Lisa Rosenthal -- Writing Coach and Writing Workshop Facilitator   



I tailor a coaching program after learning what you need.  Whether you have

* a completed manuscript in need of critique
* a short story ready for rigorous feedback
* need deadlines and writing exercises to spur on your creative spirit

Send an e-mail to with COACHING in the subject line. I can help you on your writing way no matter where you live.


These are 90-minute workshops that can be expanded depending on your needs and the number of people in the workshop. To set up a workshop for your organization or group, please e-mail with WORKSHOPS in the subject line. While based in Chicago, Lisa loves to travel!


Sense-ational Living: The Core of Life

Exercising your senses to heighten your pleasure.

Tend the Gardener Within

A workshop that explores the outside to go inside

Perspectives: A Workshop for Empathic Living

Taking on the role of the other to learn how others move through the world



Activate Your Writing Ambitions

Writing exercises and inspiration to help you take the leap into the writing life

Recovery Journal Workshop

Recovering your creative spirit. For both writers and non-writers

Play, Write, Live Writing Workshop

Encouraging the writer in you with activities and writing exercises


The following workshops are appropriate for writers in all genres:

Create Compelling Characters

Perspectives Workshop for Writers

Plot-ting Along

Structure that Supports Your Writing

Effective Use of Themes in Writing


Sharpening Your Playwriting Tools: A 6-week Workshop

Essential tools are crafted and explored through exercises and critique

Dig In: A 5-week Intensive Revision Workshop

A critique group based revision workshop for writers with a completed short story, play, or novel (fiction or nonfiction) manuscript


Business 101 for Artists: Marketing, Accounting, and Pain-Free PR

How to Get Published

Nurturing an Effective Author–Editor Relationship

Creating an Effective Writing Group

The Art of Critique



* 2004–present


* Oak Park Writers Group, 2004–2008
* Gilda’s Club Chicago, 2005–2008
* Mount Prospect Writers Group, 2006–
* Lincoln Square Writers Group, 2006–2008
* Uptown Writers Group, 2007–2009


* Editor, The Writing Group Book: Creating and Sustaining Effective Writing Groups, 2003
* Author, A Dog’s Best Friend, 1999
* Contributor to theater anthologies published by Smith & Kraus and Meriwether


* American Library Association National Conference, Chicago, 2005
* Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) National Conference, L.A., 2004


* Guest Lecturer on playwriting, Columbia College Chicago, Television Department, 2006
* Guest Judge, Stories on Stage, Chicago, 2005
* Presenter, Printer’s Row Book Fair, 2004
* Guest Editor, critiquing sessions, SCBWI National Conference, Los Angeles, 2004


* Founder, Vet Art Project, Chicago 2007-present (
* Workshop presenter, Chicago Book Fest, offering workshops at more than a dozen Chicago area libraries, 2002–present
* Founding member, The Playwrights Collective and producer of two new play festivals for TPC, 1996–2006

* Founding board member, Fernwork Arts Incubator, 2005–2006
* Producer or curator, play festivals and play reading series, Chicago Cultural Center, 2004–present


* Resident Playwright, Chicago Dramatists, 2005–
* Affiliated Artist, American Theater Company, 2003–2009
* Member, Dramatists Guild, 2000–
* Founding member, The Playwrights Collective, 1996–2006


See participant testimonials below



"Thank you for your help with dramaturgy for Solving Sunflowers. Your insightful suggestions, including your thoughtful and encouraging notes on the script, helped me rewrite in a focused way to get it to the next level." —Patricia Milton, third place finalist, 2009 Eudora Welty New Play Festival

“Her guidance was so inspiring, empowering and nurturing that it has most certainly catapulted me into writing on a regular basis . . . exactly what I was hoping for by taking this class. I’m telling everyone about it! Thank you  so much for taking the time to construct such a meaningful workshop.”

—Callie Thompson, writer

“Lisa Rosenthal is a highly skilled editor. She is an invaluable source of knowledge and encouragement, and diligently edited my work without diluting my style. She created a kind of student–mentor relationship, allowed me to flesh out my thoughts, and helped me tell a more concise and compelling story. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge over the past year that’s vital to my growth as a writer. I am very thankful.”

