White Cross School Blog

 

NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

Advertisement


 

Anne Fitten Glenn"It’s fantastic!”

“A work of art.”

“Stirred my soul.”

Chances are you’ve heard these words or ones like it, and that’s why you’re on the path--enthusiastically or not--to presenting your work to agents and publishers. Or you’ve already had that work of art published, and now it’s time for public readings and presentations. In other words, you need to learn how to market yourself, not just on paper, but in real life.

In fact, you need to develop that difficult-to-define but “you know it when you see it” skill known as stage presence. Just about everything about a pitch or a public presentation is different from writing. The body language: writers sit, presenters stand. Eye contact: writers make it with a computer screen; presenters make it with people. Then there’s the speaking part. Writers do it through their fingers; presenters speak with their tongues--out loud.

When you’re used to communicating via a computer screen, communicating publicly with real people can be a little scary. But never fear. That’s why we’re here. We can help you turn something you dread into something you desire (well, at least something that doesn’t make you want to curl up on the floor and weep). If you’re already looking forward to making a pitch or presentation, our workshop will give you the chance to practice. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. Did we mention this is going to be fun? Your workshop leaders are a beer expert and a belly dancer. So, how could it not be?

Well, you should probably know they’re award-winning writers too.

Faun FinleyANNE FITTEN GLENN (aka Brewgasm) writes regular “Brews News” and humorous parenting columns for Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s alternative newsweekly. She also writes and photographs arts and entertainment, business, health, and news for a variety of media outlets. She’s won a North Carolina Press Association award. AF regularly speaks and presents at colleges, conferences, and events. The former communications and journalism professor lives with two kids, her Dorkie Poo mutt, and two marmalade cats in Beer City, USA (better known as Asheville, N.C.).

FAUN FINLEY has won two national awards for her online work: One for the The Pet Shop blog and the other for Bargain Sense, an online video show she created, co-wrote and co- hosted. She was the 2010 recipient of Yes Weekly’s “Best Belly Dancing” award. Faun also has a twenty-year background in live performance and ten years of teaching experience. She regularly emcees live shows at major events along with local TV and radio personalities. And she’s a copywriter. She does short, snappy, get-your-attention writing for integrated marketing campaigns. That also means pitching is something she does as often as brushing her teeth.

Please join us for ninety minutes of fast and fun exercises, tips and techniques, how-to’s and what-not-to’s and lively interactivity.

Why settle for nervousness when you can learn to knock ‘em out?

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

 

ASHEVILLE--"The beautiful accidents of poetry happen in the dark," says poet Keith Flynn, "alone, where we are not perceived, but received."

Flynn will lead a poetry workshop at the Network's upcoming 2011 Fall Conference, and while he claims that poetry can't be taught, it can be "nurtured, cajoled, discovered, honed, begged or bought." He's been quoted as saying that he can teach anybody how to be a better writer, but that won't make them "burn with it." If fall conference registrants are looking to be ignited, this may be the workshop for them.

An award-winning poet, singer, and editor who has published five books of poetry and essays, Flynn is the founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review. From 1984-1998, he was the lead singer and lyricist for The Crystal Zoo, a nationally acclaimed rock band that released three albums. This new incarnation, The Holy Men, provides musical accompaniment to poems from all of his books, as well as new songs and re-imagined versions of his back catalog of recorded material. This incredible musical diversity can find the band shifting from swing to gospel to blues to ballad to bossa nova to boogie chug all within the same song frame.

Keith Flynn and the Holy Men will perform at this year's Fall Conference banquet, at 7:00 pm on Saturday, November 19.

“Flynn’s words need to be read aloud for the full dramatic impact,” writes Jennifer MacPherson in The Comstock Review, “but even on the page, they mesmerize the reader with their historical significance and startling juxtapositions. These are original, passionate, vigorous and musical narratives that roam the full spectrum of the art. Keith Flynn is a true original, and a national treasure.”

He is the author of four collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), and The Golden Ratio (2007). His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, journals, and anthologies in the United States and Europe.He has been nominated six times for the Pushcart Prize, was awarded the Paumanok Poetry Prize in 1996, and has given thousands of performances from his work across North America and abroad.

