Master the Art of the Storyteller

Transform your writing with the attention-grabbing, comprehension-boosting, memory-aiding, mind-shifting, behavior-changing superpowers of concrete, creative, colorful copy

“Ann transformed my writing in a mere 12 hours.”
— Brent Buchanan, communication, advocacy & political professional, Cygnal

It ain’t fluff. Creative messages help people pay closer attention to your message, understand it faster, remember it longer and act on it more quickly.

Master the Art of the Storyteller - Ann Wylie's creative-writing master class on July 25-26 in Portland

Engage readers Master the Art of the Storyteller at our corporate creative-nonfiction-writing Master Class on July 25-26 in Portland. Register now.

As ad giant David Ogilvy famously said, “Nobody ever sold anybody anything by boring them to death.” Most organizations seem to have missed that memo.

But at Master the Art of the Storyteller — a two-day Master Class on July 25-26 in Portland — you’ll learn how to engage readers with creative elements like concrete details, description, wordplay, metaphor and storytelling.

“Very eye-opening. Who knew you could teach an old dog new tricks? I was humbled.”
— Larry Nuffer, manager, corporate communications, CDC Small Business Finance

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

PRSA members: Earn 4 APR maintenance points!

Save $100 when you book by May 25.

“Excellent, kick-you-in-the-butt skills that I can use forever.”
— Patti Monsoor, public relations and marketing, Utah Valley University Woodbury School of Business


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

Color Them Fascinated

Tap the 1:1 concrete-comprehension connection

Talk about a superpower:

Color Them Fascinated: Tap the 1:1 concrete-comprehension connection

  • There’s a 1:1 correlation between concrete words and understanding.1
  • Concrete phrases are 400% more memorable than abstract phrases.2
  • Concrete details in legal arguments change jurors’ minds — and their decisions.3

In this session, you’ll learn how to boost comprehension and retention — even move people to act — with juicy details. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write like a roller coaster: Are you losing them in the middle? Test your message so you can spot and fix the boring parts.
  • Keep them reading longer: Where to sprinkle “gold coins” throughout your message to keep readers engaged.
  • Go from blah to brilliant in 15 minutes or less: Quick ways to add concrete detail to even the most tedious topics.
“The research Ann provided is going to go a long way in helping me support the strategic communications work I do!”
— Emma Cochrane, communications and government relations coordinator, NOVA

Paint Pictures In Your Readers’ Heads

Make their brains light up

Think of description as virtual reality:

Paint Pictures In Your Readers’ Heads: Make their brains light up

  • Describe a scent, and your readers’ primary olfactory cortexes light up.
  • Describe texture, and you activate their sensory cortexes.
  • Describe kicking, and not only do you stimulate their motor cortexes, but you stimulate the part of the motor cortex responsible for leg action.

But write abstractly — aka, the way we usually do in business communications — and readers’ brains remain dark.

Want to stimulate some brain activity around, say, your CEO’s latest strategy or that brilliant Whatzit you’ll be releasing later this month? Description is the answer.

In this session, you will learn to make your readers’ brains light up with description. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Dig up descriptive details: Try WBHA, the most overlooked reporting tool there is.
  • Tune in to sensory information: Use our travel writer’s tip for going beyond visual description.
  • Communicate, don’t decorate: Use this tip to avoid stimulating readers’ gag reflexes instead of their cerebral cortexes.
“Ann inspired me to exorcise the dusty demons of my journalism career and embrace a livelier and more agile writer within.”
— Laura Ingalls, senior manager, communications, PetSmart Charities

Play With Your Words

Cut through the clutter of competing messages

There’s a little piece of your brain — it’s called the Broca’s area — that’s responsible for helping you sort through all of the many messages you get each day.

Play With Your Words: Cut through the clutter of competing messages

Well-worn phrases and familiar ideas don’t activate the Broca’s area. Plain old ‘splainin’ doesn’t do anything for it either. But creative techniques like wordplay do.

In this session, you’ll learn how to tickle your readers’ Broca’s area — and cut through the clutter of competing messages — with wordplay. 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.
  • Find online tools that do most of the work for you: Walk away with links to some of the best (free!) wordplay resources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
  • Polish your skills in our wordplay workout: Get “recipes” for creating 14 types of wordplay, from anagram to etymology to oxymoron.
“I am a better writer today than I was two days ago.”
— Chelsea Didde Rice, communications specialist, Ascend Learning

Make Magic With Metaphor

Charm readers with analogies and comparisons

It’s tempting to call metaphor the magic spell in a writer’s repertoire, the Penn and Teller of the page.

