Upcoming Events

​   Write, Revise & Submit Short Memoir in a   

   Weekend. Wordcrafters in Eugene,  April 30-     May 1, 2022--ONLINE.

   Turn Your Passion into Paychecks: Writing   

   Feature Articles for Magazines/Newspapers" 

   Willamette Writers' Conference, Portland  

Melissa Hart

Woman in black shirt hooting surrounded by first grade students in a classroom--they are also hooting.

Interested in one of my classes? Email me at melissahartsmith(at)gmail(dot) com


    My top workshop presentations include:

 * Own Your Story: Kid & Teen Memoir in Action: Students learn

    to identify the unique parts of their own life stories and write them 

    in an engaging and entertaining manner. Using examples from 

    published kid/teen memoir, they study characterization, dialogue.

    setting, sensory details, narrative and character arc, and theme.

  * All about Owls (with creative writing component):

    learn fun facts about owls and consider their role in the natural

    world. They learn owl-conservation tips, dissect owl pellets, and 

    complete a writing assignment using exciting sensory details. 

    Interested? See my "Lit Link: Beyond Hedwig: Owls as Crucial 

​    Carnivores" from bestselling author Patricia Newman's website.

  * PJs, M&Ms & T-Rex Costumes: The Writer's Life: 

    get a glimpse into my life as a professional writer, with photos of 

    my workspace, my rough drafts, my cats and kid-friendly TikTok

    videos, and how I got started as a professional writer at age 14.

​  * You Can Start Publishing Your Creative Writing Now! Students

​    learn about the wide variety of magazines and newspapers that     

    publish creative writing by young people, as well as about contests

    for kids in grades K-12. They learn how to get a local or online

    internship with a creative publication, and how to identify school

    and community resources that will help them hone their skills.  

    Here's a quick sample from a lesson for teens: 

  "The magic happens when [Melissa] openly shares her 

   background story about owls, in her enthusiastic, humorous,

   and kindhearted way. Students are engaged and immediately

   want to connect their background and learning to the topic,

   and they have plenty of questions for her." 

                --Nora Haggerty, 1st grade teacher at Adams Elementary


  I adore visiting classrooms and libraries. As a teacher, parent, and    the author of the award-winning middle-grade novel Avenging the

  Owl (2018-19 Oregon Battle of the Books selection,) I offer a 

  variety f fun and inspiring programs for kids in grades K-12. Here's    a sample of my workshop topics below; I'm also happy to create a      program that best suits your students."


  As The Writer Magazine's long-time contributing editor,

  I've taught at writing conferences, bookseller conferences, 

  educational and library conferences all over the Pacific 

  Northwest. I also speak in university classrooms, at   

  libraries, at retirement homes & for nonprofits. 

  My top workshop presentations include:

  *  Write, Revise & Submit Short Memoir in a Weekend: 

     Students study published personal essays and learn

     about their components, then identify their own areas

     of expertise and intrigue and how to craft and submit

     a short piece to magazine and newspaper editors.

  *  Turn Your Passion into Paychecks: Writing Feature 

      Articles for Magazines/Newspapers: Students study

      a variety of published articles, then learn what editors

      look for. They learn how to write and submit an effective        query letter, and how to find and interview expert 

​      sources, then incorporate interviews into their articles.

   * Reach Out to Readers and Have Fun Doing It: The

     Art of Building a Platform: Students learn a variety of

     ways in which to build an audience for their work through

     word-of-mouth, social media, and literary citizenship. ​

​   *  How to Plan and Begin Your Book-Length Memoir: 

      Students study excerpts of book-length memoir and 

      consider how to structure their own story around topic,          theme,​ and/or era. They study and practice the literary 

      elements of memoir, and how to plot a book-length work        with an eye toward narrative and character arcs.

      "Melissa opened the world of memoir possibilities,           how to engage the reader and even how to create     

       more impactful scenes. Much more than we       

                      --Rita Derbas, Rogue Valley Manor Resident


   For Kids                                                  For Adults