Writers' Bootcamp: Searching for Your Writer-Self

This bootcamp, taught by Dr. Lisa Roney, will occur on Thursday, September 14, from noon to 4 PM; it is designed for you to search through your own experiences and desires and find answers about how to create and foster a writing life for yourself. We will discuss and practice numerous techniques throughout the afternoon, culled from twenty-plus years of experience. However, we will always keep in focus the deep impulses and needs that drive a desire to write our stories, in whatever forms suit our individual personalities best. We will focus on establishing the impetus to keep going and on ways to get past spinning your wheels in the same place over and over.

Hour 1: Finding Your Obsessions & Making Time
Hour 2: Finding Your Form & Generating Work
Hour 3: Finding Ways to Get Better, or Techniques for Effective Revision
Hour 4: Finding Your Niche—Publishing and Alternatives

This bootcamp is an optional add-on portion of the conference and will cost participants an additional $70 to attend.

2017 Conference Breakout Sessions

Two-hour workshops

Thursday, September 14, 7 - 9 PM

Writing the Publishable Magazine Essay
Have you ever wanted to write and submit an essay to a magazine but were afraid of getting rejected? During Shonda's 25 plus years as a writer, managing magazine editor, and freelance writer for the LA Times and The Writer's Chronicle, she has learned how to develop, hone, polish, pitch, and submit articles (book or music reviews, profiles and features) to any magazine, and she will teach workshop participants how to do that, too. Bring your laptops!
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

The First 1000 Words of Your Manuscript
Agents and editors will often reject work with only a few minute's consideration, which means your first few pages must shine to make it past that initial hurdle. Learn how to determine when your story truly starts and how to strike a balance in your opening scene between setting and action, all while avoiding the dreaded “info dump.” We will talk about how to ground the reader and also about the common openers that are automatic red flags.
Presented by Erin Beaty

Mastering the 10-minute Agent/Publisher Pitch
In this workshop, designed for both fiction and nonfiction writers, attendees will learn what things go into a successful pitch and how best to deliver that pitch. If you intend to take advantage of an agent/publisher pitch, this workshop will markedly increase your chance of delivering a superb pitch. This workshop is available to all conference attendees whether they plan to pitch or not.
Presented by Denise Camacho

Poetry Chapbooks

The chapbook, a popular publication form with both poets and publishers, is a great way for poets to get their work out before a first book. We’ll discuss what a chapbook is, look at several examples, and explore how to choose and order poems to create a strong body of work, as well as how to select the right chapbook publisher for your work.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Buffing and Polishing: The Art of the Rewrite
You've finally finished your manuscript, and now you're ready to tell Oprah all about it. Not so fast. The best writing is REwriting. In this session, you'll learn practical ways to put your writing on a flab-burning diet so that your copy is tight, trim and hot-and all without even having to step onto a treadmill. A portion of this is a writing lab, so be sure to bring pen and paper.
Presented by John DeDakis

Exercise Your Writing Muscles
Austin Camacho will walk the group through a series of writing exercises prompted by key words, character traits, and the 5 senses. This is an interactive class that will call on attendees to think, write, and share their spontaneous writing.
Presented by Austin Camacho

90-minute workshops

Friday, September 15, 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

How to Write Believable Dialogue
This workshop will teach you how to recognize and create real dialogue to enrich your novels and short stories. We will explore examples of the best dialogue and dialogue techniques by award-winning authors such as Raymond Carver, Jean Rhys, Sherman Alexie and Toni Morrison to help our characters come alive and SHOW action through their words.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Your Memoir isn't Just About You
How do we push ourselves beyond keeping a diary to writing a memoir or move our memoirs to a higher level? Seeing yourself as connected to the larger world around you may be the key to unlocking the potential of your memories and personal anecdotes. In this session, we will work to understand ourselves as members of important groups and sub-groups and to connect our personal stories with those of others in the world around us. We will generate material that may lead us to be able to explain why personal stories are important as well as satisfying to write.
Presented by Dr. Lisa Roney

