Elements of WordCraft

Elements of WordCraft with Leah Velez. Image features four glass vessels filled with Fire, Earth (and a plant), Air, and Water, on a dark background, next to the instructors headshot.

Break down writing strategies into bite-sized elemental pieces in this 4 week class with Leah Velez.

Upcoming Sessions:
January 9, 16, 23, 30
6-8 PM Pacific Time

Wordcrafters ONLINE Studio
(Zoom link sent with registration)

$168-311 (Members Save 10%)

(we now offer Pay From Your Heart Pricing to increase access to our classes.)

Registration closes January 2.

This “fundamentals level” class is appropriate for writers of all genres, age 16 and up.

Members save 10% on this and other events and classes. Want to know more about becoming a Wordcrafter? Click here.

So you’ve heard Wordcrafters is all about “the craft,” but what the heck is craft? What do we talk about when we talk about craft?

In this four week class (which will regularly repeat!), you’ll work through the art and science behind incredible WordCraft, breaking writing strategies into bite-sized elemental pieces. Throughout the month, you’ll create your very own “periodic table” of craft elements that you can apply to any genre. You’ll leave with better language to be able to create and respond to works in progress, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the stories you read. 

Each class features a mini-lesson, and then a deep dive into a text or three for inspiration, unpacking how the writers did what they did. You’ll then have writing time to practice what you’ve learned, and we’ll end with share-out time (if you like!) to celebrate what you’ve accomplished in just two hours.

This class is tailored to the needs of each group of participants, and will differ each time it’s offered. You’re welcome to bring in texts to share that you admire for their voice, imagery, characterization, or arrangement.

Whether you’re dusting off the cobwebs of your writing practice, or weaving webs for the very first time, this elementals class will move you from ingesting tasty information to cultivating creations of your very own. (Whoops this messy analogy just turned you into a spider with a carnivorous life cycle…with webs and/or egg sacs for stories! Sorry to the arachnophobes!) 


Week 1: FIRE– Finding your creative voice

Essential questions: Who are you as a word artist? What are you trying to say? What makes a voice jump off the page?

We’ll dive into:

  • “Telling”/Narration
  • Point of View
  • And the relationship between Speaker vs Character vs the Writer

With examples from multiple genres of creative writing.

Week 2: EARTH– Imagery

Essential Question: What brings words to life on the page?

We’ll dive into:

  • “Showing”
  • Figurative language
  • Vivid Details

With examples from multiple genres of creative writing.

Week 3: AIR–Characterization

Essential questions: What makes a character? How do you create ones that feel consistent and believable? (and believable to whom?)

We’ll dive into:

  • Dialogue (managing multiple voices in a text)
  • Word choice and how it differs for different characters/narrators
  • Gesture / Blocking / Movement / Action
  • Setting 
  • Interior vs Exterior lives

With examples from multiple genres of creative writing.

Week 4: WATER– Arrangement (Structure + Flow)

Essential question: How does the order we choose impact the content? 

We’ll dive into:

  • Chronology (or Breaking from chronological order)
  • Using structure to showcase themes
  • Experimental structures
  • Pacing
  • Rhythm or Cadence
  • Playing with sentence structures

With examples from multiple genres of creative writing. 

Leah Velez

About the Instructor

 Leah Velez is a writer and interdisciplinary teaching artist from Chicago, currently living in Portland, with over twelve years of experience with children, pre-teens, teens, adults, and senior citizens. They have taught in public schools, alternative schools, summer camps, prisons, universities, and dance studios, and of course, at Wordcrafters! 

Leah focuses on nurturing creativity–and examining the power structures behind the way we think, create, and move. A former high school teacher with a master of arts in Teaching, and graduate of Northwestern University’s Fiction and Comparative Literature programs, and the University of Oregon’s MFA program in fiction, Leah is the lead on Wordcrafters’ Adult and Community Programs, which includes the community storytelling project, StoryHelix. They also are the founder of TeachWriteNow, which uses improv, and elements from RPGs for immersive learning experiences.

When they’re not involved in some kind of storytelling shenanigans, they can be found dancing around Portland, or on their bus, binging the latest horror show on Netflix with their two cats and an amazing partner in crime.

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