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Master Classes

Master Classes offer intermediate and advanced writers a chance to delve more deeply into a particular genre. Each Master Class will take place over the course of Sessions I, II, and III, and will be limited to the first 12 qualified registrants.

While publication credits are not required, Master Class participants should be experienced writers, dedicated to their craft. Applications will be reviewed, and qualified registrants admitted, on a rolling basis, until the Master Class fills or we reach the deadline of Friday, November 4—whichever comes first.

When you register for a Master Class, please choose another class as a back-up in case you are not admitted to the Master Class. This is required in order for us to process your registration.

Please submit your current CV, along with the required manuscript (see each Master Class’s course description, below, for its manuscript requirements), to mail@ncwriters.org, on the same day that you register for the Fall Conference.

Application to a Master Class requires a non-refundable $30 processing fee, in addition to the Fall Conference registration fee. If registering for the conference online or by phone, you can pay this processing fee with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover. If registering by mail, you must include a separate check for $30.

MASTER CLASS REGISTRATIONS (INCLUDING REQUIRED MANUSCRIPTS) MUST BE RECEIVED THE SAME DAY YOU REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE.

The Warp and the Woof: Creative Nonfiction Master Class with Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams

The expression, borrowed from the practice of weaving, indicates that which is foundational. The warp refers to the threads in material that run lengthwise, the woof to those that run across. In this class, we will look at the fabric of your nonfiction, evaluating where the work would benefit from tightening, loosening, or layering. We will look at samples of published pieces, use generative exercises, and discuss revision techniques. We will consider hard questions about urgency, about mattering, and ultimately remind ourselves of how the best nonfiction is constructed—unspooling the weave to see how language, image, tension, voice, research, and so forth were threaded to make the tapestries that take our breath away. Participants will explore the possible, from concept to completion, and leave with the resources to elevate their flash pieces, essays, and full-length manuscripts.

Please submit up to 1,500 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in an MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to masterclass@ncwriters.org. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and the title of the work and your name should appear on the submission itself. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

How to Move through a Story—Pacing in Fiction: Fiction Master Class with Sayantani Dasgupta

In this fiction workshop, we will examine the nature and function of pacing in short stories. Pacing determines how swiftly (or slowly) a story develops. It establishes the inherent rhythm of a story. It tells the reader how long they need to stay in a particular moment before moving on to the next one. We will use a short story by Lesley Nneka Arimah, as well as your own submitted work, as our main texts. Arimah is the winner of several awards including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her debut collection of stories, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. (The stories will be shared with you prior to the workshop so please read them before we meet.) We will pay close attention to how Arimah chooses what to include in a story, how long she stays in a given moment and with which character, and how these decisions push the stories to move in unexpected directions.

Please submit up to 1,500 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in an MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to masterclass@ncwriters.org. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and the title of the work and your name should appear on the submission itself. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Beautiful Cacophony: Poetry Master Class with Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Meter and rhythm express a body’s movement through time. They can thus help us to bring both the pleasures and the dangers of embodied experience into our poems. And when used skillfully, they can keep readers engaged where image or narrative alone might not. As Patricia Smith says, “The content has to be something that draws the reader in, but so does the sound. If I can take something horrible and lend music to it, you have to read it. If I can take something beautiful and add some sort of cacophony to it, you have to read it.” In addition to considering each other’s poems, in this class we’ll try exercises to support experimentation with meter and rhythm—via metrical and free verse, in modes both bold and subtle, and in the company of examples from poets such as Smith, Anna Maria Hong, Amit Majmudar, and A. E. Stallings.

Please submit three poems, totaling no more than five pages, on the same day that you register for the conference, along with your current CV in a separate attachment. Poems should be saved in a single MS Word document, using single-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, and sent as an attachment to masterclass@ncwriters.org. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and your name and the title of each poem should appear on the submission. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.