Art of the Storyteller Master Class


Engage readers with wordplay, metaphor, storytelling and more

“A semester’s worth of knowledge in a few hours.”
— Amy Kappler, communications specialist, Burgess and Niple

My husband likes to quote Anonymous, who said: “If a man speaks in the forest, and no woman is there to hear him, is he still wrong?”

The corporate communication writer’s corollary: If you cover your terribly serious and important stories, and nobody pays attention, does your message still make a sound?

In this creative-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to write copy that grabs attention, keeps it longer, communicates more clearly, enhances credibility and is more likely to go viral. You’ll walk away with techniques — not just what to do, but how — for painting pictures in your audience members’ minds so they understand your points faster, enjoy your information more and remember it longer.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

Fee: $895-$1,495 | Early-bird discount deadline: May 29 June 29 – deadline extended!

Browse all public workshops.

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“Great step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.”
— Stacy Mayo, assistant account executive, Rhea + Kaiser

Grab Attention With Feature Stories

Craft creative leads and kickers

Writers say, “We use the inverted pyramid because readers stop reading after the first paragraph.”

In new research, readers say, “We stop reading after the first paragraph because writers use the inverted pyramid.”

The feature story structure, on the other hand, has been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression. In this feature writing workshop, you’ll learn how to organize a feature story in six easy pieces. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Easily craft a feature story with our fill-in-the-blanks template.
  • Write winning leads: Learn seven types of leads to try — and six common approaches to stop using now.
  • Increase reading and satisfaction by choosing the best story structure.
  • Avoid the “muddle in the middle” with five ways (some are better than others) to organize the body of your feature story.
  • End with a bang — not a whimper — with our three-step test.

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Make Your Copy More Colorful

Engage readers with fun facts, juicy details

“Nobody ever sold anybody anything by boring them to death.” — David Ogilvy

Ogilvy was right. If you want someone to buy what you’re selling — whether you’re pitching products and services or programs and ideas — you must first engage them. And nothing draws readers in quite as well as creative material.

Creative elements grab attention, communicate more clearly and enhance credibility. In this creative writing workshop, you’ll learn how to write messages that paint pictures in your readers’ minds so they understand your points faster, enjoy your information more and remember it longer. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Change readers’ minds — and their behavior — with concrete details.
  • Deliver both color and meaning by scaling the ladder of abstraction.
  • Help readers “see” your point with six simple elements.
  • Test your story for reader interest. Are you losing them in the middle?
  • Add interest to tedious topics and dreary articles.

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Play With Your Words

Spice up headlines, leads and sound bites with wordplay

Wordplay can help you captivate your readers, get the media to steal your sound bites and make your messages more memorable.

The good news is that wordplay doesn’t take talent. It doesn’t take creativity. Instead, it takes techniques, tricks and time. In this wordplay writing workshop, you’ll learn techniques you can use to come up with the best headlines, leads and sound bites you’ve ever written. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Go beyond twist of phrase. Learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words. The more techniques you master, the more engaging your message will be.
  • Work your word tools. There are so many great (free!) online resources for wordplay, busy writers need hardly trouble their pretty heads to write dazzlers. Get links to some of the best sources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
  • Get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines.
  • Lead better brainstorming sessions. Help your group dream up more bright ideas with one simple trick.
  • Stop writing groaners. Learn techniques that let you come up with surprising lines — and leave the clichés to the hacks.

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Master the Art of the Storyteller

Tap ‘the most powerful form of human communication’

Storytelling is “the most powerful form of human communication,” according to Peg Neuhauser, author of Corporate Legends and Lore. Indeed, stories can help you get attention, boost credibility, make your messages more memorable — even communicate better.

In this storytelling workshop, you’ll learn to identify, develop and tell stories that will illustrate your points, communicate your messages and sell your products, services and ideas. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Find the ah-ha! moment that’s the gateway to every anecdote.
  • Elicit juicy stories with the key question to ask during an interview.
  • Organize your material into a powerful story in just three steps with our simple storytelling template.
  • Start an anecdote with a bang — instead of a snivel.
  • Find anecdotes in the making with “WBHA.”

