Monday, February 06, 2017

Spring Craft Studio - Mar 1-May 3

"This is such a safe environment to grow and learn, thank you," 
~ Cheryl

Class Detail:  You will read aloud several times to get a deep connection to the storyteller's voice within, we will immerse in two books, a novel and a memoir, in order to carefully dissect each aspect of craft and structure.  You'll leave knowing how to tear a book apart in order to see the inner workings of process, a technique that will serve you for all your writing life. You'll also learn about scene, scene progressions, structure and antagonistic forces.  This class is designed to help you make breakthroughs with your writing and help you get closer to your publishing goals. Audio option for long distance students.  Write me at for info.

Sign up:  Click here.

Required Text:  
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
Story by Robert McKee 

Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller

Class Schedule: 

Class 1:  March 1
Print out:  2 pg. Essay Sample, Feedback 1, Feedback 2
Teaching/Prompt: A Memorable Moment (500 words max)

Class 2:  March 8
Print Out: Scene Handout 
Teaching:  Scene basics
Workshop: Susan, Tad

Class 3:  March 15
Return of Prompt writing
Print out:  Showing vs. Telling
New Prompt:  One primary aspect of my world
Workshop:   Francesca, Mary Jo

Class 4:  March 29
Turn in your 500 word prompt writing
Teaching: Four Seasons in Rome Chap. 1-4
Workshop: Gail, Candace,

Class 5:  April 12
Return of Prompt writing 
Teaching: Four Seasons in Rome Chap. 5-8
New Prompt:  A destination
Workshop:  Angela, Anne,

Class 6:  April 19
Turn in your 500 word prompt writing
Workshop: Christine, Cathy

Class 7:  April 26
Return of Prompt writing 
Teaching: Four Seasons in Rome Chap. 9-end
New Prompt
Workshop: Susan, Tad, Francesca

Class 8:  May 17
Turn in your 500 word prompt writing
Teaching: Lemon Cake 1-4
Workshop:  Mary Jo, Gail, Candace

Class 9:  May 24
Return of prompt writing 
Teaching: Lemon Cake 5-9
New Prompt:  The extraordinary and bizarre event
Workshop: Angela, Anne, Christine

Class 10:  May 31
Turn in your 500 word prompt writing
Teaching: Lemon Cake 10-end
Workshop: Cathy

This Article's Link


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jennifer Lauck - Studio Director/Instructor

Jennifer Lauck - Director

I created The Blackbird Studio for Writers after 30 years of studying with teachers like Tom Spanbauer (Dangerous Writers), and Diana Abu Jaber (PSU), and in the literary programs of PSU, Montana State University and Pacific Lutheran University.  I have a BA in journalism, an MFA in creative writing and have taught for more than fifteen years in private workshops, seminars and conferences like AWP, the Literary Arts in the Schools program.

The name Blackbird comes from my first book, and from the Beatles song that tells us to: Take these broken wings and learn how to fly.  That's what we do at this school.  We take what might seem like a a broken mess, and help you compile it into something that will fly.

I'm a consummate student.  I love to learn.  And, I love to learn with people who are open, inquisitive, proactive and focused.  If you are that kind of person, you'll love it here. The Studio is welcoming, cozy, and empowering.

I offer three 30 week classes: Studio I, Studio II and Studio III.  I also consult, long term, with four writers a year, and help a handful of writers via one one one consults.  Please click on the links below, read more.  I look forward to helping you on your writing journey.

Teaching Availability:  

4)  Studio I, Sept. 12 - May 20, 2017-2018, Tues. 11:30-2:30 (taking apps)

5)  Studio II, Sept. 14 - May 20, 2017-2018, Thurs. 11:30-2:30 (taking apps) 

6)  Studio III, Sept. 14 - May 20, 2017-2018, Thurs. 6:00-9:00 (taking apps)

Submit interest to

This Article's Link


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bones of Storytelling - 2017

You are such an amazing teacher. I am experienced and published, but when I came home I immediately started revising my novel. First chapter? Gone. Plot points? There. Heroine taking charge? You bet. You worked your ass off...we writers sure appreciate it. ~ Sue Lick

This class is the result of five years of study on story.  I've broken down the parts into simple sections with exercises to help you learn how to understand and apply each part to the whole.   Concept, theme, plot, structure, character, antagonistic forces, and setting.  You will learn to organize your fiction or creative non-fiction with the reader in mind.  You will leave with examples, handouts, and tools to fine two your current draft or create your first!


Fri:  6:00-9:00     Concept & Theme

Sat: 10:00-4:00    Plot and Structure

Sun: 10:00-4:00   Character, Antagonistic Forces, Setting

Books and Prep for Class:  

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.
Story by Robert McKee
The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley (for the particularly ambitious!) 

