Archive for the ‘Writing and Reading’ Category

Summer Writing Camps!

February 20th, 2017 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Writing and Reading

It was a quiet winter for me, but things are beginning to bloom here in Atlanta, including summer camps I’m doing for tweens, teens, AND adults!


Two Summer Camps with Decatur Writers Studio

Two sessions only, 12 students each

Camp fee: $400


Email for more information.

Tweens Who Write

Rising 6th-8th graders

9 a.m.-4 p.m., June 26-30

Agnes Scott College

This is an all-day summer camp for middle schoolers who love to write (or think they might love to write), and want to throw themselves at words and stories. Campers will learn the basic building blocks of story writing, play with story starting ideas, develop characters, explore setting, build their descriptive muscles, and even dabble in some poetry. Whether you have written tons already, or just have a tiny idea, as long as you are willing to experiment, explore, and share, you are the right camper for this!


Creative Writing for Teens

Rising 9th-11th graders

9 a.m.-4 p.m., July 10-14

Agnes Scott College

Do you have ideas for stories but not the time to work on them? Or ones you’re excited about at first, but can’t keep up the momentum? Want to develop your characters more fully, work on setting and dialogue, strengthen your powers of description and plotting, get feedback on your work, be inspired by other writers like yourself, and in general immerse yourself in a whole week of nothing but writing? Then this summer camp is for you! This camp will be five days of fiction-centric work, though we will touch on elements of poetry to infuse your prose with dynamic language. Open to experienced teen writers and first-timers alike!


Yes, I’m doing Yale Again!

Fiction Writing: Devil in the Details
In her book, Bird by Bird, Ann Lamott stresses the importance of keeping your writing “vivid and continuous” to move the reader smoothly through your story. This clarity and specificity is arguably more important than plot, since, as Eudora Welty once pointed out: “There are two types of stories in the world: someone comes to town, and someone leaves town.” Your challenge as a writer is to keep those stories fresh and memorable, regardless of the genre. This five-day workshop will have in-class lectures and exercises that concentrate on specificity of character, setting, language, and story arc, and the time spent workshopping your pieces will be led with an eye toward keeping it vibrant and distinct.

TWO Writing Workshops this Fall!

August 26th, 2016 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized, Writing and Reading

This kinda says it all about what I’m looking forward to as August is over and September gets going!


Writing Workshop for Teens

Love to write, but never have enough time? Got ideas, but not sure how to see them through? This one-day-a-week-for-six-weeks writing session is for you. A note: this class is limited to those in grades 9-12, or their homeschool equivalent.
Receive writing prompts and tips from local, acclaimed YA author Terra Elan McVoy that help you focus on plot, setting, characters, specificity and a bunch of other fun, helpful things that will spark a fire underneath your writing.  This is a free-form, semi-self-directed class that will give you practical advice and also inspiration for new stories. 

Willingness to write hard and share that writing is expected.

Date(s): September 20, 27 October 4, 11, 24 (Note: we are skipping the week beginning October 17, and meeting on Monday, October 24 the following week) November 1

Class time: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays



When it comes to writing, we grownups often concentrate on the finished product: winning over an audience, making a point, creating a response. We lose our sense of wonder and play. To help get reacquainted  with the experimental, unselfconscious side of wordsmithing (where usually the best stuff hides), I’m offering a retreat that will provide prompts, word games, literal play time, and collective sharing all designed to tap into younger stories, and delve back into delight.


The Elohee Center at Landsong rests on 220 acres of undeveloped land, and was created to provide a retreat space in Nature to allow for optimum self-exploration, individual growth, and mind/body healing. It is a place for soul-stilling walks through the woods, contemplative waterfall staring, and the lush renewal of pond and fern.


Make Some Valentines and Build Character With Me This Winter!

December 2nd, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Appearances, Writing and Reading

There’s a new series for writers who are serious about their craft here in Atlanta, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined up with them. Storybuilding is “a creative writing class series that brings together artistic practice and literary culture to cultivate a mindful writing community in Atlanta,” and they have got great things in store for 2015 and beyond.

I’ll be teaching two different classes at the start of the year: a one-day, three-hour session, and another which spans over seven weeks. Below are the details and how to sign up.  BETTER YET?? There are gift certificates available in any denomination, so someone else can give you the gift of an excellent writing class. Email to inquire.

Modern Love: A Fresh Take on Valentine’s for Adults

DAY: Saturday, January 31st
DATE: 1/31
LOCATION: Little Shop of Stories, 133 A East Court Square, Decatur GA
COST:  $60  (supplies included)

You may have foresworn the ’ole Valentine swap by third grade, but elementary school this is not. I’ll be reintroducing the love letter in this thoroughly modern lit-craft session that puts the focus back on creative-minded play for adults. There will be time to reflect on the people you love and the people who love you. There will be time to free-write and think and draw with other creative grown-ups. There will be collaging and wine and really good conversation. Whether you’re channeling Pablo Neruda or ee cummings, this adults-only workshop places crafting acrostics and love poetry alongside the art of handmaking cards that pay homage to St. Valentinius.

Details: Must be 21 years or older. Registration is limited to an intimate group of 15. Students will complete up to five handcrafted Valentines. All supplies provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring small items like ribbon, cards, papers, or fabric to personalize their Valentines. Wine and cider will be served.



Storybuilding Class No. 4:

Constructing Characters: Blueprints, Scaffolding, and Execution

When:  Wednesdays, January 21—March 3, 7-9 PM
Where:  Charis Books & More
1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta GA
Cost:  $350

How do writers create characters that readers remember? Do characters drive plot, or does plot drive character? What does it look like when a character has a voice on the page? How does a writer individuate a character’s speech pattern? Why do some characters seem believable and others do not? What does it mean when a character is flat? Or round?

Narratives are containers filled with characters who have faces, scars, essential peculiarities, and moralities that distinguish their personhood from every other character on the page. These traits derive from the environment, culture, experience and world that the author creates for the character to inhabit. Characters are the life-force of narrative, and their actions form the story’s backbone. Readers come back to stories again and again for their characters. This class will help students build their characters from the ground up. Ultimately, characters need do the heavy lifting in storytelling, and they need to be alive on the page and in the mind of the reader if they are going to move that heft. The responsibility to stamp indelible life forces onto the story falls to the author who breathes life into them. The workshop leads students to develop their own style as well as an appreciation for published authors. Through exercises, reading analysis, and writing assignments, this class will help students explore techniques that you can apply to fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.