Getting Your Foot in the Door: Publishing in Literary Magazines
Want to submit your work to magazines but don't know how? In this workshop, we'll talk about what literary magazines are, what editors look for in submissions, how to get the most out of a lit mag, and the secrets to writing a great cover letter to get an editor’s attention. We'll also do a short “translation” exercise. The skills you learn in this session can easily apply to other publication realms, including writing to agents and editors of small book presses. All participants will receive a complimentary magazine of their choice.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Second Person: It's Not What You Think
You may dislike second person—many people do—but it's actually far more common and more effective than many people think. Come learn about the eight functions of second person, so you can add it to your writing toolkit.
Presented by Dr. Meriah L. Crawford

Smashing Writer’s Block
Most days, writing is a passion you can’t resist; but what do you do when the muse doesn’t show up? Do you have trouble finishing what you’ve started? How do you know if your problem is burnout or lack of inspiration, or whether it’s actually time to shelve or trunk a project? How does having a deadline impact your writer's flow? In this workshop, attendees will learn techniques, exercises, and prompts to get the words flowing when the spigot seems dry.
Presented by Erin Beaty

How to Write a Novel (and Get it Published)
Participants of this workshop will be given a practical 15-point plan that demystifies and deconstructs novel-writing, from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to tap into your subconscious and life experiences to transform them into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent, marketing the finished product, and facing your writing and marketing fears.
Presented by John DeDakis

One Hour Workshops

Friday, September 15, 1:25 PM - 2:25 PM

Point of View: Who Should Tell Your Story and How to Do it
Have you started a writing project with excitement but quickly lost interest and felt stuck? Sometimes changing the point of view in the story can reinvigorate a project and give direction on how to move forward. In this workshop, we’ll explore stories that use unique perspectives and take part in a writing exercise to get ideas on what perspectives could transform our own stories.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Querying DOs and DON'Ts
You've finished your novel, now what? Your surest path to an established/mainstream publisher is through a literary agent. This workshop will cover how to format your query, what information to include, and what not to do when sending a query letter. Examples will be given of successful and not-so-successful queries. We will discuss the importance of following submission guidelines and the need to target your submissions to the correct agent.
Presented by Valerie Noble

Sharp, Succinct, and Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story
What makes a mystery? How do you build suspense? Where can I sell my crime story? Attendees will be offered tips for writing and marketing short mystery stories. From detective fiction to domestic suspense to hard-hitting noir, various subgenres of the mystery offer different challenges for building on tradition and meeting reader expectations. This workshop will examine some specific passages from published crime fiction and look at how they keep aspects of the story in balance: strong prose as much as a fast-paced plot, compelling characters as much as a cleverly solved crime. A discussion of the ever-evolving market for mystery stories will conclude the session.
Presented by Charity Ayres

Beginning Writing at Mid-Life (or Any Time): Part 1—Getting OFF to a Great Start
Among other things, we'll discuss why the second half of life is actually the ideal time to begin writing. We'll also discuss how to build your writer's toolkit, how to set your writing goals, how to deal with rejection, the financial aspects of writing, and the role of talent plays in all of this. We'll conclude with a very brief discussion of ways to see your work in print, including traditional publishing, Indie-publishing, and self-publishing.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Writing as a Way to Heal from Grief
All of us have experienced or will experience the loss of a loved one. In DeDakis' case, in addition to the expected deaths of grandparents and parents, he's witnessed a car-train collision that killed three people, lost his sister to suicide, and endured the death of his youngest son because of an accidental heroin overdose. Even though death is a part of life, it need not be crippling or debilitating. In this talk, DeDakis will suggest strategies—including journaling and writing—to help a person move forward, through and beyond the pain and into a future that can once again be filled with hope—and even joy.
Presented by John DeDakis

Syntactical Symbolism in Poetry and Prose
Poems and many scenes in fiction and memoir come to us primarily in visual images, and we are used to obsessing about conveying sensory details to create vivid poetry and prose. However, too often we don’t take full advantage of the fact that we are actually converting sense experiences to symbols on a page. This session emphasizes how we can use the tools specific to language—syntax, punctuation, lineation, stanza and paragraph breaks, sound ladders, and so on—to heighten rhythm and visual communication on the page in order to augment the emotional impact of our writing. Please bring a short section of a work in progress to this workshop.
Presented by Dr. Lisa Roney

