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Drew PerryGREENSBORO, NC—Warp, weave. Thieve and lie. Hearts that beat—and break. Fiction is action, and a good story demands a writer's best verbs. Need proof? Just check out the titles of the fiction course offerings at the upcoming North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 12, at UNCG. 

Nancy Peacock, author of the novel The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson, will lead the Two-Part Fiction Workshop. The title? "The Warp and Wave of Fiction."

Two-part workshops meet twice during the conference, once during Workshop Session I (in the morning) and again for Workshop Session II (in the afternoon). Peacock, whose first novel Life Without Water was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, says about her course:

Writing good fiction is not the same as laying a brick wall: first the characterization brick, then the setting brick, then the action brick. Instead, all the elements (character, plot, setting, action, structure, description, emotion, and more) must work together to form the tapestry of storytelling. In this class we will examine successful storytelling through reading and commenting on students' work and the work of published writers, as well as through class exercises.

In addition Drew Perry will lead a fiction workshop titled "Thieves & Liars: How We Build the World."

Nancy PeacockThis workshop will address something critical to the crafting of stories and novels: When and how to steal from the world around us (hint: early and often), and when to make things up (another hint: when the story demands it). Registrants will talk about how things like landscape, humor, oddity, and stray detail are often the most important ways of entering into a piece of work—and keeping it alive in draft after draft after draft. Another way of thinking about this: attendees will talk about how to use their own strange obsessions most productively in their writing. So someone really loves, say, tractors. Or tigers. And they keep appearing on the page. Registrants will find ways to make that feel less weird, and more like they're working.

Perry is the author of two novels: This Is Just Exactly Like You, which was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and an Atlanta Journal Best of the Year pick for 2010, and Kids These Days, just published by Algonquin Books. He teaches writing at Elon University and holds an MFA from the writing program at UNC-Greensboro.

In the afternoon session, Kim Church will lead a fiction workshop titled "The Beating, Breaking Hearts of Fictional Characters." Church's debut novel, Byrd (Dzanc Books, March 2014), is the fragmented family history of a child secretly given up for adoption.

Kim ChurchThe heart of fiction is character; but what is the heart of a fictional character? How is it revealed to the writer, and how does the writer express it? This workshop, for fiction writers at all levels, will focus on how to create characters that are unique, lively, and memorable—characters we might like to spend time with after the workshop is over. To prepare for this session, registrants should think of a memorable event from their own life—something that touched or scared or excited or confused or changed or defined them in some small way. Something they don’t mind sharing with others, a moment they’d like to put in a time capsule. Attendees should not write about it beforehand, but come with an idea. And paper and pen.

Registration is now open. The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

Jonathan FarmerGREENSBORO, NC—“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly,” said Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in his 1913-1914 collected lectures, On the Art of Writing, “and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

The first cut is the kindest cut—as are the second and third (and fourth). That's the theme of this year’s Two-Part Creative Nonfiction Workshop at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference, led by Jonathan Farmer, titled “The Kindest Cut: Writing Energetic Nonfiction.” Registration is now open.

Two-part workshops meet twice during the conference, once during Workshop Session I (in the morning) and again for Workshop Session II (in the afternoon). Farmer, Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor of At Length magazine and the poetry critic for Slate, describes his course as follows:

When we’re working from reality, the need to say what happened puts a lot of pressure on our style. In this workshop, we’ll experiment with cutting a surprising number of words from our own and each other’s writing in order to uncover some of the possibilities we’ve already woven into our prose. We’ll also look at examples of efficient nonfiction writing for models of the ways we can answer the pressure to say everything with language that carries the weight and vitality of our reckoning. All participants should bring at least five copies of a double-spaced excerpt from a nonfiction project—ideally one that you’re currently working on—that’s between 500 and 750 words long. (It’s fine if it cuts off suddenly.)

In addition, Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan will lead a workshop titled “Writing from Experience.”

Steve MitchellWriting is more than something that happens in our heads. Every element of our selves has a voice we might use. How do we engage this wealth of experience in our writing? This workshop will use short exercises and prompts to open up the question. This workshop will be great for those interested in creative nonfiction—but also for fiction writers and poets as well.

Carol RoanSteve Mitchell is the Pushcart-Prize nominated author of the short-story collection, The Naming of Ghosts (Press 53). Award-winning writer Carol Roan’s most recent books are Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer (Press 53) and When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over 50 (Holy Cow! Press).

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference will be held Saturday, April 12, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Jacinta V. WhiteGREENSBORO, NC—Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference is now closed. On-site registration will be open 8:00-9:00 am on Saturday, April 12, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Spring Conference offers a full day of workshops, panels, conversations, and more. Nancy Peacock, author of the novel The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson, will lead a two-part fiction workshop. Jonathan Farmer, Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor of At Length magazine and the poetry critic for Slate, will lead a two-part creative nonfiction workshop.

And this year, the Network will introduce a new programming feature: instead of a traditional keynote address, Jacinta V. White will lead a special session of the national program, "One City, One Prompt."

Other offerings include poetry workshops with Mark Smith-Soto and John Thomas York; fiction workshops with Kim Church and Drew Perry; and a workshop titled “Writing from Experience” led by Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan, appropriate for writers of all genres. The dynamic tandem of Peggy Payne and 2014 Piedmont Laureate Carrie Knowles will teach writers to “Market Your Book—with Imagination.”

The day’s program includes a panel discussion: “Writing about War” with Robin Greene, Paul Stroebel, and Sharon Raynor. Award-winning children’s author Kelly Starling Lyons will introduce would-be authors to the field through her workshop, “So You Want to Write a Children's Book.” And bestselling author Linda Rohrbough will lead a workshop titled “How to Make an Elevator Pitch,” a class that is highly encouraged for those attendees wanting to take advantage of the Speed Pitch special session at the end of the day.

In the special session of “One City, One Prompt,” Greensboro poet and facilitator Jacinta V. White will provide an overview of the One City, One Prompt program, and begin an opening dialogue on this year's theme: “Begin Again.” Jacinta will then provide a prompt and attendees will write. The session will close with sharing of and reflections on the work the prompt produced, as well as some brief information for those who might want to bring One City, One Prompt to their own towns.

In addition to new programming, familiar features will remain, including faculty readings, the open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” where conference-goers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice. Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Pre-registration and an additional fee are also required for this offering.

The NCWN 2014 Spring Conference is sponsored in part by the Greensboro News & Record. UNCG’s Creative Writing Program—a co-sponsor of the Spring Conference—will provide free parking for registrants in the adjacent Oakland Avenue Parking Deck.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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