Writers' Center / Workshops / Prose
Week One · June 23-28 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
PLACE: THE STAGE OF ACTION
This class will explore the advantages of place in writing in both fiction and non-fiction. More than a colorful backdrop or a descriptive setting, place can become a dramatic choice full of possibilities for furthering action, themes, character development, and meaning. We’ll break down the “stage sets” of several published works and then each attempt to stage a scene of our own, using what we have discovered about “blocking,” props, and the limits and possibilities of our particular stage – creating a story moment that could only happen most effectively in that place. No experience or advance submissions necessary.
Philip Gerard is the author of three novels and six books of nonfiction, as well as numerous essays, short stories, and documentary TV scripts. He chairs the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and is co-editor with his wife, Jill Gerard, of Chautauqua. His collection of personal essays, The Patron Saint of Dreams, won the North American Gold Medal for Essay/Creative Nonfiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. His most recent book is Down the Wild Cape Fear: A River Journey Through the Heart of North Carolina.
Week Two · July 1-5, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
WRITING TRUTHFULLY ABOUT FAMILY
“We spend most of our adulthoods trying to grasp the meaning of our parents’ lives,” says the essayist Phillip Lopate. But writing truthfully about our parents, not to mention our children, may be the most challenging writing there is. Still, many of us feel the need to document the knowledge earned in the cauldron of family life. This workshop will explore ways to approach nonfiction writing about family so that it is accurate, sensitive, and meaningful to a larger audience. No experience or advance submissions necessary.
Kristin Kovacic is a writer and editor who teaches young writers at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, a public creative and performing arts school. Her poems, essays and stories have appeared in many literary journals, including The Southern Review, The Journal, and Brain, Child Magazine. She is the editor of the anthology Birth: A Literary Companion and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for her essays.
Week Three · July 8-12, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
MAKING HISTORY: BUILDING NARRATIVES FROM REAL LIVES
Writing is a way to explore the meaning of our own lives, as well as to analyze the significance of historical people and events. Turning narratives (autobiographical or biographical) into revelations requires the art of storytelling as well as the science of research. "When in doubt, tell the truth, " wrote Mark Twain. But truth-telling is difficult: a good portrait is truly a "profile in courage." You are welcome to bring 14 copies of a biographical or autobiographical sketch (up to 8 double-spaced pages) to discuss in class as time allows.
Kent Gramm teaches creative writing, American literature, and Civil War era studies at Gettysburg College. His book November: Lincoln's Elegy at Gettysburg, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His other creative non-fiction books include Gettysburg: A Meditation on War and Values and Somebody's Darling: Essays on the Civil War. He is the author of the historical novel, Clare, and a collection of poems, Gettysburg: This Hallowed Ground. Most recently, he edited Battle: The Nature and Consequences of Civil War Combat.
Week Four · July 15-19, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
CREATING AUTHENTIC VOICES IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS
New writers often assume that writing for children is “easier” than writing for adults. But this genre is more complicated than it appears. In this workshop, which focuses on novels, we will examine rules that govern writing for children, particularly how to create authentic kid voices. You are welcome to send 1-8 double-spaced pages of prose before July 1 to 63 Windsor Rd., Waban, MA 02468 or bring 14 copies to discuss in class as time allows.
Karen Day is the author of three middle-grade novels, Tall Tales, No Cream Puffs and A Million Miles From Boston. Her novels have been selected for numerous awards, including Bank Street College Educators Best Books of the Year and the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet Award. She has taught workshops for the Cape Cod Writers Center, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Grub Street in Boston.
Special Workshop Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 3 - 5 p.m.
THE ART OF BOOK REVIEWING
Kate Tuttle Have you ever wanted to share your opinions about the books you read in a wider venue than your book group, Amazon, or Goodreads? Join Kate Tuttle, weekly book columnist for the Boston Globe, to consider what separates a good book review (whether glowing or scathing) from an average one. In addition, we’ll discuss how editors assign book reviews, how to polish and pitch your reviews, and some ethical considerations for those pursing the art of criticism. We will read several examples and, if time allows, try writing some of our own. If you like, bring a recent book you’ve read and a notebook or laptop to begin a draft of a review.
Kate Tuttle writes a weekly column for the Boston Globe, reviewing both fiction and nonfiction in a brief format. She began reviewing in 1994 at the Boston Book Review; her reviews and articles have also appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, Boston Phoenix, and the Atlantic online.
