University of Iowa

Kelly Dwyer

Kelly Dwyer is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of two novels, The Tracks of Angels and Self-Portrait with Ghosts, and two children’s books; her monologues and short plays have been produced in Madison, Boston, and New York. She grew up in California and lives in Baraboo (near Madison), Wisconsin, where she teaches creative writing part-time, does freelance manuscript editing, and is working on a novel, more plays, and flash fiction inspired by the Disney Princesses at middle age. Visit her online at

Instructor Events

Flash fiction is fiction that tells a story in a flash—anywhere from six words (“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.”—attributed to Hemingway) to a thousand words. Print magazines and online journals love flash fictions, because they don’t take up a lot of space; readers love them, because they can read a story in the time it takes to down their morning coffee; and many writers love to revel in their challenges and rewards.

While there are numerous elements of a novel, it would be difficult—if not quite impossible—to write a successful novel without these five elements in particular: plot, character, dialogue, point of view, and theme. And while of course the elements intertwine, we’ll spend one day focusing on each of them, discussing how to develop each one deeply and successfully in our novels, and doing in-class writing and exercises.

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

No matter the genre in which you’re interested—literary, science fiction, paranormal, young adult, romance, etc.—you would probably think it ideal if your novel had many readers. If it attracted buzz. If it were, in other words, popular.


Weeklong July 22 to July 27 2018

W. Somerset Maugham has said that there are three rules to writing a novel but that, unfortunately, no one knows what they are. We might safely assume though, that one of these rules might have something to do with plot: Maybe we should have one in our novels? Maybe it would be helpful to plan the plot out ahead of time?