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For the First Time, Spring Conference Offers Courses (and Scholarships!) for Screenwriters

Mary M. Dalton
GREENSBORO—For the first time ever, the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference will offer a track for screenwriters, including scholarships for writers of the silver screen.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2022 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 23, on the campus of UNC-Greensboro and online. While there will be virtual class and program options, both screenwriting courses will be held on-site, in-person only.

Conference registration is open.

Mary M. Dalton will lead “Crafting Characters Round and Flat for the Screen.” A late addition to the schedule, this course replaces “Screenwriting 101.”

Context is everything. Sometimes characters need to change and grow, but other times characters serve a different purpose, such as pushing up against the arc of another character. Using Callie Khouri’s Oscar-winning and iconic screenplay Thelma & Louise as a case study, this class will examine character as a component of classical narrative structure and explore the limits of that paradigm. The session will include exercises for identifying the right type of character—round or flat—for your story and also provide tools for crafting that character. Reading the screenplay Thelma & Louise, which is widely available online, and seeing the movie in advance would be helpful but not necessary. Syd Field also has a useful analysis of the script in his book Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay.

Dalton is Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses focusing on critical media studies and screenwriting. Over the years, she has taught screenwriting to a number of students who populate writers’ rooms on shows you may have seen and whose screenwriting credits appear on films viewed at the theater or streaming at home. She delights in their accomplishments.

“Is This Idea a Screenplay?” will be led by Joy Goodwin.

In this workshop, we’ll consider how to decide whether a particular story is a feature-length or series-length idea—or, perhaps, neither. Once that decision is made, what are the next steps in developing and realizing the idea?

Joy Goodwin
Joy Goodwin writes and produces independent films. Her credits include Black Nativity, May in the Summer, and the forthcoming Mabel (2022). She began her career in nonfiction television, winning an Emmy for documentary-writing. She is chair of the graduate screenwriting program at UNC School of the Arts.

Spring Conference is a full day of courses and programming on the craft and business of writing, offering both on-site (in-person) and online sessions. North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Carole Boston Weatherford will give the Keynote Address. Additional sessions include the Faculty Readings, Open Mics, and Slush Pile Live!

For the first time, Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarships also will be available to help aspiring screenwriters attend the Spring Conference. The Elliott Bowles Screenwriters Scholarships are open to applications from any North Carolina resident who has written an unproduced and unoptioned screenplay. For more information, please follow the link above, or e-mail

Register here.

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