• April 13, 2017 7:21 PM | Anonymous

    Member, Lynn Sloan thought you might like to know about the Evanston Literary Festival, running the first two weeks of May. "It looks like there will be quite a variety of free events with outstanding authors."

  • April 05, 2017 10:05 PM | Anonymous


    Gina Grillo has shared the link to our latest article on the Tribune Website:,amp.html



    Last week Mary Robinette Kowal shared strategies and tips for avoiding common problems with our novel’s secondary characters. We don’t want our secondary characters to take over our story or be too bland. Mary shared a tool to help us create interesting and diverse characters with depth for our novels and shake these up to add conflict and ideas for storylines. If you have any questions about Mary’s process of casting your novel, please use this as an opportunity to have an interesting discussion with someone who attended the workshop. Ask around at our next session. Danielle (Dani) Hayden has graciously agreed to be a resource if you have any questions.

    Here’s Mary’s Homework Assignment:

    Now you're going to cast your story. Think of this as having a completely open casting call for a film, in which you're willing to look at anybody. Try to get through at least three of the characters. We've talked about the various axes of diversity; use those to create your characters. Try making at least two of the axes for each character arc on the subordinate end of the spectrum










    For your homework, fill out the casting sheet twice and flip at least two axis elements for each character. You may change all of them, but at least two per character and think about what advantages they offer for the narrative you want to tell. Also look to make certain that none of your choices introduce problematic tropes.

    Focus on flip for at least two axes elements: Age, ability, race, class/education.

  • September 28, 2016 10:29 PM | Anonymous
    OCWW Needs Your Help. Volunteer Today!

      Dear OCWW friends,

      OCWW operates on a volunteer basis. We need your help! Please take a look at our list of volunteer opportunities. Contact us at: if you are interested.   

    “Many hands lighten the load.”

    If you love coming to our lectures please join our merry volunteer crew.

    Volunteer Opportunities:

    Hospitality: Creates and manages the snack sign up sheet.

    Snack Providers: Sign up and bring snacks.

    Publicity Committee: Help with promotions, advertisement, and/or social media.

    Communication Assistants: Help with member questions and communications. Take event photographs with OCWW’s camera.

    Outreach Committee: Reach out to Universities, writing groups, venues and other partnership opportunities.

    Welcome Committee: Meet and greet new members and first time guests.

    Social Committee: Coordinate special offsite events and monthly birthday wishes.

    Registration Assistants: Help with workshop registrations. *Your session fees will be waived*

    Technical Assistants: Temperature control, AV set up and trouble shooting.

    Library Assistants: Organize our library; manage check-outs and returns.

    Fundraising Committee: Help with fundraising activities.

     Assistant Treasurer: Register attendees, collect &record cash/checks, deposit funds, send information to Treasurer who develops Financial Report & Tax Filings. *Your session fees will be waived*

    Volunteer Board Positions:

    Vice President: Leads meetings in President’s absence; backs up President as needed. Mail pickup and distribution.

    Program Co-Chairs: Lines up speakers for weekly meetings, including finding and booking them, arranging topics, getting bios and ms info and informing the Pres, Secretary, Communications and Publicity.

    Secretary: Keeps Board meeting minutes; provides notice of meetings and circulates agendas and minutes; prepares and issues contracts to speakers; maintains Board records.

    Assistant Treasurer: Records payments, manuscripts and membership. *Your session fees will be waived*

    Attendance / Membership: Manages membership roster and records weekly attendance. *Your session fees will be waived*

    Bylaws: Serves as a resource on matters governed by the Bylaws; in charge of any amendments; assists with meeting protocol as needed.

    Communications: Sends out e-Blasts and Newsletter, manages website information.

    Librarian / Historian: Manages the library and keeps OCWW’s historic records.

    Manuscripts: Prepares and supervises the manuscript policy; keep track of weekly submissions and coordinates with speaker.

    Publicity: Submits program information to online and print outlets, etc.

    Summer Meetings:  Plans summer meetings, including speakers and locations.

    Arrangements Director: Verify workshop venue set-ups (i.e. dates/times, seating layouts – # tables/chairs, equipment requirements (i.e. A/V needs – projector adapter for Apple or PC, mikes, whiteboard, projection screen, # of electrical extension cords, coffee and hot water requirements, OCWW cabinet refreshment supplies – cups, napkins, etc.


    With Gratitude,



  • September 01, 2016 10:12 PM | Anonymous

    On Saturday, July 23 I did a 1/2 hour radio interview with Florida "Boomer Times" Anita Finley about my mystery MIAMI ICED as well as writing in general.  To pass the time while you’re driving or gardening or…. you can listen to the interview on YouTube, the link is:


    Sue Sussman






  • August 17, 2016 9:19 AM | Anonymous


      A letter from OCWW President, Fred Fitzsimmons:
      Dear OCWW Friends,

       After a year of challenges and tremendous progress in 2015-16, I'm delighted to report that OCWW is raring to go in 2016-17, with one of the most scintillating speaker lineups in recent years. I'm writing now to bring you up to date on all that has happened, and what we have planned for the year ahead.

