Classes & retreats & coaching

About the author:

Laura Pritchett is a mere mortal who will someday die. She’s also the author of five literary novels and the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Willa Award, and others. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, O Magazine, Salon, High Country News, Bloom, The Millions, Publisher’s Weekly, The Sun, and others. She holds a PhD from Purdue University and teaches and speaks around the country—as she happily prepares for her death. You can find out more at www.laurapritchett.com or www.makingfriendswithdeath.com

 

Yes, I'm a dork. My teenagers tell me all the time. But I'm also a woman who faced down death--and got ready for the inevitable. And then helped some friends do the same. And I love spreading the word . . . 

Yes, I'm a dork. My teenagers tell me all the time. But I'm also a woman who faced down death--and got ready for the inevitable. And then helped some friends do the same. And I love spreading the word . . . 

Individual Writing Coaching:

I've worked with writers individually as a writing coach for over 20 years--and have had clients go on to get book deals and publish short stories and essays in major publications. The best part, though, is that they accomplished their particular dreams. I've found that folks nearing the end of life particularly want to write, shape, and present (in some form or another) their stories. Whether it's a self-published book for the grandkids, or that novel you've always wanted to write, making peace with death might involve sharing your story. 

Indeed, I often ask my students to keep a list of "The Top 10 Things I want to Write Before I Die." This could be a will, or an apology, or a rage against injustice. And sometimes, it's a particular essay or story. The point, as I tell my students -- is to do it now!

I generally believe that a writing coach can make writing smoother, more organized, and (yay!) more efficient. I generally work with writers who already have a manuscript (or part of one) in hand. My goal is to get you to the next step: finishing 'er up and seeking an agent or publisher. I like thinking of global issues -- arc, plot, themes, and posing the questions that will extend your story/essay/book. Together, we work together on all writing skills, including making sure there is tension, depth, intrigue, and heart.

While I can't promise you a successful contract, I'll do my best to provide you the practical support you will need as you navigate the process from "birthing your baby" to keeping on a writing schedule to bringing your story to completion. Or just getting down that darn story to give to family.

 

Recent testimonials 

"Awful. Horrible. Terrible. All lies that I want to spread so that I can keep the secret that is Laura Pritchett's writing coaching all to myself. After years of struggling through a failed first novel, I threw in the towel and went searching for a professional to help me hone my craft. Enter Laura, and I truly wonder how my writing ever got along without her. Her insightful feedback and constructive criticism have propelled my writing to the next level. Six short stories later, and I've landed an honorable mention in Writer's Digest and have signed a contract for an upcoming anthology. I'm currently working with Laura on my second novel, and with her help, I'm truly ecstatic about where it's headed.  Trust me, Laura possesses an uncanny ability to identify issues you would never spot on your own and suggest improvements that will transform your decent story into an exceptional one. In short, there's no substitute for working with a professional like her. Just do me a favor and don't hog all of her time." -- Caleb Stephens

 

"I highly recommend Laura Pritchett as a writing coach and content editor. She has taught this former Dartmouth English literature major and business writer how to author an engaging book. The first draft of my memoir was a just-the-facts collection of episodes with clunky dialogue and inconsistent scenes. Two rounds of Laura’s feedback have enabled me to turn that draft into a great plot and meaningful inner journey ready to send to agents. She provides a rare combination of encouragement and helpful feedback, neither falsely positive nor devastatingly critical. She does not write the book for you, she tells you in general terms what you need to do better, and how, and marks examples in the manuscript. Laura is focused on helping people learn to be great writers."  -- India Wood

 

"One week before I turned 63 I found myself celebrating the unexpected acceptance of two stories for publication, one in a magazine and one in our local newspaper. Although publication felt like a birthday present, it was really Laura who gifted me -- with her exceptional coaching that shifted my writing from good enough to worthy of being in the world. Think it is too late, or you are too old, I encourage you to risk falling in love with the written word and writer within -- with Laura as your spirited guide and mentor." -- E. Sciarra            

 

 

I charge $90 per hour; references available on request.

A book coach ...

  • can help get that "almost ready" manuscript polished and ready to go
  • guides you through planning, writing, and publishing, your book
  • helps you set realistic deadlines and create a schedule for meeting them
  • works with you on polishing your writing
  • clarifies available publishing options

 

 

upcoming readings: 

October 12 – CHICAGO, IL - City Lit Books – 6:30 pm– in conversation with novelist Christine Sneed -  http://www.citylitbooks.com

October 13 – CHICAGO - Harvest Book Festival

October 26 – FORT COLLINS – Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut Street, http://www.oldfirehousebooks.com, 6 pm

October 28 – DENVER – Oriental Theatre for “Mortified” – 4335 W 33th Ave, http://www.theorientaltheater.com/calendar

October 29 – DENVER – Book Bar – 4280 Tennyson Street, 5 pm http://www.bookbardenver.com/ “Making Friends with Death reading and activity”

October 30 - BOULDER - Boulder Bookstore, 7:30 pm 

January 13 – BILLINGS, MT – Billings Library, 1 pm

 

