Adult Creative Writing Workshops

"Brooke seems to see where her students are, and what they aspire to, with amazing clarity. I made a huge transition in Brooke’s workshop. I had been producing first draft after first draft of work, unsure what to do next with my raw material. Brooke gave me guidance and encouragement to expand, examine, streamline. In workshop, she was a careful reader, providing wide-focus examinations of pieces as well as delicate line edits. She led discussions with flexibility and made us into a community of writers: we are still in touch, reading one another’s work. Brooke has a rare quality in a workshop leader, meeting writers where they are and challenging them to get somewhere else!"

- Micaela Blei

Storyteller, Educator, Speaker, and Editor


"Brooke Shaffner's workshop inspired me to continue writing. Other writing workshops I've taken left me at a loss afterwards about how to move forward with my work. This time, I have Brooke's perceptive critiques to guide me through the revision process. Through Brooke's focus on the actual techniques and tools writers can use to tell their stories, I was able to see my writing in a different light. At the same time, Brooke consistently pushed us to figure out what hid at the center of our stories, to get down to the 'heart of the matter.'"

- Caitlin Chandler

Writer, Investigative Journalist 


"Brooke's guidance is so thoughtful and insightful that it is impossible not to improve your writing through her critiques. She doesn't force her style on her students, and instead uses her uncanny ability to grasp each student's message and writing style to make suggestions that always fall within the scope of each writer's individuality. Through her workshop, I feel more confident about my voice and the techniques I can use to make it stronger."

- Hillary Gulley

Writer, Editor, Translator

College Essay Tutoring

"Brooke's talent for writing and revision greatly improved my admissions essays. She helped me transform my work from "acceptable" to completely engaging and concise. Her suggested revisions and attention to detail were truly remarkable and helped make my original work that much better."

- Larissa

Columbia University graduate


"Brooke was able to help me edit my college essays without removing my voice. She helped me refine each essay to perfection; I could not be more satisfied with another portion of my college application."

- Luciana

Harvard University graduate, accepted at Yale, Dartmouth, and offered full scholarships to Washington University and Vanderbilt University


“Brooke’s suggestions and corrections allowed me to fully express my ideas and develop them to their utmost potential. We did not have a face-to-face encounter, yet she understood my reasoning and turned my essay into one that accentuated my personality. I gave her the sketch of the dress; she returned an immaculate and beautiful gown.”

- Francheska

Rice University graduate, accepted at Harvard, Dartmouth, and Georgetown


"The college application essay can never be revised enough. Brooke had the critical eye to omit the superfluous and add when I knew my ideas were becoming anemic. It seemed almost impossible to be able to write so many different essays, and still remain fresh and interesting by coming up with new ideas, but she helped ensure that every prompt was answered in an effective and engaging way."

- Krystha

Rice University graduate, full scholarship recipient


"Brooke has the ability to infuse your words with new meaning. Every student has their story, but she can take your personal story to the next level. She guides you in turning your story into an inspiring work of art. I can honestly say that without Brooke's guidance, I would not have felt so confident about getting into my college of choice."

- Amanda

Brown University graduate, accepted at Duke, Rice, Cornell, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins University

Teen Creative Writing Workshops

“Brooke's writing course was the single most educational and helpful three weeks of my life. Because of her I am a much stronger, and more confident writer and student. The skills and techniques I learned in her workshops have continued to be useful in not only writing, but in many other parts of my life. I am more organized, articulate and careful in nearly everything. She doesn't have to push her students to work hard, because she has this quality that makes you want to write your best for everything you show her. Some of the pieces that I produced in those three weeks remain among the best I've written. Brooke Shaffner is both a brilliant teacher and a wonderful person.”

- Noah Mintz

Creative Writing Honors at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development


"Ms. Shaffner has been one of the most influential people in my life -- not only did she teach me things that I could not have learned elsewhere, but she did so in an engaging manner and with more kindness and patience than I would have thought was possible in any person. I do not hesitate to recommend her to you with the utmost conviction that far from regretting it, you will realize that it is the smartest thing you can do for yourself. To make a long story short: Ms. Shaffner is brilliant."

- Kharmen Bharucha

Creative Writing Honors at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development


"The Creative Writing course I took with Ms. Shaffner at Northwestern University was one of my most rewarding experiences. She was an inspiration to me and my classmates because of her unwavering efforts to make us excel in our writing. She let me explore the creative and technical aspects of writing, and instilled in me a new appreciation for literature. She was always accepting of my ideas as a foreign student from Honduras and encouraged me to delve into my cultural background and political views in my writing. The skills I learned in her workshop have not only helped me in my high school classes, they have motivated me to continue developing my writing in college."