Friday, September 15, 2:35 PM - 3:35 PM

Writing the Surrealist Poem
This Workshop will explore the fascinating realm of the Surrealist through the incongruous paintings of famed artists Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali and the poetry of Andre Breton, surrealist poetry's founder. After discussion of the techniques, devices, and principles of the French movement, participants will write 1-2 surrealist poems of their own.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Depth of Character
Character is at the cutting edge of issues in creative writing today. Is starting with character really opposed to starting with plot, as we so often hear? Is writing about “real people” as opposed to fictional characters fundamentally different? When I write memoir, isn’t it easy to just be myself as a narrator? Are characters in science fiction and other types of so-called genre fiction by necessity stereotypical and flat? I would say the answer to all these questions is sometimes yes, but only when character is seriously misunderstood. In this session, we will generate numerous “characters” and take them apart to see what makes their hearts beat instead of simply ticking like mechanical clocks.
Presented by Dr. Lisa Roney

Getting Tense: How to Use Past, Present, and Future Tenses More Effectively
This workshop will explore the nuances of tense to help you appreciate how they can enhance your writing and your exploration of character.
Presented by Dr. Meriah L. Crawford

Beginning Writing at Mid-Life (or Any Time): Part 2-Learning to Think Like a Writer
In this session we'll talk about how to cultivate the habit of thinking like a writer, discussing how to process the daily events of your life in ways that continuously contribute to your development and growth as a writer. Participants will be exposed to useful tools and techniques to discover useful material for setting, characterization, and dialog. Also, we'll cover how to put your life experiences to work to help you imbue your characters with authentic emotion.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Creating a Social Media Footprint
In this workshop we will discuss the ways that you as a writer can begin to develop a platform for your social media footprint. What does it mean to have a platform? Where do you start with social media? How do you maintain it? What are the best formats for social media?
Presented by Denise Camacho

Plotting with Timers: How to Pace a Page-turner
Workshop participants will go on a spirited exploration of creative plot structure that grabs the reader in the first pages and doesn't let go until the last. Attendees will learn how clever plot construction and wording could make all the difference in selling your manuscript to a publisher, no matter the genre. Most authors don't even realize that this dollop of zing is essential. If you have good pacing, you can write about watching paint dry and make it impossible to put down. Learn how in this intensive, interactive, and occasionally hilarious workshop.
Presented by Lydia Netzer

Friday, September 15, 3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

The Pantoum: Poetry's Writing Generator
The contemporary pantoum originated from a Malay oral storytelling form. Now, contemporary poets are returning to the pantoum to tell stories and portray the cyclical act of remembering. Come to this workshop to discover how to use the pantoum to shape your story in a poem and how to use it as an aid in generating material when you’re suffering “writer’s block.” There will be an opportunity to write and share your own pantoum as well.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Capturing the Voice of the YA Characters
Young Adult literature is exploding in popularity with both teens and adults. With all these fans, it would seem easy to write in that category, but it’s not. YA lit has an entirely different dynamic and pacing than Adult lit, and voice is king. We will discuss the DOs and DON'Ts in writing for teens, as well as explore the subjects YA is taking head-on.
Presented by Erin Beaty

Creating Great Characters
This workshop will offer tools and techniques for creating complex and memorable characters—and when not to.
Presented by Dr. Meriah L. Crawford

Beyond Vanity: How Indie Publishing Builds Professional Writers
Independent Publishing can be the gateway to total liberation for a writer’s career. Just ask Andy Weir, author of a little book called The Martian. It can also see hours of work and dedication go completely unrewarded. While there is no clear-cut path to the former, it is easier for an author to get published today than ever before. This workshop will teach aspiring authors how to navigate the publishing process and take their book to market, giving them some of the skills they need to publish and effectively market their books. Agents look for these skills, which can bring a traditional publishing deal that much closer to reality. And who knows? Maybe you'll sign a multi-million-dollar movie deal along the way.
Presented by Charity Ayres

