Conference Schedule

All 2021 workshops offered online only.

Friday, July 30
Time (CST) Title Instructor
9:30-10:30am

Your Life in 750 Words or Less

Paula Carter
11:00am-noon

Dirty Tricks

Juan Martinez
12:30-1:30pm

Weaving and Building: Tools for Structuring a Poetry Book or Chapbook

Rebecca Morgan Frank

2:00-3:00pm

Writing Rebellion :“The walls are the publishers of the poor.” – Eduardo Galeano

Michael Zapata

3:30-4:30pm

Interviewing: The Art Form, Tool, and Political Act

Natalie Moore and Donna Seaman

Saturday, July 31
Time (CST) Title Instructor
11:00am-noon

I Only Had You in My Heart: Writing, Narrative Appetites, and The Nature of Suspense  

Scott Blackwood
12:30-1:30pm Up All Night: Writing the Crime Page-Turner

Lori Rader-Day
2:00-3:00pm

Getting Your Work Out There: How and When to Submit to Literary Journals, Agents, and Contests

Christine Sneed
3:30-4:30pm

Mangoes & Cotton Candy: Food as Metaphor

Faisal Mohyuddin

 

Workshop Descriptions

Friday, July 30

9:30 – 10:30am CST
Your Life in 750 Words or Less
Featuring Paula Carter

When writing about your own life, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. What to include and what to leave out. In this workshop, we will look at the flash nonfiction form as an entryway into personal writing. Distilling things down into a few hundred words can help clarify what is important and this short form is something of a pressure cooker: insisting that the moment, language and imagery all intensify within the small space. We’ll read masters of creating a moment, discuss what events in life lend themselves to the flash form, identify key craft elements in powerful flash pieces, and discuss magazines and publications where you can read and publish flash nonfiction. Students will leave the workshop with the beginnings of 2 flash nonfiction pieces.

11:00am – noon CST
Dirty Tricks
Featuring Juan Martinez

Good fiction hinges on the elements of craft, which take time and effort. But some elements of fiction are less mysterious, easier to pick up, and fun to throw in. We'll talk about five useful tricks that generate interesting, dramatically rich scenes, and we'll generate a series of quick, funny pieces that may develop into full stories. We'll also talk about how these tricks can be retrofitted into your existing drafts to make them more exciting.

12:30 – 1:30pm CST
Weaving and Building: Tools for Structuring a Poetry Book or Chapbook
Featuring Rebecca Morgan Frank

Are you building a poetry book or chapbook manuscript, or do you plan to in the future? In this one-hour craft seminar, you will be guided through a toolbox of resources, activities, and questions to help you focus and shape your manuscript. [If you are already working on a manuscript, you may want to have your in-progress manuscript on hand for a few optional brief activities, but this is not necessary. All stages of manuscript-writing are welcome!]

2:00 – 3:00pm CST
Writing Rebellion :“The walls are the publishers of the poor.” – Eduardo Galeano
Featuring Michael Zapata

From the Mexican Revolution, to student and indigenous led protests in Ecuador, to national teacher strikes, to the feminist Combahee River Collective, every movement for social change starts with both the inequitable conditions that created it and also a narrative of how the past and future collide with the present. Literature, with all its vast interiority and mind-bending possibility, is vital to rebellion and revolution. Through selected discussions of multi-genre writers such as Eduardo Galeano, Roberto Bolaño, Idra Novey, China Miéville, Audre Lorde, and Emily Raboteau, this class will explore the indispensable relationship between revolution, rebellion, and writing. This seminar will include a short lecture on writers from various social movements in history, craft discussions, and an exercise.

3:30 – 4:30pm CST
Interviewing: The Art Form, Tool, and Political Act
Featuring Natalie Moore and Donna Seaman

Writers conduct interviews as a literary or journalistic form in and of itself, as part of the research process, and to focus the public’s attention on certain topics. The very act of deciding what subjects to cover is a political one. Award-winning journalist and writer Natalie Moore and critic and writer Donna Seaman will discuss preparatory work, strategies, editing, and other aspects and nuances involved in conducting fruitful interviews for publication or research. They will share their experiences as they interview each other, and they'll open up the discussion to audience questions.

Saturday, July 31

11:00am – noon CST
I Only Had You in My Heart: Writing, Narrative Appetites, and The Nature of Suspense  
Featuring Scott Blackwood

Just as we all have appetites for food, success, and intimacy, we also have appetites for stories that have conflicts and satisfying resolutions. If characters speak in ominous terms about a ghost they have seen or heard about in the first sections of a story, we have a desire to see the ghost appear in scene. The catch? We want it to surprise us. We want its appearance both to reveal and conceal elements of the story, to create a tension between our appetite to know and the temporary frustration of not knowing. This is suspense, the engine that drives story, and it works on both the macro (plot) and micro (sentence) levels of storytelling.

12:30 – 1:30pm CST
Up All Night: Writing the Crime Page-Turner
Featuring Lori Rader-Day

There's no greater joy in all of readerdom than the book that demands to be finished, forcing readers to stay up all night. In this session, you'll learn the essentials of mystery and thriller stories, including misdirection and clues, gain tips for layering in suspense and chills, and discuss the role reader expectations and brain science (yes, brain science) play in a successfully executed crime story. Includes a few in-class exercises and some experiments to try at home on any story.

2:00 – 3:00pm CST
Getting Your Work Out There: How and When to Submit to Literary Journals, Agents, and Contests
Featuring Christine Sneed

This workshop will focus on preparing your work - and knowing when it is ready - for submission to literary journals, contests, and agents. We'll discuss how to find the right journals, literary contests, and agents to submit to - and whether you need an agent at all (prose writers usually do, poets often do not.) We'll also look at sample letters for a journal submission and agent queries.

3:30 – 4:30pm CST
Mangoes & Cotton Candy: Food as Metaphor
Featuring Faisal Mohyuddin

Food is such an essential part of our daily existence, directly connected to our survival, our sense of joy and fulfillment, and our identities, traditions, family histories, and geographies. There is also a sensory richness to food, from its tastes and smells to its texture and colors. In this workshop, we will explore these topics, but do so through a special focus on the metaphoric and figurative possibilities of food. For example, how can eating a mango without cutting it become a metaphor for both what poetry is and what it means to remember one’s late father? Or how can eating cotton candy trigger childhood memories and also become a metaphor for memory itself? After reading a series of short pieces, we will explore our own food-related metaphors and then begin developing them into short pieces of writing.

Please note: schedule is subject to change.

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