Eight Writers for Eight Months

"The writer who founded the MFA workshop that I attended said that in an ideal world, writers would live in a place like Paris and meet up with each other in the cafe after a morning of work.  During these impromptu meetings, aspects of writing and art would be discussed, offering writers a place to work though the challenges of their work as they listen to each other and think out loud.  I love the idea of the Extended Cafe Conversation School of Writing (my own title), along with a commitment to the art and craft of of writing.  Writing is ideas, art, discipline, communication and a little bit of mystery. We will definitely cover the first four and maybe let the mystery just stand." ~ Whitney Otto

You must write a book to publish a book. So let's write a book. There's a saying in Italian which translates to keeping "Dreams in a drawer." Everyone talks about their "desk drawer book" which is the book they kind of work on, or they wrote a single draft then put it away thinking that someday they would return to it. So you've always told yourself, "I'm going to finish that book and if I could just pull together a group of a few committed writers to work with me, I could do this." Think of this eight month workshop as that particular someday.  Take your dream (your novel or memoir, or essay or short story collection) out of the drawer and into the world.

GOALS: Each year WORKSHOP 8 selects eight writers who are ready to write that novel or memoir or collection (essays or short stories). You can come into the group with a full draft, or a partial draft, or an idea that you are ready to make into a manuscript. We are your audience and your colleagues. We are that writing group you've wanted to help you get to the end of a workable draft. The page count turned into the workshop will be higher than most workshops, so much of your book (if not all of your book) can be read and discussed. You commit to your art, and the workshop commits to you.

TIMELINE: One of the essential benefits of WORKSHOP 8 is the unique schedule. The workshop meets January - June breaks for a summer of concentrated writing, and finally resumes in the fall, September - November. Additionally, the workshop meets for four weeks followed by a week break because it is hard for even the most seasoned writer to maintain an unending writing schedule. Building in breaks allows the writer to write at his or her own pace while processing the discussion from the workshop. 


Jan 22, 29, Feb 5, 12 (BREAK Feb 19)

Feb 26, Mar 4, 11, 18 (BREAK Mar 25)

Apr 1, 8, 15, 22 (BREAK Apr 29)

May 6, 13, 20, 27 (SUMMER BREAK June 3 - Sep 9)

Sep 16, 23, 30, Oct 7 (BREAK Oct 14)

Oct 21, 28, Nov 6, Nov 13

WORKSHOP PROCESS: Eight writers means that you will turn work in on a regular cycle. The page numbers will be high. We include scheduled breaks so participants will be less likely to have to forgo a workshop. Commitment is as important as getting your book done as anything else. This workshop creates that structured environment that will free you to create.

WHY APPLY TO WORKSHOP 8? Acceptance into the program is a major confirmation of your ambition and focus as a working writer. In evaluating you for acceptance into WORKSHOP 8, we consider the needs of writers for time and attention beyond the short traditional workshop. This workshop is an intensive immersion into the real world of writing where you are taken seriously and learn to take yourself seriously too.

WHO SHOULD APPLY? WORKSHOP 8 is ideal for anyone who is commited to working on a single project. It is open to all writers, including former Atheneum Fellows, CNF Studio veterans, post-MFA writers, as well as current and former Workshop 8 participants.

WHITNEY OTTO: Whitney Otto leads WORKSHOP 8. Whitney is an Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute. She is the author of five novels: How To Make an American Quilt, which was a New York Times Best Seller (as well as other bestseller lists) and NY Times Notable Book; nominated for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, and adapted into a feature film produced by Steven Spielberg. Learn more about Whitney

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applications include 25 pages of writing plus a 200-word written statement about your writing and publishing goals during your Workshop 8 participation. 

REGISTRATION: WORKSHOP 8 meets Wednesdays, Jan - Nov, 5:30-8pm, at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters, 4232 SE Hawthorne Boulevard. Early Registration: $1324 (cash/check); 1365 (Paypal). Installment payment option available for accepted writers: Two payments of $697 each (50% of $1324 = $662 plus $35 Admin. Fee) due January 12, 2020 AND February 16, 2020. Installment payments made by credit card through PayPal will also include the PayPal fee for a total of $718 each.


Applications due by email to Dec 1 2019


"Whitney's style is gentle and nurturing, free from dogmatic rules. She encourages each class member to find her/his unique path. Her emphasis is always on craft. Through examination and refinement of your manuscript you will discover your authentic voice. You will learn how attention to detail brings the story to life and you will discern the hidden dramatic arcs and rhythms that were already in your work, waiting to be discovered. In my class of 2017 we were memoirists, novelists, short story writers, essayists. It was amazing to watch each member's original work progress over the year. In my own case I arrived with a 20 page outline last January and in October finished my second draft of a 194 page memoir. I have watched one member start with one short story and end up with a volume of thrilling connected stories. Other members rewrote novels they had already been working on into exciting complex tales full of suspense, vivid imagery and human dilemma, while an essayist wove her compassion for all beings into a completed book, a poetic call for understanding and tolerance. Members of the class offered constructive feedback to each other as we discovered common issues we all faced in our process. Friendships and working relationships developed which will last long after the class ends.  We truly became a community. It is a workshop for writers, both beginning and long established, who want to see their idea come to fruition." 

~ Jeffrey Gould, 2017 Participant in Workshop 8