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Add Meaning With Metaphor

Clarify complex concepts with analogy

Human beings have always learned metaphorically: We add to our knowledge by comparing new concepts to those we already understand. Take computers: They have desktops, files, folder, documents and notepads — all analogies for offices.

These analogies serve as shortcuts to understanding. So when you want to help your readers understand new, technical or complicated information, metaphor is the answer.

In this metaphor writing workshop, you’ll learn to craft analogies to make your material clearer and more compelling. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Take the ‘Numb’ Out of Numbers: Develop analogies that help your readers understand your statistics.
  • Cut clichés from your copy by replacing them with a creative substitute.
  • Bring your tired topics to life with comparisons.
  • Get an analogy during an interview by asking one simple question.
  • Craft a compelling metaphor with our simple, fill-in-the-blanks formula.

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Take Your Story From ‘Meh’ to Masterpiece

Leave with a totally rewritten piece

In the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, it sometimes seems as if there’s not enough time to pause and consider how you’re doing. But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Bring your laptop and a story to work on. We’ll give you a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece. In these practice sessions, you’ll:

  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately
  • Get feedback with specific ideas you can use to improve your work immediately
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and from Ann
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for improving your own work

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“Other writing coaches tell you what to do.
Ann shows you how.”
— Roberta Laughlin, vice president, Mutual Funds Marketing, Northern Trust

Hi! I’m Ann Wylie. So why should you learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller from me?

Get the word out - Learn to Catch Your Readers with Ann WylieThat’s easy. Because I’m a nerd.

I’m a nerd.

I was never happier than when I was in graduate school, gathering information for my journalism thesis. Today, my idea of a great Sunday afternoon is to curl up on the couch with a cat, a cup of tea and a great communication study.

I love researching best practices, formulating techniques and sharing those approaches with others. So I’ve built a career that allows me to do just that.

I’m a trainer.

I taught graduate writing classes at a university for 10 years in my “spare time” — in the evenings after I’d worked a full day as a business communicator and magazine editor. Since then, I’ve traveled from Hollywood to Helsinki to train tens of thousands of writers in nearly 1,000 workshops at organizations like NASA, Nokia and Nike.

I’ve been designated an “IABC Recommended Speaker” for my top ratings at IABC International Conferences. And I serve as the Public Relations Society of America’s “national writing coach.”

I’m a writer.

And I’ve tested my tricks and techniques in the real world. During my tenure as editor of Hallmark’s employee magazine, for instance, CROWN was named the best publication of its kind in the world by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Since then, my communications have earned more than 60 awards for excellence, including two IABC Gold Quills.

Today, one of the things that sets me apart from many writing trainers is that I practice what I preach. I actually write. In fact, half of my business is writing — newsletters, magazines, websites, brochures and the like — mostly for big, corporate clients. The other half is helping professional writers learn to write better.

Won’t you join me?

Frankly, you don’t have time to do a deep dive into writing tricks and techniques like I do. After all, you have a job. You have a life. You don’t have hundreds of hours to spend each year, digging into the research, finding ways to improve your writing.

Fortunately, all the years I’ve spent nerdishly analyzing, reading and researching writing techniques can cut hundreds of hours off your learning curve.

All you have to do in join me at my two-day Catch Your Readers Master Class. I look forward to seeing you there!

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“Makes me want to go back and revise everything I’ve done in the past three years.”
— Blythe Campbell, director, Communications & Marketing, NANA Development Corp.

Meet me in San Francisco

Look! There’s the apartment on San Francisco’s Montgomery Street where Alan Ginsberg wrote “Howl.” Here’s the site of the old Black Cat Bar where John Steinbeck was a regular. And that spot in the middle of the Bay is the one Maya Angelou wrote about in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

You might think of San Francisco as home to tech gadgets and gear. But it’s always been a city of letters, as well.

Here, writers ranging from Alice Walker to Amy Tan, from Jane Smiley to Charles Schulz, have plied their pens. You’ll find literary festivals, maps, museums, walking tours — and our summer writing workshop — in San Francisco.

