Where To Start

    Taking a look at all of Lighthouse's programs and not sure where to start? You've found the right place. On this page, you'll get an overview of how Lighthouse classes work, when they're run, how to find the right one for you, and more!

    We also understand that paying full price isn't always feasible for everyone. If you need financial assistance, please don't hesitate to apply for Writership Tuition Assistance.

    As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to [email protected].

    What's a Workshop?

    The word is all over our website—so what's a workshop, and what do these other terms mean?

    The word "workshop" refers to classes in which in-progress work is shared and writers are given written, formal critique and feedback from peers. It can seem intimidating on the surface, but learning from other writers is what helps us grow. Most of our 8-week workshops involve some level of formal (i.e. written and turned in) workshop, while shorter-form classes, like 4-week courses, may have more informal workshops, such as short verbal critique or casual sharing of work.

    Classes that aren’t workshop-focused may instead be "generative." These courses focus on getting words on paper, creating new work, and encouraging the creative process. These classes aren't focused on critiquing, but encouraging growth and the formation of new projects.

    The third type of Lighthouse course is the craft class. These courses don't focus on workshopping or generation, but on developing specific skills, or “craft.” Often, these four-week or one-day classes focus on one particular element of the work, like dialogue or plot for prose writers and rhyme or line breaks for poets. Lit Fest is chock-full of these craft classes, known as Craft Seminars, providing participants with a quick yet thorough immersion in some element of writing, and also introducing them to a variety of different instructors and teaching styles.

    Class Sessions

    Our year is divided into seasonal sessions, each containing a fresh set of 8-week, 4-week, and one-day classes of all genres and levels. The sessions vary in length but are usually around eight weeks long (with the exception of Lit Fest). Each session’s new classes are posted online four to six weeks in advance. The sessions are as follows:

    • Winter: First week of January through the second week of March
    • Spring: Fourth week of March through the first week of May
    • Lit Fest: Second or third week of June
    • Summer: First week of July through the third week of August
    • Late Summer: Fourth week of August through the first week of October
    • Fall: Third week of October through the end of the year

    To get notified when the new session is posted, make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter!

    Regularly Offered Classes

    Each session, we offer a series of regularly scheduled courses in addition to new offerings of varying lengths. Our “core” classes are made up of intro, intermediate, and advanced levels of our main four genres (novel, short story, nonfiction, and poetry), varying courses in dramatic writing (screenplay and playwriting), and others. See below for the full list.

    • Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Novel
    • Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Short Story
    • Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Personal Narrative and Memoir/Nonfiction
    • Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Poetry
    • Playwriting
    • Intro and Advanced Screenwriting, with occasional Intermediate offerings
    • Writing 101—Gotta Start Somewhere (Zoom and in-person)
    • Novel Bootcamp I and II (alternating sessions with the below)
    • Novel Bootcamp III and IV
    • Getting it Done—96 Hours Towards the Finished Draft
    • Works in Progress—Prose

    Class Series
    There are also several series of courses run at Lighthouse; some are run every session, while others may disappear and reappear as their instructors become available. Regardless of schedule, you may see the following titles reoccur:

    Novel Bootcamp
    This series, taught by Book Project Director/mentor William Haywood Henderson, is a four-part lecture series designed to help students begin (or revise, or finish) their novel and get a handle on the novel-writing process. Take a single part or all four—each part lasts four weeks, with in-class discussion, lectures, writing exercises, and homework. Learn how to get started, organize and improve what you already have created, focus your voice, and, most importantly, finish your book!

    Memoirists will find that the material in this class applies equally well to creating a memoir—the basics of crafting a book-length dramatic tale are the same for novels and memoirs.

    Bootcamp is split into the following sections:

    • Novel Bootcamp I—Your Story
    • Novel Bootcamp II—Your Novel’s World
    • Novel Bootcamp III—Your Novel’s Arc
    • Novel Bootcamp IV—Your Novel’s Voice

    Writing Jump-Start
    Taught by Jennifer Wortman, the Writing Jump-Start series, for writers of all levels and genres, will rev up your writing practice with exercises designed to help generate new material or build on existing work. Each week you’ll find inspiration by focusing on one of four writing-friendly themes. This series is most often taught asynchronously on Wet Ink; this platform allows classes to be taken on your own schedule, completing weekly lessons on your own time. The Writing Jump-Start series can be taken individually or together in any order. Each part of the series has a similar format but covers different themes.

    Former iterations of Writing Jump-Start include:

    • Writing Jump-Start—Family, Friends, Lovers, Foes
    • Writing Jump-Start—Memory, Obsession, Aversion, Dreams
    • Writing Jump-Start—Earth, Air, Fire, Water
    • Writing Jump-Start—Nature, Nation, God, Sin

    Craft Lessons From
    Good writing is built on reading. Lighthouse’s faculty knows this, which is why we regularly teach our “Craft Lessons From” series (formerly known as “Reading as a Writer”). Instructors in various genres will select a specific author and work and teach a 4-week craft class on that work, focusing on the techniques that made the novel/short story/memoir/etc. successful. Previous iterations of this series include:

    • Craft Lessons from Joan Didion's The White Album
    • Craft Lessons from The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 
    • Craft Lessons from Black Narratives: Oral and Literary Intention and Impact
    • Craft Lessons from Children's Picture Books
    • Craft Lessons from Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetry and Prose

    How to Join Us

    Lighthouse has gone global; whether you're right next door or across the world, we can't wait to see you!

    Lighthouse courses take place:

    • In-person at our Denver location
    • On Zoom at a scheduled meeting time, or
    • On Wet Ink, an asynchronous platform that allows you to take classes on your own time!

    Classes happen every day of the week, usually in the time slots of 9-11 AM MDT, 4-6 PM MDT, or 6:30-8:30 PM MDT. One-day courses are most often run on weekend mornings.

    Still Lost?

    Check out this handy flowchart to help you find the right Lighthouse class for you.