GREENSBORO, 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.)
Writing 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.
Steve 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.