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Enrol now for summer and fall 2024 classes & consultations

Summer Writing Classes for School Pupils 2024 with Charlene Smith

Summer writing classes for children offer an opportunity to improve writing and analysis of literature and even public speaking. 
I run private writing classes for adults too, as well as ongoing developmental editing of books, theses, manuscripts, and business writing.  Please use the email link on this site to apply.
July 6 – July 27: 9am Zoom: Competition writing course for elementary and middle school students. There are fewer writing competitions for elementary and middle school studentss, but this course identifies them and gives students a choice. They can write poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. Pupils learn the techniques for penning a winning writing competition entry. 
July 6 – July 27: 10am: Competition writing course for high schoolers. Winning or being placed in a writing competition is a college entry asset.  Entries for the well-loved Scholastica writing competition, for example, open in September, and so does the prestigious Bennington Writing Award. Work with a commercially published, award-winning author to create your best writing. 

Thursday, July 4 – August 8: 5.30pm: Perfecting essay writing: Writing a good essay, whether for science, history, English, or any other topic, boosts grades.  Essay writing is a life-long skill that a student will use in college and the workplace. Learn how to create powerful opening and closing sentences, the importance of clever topic sentences, thesis statements, good transitions, impactful arguments, and ideal research techniques. 


Friday, July 5 to August 9, 5.30pm – 6.30pm: How the Greeks influenced Shakespeare. Many schools now teach Shakespeare and the great Greek playwrights in Grade 7. Shakespeare was influenced by the great Greek playwrights. This module helps students translate these scripts into modern language.  We learn about Greek life at the time of the writing of the plays you will study at school, as well as life in Medieval England and how this influenced classic plays. Suitable for students from Grade 6 – Grade 10. 

Fall Writing Classes 

Fall writing classes start on Tuesday, September 3 (the day after Labor Day) and end on Sunday, December 15.
Writing class fees are available upon request using the contact form on this site; please remember to include your name and place of residence/work. 
      All writing classes are on Zoom unless by special arrangement. These writing classes are for school-goers, enquire direct for adult writing classes and developmental editing of your book, manuscript, or business needs. 

   If the student is prepping for standardized tests, a special assignment (eg. a project) or private school admission let me know when you register so I can design classes to suit the student's needs. This can be done even if the student is in a group class because it will be done in a way to benefit all.
Monday - 4.10pm Grades 3 and 4 writing class
Tuesday – 4.10pm Grades 5 and 6 writing class
Wednesday - 5.30 pm Grades 7 and 8 writing class
Thursday – 6.30pm Grades 9 and 10 writing class
Friday – 5.15pm Grades 11 and 13 writing class
Friday - 6.15 pm Grades 7 and 8 class
Saturday, Jan 6:  10am: Higher Grade English Writing and Literature class

What to expect from book editing or writing coaching

Helping writers clear the mists

I am a developmental book editor and writing coach. I help authors navigate the writing and publication process. Behind many of the best books you read are editors and coaches like me, who gently aid writers, not all of whom are on their first book. Some of my clients have written multiple books. Often, I am approached by authors who are in the early stages of writing, they have written 20,000 to 30,000 words and are now stuck. They are unsure how to complete the book. On occasion, the author is not certain how to begin; he or she may have done some research, but the opening lines or structure of the book evades them.

First steps
The client and I discuss his or her project by email, ia Zoom so that I get a sense of his or her vision. We discuss options for progress.  I edit existing copy, and that gives a sense of gaps and opportunities in the work.
A developmental editor checks and corrects grammar and punctuation. I also identify where you may need to clarify something,ne or individual, add context or research, or restructure a paragraph, scene, page, or chapter layout. I guide you through your research. The rate of progress depends on how much time you can devote to the project.

