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Write What Scares You

February 22 @ EST 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Event Virtual Event


How to compose powerful essays, stories and poems that transform your reader

As a young writer, I was told my work was too dark, too intense, just… too much. I was ‘scaring people’ (not my intention at all!). I designed this class to teach what I’d wish I’d been taught early on: How to present intense, dark material, without overwhelming or traumatizing our readers.

Three core techniques guide us in writing difficult material: 1) calibration, 2) beautiful containers, and 3) confessing versus confiding. I’ll provide examples of each technique and tips for employing the strategies in fiction, poetry, and/or memoir. You’ll leave this workshop with inspiring prompts and specific skills, along with a reading list for further study.

No matter how intense or difficult the subject matter is, we can tell the stories we most need to tell and keep our trusted readers close and safely by our side.

 In this presentation, you will gain strategies for handling daunting material:
  • LEARN how to move from modes that can be off-putting for readers (too much disclosure, for example, or writing material that hasn’t been fully processed) to art-making modes that leave the reader transformed
  • EXAMINE the work of writers who’ve come before in order to pick up techniques to improve one’s own writing
  • CONSIDER a form and structure, no matter what the content, that will hold the heat of your material safely and securely

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


Heather Sellers is the author of the award-winning memoir, You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know, which tells the story of living life with face blindness. Her essays appear in Best American Essays, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, and many other magazines. She’s the author of four volumes of poetry, most recently The Present State of the Garden, winner of the Blue Lynx Prize, and Field Notes from the Flood Zone (BOA Editions). Her textbook, The Practice of Creative Writing covers the craft of fiction, poetry, and memoir, and offers prompts and guidance in building a writing practice. She’s received fellowships from the NEA and Macdowell. Currently, at work on a new memoir, Sellers teaches poetry, nonfiction, and pedagogy courses at the University of South Florida, where she is director of the undergraduate and MFA creative writing programs.




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February 22
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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Craft Talks
Heather Sellers