2018 Craft Talks

Join us at the Boulder Generative Workshop to hear from Pam Houston, Justin Torres and Lidia Yuknavitch on the following topics:

Slinkies, Spirographs and Venn Diagrams, and lots of other things you might have forgotten since childhood:  Pam Houston takes you step by step through the crafting of one of her short stories, from inciting ideas (glimmers), to structural choices, to expansion and compression, to final edits. We will discuss how focusing on form can sometimes set the emotional truth free from the confines of your subconscious, and how the amounts of a story can be coaxed out of the metaphor instead of the other way around. – Pam Houston

The Scale of Experience: What is the relationship between the personal and the political for our characters and our own work? How do we incorporate the vast competing scales of being; from the cosmic to the neural; from the macro to the micro; from totalizing abstractions like capitalism and democracy to individual emotions like greed and loneliness? What is the connection between scale and movement? What do we mean when we say a story moves, or that we, as readers, are moved? These are big, general, questions but the fun will be looking at specific answers, specific techniques for utilizing scale, and specific pieces of short fiction and poetry that move. We’ll also write our pieces, scaling up and down, because progress is one story, but regression can be just as fun. – Justin Torres

Figuring Story: Echo effect, Image Systems, and Palimpsest:  Nearly all writing workshops tend to supersaturate the practice of writing with plot, action, and characterization. While these modes OF COURSE remain important in the design of storytelling, the figurative options available to you are as important, if not more important. Think of Toni Morrison or Arundhati Roy or Jeanette Winterson. The lyric in their language, the haunting and unforgettable imagery, the slant repetitions of experience and language and metaphor — their figurative choices give their work the depth that life has. In this workshop we will have a look at figurative storytelling, and then try our hand at it. – Lidia Yuknavitch