Teaching Philosophy

I have been teaching creative writing for over fifteen years. I currently teach online, at The Loft Literary Center, at ModernWell, and in Ashland University’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

Students are drawn to writing because they want to tell a story or because language excites them. My goal is to tap into that energy and help each student, regardless of ability level, make discoveries through language. I strive to establish a nurturing classroom environment where students feel safe sharing their work and ideas and can grow as writers.

Upcoming Classes

Motherhood & Words Online

January 30 – April 3, 2019 (10 1/2 weeks)

Whether you are a new mom or a veteran, whether you gave birth to or adopted your child, in this online class you’ll learn how to take birth and motherhood stories and turn them into art. Weekly lectures, reading assignments and writing exercises will focus on telling details, character development, emotional distance, strengthening your reflective voice, and revision. (Use Your Words will be the primary text for the class.) You can expect to begin at least five creative nonfiction pieces, and you will have an opportunity to revise and expand one of these into a longer piece. You will receive feedback from your peers and me on what emerges from weekly writing exercises. I will also read and comment on one longer piece (10 pages) and a revision of that same piece. This class is open to writers of all ability levels! Join this online community of mothers who are interested in writing!

Cost $425

Please e-mail me at katehopper [at] msn [dot] com if you have any questions about the class. Payment by check also available. Limited class size.

* Cancellation policy: I know that sometimes things come up making it impossible to continue with a class, and I want to be as flexible and supportive as possible while still honoring the time it takes to deal with class prep and cancellations. If you cancel before class begins, you’ll receive full credit toward a future class. Once the class begins, a 75% credit will be given if cancelled during the first week; 50% if cancelled by week 3; after that, no credits given. Credit must be used within 12 months.


Women’s Memoir

Tuesdays, 12:30 – 2:30 – September 25 – November 13, 2018

ModernWell, Minneapolis, MN

Writing is an act of discovery. Join this group of women writers to explore memoir, unearth hidden truths and learn to write to the heart of your stories. Weekly discussions, readings and writing exercises will focus on generating new work and deepening your understanding of craft. We’ll explore how to create complex, vibrant characters; bring your writing alive with scenes; strengthen your reflective voice; balance narration and reflection; and tackle revision. You will receive feedback from your peers and me on what emerges from weekly writing exercises. I will also critique one longer piece of writing (10 pages) and meet individually with each writer to go over my feedback. Join this amazing community of women writers and begin writing the stories you need to write.

Click here to register.


Crafting the Nonfiction Book Proposal

October 27, 2018 – 9 am – 1 pm – The Loft Literary Center, Open Book, Minneapolis

Whether you have a complete manuscript or simply an idea for your next book, you’ll need to write a book proposal that’s both concise and catchy. In this four-hour class, you’ll begin to craft a book proposal in a step-by-step process that will help you distill your book’s “hook,” understand the components of a strong proposal, and begin to create an “about the author” section and marketing plan.

Class time will be spent discussing components and examples of successful book proposals, distilling your book description and “hook,” brainstorming content for your “about the author” and marketing sections, and sharing. Participants will leave with a list of tips and resources to help them complete and begin to pitch their book proposals to agents and editors.

$2 copy fee payable to the teaching artist.

Register here.

Editing and Individual Consultation

I offer mentoring, coaching, editing and manuscript critique for writers of all levels and backgrounds. I provide a respectful, professional critique that focuses on craft, language, and structure. I am particularly excited when I can help a writer uncover the “real story” in a piece.

Manuscript Critiques: I provide editorial services for writing working on short and long prose pieces. I am a supportive reader and teacher, striving to establish a safe and nurturing environment where creative work can take place. I provide comprehensive feedback (structure, characterization, etc.) as well as making language suggestions when necessary. I track changes/insert comments into an electronic Word version of the manuscript and also provide summary-type comments and page notes. Then we meet face-to-face or via Skype to walk through my suggestions together.

“Kate told me what I needed to hear–that my manuscript, then a book of linked essays, was crying out to be a memoir. She didn’t tell me this lightly, knowing that wholesale changes would be necessary–but her words rang true. After pondering her advice for months, I eventually plunged into a revision. Now that I’m well into it, I realize how spot-on Kate was. I’ve gotten to that magical point where everything seems to be falling into place. I can’t thank her enough for helping me get there.” – Pamela Schmid

“I love working one on one with Kate. She has a supportive and insightful way of coaxing the better story from my words. She is like a trusted girlfriend that knows your true story more clearly than you do, at first, but within a short time, her advice allows you to gain that a-ha moment where you instantly understand how to translate her suggestions into motivated action. Her coaching feels a little bit like magic, suddenly, poof, I know how to tighten and amplify the power of piece. All this, and, she is a lovely person! Can’t say enough…” – Jennifer Cramer-Miller

Book Proposals/Query letters: Whether you have a complete manuscript or simply an idea for your next book, you’ll need a book proposal that’s both concise and catchy. I provide guidance, examples, and feedback to writers who are ready to begin their agent/editor search and need a polished book proposal and query letter.

Coaching: I provide one-on-one coaching and editing for writers who are interested in working with me for a longer period of time. We set up a timeline based on each writer’s goals. I provide structure and deadlines in addition to developmental and line editing, tailored writing exercises, and advice on where to submit writing. I also help writers who are applying for grants and graduate programs ready their portfolios.

“I am so grateful to have met Kate. I went from wanting to be a writer to having several works published in less than a year, all with Kate’s guidance. When I have questions, or simply have writer’s block, she delicately focuses me. She’s direct, kind, smart and has an amazing way of pushing me in new directions. If you’re serious about becoming a writer or wanting to step up your game, Kate is there to make it happen.” – Lisa Witz

Please contact me at katehopper [at] msn [dot] com for more information about my editorial and coaching services.

Tailored Workshops

I am available to lead writing workshops for students, writing groups, and book clubs. I provide guided writing exercises, craft discussions and writing critiques. I will tailor the workshop to meet the needs of your group.

What students say about working with Kate:

“Kate is warm, funny and full of great ideas to help writers of every level. I loved her organized syllabus, the breadth of the essays/passages she had us read outside of class, the free-flowing discussions, and the homework assignments that generated unexpected results in my own writing. Kate creates a classroom that encourages students to open up and share their stories, both in the form of conversation and the written word. I was truly delighted by [her class]. My writing went deeper than I expected, and I felt really inspired by the quality of the work Kate helped me produce.” –E

“Kate is a gifted and lively teacher, coach, and guide. She’s got a knack for finding the creative threads in a piece, then helping students weave them together to create something beautiful. I always felt supported and encouraged in her class-which is why I took it three times! The woman is awesome!” –P

“Kate has a way of reading your writing for what it truly is and wants to become. In this way she infuses new excitement into your work and stretches you as a writer in new ways.” –K

“Our classroom quickly became a community of mothers writing about every range of experience in motherhood, from infertility to SIDS. Kate’s steady presence, her preparation of selected readings designed to prompt memory as well as writerly analysis, and her gentle critical responses to our work fostered an environment that nurtured creativity, experimentation, truth-telling. Several students were repeating the class for the third time, learning new approaches and diving deeper into their own stories of motherhood. Yes, Kate Hopper IS that good!” –G

Feel free to e-mail me at katehopper [at] msn [dot] com if you have questions about any of the classes I’m teaching.