University of Iowa

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Mary Allen

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. In this class, we’ll generate new work in an energizing, strictly positive environment, using prompts and in-class writing to explore the places in our lives where the moments and details intersect with meaning.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Derek Nnuro

A common belief among writers is that we can’t know a novel’s appropriate first chapter until we’ve completed a full draft or two of the novel. Only after conceiving the whole does the writer truly know where and how to begin. While this might be the case, it does not mean that we should discard our linearity of thought. More often than not, we start writing from what, at the time, occurs to us as the most appropriate of beginnings.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Lon Otto

Without fretting over the boundaries separating these closely related genres, the class will focus on learning and putting into practice principles that allow extremely short narrative works to achieve great emotional, imaginative, and sensory power. Reading as a writer (itself a rewarding and essential activity), you will explore the techniques involved in a variety of published very short narratives in different genres.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Hugh Ferrer

Between contemporary fiction and creative nonfiction, there is no hard border, and both forms teem with morally ambiguous situations, judgment-free (or unreliable, or multiple) narrators, and complex characters. In both, it is common to leave the reader to decide what the story means. Themes are suggested, not imposed; and moral emotions may be awoken, but not necessarily resolved. Surprisingly, an open-ended coherence seems to suit many modern readers just fine—they want to be moved without being preached at.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Wayne Johnson

You’ve been working on this story for...how long? Months? Years? It’s supposed to look like a novel, but now that you’ve got it in front of you, it looks more like a six-legged cow or a bus with wings. You’ve begun to wonder what, exactly, a “novel” is. You might be writing a cycle-of-stories-as-novel, or a faux memoir, or a “modular” novel with some unifying structural element. In this class, we’ll look at ways of structuring novel-length narratives to create a variety of fully-engaging, satisfying works.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Kate Aspengren

This workshop is for playwrights who have a play at some stage of development. The writing we do as playwrights is intended primarily for the ear, so it’s essential to hear our work read in order to see if we’ve achieved what we intended. We’ll read excerpts aloud from each play and give thoughtful, specific feedback to the playwright. The goal is to hear what you’ve written and use that for further revision.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Thomas K. Dean

The late 19th-century American novelist Frank Norris titled one of his critical essays “Fiction Is Selection.” The same holds true for memoir. When we tell stories from our lives—whether it’s in a short essay, a series of essays, a memoir, or even a full-blown autobiography—we must be selective in what we tell in large part to give our story a shape. What that shape might or should be is one of the biggest questions memoirists and essayists wrestle with. The “shape” of a memoir encompasses a range of issues: Where should the memoir begin and end?

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Hope Edelman

Memoirists face two important tasks: First, to tell the plotted story of action, and second, to tell the story of one’s own change and growth over time. That second story, the emotional arc, conveys the author’s larger message, elevating one person’s experience from the unique and personal to the universal and shared. It reveals what your story is truly about. But how do we extract that deeper message from a story, and articulate it to readers in a meaningful way?

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Ami Silber

Whether or not you read romance novels, there’s no denying it’s the most popular genre of fiction currently published. The Romance Writers of America has estimated that annual sales of romance in 2013 totaled $1.08 billion. Given its strength and endurance through decades of development, fiction writers of every genre can mine romance for valuable techniques to bring to their work.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Vince Gotera

In his poem “A Course in Creative Writing,” William Stafford wrote that students of poetry “want a wilderness with a map.” In this beginning poetry workshop, we will begin to explore the wilderness of poetry writing with three basic elements: image, sound, and form. This class will provide a map for poets who are starting out, as well as those who have written a bit and would like to expand their skills.

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019
Instructor(s): 
Zach Savich

In this workshop, we’ll consider how new poems can grow out of close revision. In the first half of the session, we’ll discuss poems that participants have previously writtenwhether recently or many years ago. We’ll identify key poetic techniques and values in each piece, and we’ll practice methods of creative revision. In the second half of the session, participants will submit new poems that reflect our discussion of earlier work; the instructor will work with each participant to devise an individually meaningful approach.