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Bones of Story Telling Class  |  Consulting  |  Praise

If you have a story to tell, our classes and teachers help you focus, grow, and achieve your writing goals. Beginning, intermediate and advanced writers all welcome. We specialize in empowerment and practical, focused advice to help you reach your writing goals.

Below is a listing of the current teachers and presenters at The Blackbird Studio for Writers. Click on the teacher to go to their offerings. If you have any questions about classes, or your own writing process, please email me at I'll do my best to get back to you with 24-48 hours.

Jennifer Lauck
Director and Instructor
Read about Jennifer

Hope Edelman
Visiting Instructor
Read about Hope

Holly Lorincz
Visiting Instructor
Read about Holly

Jennifer Foreman
Poet in Residence/Instructor
Read about Jennifer

Matthew Minicucci
Poet and prose instructor
Read about Matt

Cloie Cohen
Administration/Lit. Consultation
Read about Cloie

Additional Services and Retreats:

Bones of Story Telling Class via audio download

Learn concept, theme, plot, structure and character. Walk away with a plan for writing your next draft.

Learn and practice:
  • The seven basic plots
  • Three/four and five part structure systems
  • Story concept and theme
  • Seven character types

Learn how to map your story on the W structure chart and the expanded pillar chart. Learn how to sharpen your story to impact agent, editor, publisher and reader.

Stop wasting precious time writing in circles. Learn how to get out of that 50-150 pg. slump. I'll show you how creativity and advance planning can work together in your process. Save yourself years of confusion, wasted time, frustration and rejection. Leave this class with clarity, knowledge and a plan to finish (and publish) your novel, memoir and/or short story/creative non-fiction collection.

Class 1: Concept & Theme discussion

Class 2: Plot discussion—Seven Basic plots and how your book fits in this form. And why!

Class 3: Character studies within Seven Basic Plot base and the model of Joseph Campbell archetypes

Class 4: Structure—W Charting

Class 5: Charting your What if ?'s on the W and the value of Setting

You will leave these 5 weeks with a very important understanding of what your WHOLE project is about and have a full map to follow as you get through the next draft.

COST: $220

"I'm so happy I signed up for this class. You have blown me away with your enthusiasm and passion."
   —Michael T.

Consulting Services

Developmental Evaluations
You've finished your manuscript and need a sharp, strong reader to see your big picture. I will read your entire project, look at the whole of it and create a comprehensive report that will help in your revision and re-structure. We have a one hour meeting too, in order to talk through your project. You will leave inspired with new possibilities for your redraft. Contact me for costs and availability.

This is for the writer who needs some individual insight. You submit pages. 5000 word max (double spaced). I read, make light edits and we talk through some of the issues I see in the work. I provide handouts, teaching, advice and homework! $125.00 per consult with a minimum of a three session commitment.

Jennifer Foreman and Cloie Cohen are also available for manuscript evaluations and consults. Email Jennifer at to discover the options available.


"Investing in a manuscript consultation with Jennifer Lauck was one of the best decisions I have made as a writer. While I have an MFA, I have never understood how to effectively structure a story, to make a coherent literary journey out of my experience. Since October, when I received Jennifer's commentary, my writing process has transformed. I am no longer sitting down at the computer, blindly mapping out a narrative by the seat of my pants. I have a solid outline, a clear road ahead, and I am now freed of the burden of worrying what to write next or if to write it. Instead, I craft scenes from my outline with a clear intention of their role in the larger story, in the hero's journey. As a result, my scenes have taken on new life. I find myself feeling excited to get to the next scene as I feed off the tension my story is naturally creating. Thank you, Jennifer. I could have spent another decade and thousands more dollars and hours, trying to figure out why editors wouldn't publish my manuscript. Instead, I am confident that the results of my more focused and informed efforts will result in the publication of a story that is incredibly important to me. I couldn't think of a more meaningful investment than that."
   —Stephanie Andersen