 

 

SIBA Trade SHow 2011NORTH CAROLINA—The North Carolina Writers' Network is again pleased to offer our members the chance to show their books to 500 southeastern booksellers—not to mention around 1,500 book editors, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals—at the 2011 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show, September 17-19, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The SIBA Trade Show is the only time of the year when this many booksellers and book businesspeople will be together in one place, looking for books to sell.

The cost is $50 per title, or $125 for three titles. You can send up to ten copies of your book if sending only one title, or up to five copies each if sending two or three titles, along with promotional materials or order forms. Or, you can send only promotional materials to be displayed in place of books.

Please note that these books and/or materials will be given away—not sold—at the show, and no books or materials will be returned.

The Network's table at the trade show will be staffed by Communications Coordinator Charles Fiore and board member Nicki Leone, both of whom have extensive experience in bookselling and publishing.

To have your book(s) on the table, call the Network at 336-293-8844 or register online here.

You must also fill out and return the SIBA table reservation form with your books here.

All books and materials must be received by August 26, and space on the table is limited, so please sign up now to take advantage of this special opportunity.

 

By Scott Owens

Scott OwensHICKORY—A few months back, a writer friend of mine posted a negative comment on Facebook about writing prompts. Within hours, dozens of other writers jumped on the bandwagon, adding comments not only further condemning writing prompts but also joining the currently popular practice of badmouthing creative writing programs in general, especially MFA programs.

My first thought, not surprisingly given my core of low self-esteem that I’m told springs from early paternal abandonment, was what’s wrong with me that I enjoy writing prompts. My second thought, remembering all the things my therapist told me about how I should see myself, was what conceited ***** writers become when they think they have a little success.

I didn’t participate in the dialogue myself. I figured I had nothing to gain from doing so. Instead, I borrowed a prompt from Robert Lee Brewer and started what has turned out to be a damned good poem, one that has already been published in a favorite journal of mine.

The first requirement of writing is that one has something to write about. Thus, generative strategies are among the writer’s most important tools. Most would-be writers have a handful of stories they know they want to tell. Many, however, are blocked by the fear that after they tell those stories they won’t have anything else to say.

The purpose of a writing prompt is not to tell writers what to write about, but to shake them out of their complacency, their comfort of non-writing, or their belief that they have nothing left to write about. The truth is, writing is a way of perceptually, emotionally, and intellectually engaging with the world, so how could anyone ever really run out of things to write about? The further truth is we all already have a lifetime of perceptions, experiences, and thoughts to write about, but we might sometimes need a little help recognizing those subjects or mining our memories, experiences, and perceptions. Good writing prompts simply remind us of things we already know that are worth writing about.

Perhaps my friend had in mind the sort of writing prompt that produces a single piece from each writer and that results in similar pieces from all the writers who undertake it. Write a poem about a mirror, for example; or worse, Write a poem beginning with “Love is.” I will readily admit that prompts of this nature, and workshops using prompts like this, mostly produce bad, imitative writing.

There are, however, other types of prompts that are much more useful—prompts that help us know where or how to look to find the subjects worth writing about—prompts that produce an endless number of writing opportunities—prompts that help us live more conscious, deliberate lives as writers. These perpetual prompts are the ones I use in my own writing, the ones I have used to fill dozens of notebooks, write eight books and nearly 1,000 published poems, and the ones I use when teaching, when helping others figure out how to write successfully.

***

SCOTT OWENS will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the author of four poetry collections and over 400 poems that have been published in various journals such as Georgia Review, North American Review, Dead Mule, Chattahoochee Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize. Born in Greenwood, SC, he now lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches and coordinates the Poetry Hickory reading series.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.


By MariJo Moore

MariJo MooreCANDLER—How humans view animals and their role in the scheme of things is a matter of cultural perspective. In Cherokee collective memory, there was a time when humans and animals spoke the same language and understood each other. But when humans began killing animals needlessly and for sport, and not asking the permission of the animal’s spirit or making a prayerful offering before taking its life, animals retaliated by inflicting diseases upon humans. The plants, in compassion, gave medicine so the humans could heal these afflictions and diseases.

Anishanibe Indian people believe human beings descended from wolves back in the days when humans and animals spoke the same language. The Bella Cola Indians of the Northwest coastal region believe that someone once tried to change all animals into human beings, but were only able the make human the eyes of wolves.

