W.O.R.D. Ink Workshops for Kids, Teachers, Parents,
Writers & Small Businesses
Past Workshops for Kids
Writing Adventures mission is to get kids excited about writing and the creation process! We seek to develop each student’s unique talents and personal expression through inspiring, collaborative project-based learning opportunities, built on the fundamentals of good writing. Visit past workshops.
For Students & Teachers
The following workshops can be tailored to a student audience ages 8-14 or toward professional development for teachers. Each workshop is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours in length.
Short But Sweet: Tell Your Story Within a Tweet
Text message tweets are more than just a way to keep up with your peeps; they can help us say a lot with a little. In this workshop we’ll consider why quantity is not automatically quality, and how short doesn’t necessarily mean shortcut. We’ll then discuss tight writing as an invaluable life skill. The rest of our time will be spent on creating innovative content for very short writing activities. After this workshop, you’ll walk away taking more time to write less!View the workshop calendar →
Sentence Surgery! (student version)
Grab your scrubs and get ready to scope out how a sentence’s sound, length, punctuation, and arrangement can bring personality to any piece of writing. First stop: the lab, to study award-winning poets and authors such as Jack Gantos, Meg Rosoff, and Kevin Henkes. Next, we head to the operating room. After pulling sentences apart, you’ll put them back together again–only better, doctoring each line up with your own special style!View the workshop calendar →
Sentence Surgery: Crafting Voice Through Choice, Line by Line (teacher version, 2 hrs)
Grab your scrubs and get ready to scope out how a sentence’s sound, length, punctuation, and arrangement can bring personality to any piece of writing. Crafting a sentence comes down to two choices that influence Voice: substance and style.
This session focuses on how the sentence imitation-to-creation approach helps students understand the relationship between writing mechanics, parts of speech, word choice, sentence fluency, tone, style and description. Participants will gain practice with this imitation technique for use in all steps of the writing process. After dividing a model sentence to inspect its parts, participants will doctor the line up with their own special style by learning to “flesh out” the basic subject-predicate “skeleton” sentence using six grammar tools that can make any sentence unique. Free take-home Grammar Tools bookmark to use immediately in the classroom!View the workshop calendar →
Mapping Our Memories
Everyone is a storyteller. The magic lies in believing that your experiences are worth sharing, that what you notice is worth celebrating, that you have a unique voice. Today we will celebrate our unique personal stories by drawing neighborhood maps in order to share and write about childhood memories. By the end of this workshop, you will walk away not only with a map of personal short stories and a draft of your favorite, but also a new appreciation for the wealth of ideas you possess — ideas worth publishing!View the workshop calendar →
Teaching the 6+1 Traits of Writing, Grades 5-8 (10-hour course; 4 sessions)
In this 4-session course, I’ll walk you through how to effectively implement the 6+1 Traits of Writing curriculum throughout your entire school year. Session One’s overview will focus on how the writing traits fit into the writing process, as well as how to see oneself as a writer. Sessions Two and Three dive into the Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Voice and Sentence Fluency traits as they relate to the revision process. Session Four looks at the Conventions and Presentation traits as they relate to the editing process. During this final workshop, we’ll also discuss the theory and practice behind “living a writerly life.” You’ll walk away not only with a copy of the entire presentation to keep on hand, but also a wealth of additional resource suggestions, including recommended literature, ready-to-go materials, and collaborative practice exercises and reflections. Whether you’re new to the 6+1 Traits approach or looking to expand your teaching repertoire, this course guarantees to leave you refreshed and inspired.View the workshop calendar →
Workshop information coming soon!
For Small Businesses
Writing for Business Communications (full staff and small groups)
Boost the impact of your client, marketing, and intra-business communications from concept to publication by developing a handful of professional-strength writing skills that build on today’s best practices in digital media.View the workshop calendar →
S.L.A.P. on that Voice! 4 Essential Tools that Bring Poetry to Your Prose
Poets use Sound, Length, Arrangement and Punctuation to give their writing power and you can, too. Through literary evaluation and writing exercises, we’ll demystify SYNTAX so you can master it.View the workshop calendar →
“Vanessa’s S.L.A.P. seminar was enjoyable and educational. Thought-provoking writing exercises. Plenty of ‘Ah-Hah’ moments after studying author samples. Vanessa is generous, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the craft of writing.” —Lupe Fernandez
“I love to write but despise poetry. I feel like I always miss what it’s about and never thought it would be of any use to my prose. Vanessa’s cozy workshop was eye-opening. Her very accessible exercises made me feel secure and I really understood the dynamic ways in which poetry can lend itself to the written word. Now, armed with the PowerPoint presentation of all of those exercises, I can apply them when needed to any part of my novel. I went to the workshop to break out of my fear cycle about poetry. Although I’m not an expert, I don’t feel as apprehensive that I ‘don’t know how’ to work with poetry as much. It was very worth my time and money to attend.” —Hilde Garcia
“Vanessa puts writing beautiful, engaging prose into perspective. She nurtures the great writer within you.” —Colleen Stratton
“As a new children’s book writer, I not only crave the social aspect of writing workshops, but need a little encouragement from time to time that I do possess even a modicum of talent as a writer. My super-fragile ego needs a boost now and then. I also appreciate the practical aspects of getting down and dirty with pen and paper. I’m freshly inspired. And I have Vanessa to thank for that! Her enthusiasm is contagious. Keep it up and I’ll keep coming back.” —Annette Dariano
“Thanks, Vanessa, for the wonderful workshop you gave at our recent Writer 2 Writer meeting at the Flintridge Bookstore. I learned a great deal and I loved your presentation. It was very professional and obviously well thought out. Hope you plan on giving more lectures like this.” —Anne Loader McGee, author of The Mystery at Marlatt Manor