CHARLOTTE—For the first time ever, the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference will offer programming for writers of the stage and screen. As part of this effort to serve more writers, screenwriter Paula Martinac will lead the session "Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, and Screen."
Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Pre-registration is open through October 26.
Paula Martinac is a fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter. Her recent novel, The Ada Decades, was a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and her fiction debut, Out of Time, won a Lambda Literary Award. A fifth novel, Clio Rising, will be published by Bywater Books in May, 2019. Her short stories have appeared in Raleigh Review, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere, and her plays have been produced at festivals in Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington, DC. Her full-length screenplay, Foreign Affairs, placed second in the 2003 POWER UP Screenplay Award. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates at UNC Charlotte and is a writing coach with Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Paula to answer the following prompt:
"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"
Here's what Paula said:
"With my windfall, I’d start a publishing house devoted to fiction that’s both bite-sized—micro novels, flash novellas, tiny triptychs of stories—and pocket-sized. My inspiration comes from a friend who founded an indie press that publishes books of poetry so small you can slip them into your pocket or handbag. I absolutely love the size of them, the way they feel in your hands, how they look laid out next to each other in a book exhibit—inviting readers not just to buy one, but to 'take two, they’re small.' The press would also spotlight authors writing at the margins, exploring race, gender, class, or sexual identity in their prose. And then my first act would be to hire enough staff to carry out the vision, ensuring I’d have plenty of time to write!"
What issues and problems arise when playwrights, screenwriters, and fiction writers create characters whose race, sexual orientation, class, or gender differs from their own? Maybe you’ve been nervous about writing characters who represent the broad spectrum of society, or maybe your early attempts tripped you up. Research, imagination, and empathy go a long way toward making characters dynamic and authentic. In her workshop, Paula will discuss the possible pitfalls of writing diverse characters, explore tips for success, and try out writing exercises to help the process.
Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.