Speaking engagements: 

Laura Pritchett loves spreadin' the word on a good death and has been teaching creative writing for nearly twenty years, both at MFA programs and at writing conferences around the country. Making Friends with Death classes and workshops include stops in NY, Chicago, Denver, Boulder, Steamboat, and Fort Collins. If you'd like to host a reading or a workshop, please contact Pritchett at laurapritchett.lp@gmail.com

 

Description of the reading: 

Making Friends with Death, A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath (and “A Death Prep Cram Session!” Activity)

Please join us for a reading of Laura Pritchett’s newest book, Making Friends with Death, A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath (to be read, ideally, before it’s imminent), published by VIVA Editions in the Fall of 2017. Pritchett, well known for her novels set in the contemporary West, leaps into new and exciting territory with this nonfiction/guidebook that’s designed to get us all thinking about the inevitable—even when (and especially when) we’re young, healthy, and not under duress.

The evening will include a short activity designed to jumpstart your exploration into making friends with the not-so-grim Grim Reaper. We’ll broach the sacred and the scary with warmth, humor, and a few wisdoms gleaned from years of research. We expect that you’ll leave thinking of death as more of a potential friend rather than a spooky stranger. And since we can “use death as our advisor,” it might offer a few nuggets on living our best and brightest life, too. We can nearly guarantee that you’ll find yourself laughing, even as you contemplate your own death.

 

Description for Classes/Workshops:

Bootcamp: My Life Book, My Death Prep

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Based on the friendly and spunky book Making Friends with Death, A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath (to be read, ideally, before it’s imminent), this 1 hour class is designed to get you thinking about making some peace with the inevitable. We’ll broach the sacred and the scary with warmth, humor, and a few wisdoms gleaned from years of research into what a good death looks like. The goal? That you’ll leave thinking of death as more of a friend rather than a spooky stranger—which helps not only you, but your loved ones as well (not to mention our culture and planet). And since we can “use death as our advisor,” it might offer a few nuggets on living our best and brightest life too. There will be a few laughs along the way—because it’s not all grim when it comes to the grim reaper.

 

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Writing our lives, now!

The impulse to put our life to paper is a strong one—and one that deserves attention and care, particularly when we’re thinking of our death (even if that death is a long ways away). Bearing witness to who we are, what we’ve stood for, what we’ve been gifted and what we’ve overcome—well, that’s an impulse worth honoring. It’s also wise to consider how to shape those experiences into story (rather than just listing a chronology of events, say). This 2 hour class will focus on doing just that: Picking the stories you most want to write, deciding how to shape them, filling out the details that you might forget, and honing in on what matters most. By the end of the workshop, you’ll leave with a solid start to at least some of your most telling life moments. Whether it’s for a family member, loved ones, or just for you, you’ll have given the gift of preserving your voice, your story, your life.

 

I'm really proud of my literary fiction, which includes novels that won the PEN USA Award for Fiction, the WILLA Award for Fiction, the High Plains Book Award for Fiction, and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. 

I'm really proud of my literary fiction, which includes novels that won the PEN USA Award for Fiction, the WILLA Award for Fiction, the High Plains Book Award for Fiction, and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. 

 

Regular Writing Classes:

The Art of Place: Where Interior and Exterior Landscapes Merge

The exterior landscape can influence and illuminate the internal landscape of characters. This class explores the relationship between the two: How can the natural world illustrate our characters? How can our characters help us experience nature in new ways?The play between the internal and external can be a powerful tool in creating characters and rendering their experience, as well as incorporating the natural world into our work.

Out of the bedroom, onto the page! Writing sex scenes

Sex is not always good, but it's always revealing! Whether it's fantastic, boring, strange, or predictable, sex is one of the most powerful unions and sensations we experience, and it shouldn't be skipped or avoided in writing. On the other hand, a sex scene shouldn't be included unless it serves a purpose, which is to illustrate the characters and the larger themes of the work. This workshop will introduce and explore some ideas about writing sex well how to direct an honest gaze at this most fascinating activity.

 

Environmental Writing: Changing the World

Nature/environmental writing is a growing trend in publishing today . . . . and no wonder. We are at the cusp of great changes in America as we work towards sustainable living and honoring our natural resources. Feeling deeply connected to issues/places demands expression; many nature-lovers seek a way to communicate their ideas/bonds/hopes to a larger audience.

Other popular workshops:

  • Introduction to Writing and Publishing
  • How a Book Becomes a Book
  • Journey of a Writer
  • Voice and Characterization
  • Writing the Short Story
  • Your NoveL: Getting Started
  • Your Novel: Working through the middle
  • Your Novel: Wrapping it up

Available for schools, conferences, writing programs, and groups.

Fees

Fees are $1000 (plus travel) for one day (e.g., a workshop and a reading, two workshops, two readings, etc). I don't work with a Speaker's Agent - just contact me directly at laurapritchett.lp@gmail.com for more info.