Project Write, Inc., workshops are led by Teacher Consultants from the National Writing Project. Most are trained through the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project at Shenandoah University. They are currently practicing teachers in a variety of grades and subject areas who are also practicing writers. Our workshops, whether the genre sessions during Weekend Workshops or the more comprehensive lessons during the Summer Workshop, are proven to work with students of all ability levels, but especially students seeking a creative challenge.
Our Board members actively teach at our workshops in addition to these Teacher Consultants:
Dani Bostick: Humor & Personal Narrative
Dani Bostick is a Latin teacher, former mental health counselor, and writer whose work has appeared on McSweeney’s, The Washington Post, NBC News THINK, and The Week, among others. She is a teacher consultant for the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project.
Do you like to make people laugh? In this session, you’ll figure out what makes a piece of writing funny, explore different formats for humor pieces, and get started on your own project.
Everyone has a story to tell. Find out how to share your story in writing in a way that is interesting, engaging, and relatable. You’ll learn about different kinds of personal narrative and explore how to express universal values through a personal experience. You’ll start building your own toolkit for personal narrative writing and get started on a project.
Melanie Catron: Horror, Science Fiction, or Fantasy
A former corrections officer and dance instructor, Melanie Catron has taught 6th grade mathematics and has run multiple after school programs involving writing, acting, and community service at Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Va., for three years. Prior to moving to middle school, Melanie completed student teaching in a variety of grade levels and taught 5th grade in Frederick County Public Schools. While in her 5th grade classroom, she worked on a kindness project which involved planning out acts of kindness, writing about these acts and how they enact them, and had students complete video reflection after they completed their project. She has been a certified Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project for four years. She worked for the Summer Young Writers’ Workshop and enjoyed working with the budding authors in our community. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, playing with her dogs, painting, and working with animals at her local humane society. She earned her BSAS in Criminal Justice studies through Youngstown State University and completed her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.
In this workshop, we will work on how to identify what scares your readers by considering what scares us and each other; how to decide which type of horror story works best for our writing: horror and terror or violence and gore; and ways to build your setting as the setting of a horror story is a vital piece of the puzzle that can pull your readers in. We will also work on some methods to build and maintain suspense in your story.
We will work on building the story and how to input the rules of the character’s reality into the story to allow the reader to understand what is happening as a large part of science fiction is that it is a believable story that has been transplanted into a different setting, era, or world. It is not mystical and magical, but events that could happen so have to be realistic in some aspect. If you give too much information at once though, your reader can get lost and the story can become more about information and rules than building the scene and the characters. We will discuss the importance of researching parts of your story to remain true to the aspects that need to be real or accurate before intertwining them with the fiction aspects of your story.
Shea Finny: Horror & Poetry
Shea Finny teaches English and directs the Viking Writing Center at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va. Before teaching at Valley, she taught English at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Va. for thirteen years. She was awarded FCPS Teacher of the Year Award in 2013. Finny has been working with the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project since she became a consultant in 2005. She loves working with student writers of all ages and particularly enjoys working with Project Write because it offers her the opportunity to work with children who are passionate about refining their craft.
Have you always loved scary stories and movies? In this workshop, you will explore how to write about creepy places, creepy characters, and how to build suspense for the readers of your next horror story.
Do you like to break all the rules? Poetry is the genre that allows you to do that. No rhyme or reason has to exist in order to write a poem that is either beautiful, humorous or heart-felt. If you enjoy playing with words and their meaning, come to my poetry workshop!
Star Friend: Creative Nonfiction into Poetry & Girl Stories: Friendship, fashion, love, and more.
Star Friend teaches English and Creative Writing at Handley High School in Winchester. Before teaching, she worked as a nonfiction writer covering news, education, and culture. She is the adviser for Handley’s literary magazine and a teacher consultant for the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project. She lives in Winchester.
Creative Nonfiction into Poetry
Turn prose into free-verse and haiku poetry using true stories. You’ll choose from a variety of questions to tell your stories.
Girl Stories: Friendship, fashion, love, and more.
Write true stories, fiction, and poetry on topics of interest to girls.
