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Center for Poets and Writers Workshops

Tell your stories. Start writing a novel. Try a new poetry genre. The Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa has a noncredit workshop led by an award-winning creative professional to guide you to achieving any of these goals.

Register online using the links below. A limited number of scholarships are also available for participants with financial need. For questions or more information about the workshops, email cpwtulsa@okstate.edu.

Fall 2020 Online Workshop Series

Writing for the Screen

“Writing for the Screen” is a multi-week workshop that introduces students to the basics of writing a 5-8 page screenplay. Students will learn the building blocks of screenplay formatting, dramatic structure, character development, and the keys to making a thematic impact on an audience. Students will workshop their ideas with the class and receive verbal and written feedback on multiple drafts of their work. Screenwriters from all experience levels are welcome to attend and are encouraged to come to the class with three short screenplay ideas. Access to a computer with word-processing software or screenwriting software is recommended.

In partnership with OSU-Tulsa, Cherokee Nation Film Office is offering five full scholarships to this workshop for any citizen of a federally recognized tribe. Space is limited, to secure your scholarship, please email hello@cherokee.film  with the workshop title in the subject line and include your full name, phone number, a copy of your CDIB or tribal citizenship card and preferred email address. CNFO strives to increase the presence of Natives in every aspect of film and television industries. Citizens of the Cherokee Nation will be given preference in the event there are more than five applicants.

Instructor: Zach Litwack

  • Dates: Thursdays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Sept. 17
  • Registration Fee: $150

Register Now


Intro to Memoir

Mining your life for stories worth telling without writing a tell-all tome or tiptoeing into beating-a-dead horse territory is tough. David Tromblay will share the lessons he learned while writing his memoir As You Were (Dzanc Books 2021). Life is cyclic and often plays jump rope with Gustav Freytag's storytelling arc. In the workshop, we will collectively look at ways to recognize the cause, effect, and the aftermath of life's peccadilloes then boil it all down to use as a template for your novel-length memoir or flash essay(s). Most importantly, we will examine your story for the utmost compelling point of view to capture your intended audience.

Over the 5-weeks, plan to produce 20 pages of writing. Suggested accompanying reading: Mary Karr's The Art of The Memoir.

Instructor: David Tromblay

  • Dates: Mondays, 7–9 p.m. for five weeks beginning Sept. 28
  • Registration Fee: $185

Register Now


Hip Hop Poetry

Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture the globe has ever witnessed. It has given birth to a new generation of artists, writers, musicians and public intellectuals who translate and capture the ethos of the culture in their art and thought. Similar to the influence of blues in the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz in the Black Arts, Nuyorican and Beat Movements, Hip-Hop’s musical and cultural force has shaped everything from advertising to national politics.

This course will provide students the basic knowledge and tools to build a solid foundation in the history and culture of Hip Hop, including writing and experimenting in the foundational and groundbreaking aesthetics of hip-hop cultural practice. We will also explore the history and contemporary public practice of hip-hop; as a music, art, cultural and political form and forum; from its conscious counter of hegemony to its inclusion and move into the center of popular culture.

Instructor: Quraysh Ali Lansana

  • Dates: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Sept. 30
  • Registration Fee: $150

Register Now


Building Characters from the Ground Up

Based on workshop instructor Michael Wright’s book Playwriting in Process (which has been used around the world by playwrights, screenwriters, novelists and several theatre companies), this six-week workshop will provide attendees with a myriad of exploration exercises (called etudes) in order to develop characters with lives and personalities that are fully realized and deeply human, from heroes to villains and the rest of us.

By the end of the six weeks, each participant will have a collection of characters from which to draw for any work they choose to develop as a result of the character etudes.

Instructor: Michael Wright

  • Dates: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Oct. 14
  • Registration Fee: $150

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Introduction to Poetry

In this introductory workshop, students will learn and practice the basic toolkit every poet needs to have—line break, imagery, figurative language, diction, stanza structures, and metaphorical logic, among others. We’ll read the work of some modern and contemporary poets closely, focusing on craft, and write and workshop our own poems.

By the end of the course, students will have written five or six polished poems.

Instructor: Steve Bellin-Oka

  • Dates: Tuesdays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Oct. 27
  • Registration Fee: $150

Register Now


How to Write a Novel in a Month (NaNoWriMo Kickstart)

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. In this one-night class, you will create and develop characters, setting, and plot so that by midnight on Nov. 1, you’ll be ready to write! We’ll brainstorm and do writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet with other NaNoers who will help you stay motivated through the month. Whether you’re planning to do NaNoWriMo for the first time this year or you’re an old NaNo veteran, this class will kick your imagination into overdrive, with enough NaNoMoJo to push you through the end of November!

