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Learn the Tricks of the Trade from Barbara Noe Kennedy, former longtime Editor of National Geographic Travel Publishing

Barbara Noe Kennedy


CLASS DATE: This class is currently closed.


DURATION:  5 weeks

FORMAT:  Recorded webinar

FEEDBACK:   Both peer and instructor critique and commentary on homework assignments via Slack. The Slack community is an integral part of the course.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Is your writing dull and lifeless? Do you wonder how successful writers pop their words off the page (or screen)? There are easy ways to spice up your writing—nifty little techniques guaranteed to excite your readers. You’ll learn all about them in this five-week class, with deep dives into each one—including studying how other writers have successfully accomplished each trick, how to accomplish each one in your own writing, plus in-class exercises to immediately put the tricks into practice. Whether you’re writing magazine or newspaper features, blog posts, marketing materials, the Great American novel, or something else, this class will bring new sparkle to your writing.

This recorded webinar course starts on Monday, February 14, 2022.

Every Monday, over the course of five weeks (Monday, February 14, 21, 28, and March 7, 14), students will receive a recorded 90-minute webinar in their inbox to watch at their leisure.

The webinars can be viewed on a tablet, phone, or computer (both Mac and PC).


This course is offered via recorded webinar that are shared each week and you can review at your leisure. Webinars are workshops given online, where you can view the instructor and websites/materials she shares on her screen, making it an interactive experience. Webinars make learning from your home or office convenient.


Your sessions have been invaluable to me. The writing examples and the exercises have resonated with me and led me to explore different approaches to my writing. Your detailed lessons on character, POV, voice, settings have been practical and immediately applicable. I love your Pizzazz approach and the extra oomph it adds. Your feedback and that of my classmates was encouraging and insightful. I couldn’t ask for more. ~ Christy Schwan

I’ve just completed Barbara Noe Kennedy’s “Travel Writing in a Digital World.” I learned more in this class in six weeks than I did at four writing conferences combined. Barbara is obviously a professional, with a great deal of knowledge and experience. She was completely accessible, and always encouraging. I will watch for more classes from her—and I’ll be the first to sign up! ~ Shirley Drew

Barbara was the perfect travel writing teacher. She’s experienced in the industry and appreciates students’ unique voices. She’s very encouraging and worked with me on my first published story. ~ Peter J.

I was privileged to be in Barbara’s Creative Nonfiction writing class at Graduate School USA last spring. I was nervous for my first-ever writing class, but Barbara’s welcoming spirit quickly turned my trepidation into excitement that grew from week to week. She had just the right mix of encouragement and constructive feedback that gelled our small class, helping us learn from one another and begin to formulate our own comments and suggestions on the fly. That is not easy to do with a class of mostly new writers! I also appreciated how she selected readings that prompted us to think about our work differently, while encouraging us to explore topics and areas that spoke to us. I will always be grateful for her support, advice, and enthusiasm about my writing. ~ Andrea L.P.

Besides having a mastery of the subject, Barbara had a distinct rapport with everyone in our class. Her comments and constructive criticism were always right-on. ~ Barry G.

Barbara is a top-notch teacher. She uses an excellent mix of hands-on writing skills and real world examples of writing. She helps guide writers without trying to change their style or voice. I learned so much from her class that I use in my personal writing and my professional life. ~ Cat E.

Genuine and kind, Barbara’s skillful instruction inspires. Barbara facilitates a comfortable atmosphere for learning and exploring. ~ Lisa B.


Class One: Getting Started

Date: Recorded webinar to be sent Monday, February 14, 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

Above and beyond everything else, you need to understand what your writing style is. You need to recognize what type of writing you’re doing, as well as who you’re writing for. We look at various ways to find your writing style, as well as fun ways to play around with it. And we look at our first two pizzazz.

Topics covered include:

  • Class overview
  • How to find your writing style
  • The many facets of color
  • Five senses
  • In-class writing exercise

Assignment: At-home writing exercises to practice this week’s pizzazz. Read handouts.

Class Two: Adding Texture

Date: Recorded webinar to be sent Monday, February 21, 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

This week we take a deep dive into three different ways to add texture to your writing. We’ll look at how other successful writers have achieved these three methods of adding pizzazz, and take some time to practice them ourselves.

Topics covered include:

  • Use metaphors and similes
  • Think like a poet
  • Think like a song writer
  • In-class writing exercise

Assignment: At-home writing exercises to practice this week’s pizzazz. Read handouts.

Class Three: Hard-working Words

Date: Recorded webinar to be sent Monday, February 28, 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

Your word choices are key to creating exciting prose. This week we look at the specific use of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and more. You will learn how to look at your prose in different ways to make each word as strong as possible. And, of course, we’ll look at how other writers have successfully accomplished this, and take some time to practice.

Topics covered include:

  • The importance of hard-working nouns and verbs
  • The delicate balancing act of adverbs and adjectives
  • Make the last word and every sentence count
  • Shift focus often
  • Scare away all clichés
  • Some fun resources
  • In-class writing exercise

Assignment: At-home writing exercises to practice this week’s pizzazz. Read handouts.

Class Four: Getting Personal

Date: Recorded webinar to be sent Monday, March 7, 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

In this class, we’ll continue our discussion on different pizzazz tricks to spice up your writing, this time focusing on how to give your prose personality. We’ll study how other writers have successfully achieved this, and take some time to practice.

Topics covered include:

  • Show your emotions
  • Share personal stories
  • Write like you talk
  • Tricks with quotes
  • The use of personification
  • In-class writing exercise

Assignment: At-home writing exercises to practice this week’s pizzazz. Read handouts.

Class Five: Final Touches

Date: Recorded webinar to be sent Monday, March 14, 2022

Duration: 90 minutes

Once you’ve written your draft, it’s time to go back and turn it into a masterpiece. This class offers some tricks to hone and craft and polish your story to get it to the finish line. We’ll also use some of our own works as examples to discuss what we’ve learned in this class.

Topics covered include:

  • Kill your darlings
  • The highlighting trick
  • Less is more
  • What’s your Achilles heel?
  • Final tips
  • In-class discussions of students’ own writing created during this course

Assignment: At-home writing exercises to practice this week’s pizzazz. Read handouts.

Materials needed: All written materials and resources are provided by the instructor. She will provide PDFs of sample stories to read ahead of each recorded class.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Barbara Noe Kennedy is a former longtime editor with National Geographic Travel Publishing. She currently works as a fulltime freelance travel writer, with credits including Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, London Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC Travel, The Points Guy, and more. She also teaches travel writing and creative nonfiction.

COST:  $150, which includes five 90-minute webinars and virtual communication with your instructor.

BUY NOW: The Pizzazz of Writing with Barbara Noe Kennedy (5 weeks, starting February 14, 2022) Limit: 20 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check out the WOW Classroom for the current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 2/14/2022


Notes:  Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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