Interpretive Writing Intensive

Length: 4 day (6 hours per day plus lunch; one evening event; writing and informal gathering time each evening)

Group size: minimum 5, maximum 12

Who Should Attend? Interpreters of all experience levels who are involved or plan to be involved in interpretive writing or editing

Learn how to create powerful, effective interpretive writing, from theme development to finding exactly the right words for the right place, whether it’s a sign, script, label, or web site.


Some days, your interpretive writing falls flat and stays there. Every sentence is boring and lackluster. The story you’re supposed to tell won’t fit where it’s supposed to. All the good metaphors have been taken, and all the old ones are clichés. You try to convince yourself that when Tilden said interpretive writing should be “concise, focused, inspirational, and engaging,” he really meant one out of four.

Sure, you know it’s got to be theme-based (but is that a good theme? How do you get a great theme?). And you know all about keeping the word count down (let’s see, 275 words divided by 45 seconds, unless it’s a really big sign or a fat brochure, and then it’s times pi or maybe 1023) and the word length short (two syllables? four?) and about not cramming too many words into a sentence (stand back—I have punctuation and I know how to use it!). Maybe you even know the dangers of jargon (noun, from Middle English jargoun, derived from Middle French jargon, akin to gargle; synonyms babblenonsense) and the dreaded passive voice.

But how do you take that knowledge and weave it into writing that inspires, intrigues, provokes, surprises, delights, and educates? How do you turn it into an interpretive story that is powerful, passionate, and persuasive?

In this workshop, we will explore and practice the art and craft of interpretive writing in depth. We’ll write every day (and have writing “homework” each night). We’ll explore different ways to create and shape stories. We’ll spend time in class and during one-on-one sessions reviewing and critiquing works-in-progress. And we’ll do it all in a safe, supportive setting that will inspire and motivate you to write the stories that are important to you.

Topics covered include:

  • What makes interpretive writing interpretive
    • Critical components, from theme-building to crucial connections
  • Strength, Power, and Impact
    • How to write for maximum impact
  • How to connect with the readers
    • How to make it worth reading—and worth remembering
  • How to write even if you think you can’t
    • Techniques for strengthening language, including pacing, language use, and word choice
  • How to write for different media and different uses
    • Signs, scripts, newsletters, calendars, web sites, and more (may also focus on specific types, depending on interests and needs of participants)
  • How to write for different audiences
    • The truth behind “reading levels” and other audience challenges
  • Prrrooofreading and Humble Punctuation
    • Not for sissies…
  • Deeper Exploration of Craft and Creativity
    • Skills, techniques, and practice for effective writing
  • Editing
    • Length, clarity, brilliance, fun
  • Accessing and improving creativity
    • or, The Muse will visit if chocolate is involved
  • Dealing with writer’s block
    • or, How to get the Muse to visit if you’re out of chocolate
  • and MORE.

Schedule this workshop for your group, agency, or organization.