Sunday, August 14, 2016

​Writing Groups 
Fall Session Begins 
Week of September 13, 2016
Register online now at:

Tuesdays, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
with Ann Connery Frantz
(Fall Session Full)

Thursday10:00 am - 12:00 pm
with Paula Castner
(Fall Session Full)

Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
with Winona Wendth

And SBWC Welcomes 
New Writing Group

Fridays, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
with Lucinda Bowen

The Friday morning creative writing group follows the Amherst Method as described by founder Pat Schneider's book, Writing Alone and With Others (Oxford University Press, 2003).  The Amherst Method believes every person is a writer and strives to provide a safe environment where writers of all experience can experiment, learn, and develop craft.
This workshop meets 2 hours weekly for eight weeks in the fall, winter and spring. Class size is limited.

Lucinda Bowen is a freelance writer and writing group leader in Harvard, Massachusetts. Her essays, features, and profiles regularly appear in the Harvard Press. She also co-leads a women's writing workshop and gave her first public poetry reading this year. When she is not writing, you can find her running, knitting or tending her backyard flock of chickens. 

For more information on
visit the SBWC Writers Group Page

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fall Fiction Writing Class

            Fiction Essentials With Rich Marcello
  Wednesday Evenings, September 14 – November 16, 2016
 6:00 – 9:00 PM
The Parlor, First Church
725 Main Street, Lancaster

Each three-hour class will be divided into two sections. In the first section, we’ll explore different aspects of the craft of fiction as detailed below. In the second section, we’ll focus on scenes written by the students, and provide positive, constructive feedback on how each author might further develop his or her work.

                                    Week One:    The Anatomy of a Scene
                                    Week Two:   The Fictive Dream
                                    Week Three: Point of View, Voice, and Time
                                    Week Four:   Plot, Tension, and Raising the Stakes
                                    Week Five:   Characters
                                    Week Six:     The First and Last Chapter
                                    Week Seven: Dialogue Versus Narrative Summary
                                    Week Eight:  How to Build a World
                                    Week Nine:   Common Issues
                                    Week Ten:    Putting It All Together

Prerequisites: Some level of previous experience writing fiction, either through class work or seminars or self-study. Each student must submit a sample of his or her writing, preferably a scene between six and ten double-spaced pages, as part of the application process for this class.

Rich is a poet, an accomplished songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher at Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and the forthcoming, The Beauty of the Fall, due out in 2016. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

The Color of Home was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and melds together honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.” The Big Wide Calm was published in 2014, also by Langdon Street Press. The US Review of Books stated, “Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all of the basic requirements of best-of-show in the literary fiction category.” The Beauty of the Fall will be published in 2016. Faulkner Award Winner Mark Spencer commented, “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.”

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet.For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts on a lake with his family and two Newfoundlands, Ani and Shaman. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Latecomers.

  Preregistration Required.  To Register, click here:


We Were All Beginners Once:
An Interview with Rich Marcello

SBWC: You are a full-time writer now, after working in the high tech field for years.  What first motivated you to become a novelist and how did you go about pursuing your goal to become a writer?

RM: When I was in college, my humanities professor, who was a novelist, encouraged me to become a writer and even offered to mentor me.  I was broke at the time, so I said no, but I always knew I would eventually return to writing. About five years ago, I came up with an idea to write three novels about different kinds of love, and so I left hi-tech and began to write the books.  I’ve been writing every day since then, typically five or six hours a day,  and I’ve come to believe the work I’m doing now was always meant to be my life’s work.  With the publication of The Beauty of the Fall in the fall, I’ll fulfill my original goal.  I’m now working on my fourth novel, The Latecomers, and I have many more ideas for future stories.  If all goes well, when I’m done, I hope to publish ten or so novels.

SBWC: Francine Prose says writers learn to write by writing, and by example, from reading books.”  What do craft classes offer aspiring writers that they can’t get elsewhere?

RM: Writing is a craft, and, as Francine says, much of a writer’s growth comes from writing. With that said, there a number of technical concepts that can be taught – point of view, what it means to write a sense-based scene, what constitutes good dialogue, when to use narrative summary, how to develop a character through setting, the major components of a compelling story – to name a few. 
I’ve come to believe it’s best to learn about these topics in a class that balances lectures with hands-on workshops. My experience is that aspiring writers tend to learn the most when they apply technical concepts to their own pieces in a safe, constructive environment. That’s what I offer students in my class.

SBWC: Your fiction-writing course runs for 10 weeks.  Is there a natural progression to the craft of fiction writing? How to you balance the particulars of craft, such as writing dialogue or constructing scenes, with the big picture concerns of writing fiction, such plot and structure? 

RM: I try to cover one of the major topic areas per week. I start with the definition of a scene and build from there. The scene truly is the most critical building block in moder fiction, so I’ve arranged all the tops to build off the scene.

