The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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The Piper Writers Studio

Serving writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience

Beyond our annual creative writing conference, the Piper Writers Studio is the educational arm of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, offering creative writing classes, workshops, and other educational opportunities in in-person and online formats for writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience.

All classes are non-credit, and are intended for and open to the public. You do not need to be an ASU student to attend.

Each student who completes a class receives an electronic certificate. Students also have the opportunity to read at our annual Piper Writers Studio Showcase.  

To learn more about the Piper Writers Studio, you can visit the about page or view upcoming classes below. You can also meet our instructorsview past classes, or even teach a class yourself.

For other educational opportunites, you can learn about our Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference.

For for-credit classes, you can contact the Creative Writing Program at Arizona State University

Find Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Story Starters
Gionni Ponce

Date: Monday, October 5, 2020, 5:30 p.m to 7:00 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Short Stories
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In this ‘creative calisthenics’ course we will explore a variety of ways to start the writing process through prompts, exercises, and avenues of exploration and play unique to your instructor. We will work through the hurdles of starting a story and develop methods to make our own creatively generating exercises. Regardless of the genre you're writing in, this course will provide tools for getting the figurative (or literal) ink on the page.


Scene and Sequel
Jim Butcher

Date: Friday, October 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Short Stories
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Jim Butcher is the best-selling author of the Dresden Files, The Codex Alera, and the Cinder Spires. Join us as he walks you through an examination of the structural elements of fiction when reduced to the basic elements of scene and sequel.


21 Days to Your Novel
Michael A Stackpole

Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Fiction, Novels, Science Fiction
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New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole presents his three-week program for preparing yourself to write a novel. This set of 21 exercises is broken down to give you everything from character creation to world building, practical plotting devices, dialogue development and character voice creation tools. This program is a practical, kick-in-the-pants place to start your career.


Date: Tuesdays, October 13 - 27, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Novels, Short Stories
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This three-session workshop is for writers currently working on a novel or short stories who want to sharpen their craft and participate in structured critique. The instruction will focus on deep point of view, character nuance and dimensions, and plot organization and pacing. We will integrate these topics into students’ practice through generating or revising short scenes within students’ manuscripts. We will discuss these scenes and model how to participate in a supportive, productive critique group.


Date: Saturday and Sunday, October 17 - 18, 2020, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Publishing
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In this brief virtual residency, you will learn all about targeting the right agent for your work. These seasoned instructors will cover everything from research methodologies to testing your first pages and query letters. Over the course of two days Yi Shun and Tiffany will put their experience and talents to work in helping students to workshop their query letters. Within that time, students will participate in three zoom lectures, engage in multiple breakout rooms, and complete several projects. Here are the elements of each day. 


Date: October 17 - November 21, 2020
Type: Online Class
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Editing, Fiction, Publishing
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The goal of this course is to give you a basic understanding of the publishing industry: how it is structured, how to navigate it, and how to make the best choices for your writing life and the life of your books. You are a writer, an artist—the most important thing you can do is focus on your work. But when the time comes to bring your writing to an audience, a host of other skills and knowledge come into play. While it’s true that the publishing world exists to support and promote art, it is also a business; agents, editors, and publishers must be mindful of the market and of money.


Date: Mondays, October 19 - 26, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Mixed Genre, Personal Essays
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Would you like to share your life experience with the world? Crafting a memoir book or essay can be tough if you never tried it before. This workshop was created to make that process easier and more fulfilling for you.

Let’s start by answering the first and most important question: what is a memoir? To put it in simple words, a memoir is a book or an essay that tells a real-life story in an interesting and compelling way. Its main goal isn’t to share historical information, but rather to put the reader on the author’s shoes and make them feel what the author felt.


Novel Starters
Hallie Ephron

Date: Sunday, November 1, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Arizona Time
Type: Presentation, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels
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This free workshop will prepare you to hit the ground running for National Novel Writing month. We'll get you ready to write a novel--the planning, the mindset, the logistics. We'll go through the basics--plot and character, of course, and the all-important structure. Participants will walk away with a blueprint for a novel.


Date: Mondays, November 2 - 30, 2020, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Arizona time
Type:
Genre: Fiction, Genre Fiction, Mixed Genre, Novels, Speculative Fiction
Register for the Write-In

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With NanoWrimo going completely virtual this year, the Piper Writers Studio is teaming with Phoenix NanoWrimo to create a virtual space for Nano authors to come together and discuss their work. This space is available every Monday throughout the month and free to all who need it.


Advanced Poetry Workshop
Jabari Jawan Allen

Date: Wednesdays, November 4 - 18, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry, Sexuality
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In this three-day generative craft seminar, we will explore the erotic god, subversion versus abolition in form, and the contemporization of the sonnet through the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Donne, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Countee Cullen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Wanda Coleman, Malachi Black, Phillip B. Williams, Natasha Oladokun, and more.


Stories That Stand Still
Carmen Maria Machado

Date: Saturday, November 14, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Arizona Time
Type: Craft Class, Craft Talk, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
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In this talk, we’ll explore the craft of writing fiction that doesn’t move—fiction contained in a single, discreet space as large as a house, and as small as a bed—and the implication it has for our understanding of gender, characterization, and plot. Stories discussed will include Angela Carter’s “The Fall-River Axe Murders,” Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers,” Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” and Nancy Hale’s “The Earliest Dreams.”

Machado will also be presenting a talk and reading the previous day.


Story Starters
Leah Newsom

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Arizona time
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre, Short Stories
Register for this Workshop

Learn More

In this ‘creative calisthenics’ course we will explore a variety of ways to start the writing process through prompts, exercises, and avenues of exploration and play unique to your instructor. We will work through the hurdles of starting a story and develop methods to make our own creatively generating exercises. Regardless of the genre you're writing in, this course will provide tools for getting the figurative (or literal) ink on the page.