Friday, January 26, 2018 - 9:15am

Amy Watia Brennan and Allison Fradkin may have different writing backgrounds and sensibilities, but when they show up to a Northbrook Writes class, they’re fellow students honing the craft of writing.

At Northbrook Writes, a series of free lectures and workshops led by acclaimed authors,  participants delve deep into the various pillars of good writing: setting the scene, revising your manuscript, modulating a story’s tension, escalating suspense, developing characters, and much more. But aside from learning how to improve their writing, participants find support and kinship.

About the Writers

Amy Watia Brennan


Amy, a University of Michigan graduate and librarian, is working on her middle-grade fiction novel and hopes to finish by spring. She’s currently a stay-at-home mother with three young children who moved to Northbrook over the summer. Amy learned about Northbrook Writes from a poster in the library lobby and has been a regular attendee ever since. 


Allison Fradkin


Allison has been writing professionally for eleven years. She’s a Dramatist for Special Gifts Theatre (“although that's more of a joy than a job,” says Allison), adapting scripts to showcase the strengths and talents of actors of all ages and abilities. Allison is also the Literary Coordinator for Pride Films & Plays. She recently completed a feminist homage to The Golden Girls called Say Cheesecake! The Musical about Girls of a Golden Age.


On Finding Community

Amy: Writing is a lonely process; Just sitting by yourself in front of a computer. So to be in a room with others who are doing this and hearing their comments, it makes it more collaborative even though in the end you’re doing it on your own. It fosters a sense of community and the awareness that there are others out there like me.

[Coincidentally, after running into each other at Northbrook Writes, Amy and Tracy Slutzky (read about her in the next installation of Meet the Writers!) learned their daughters were in the Northbrook Park District’s musical production of Annie together and became fast friends.]

Allison: I'm shy about sharing my writing in a group setting, but I love listening to and learning from other writers, especially when they're discussing the creative process, characterization, point of view, research, and plotting.


On Valuable Tips and ‘Useful Pearls’

Amy: I’m impressed by the caliber of the speakers and how well-attended [Northbrook Writes] is. Overall, as someone who’s interested in learning all aspects of this, it’s well-rounded. There’s something for everybody. 

Allison: As a reading material girl, my favorite genres are historical fiction and young adult fiction, so the workshops on those topics have been considerably constructive. I have an idea for a retro coming-of-age novel, and being a part of the Northbrook Writes group has translated my ambition to write it into an intention to do so. 


Upcoming Workshops

February 17: we will host national bestselling author Bret Nicholaus as he discusses The 7 Keys to Writing the Perfect Query Letter to make a strong impression on agents and publishers. Reserve a spot to guarantee entry.

February 24: Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, will guide writers on the emotional process of Revising Your Manuscript. Reserve a spot to guarantee entry.