Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Our travels through life are unavoidably interesting. Whatever happens to us—a hike through the desert, a night stuck in the airport, a trip to Hawaii, a stay in the hospital— anywhere we go and anything we do there—becomes a fascinating adventure if we pay close attention and turn it into a story.

How do you create a strong and exciting plot in your novel? How do you connect the plot with various subplots? How do you place plot points effectively throughout your story? This workshop will help you develop or strengthen your novel’s main plot. It will also help you better understand the use of subplots and the purpose of plot points. To write a great novel it is crucial to recognize how the plot, subplots and plot points create the main sequence of events and determine the best way to use them to move your story from beginning to end.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

How does one create a character? And more to the point, how does one create a character who is so interesting that a reader will want to spend an entire story or novel with him? In this course, which welcomes fiction writers of all levels, we will examine how to create complex and compelling characters. We will spend part of our time discussing how to build characters in the first place—how, from the get-go, to make them as credible and distinct as we can.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Once upon a time, long before the Age of Oprah, writers who had lived through something fascinating or terrible or both would turn their experiences into exaggerated works and call them fiction. Nowadays, however, these experiences equally take the form of memoir—ruminative, retrospective narratives that comprise a sub-genre of the diverse and expansive genre we typically call creative nonfiction. What does this mean?

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Most writers want to write sentences that are clear and that communicate their intended meaning well. Certainly, that’s what editors look for. This doesn’t mean that we must write in the same style, but the sentences we create should be clear and have a strong impact on the reader. Much of a writer’s creativity lies in his or her talent at choosing and arranging words imaginatively. But much of your style also depends on some technicalities about what kind of word forms you choose and where you put them in your sentences.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

I usually lose at poker. Part of this is because I’m no good with numbers. The other part is because it’s scary to take risks; it’s much easier to bet on a sure thing, and avoid the patience it takes to sit and study the game. While gambling and poetry have their obvious differences, the same fears/reservations that might keep us away from casinos can limit us severely as writers.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

In this workshop, you will write the living daylights out of that thing that writes the living daylights out of you. What, like a fixed star, is at the center of your heart? What is your hobbyhorse, your idée fixe, your charge? What hangs you up and infatuates? Writing and reading assignments will guide you into your obsession so that you become more fluent in the parts of its landscape that mystify you. As a point of entry into this two-day workshop, begin to consider what keeps you.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

From Melville’s white whale to Walker’s color purple. Cervantes’ windmills to Woolf’s lighthouse. Carver’s cathedral to Basho’s pond. Frost’s forked path to Naipaul’s river bend. We all recognize the precision and poignancy of these metaphors. Those crystalline choices their creators made to deeply and simultaneously etch into our minds both image and meaning.

 

One of the most effective ways of developing a story, poem, or essay is to work in layers of different narrative or thematic material. When the layers come from different realms of experience or thought (such as history, folk tales, work, religion, science, food, art, childhood memories), or when they carry different emotional charges, they complicate each other in unexpected ways.

A common intellectual fantasy is to be able to encounter pure ideas in a featureless imaginary space. But tough luck: ideas come from people, and people come with bodies. In this generative class, we will consider the implications of our embodiment on writing and look at how the body informs the mind and the art it creates. Sports, sickness, aging, beauty, pregnancy, disability, sex—when we write on these topics, what forms are best suited to say what we want to say?

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Maybe you have a lot of work that’s almost, but not quite, done. Maybe you think you’re done but you don’t know what to do with what you’ve finished. This workshop will help you get that story or essay ready to send out. You will bring in writing that’s close (but not yet!) done, and by the end of our weekend, you’ll have it polished and prepped for submission. We’ll spend some time looking at a range of options for publication geared to your writing style and genre.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Ideas, stories, characters, and scenes emerge from our memory, from our imagination, from dreams, lived experiences, history, family and friends. Normally, we begin a writing journey by sorting through these myriad sources. But we have another source deep within and often unknown to us—a place where our inner self, our soul, the essence of who we are resides. Possibilities for writing wait there, too, though they’re not always apparent.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

As any writing instructor worth her salt will tell you, the key to developing as a writer is devoting your time and energy to the craft. But, as any busy budding writer might attest, that time can often be difficult to come by in the hustle and bustle of modern life. In this workshop, writers will learn strategies for cultivating a healthy daily writing practice.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

You’ve typed “The End” on the first draft of a novel in all its messy glory, and now the daunting task of revising and editing hundreds of pages sits before you. Where to start? Which problem to tackle first, and how? This class is for fiction writers with a working draft of a novel-in-progress at any stage in need of revision. The goal of our weekend is to develop some organization in revising and an understanding of particular revision strategies.