Robin Frost: Fantasy, Horror, or Short Stories
Robin Frost has taught English in middle and high school for the past 20 years. She is currently teaching AP Literature and Composition, Dual Enrollment, and English 12 at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Virginia. She grew up loving books and spent countless evenings with her family sitting by the fire, drinking hot chocolate, and reading. Becoming an English teacher was perfect because she merged her passions for literature, writing, working with adolescents, and learning. “The day I stood in front of the classroom, I knew I was home,” she said.
She has been a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project since 2011 and serves on the boards for Shenandoah Valley Writing Project and Project Write, Inc.. Robin loves working with Project Write and Young Writers because it offers a safe, energetic environment for students to share their talents and creativity. She even helped organize the Young Writers’ Workshop for Fauquier County, now on its third year!
Robin graduated with a Bachelor’s in English – Secondary education, a long time ago. At the tender age of 50, she returned to graduate school at George Mason and earned her Master’s in English Teaching Writing and Literature in 2017. She is happily married with three teenagers, one in college. They live with two dogs and a bearded dragon named Merlin.
In this session, you will write a fun-fantastical fantasy! Fantasy stories must have good characters, a plot that makes sense, and be entertaining. We will have fun designing magical worlds with heroes, villains, and all kinds of creatures. Then we’ll add magical powers and give our heroes a quest.
The most important part of any horror story is naturally going to be its fear factor. People don’t read horror for easy entertainment; they read it to be excited and terrorized. That said, this session will look at basic storytelling techniques which focus on character and plot. We will first read a couple passages from well-known horror classics such as R.L Stein’s Goosebumps and Stephen King and discuss what makes them scary. Next, we will answer questions designed to help us create our own perfectly petrifying protagonist. Lastly, using “7 tips for writing a horror story,” we will create our super-creepy setting and a spine-chilling plot.
Short stories are different from novels not only in size but how they focus on one main character and one main, transformative event. Since good stories are built on scenes containing sensory details of setting, characters, and action, and since these are short stories, we have to develop the main character and dive into action right away. We will begin by looking at what a short story is and what makes it different from longer stories. We will then move into the writing of effective hooks, and after a mini-lesson on plot structure, students will have the option of using planning tools for developing great characters and conflict or diving “write” in – forgive my pun!
Chris Humenik: Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Memoir
Chris Humenik teaches English and Mythology at Warren County High School. Prior to his time at WCHS, Chris helped found the Creative Writing Club at his former high school and has been a consistent advocate for allowing students freedom and choice in writing at the high school level.
Turning a good tech bad – in this session, we’ll try our pen at taking a good technology, futurizing it, and then turning it bad. Did the cure for cancer come with a side of zombies? Did the first Mars landing wake up a dormant alien race? Did emojis finally go too far and we accidentally created a killer AI? Write it out and have fun exploring as we develop our sci-fi dystopias.
In this session, we’ll focus on creating a believable magical system for our world. You can either come with your own fantasy world started, borrow one from a famous series or movie, or brainstorm your own with us. Once we’ve got a basic world, we’re going to infuse it with some magic and develop our unique set of magical limitations, entities, and backstories.
An Enlightening Moment – In this session, we’ll be shedding light on the moments in our life where we’ve really learned something. Can you remember the first timed that you learned a stove was hot? What about the time you learned how to be a class clown? Or deal with loss? Or question the unknown? We’ll be breathing life into those moments that taught us something important. We’ll also spend a little time looking at a few mentor texts from successful authors who have captured these moments.
Donna Michael: Journal Writing & Poetry
Nursing was the first career choice for Donna Michael because she felt it was more glamorous than teaching. She spent the first years in her young adult life starting IVs and giving patient care. Later, she worked as a school nurse and taught healthy living in a special needs school. After nine years she realized teaching was her real passion. She earned her masters as a Reading Specialist at UVA. In 2014 she spent her summer with the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project to become a certified Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project. She teaches English at Johnson-Williams Middle School where she has encouraged many young writers. She also happily teaches for the writers’ workshops. Last summer Donna wiggled her writing passion into STEM camp by offering a Science-Fiction writing course. Her favorite genres to write are poetry, historical fiction and journal writing. Donna lives with her husband and their German Shepherd, Story, in Clarke County, VA. She entertains herself by hiking, scrap booking, writing and playing with her five grandchildren.
Calling all writers (aka poets). Poetry, the frequently neglected form of writing, will aid your writing skills by increasing your power of self expression. Poets will exercise their creativity in several different poems during this session.