Find out how BARN can add craft and invention to your life. A non-profit community center for artisans and makers, BARN has studios for everything from Book Arts to Woodworking!

News for our budding podcasters: We are now taking submissions for a live performance hosted by the BARN Writers' Studio to be crafted into a live performance and studio-produced podcast, pieces that can be read in thirty minutes or less, poetry, personal essay, fiction, or play/radio-drama with the theme of "Something New from Something Old." Feel free to get creative. Please submit your original piece or idea to along with any questions or ideas you have for production (i.e., would you like to read it or would someone else? Would you need a cast or any other special considerations?)    

Ars Poetica: The Writers’ Studio is teaming up with the Fiber Arts Studio to put on an Ars Poetica event in April 2020.   Fiber artists are looking for poems that can be used as inspiration for an art piece (weaving, sewing, felting, surface design, etc).  In April, we will showcase each art work with the poem that inspired it.  We’re excited about the possibilities for this creative partnership.   If you are interested in more details or you’d like to submit your poetry, please email Sallie Maron at  


Yes. Donald Maass is coming to BARN. Hurry to reserve your spot as only a few seats remain.

President of the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York, he sells more than 150 novels every year to major publishers in the U.S. and overseas.  He is the author of The Career Novelist (1996), Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004) and The Fire in Fiction (2009), Writing 21stCentury Fiction (2012) and The Emotional Craft of Fiction (2016).  

Join this nationally-acclaimed writer, presenter, and agent for a June 1 event. 

The emotional effect of fiction on readers is a craft.  Based on psychological research and study of what makes novels emotionally gripping, this intensive workshop takes participants beyond showing or telling to create an emotional journey for readers—one unseen but nevertheless deeply felt and ultimately unforgettable.  

While writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, none would argue this: if you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader's experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters' struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you.
That's where The Emotional Craft of Fiction comes in. In his book, veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass shows you how to use story to provoke a visceral and emotional experience in readers. 

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop for fiction writers.  Participants should bring a WIP and writing materials.

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Only a few seats left to join Jason Black Wednesday, May 29. This workshop is all about helping students learn and understanding the fundamentals of story structure as exemplified in several film classics . We will break down story structure into a four-act sequence of readily identifiable, quantifiable steps stories progress through. We will uncover the essential qualities of each step and how they relate to the step’s overall story function, and we will examine how these steps intertwine with character arcs to create meaningful, powerful, satisfying conclusions. In-class exercises will be directed towards analysis and refinement of student WIPs.

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Beth Jusino, on June 22, takes an unbiased and unvarnished look at a modern writer’s publishing options, from “Big 5” traditional publishers to small presses to self publishing (with or without the support of service companies) to “hybrid” and other emerging models. Taught by a publishing professional who works on and appreciates both sides of the fence, this class gets past the hype and examines pros and cons of each choice, realistic costs and income potential, as well as scams and pitfalls to avoid. Most importantly, it helps writers seeking publication understand their own goals, strengths, and how to make a decision that's best for them.

Attendees will…

  1. Be able to identify the broad range of choices available for publishing: big presses, small presses, independent self publishing, subsidy and “author assisted” presses, and emerging models. 
  2. Gain a realistic impression of the costs, timing, and logistics involved in producing a book. 
  3. Have clear guidelines (a checklist of questions) to help them consider the best options for their specific situation.

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Your Artist’s Statement is a valuable tool to connect your audience to your art – perhaps on a website, or with a gallery, or a special show. The creative text you’ll write will also translate easily into social media postings, press releases, and many other formats. This will save you time, effort, and also create a cohesive style that gives your name a “brand.”

During the class Sunday, June 23, students will examine samples of working artists’ biographies and determine the essential elements in an effective statement. Various styles are discussed, and a list of key words and sentence starters is reviewed.

A template is provided and we will outline your statement with some easy and fun creative exercises that are sure to bring out your personal style. Everyone’s work will be reviewed, with direct feedback from the instructor and others. We’ll discuss how to make minor variations in order to address different audiences.