San Francisco Master Class better by the bay

Better by the Bay Come for our Catch Your Reader writing workshop; stay for the City By the Bay. Photo by Bo Gaze

Why not make a long weekend of it?

I, for one, will be winding down from the workshop by scouring the shelves at City Lights Bookstore, picking out the perfect pearls in Chinatown, barking back at the sea lions on Pier 39, sighing over SPQR’s bucatini and taking in the Turner Show at the DeYoung museum.

Maybe we’ll run into each other!

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“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”
— Carie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

Select your VIP level

Silver ($1,195)

  • Two days of training
  • Lunch each day (Please do let us know about your dietary issues and aversions when you register)
  • Coffee and tea each morning
  • Workbook for capturing your ideas and insights

Gold ($1,295)

Get $281 worth of learning tools for just $100:

  • Everything at the Silver level
  • $281 worth of learning tools:
    • Art of the Storyteller toolkit, a $127 value
    • Clarify Complex Copy toolkit, a $127 value
    • People Power manual, a $27 value

Platinum ($1,395)

Get $297 worth of additional learning tools for just $100:

  • Everything at the Gold level
  • 12-month subscription to Rev Up Readership, a $297 value

Diamond ($1,495)

Get $297 worth of follow-up support — plus an exclusive conversation with Ann — for just $100:

  • Everything at the Platinum level
  • Membership to Ann’s LinkedIn Mentoring Group for one month, a $297 value
  • A drink with Ann and a small group after the first day’s workshop

Sorry: only 10 Diamond tickets available!

Save up to $300, earn bonuses.

  • Save $100 when you register by May 29 June 29 – deadline extended!
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues.

To summarize:

VIP LevelNon-memberRev Up Readership or PRSA member
SingleDouble3 or moreSingleDouble3 or more
SilverBefore June 29$1,095$1,045$995$995$945$895
After June 29$1,195$1,145$1,095$1,095$1,045$995
GoldBefore June 29$1,195$1,145$1,095$1,095$1,045$995
After June 29$1,295$1,245$1,195$1,195$1,145$1,095
PlatinumBefore June 29$1,295$1,245$1,195$1,195$1,145$1,095
After June 29$1,395$1,345$1,295$1,295$1,245$1,195
DiamondBefore June 29$1,395$1,345$1,295$1,295$1,245$1,195
After June 29$1,495$1,445$1,395$1,395$1,345$1,295

Big group?

Do you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training? Contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.

Don’t miss your chance.

Our Master Classes sell out quickly. If you’re interested in attending, please act now.


You’ll receive confirmation of your registration by email. Please white-list and to make sure you receive your registration materials. If they don’t arrive within an hour of your registration, please contact us directly.


Can’t make it?

  • Send a colleague. We’ll miss you! But please feel free to send a friend in your place. No charge for substitutions.
  • Transfer to a different Master Class. Choose one of our other 2015 workshops. No charge to transfer.
  • Don’t cancel! But if you must, please cancel via email:
    • By June 1 to receive a full refund, minus a $50 handling fee.
    • By July 1 to receive a 75% refund.
    • Sorry, no refunds after July 1.

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What participants say about Ann’s Master Classes

Ann Wylie's writing workshops photo

Catch Your Readers Hundreds of communicators have learned to get the word out at Ann Wylie’s Master Classes.

“Mind and skill expanding! I didn’t know what I didn’t know!”
— Wendy Perkins, staff writer, San Diego Zoo Global


“Loved the ‘Catch Your Reader’ master class. Ann Wylie is hilarious and informative and I left the workshop with useable tips and tools.”
— Ramona Rene, Enterprise Communications, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.


