Are Fortnite skins the only creative outlet your kid experiments with lately?

What if they had the opportunity to work closely with a published author to create a new world and story of their own?

Friday Night Writes is the 5-week virtual classroom and community your middle schooler needs to get them excited about writing their first epic short story.

register now!

Tell me if this sounds familiar...


your kid loves to read, hates to write…

or loves to talk about story ideas, but never writes a word down…

maybe they’ll humor you and write a full page, but it’s obviously rushed, Incoherent and dude, did he just Plagiarize Harry Potter?

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I don’t have to preach to you about all the benefits your kids get from reading, but do you have any idea how important the skill of creative writing is?

  1. Creative writing encourages children to use their imaginations: explore their ideas, thoughts, feelings.

  2. Creative Writing develops self-confidence and identity.

  3. Creative writing teaches children about empathy.

  4. Creative writing develops reading, writing and language skills.


Okay, great, you agree creative writing is important. But, now what?

Because, you’re overwhelmed with all the writing curriculum choices out there.

And you’re confused by which one to use.

You feel like making the wrong choice now might forever ruin your child’s chances of learning to write with confidence, right?


I have awesome news…

Friday Night Writes is the solution that checks all the boxes:

  • It’s a perfect beginner course to get your child writing from Day One by quickly allowing them to gain confidence in their writing skills, while having fun and meeting fellow young writers.

  • The course is compact, yet, robust and covers all the basics of drafting a fictional story, with a focus on the creation process

  • It’s fun, because your child has the freedom to choose the topic + genre they want to write!

  • It’s easy to sign up - click a button to register.

  • It’s easy to attend from the comfort of home - once a week, click the link to our live + interactive online workshops, every Friday in March

  • Your child will have time to write and get instant feedback on their progress - no waiting for comments from the instructor - AND no frustrating tutorials that YOU need to learn in order to edit, proofread or grade their writing.

  • You’re not in this alone! Get answers + additional support through virtual office hours + unlimited email contact.

  • It’s taught by a published writer (who is also a mom), who inspires middle schoolers with the unconventional methods of how real writers approach their projects.


hi there, I’m Mary Jo

I’m a writing teacher and coach for kids 10-14 years old.

Let me help your young writer become the next J.K. Rowling!


What’s included in Friday Night Writes?

  • (5) two-hour live online workshops including: lessons, games, writing time, workshop time for sharing, and Q+ A time

    • fiction writing lessons: from idea stage, through first completed draft (agenda, below)

    • fillable worksheets + planning pages + additional resources

    • interactive exercises with other young writers

    • professional writer’s secrets to success

    • work @home assignments to keep the writing momentum going between Friday sessions

  • unlimited email support over the duration of the course

  • weekly live “office hours” on Facebook to chat with me about the lessons or anything writing-related!

  • a built-in community of young writers where your child will learn the power of sharing their work and the art of critiquing others, all inspiring growth in their own writing confidence

    plus! bonuses>>

    register before monday, february 25, 2019 to receive the following>>

  • a private 60 minute 1:1 phone call for you, the parent, your child, and me to discuss your child’s growth during Friday Night Writes and discuss a plan for what to focus on next = VALUE $60.00

  • A free copy of my ebook “30 Story Prompts: guaranteed to Motivate + Excite Your Child to Want to Write” = Value $12.95

friday night writes program with bonuses>>

was $272.95…

now On Sale for $147


My son and daughter wish your class was everyday..now that’s exciting!
— Julie, mom of two

So what will we cover in our 5 weeks together in Friday Night Writes?

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Week 1 Focus: story idea generators

-practice three different methods to generate story ideas

-tapping in to our personal “Love List” + “Inspiration List”

-decide on project type and length

-work@home: Stories I need to Tell + Viewing the World as a Writer


Week 2 Focus: Character + Motivation + Conflict

-character creation: their goals + motivations vs. their fears + weaknesses

-discuss character growth from beginning to end of story

-elements needed for a story: do you have the right recipe?

-write@home: Character Questionnaire + Name Poem


Week 3 Focus: Plot + Structure

-organize scenes + writing out of order

-determining the end + using reverse engineering

-reviewing the arc: is the goal strong enough? are the stakes big enough?

-write@home: finish plotting, begin writing + Story Outline Worksheet


Week 4 Focus: Setting + Mood

-when + where the story takes place

-how setting impacts the mood of the story

-using our 5 senses to create mood

-write@home: finish first draft + utilize Setting + Mood worksheet

Week 5 Focus: Pacing + Titles

-how time moves in your story (the story takes place over what length of time: days, weeks, years?)

- the doorway into the story, finding the best lure of the right title

-sharing + feedback time
-write@home: work on suggested edits + email your story for possible publication on my site!!

The classes prompted my son to take his journal with him while traveling instead of a handheld video game!”
— Rupa, mom to Jay


Hey young writers!

Who wants to hang out with me on Friday? I’m Mary Jo Campbell, Writer - Teacher - Ambassador of Sass, and supporter of young writers everywhere!

10 years ago when my own child came home from school in tears with a crumpled story in hand, my heart broke and I knew I had to take action.

Writing creatively is an important form of expression and I believe giving kids the freedom to choose their own story topics is one step towards building confident, competent writers.

