Classes & Workshops

“Most people won’t realize that writing is a craft. You have to take your apprenticeship in it like anything else.”
—Katherine Ann Porter


pre-registration is required for all Napa Valley College classes

Upper Valley Campus, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena

Register:  707-967-2900 x 1301



The Creative Writing Workshop

Participants write outside of class then gather to read selections, discuss craft, and practice critique as a path to self editing and revision. We use information useful to writers, guest speakers and our blog, Building a Better Story, as resources.

All genre welcome, including poetry and non-fiction.

 Mondays in St. Helena 1:00-3:00 PM room 4

Fall 2014:

Session #1: 9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13

Session #2:  10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24


Honing Your Craft: Tips and Tricks for Successful Revision

Saturday, October 18th from 10:00 to 1:00 Room 4

You’ve finished the first draft of your story. What now? Ernest Hemingway once said that good writing was “one-tenth inspiration and nine-tenths perspiration”, and to be a good writer, you need a “built-in, shockproof crap detector.” Knowledge of the elements of the genre you write in and the ability to apply the conventions of craft to your manuscript results in successful revision. This hands-on workshop reviews craft and offers tips and strategies to help you “re-vision” your work. Bring your questions and one troublesome page from your draft.
     Using class discussion and prepared exercises throughout the workshop to review the basic rules of prose craft, we’ll practice the art of recognizing and applying the elements and strategies of revision to our work. You’ll receive tips and ideas for developing revision strategies and will gain confidence for participation in writing workshops and critique groups. Handout included.
          What we’ll cover:
     Conventions for structure, characterization, point of view, plot, place, scene vs. narration, back story vs. front story, emotion and motivation, subtext, imagery, theme and use of sensory language and more.  At the end, you’ll work with a partner to apply new skills to your draft excerpt and volunteer may results with the group.

     Supplemental information and bibliographies will be posted on Building a Better Story.

Suggested reading:

Elizabeth Lyon, Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Writer Can Afford to Ignore, (2008) Perigee Book, Penguin Group ISBN 13-978-0-399-53395-2



The Narrator’s Tale: All About Point of View

Monday, December 1st from 1:00- 4:00 Room 4

A 3-hour hands-on workshop that covers the “rules” of narrative voice for one or multiple points of view. Explore the differences between narrators in fiction and creative non-fiction, the narrative voice continuum, point of view and narrative distance, the narrator and reliability, and how to avoid the POV pitfalls. Come prepared with a paragraph of narration from your current work-in-progress. Email for pre-workshop assignment.


Pre-registration is required for Napa Valley Classes

Read what Ana’s students have to say:


“I want to thank you for arranging David Corbett’s time with us today.  I love learning, and he made it so interesting and fun! –Just like you do!  What a precious gift, to learn at the foot of another professional.”

“I’ve decided to put some of my writing from your class together and send it off to the Stegner Fellowship which takes submissions until Dec. 1. And I want to tell you that being in your class has opened me to trying new things and being much more directed and disciplined that I have been before.”

“In case you have somehow overlooked it, you have been responsible for inspiring your students and you should pat yourself on the back (difficult maneuver) for bringing out the best in us and giving us the confidence to keep on pitching. You are what all teachers should aim for!”

“Thanks Ana. I must say that in the 15 (?) years I have been taking classes at the college, you are the best teacher we’ve had.”


“Just a short note to thank you for welcoming us to your home. I thought the session was informative and most enjoyable.”

Kit—to Susan Bono, editor,  Tiny Lights—A Journal of Personal Narrative
“You mentioned when you talked to Ana Manwaring’s class in Napa last year to say hello when we submitted work to you. I am pleased to be doing that. I wish to let you know how much I appreciate her teaching: professional and enthusiastic. As I am a teacher also, it has been instructive to me to observe her skills in the classroom. Plus she seems to love teaching!”

“…And thanks for re-establishing our connection via Ana. It’s always wonderful to see how a writer comes to Tiny Lights. I love Ana’s enthusiasm, too. She is one-of-a-kind!” Susan