Aspiring writers, both budding and toiling, can receive tips on exercises and strategies to develop characters, plots and scenes during two spring workshops to be led by a published author and former director of a Columbus literary center.

Before moving to Upper Arlington, Susanne Jaffe was a New York publishing executive, and more recently she was executive and creative director of Thurber House, a nonprofit literary center for readers and writers in Columbus, for 14 years.

She's written four books released by New York-based publishing houses and this year self-published two novels, "La Patrona" and "Her Mother's Daughter."

So when Jaffe offered to lead workshops for the Upper Arlington Lifelong Learning & Leisure program to help other writers develop their crafts, LLL Program Coordinator Deb Mosely jumped at the opportunity.

"Lifelong Learning & Leisure has long had a writing and language section in the programming," Mosely said. "When Susanne contacted me, I was thrilled to have her."

Jaffe will lead two workshops, which both are being offered for $20 to Upper Arlington residents and others.

The first will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road. It's been dubbed "The Key Elements of Writing Fiction," and Jaffe will school participants on foundations of fiction writing, such as developing characters, dialogue, settings, points of view, plots and story narration.

"If you don't have the foundation, the building blocks, then you really cannot go from there in your writing," Jaffe said. "One cannot really teach creative writing, but one can teach the craft, and then you go from there."

On May 4, Jaffe will lead "Using Prompts to Create Characters & Scenes" from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the MSC.

That workshop will focus on strategies for jumpstarting writing, which she said can further help develop characters and plots.

"The story can be either the scene or the character, or if you're really ambitious, you can give a character and scene," Jaffe said. "These prompts are really exercises to get you thinking about developing scenes and characters in ways you weren't thinking before.

"It's very sensory, and it's especially to give you a sense of community and confidence. This should be a very friendly and nonjudgmental setting and I hope people will leave with a desire to keep writing."

Jaffe said she was interested in leading the workshops because she loves to discuss reading and writing and to encourage people to pursue creative outlets.

"The whole thrust of LLL is to offer a wide variety of subject areas to people who live in our community," Mosely said. "I think the Columbus area has an active group of people who are interested in being writers."

For more information or to register, go to or call 614-583-5333.