Make Magic with Metaphor: Charm readers with analogies and comparisons

Metaphor has the power to persuade far better than literal language. It lets you say in five words what would otherwise take five paragraphs to explain.

It makes readers’ brains light up, helps them think more broadly about your message — even (ahem!) makes you look more attractive.

But, as with other forms of magic, you’ll want to master a few tricks before you step onto the stage. In this session, you’ll learn how to charm readers with the magic of metaphor:

  • Get the zombies out of your message: Don’t let Dead and Dead2 metaphors eat your readers’ brains.
  • Craft a compelling metaphor with our fill-in-the-blanks formula.
  • Polish your metaphor: Learn which kinds of metaphors to choose, which to avoid and where in your message to place them from 41 academic studies covering 50 years of research.
“I loved every nano second. I gained my youthful confidence back. I can’t wait to get to work tomorrow!”
— Gary Burris, public relations director, Tec Labs

Master the Art of the Storyteller

Whoever tells the best story wins

It’s “the most powerful form of human communication,” according to Peg Neuhauser, author of Corporate Legends and Lore.

Master the Art of the Storyteller: Whoever tells the best story wins

Indeed, stories can help you grab attention, boost credibility, make your messages more memorable — even communicate better.

In this session, you’ll learn to find, develop and write stories that engage readers’ hearts and minds. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Find the aha! 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.
“Utterly worthwhile, both to career copywriters and people who just want to communicate more effectively.”
— Meg Elison, social media marketing, Ripple

Get to Aha!

Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain

Want to come up with fresher, faster, more inspired story ideas and writing insights?

Get to Aha! Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain

Welcome to the wonderful world of the creative process.

In this session, you’ll master a five-step creative process that helps you produce more and better ideas. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write while washing the dishes: Find out why taking a walk, a nap or a break is actually part of the creative process.
  • Treat writer’s block, procrastination and formulaic thinking: When you understand the creative process, you can end-run some of the common problems that writers and editors face.
  • Avoid “creative incest”: Stop creating communications that are dull replicas of the same thing you did last year — and the year before that.
“I can use these tools right away, right now!”
— Dorothy Tate, public relations manager, Iowa Soybean Association

Master the Storytelling Structure

Hint: It’s not a triangle

You wouldn’t tell the Cinderella story by leading with the bottom line: And they lived happily ever after.

Master the Storytelling Structure: Hint: It's not a triangle

It’s a sad fact: Storytelling and the inverted pyramid are mutually exclusive.

In this session, you’ll learn a structure that will help you make all of your messages more fascinating and engaging. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Organize your story in six easy pieces with our fill-in-the-blanks template.
  • Test your lead’s attention-getting power against our checklist of elements of a great lead.
  • Walk away with award-winning lead examples to model.
“Fantastic! Often times, I come to these workshops and speakers give good ideas but aren’t always scalable to a company as large as the one I work for. These tips are relevant regardless of audience size. So helpful!”
— Angelica Kelly, lead consultant, internal communications, AT&T

Get a Creative Writing Workout

Take your story from ‘meh’ to masterpiece

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.

Get a Creative Writing Workout: Take your story from ‘meh’ to masterpiece

But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Bring your laptop and a story to work on. You’ll get 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. (That’s how we put the “Master” in the Master Class!)
  • 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 editing others or improving your own work.
“I feel invigorated and excited about writing again. I like that you incorporated participation, so we could immediately put into practice what you were teaching.”
— Danielle Rush, communication specialist, Indiana University Kokomo

Location & logistics

“Perfectly executed and incredibly helpful.”
— Torie Robinette, communications specialist, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

Location & logistics


Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center

Ecotrust, The Natural Capital Center
721 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

Directions, maps and parking information


“This workshop was truly one of the most useful ones I have attended.”
— Kelsey Wharton, science writer, OKED Communications, Arizona State University

Hotels near the Master Class

Please contact hotels directly for room rates and booking.

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


8:15 a.m. Registration
9 a.m. Workshop begins
Noon Lunch
1 p.m. Workshop resumes
4 p.m. Workshop ends

“I didn’t want it to end.”
— Gary Burris, public relations director, Tec Labs


Your ticket includes morning coffee and tea, lunch and afternoon refreshments.