“I felt stuck; re-purposing, rephrasing. This session gave me tools that will free my imagination.”
— Rosemary Gudelj, senior manager OCEO & P.A.,


“I’m inspired — anxious to apply learning.”
— Allison Krieger, director of EVPMA Communications, University of Michigan Health System


“Wish my whole organization could attend!”
— Julia Thompson, communications manager, City of Portland BPS


“It was an incredible, fast-paced, comprehensive presentation of the biggest problems we face in the communications world today.”
— Colleen Dourney, fine wine communication specialist, E&J Gallo Winery


“Good tips and how-to’s for punching up your online content and getting the job done in fewer words.”
— Sara Stewart, account coordinator, Maxwell PR


— Kimberlee Jaynes, president, Kimberlee Jaynes Interior Design


— Laurel McJannet, online content specialist, Community Transit


“Love it all! I appreciate how your tips and suggestions are built on research.”
— Dayna Robbie, communications coordinator, College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba


“Both days provided excellent, thought-provoking tools for thinking like a reader to communicate better. I plan to go through all my notes and re-apply the ideas to my university communications right away. There’s a lot to apply!”
— Karen Mattox, assistant director, Communications, Midwestern University


“Amazing! I have learned more in this two-day class than I did in my two years Masters Program.”
— Rochelle Juette, communications specialist, Washington Closure Hanford


“Very informative and valuable information. You have mastered the presentation aspect and I’m amazed at your ability to ‘drop knowledge’ on a whim.”
— Brigitte Deterding, communication & change management consultant, Towers Watson


“Great! Very nicely organized with discussion following materials and retaining interest!”
— Robin Godfrey, Director, communications, Education & Development, First 5 Ventura County


“My toolbox is full. The best part: I know how and why to use each tool to write better, creative copy that engages my readers.”
— Tove Tupper, web & social media content manager, Highline Public Schools


“Awesome; truly good content and inspiration.”
— Lisa Cargill, senior account director, Desautel Hege Communications


“Loved the data, quotes, research that backed up Ann’s claims and tips. Helps build a case for what really works!”
— Meg Woolf, assistant director, Outreach Recruitment, Tacoma Community College


“Five stars.”
— Aaron Walburg, web content specialist, University of the Pacific


“Love it! Just what I needed! I love the tips and practical advice.”
— Shaughn Jarvis, marketing & communications manager, Growth & Strategy, Accenture


“Fantastic! I learned so much that I will share with my colleagues.”
— Molly Brush, communications specialist, Arizona State University


“Very informative and useful.”
— Karilynn Galiotos, digital content & social media coordinator, PetSmart Charities


“Love. Love. Love.”
— Brian Schultz, IT Communications, Progressive Insurance


“I really enjoyed the workshop – a great balance of structured approaches, creative ideas and wonderful quotes from many writers and researchers.”
— Patty Callahan, director, Employee Communications, Visa


“Very helpful! I appreciate sticking to an agenda but allowing for questions at any time.”
— Caleb Oar, senior communications consultant, Group Health Physicians


“There is a deal of information that makes you want to continue to listen and learn.”
— Carrie Bonney, director of media relations, Farmers Insurance


“Informative. All great take-a-ways … loved examples.”
— Michelle Woodard, industry communications content editor, Travel Oregon


“Both sessions were terrific – and it was smart to give online its own day.”
— James Sido, public relations manager, Downtown Seattle Association


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SF Green Space at EEFG

657 Mission Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA, 94105

Map and directions

Find nearby parking on Parkopedia

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“I learned more in this two-day class than I did in my two-year master’s program.”
— Rochelle Juette, communications specialist, Washington Closure Hanford

These hotels, at various price points, are within walking distance of our Master Class venue.

You can also view these hotels on our Pinterest map for these hotels. Please contact hotels directly for bookings.

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“If I were to write a headline and deck for Ann’s workshop, it would go something like this … ‘West Point for Writers: How to win the war for readers’ minds.'”
— Jim Rink, media relations specialist, The Auto Club Group

E-mail us.

Call us: 503/954-2289

Register for Creative Writing Workshop in San Francisco

San Francisco creative writing workshop

San Francisco
July 29-30
Single ticket from $1,195 $1,095
Group tickets from $995 $895

Register for Creative Writing Workshop in San Francisco

Free writing tips
  • Get tips, tricks & trends for Catching Your Readers
  • Learn to write better, easier & faster
  • Discover proven-in-the-lab writing techniques