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Marilee Zdenek

The Right-Brain Experience

This is an experiential workshop to free the powers of your imagination. 

Monday - Friday
9:00-11:30 AM
RM 177

Each session includes ‘right-brain’ techniques that help you deal with your inner critic, discover ways to make your characters more fascinating, and your story to have greater depth. During specific mental exercises, you may come upon an idea for a story, discover something about a character that alters the direction of the book, find a stronger book title, and more. There will be readings and constructive criticism.

Message to Students

My workshop is for those who are mentally adventurous and those who want to be. Be prepared for the unexpected. Be willing to let your characters off the leash and discover what they know that you never imagined. If it’s your first time to SBWC, remember to breathe. You can’t do it all.There’s no one way to experience this conference any more than there’s only one way to write your book. Have fun.Talk with writers. Listen. Share. Everyone’s here to help you.


Marilee Zdenek is the author of seven books, including Right Brain Experience. Considered a pioneer in the use of “right brain” techniques and the constructive use of imagination, Zdenek lectures internationally in such forums as the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, Pharmacia in Sweden, the Kongresshalle in Berlin, and has taught her technique to Broadway casts, university students, and for twenty-five years at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Zdenek first came to the SBWC in 1977 as a student, quickly became a workshop leader and speaker, and now considers the conference her “literary home.” For her work, Zdenek has been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times,The Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, and NBC’s Today show with Barbara Walters. She has also written for the Los Angeles Times and for Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Her most recent book is Between Fires, a memoir about recovering from devastating losses and creating a life that is meaningful and deeply satisfying.

In Her Own Words 

I mailed my first submission to a magazine when I was nine and heard my mother say,“Now you know, Marilee, they don’t allow you to be a writer until you’ve collected many rejection slips.” When the inevitable happened, I was so proud that I had my very first one. I don’t celebrate rejection now, but I don’t let it draw blood either.

Literary (and other) Heroes

Much as I love literary classics, I like to read contemporary authors, fiction and nonfiction. Anna Quindlen and Donna Tartt are high on the list. Most of all, I enjoy reading my friends‘ books and especially the published works of my students.