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Vroom! Vroom! - Driving Your Story Forward

Marissa Joy Leotaud Sundays, October 9-30
12p–2p ET
9am–11a PT
11a–1p CT
4 class sessions

By signing up for a class, you agree to our refund policy and code of conduct here.

If you have a passion for writing but need to brush up on craft fundamentals, this class is for you!

Driving your story forward is one of the most important elements of writing. Everything from plot to scene to character work, are all tools to move your reader from the beginning to the end of your story while remaining engaged on every page. Vroom! Vroom! - Driving Your Story Forward will cover fundamental craft tools and tricks that you can reference throughout your writing career. We will discuss plot, character arc, scene, and dialogue. We will also tackle our fears as writers.

What is standing in our way? Usually, it's just ourselves.

What is the thing we're afraid to write about? Yup, we'll write about that, but don't worry, you never have to share unless you want to.

Each week. we will have a craft discussion and then 1-2 students will have their piece workshopped; ~10 pages for novel/memoir or short story/poetry under 10 pages.

The class is geared more toward novel/memoir/short story but all writing is welcome! No matter what you are writing, you need the tools to move your story forward and keep your reader engaged!

All class meetings will be held via Zoom. The link to join your Zoom classroom will be provided on the morning of your class. Please check spam folders if you do not receive an email confirmation upon registration. For more information on how to download or use Zoom, please click here.

 Meet Your Instructor:
Marissa Leotaud

Marissa Joy Leotaud is a writer and instructor living in Colorado Springs with her wife, two sons, and adorable pup. She received her Masters in Film from The University of California, Los Angeles but was known to skip class periodically so she could finish whatever book she was obsessed with at the time. In 2020, Marissa graduated from the Lighthouse Writers Workshop Book Project and her work has been featured in the second issue of midnight & indigo.

Course Takeaways

  • Writing fundamentals - basic teaching on plot, character, scene, and dialogue
  • Learn how to use workshop feedback; what to absorb, what to throw away
  • Confidence! The course will empower you to know that you can write ANYTHING and no one can tell your story like you can

Course Expectations

  • There will be pre-work for 1 or 2 students who volunteer to share/workshop during the first class meeting. After that, students will be expected to bring in one piece or one section of their work to be workshopped.
  • All students will be expected to read their peers' work.

Course Skeleton

  • Week One: Facing your fears
    • Practice writing the thing that scares you. Plot discussion: what tools are needed to drive the story forward through plot
  • Week Two: Character Arc
    • How does your character grow and change based on the lie they've believed their entire lives?
  • Week Three: Scene
    • What is a scene? What is it not? The magic of getting in late and leaving early
  • Week Four: Dialogue
    • Your characters shouldn't all sound the same. Why do they speak the way they do? How can you use dialogue to move the story forward?



"I haven't written a full short story since college, and I want to write a novel. I have started at least ten short stories in the past two years, and each one has the same problem, themes, concepts, but no plot or character and I was so lost. This class gave me an excellent starting point to put things in motion. I'm excited to finish my story now. And it was something to be in a writing class with a Black instructor and all Black students. We didn't have to explain phrases, cultural references, or intent, we had great workshops. Will highly recommend for any Black woman writer." (former student)


"I really appreciated both the opportunity and concepts that were new to me. Each week, I felt like I grew more in my understanding of how to structure a story. I also enjoyed having my own writing workshopped. While it was an unnerving experience, it definitely was a stretch opportunity that supported my development as a writer." (former student)