Getting published
Once you have completed the manuscript or are in the final throes, I give advice - if needed - on the book proposal (if this is a work of non-fiction), query letters to agents or publishers, or aid you through the self-publishing process. We discuss ideas about marketing and distribution, this will determine how many copies of the book you sell. When I first started writing books, authors were feted by publishers who took care of the marketing and distribution. Today, with fewer independent publishers and even big publishers with fewer staff, it is imperative for a writer to think of the marketing and sale of their book almost from the time they first put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. 

What's Next
Books I have aided with this year and that are due for publication over the next two to three years, dependent on publisher schedules, include a remarkable witty business memoir; a wildlife adventure in southern Africa; an author who used trauma to create inspiration; a composer and his journey to break through cultural barriers and become a famous musical talent; a work of historical fiction inspired by a literary classic; a judge and what working in the judicial system taught him about people and the ways in which the law needs to change to better serve them. 
 Contracting Me

I love meeting with new clients. There is a low fee for the brief initial meeting, although most clients are referred to me by past clients, and we get straight down to coaching and/or developmental editing. Please use the contact form on this site, remember to sign your name, and give brief details of the project and how far you have progressed.

Book Coaching and Editing

Writing a book is challenging. Many inexperienced writers start a book and in a short time write 40 or 60 pages - and then freeze: what next? 

      I help you to get over those hurdles, plan your book, and guide you through the process, all the while editing and helping you out of those dark places when inspiration flees.


    If you have a manuscript ready for an agent or publisher, I am happy to edit the document - I am a developmental editor so may make suggestions to enhance the text. I will also ensure facts are correct - and will give ideas of how to write a pitch or query letter, or how to self publish, if desired.

    My writers include Ivy League deans and academics (I am Boston-based). They include folk on four continents and in a wide range of fields, whether judges, nuclear engineers, medical specialists, pastors, journalists, architects, and more. Their books have included non-fiction and fiction, ranging from memoir to historical novel; travel to crime writing; novels for second language speakers; educational or academic books; and more.

     My rates are competitive, and confidentiality is assured.


Liz Magill signing the book contract with Joanna Bradley of Upper Room Books

Pastor Liz Magill took an online course with me to turn her thesis into a book. This is not easy because a thesis is written in academic jargon. A book for the commercial market needs to be written in an enjoyable reading style.
I came up with a working title: Five Loaves, Two Fishes, Twelve Volunteers, which was accepted by the publishers.

Liz Magill's book is about food kitchens and feeding programs run by churches.
By the end of the course, we had three chapters ready for submission to a publisher or agent.
 I helped Liz with a query letter and book proposal to take to a publishing conference to help her pitch to agents and publishers.
She succeeded! This is her signing a book contact with Upper Room Books.


Mandela: In Celebration of a Great Life by Charlene Smith (Random House)


With a bear on Lightning Mountain, New Hampshire, March 2013.

Don't Feed the Bears (see link below), The Boston Globe Magazine. 

"We underestimate the ability of wild animals and humans to get along,' says New Hampshire environmentalist David L. Eastman. 'But getting along also requires humans to behave.'"

On November 26, Charlene Smith was invited to speak on the Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Some 350 guests arrived, and a book-signing took place afterward.

Interviewing Nelson Mandela on the third day of his release, and first day back in Soweto

A referee wrote, “Charlene Smith is a powerful, highly skilled and experienced journalist, author and communications professional. She is adept at finding the right channels for messages. She has immense patience and love for people – no-one is unimportant or undeserving of her time or mentoring.”
As a journalist, author, authorized biographer of Nelson Mandela, and ghostwriter, I have been privileged to witness the best in the great and had the time to ponder their flaws. I am struck by the fact that humility and a true love of people is the mark of greatness.
Journalists are the first writers of history and so our responsibility to truth-telling and fairness is eternal.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, I reported on anti-apartheid resistance and economics in South Africa. In Japan and Argentina, I reported on politics and economics. Publications I have worked for include the Los Angeles Times, Independent, Guardian, Washington Post, Le Monde, and others. As a television documentary maker I worked with Tony Burman at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ted Koppel at ABC Nightline, and Ed Bradley and Anderson Cooper at CBS 60 Minutes, and others.