La Manzanilla Writing Workshops, 2012


Sample the writing life in a safe, sunny Mexican paradise







You climb a long ladder until you can see

over the roof, or over the cloud

You are writing a book

- Annie Dillard

There's nothing to writing All you do is sit down at a typewriter

and open a vein.

‑ Red Smith

Columnist – Author – Poet

Linda Sonna, Ph.D. Psychologist


”Good writers learn the craft & follow the rules; great writers break the rules & follow their heart.” - Linda Sonna




Attend both sessions for $185 - CLICK TO REGISTER


Session 1


January 9 - 13, 2012

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.




Session 1


January 16 - 20, 2012

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.




Welcome Breakfast

Writing Dreams & Goals


Welcome Breakfast

The Writing Life


Freeing Your Muse


Developing Your Voice


Understanding Scene & Sequel


Building Plot


Creating Compelling Characters


Creating Subtext & Theme


Using Descriptive Devices

Evening Cocktail Party



Heightening Dramatic Tension

Evening Public Reading


1-hour private consultation with Dr. Sonna for each registered participant



Workshop Details


*      The workshop meets at Martin’s Restaurant, Playa Blanca #70, La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico.


*      Maximum of 10 participants per session.


*      The workshop atmosphere is warm, supportive, and fun!


*      Schedule your free private 1-hour consultation with Dr. Sonna for Jan. 5 – 18.


*      Each workshop begins with a complimentary Monday morning welcome breakfast at Martin’s Restaurant. After a brief introduction, participants introduce themselves by describing their past writing endeavors, and future writing dreams and goals. In their leisure time, students who are ready to dive in can tackle an individually-tailored writing assignment for a new project or to continue a work in progress - or they can just hang out on the beach .


*      During each Tuesday through Friday class:


Presentations are designed to teach writers across genres and levels how to:


-         Use poetic devices to spice up anything from a non-fiction essay to a short story,

-         Embed a plot in everything from a narrative poem to a travel article,

-         Create dramatic tension, colorful characters, and an engaging voice to keep readers turning the pages of a juvenile book, relative’s memoir, or classic novel,

-         Write descriptive details that are accurate a journalist’s and as compelling as a poet’s,

-         Vanquish insecurity and writer’s block for all time.

-         Win contests, free-lance, and publish books.


Next, huddle up at the main table or retire to the beach to free-write, to work on an individually-tailored writing exercise, or to work on one of your on-going writing projects. Solicit Dr. Sonna’s help if if you get stuck.

Then, during the sharing period, read something you have written aloud to the class, ask someone else to read your piece aloud for you, or distribute printed copies to the group for hands-on editing help. Alternatively, solicit group help with a current or future writing project. Everyone has an opportunity to share something they have written or to discuss a writing project at each class, but no one is required to read.


Finally, Dr. Sonna provides individually tailored writing assignments to participants who would like to write outside of class.


*      A cocktail party (cash bar) will be held on Friday, Jaunary 19 for Session 1. (Time and place in La Manzanilla to be arranged.)


*      A public reading will be held on Friday, January 20. Workshop participants at both workshops are invited to read or attend at no charge. (Time and place in La Manzanilla to be arranged.)


The nebulous, ephemeral psyche...materialized as traces of the écrit, the mind’s marks on paper.

- James Hillman



Contact Information


*        Telephones



U.S. (214) 556-6311, Dr.Sonna


La Manzanilla landline, +52 (315) 351-5362, Julie Catton (+52 is the country code).


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico cell (415) 114-5690, Dr. Sonna


Skype LSonna


*        Email


*        Send check or money order to Dr. Linda Sonna:


11244-A Park Central Place, Dallas, TX 75230, U.S.A.

Or call for instructions for depositing registration fee into Banamex.




*      Dr. Sonna’s Vita


*      What’s La Manzanilla Really Like?


*      Explore La Manzanilla – population 3000. Lots of sea, surf, sand, and seafood!


*      More about La Manzanilla


*      More about the Writing Workshops – and take Spanish while you’re in town


*      La Manzanilla Discussion Board


*      The Costa Alegre (and Mexico travel information)


*      Coastal Map - The closest airport is the Manzanillo airport (ZLO), located about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of La Manzanilla in Manzanillo, Mexico. The Puerto Vallarta airport is 120 miles (200 km) north of La Manzanilla, 4-5 hours by first class bus.


*      Dr. Sonna on Facebook




Special Notes

Money. Stock up on pesos before you hit town! There are no banks or ATMs, few places take credit cards, no one accepts traveler’s checks in La Manzanilla. (For about 13 pesos each way, you can make the 30-minute bus ride to Melaque, which features modern conveniences such as banks and ATMs.)

Medications. The local pharmacy can order any medication that is available in Mexico – but it will take a few days (and then perhaps a few days more) to arrive.

Internet. Most of the nicer hotels, bars, and restaurants have Internet connections.

Transportation. Everything in town is within walking distance.

Cell Phone. If you don’t have a Mexican cell phone, the best bet way to make calls is on Skype, available as an app for portable devices and smart phones (Ipod, IPhone, Blackberry, etc., and/or you can use the Skype program to place calls from your computer (See If you buy a Skype telephone number, people can call you, and you can answer on your laptop or portable device. If your computer doesn’t have a microphone, you’ll need to buy one. If you buy some Skype credit, you can call any telephone in the world. Otherwise, if you don’t buy Skype credit, you can call people’s computers (assuming they have Skype installed) for free.

Portable Printer. There are two little Cybercafes that are open sometimes. Each has a printer that sometimes works. If you are bring your own, pack lots of cartridges, too. a portable printer, bring plenty of cartridges.

USB flash drive. To print out or share files of your work on other participants’ computers, this is apt to come in handy.



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