— Sarah Haas, memoirist, dancer, choreographer

“Lisa's writing workshop at Gilda's Club Chicago has truly enriched the lives of our members who participate. Lisa's workshop helps instill positive creative energy and provides a nurturing environment where each participant is able to share his or her writing voice. We are very grateful to Lisa for sharing her time and talent with Gilda's Club Chicago.”

—Gail Mitchell, Program Director, Gilda’s Club Chicago, a free cancer support community for men, women and children living with cancer and for family members and friends

“She sets up a very welcoming, non-judgmental, and constructive environment, which I think is awesome. I can finally come out of my writing shell.”

—Patty, memoirist

“As the facilitator of the Oak Park Writers’ Group, Lisa has helped dozens transform their ideas into short stories, articles, poems, plays, and even novels. Talented editor, accomplished playwright, thoughtful advisor—Lisa is an inspiration.”

—Keith Anwar, writer, editor of Memories of Afghanistan

“It is a rare and wonderful situation to have a mentor as a friend. Lisa has been both, and her unique style of rendering an accurate but always encouraging critique has helped me to ‘write on.’”

—Jim Chmura, science fiction and fantasy writer

“I had the great privilege of having Lisa as my editor for over six books published by Chicago Review Press. Lisa not only made each book a pleasure, she knew how to bring out the best in me and create books we were both proud of upon publication. Her enthusiasm and support for each project carried us through production and the life of each title. She’s been one of my biggest champions and serves as my benchmark for all editor relationships.”

—Nancy Castaldo, author of River Wild, Rainforests, Oceans, Deserts, Winter Day Play, Rainy Day Play, and Sunny Days and Starry Nights

“Besides being a really nice person, Lisa is a wonderful cheerleader and editor. She is also incredibly patient and nurturing—a safe harbor for my thoughts as they take there first nervous tumble from my brain onto the page. She allows, encourages, and insists that I tell my own story.”

—Barbara Cunningham, short story writer and world traveler

“Lisa helped me realize my dreams. All of her coaching, patience, and kind words are appreciated. This process was so much more enjoyable with her by my side.”

—Kimberly Monaghan, author of Organic Crafts

“In addition to her good humor and boundless enthusiasm, Lisa brings a wealth of hands-on, practical knowledge to the table. As a writer herself, she is empathetic to the Sisyphean task that every struggling author goes through in creating a manuscript, and that element of empathy is welcome, even crucial. She is never less than encouraging as she offers critique, and you feel as though she is genuinely invested in your success. And as a published author, she knows the nuts and bolts of procedure, which is invaluable to the inexperienced writer.”

—Aaron Christensen, AKA Dr. AC, actor, writer, monster movie enthusiast

“Lisa is one of the most thorough editors I have ever worked with and I have worked with many. She is always on top of the project and gives us the answers we need while we’re working . . . She’s a good teammate.”

—Scott Rattray, Rattray Design

“[She is] an amazing editor, the old-fashioned kind that they say don’t exist anymore, that really nurture and encourage new writers."

—Valerie Petrillo, author of Sailors, Whalers, Fantastic Sea Voyages and the forthcoming A Kid’s Guide to Asian American History

“Writing is a solitary act often fraught with self-doubt and self-distrust. My thanks to Lisa Rosenthal, moderator of the Oak Park Writers Group, who encouraged me to share my poems with the group, not for criticism but for critique. I am grateful to her for helping me to trust my talent and for the feedback she gave me.”

—Francesca Giannini, author of Love's Fierce Beauty: The Changing Seasons of a Woman's Heart, Collected Poems

“Writers pour their product upon the blank page. Like a recipe whose ingredients need time to bake, writing requires time to shape words into configurations of meaning. Since writers spend so many solitary hours cooking their words, they need to emerge periodically for taste tests from other people. he writing group at the Oak Park Public Library with word chef Lisa Rosenthal offers just the right mix of critique and support for writers.”

—Janis Clark Johnston, writer and family psychologist

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