Fiction, Matt Burgess
This workshop will be descriptive rather than prescriptive. You will not have a group of people telling you how to rewrite your story. Instead, we will describe how your story is working—focusing on basic elements of narrative craft such as plot structures, characterization, and point-of-view—so that you can make your own best decisions on how to revise. We will also conduct short, in-class writing exercises designed to stretch your creative muscles, make you more comfortable with experimentation, and serve as raw material for future stories.
Fiction, Patricia Henley
Telling the Stories Only You Can Tell
Almost all writers work from autobiography to some extent. How closely do we cleave to fact? How can a story be true to your concerns and obsessions and still be fiction, an account of your own life that wonʼt make your relatives give you the silent treatment at your next Thanksgiving dinner? We will examine and employ ways to let go of what actually happened to enrich the story with new, meaningful layers. This is a short story workshop where we will generate new material and work on aspects of stories you may already have written.
Poetry, Elizabeth Arnold
The workshop will focus on student poems with a steely concentration on the words on the page. A look at poems of past and present masters will be made as relevant.
Creative Nonfiction, Angela Pelster
This workshop will be a supportive discussion and examination of participant’s writing, as well as an exploration of some of the major forms and styles within the genre.
Youth Workshop, Matthew Henry Hall
In this workshop, high school aged conference attendees will explore poetry, fiction, personal narrative, and playwriting. Students will read and write in traditional forms such as sonnets, villanelles, short stories, standard memoirs, and plays as well as read and use less traditional forms and techniques— prose poems, automatic writing, cut-ups, magical realism and first-person journalism as well as writing scripts for television, movies, and graphic novels. This workshop’s fast-paced and wide-ranging literary tour will help young adult writers discover the literature, which truly inspire their lives and writing.
“The Potholder Model of Literary Ambition”
In this lecture Patricia will share her dreams and ambitions as a young writer and trace the evolution of her present attitude toward literary ambition. Publishing war stories and amazing strokes of luck will be revealed.
“Sentence Makes Sense, and so Can Not-Sentence”
Some poems depend on the sentence to drive their content, to BE that content in the sense that sentences can move seductively or stop. Other poems avoid sentences altogether. This talk will explore the difference in poems by such poets as William Shakespeare, Thom Gunn, Basil Bunting, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and C.K. Williams..
“Towards a New Canon”
This talk will explore how our reading practice can be an expression of our desire for social justice, as well as a way to participate in the move towards an inclusive canon.
“Setting & Description”
This lecture will discuss the ways in which a diverse group of writers, from Homer to Flannery O’Connor, have rendered their worlds through precise and specific imagery.
Matthew Henry Hall
“What Does It Mean To Be A Man?”
After spending forty-five minutes looking at answers to this question from various literary and multi-cultural perspectives, as well as pop culture references, I will present a conclusive definition as to what it is to be a man in 21st Century America. Okay, I’m kidding. After a free-wheeling and hopefully entertaining talk about being a man (which will include at least one cartoon and probably more than one short video), I’ll open the topic up for an open and hopefully enlightening group discussion.
“Older and Possibly Wiser: The Distanced Remembering Narrator”
In this talk Patricia will share examples of stories told from the point-of-view of a first-person narrator, looking back on the primary events of the story. We will examine ways to deepen character with reminiscences, how to balance a present-time story line with a past-time thread, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of this narrative strategy.
“Prosody: Iambic Meter”
We will focus on how rhythm works in poems written in iambic meter. The way a strong wind running against a river’s current causes whitecaps, rhythm driving against the mathematical norm of iambic meter can produce incredible force, just as the meter’s restraint can actually increase the power of what might otherwise be an unwieldy, dissipated rhythm. Getting hold of these very visceral dimensions of iambic poetry will not only unlock for you the vitality of formal poems; it will grant access to a new source of energy in your free verse poems.
“The Cost of the Personal”
This talk will explore what it means to write about self, family and friends in creative nonfiction, and the variety of viewpoints on how to navigating the tricky waters of making the private, public.
“How to Plot a Novel”
As a group, over the course of an hour, with much second-guessing and argument, we will plot an original novel from start to finish.
Matthew Henry Hall
“Improvisation and Works-In-Progress Scenes” or “Test Out Your Characters and Scenarios—With Real People”
Similar to last year’s craft talk, this mini-improv workshop will introduce some basics of improvisational acting. With some all new exercises, volunteers will again get to create a “group-mind,” that is to create spontaneously and as seamlessly as possible with others. Fiction and creative non-fiction writers will then get a chance to direct our volunteer actors to try out a scene from a work-in-progress in real time. Participation in the improv exercises is not required but will (most likely) be extremely fun.