Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

According to art critic Herbert Read, “True art persists as an object of contemplation.” One of the reasons that it has this capacity to hold our attention—like the note of a tuning fork after it has been struck—is that it has been created out of contemplation. The contemplative essay, also called the reflective essay, is characterized by an intense and concentrated focus. The author tends to circle a subject, spiraling away and dropping back to describe it from all angles and to plumb it for further meaning.

This workshop offers you an opportunity to expand your knowledge of scene writing and enhance your ability to write more compelling scenes. Through a variety of exercises, we will explore how to use elements like color, tradition, food, music, seasons, environment, horoscopes, and more to create powerful and memorable scenes. Each day, participants will complete various scene exercises outside of class and share this new writing in workshop with the group.

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.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Not every story needs the cranked-up tension of Indiana Jones fleeing a boulder-sized bowling ball, and not every novel needs the nail-biting suspense of a murder mystery; but if a reader doesn’t care what’s happening scene to scene, or the plot doesn’t intrigue us on some level, the jig is up. In this weekend session, open to all levels, we’ll explore the basics of plotting and look for answers to perennial questions: How much information should we withhold? How off-balance do we want the reader to be and for how long? How high do the stakes have to be?

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

In this generative weekend course, we will spend the majority of each session writing from original prompts designed to wrench you out of your ruts and open you to the vast array of poetic shapes and styles. To that end, you’ll receive a selection of poems throughout the weekend that we will discuss in order to ignite our creativity toward our own new drafts. A wide variety of exercises will be practiced, with a goal of twelve new “starts” or drafts.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

This weekend workshop is designed for prose writers of all levels, scribblers of fiction or creative nonfiction who would like to learn how to be funny, or in many cases, funnier, on the page. Whether a writer’s intentions are ultimately serious or light-hearted, being able to make readers laugh is a sure way to attract and to hold their attention. If you can amuse your readers, they’ll follow you straight to the cash register. Just ask Sedaris.

 

Point of view is the underlying pedal tone, the overarching melody, and the essential rhythm of any successful piece of writing. How do we go about creating that? How do we get our readers to believe—and believe in—the person telling our story? Do the author and the narrator have to be two separate entities? How can I make my narrator(s) more powerful, effective, and believable? And where does “voice” fit into this?

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Reflection is the nonfiction writer’s gift to the reader, offering meaning to the car crash, the encounter with a heron, that afternoon flipping burgers. Therefore, it’s crucial to know when to let a scene do the work—letting the reader live in a specific moment—and when to pull back into exposition, summary, and meaning-making. Bring a rough chapter or draft of an essay, and we will generate new scenes for your memoir or essay, then weave them with reflection. All levels welcome.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

In this workshop, we’ll confront the challenge of writing emotional scenes—or emotional moments—whether they are in fiction, nonfiction or poetry. We’ll practice bitter anger, ecstatic happiness, heart-wrenching sadness, and even hair-raising fear or horror. We’ll look at some successfully written emotional moments in published literature to see what makes them work. We’ll also look at a few clunkers to see why some attempts at writing emotions don’t work. We might even use the strategy of writing a few fake emotional scenes to warm up!

Black or White? Nature or Nurture? Paper or Plastic? Raw or Cooked? Mind or Body? Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman? So much in our daily lives—and in our writing practice—is presented to us in easy binaries. And yet these seemingly confining binaries are useful springboards into more complex thinking and feeling in our poems. In this generative workshop for intermediate to advanced poets, we’ll begin each session with a particular dichotomy as springboard (e.g., work vs. home; caretaking vs. independence; praise vs. lament; innocence vs.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

While some writers might aspire to create “timeless” work, you never hear of anyone trying to make their writing “placeless.” Why is that? Without place, are one’s characters and ideas rootless and liable to tip over? What role does setting play beyond mere backdrop or window dressing to truly ground one’s stories or essays or memoir? Is place-based writing regional, or communal?

 

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Literary magazines are the first place of publication for many writers, and publishing work in a lit mag can be great preparation and publicity for an upcoming book. But many authors have no idea how a literary magazine works, what the editors want to see, or how to collaborate with an editor once a piece is accepted for publication.

One of the most essential components of writing and selling fiction is how quickly and strongly you’re able to snare your audience. Having a strong hook is not only a good marketing strategy, it can also improve and strengthen your writing. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to sell our books to readers, agents, editors, and ourselves with highly-crafted, sharply-honed hooks and elevator pitches.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Have you ever wondered if the stories you’ve grown up hearing about your family would make for a powerful written work? Have you ever considered bringing the story of your own life to the page? If so, this weekend workshop is right for you. Writers will learn the difference between an engaging anecdote and a compelling work of art by experimenting in a variety of forms: short stories, literary essays, and poems.