Week Five · July 22-26, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
TANGLED BANK: WEAVING SCIENCE AND NATURE INTO PERSONAL ESSAYS
Many of the most moving and thought-provoking works of non-fiction gain by the interplay between deep contemplation of self and memory and engagement with the larger world. Sometimes a fact will add depth to a metaphor; at other times a tale of scientific discovery will be part of the narrative, driving the story forward. We'll read examples from masters like Primo Levi, David Quammen and Annie Dillard and develop our own work through in-class exercises, exploring the potential of these mixed forms. No experience is necessary, but you are welcome to bring 14 copies of up to 8 double-spaced pages of your own work to discuss in class as time allows.
Kim Todd is the author of three books of literary nonfiction: Sparrow; Chrysalis, Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis; and Tinkering with Eden, a Natural History of Exotic Species in America. Her work has appeared in Orion, Sierra Magazine, and Backpacker, among other places, and has been awarded the PEN/Jerard Fund Award and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. She is an assistant professor at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and a senior fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program.
Week Six · July 29–Aug. 2, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
TAPPING THE WELL FOR SHORT-SHORT STORIES
Where does one locate the source of his or her stories? Once this question has been answered by the individual writer, the writing process becomes one of endless surprise and satisfaction. In this workshop, we will do exercises and discuss techniques for developing our fiction-radar, opening ourselves to inspiration, and shaping the material we generate. By the end of the week, you will have new work ready for expansion and revision, and some solid plans for turning your raw writing into polished stories. You will also discover how to write with ease and energy, so that you can continue pursue your writing passion. Most of our time will be spent writing new work, but you are welcome to bring 14 copies of up to 8 double-spaced pages of previously-written fiction to discuss in class as time allows.
Laura Kasischke has published eight novels and eight collections of poetry. Her most recent collection, Space, in Chains, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. Three of her novels have been made into films. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan.
Week Seven · Aug. 5-9, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
THE CHARACTER’S LANDSCAPE
Good character development exhibits the ways in which changes in environment impact the character and changes in the character impact the environment. Through writing exercises, discussion and examples from Amy Tan, Wally Lamb, Leslie Marmon Silko and other writers, participants will explore dialogue, setting and other tools of character development as we tap into our main character’s psyche and extract the internal landscape that impacts the external landscape. You are welcome to bring 14 copies of up to 8 double-spaced pages of previously-written fiction to discuss in class as time allows.
Zelda Lockhart is publisher and director at LaVenson Press Studios: Reshaping Literature and Publishing for Women, and is the award-winning author of novels Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle. Lockhart was awarded Piedmont Laureate for Literature in North Carolina, a Barnes & Noble Discovery Award, and was finalist for both a Hurston Wright Award and a Lambda Literary Award.
Week Eight · Aug. 12-16, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
BRINGING MEMOIR ALIVE USING TECHNIQUES FROM FICTION
When telling stories from our lives, how can we honor the non-fiction contract with the reader to tell the truth as best we know it while also creating lively, engaging pieces? Through discussion, examples, and lots of writing exercises, you’ll learn to apply devices from fiction to create or enrich your own memoirs. You are welcome to bring 14 copies of 2-8 double-spaced pages from a memoir in progress to discuss in class as time allows.
Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs, including Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption and the forthcoming Medium-Sized House on the Prairie, about traveling to places related to children’s literature. Her work has received a Pushcart Prize and six times appeared on notable lists for Best American Essays and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She directs the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and teaches in the Spalding University brief residency MFA in writing program.
THE TIME TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO WRITING ABOUT THE PAST
Please see poetry workshop listings. View here
Week Nine · Aug. 19-23, 2013 | 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
SONG OF YOURSELF: TRANSFORMING LIFE INTO MEMOIR
Most of us have a great story within us, based on true-life experiences of romance, tragedy, and hilarity. But transforming those experiences into literature can be a challenging process, requiring guidance and skill. In this workshop, we’ll read classic works of fiction and memoir, and practice and discuss useful strategies for getting your story on paper. No experience is necessary, but you are welcome to bring 14 copies of 2-3 double-spaced pages of your work to discuss in class as time allows.
Robert Leleux is the author of two books, The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy and The Living End: A Memoir of Forgetting and Forgiving. His essays have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and The Utne Reader. A columnist for The Texas Observer, he is also the managing editor of Lonny Magazine. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York.
Special Workshop Tuesday, Aug. 20,2013 | 3:30 - 5 p.m.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST BOOK PUBLICIST
If you have published a book or plan to, this workshop teaches you how to build an audience. As founder of the Magic Time Literary Agency, Bennett gives you specific ways to market your work and develop relationships with people who can help you spread the word.
Kathie Bennett is founder and president of Magic Time Literary Agency. A former Delta Air Lines executive and community fundraiser who spearheaded many philanthropic efforts throughout the South, Bennett is now an author advocate. Magic Time provides services as publicist and booking agent for academic, corporate and not-for-profit arenas.