Christopher Chambers teaches classes, critiques manuscripts, and directs the annual Weekend With Your Novel retreat. He’s taught creative writing for over 20 years, published widely in magazines (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), and has optioned a screenplay, Amaryllis. He is the author of Delta 88, a book of short fiction, and his work has been reprinted in anthologies including French Quarter Fiction, Knoxville Bound, Something in the Water, and Best American Mystery Stories. He’s received 5 Pushcart Prize nominations and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Work he’s edited has appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize anthology, Poetry Daily, Verse, Daily, and The Utne Reader.christopherchambers.net»
Christine DeSmet is a UW-Madison Continuing Studies writing teacher who specializes in one-on-one coaching and critiquing in all genres. She is the author of the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin/Random House) set in Door County, Wis., which has been a bestseller for Barnes & Noble. She also wrote a series of cozy mystery short stories published by Whiskey Creek Press and has a romantic suspense novel with Mundania Press. Christine is currently developing a new mystery book series and works with a literary agent. She teaches online courses for new novelists and screenwriters, and a face-to-face Master Class for novelists with finished manuscripts at the UW-Madison Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat every June. With script co-writers Peggy Williams and Bob Shill, she is a past winner of the Slamdance Film Festival and optioned that true-story historical screenplay about Dolly Cameron to New Line Cinema. With producer Steve Roeder of Los Angeles, they are marketing the Dolly Cameron project in 2016 as both a limited TV series and a feature movie. Christine is a member of Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Writers Must Eat!, and Mystery Writers of America. Her stage play co-written with Peggy Williams, “Climax!,” about a struggling writer, was a top-ten finalist in a Wisconsin Wrights New Play Contest.
Laurie Scheer is a former Vice President of programming for WE: Women's Entertainment. She has worked as a development executive and producer for ABC, Viacom, Showtime, and AMC-Cablevision. Laurie has been an instructor at Northwestern, UCLA, American University, Yale, and other fine universities. As a professional speaker, she has appeared at annual conventions for University Film & Video Association, National Association of Broadcasters, NATPE, The Great American Pitch Fest, Screenwriters’ World, Reel Screen, Women In Film & Video, FTX West, and the Willamette Writers Conference. She has also served as a juror for numerous film festivals, writing contests, and scholarships. She is currently part of the writing faculty at UW-Madison where she is the Director of the annual Writers' Institute and the Founding Editor of regional literary journal, The Midwest Review. Her book The Writer's Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre (Michael Wiese Productions) assists writers in becoming success stories as they develop, write, and pitch their projects in the current media landscape. She is the 2014 recipient of the James T. Tiedge Memorial Award through her Alma Mater Marquette University.
“This class covered a wide range of topics with a hands-on approach. The teacher brought a lot of practical experience, offered useful suggestions for improvement, and invited any questions that I might have on the craft and profession of writing.”
“I enjoyed the class - found solid information that I can and will use.”
“I can use this material immediately and it will be very helpful. Class was well-taught.”
“Good overview of writing practices and common sense.”
“Knowledgeable and lively presenter.”
“Very informative. Excellent examples and references provided.”
“The instructor was very helpful. Critiques were very constructive and encouraging.”
“I greatly enjoyed the experience. It is a flexible option and a great value. I have learned a great deal about formatting, developing story, and generating fresh ideas. I would highly recommend this course!”
“I could not have been more pleased with Christine DeSmet's instruction and the value I received from this class.”
“The instructor was very encouraging and gave excellent critiques and suggestions. I enjoyed working with her.”
“Firstly, I was amazed at the prompt responses and amount of feedback I got from Christine. Even more importantly, I was extremely impressed by (and grateful for) the quality and usefulness of her comments. She gave me confidence in my writing and some great ideas that moved me forward every time. I couldn't have had a better experience!”
Helping writers everywhere, aspiring and experienced, to improve their craft and achieve their goals
UW-Madison Continuing Studies’ Writing program offers writing classes and workshops in-person and online, manuscript critiques, two annual writing retreats, and the Midwest’s premiere writing conference, Writers’ Institute. Our instructors are world-class experts—published authors, accomplished instructors, agents, publishers, and editors.
Writer's success story
Julie Holmes finds agent at Writers’ Institute
Julie Holmes, of Arlington, Minnesota, has signed literary agent Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services to represent Just Plane Dead, a suspense novel. Julie met Cynthia at the 2016 Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wis. Prior to that, Julie took her manuscript through the Master Class for novelists at the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat held each June. Both events are sponsored by UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
Just Plane Dead features aircraft mechanic Sierra Bauer. Sierra is more worried about her stalker ex-boyfriend’s return than the body she finds in her inspection plane, until the detective in charge of the case pegs her as a suspect.
We help all types of writers hone their skills and overcome roadblocks on the way to publication, successful freelance writing, or writing for pure enjoyment. We critique fiction and nonfiction, including nonfiction book proposals.