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Literature, Writing and Personal Growth

Storytelling Basics – How to Write a Story Ready for Publication


Well written stories captivate and transport us in a seemingly effortless way. But under the surface is a well-oiled storytelling machine at work, inviting you into a world of the writer’s design, introducing you to characters they have invented, and guiding you to a well thought out conclusion.

In this class, we will take apart this machine to see how it works, then put it to work for you! Learn to write your own short story over the course of the class, ending with a story ready for submission to literary presses.

Learn the working elements of a story, how to bring characters to life, create story structure, build scenes, and ultimately complete a publishable story that readers will want to read and publishers will want to publish. You will leave class with a 500-1500 word story which will be ready for submission to literary presses.

3 Wed. May 23 - June 6 (Date change)
6:00 - 9:00 pm (time change)
Room: 429
Register before Mar. 26: $85
Register after Mar. 26: $90

register online


Shelly King - see bio below


So, You Want to Write a Novel?

novel writing

Have you always wanted to write a novel, but don't know where to start? Has your idea has been running through your head for a while now, but you’re not sure where to start? How do you turn your brilliant idea into a completed manuscript? Maybe you have started, and it’s not quite what you want it to be, or you’re not sure how to finish it. This workshop is designed to give participants the tools they need to plot out and complete the first draft of their novel.

During this workshop we’ll review popular and familiar stories from movies and books, then break down the components of the story into its essential elements, so students can see how the story is put together, piece by piece.

We'll cover character development, plot, the three-act structure, point-of-view, scene building, and dialog. We'll discuss the point of view (POV) you choose for your novel, how to write characters readers will fall in love with, the do’s and don’ts of dialog, and the plot, pacing, and structure that will have your readers turning the pages.

2 Sat., August 4 & 11
9:00 am – 12:00 Noon
Room: 432
Register before May 31: $78
Register after May 31: $85

register online


Shelly King left a career as a nerd in the high tech world to write short stories and novels about nerds like her. After publishing many short stories in literary journals, her novel, The Moment of Everything, was published by Grand Central Publishing (Hachette) and has been translated to 15 languages around the world.


Writing Womanhood for Women of All Ages and Writers at All Stages

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Women live their lives in chapters—from girlhood to grand-parenting. Learn how to write from the text of your own life in this inspirational and experiential writing workshop for women of all ages and writers at all stages. As your guide and muse, Lisa will inspire you to get started and empower you to keep going. She will show you how to enrich your life by integrating the practice of writing—and the persona of writer—into your daily rhythms.

Each week we will explore a different “chapter” in our lives: “The Story of My Life,” “Writing from Home: Map Stories,” “Family Album: Photo Stories,” “Friends and Lovers: Love Stories,” “Lost and Found: Odes to Common Things,” and, finally, “Changing Chapters: Transitions, Decisions, Turning Points.” We will use sketches, objects, and storytelling to warm up for writing, and impromptu “writing starts” to give us a clear set of footprints onto the blank page. Our focus is not on product but rather on the practice of writing in a notebook every day—two pages or 15 minutes. As we mine our memories—and the moment—for material to write about, we will throw away the rules that bind our imagination, silence the critical inner voices that stifle our creativity, and discover how to carve out the time and space for writing. For inspiration, we will read published essays and poems by such revered writers as Anne Lamott, Vivian Gornick, and Elizabeth Gilbert.

By the end of six weeks, you will have in hand the beginnings of several chapters from your own story of womanhood. And you will know the wisdom that comes from exchanging stories with women at different chapters in their lives.

6 Thu., April 12 – May 17
10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: 2100B
Register before Mar. 26: $138
Register after Mar. 26: $145

register online


Lisa Garrigues, an award-winning writer, teacher, and speaker, is the author of Writing Motherhood (Scribner) and the forthcoming memoir, Skinny-Dipping. She comes to Cabrillo from New York City, where she taught memoir-writing classes at the 92nd Street Y. Lisa is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, and Hedgebrook. She has a bachelor’s in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in English education from Teachers College at Columbia University.   

Memoir Writing: Exploring Memories & Meaning




In this workshop you will explore some of the poignant memories and stories that have shaped your life.

With innovative exercises for eliciting memories and writing memoirs, you will discover stories that may surprise you with their power for self-discovery. As you reflect upon the events that make up your life, you will notice the continuous thread that weaves through your experiences, deepening an understanding of who you are, and offering a sense of clarity, meaning, and purpose for your life.

Sat., June 9
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register by May 31: $78
Register after May 31: $85

Plus a $5 materials fee payable in class

register online

Lauren Mari-Navarro, is a trained facilitator of the Soul Collage® Method encouraging creativity and self-discovery. She has a private practice in the Santa Cruz community.


Travel Writing - Wonder and Wanderlust

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Much like taking, saving and sharing photos of our journeys, writing about travel is a great way to re-live, share or publish the stories of our travels. Turn your adventures into keepsakes to share with family and friends, or essays, articles, blogs, and even novels. From story idea to final revision, you will transform your journeys-near and forays-far into nifty narratives that celebrate the joys of travel. In an atmosphere of support and camaraderie, we will explore the art and soul of travel, share the fun of new, if not foreign horizons, discover why the journey is often more exciting than the destination, and, by class end, have a finished travel story ready either to pitch for publication or tuck away with your family albums.

Just in time to prepare for your summer travel, come share with others your trips, treks and other adventures, past or planned, and let your wonder and wanderlust find voice. Classes will consist of discussion, readings, and writing "adventures" (not exercises). Lots of laughter, included!