"I received Jennifer's summary analysis of my memoir recently and then afterward spoke with her on the phone. It was a good critique of character development and plot. Afterward I wrote down all my chapters—using short descriptive phrases—on 58 index cards and then laid them out to examine story structure. I also added bullet notes as to what I was trying to do in each chapter, what it was for, what's the conflict, and where are the huge moments. It was a terrific exercise. I very quickly found two chapters that probably aren't needed, and I will no doubt move several others. I know I need to develop characters earlier. My book will be tightened and strengthened tenfold. Jennifer was encouraging about my writing, pointing out areas where things worked well and the language was beautiful. She suggested some good books to read to see how other writers succeed at character development. I got a lot of value out of this. We all need an unbiased eye to review a full-length book, especially if we're new to this."
   —Brenda Hood

"I found Jennifer's help invaluable. I do have a separate writing coach, but Jennifer is one of the best when it comes to writing memoir. She had me see that I'm the heroine in my book and I want readers to cheer me for me, not someone else. Those words were key to me rewriting the opening chapter and adding about 10 more in the beginning of the book. Once I spoke to Jennifer, the structure of my book also took shape in my head and I could immediately translate her coaching to paper. I was clear and confident after getting off of the phone with her. Thanks Jennifer!"
   —Jennifer S. Coken, President of Coken Consulting Company

"Working with Jennifer is a great experience. She welcomed me into her comfortable space and coached my attempt at getting painful memoir out onto the page. We met several times—and I was astonished at her insight and ability to carve through a bunch of stuff and force me to get more clear about the story. Plus, she was really fun to talk to, encouraging and kind. I look forward to working with her some more! Thank you, Jennifer."
   —Julie Booth

"Working with Jennifer took my writing to a new level. Reading the book that Jennifer wrote has taken my writing to a new level. The tips she gives me in regards to my manuscript helpe me to improve. She points out details of how I can improve. I like the way she is honest and upfront about what I've written. I so appreciate her feedback and I look forward to it.
That was money worth spending. I would not do a writing project without having her critic/give me her take on it first."

   —Terrie Lynn

"After taking a few classes with Jennifer over the past two years, I submitted a completed draft of my memoir. She read it within the time frame we agreed on, wrote an in-depth, detailed summary of her suggestions for my writing, met with me and spent over an hour of her time giving me further suggestions.
During our meeting, Jennifer helped me map out a structure for the book using the characters and scenes that worked. We found important plot points and discussed where those points need to be placed in the book to make the story more dynamic and well-paced, thus making it a more interesting read. Jennifer also made several recommendations for further study, authors and books that can help me with the aspects of my writing that still need developing. She also returned the hard copy of my draft with notes written within the text. I've found that very helpful as I continue to edit and rewrite my draft.
Overall, Jennifer's coaching has given me clear direction on steps I need to take to complete a good memoir. It was the kind of advice I needed from the very expensive editors I have worked with for a fraction of the price. Thank you again, Jennifer!"

   —Ruth Wariner

"I first started working with Jennifer about 1 year ago when I decided to write my life. I am an elementary teacher, business owner and mom of twins. I had no idea how to begin to write my life. I knew I had a story to tell, but have never written a book in my life so the task of creating a Memoir seemed overwhelming.
Jennifer has helped me so much in this process, I have taken several classes from Jennifer, Downloading, Craft and Structure and online sessions. I have submitted several pages of my manuscript to Jennifer and had online conferences with her as I live in Shanghai, China. Jennifer sat with me on line and helped me map out my book on the wall with stickies, guiding me where to put the stickies and gave me a complete road map for my book. I can not say enough amazing things about Jennifer and the teaching that I have received. She always has a way of making you feel like you can create anything you want. She is encouraging, funny and so incredibly real. Writing is difficult but writing a good book is even more difficult. In the short time I have worked with her I have been published in the Huffington Post for an article I wrote about my fathers murder and began blogging and writing daily. I am still learning and have a ways to go but I love how Jennifer suggests books to read and give lots of examples of good writing. I can not imagine writing my life without the valuable information I have received from Jennifer. For Jennifer's background and knowledge of writing her prices are amazing and the teaching you get for the price is an exceptional value. Jennifer loves writing and it shows in everything she does. I highly suggest taking a class from Jennifer, sign up for her blog, send her an email. She is the real deal!"

   —Angela Nelson-Schellenberg

"Thanks again for the help...You give your all every time and I'm really grateful for that generosity."


  Transformative Writing
email Jennifer Lauck