And finally, we’ll work towards a polished statement to generate interest in the artist and their work. Helpful marketing hints are interjected throughout this course.

This workshop is appropriate for many types of artists, including visual artists and writers.

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Step into audio drama June 27 with Brian Martinez Oldham, who will begin with a brief introduction to audio drama; what it is (and isn't).
Then, you’ll spend time in a discussion about writing for audio. The conversation will include the building blocks of an audio drama script, the strengths and challenges of the audio medium, handling the quirks of genre or adaptation, and software for writing an audio script.
You’ll learn about performance and recording, including how the different artistic collaborators work together, both live and remote.

Questions and dialogue will be welcome throughout, and by the end, participants will be on their way to writing their own audio script.

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Sandra Terhune-Bickler and Steven Bickler, both Santa Monica police department retirees, team-teach this class Saturday, July 13. The interactive course offers a comprehensive introduction to general aspects of law enforcement for writers to enhance their understanding and portrayal of police practices in their writing. 

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Teens 13 to 17, get ready beginning July 16 for some creative writing in this two-day workshop, combined with hands-on photography. Starting with fun writing exercises and journaling, we will review some photo tips and then take photos inside and outside BARN. On the second day, we’ll begin to construct our journal, mixing and mingling words with color and style to describe some of the photos you’ve taken.

Interpreting our own photos, or just sharing the emotional content and thoughts while we were taking it, is a great way to express ourselves. Maybe it’s a special memory or feeling that we wanted to bring to mind, a strong statement we want to make, or simply a beautiful scene we want to record. So, come prepared to capture a moment in time and share your thoughts about it in this creative workshop.

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In this workshop  with Jodie Hollander, July 17, you will focus on the significance of place in poetry. Place may be defined as a geographical location, an internal state, or perhaps a poetic meeting of the two. In addition, the class will center on how to structure and develop poems and the creative process that is involved. You will also look at meter and line breaks, and consider how sound works as a gateway to the senses and how musicality creates its own kind of meaning within a poem. No experience necessary.

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Have you wanted to write a story but felt overwhelmed by the magnum opus of a novel? Have you tried writing a short story but 20+ pages still felt untenable? This class with Janee J. Baugher, August 1, is for you. A short-short story (flash fiction) has two requirements, says author Fred Chappell: “that it be quite short and that it be troubling.” In this generative class, we’ll review the elements of craft employed by fiction writers (with a nod to the craft of poetry), and we’ll read and discuss examples of flash fiction from anthologies such as Sudden Fiction and Flash Fiction. We’ll compose our own flash stories by responding to some in-class writing exercises, which are designed to help you write succinctly while suspending disbelief.

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This class with Kirsten Foster, August 22, is designed to take pressure off students and parents surrounding what can—but needn’t—be an overly stressful process. We will discuss how to “triage” various essay prompts, how to make keeping track of deadlines and requirements as painless as possible, how to select a topic (i.e., a favorite story to tell about yourself), and how to begin structuring that story into a narrative that shows authentic self-awareness—and one that moves, interests, and perhaps even amuses you and your readers (college admissions officials) in the process. As in a typical writing workshop, we will begin to try those stories out on each other and offer constructive input as requested.

Age Level: Youth Class, Ages 13-17.

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Photo of BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network)

About the Author

Find out how BARN can add craft and invention to your life. A non-profit community center for artisans and makers, BARN has studios for everything from Book Arts to Woodworking. Take a class, work on a project, or come to share your knowledge with others. BARN is a unique place where well-equipped studios invite exploration and innovation. Everyone is welcome – you do not need to be a BARN member to participate. Taking a class is a great way to learn more about a studio and meet others who share your interests. All classes are open to ages 14 and up. Interested in joining a studio? Visit the studio pages on our website to learn more about each studio and see a complete schedule of upcoming events. Have questions, want to take a look inside the studios or share BARN with family and friends? Take a free guided tour any Sunday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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