Of course, not all contemporary American Indians have the same beliefs or concerns toward animals. Regardless, all believe in the interconnectedness of animals and human beings. I am of Cherokee descent and have been writing and facilitating creative workshops for over twenty years. Many of my creations reflect what I have learned from spending time with animals, listening to their messages, and applying their knowledge to my own life.

We have many stories and dances referring to the importance of animal speak and celebration of their existence. We know that animals are a part of creation as much as we are. Animals are teachers. Indigenous healers have long known that observing sick animals can lead them to medicinal plants. This is the language of Spirit. We all have spirit animals who can help us learn more about ourselves—help us in our creative ventures. They can offer us teachings that are evidence of the spiritual interconnectedness of all things: a connection that removes us from the world of logic and connects us to our inner nature. Animals have unique abilities that we humans have to develop through creative thinking and listening.

As an afterthought, I add that listening to animal speak is not just an American Indian belief. One of the writers I respect most, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote:

“For verses are not, as people imagine, simply feelings...they are experiences. For the sake of a single verse, one must see many cities, many people, and things, one must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.”

I will contact each participant beforehand and determine which animal spirit he/she will work with. Join me in this workshop to deepen your understanding of animals as well as your writing abilities. You will also learn something about your inner-self.

***

MARIJO MOORE (Cherokee//Irish/Dutch) will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of over twenty books including The Diamond Doorknob, When the Dead Dream, Crow Quotes, Spirit Voices of Bones, Confessions of a Madwoman, The Boy With a Tree Growing from His Ear and Other Stories, Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories, and her most recent, A Book of Spiritual Wisdom–For All Days. She is also editor of several anthologies including Genocide of the Mind: New Native Writings; Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War; and Feeding the Ancient Fires: A Collection of Writings by North Carolina American Indians. The recipient of numerous literary and publishing awards, she resides in the mountains of western North Carolina. Her website is www.marijomoore.com.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

 

By Randy Russell

Randy RussellASHEVILLE—I love talking story structure with other writers. To create a novel that will find ready acceptance in the commercial marketplace, I've learned that you need to pay attention to and define your story structure from the get-go.

You already know how to write. And perhaps beautifully so. By using a simple Rule of Three, you will learn how to construct a novel that will be an “easy sell” from tagline to query to final chapter, allowing your literary talents to find the widest audience possible.

The author’s guidelines for writing and pitching a successful novel for today’s competitive marketplace are designed to get you an agent quickly and to make a sell to a commercial publisher without pre-contract revisions. My story-structure Rule of Three was featured earlier this year at Writers Digest editor Chuck Sambuchino’s website www.guidetoliteraryagents.com.

The Rule of Three provides a structure and focus for commercially successful book-length fiction in any genre. Be prepared to describe your work-in-progress during this dynamic course and to participate in the detailed discussion of making your work perfect for the marketplace. It’s easier than you think.

To read more about the Rule of Three, click here.

***

RANDY RUSSELL will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the Edgar-nominated author of five published novels for adults, two books of short stories about ghosts, Ghost Dogs of the South and Ghost Cats of the South, and two volumes of Southern Appalachia folklore.

Earlier this year, Randy saw the publication of his sixth novel Dead Rules (HarperTeen), which received a starred Kirkus Review, was a Junior Literary Guild high-interest selection, and will be published by Quercus Books UK and by Aufbau Books in Germany. He lives in Asheville.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

 

 

 

Katherine Soniat in the AndesASHEVILLE—A sense of place is central to the work of Katherine Soniat, a widely published poet who will lead a Saturday poetry workshop at this year’s Fall Conference. Her extensive travels have allowed her to immerse herself in various cultures so that they become transformative filters for more personal contexts.

Crete, the Andes, the Bavarian Alps, and the Grand Canyon are a few of these regions she has included in her writing. Expanding the focus of poetry in such a way allows threads of art, myth, history, geography, and geology to inform her collections, shaping sequences of poems that resonate across a broad but personal spectrum.

Originally from New Orleans, Soniat has taught at the University of New Orleans, Hollins University, and for twenty years was on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Her fifth collection of poems, The Swing Girl, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press, and a sixth collection, A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, will be published by Dream Horse Press in the fall of 2012.

Her upcoming workshop is titled “Poetry, Archetypal Imagery, and You: A Writing Workshop.”

“What is an archetype?” Soniat asks. “How might it relate to who you are in this grand universe? Does the world have an imagistic language in which it speaks to us across time?

