Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Workshops’

Here are the writers and their stories from Writing Boot Camp February 2017

February 13, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Workshops 2 Comments →

After one Saturday afternoon of discussions, readings, rough drafts and outlines, the ten participants in our just-concluded Writing Boot Camp got to work on their stories. This last weekend, nine read their stories to the class.

The more I do these workshops, the more I realize that there is no shortage of writing talent out there—they just need a push, a few practical suggestions, and some assurance that they are not alone and that there is a point to putting in the work. Few things can match the satisfaction of having produced a story exactly as you imagined it.

These nine stories (and hopefully another one) will join the ten from our previous Writing Boot Camp (October 2016) in a planned anthology to be published this year.

The Other Girl by Ilsa Malsi. We all have someone like her: the classmate or contemporary we constantly measure ourselves against, whose triumphs we regard as silent rebukes, whom we wish in our darkest heart of hearts will fail.

Origin Story by Chuck Smith. The unflinching, painful, and hilarious tale of a boy whose life has been defined by a rumor: everyone thinks he’s the son of a dead 1980s bold star.

As It Was In The Beginning by Anne Tamondong. A current take on an old story: the deal with the devil.

In the Faculty Center by Will Liangco. The students in a Creative Writing class are intrigued, scandalized, and revolted when it appears that their classmate, a zealous feminist, has embarked on an affair with their greasy, moustache-massaging, altogether unattractive professor. What is the truth?

The Lizard by James Fajarito. A freshman at a seminary, ostracized when he is revealed to be gay, gains the respect of his judgmental classmates.

That Song by Rex Monteverde . As a child Brenda discovers that she can see ghosts, and she is taught to abide by the first Rule of the Gift: Never let the ghosts know that you can see them.

Salvador by Vicky Marquez. On a trip to Bahia in Brazil, a Filipina just out of college strikes up a friendship with a European boy, but does not realize its significance until years have passed.

Silver Belles by Gilda Guillermo. A lawyer becomes fixated on the dance number that her law school class will perform at its 25th alumni homecoming. When circumstances prevent her from attending the homecoming, she starts plotting her revenge.

The Favorite Tita by Tina Vitug. When their sister is killed in an accident, two sisters with contrasting personalities and values find themselves embroiled in a custody fight for their two nieces.

The next Writing Boot Camp will be held in May. For inquiries, email

Last call for participants in the Writing Boot Camp on Saturday, 15 October

October 13, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Workshops 2 Comments →


The objective of Writing Boot Camp is to start and finish a short story between the two Saturday sessions.

Writing Boot Camp consists of a lecture, readings, discussions, and the screening of a classic short film. Light snacks will be served.

Here’s the map to the venue.


To register, email before Saturday. The fee is Php5,000 for the entire workshop.

Stop threatening to write, and just write something.

Start and finish writing a short story in two weekends in our Writing Boot Camp.

September 26, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Workshops No Comments →


Poster by Anne Tamondong

Both sessions will be facilitated by Jessica Zafra.
The venue is WSI Corporate Centre on Metropolitan Avenue corner Kakarong Street, Makati (behind the Makati Fire Station).
For details and to book a place, email

Letter from a Reader: How do you start getting published?

September 19, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Workshops 4 Comments →


Hello Ms. Zafra!

Im Mao and I read some of your of your essays from the twisted series. A friend of mine recommended you to me and I thought you were amazing. I don’t really have any concerns, I just really wanted to tell you how great your writing was. I loved how you saw mundane things, how you turned them into experiences worth noting, and existential crisis worth scrutinizing. They were great!

I write a bit and, I was wondering (looks like I have a question, after all. Sorry for the white lie earlier) how you started getting your work published? I’m wondering because I’d like to do it as well. I’m aware that my ideas are nothing special but that’s only because I’m used to them- maybe my random mussing could be a good reference for others. I really just want to get ideas out there. Ideas get people talking and the more ideas we have, the more we help fight ignorance. I don’t know, I just really want to create something. Maybe something that tells me that I’m here, like I’m present.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a wanderer. I do things and become tired and although I get office tasks accomplished, I don’t feel productive. A friend told me I was dead inside because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I think I do, but I’m afraid it won’t reap anything good. What I want is to create something and have it out there. Something to prove my existence. Not to others, to myself. I feel like everything I said is a contradiction but I just wanted to get it out there and I really want your advice on this. Ir any words at all. I’m sorry for the bother,

PS You’re amazing and awesome. I’m happy you’re alive approximately the same time as me. I’m happy we share a lifetime


Dear Mao,

Thank you for your letter. It is always good to get feedback directly from the readers. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I would caution you against admiring anyone too much. At some point they will let you down. It is not necessarily because they’re terrible people, but because we are all complex beings with our own personalities and inevitably we will disagree.

Fiction-Writing Workshop, Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 2-5pm in Makati. Book your places now.

April 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Workshops 1 Comment →

flyer - p1

Fiction-Writing Workshop
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
2-5 pm at WSI Corporate Center, Metropolitan Avenue, Makati
Only 12 participants will be accepted, so book your places now.
For inquiries, fees, etc, email

We held our Free Workshop last night. It was a blast and nobody was killed.

February 19, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Workshops Comments Off on We held our Free Workshop last night. It was a blast and nobody was killed.

Yikes, I look demented.

Ninety-five people attended last night’s almost-instant Free Workshop at the WSI Corporate Center. I had a blast, and I especially enjoyed listening to the participants’ story ideas and pointing out the approaches and directions they can take.

Many thanks to our friend Juan for letting us use the WSI conference hall, Victor Yang and the techs at WSI for setting up the facilities including the video conference and audio recording perfectly, and our original workshop elves Roni, Angus, Deo, Momelia and Bubbles for manning the registration desk.

You and your group of up to 20 (even 30) people can book your own workshop on any of these subjects:

The Essay
The Short Story
The Personal Essay (Memoirs)
The Novel
Writing for Beginners
Movie Reviews
Travel Essays
Interviews and Personality Profiles
Feature Articles
Writing Refresher Course
Starting A Book Club

Each workshop is tailored to your requirements, and can take from one to four two-hour sessions.

Workshops can be held at your office or a venue of your choice. If you do not have a venue in mind, we can book a conference room in Makati for you.

For inquiries, or to book a workshop for your group, email

* * * * *
About the teacher

Jessica Zafra is a columnist at the Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, and InterAksyon. She has written two collections of short stories and a dozen Twisted collections of essays on film, literature, travel, rock music, popular culture and politics. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Newsweek, the Hong Kong Standard, and The National. She was editor-in-chief of Flip: The Official Guide to World Domination, and the annual literary journal Manila Envelope.

Outside of publishing, Jessica has hosted talk shows on the FM stations NU-107 and K-Lite, and the TV show Points of View. She is an executive producer on the film Norte by Lav Diaz and screenwriter of Esoterika: Manila by Elwood Perez. Her new TV show will premiere this year. Visit her website,