The University of Iowa

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Thomas Fox Averill

Plots in stories and novels take many twists and turns, as do the plots of our lives. Our weekend will include discussion of plot strategies, the various kinds of plots, the uses of subplots, and how our plots create meaning. The plot of the weekend: scene one, discussion; scene two, writing a series of exercises designed to help understand plot in its many forms; scene three, sharing writing; and scene four, problem solving and insightful conclusions. This generative class is open to fiction and would-be fiction writers at all levels.

 

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Nancy K. Barry

Most writers and readers will tell you that to have an engaging style, we need to capture the sound of a “real person speaking,” but it is equally true that good prose is not merely writing down what people say. How do we navigate getting the sound and resonance of our “style” down on the page, and how would we even begin to describe the sound we’re trying to achieve? This workshop provides an entry into defining and manipulating prose styles.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Venise Berry

I believe good writing is not a talent that you must be born with, but an ability that you can cultivate. Layering is an effective tool that can help you improve your writing. During the weekend, participants will create new writing and/or enhance current writing through several layering exercises. The goal is to develop various skills involving the power of words, the intensity of language, and the relevance of imagery. In this workshop, layering will enable you to explore structural elements like clarity and depth which are crucial to good writing.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jonathan Blum

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 them? 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 July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Kelly Dwyer

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. In this workshop, we will discuss what flash fiction is and what makes it so interesting; we’ll study and discuss some examples; and of course, we’ll complete exercises and assignments, writing some flash of our own that will surprise even its authors!

 

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jennifer Fawcett

Sometimes the best way to develop your story is to write around the edges of it; to discover the world around the plot, the history of characters, the provenance of an object. In other words, sometimes you have to write a lot that won’t go directly on the page but will flavor everything else that does.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Cecile Goding

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor. My hate is like ripe fruit. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. If you’re like me, you return again and again to those passages from poetry and prose you can’t forget. Like me, you might be wondering, “What exactly makes those words so memorable, and how can my own writing be more like that?”

 

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jeremy B. Jones

This course will examine the rich tradition of nonfiction writing about place; however, it will immediately detour onto the road less traveled. We don’t all have stories of Paris or Kilimanjaro. Some of us care about Paducah or desolate prairies. What does a writer need to capture the tiny towns and empty spaces, the everyday Main Streets and failing factories to create engaging, layered essays that reach far-flung readers?

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Tricia Park

In this generative workshop, we will explore the possibilities of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and hybrid practices. We will read selected texts and generate new work through many writing exercises, as well as offer sharing of work and constructive feedback. The texts in this class are focused on the Asian American experience, with the understanding that the category of “Asian American” is an imprecise container, attempting to hold groups with vastly different languages, cultures, and histories.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Elizabeth Robinson

This workshop will focus on the use of hybrid forms as a particularly flexible and expressive means of building tone, meaning, and tension in writing. We will try out prompts and share work and ideas in order to stretch the boundaries of what writing can be. What happens when the author breaks up a story with a poem or a lyric meditation? How does a piece of writing benefit by stepping away from a traditional narrative climax to leave the reader in a place of suspense or irresolution? Would the use of documentary or research materials sharpen the effect of the work?

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Zach Savich

How can poetry uniquely explore and express significant insights? What poetic techniques allow us to discover new perspectives? Is it true that poems are smarter than their authors? This workshop will consider poetic approaches for embodying and enlivening knowledge; we’ll also consider the ways in which profundity relates to doubt, ephemerality, surprise, play, and life’s ongoing nature.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Leslie Schwartz

Nathanial Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” This engaging and fast-paced workshop will ease that pain and simplify the elements of craft that go into writing fiction. Short story writers and novelists are both welcome at any stage of writing. All genres welcome, too. The class will provide you with how-to instructions on the basic principles of craft that are necessary for writing “readable” fiction with as little pain as possible. Students will benefit from lively and engaging in-class writing assignments designed to hone skills, and discussion on craft.

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020
Instructor(s): 
Carol Spindel

We all lead multiple lives, so no wonder it’s difficult to write a single memoir. And when our own lives are the subject, we have far too many subsidiary characters and subplots and know way too many details about all of them. This makes wrestling our memories into coherent literary form a bit like trying to organize an overstuffed closet, except in literature we don’t have plastic tubs or garage sales.