Photo credit: Lori McNulty

Heather O’Neill leads 2016 fiction workshop

Four-Day Morning Workshops

– June 1st through 4th

Fiction with Yasuko Thanh

The Alchemy of Fiction Over the course of four fast-paced mornings, we will work individually and in groups with photographs, newspaper clippings, and exercises from books such as Plotto, A Passion for Narrative, and The Art of Fiction with the goal of finishing a substantial part -- or a whole working draft, yes! -- of a short story or novel chapter. This IS NOT a lecture course. We‘ll use techniques like Tim Lilburn’s “freefall” to develop Character, Setting, Plot, Voice/Style. Learn how to banish your internal censor. Create powerful settings by mining locations that haunt you, build plot around your characters’ motivations, and enrich your fictional world by considering unexpected POVs . We’ll also look at how our moral stance and vision affect style.

If you have work you’d like to develop, please bring it along.

Memoir Workshop with Carmen Aguirre

Untold Stories: Making the Personal Universal In this four-day intensive workshop, we will jump start the writing process through a theatre exercise from the Theatre of the Oppressed canon, designed to push you beyond your safety zone and provide access to your deepest, often untold stories. You may bring along a story you've been working on, or you may wish to come with a fresh slate and see what stories come up. In working on your stories, we will focus on theme and counter-theme, characters' objectives and super-objectives, structure, and plot. We will discuss the difference between writing memoir for personal catharsis as opposed to universal experience, and how to choose the content for your memoir once you know your theme and your character's super-objective.

You’ll spend time writing, sharing the writing, and receiving my feedback. You will walk away with content and organizing principles towards completing a draft of a chapter of your memoir, and enough information for the arc of an entire book.

Script Writing with Dennis Foon

Page to Screen: The Art of Adaptation From Argo to Zodiac, and from Fight Club to Fantastic Mr. Fox, many successful big screen and TV movies are increasingly adapted from novels and current or historical events. In this immersive four-morning workshop we’ll tackle the essentials of every screenplay -- story and structure, character development, scene building, tone, pacing, visual vocabulary -- elements vastly important to every writer, no matter what their narrative genre, but crucial to adaptation. We’ll explore ways of harnessing the power of storytelling to move from an internal vision to external visuals and do a series of practical writing exercises aimed at bringing a book -- or one of your own stories or something ripped-from-the-headlines – to life as a screenplay.

Afternoon Workshops:

Artisanal Self-Publishing Workshop with Shelley Youngblut

Thursday, June 1st

Way Beyond the Chapbook: Explore the full potential of the printed word in the digital age, as you discover how to transform your stories, essays, poems, et cetera, into intimate, desirable, and tactile objects. You’ll be inspired by an international roster of wildly inventive authors and publishers who are embracing a DIY future that’s a little bit book, a little bit magazine and a whole lot of some “thing” new. Learn how you too can create one-of-kind or limited editions of your own texts and images.

Exploring Digital Narratives with Matt Turner

Friday, June 2nd

Gaming the Story: After we explore a wide range of best-in-class video-game narratives and why they work so well, we'll look at the impact of interactivity on the writers’ process and how this kind of digital story telling alters and evolves traditional narrative structures like the short story, novel, and screenplay. We’ll break into teams and build our own game story pitches, stepping through the process of crafting a narrative that works in a non-linear way. Each team will then present their pitch to the larger group for feedback and discussion.

Performance for Writers with Carmen Aguirre

Friday, June 2nd

Private People in Public Spaces: I will share my acting skills to give you the confidence needed when you are asked to be a writer in a public space. Whether you are giving a reading of your own work, doing live interviews on radio or television, or participating on a panel, I will provide you with concrete techniques that will help you engage with your audience more, keep them on the edge of their seats, and, of equal importance, allow you to have fun when you are in front of an audience. This will be an on-our-feet workshop, where each participant will get a chance to practice while receiving coaching.

Writing Successful YA Fiction with Susin Nielsen

Saturday, June 3rd

Awakening Your Inner Teen: J.K. Rowling started it with a boy named Harry. Then along came authors like Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and John Green (The Fault in Our Stars). The juvenile fiction market is booming, and more and more books are crossover hits that appeal to adults as well. But writing well for tweens and teens means being able to create realistic, believable young characters. We’ll look at the differences and similarities between writing for youth vs. writing for adults, and we’ll have some fun trying to rediscover our teenage selves – for better and worse. We’ll do exercises to help you tap into some of those emotional memories, and help you take the first steps toward conjuring an authentic, flawed, and relatable young protagonist. A great thing about juvenile fiction is that a lot of genres exist within it. You’ll get a chance to place your newly-created protagonist in a world of your choice, whether it be fantasy, historical, contemporary, etc.