Instructor: Molly Backes

  • Dates: October 29, 7-9 p.m.
  • Registration Fee: $30

Register Now


How to Start Your Novel

The goal of this workshop is simplegetting you going on a novel that keeps going. Starting, some say, is the easy part. But starting a novel that you'll actually finish is a whole other kettle of fish, one that retains an air of mystery even to well-published veterans of the art. We'll try to peer into that mystery in this two-day course, examining a number of particularly successful novel openings, both past and present, as well as discussing strategies for getting oneself started (sometimes starting *is* the hard part!), and then working on a number of exercises. Hopefully, by the end, students will have the opening of their first novel.

Instructor: Nate Knapp

  • Dates: November 7-8, 2-4:30 p.m. 
  • Registration Fee: $75

Register Now


Previous Workshops

Beginning Creative Writing

Do you have stories inside you just begging to be told? Have people always told you that you should be a writer?

In this six-week introductory workshop, we’ll explore elements of creative writing including voice, characterization, conflict, setting, plot, dialogue, and more. No writing experience necessary!

Instructor: Molly Backes

  • Dates: Mondays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Aug. 17
  • Registration Fee: $225

Writing and Racial Healing

"My biggest job now is making white people understand that black history is white history. We cannot separate the two." -Clara Luper, Associated Press interview, 2006

How can writing change the narrative change of centuries-old systemic racism, which describes Black America in general, and North Tulsa in specific, via a deficit lens and not as a valued source of culture, knowledge and talent, beyond sports & music? How can writing transcend the physical boundaries and the psychological & social boundaries and biases found in dominant culture? Dominant culture is so pervasive in a place like the USA, in a place like Oklahoma, that it’s easy to get drunk on the narrative. Particularly if one doesn’t know or has no regard for history, or for anything or anyone other than what you know. This workshop will offer an opportunity to heal, to write, to grow.

This workshop is made possible by support from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Instructor: Quraysh Ali Lansana

  • Dates: Tuesdays, 7–9 p.m. for six weeks beginning Aug. 18
  • Registration Fee: $30

Motion Picture Storytelling

Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has access to a camera. This workshop will introduce the process of learning to tell a story with limited tools to preserve, inspire, or share our stories with one another.

In partnership with OSU-Tulsa, Cherokee Nation Film Office is offering five full scholarships to this workshop for any citizen of a federally recognized tribe. Space is limited, to secure your scholarship, please email hello@cherokee.film  with the workshop title in the subject line and include your full name, phone number, a copy of your CDIB or tribal citizenship card and preferred email address. CNFO strives to increase the presence of Natives in every aspect of film and television industries. Citizens of the Cherokee Nation will be given preference in the event there are more than five applicants.

Instructor: Tvli Jacob

  • Dates: Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m. for four weeks beginning Aug. 19
  • Registration Fee: $150

Workshop Registration Policies

  • Workshop registration is available online through the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa website or by mail. No registrations will be accepted over the phone or email.
  • Payments for workshops must be by credit card for online registrations or check/money order for mail-in registrations. No cash will be accepted.
  • If the workshop you would like to register for is full at the time you try to register, please sign up for the waiting list via email at cpwtulsa@okstate.edu. You will be notified by email if a space opens up in the workshop.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to register for a workshop.
  • You will receive an email receipt when your payment has been received.
  • Registration is open until the workshop is filled or until three days before the first session.
  • The Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa reserves the right to limit the number of multi-week workshops for which participants may register per session. The Center also reserves the right to cancel a workshop in the minimum enrollment is not met.
  • Workshops may include short in-class writing exercises and outside reading assignments. Participants are expected to read and write comments about each other’s written pieces. Prior creative writing experience is not needed unless otherwise specified.
  • We are happy to accommodate the needs of participants with disabilities. Please email cpwtulsa@okstate.edu for assistance.

Cancellation Policy

To cancel your registration and receive a partial refund, you must call  918-594-8215 or email cpwtulsa@okstate.edu at least 10 business days prior to the beginning of the workshop.

Please note that a cancellation fee of $130 for Multi-Week Workshops and $50 for weekend seminars will be deducted from the amount you are reimbursed. NO refunds will be given after the 10-day deadline for cancellation.

These policies are subject to change at any time without notice.