for 7 Press, 2021) marks her first nonfiction collection, and her forthcoming chapter book series Shiver-by-the-Sea (Pixel + Ink) releases in fall 2023. When not writing, she’s a professor at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.

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