crafting the inside story

Is your work ready to move to the next level? Whether you're a published professional or are just getting started, a workshop with Summer in narrative craft can hone your skills, rekindle your passion, and expand your creative options. Summer has taught for eight years at the Taos Summer Writers' Conference,  conducts online workshops through UNM's Rananim Community, and works privately with writers for coaching & editing, as well. Students have gone on to win fellowships, publish books, stories, and articles, enter graduate school, and gain confidence in their ability to tackle challenging subjects. While the focus of each workshop is on a particular aspect of narrative craft, the sessions are customized to the needs of the participants and include time to look ahead to professional opportunities. For more information please read the FAQ (click on More Information, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the Frequently Asked Questions file), or contact Summer directly at

  • Writing Scenes. An online workshop

    January 11, 2016 - March 4, 2016

    Summer Wood • 2016 Rananim, an online writers' community of the University of New Mexico

    a studio course for fiction and narrative nonfiction writers of all levels

    Course description

    There's no doubt about it: scenes move readers. Compelling scenes draw readers in and establish an emotional connection that can sustain reader interest and involvement over the length of a complex work. And, whether the content of a scene is as subtle as a conversation or as explosive as a car crash, the fundamental elements remain the same. Action, emotion, urgency—in this studio course we'll try to get to the bottom of what makes a good scene by writing lots of them, studying excellent examples, reading craft commentary, and discussing both basic features and complex variants. Writers already at work on a lengthier project may find this class an excellent way to revisit existing or generate new material, but novice writers, too, will find plenty of interest and benefit.

    Registration opens November 4, 2015, at

  • Master Class in the Novel

    July 24, 2016 - July 31, 2016

    Summer Wood • 2016 UNM's Summer Writers’ Conference at Santa Fe


    Every successful novel stakes out its own territory and defines the terms by which it will be judged. For your novel, what are those terms? How fully have you created the world of your story? In this workshop we’ll look closely at each manuscript and, through one-on-one consultation and in-class constructive critique, develop a revision strategy to bring each novel—on its own terms—to its fuller realization. We’ll have the chance to consider how crucial narrative techniques contribute to the art of storytelling, and we’ll take a look at masterful examples of each. Inventiveness, surprise, emotional depth, focus, and scale will inform our explorations of more traditional elements of fiction as we work together toward that most essential aim: to bring the novel alive for the reader. Along the way we’ll address practical concerns, explore issues of writing process, and share our stories from the novel-writing trenches.

    Class size limited to 6 participants.

    Find out more about the Conference at Registration opens December 1st. 

  • Write It New! An online workshop

    September 2, 2014 - October 31, 2015

    Summer Wood . Rananim, an online writing community of the University of New Mexico

    a studio course for fiction and narrative nonfiction writers of all levels

    Course description

    The aim of this class is to prompt, goad, inspire, and startle each member into generating fresh and exciting narrative work. Both novice and seasoned writers will benefit from daily writing prompts, weekly reading selections, frequent craft talks, and ongoing discussion forums intended to deepen, energize and inform our personal writing practice. Not a critique group, instead we'll create an engaged and supportive community devoted to witnessing and encouraging each writer's work, respectfully challenging each member to risk new ventures while sharpening present skills. We'll look to the fundamental elements of narrative craft to spark new material while offering insight and strategies toward the revision process.

    This course has completed, but we expect to offer it again in the near future. Stay tuned at

  • Writing Immersion Weekends

    October 30, 2015 - October 30, 2015

    These weekends are offered intermittently in Taos, New Mexico. Past topics have included Accessing Voice Through Wordplay; Working with Point of View; and Gesture, Staging and Dialogue for Character Development.

    From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, a small group of no more than ten participants will meet to write, read, discuss, and critique each other’s work. We’ll be expanding our minds and enhancing our skills while exploring the intricacies of character development.This session meets from 6-9pm Friday, 10am-9pm Saturday (with plenty of breaks, and the option of cooking together and sharing meals), and 10am-noon on Sunday. A weekend gives us the luxury of extended time together, so we’ll be able to include generative exercises as well as critical study, craft talks, and group critique. Individual critique will be offered for workshop participants at a discounted rate; those meetings are reserved for Sunday afternoon (or later in the week for Taos residents).