Paloma seated at a chair. She wears a neon green turtleneck and a grey plaid blazer. She smiles slightly. she wears glasses and has curly brown hair.




Paloma Valenzuela is a Dominican-American writer, director, actress, and educator originally from the city of Boston. She is the creative director of the production company La Palomita Productions, LLC. She is the writer/producer/creator of the comedic web series "The Pineapple Diaries." The show was featured in the Latina Magazine's "5 Web Series Every Latinx Needs to Watch Right Now." She is a 2018-2019 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Neighborhood Salon Luminary and between 2020 and 2021 directed an eight-episode video series for the museum called the "Luminary Lens Series." She is a 2019 City of Boston Artist Fellow. In 2019 she won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy at the Iris Dominicana Movie Awards for her role as Lolita in the Dominican film "Un 4to de Josué," which can be found on HBO. Her writing was recently published in the anthology book Ni De Aquí Ni de Allá, a compilation of stories and works by Dominican-American writers created by the Dominican Writers Association. She works as a teaching artist in Boston and teaches screenwriting at Brandeis University. She has recently joined the ICATeens film school faculty at the Institute of Contemporary Art as the teaching artist for their Fast Forward Film Program.

SESSION: Place as Character: Bringing the World to Life on the Page

The places where we were born, where we die, where we love, the homes we inherit and adopt, the library, the corner store, the basketball court, the city block, and the small town meeting hall—these locations are where we set our lives, and as a result, they have a strong hold on our imaginations. When a piece of writing doesn't seem to be happening anywhere, we sense something’s amiss, and when it takes full advantage of place, we find ourselves settling into the story’s narrative, ready to be transported there.

In this directed writing session, attendees will explore strategies for fully fleshing out the “where” of the matter. In a series of short exercises, attendees will thoroughly imagine and map out their piece’s setting so that the characters they create will have a proper place to live, whether that's the treehouse in the banyan or the city in the sky.