University of Iowa

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jonathan Blum

When was the last time you read a story you couldn’t put down? We all want to write such stories, but how do we do it? In this class we will workshop short stories of up to 18 pages, with the goal of helping each writer identify and build on the strengths of his/her story. In so doing, we will discuss what makes a story irresistible. Among the questions we will consider: In what ways does this story engage and move us? Does the story have a recognizable structure that serves the writer’s artistic aims? Do the events that make up the plot connect to create meaning?

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Debra Jo Immergut

Every novel should be, in some sense, a thriller—but there’s no doubt that readers and publishers endlessly crave stories that have luscious dark centers oozing with crime and intrigue. In this workshop, we’ll consider novels of suspense by authors as varied as Otessa Mossfegh, Gillian Flynn, Walter Moseley, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison, and John LeCarre. By reading excerpts and dissecting structure and style, we’ll identify the essential components of suspense and gain a deep understanding of how to build a mystery.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Malinda McCollum

Writing can be a solitary and frustrating endeavor. It’s one reason many writers enroll in MFA creative writing programs: to be part of a vibrant literary scene. Of course, not everyone can drop everything to pursue a multi-year MFA. With that in mind, this workshop is designed to give you a concentrated version of the close reading and community you might find in a creative writing graduate program.

 

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jude Nutter

The line break is the poet’s most powerful, and problematic, tool: powerful because it does so much work; problematic because its function and structure change from poem to poem and it often seems arbitrary. In reality, poets are constantly assessing and reassessing their line breaks and end words as they work. This workshop is a combination of discussion, generating new work, and sharing of your own poems; it will deepen your understanding and mastery of the poetic line.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Beau O’Reilly

In this workshop, we will begin by reading your play aloud. Using theater/performance techniques, we will put sections of your play on its feet as a way of discovering its flaws and strengths. We will work on editing, rewriting, and reimagining your play into a finished draft form. The instructor will bring his 30+ years of experience on stage and in radio to making your text sparkle and move.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sarah Saffian

Crucial rule of thumb for memoirists: Profound and meaningful to you doesn’t automatically mean profound and meaningful to others—it’s not the whole lump of clay of your experience but the sculpture that you create with it that is potentially compelling.

 

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Zach Savich

In this multi-genre workshop we’ll consider writing that explores transformative experiences—and that transforms things further. Whether you’re writing nonfiction about significant life events or fiction about magical situations, poetry that offers lyrical transformations or dramatic scripts about characters undergoing major changes, this workshop will offer inspiration, technical insight, and attentive support. Participants will complete new writing activities, receive feedback about ongoing writing projects (if they wish), and discuss published works by diverse authors.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Suzanne Scanlon

Borges wrote, “The past isn’t a dead, fixed place but one which we’re constantly looking back to, discovering things, seeing things anew.” Often it is in the reconstruction of our lives that we are able to collapse time, interrogate the fiction of memory, and come to terms with the chaos and confusion of the past. In this workshop, we will write a series of short personal pieces using a range of approaches in style, structure and point of view.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sandra Scofield

You have a story you are burning to tell. You're carrying it around in you but you haven't even started. OR: You're writing but you aren't sure you can make it to the end. It's prime time to learn key concepts, such as the difference between plot, chronology, and structure. What it means for a character to have agency. How to write a scene sequence. It's okay to have "holes" you haven't filled. You can roam the narrative to test the strength of events and the logic of the steps you take in telling them. You will build chronologies of foreground ("now") and background (history).

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sarah Anne Strickley

As any writing instructor worth her salt will tell you, the key to developing as a writer is devoting your time and energy to the craft. But, as any busy budding writer might attest, that time can often be difficult to come by in the hustle and bustle of modern life. In this weeklong workshop, writers will learn strategies for cultivating a healthy writing practice.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Kali White VanBaale

You’ve typed “The End” on the first draft of a novel or memoir in all its messy glory, and now the daunting task of whipping hundreds of pages into fighting shape sits before you. Where to start? Which problem to tackle first, and how? This class is for writers with a working draft of a book-length project (fiction or nonfiction, this course is designed for both) at any stage. The goal of our week is to develop some revision organization and understanding of effective revision strategies through various methods and writing exercises.

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020
Instructor(s): 
Anthony Varallo

When we first begin to write fiction, selecting point-of-view feels about as casual as choosing which pair of socks to wear: blue or darker blue? Maybe brown? As we develop our writing, though, point-of-view gradually begins to reveal itself for what it truly is: the most important element of fiction, period. Everything orbits around point-of-view: detail, imagery, conflict, characterization, dialogue and plot.