“I learned techniques that improved my writing; I only wish it had been 20 years sooner!”
— Shelley Nelson, campus director, Arizona Christian University


“Worth every dime.”
— Brent Buchanan, managing partner, Cygnal


Save $100+
Save $300+
Save $700+
Training, lunches, workbook
$281 worth of learning tools for $100
$297 subscription to Rev Up Readership for $100 more
30-minute one-on-one phone consult with Ann ($750 value)
“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


  • Save $100 when you register by May 25.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.

Payment policy

Your registration is not complete until you have paid in full. If your company requires an invoice, please use either the printable invoice or the email confirmation you will receive. Both will include the details of the workshop, including the dates and the workshop fee.

“I typically wouldn’t spend this much on a workshop, but this was so worth it.”
— Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters

Payment methods

You may pay by credit card or check.
Amex, Mastercard and VIsa credit cards accepted


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 upcoming workshops. No charge to transfer.
  • Don’t cancel! But if you must, please cancel via email:
    • by May 25, and receive a full refund, minus a 20% handling fee.
    • by June 25, and receive a 75% refund.
    • Sorry, no refunds after June 25.

We reserve the right to cancel workshops. If we do, we will apply your registration fee to another workshop or refund your fee. But we will not be responsible for any additional costs you have incurred, such as airfare or travel expenses.


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.

Don’t miss your chance.

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


“Fabulous. Not surprised but nonetheless delighted that this was everything I’d hoped for, and more.”
— Sasha Nyary, senior news writer and copy editor, Mount Holyoke College

Frequently asked questions

May I pay by check or purchase order?

Yes, please contact us at Let us know how many and what type of tickets you need, attendee details and your preferred payment method. We will issue an invoice or purchase order if you need one.

Do you offer any discounts?

We have no doubt that the Master Class will be the best money you invest this year on your professional development. But here are six ways to reduce that investment or boost your return on it:

  • Save $100 when you register by May 25.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.) Click “Enter promotional code” and enter your promo code.
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.

I booked my ticket without applying the discount code. Or I received the code after booking the ticket. Can I get a refund for the discount?

Sorry, but you need to apply the discount code when you purchase. We are not able to apply discounts after the fact.

I booked my individual ticket, and now I’m bringing colleagues.

Can I still get the group discount? Please email us, and we’ll send you a special discount code your colleagues can apply to get the discount.

Should I bring a laptop?

Yes, please bring one. You’ll need it to edit your work and get feedback from your peers and Ann.

Should I bring my writing sample to the workshop?

Yes, please bring your writing samples to the workshop. You’ll write, rewrite and edit and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

“I learned techniques that improved my writing; I only wish it had been 20 years sooner!”
— Shelley Nelson, campus director, Arizona Christian University

How do I contact you?

Please email us at

May I update my registration information?

Yes. Please go to Eventbrite and update your registration information and dietary information.

Should I bring my printed ticket to the workshop?

Yes, please bring a copy of the ticket to the workshop.

What is the dress code for the workshop?

Business casual.

Do you accommodate special dietary preferences?

Please specify your dietary preference when you register.

Can you you accommodate special needs (accessibility, nursing mothers, etc.)?

Yes, we will do everything we can to accommodate your request. Please contact us by email and let us know what you need.

Will you sell my personal information?

No. We never share personal information with other companies.

Do you have any advice on what to tell my boss about why I should attend this writing workshop?

Here is a draft letter that you can use to help convince your boss. Also attached is a one page fact-sheet about our workshop.

“Ann’s workshop revived my love of writing and invigorated my skills.”
— Ken Koch, director of marketing, Francis Tuttle Technology Center


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

About Ann Wylie

Ann WylieAnn Wylie runs a training, editing and consulting firm called Wylie Communications. She works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out.

Her workshops take her from Hollywood to Helsinki. There, she helps clients at organizations like NASA, Nike and Nokia polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work.

Ann has earned more than 60 awards, including two IABC Gold Quills, for her communications. She is the author of more than a dozen learning tools that help people improve their communication skills, including, a toolbox for writers.

Learn more about Ann.

“Ann is brilliant and arms you with the tools to succeed.”
– Katie Anselmo, internal communication manager, Comcast

Save $100 when you register by May 25.



[1] Sadooski, Goetz & Rodriguez, 2000

[2] Allan Paivio, 1986

[3] Shedler & Manis, 1986

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