Heather at her writing desk
Heather at her writing desk

Narration, Reflection, and Structure

November 2-5, 2023 in Tampa Palms, Florida

Contact: heatherellesellers AT

Compelling prose engages a sequence of dramatic scenes, combined with passages of insight, interpretation, and summary. This second category of writing—the reflection and summary part—is crucial, and can also be difficult to pull off successfully These passages must not create a lull in tension, but rather work to increase the stakes of the story.  

In this content-rich course, you will hone scene building skills, and practice a bevy of strategies for writing unputdownable reflection and summary.  You’ll experiment with assembling scenes and their reflective sequels in various proven patterns to create effective story beats.

"Heather is brilliant at story structure, teaching in various ways so it sticks…".

~ Shantell S., Balm, FL

Bright orange sunset over Lake Michigan
Reflection on Lake Michigan

The Art of Reflection

Reflection means: bend back. We’re so often told “Show, don’t tell,” but good writing frequently employs telling — the reflective writer tells us what an experience means. So what is the difference between telling something well and telling it poorly? We’ll examine stellar examples of reflection in prose and poetry and we will practice the four artful ways of telling—reflecting wisely—while avoiding over-explanation and other pitfalls.

“This workshop completely changed the way I’m approaching my memoir. Harder, but better.”

~ P.K., Milwaukee, WI

Golden leaves in front of a blue sky
Forest bathing

Poetry as Mindfulness Practice

So much in our lives is rushed and superficial; distraction rules the day.  For many of us, sitting meditation is a goal, one that is difficult to knit into our tightly-packed schedules. For those of us with attention issues, simply sitting can actually increase anxiety. If you are looking for something to ground your daily awareness practice, something to add meaning and significance to your life, why not try poetry?  A series of reading and personal writing exercises, led by your instructor, offer you numerous ways into experiencing poetry as an experience in guided meditation and supported mindfulness. All are welcome. (This isn’t a workshop with critiques; as in meditation class, sharing is not necessary or expected.)

“The best course I’ve taken at this retreat center, without question.”   

~ R.A.C., Lenox, MA