Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat

Join writers from around the country at a professional retreat with a creative atmosphere

In 2014, over 130 writers from 15 states and other countries took advantage of beautiful, sunny weather in Madison, Wisconsin, to refresh their writing life. Our retreat features sessions for beginners and advanced writers (including Master Classes), and offers optional graduate credits in English.

Our current favorite Write-by-the-Lake Success Story features attendee Jen Rubin (rubinjen@gmail.com). Her article, How One Store Fought To Survive The Blackout And Looting Of '77, was recently published in the online publication West Side Rag. She had her article critiqued by WBTL instructor Julie Tallard Johnson. It's a great read!

Looking for inspiration from other writers who have signed deals, gotten published, and won awards? Read more Success Stories here»

At a glance

What: 5 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels

When: A full week in June of 2015 • 9:30a-12:30p each day

Who: Taught by leading educators and writers from UW-Madison and across the country

CEUs: Continuing education credits available. See fees & credits» for more information

Questions? Contact Christine DeSmet at cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu or (608) 262-3447


Keynote luncheon speaker Brad Schreiber of Los Angeles speakes about the “Role and Responsibility of the Writer” at our 2014 retreat.

2014 sessions and speakers

1. Thrill Me: Creating the Momentum That Publishers Crave, with Tim Storm
2. Your First Novel: Fast and Finished! with Kathy Steffen
3. Building Powerful Plots: Strengthen the Structure of Your Novel, with Angela Rydell
4. Writing Compelling Creative Nonfiction Books, with Laurie Scheer
5. Richer Nonfiction Now (stories, essays, memoirs), with Amy Lou Jenkins
6. Turning Your Life Experiences into an Inspiring Book, with Julie Tallard Johnson
7. Constructing a Writer’s Toolkit: Improve Your Fiction and Nonfiction, with Brad Schreiber
8. Master Class/Complete and Ready to Compete? with Lori Devoti (full novels; limit 6; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
9. Master Class/Finish, Polish, Publish, with Christine DeSmet (full novels; limit 6; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
10. Master Class/Deep Revision—The 7 Cs of Fiction, with Laurel Yourke (limit 10; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
11. Master Class/How to Create Non-Stereotypical, Three-Dimensional Characters, with Marilyn R. Atlas
12. Best Words, Best Order: A Poetry Workshop, with Marilyn Taylor

How it works and what we offer

Choose the one session you're most interested in. Limit of 15 participants per session unless noted. (Master classes #8 and #9 have a limit of 6 participants, master class #10 has a limit of 10.)

Sessions for beginning writers as well as those at publication level.

Optional: 1-3 graduate credits in English (offered in a partnership with UW-Madison Dept. of English).

Special low fees for nontraditional credit students. Plus, some grants may be available. See fees & credits page»

Meet your director

Author and scriptwriter Christine DeSmet teaches writing online and in person. She is the director of the annual June “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat," director of the fall “Weekend with Your Novel,” and coordinator of “Critique Services” for writers.

Learn more about the sessions & speakers, location & lodging, fees & credits, other resources, and how to register.

Thank you for your interest in Write by the Lake!