The Writers Studio Tucson Workshop, the first of our three levels, is designed for students at all levels who are new to the Writers Studio method. This Workshop meets in person at Sky Islands Public High School, 6000 E. 14th St in Tucson and is open to both beginning and experienced writers eager to learn the elements of craft, including first- and third-person narrators, tone and mood. An important goal of the workshop is to help writers understand that a narrative voice is born out of conscious creation and not merely the voice we use when speaking or keeping a journal. We encourage students to turn autobiographical fragments into publishable work by using different narrative personas to tell their story in fiction and poetry.

Through exercises, students experiment with narrative and poetic techniques. Our exercises are designed to stimulate students’ imaginations while also teaching a lot of nuts-and-bolts narrative strategies They focus on both fiction and poetry, and use published examples of both genres as models.

Each week we assign a brief reading combined with an exercise, and the teacher explains the technique that makes the piece effective. The following week students bring their written exercise to class, where it is read aloud. Classmates offer feedback, and then the teacher, who has been trained for three years in The Writers Studio method, gives the final supportive critique. A few of the eight weeks are spent revising and deepening exercises written during the term.

In Writers Studio Workshops, we ask students to remain silent when their classmates and the teacher offer feedback. Though this may seem harsh at first, the policy is enormously helpful, as it lets students take in the information calmly and without the reflexive tendency to grow defensive. The workshops are designed to help students learn from their own work, as well as from the work of others. As the student’s understanding of technique deepens so does the emotional power of the writing.

Students who want to keep going take the Workshop three to four times before moving on to the Intermediate Workshop. Students may go from a taking a Tucson Workshop to a Writers Studio Online Level I or II workshop.

The Writers Studio Tucson classes meet once a week for 8 weeks. For more information, please contact Renee Bibby: 520 591-8795 or [email protected].


Writers Studio Tucson Assistant Director

Betsy Mahaffey

Betsy Mahaffey (she/her) is the Assistant Director of the Writers Studio Tucson and teaches the Tucson Workshop. She holds an MA in Classics from the University of Arizona and attended The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop. She is a writer in the Tucson Master Class. She is primarily a fiction writer, but is well-versed in poetry.

Join Our Mailing List

Add your name to our mailing list to receive news of discounts, classes, and free events.