2018 Workshops

Short Story Workshop with Sherman Alexie

Cut it in half: making your short story better by making it shorter.  In this workshop we will look at how to to edit your work so that every line is working effectively in your short story.  Manuscripts are limited to 5,000 words and should be considered fiction.

Thinking Like A Writer A Generative with Dorothy Allison

Let’s talk about both the imaginative and technical aspects of storytelling. Of course we will address the best way to tell your story and how to put in place a system to complete a draft. But first we want to look at what triggers your own sense of story, the puzzles that catch your imagination, and the fears that get in the way. You must be willing to take some risks and perhaps the first one is that sense of embarrassment about your own daydreams and obsessions, or the family secrets you fear to reveal.  We will use exercises to get us past our hesitations and uncertainties. We will talk about point of view, voice, and dialogue, but our central focus will be how to fully imagine your characters. Open to writers of all backgrounds and levels of experience.

Prose Writing Intensive with Pam Houston

This will be a manuscript-based workshop for writers of fiction and memoir/personal essay. We will read each other’s work and talk about how to make it better, how to find the story under the story, how to tell the most complicated truths we can. We will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of fiction and creative nonfiction (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. At the same time we will honor the (sometimes) inexplicable flights of imagination and/or lyricism that take a good story and make it great. Another thing we will talk about is the ever expanding grey area that exists between fiction and nonfiction: the fictionalized memoir, the autobiographical novel, the lyric personal narrative, and how we might go about deciding what genre best suits a particular body of work. Please read Kirsten Valdez Quade’s Night At The Fiestas, and  Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, so we will have a body of work in common. Manuscripts are limited to 5,000 words.