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Session III Classes: Fall Conference 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2:30-4:00 pm

CREATIVE NONFICTION - Masks and Mirrors: Writing Memoir, with Penelope Niven.
This workshop explores steps and strategies in crafting memoir and autobiography: Establishing your purpose and your vision; finding your voice; discovering or rediscovering the interior and exterior landscapes of your life; deciding, as Annie Dillard says, "What to put in and what to leave out"; respecting the privacy and the intellectual property of other individuals who are part of your story; examining the ethics of nonfiction; stripping away the masks, looking into the mirror, and being true to yourself.

FICTION - Setting the Stage for Realistic Fiction, with Susan Stafford Kelly.
This class will examine options for opening a novel or short story in the genre of realism or domestic realism. A discussion of how best to cook bacon; a picture-hanging session; folding laundry alone: each of these fictional scenarios has the capacity to convey threat, poignancy, suspense, foreshadowing, or humor. We'll look at how a writer's choices of description (objects, interiors), dialogue, and point of view in an opening scene evokes his/her realist milieu while also creating character, interest, sympathy, or mystery. Participants will try their hand at "setting the realist stage" as well. Handouts will be provided.

PUBLISHING - Publicity, Public Speaking and Pulling Your Hair Out, with Pamela King Cable and Dena Harris.
Writers tremble at the thought of hiring a publicist, handling self-promotion, and/or speaking in public. Many turn down opportunities, appearances that could increase their visibility and bolster their careers, simply because they’re confused. They’ve read the how-to books, wasted hours on the Internet, and spent money on dozens of conferences, but putting their own publicity machine into motion paralyzes them into inaction. This class confronts the fears and career-stalling procrastination writers harbor toward the hardest part of writing a book -- the marketing that comes after it.

POETRY - Panel - Writing Out Loud: Performing Your Work, with Sebastian Matthews, Nathan Ross Freeman, and moderator Keith Flynn.
In the contemporary poetry scene, all poets must perform their work in public -- the more, the better, in terms of their career. Audience members who go out in public to hear performances yearn to be touched, moved, electrified -- not anesthetized. All poets can improve their performance technique. This workshop is for poets who want to give more life to their own spoken words. Attendees are encouraged to bring a one-page sample of their work (min. 15 copies), which a panelist will read to demonstrate the poem's sonic possibilities. Each panelist will also demonstrate his own reading style. Flynn, founding publisher and editor of the Asheville Poetry Review, has given thousands of readings and performances across the U.S. and Europe. Sebastian Matthews edits Rivendell, a new, "place-based" literary journal. The two men recently co-edited a jazz poetry issue of APR. Nathan Ross Freeman is a spoken word educator, dramaturge and scriptwriter.

PUBLISHING - Panel - Agents and Editors, with C. Michael Curtis, Susanna Einstein, Ellen Pepus, Bess Reed, and Amy Rogers, moderated by Stephen Kirk.
Join experienced fiction and nonfiction editors from The Atlantic Monthly magazine; John F. Blair, Publisher (Winston-Salem); and Novello Press (Charlotte); and agents from LJK Literary Management and Regal Literary, Inc. in New York and Ellen Pepus Literary Agency of Washington, D.C. to find out: How can you plan your writing career to build successful relationships with an agent, an editor, and a publisher? How are these people part of a writer's long-term strategy for building a writing career? These panelists will answer questions such as: Do you need an agent to get a publisher? What kinds of writers are agents and editors looking for - and what is the best way to get their attention? What trends do they see in book publishing? How much editing do editors do? Or do agents do the editing? How can a writer start out with a regional publisher and step up to a national publisher? How do publishers and agents work together and who does what? What can you expect as far as an advance and what are important elements to look for in a contract? What are the pet peeves of agents and editors? And once you get a publisher and/or agent, how do you become their favorite writer - the one who gets the great print run and the nine-city book tour? To get the most out of this panel, Google these editors and agents, familiarize yourself with their work, and bring your questions!

WRITING MARATHON - Writing Poems from Prompts, with Pat Riviere-Seel.
Writing poems from prompts is a bit like the poetic equivalent of speed dating: try something new, surprise your imagination and follow William Carlos Williams’ advice to "...write carelessly so that nothing that is not/green will survive." Bring pen/pencil and paper -- leave your expectations and inner critic at the door. There will also be time to read your new work if you would like to do so.

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