“If you participate in this workshop, you will probably find that indeed there are certain images that are almost old as the Earth itself, and that your life is also encased in those archetypes. AND (this one is important!) that we also create new personal archetypes to guide us into the future. Lots to think and write about.

“If you decide to join us: Please bring a photo of people in a situation that you are familiar with. Bring a second picture (not necessarily a photograph) of people you do not know in a situation/circumstance that you do not fully understand. You are simple drawn to this picture for some unknown reason. In other words, there is an interesting ambiguity in this picture that acts as a magnet. This second image can come from a magazine, the newspaper, whatever.

“We will enter through the gateway of these two images into the world of archetypes then see if those images speak to each other, if they inform one another in a fresh and vivid manner. Of course, they will “in form” YOU in the most surprising ways. You leave this workshop with a poem to remind you of the time we spent considering archetypal imagery.”

Photography, use of archetypal imagery, and dream work are also special areas of interest in both Soniat’s teaching and in her writing. She now lives on a ravine with one frequently noted bear (the Kenilworth Bear) in Asheville and teaches in the Great Smokies Writers' Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

 

 

 

By Ellyn Bache

NORTH CAROLINA--I was never a fan of writing exercises. Too many writing teachers, I believed, threw a bunch of leaves and buttons and other miscellany onto a table and instructed students to “Write!” (for ten minutes, at least) as a way of passing the time.

Ellyn BacheLess work for the teacher.

But last year when I was revising my novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, there was one chapter that, for a long time, didn’t quite work. I rewrote it six or seven times. When finally it passed muster with both my agent and editor, the plot had entirely changed. The scene was still between the same two characters, the setting was still the women’s dressing room of a department store, but the emotional content couldn’t have been more different. For the first time, all of us felt the scene did what had been meant to do. I felt like I’d been working on it forever.

Then I realized that what I’d been doing for months was an extended version of a writing exercise. Plot A doesn’t work? Try Plot B, Plot C. Plot X. A brutal application of the old standard writing exercise, “What if. . . ?”

A lot of what goes on in a writer’s head, I came to see, is a mental version of a writing exercise that can also be done on paper, in a formal workshop, probably with the same results. Once, writing about a male character I didn’t fully understand, I changed his name, his age, his appearance, whatever I could think of to make him three-dimensional. Nothing. After much struggle, until I switched from third person to first and finally caught his voice. In those days I wouldn’t have called what I was doing a “writing exercise,” but that’s what it was.

In “Getting Unstuck,” my upcoming workshop at the Network's 2011 Fall Conference, the objective is to learn strategies and practice exercises that have the potential to offer real help. Can’t move the plot forward? A critical scene doesn’t fit the very character who most needs to be there? Dialogue feels forced and unnatural? All of these problems can be addressed.

I still believe that only certain writing exercises work. The goal of this class is to send writers home with some practical, easy-to-use ideas that do.

***

ELLYN BACHE will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of eight novels, including most recently The Art of Saying Goodbye. Her short-story collection The Value of Kindness won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and her novel Safe Passage was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard. She has also written several books for young people as well as a nonfiction journal about sponsoring refugees.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

 

...who was honored as the 2011 recipient of the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award in a ceremony at the Philip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Center on the main campus of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. The award ceremony was part of CPCC's  annual week-long Sensoria Festival. The award honors a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.  Amy, a presenter at many NCWN events, was acknowledged for being an award-winning writer, editor and independent press publisher. As a founder of the groundbreaking Novello Festival Press, she put more than 300 writers into print, many for the first time, through works of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

... to Larry O. Nichols. The author of A Hobo Odyssey,  will be traveling to Britt, Iowa (http://www.brittiowa.com/hobo/events.htm) , the home of the 111th Annual National Hobo Convention, where he has been invited to participate in the festivities there honoring the thousands of traveling hoboes.  It is estimated that 50,000 guests will visit the four-day festival from August 11-14, in the mid-western town; normal population – 2,500.  Site seeing will include a visit to the memorial in nearby Clear Lake, Iowa, where the famous trio of Rock and Roll stars, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were killed in 1959.

 

...whose Civil War-set YA novel Avery's Battlefield received two five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Its sequel, Avery's Crossroad, will be released next month.

 
Joomla Template: from JoomlaShack