Small, intimate workshops are designed for talented writers looking to take their writing to the next level. Our workshop faculty are some of the best in the industry. Workshop sessions consist of four (4) workshop meetings over five (5) intense days at either the beginning or the end of the conference (July 10-14 or July 17-21) or five (5) workshop meetings over the span of 12 days (July 10-21).
Of course, with the workshop you also have access to all morning and evening programming during your stay. This includes all lectures, readings and panels with our guests and faculty. Take a look at our schedule for an understanding of how your days will be structured.
Looking for more time to write? Sign up for the Workshop+Residency option. Take a workshop, either at the beginning or end of your stay, with one of our outstanding faculty. Spend the other seven (7) days of your stay devoting time to your writing, attending readings and lectures.
POETIC HYDRAULICS with Billy Collins: Simple as it may sound, this workshop will focus on the poem's transit from its beginning, through its middle to the end--so not to leave anything out. We will observe how a poem launches itself, how it finds reasons to continue to flow, and how it finally discovers a place to settle at the end. We will also examine a number of verbal maneuvers that can brighten a poem and even liberate it from itself, much to everyone's surprise and delight! In the right hands, of course. (July 12-23)
MINING THE DEEP: DISCOVERING OUR EMOTIONAL IMAGES with Natalie Diaz: This generative workshop will explore our notion of image—image is more than a thing you can see. Images are the vessels of story, history, mythology, action, and emotion, among other things. Using previous knowledge of our images of obsession, we will do a series of exercises to help discover and mine our new, emotional images. To paraphrase painter Francis Bacon, we will return the image to our nervous systems more violenty—meaning, we will build images that make us and our readers feel. Note: We will workshop one new poem from each participant throughout the course of our time together. Workshop is open to all levels. (July 19-23)
NEW POEMS BY EAR with Sharon Olds: This is a gathering given to writing new work. Each meeting we will hear a new poem (draft, fragment) by each poet -- not revisions of the same poem, but another new first draft. We will try to describe the poem rather than criticize or revise it. We will spend much of the time on each poem after we have heard it by ear and before we have read it by eye. I think this helps us strengthen our listening, and gives each poet immediate response which is based on recognizing the unique voice of each poem and poet. We will also look at the xerox copies of the poem, but our primary emphasis will not be visual. We will be describing, identifying, enjoying, praising, and taking chances! (July 12-16)
WRITING A NOVEL with Ursula Hegi : It’s my goal is to help you make your writing stronger in a supportive and respectful atmosphere. You'll explore the necessary tension between the writer and her/his material by generating new fiction and receiving immediate feedback. You'll work with character and plot development, point of view, treatment of time, significant details, authentic dialogue, and other aspects of the writing craft. In our workshop discussions, we'll begin by identifying the strengths in each piece of writing. Only then will we discuss what doesn't work yet. In addition, you’ll have the option to meet in small discussion groups with other participants from our workshop. Anyone for 3 AM?
SHORT STORY with Frederic Tuten: I have no belief in the hierarchy of fiction. For me, there is only exciting or dull writing, interesting or uninteresting work, whatever the genre. Every writer has, because they want to be writers, a genuine spark. The point is how to bring that spark into a flame. I will read and edit your work carefully and as constructively as possible and try to bring to fruition the thrust of your writing. I expect you to treat your fellow-writers’ work with the same consideration. Of course, I know that we will have lively, passionate and helpful discussions and that we will all come out the wiser for it. So much for procedure, the rest is the unknown, mysterious chemistry of the workshop. In particular, ours will concentrate on short stories—flash or long exposure. I shall be sending you a reading list of a variety of stories, some of which we shall consider in class. But the focus is, finally, and always your work.
THE ELEMENTS OF FICTION with Roxana Robinson: We’ll be reading and writing every day. Each night we’ll read a master work and write an exercise; the next day we’ll discuss them both in class. We’ll talk about the essential elements of great fiction; we’ll talk about dialogue and character, language and conflict and empathy. One of the great joys of being a fiction writer is reading great fiction; writing is really learned through reading. In this class we’ll do both. (July 12-16)
TV WRITING SUMMER INTENSIVE with Alan Kingsberg: Create a pilot script for an original TV series. Learn how to build the writing portfolio that can get you an agent and a job. Working from the ground up, students begin by creating a series concept that has both a powerful emotional core and a story engine that can sustain multiple seasons. Next, students create stories for their pilot episode and then move on to writing scenes with dialogue – all in a constructive, supportive workshop atmosphere.
The class covers both half-hour comedies and one-hour dramas and is designed to mimic a professional writers room. It is open to beginning and experienced writers.
In addition, the class will watch, deconstruct and discuss a wide variety of TV shows in order to better understand how a successful episode is built. All the basics of TV writing are covered as well as strategies for breaking into the TV writing business.
Participants are expected to write and develop their stories during non-class hours so they can advance their work each day. Writers are welcome to attend solo or with a writing partner. (July 11-22).
The Rhythm of Picture Books with Brian Pinkney: Two-time Caldecott Honor-winning artist and author, Brian Pinkney, shares how he generates ideas and brings them to life in a picture book. He will demonstrate his use of multi-creative forms to inspire and motivate the artistic process. Participants will expand their understanding of the picture book-making process, and how text and illustrations combine to create stories and illustrations that resonate with readers. From his unique perspective as an illustrator and author of almost 60 children’s books of multiple genres, Brian will advise on works in progress, and offer hands-on individualized feedback.
Finding the Heart of Your Middle Grade Novel with Laura Geringer Bass: This four-day workshop offers writers of middle-grade fiction an in-depth exploration of their novels in progress. In a supportive environment, participants will share their stories with their fellow writers and with the instructor. Detailed individual critiques, line edits and notes along with class discussion, prompts, and published examples of fine storytelling will help participants discover the heart of their tale and the narrative structure best suited to individual voice and intention.
Drafting YA: Unputdownable Openings, Satisfying Endings & All the Juicy Stuff In Between with Megan Mccafferty: Straight talk: The book buyer browsing new releases, the agent considering you for a client, the editor judging your manuscript’s commercial potential all know if they want to keep going before finishing the first page. You can’t make promises like, “It gets really juicy on page 22!” No one has time to wait until page 22. Hook your audience immediately! Of course, the rest of the book matters too. Without some idea where your characters end up, you just might find yourself on an frustrating journey to nowhere. Specific components of compelling story-telling (voice, characterization, dialogue, pacing, etc.) will be discussed in response to writing samples presented out loud to the group. Structured spontaneity—a drafting technique that balances plotting and “pantsing” —has gotten the author through ten novels and two works-in-progress.
Writing Workshops for Teens (YAWP)