- Michelle Lezama

Creative Writing Honors at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development


"After 8 years of grade school and two years of Honors English classes along with countless Creative Writing, Literature Analysis, and other English courses, I felt it was nearly impossible for me to be introduced to anything new in regards to writing. But Brooke didn't have any trouble finding plenty more to teach us (me and my classmates) about writing creatively. During group discussions, she listened to our pieces and praised us before offering constructive criticism that resembled a friend offering advice as opposed to a teacher editing your paper and handing it back covered in red ink. She treated us like adults which made us grow and develop our writing in ways we'd never thought of before. Brooke chose inspiring pieces for us to read and then gave us the challenge of recreating them with our own experiences and ideas. We had a very diverse class that summer- and she appreciated everything we described in our writing, whether it was the struggles of a teenage girl lost in Shanghai or the seemingly bland life of a girl in a small cornfield town in Illinois. She helped each of us put together a portfolio displaying our best work. Brooke was without a doubt the best instructor there that summer- and I'm not just saying that because she's such a likable person! Her suggestions are extremely valuable and I think her gift for dissecting others' writing is truly rare."

- Genevieve Toussaint

Creative Writing Honors at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development

Manuscript Editing

"Brooke helped me to ready a draft of The Breaking of Our Healers: Becoming the Doctor I Never Planned to Be for publication with her insightful feedback on story, character, structure, and style. I am indebted to Brooke's invaluable guidance, which brought greater life and clarity to the book. 

- Robert Abbott, MD

Author of The Breaking of Our Healers: Becoming the Doctor I Never Planned to Be 


Brooke is not only a gifted writer, but also an astute editor. She brings a deft eye to any manuscript she reads, with particular skill for book-length projects. And she also provides sound guidance when it comes to querying literary agents. She has an extensive background across both fiction and narrative nonfiction, and I trust her insights on anything from line edits to elements of pacing and structure to character development. I can't recommend Brooke more—she brings invaluable knowledge, empathy, thoughtfulness and diligence to every project that comes across her desk.

- Jennifer Milton

Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction Writer 


“Brooke helped me construct my portfolio for MFA applications. Her input was very insightful, and she went above and beyond in the time she spent reviewing my work. The thoroughness with which she reviewed my work was enhanced by the depth of her knowledge of her field. Her advice was concrete and specific. She helped me look at the stories I had written in a new way that I never found in undergraduate creative writing workshops. I would highly recommend Brooke for anyone who needs help polishing writing pieces, be they creative or otherwise.”

- Elisia Guerena

NYU MFA Fiction Program Prospective

College Writing Courses

"Professor Shaffner provided me with one of the most rewarding academic experiences that I have had at Rutgers University. Her critiques on my papers furthered my ability to analyze texts and pushed me to improve with each new assignment. While embodying the ideals expected in Expository Writing, Professor Shaffner was always available for one on one analysis discussion, which made the learning experience personal. The writing skills I developed in her class have transferred directly to other critical papers I have written here at Rutgers University. One could not ask for a more holistic improvement from a class."

- Jacob Clements

Expository Writing 101 at Rutgers University


"Scientific & Technical Writing with Professor Shaffner at Rutgers University transformed my perspective on researching world issues. The main goal of the course was to create a research paper delving into a specific topic, but Professor Shaffner made it far more interesting. She made research seem like more of a passion than a chore. As the course progressed, I found it progressively easier to gather reliable information and use it effectively in assignments. This not only helped me in Scientific and Technical Writing, but in my other courses. Professor Shaffner’s incredible kindness and patience during help sessions outside of class made me a more organized and effective writer, and I now feel more comfortable with college level writing assignments. I’m grateful for her wisdom and knowledge, which will help me with research and writing throughout college and beyond. "

- Jeffrey Addy

Scientific and Technical Writing at Rutgers University


"From resume and cover letter writing to researching and revising an independent project, Professor Shaffner made writing and researching both engaging and conquerable. She made me both a deeper thinker and researcher and a more powerful writer. I have applied her teachings in my other courses as well as job, research, and medical school applications, and I feel better prepared to pursue a career in medicine and research. "

- Sani Gandhi

Scientific and Technical Writing at Rutgers University