The University of Iowa

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Timothy Bascom

According to art critic Herbert Read, “True art persists as an object of contemplation.” One of the reasons 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.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Venise Berry

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 class will help you to develop or strengthen your novel’s main plot. It will also help you to 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 figure out the best way to use them to move your story from beginning to end.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Kelly Dwyer

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. In this weekend workshop, we’ll discuss the elements that make popular novels (across genres) so popular (according to bestseller lists and computer algorithms), and do exercises on various elements of the novel, such as character, plot, pacing, theme, style, etc., to increase the odds that your own novels will become widely read.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mieke Eerkens

It should come as no surprise that in the fast-paced, Twitter-dominated society we live in today, very short, self-contained essays and stories are quite popular. Generally under 1000 words and often under 500, "flash" essays and stories can provide a welcome break from longer projects while keeping our writing muscles active. In addition, producing material appropriate for publication in a relatively short time can foster a sense of tangible accomplishment.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Cecile Goding

How much of a life can be squeezed into a paragraph? This will be the challenge during our weekend retreat, as we tackle this most common unit of composition. Reading and appreciating these small blocks of type, none of them common, will be our first task. Our focus will be on those sparked by a memory. We will read from After the Fact, by poets Marvin Bell and Chris Merrill.  We will read from Margaret Renkl's Late Migrations.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Diana Goetsch

A two-day immersion in the act of generating poetry, in the presence of a veteran, award-winning poet known for generously sharing her practice. We’ll look at the many ways poems can arrive, and how we can cultivate our receptivity to them. We will learn ways to broaden our range—in terms of voice, style, and subject—and ways to approach elusive or overwhelming material.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Eric Goodman

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 lighthearted, being able to make readers laugh is a sure way to attract and to hold their attention. If you can amuse readers, they’ll follow you straight to the cash register. Just ask Sedaris.

 

Whether we’re telling our own story, someone else’s story, or one we’re inventing, that story—whatever the genre, whatever its length— needs to unfold scene by scene. Yet it’s a rare story that’s told only through scene—summary is both an effective and a deft way to move our narrative along. It’s vital to understand the differences between these two essentials as we forge character and develop action. During our weekend together, we’ll explore what goes into building a scene, how that differs from summary, and when we use one or the other.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Christine Hemp

One of the challenges for the essayist and memoirist is translating real-life people onto the page, not the least of which is you: the main character. Even if you have a great story, readers need to trust the one telling it. Remember: you are both the writer and the narrator. In this generative weekend, you will learn how to propel your characters into moving, speaking, and creating tension in your story. You will also discover how your narrative voice can acquire a greater authority by revealing your own doubts, foibles, and epiphanies. Expect to write in and outside of class.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jim Heynen

In this workshop, we’ll confront the challenge of writing emotional scenes—or emotional moments—whether they are in fiction, nonfiction or poetry. How can we be sincere about our own or a character’s emotions without appearing sentimental or garish? We’ll confront some of these challenging questions, we’ll look at some successful models, and we’ll see if we can apply successful techniques while still being true to the emotions we hope to deliver to our readers. The goal will be to write some prize-winning emotionally charged moments in whatever form you choose.

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Paula Morris

Creative nonfiction offers a range of possibilities, from memoir and personal essays to travel or nature writing. How do you make true stories sing on the page? How do you avoid writing in an anecdotal or dry way? How do you use the tools of fiction—writing in scene, creating three-dimensional characters, building a shapely narrative—without distorting what’s real?

 

This class is for a range of backgrounds, whether you’re writing a memoir or trying your hand at this genre for the first time.

 

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020
Instructor(s): 
Kathleen Rooney

Although it is often overlooked or taken for granted, point of view is perhaps the single most important technique that an author can master in order to excel in writing of any kind. This workshop will explore the various techniques of perspective and the creation of a narrative voice, as well as the influence that these decisions have on all literary forms, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.