Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

As anyone who has engaged with writing in any serious way knows, writing itself is essentially a spiritual endeavor. In order to write well it’s necessary to tap into the flow of spiritual energy inside each of us, whether we call that energy creativity or inspiration or something else.

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

Getting the words down on the page is only the first step for a playwright. At some point you need to hear it read. Reading it out loud to the dog doesn’t count; you need to listen while someone else says your words. If you have at least the start of a play and are ready to take the next step and really hear what you’ve written, this week is for you. Your readers will primarily be your classmates, but when possible, we’ll have some actors in to read as well. We’ll discuss the process of submitting plays for production and publication.

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

Poet and fiction writer David Huddle trusts in the power of memory. While some writers warn us to avoid writing the thinly-disguised, autobiographical story, or the confessional poem, Huddle encourages us to shape the events that shaped us.

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

“…I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing every day and epic dangers.”         Sherman Alexie

 

The experiences we need to write about the most can be the hardest to address. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways of writing about life events that we’re still figuring out. How can you tell a story when you don’t know how it ends? What language can reflect situations that seem impossible to describe? What emerges in emergency?

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

In this advanced workshop, we will look at our personal narratives in the context of two central elements delineated by writer Vivian Gornick in her classic 2001 text on the art of personal narrative. We will consider the Situation: “the context or circumstance, sometimes plot” and the Story: “the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.” In our week together, we will employ these ideas as we develop our own personal narratives.

Agency is the word for a character’s central role in pushing a story forward. Often a first draft traps us in a story with characters who are victims, who are passive, or who just can’t figure out what to do next. But responsibility for one’s own fate is a big part of making a character memorable. How do you assess your protagonist’s agency, especially if your character is in trouble?

Annie Dillard famously said, “The writer of any work, and particularly any nonfiction work, must decide two crucial points: what to put in and what to leave out.” If you have a nonfiction or memoir project in progress, you probably agree. But you may be asking: how do I decide? I have all this material, but how do I shape it? Where do I begin and end? Which parts do I put in and which do I leave out?

 

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

This class will focus on the novel-writing process. Come prepared to discuss a novel you’re already working on, even if it’s still in the planning stages. In a whirlwind week, we will work through the major issues novelists face -- the instigating event, characterization, structure, and suspense. This class is not structured as a workshop. We won’t be looking at chapters you’ve already written. Rather, you will generate new work this week both in and out of class and share these pages with your fellow writers in class.

Weeklong July 08 to July 13 2018

A first draft is a wonderful thing, but it only begins the process, for writing is mostly revising. Proofreading, copy-editing, and polishing are necessary, but they are not revision. Revision is re-envisioning. It’s about getting out of your computer and working with a hardcopy. It’s about digging deeper to find out what your essay is really about, and then what else it’s about.