SBWC: Do have suggested or required reading?

RM: There are many books out there on writing fiction. I will hand out a list of my favorite ten craft books during class.  If I were to name one I’d recommend, it would be Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition), by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French.

SBWC: Who were your most effective teachers? And what were their most valuable lessons?

RM: I was lucky enough to be taught by Mark Spencer, who has published many novels, won the Faulkner Award, and is Dean of Humanities a the University of Arkansas. The most important thing he taught me was to work at my craft every day and to create characters, often deeply wounded, that I love.

SBWC: Could you talk little about the format of the class?  What has worked best in your experience?  

RM: The class combines lectures and workshops. Folks will have lots of opportunities to apply what they learn in class to their own work, and they’ll get on-the-spot feedback from me and their fellow students.

SBWC: A class like this is a commitment. Could you tell us a little about the workload and what you expect from students?  How much time outside of class should students expect to spend writing/editing/critiquing?

RM: I encourage folks to write at least an hour a day each week. This isn’t a requirement, but it really does make a difference to the work.  If a student wants to workshop a finished piece and doesn’t have time to write during the ten weeks, that’s okay. The important thing is that they have a piece of fiction, finished or unfinished, that we can work on in class.

SBWC: The course is open to “experienced” writers.  What does this mean?  Do you have to be published to apply?

RM: A student doesn’t need to be published.  As long as students have some experience of writing fiction in the past, they’re welcome.

SBWC: For me, one of the most important aspects of fiction classes and workshops is encouragement from fellow students and teachers. What role does community play in learning to write? Are your students expected to share their work?

RM: Yes, a good portion of the class is workshop. Students are expected to read their own material to classmates and to provide feedback to their classmates. Sometimes students are concerned about reading their material out loud or giving verbal feedback on the spot,  but once they see the power of the process I use, most end up finding this kind of sharing very valuable.

SBWC: Writing classes provide structure and discipline. What do your students take away with them in terms of developing and sustaining a successful writing process? 

RM: I like to stress the importance of writing every day, the importance of working on a first draft all the way to the end before editing, and,  finally, the importance of editing over and over unto a piece truly feels done.

SBWC: You require a 6 to 10, double-spaced page writing sample in your application.  Does this have to be from finished work, or can it be a work-in-progress? Is this work that can be revisited in class?

RM: It can be from a work in progress, and a student can certainly choose to revisit a piece during the class.

SBWC: Clearly, you are not writing for yourself only, or simply for pleasure, but for publication.  How do you approach the business end of being a writer?  Do you address this side of things as part of the course?

RM: We won’t spend a lot of time on the business aspects of writing in this class. There isn’t enough time. With that said, if a writer is ready to submit work for potential publication, I’m happy to speak with them about the process outside of class.

SBWC: What do you say to newer students, who might be taking a class like this for the first time?

RM: All are welcome. Over the years, some of the best students I’ve had have turned out to writers taking a fiction class for the first time. Stated differently, if someone things the class might be helpful, they should sign up. The class is designed to serve all students, and, really, we were all beginners once…

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Growing Together...

In September, the Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative will begin its sixth season. Having started in 2010 with a single writers' group, we are proud and excited to see how much we have grown as a community and as an organization. With mulitiple writers' groups, critique groups, classes, workshops, and two author series, SBWC has served as a meetinghouse, offering fellowship, support, and educational opportunities to local writers working in all genres and at all levels of experience. 

Our writing groups, led by SBWC founders, Paula Castner, Ann Frantz, Winona Wendth, and our newest facilitator, local writer Lucinda Bowen, meet weekly, giving writers the chance to practice prompt-based writing in the tradition of the Amherst Method, and to examine craft, supporting each other as they explore the elements of good writing, from word choice to story arc, that inspires and hones creative work. 

Critique groups serve writers working on short stories, novels, poetry, and creative non-fiction, encouraging writers in the process of both critiquing and self-editing. Clear-eyed, dispassionate assessment is critical to the writing process, and there is no better support for the working writer than a well-tuned, dedicated, respectful circle of writers willing to read and discuss sometimes fledgling works-in-progress. SBWC acts as a clearinghouse, connecting writers looking for mutural support and encouragment in the form of critique. 

From the very beginning, it was part of the SBWC vision to provide educational programming for new and experienced writers. The Seven Bridge Sessions, held on the third Saturday of the month, give local writers access to hands-on workshops, classes, lectures and panel discussions that explore all aspects of the writer's craft, as well as the writer-editor relationship, publishing options, free-lancing, business skills for writers, and living the writer's life. These monthly sessions invite a wide variety of skilled presenters to share their knowledge and experience, and have become a valued resource for the local writing community and the greater central Massachusetts region.