2 Sat., June 2 & 9
1:00-4:30 pm
Room: 435
Register before May 31: $98
Register after May 31: $110
Plus $5 materials fee paid at registration

register online

Colette, O’Connor, holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is a professional travel writer. Her lifestyle features and travel essays have appeared in publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times to The Best Women’s Travel Writing.


Retire Early and Travel for Free!


If you’re near retirement, retired, re-tooling or changing careers, or if you like the idea of making additional income to support your travel dream, this class is for you. Learn over 200 ways to travel for free, including volunteering, fun work-vacations & paid travel opportunities. These tricks and tools will help you use your skills and hobbies to pay for your travel, create the time & money to travel as much as you want, and keep your retirement money in the bank! We’ll go over how to earn free airline tickets, hotel nights, cruises, tours, car rentals, meals, and more in the USA  and worldwide!
Your materials fee will cover the 100-page book, Retire Early & Travel Free, which helps you plan a trip, make it free, and achieve your travel goals!

Thu., May 24
1:00 – 4:30 pm
Room: 1605
Register before Mar. 26: $58
Register after Mar. 26: $65
Plus a $15 materials fee paid in class

register online


Thu., May 24
6:00 – 9:30 pm
Room: 1605
Register before Mar. 26: $58
Register after Mar. 26: $65
Plus a $15 materials fee paid in class

register online


Gina Henry, holds master’s in International Management, is a travel expert, writer, and professional speaker, and owner of Go Global, Inc., a company she founded to help people find affordable ways to support their travel habit. She has been traveling for free for over twenty-five years and has traveled to 93 countries & all 50 states.


Shakespeare for the Elizabethan Impaired – Santa Cruz Shakespeare 2018


Would you like to see a Shakespeare play and actually know what’s going on? <pstyle:cd>Just in time for Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2018 season, this workshop is designed to help you do just that! We’ll focus on Romeo and Juliet and Love's Labour's Lost. Whether the Bard was your BFF, or you’ve always hated Hamlet and loathed Lear, you’ll find lots to like in this interactive workshop designed to help you better understand Shakespeare’s humor, subtle messages, characters and the stories he tells through his plays.

We’ll discuss how to “translate” Elizabethan verse and prose and discover the three levels of society Shakespeare wrote for. Imagine yourself as a rowdy “groundling” and your experience in the Globe’s own “mosh pit”! We’ll share “Shakespeare News of the Week,” in which students bring in references to Will they’ve unearthed. Once you start to look for these, they’re everywhere—in the news, on the sports page and in the comics. Students will be invited to read aloud if they choose, as we investigate how Shakespeare’s words were intended to be spoken.

Students may bring Folger Shakespeare Library paperback versions, readily available for order online or in bookstores, but any versions are acceptable. See you anon!

Sat. & Sun., June 23 & 24
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Room: 1605
Register before May 31: $80
Register after May 31: $88
Register 2 or more: $75 each

register online


Janis Hashe, MA, has studied, performed, directed and produced Shakespeare for more than 40 years. She is the former artistic director of Los Angeles's Theatre of NOTE, and the founder of Shakespeare Chattanooga.


SoulCollage®: For the Love of Images and the Changes They Bring

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Give expression to your life story in all its beauty and complexity! SoulCollage® is a flexible and profound expressive arts method through which you make your own unique cards for personal reading. Anyone who has a love of images and is looking for an intuitive process for change and growth will find this process meaningful. Your cards give voice to all of who you are and even offer expression to the qualities you want to bring into your life!

In its 13th year offered at Cabrillo Extension, SoulCollage® originated right here in Santa Cruz County by local author Seena Frost and is now in 39 countries around the world! Come experience for yourself what has inspired thousands: a method deeply personal, incredibly fun, and perfect for the quiet individualist as well as the one who loves community. As simple as the ingredients of cut images, a pair of scissors, and some glue, this process is considered by many to be transformational and vitally expressive, even with zero art experience!

This is a course for beginners as well as those already familiar with SoulCollage® who will enjoy having time to review concepts and create several new cards in a relaxing and lovely environment. Participants will be able to immediately apply what they learn during this creative day together. Anyone can make SoulCollage® cards!

Sat., August 25
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5005

Register before May 31: $78
Register after May 31: $88
plus $20 materials fee payable to instructor in class

Follow this link to our Class Resources page, which includes materials lists and other important information about classes.

register online


Lauren Mari-Navarro is a trained facilitator of the SoulCollage® Method encouraging creativity and self-discovery. Lauren has her own private counseling practice in Santa Cruz County.


The Writer's Journey



Many of us hold a deep dream of wanting to write. We want to write so we can understand ourselves more deeply and so that we can be seen. We sense that there are stories living inside of us that need to be told, but in our busy lives, we have not been able to create the time, space or circumstances in which to do so. This one-day workshop will give you that time. During our day of writing together and reading aloud, you will tap into your creativity, explore your wild mind, and learn the basic tools you need to develop a rich, vital writing life.

The Writer’s Journey is rooted in writing practice, developed by Natalie Goldberg in her classic book, Writing Down the Bones. The class is appropriate for both beginning and experienced writers.

Students should bring a lunch.

Sat., Sept. 8
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Room: Horticulture 5001
Fee: $78

register online

Laura Davis is the author of 7 non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. She teaches weekly writing workshops and has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past 16 years.





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