    The 2015/2016 season was challenging but successful for OCWW. Changes occurred in programming and Board Membership. We maintained the best of OCWW’s past successes, while introducing some unique new programming to accommodate member requests to try different program approaches.

    In December, 2015, and the first half of 2016, the Board underwent major changes. Penny Fields stepped down as President, and became Advisory Past President for next year. As Vice-President, I took over as President. Jeanne Mayer, formerly Secretary, was appointed Vice-President, Rita Angelini maintained her position as Treasurer, Tom Benz who previously served as At-Large Board Member was appointed Secretary, Renee James was appointed Programs Director, Melissa Weidner was appointed Publicity Director, Marne Glaser remained an At-Large Board Member until August 31, 2016, and Bobbi Ruby remained a Board Member and Summer Program Director until August 31, 2016. Both Marne and Bobbi, after several years of great service to OCWW, elected to step down from the Board at the end of this season, though both will remain active OCWW members. Marne volunteered to assist the Publicity Committee. Bobbi volunteered for the Summer Program Committee and will establish a critique group.

    We still need Member volunteers to fill the voting Board positions of Assistant Treasurer and Arrangements Director. There are also openings to serve on the Publicity Committee, Programs Committee, and Arrangements Committee. Please contact me or any Board Member if you wish to volunteer. Volunteer positions require only an hour or two, or less, per week. As a volunteer organization, spreading workload helps assure quality programs and service to Members.

    Our 2015/2016 programs received high marks from attendees for quality and relevance. We started the year with a highly successful four-part workshop series conducted by Fred Shafer, and closed the year with standing room only presentations by Ellen McKnight, Stuart Dybek, and Rebecca Makkai. In between, we had an array of brilliant presenters speaking on a diverse spectrum of writing topics.

    The 2016-17 Season

    Workshop Calendar. For the first time in years, the new season has already been scheduled. A summary of the 2016-17 workshops is attached to help you plan your Thursdays. A more detailed guide will be published on our web site ( by September 1. Credit for the superb scheduling job goes to Program Director, Renee James, and Program Committee Members Susan Levi and Tom Benz, and the Board Members and OCWW Members who suggested names for consideration as workshop instructors.

    OCWW Anthology. The Board voted not to undertake development of an OCWW Anthology for 2016/2017. Once we have all Board and Committee position filled and our financial reserves are enhanced we will again consider such undertakings.

    OCWW Conference. The Board deferred discussion of an OCWW Conference to the October 2016 Board Meeting, at which time consideration of the expense, manpower requirements, and competition for the undertaking will be assessed.

    Manuscript Critiques. To be competitive with rates in the market, and to entice workshop presenters to devote their time and effort to critique Member manuscripts, the Board set new critique fees at $3.00 per page, with a minimum of $15 per critique. Individual instructors will be allowed to set limits on the number of pages and number of manuscripts they will accept. Only paid-up Members are allowed to submit manuscripts for critique. The Workshop Attendance Fee, which is non-refundable for non-attendance, must accompany the Manuscript Critique Fee payment. All payments go to OCWW, and all manuscripts submitted for critique must be submitted to Melissa Weidner, Publicity Director, with manuscripts accepted for critique on a first come first served basis, based on instructor number limits.

    Membership Fees. OCWW’s expenses have risen. For years there has been no increase Membership or Workshop Attendance Fees. To cover expenses, the Board has authorized an OCWW Membership Fee increase to $35 per year, workshop attendance fees remain at $10 per session for OCWW members, while non-member attendance fees increase to $20 per workshop. We also established a Student Fee of $10 per workshop, and students are not required to be members.

    Revised OCWW By-Laws. Revised OCWW By-Laws were approved and are available to any paid-up Member who requests a copy in writing.

    Board Meetings. To demonstrate transparency in OCWW operations management, any member wishing to attend any OCWW Board Meeting is welcome. All we ask is that you register your intent to attend in advance, so the Board can schedule a meeting venue that will accommodate everyone who attends.

    Workshop Times and Venues. To accommodate a larger spectrum of members, this season we will introduce some different workshop venues and meeting times. In addition to maintaining a solid schedule of Thursday morning sessions at Winnetka Community Center, we will offer a limited number of evening sessions, including some at locations other than the WCC.

    Finally, the OCWW Board and I wish to thank all members who lent assistance to us during the past season, especially those who so generously provided nourishment for our speakers and attendees at each workshop. My personal thanks go to the several members who provided suggestions and counsel during our transition. Thank you.


    Fred Fitzsimmons, OCWW President


  • October 09, 2015 10:53 PM | Anonymous

    Check out this great piece on OCWW by Alena Saunders that came out on October 8. "The energy at the Off Campus Writers' Workshop's first lecture of the year is comparable to any other first day of class," she wrote. For most of us, the start of the new OCWW programming year does bring the energy and inspiration of a new school year. 

    (photo credit: Jose M. Osorio / Tribune)

© 2014, Off Campus Writers' Workshop.
620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software