Now in its second season, the Bridging Writers Author Series, welcomes published authors to read and discuss their work on the first Monday of the month, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Held at the Thayer Memorial Library, in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the Bridging Writers Author Series hosts writers working in all genres, giving local writers and readers a chance to engage with talented authors and support their work, with book sales and signings after the readings.

And, in partnership with Common Stories, SBWC recently welcomed  award winning young adult authors, Nancy Werlin, Kristin Cashore, and Annie Hartnett to the first of a new series celebrating the work of emerging and established writers from the New England region and beyond. Held Upstairs @ The General, in Harvard, Massachusetts, Common Stories invites authors and readers to come together in a historic, cultural venue for literary evenings, featuring readings, discussions, food and friends.  

We have come a long way, and as we begin the new season, SBWC continues to evolve by creating a new interactive website, finalizing our status as a non-profit, expanding community outreach with new Open Mics venues and continuing to work with the local schools in support of young writers with our annual Poetry Contest. 

The SBWC programs for 2016 -2017are varied, constructive, and most of all, fun! In addition to our workshops on memoir, voice, flash fiction and many others, we have an exciting line-up of visiting authors, a ten-week Fiction Writing course, beginning in September, and seven-week Guide to Novel Writing, beginning in February. And, in May of 2017, we will partner with the Worcester Art Museum with a special workshop on The Art of Looking, with Christian McEwen.

Explore our new schedule, under the headings above, and please join us! And we're always happy to hear your thoughts or to answer questions at

We are grateful to the Thayer Memorial Library for supporting our mission in every way possible, and to the First Church for opening their doors to new programming and events. As writers and people we grow best together, and we welcome your participation, support, and input, as we continue to grow a thriving writers' community that inspires and enriches us all. 

Hollis Shore
President and Program Director

Saturday, June 11, 2016

 Special Event

In Partnership with 

 Join SBWC
in Welcoming 
Multiple Award Winning Authors

Nancy Werlin                      Kristin Cashore                 Annie Hartnett

Friday, June 24, 2016
7:30 PM
Upstairs @ The General
1 Still River Road, Harvard Massachusetts
$5.00 cover 

Nancy Werlin is the author of nine young adult novels in the genres of realistic fiction, fantasy, and suspense. Her novel The Rules of Survival was a finalist for the National Book Award, her novel The Killer’s Cousin won the Edgar award for best mystery, and her novel Impossible was a New York Times bestseller. She lives with her husband in Melrose, and is currently working on a suspense thriller to be published in 2017. Visit her website at for more.

Kristin Cashore wrote the New York Times bestsellers Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue, all of which have been named ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Graceling is the winner of the 2009 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, Fire is the winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and Bitterblue  is a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book. Graceling is currently scheduled to be published in thirty-three languages. Cashore currently has a realistic YA novel and a cross-genre YA novel in revisions. A native Pennsylvanian, she now lives in the Boston area.

Annie Hartnett's debut novel RABBIT CAKE is forthcoming from Tin House Books in 2017.  She was the 2013-2014 winner of the Writer in Residence Fellowship for the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Annie's stories and essays have appeared in Salon magazine, Indiana Review, Unstuck magazine, and PANK magazine, among others. Annie has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Alabama and has received awards and honors from the Bread Loaf School of English, Indiana Review, and McSweeney's. Annie teaches classes on the short story and the novel at Grub Street, an independent writing center in Boston, and is currently at work on her second novel.

A 2006 National Book Award Finalist

Matt has long since put himself in charge of protecting his younger sisters from their enemy.
Who is their enemy? It's their mother, Nikki O'Grady Walsh.
Matt's done okay. But secretly, inside, he's growing tired and hopeless. Then, suddenly, there's a possible ally on the horizon. Murdoch, his mother's ex-boyfriend, who maybe can help him get rid of his mother—for good.

The Rules of Survival spoke to me. I was there for every minute, reverse-wish-fulfilling as I read. The outcome made knots in my chest come undone.” —Tamora Pierce

A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist

Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” the New York Times bestseller Impossible combines suspense, fantasy, and romance to tell a story of love and family conquering all.

“A haunting, thrilling romantic puzzle.” —Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked

In Bitterblue, eighteen-year-old Bitterblue is the queen of a kingdom still in recovery from the reign of its previous king, her father. The influence of Bitterblue's father—a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities—lives on in Monsea, in ways Bitterblue hasn't yet learned the extent of. Feeling hemmed in by her over-protective and controlling staff, Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle to walk the streets of her own city at night—and meets two thieves who hold a key to the truth of her father’s reign.


Rabbit Cake is a darkly comic coming of age novel narrated by
12-year-old Elvis Babbitt. Elvis is reeling from the loss of her
mother, who recently drowned in a sleepwalking episode. Elvis can't
escape the feeling that her mother’s death was suspicious somehow, and
worries that her family won’t ever escape the pull of their mother's

Book signings and sales to follow.  For more information contact