I’ve been successfully teaching writing workshops for middle schoolers for the last 10 + years. I’ve taught classroom teachers my tricks, as well as full classrooms of kids in grades Kindergarten - 8th, during my writers-in-residence.

My own writing has been published in newspapers, magazines, e-zines, blogs and on Medium. I once won $500 for writing a flash fiction piece that was only 100 words long.

I’m starting a Writing Revolution + aim to inspire young writers to find their inner voice and shout it to the world.

Come learn with me!

You are the BEST! Never before have I had such a fabulous writing teacher! I want to write books that get published and turned into movies!
— Katie, age 11

Friday Night Writes

Each Friday night, beginning on March 1, 2019 at 5pm CST through 7pm CST, we will meet online in a private virtual workspace, provided by Zoom

Lessons taught live! Time to write while we’re in session. Time for sharing your work and giving/receiving feedback. Time for games, laughs and tons of fun!

“Julia’s experience with your teaching how to write was so much helpful for her during this school year!”
— Inga

Friday Night Writes provides>>

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Virtual Classroom

What’s cool about a virtual classroom? You don’t have to leave the house! No more schlepping the family all over town, fighting for parking, or even having to put on pants. ; )

I’m all about convenience. And ease. Learning should be fun and simple and comfortable. What better way than than from your own home?



My workshop method focuses on the CREATION process of writing a story. You won’t find spelling, grammar or punctuation lessons here. Pure freedom for your child to choose the topic they want to write about. Dinosaurs? Cool! Dragons? Let’s do it! Sullen teenagers with wings who like to play pranks on the principal? Yes! Because when was the last time anyone had fun drafting a thesis with appendixes and bibliographies?



I began teaching live, in-person workshops over 10 years ago and the energy of being in the writing community is contagious! I didn’t want my writing students to lose that special sauce when learning from me online. Which is why my workshops are live, so the kids can interact with one another and with me, in real time. Magic happens here. And friendships of trust and loyalty like none other!

Alec is disappointed his band camp conflicts with your summer studio this year (which is such a strange sentence for me...you’ve made him a writer!)
— G’nee, mom to Alec


  1. What age group is Friday Night Writes suited for?

    • The types of instruction and the workload overall is well-suited for young writers who are between ages 10-14

  2. What if my child can’t attend one of the live workshops?

    • No problem! Although attending the live workshops is the best way to really get the most out of our community environment, all workshops will be recorded and hosted on a private platform for up to one full month after our last session of Friday Night Writes concludes.

  3. How much individual instruction* and feedback will my child receive?

    • Friday Night Writes is a group workshop environment, so I won’t be teaching 1:1 with each young writer, rather instructing to the group as a whole, however, the feedback I give, as well as encourage the class to give one another, will be specific to your child’s story.

    • *If you would like 1:1 private lessons for your child with me, please complete the Contact Form providing more info and we can set up a phone call to discuss their needs and a private tutoring package.

  4. My child is very shy and doesn’t like to share her/his work with anyone, including me! Will this be a problem?

    • I understand their fear! Most of us writers are introverts. Although in my online program each young writer has the ability to share their screen, showing us their story via Word Doc or Google Doc, I will encourage them each to read their scenes aloud. This is for several reasons: we can easily spot errors in the grammar and/or flow of our writing when reading it out loud; I also like to encourage my young writers to be brave with their art, to be proud of their words and their voice, and by sharing our stories in our own spoken voice we gain confidence! Of course, I’d never want this to be a deal-breaker, so if your child is stressing out about reading their work, we will come up with a plan that works for everyone. You’ll be surprised how they may find their inner fire in order to impress their fellow young writing students.

  5. How does the email support and office hours work? What if my child or I have a question about a lesson/assignment before the next session begins?

    • Glad you asked! With your paid tuition to Friday Night Writes, it’s like having a writing coach for the whole month of March! I will answer any writing-related questions submitted to me via email or in our private Google classroom within 24 hours, most times much quicker than that. I will also offer live office hours in our Facebook group, once a week, outside of our live Friday Night workshop. Office Hours schedule will be sent in the Welcome Packet emailed to each registered student prior to March 1.

  6. We registered in time for the Bonuses! Yippee! How do we schedule our call and get our free e-book?

    • Fist bump for being an early bird! Once you register you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to download your free e-book right away. Also included in the confirmation email, you’ll receive a link to my calendar with available dates and time blocks so we can get that call in the books! I’m so excited to get to talk to you and your child! The 1:1 call must be scheduled within 14 days of our final Friday Night Writes session.

  7. What if we realize this workshop just isn’t a good fit for my child?

    • I would never want you to be dissatisfied. If you feel Friday Night Writes isn’t what your child needs/wants right now, no problem! I will offer a full refund if you request a cancellation via email before our second session begins on March 8 at 5pm CST.

  8. Oh, man, Friday nights in March just aren’t going to work for my family’s schedule. Will you be offering Friday Night Writes in a different month..or on a different night??

    • I will absolutely be offering Friday Night Writes again in the future! Dates and times are still to be determined, but please contact me with your best nights/months and I’ll compare with other interested families to best schedule my next session.

  9. My child would love to attend one of your live in-person workshops! Where and when do you host those?

    • Woo-hoo! My in-person workshops are held in Downers Grove, IL, where it all started, ten years ago, and they are so much fun! Check out my Events Page for more details.