Please dig in and read about Concept, Theme and Structure, in Story Engineering. Read about the seven basic plots in Booker.  Read Chapter 14 in Robert McKee.  If you go as far as getting the Smiley book, read A Novel of your Own PI & II.  

If you DO NOT want to invest in these books, please don't worry. I'll have my copies, hand outs, and you can share with others.  Also, if you are balking at pre-reading, DO NOT WORRY! This suggestion is for those who want to get a jump on the class.  

Write a summary of your project and a bio on yourself. Tell me what you are trying to create, what has thwarted you, and what your writing goals are. Also include some background on yourself. Please do not stress about this exercise.  Just do your best! 


This Article's Link


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Do You Read? Edit? Consult?

Developmental Evaluations:  You've finished your manuscript and need a sharp, strong reader.  With 30 years of writing experience, I read your entire project a couple times, make light line edits, study the whole of it, and create written report. We have a one hour meeting after you've ingested my feedback and talk through your entire project. You will leave that meeting with insight, direction and inspiration for your redraft.  

NOTE:  I am accepting a limited number of manuscripts as of Dec. 15, 2016.  If you want to work with me, please write for details ASAP.  These spots fill fast.

Consults:  This is for the writer who needs individual insight.  You submit pages. 5000 word max (double spaced).  I read, make light edits and we talk through the issues I see in the work.  I provide handouts, teaching, advice, and homework!  $125.00 per consult with a minimum of a three session commitment.  

Email me to get started at

This Article's Link


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Publishing Workshop - Spring 2017

Holly Lorincz - Visiting Instructor

I met Holly a couple years back when she was a young agent and long time editor.  I was impressed by her poise and focus.  I invited her to teach to a group of students I was working with and found she was generous, open and kind.  Honest and ambitious too.  

She presented again at The Blackbird Studio on June 4th and talked about preparing manuscripts for agent and editor review.  She will return in Sept. for a repeat performance of her class, Preparing Your Work for Submission, and she'll do an advanced course as well, for those who are ready to work their first chapter and query letter. 

Holly is a professional editor and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She works with debut and bestselling authors, publishing houses, and the MacGregor Literary Agency, where she agented for three years. Holly's also an author, ghost writing a range of published books, from memoirs to novels to prison survival handbooks, and is the published author of her own, hilarious novel, Smart Mouth, which is optioned for a TV series.  

This Article's Link


Thursday, November 03, 2016

30 Week Studio Classes: 2017/17

Now Taking Applications for the 2017/18 academic year.  


The Studio specializes in long term literary studies.  We meet each week for three hours and also read a selection of books, essays, and short stories, attend literary lectures, listen to podcasts by nationally known writers, and study together.  We workshop our writing and analyze the tools of literary art including scene, structure, character development, arc, antagonistic forces and progressions.  We have a mini poetry track, with Jenn Foreman, and this allows writers to break into deeper emotions within our prose.  We also have a guest literary agent talk to us during the year.  Last, there are two community readings for Studio writers, where you present your work to the whole school!

The Studio is a committed group who support each other by setting goals, sharing the details of their full length projects, and by being there during the ups and downs of the creative process.


Studio I - First years and beginning/intermediate
*Audio class option available.  See below.  

Studio II - Second year and intermediate writers

Studio III - Third and fourth year and advanced writers

NOTE:  We may be adding a Studio IV based on applications.  Final spots are confirmed May 1, 2017.  Classes begin mid-Sept.


Email and tell me about yourself, your writing strengths and weaknesses, your CV (this means resume!  Include your writing studies thus far and any publication credits), and three samples of your writing.


Once we get your email of interest, we'll provide that information.  It's a lot less than therapy!  And more

Apply early!  Get your spot in this terrific program.  

Studio I Audio Options:

Option 1:  Each week, from Sept. 13 to May 30th, you receive a three hour audio class and can follow the homework and readings at your own pace, and level of interest.  You are basically attending the class at the level of an observer.  And yes, you can participate retro activity, receiving access to ALL teachings at the time you sign up.  

Option 2:  Each week, from Sept. 13 to May 30th, you receive a three hour audio class and can follow the homework and readings at your own pace, and level of interest.  And, you can submit pages to me, personally, ten times over the year.  I will read those pages, provide written feedback and send them back to you.  We can discuss the feedback on the phone, or on Skype. 

This Article's Link


Monday, September 12, 2016

Welcome New Instructor (Poetry, Prose, Screenwriting)

Matthew Minicucci - Instructor

Matthew Minicucci has just moved to Portland and is a pearl of a man!  I'm so happy and honored he'll be teaching at The Studio in the fall of 2016.

Matt is the author of two collections of poetry: Translation (Kent State University Press, 2015), chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize, and Small Gods, forthcoming from New Issues Press in 2017. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wick Poetry Center, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his MFA. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2014, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review, among others.

This Article's Link