Writing Octavia Butler Science Fiction
If you have been trying to incorporate elements of science fiction into your writing, this workshop is for you. We will examine excerpts of the MacArthur award-winner Octavia Butler novels, essays and journals to write scenes and a short story illustrating sci-fiction concepts and techniques. We will focus specifically on plot, character development and adding "alien" characteristics.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Moving Your Ideas from the Mind to the Page without Losing Either
We'll talk about viewing writing as a three step process of planning, drafting, and revision. We'll explore what right-brain/left-brain research tells us about freeing our captive creativity from the dictates of our inner editor, while recognizing that the editor will return to help us during the revision phase. No matter what we're writing: short story or novel, essay or nonfiction book, a poem or a play, one or a combination of these techniques can help us. Milligan will demonstrate a few, and then ask workshop participants to try them out on one of their own projects. To get the most from this session, bring ideas for three writing projects you're considering or currently working on.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Saturday, September 16, 10:45 - 11:45 AM

Writing Outside the Box: Playing with the Page
Writers are discovering that nothing is off limits on the page. Novels are coming out that emulate video games, choose-your-own-adventures, text messages, tweets, emails, and more. What can we learn from the text mediums in our daily lives, and how can we apply the strengths of these mediums to our writing? Come to this workshop to take part in a lively discussion on the possibilities for the page, as well as practice writing in unconventional mediums through a writing exercise.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

How to Write in the Voice of the Opposite Sex 
Forget about Venus and Mars. Emotions are not gender specific. We all have them. It just takes a little work (okay, a LOT), to get into the head of the opposite sex. But it can be done. In this session, we'll explore how.
Presented by John DeDakis

Which Publishing Option is Right for You?
Today authors have several choices of how to get their books into the hands of readers—large publishers, small presses, or self-publishing. In this workshop, Camacho will explain the differences between those options, listing the pros and cons so attendees can make the best choice.
Presented by Austin Camacho

Locating Our Stories
We writers often undervalue or simply overlook our own personal landscapes as sources for our fiction. No matter how much they mean to us, we can’t imagine anyone else might find these places compelling. So we avoid writing about them and by doing so, cut ourselves off from some of our best sources. Or we might believe that by writing too specifically about these places that we’ll lose the reader’s interest. After all, the reader hasn’t been there. Or perhaps we think of place as scenery, something obligatory and token, like a plywood set to be carted on and off. In this workshop we will explore place as an essential, living part of storymaking.
Presented by Charity Ayres

Boss Images for the Prose Writer: Weaving Theme Through Images
Symbols and motifs have a reputation as having become clunky and overly obvious, and yet we still need ways to create continuity and to make objects and images resonate throughout our writing. Working instead with the idea of “boss images” may provide a middle ground where we can remain aware of weaving themes together without forcing heavy or simple meanings on readers. In this workshop, we will focus on enhancing powerful objects and moments in our work. T. S. Eliot’s idea of the “objective correlative” will be pleasantly unpacked. Please bring a draft of a work-in-progress, preferably in the five- to ten-page range.
Presented by Dr. Lisa Roney

“Steal This Poem”
In this short workshop, we will explore the “imitation” method as a means to starting new poems quickly, and in the process, thinking closely about the particulars of craft as one writes and imitates a good poem. Poems will be provided and students will draft an imitation in this hour.
Presented by Amanda Gomez

Saturday, September 16, 12:55 - 1:55 PM

Top Ten Women in Sci-Fi
This workshop will highlight and discuss the Top Ten Women in Sci-Fi, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Tananarive Due, and how these women challenged, changed, and shifted the trajectory of how society imagines women, and the role and function of women in the future. We will also discuss key plot points of several books that you can emulate in your own work.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Create a Marketing Plan
For people to decide to read your book, they first have to hear about it! Social media alone won’t make you a best-seller. You need a plan, and it needs to start months before your book’s release. In this workshop, Camacho will help attendees get that plan started with a solid timeline and milestones to keep them on track to a successful book release.
Presented by Austin Camacho

10 Quick Tips to Help New Writers Write (and Self-Edit) Like a Pro
In this session we'll cover how to identify and avoid common problems experienced by new writers. We'll discuss issues like making your characters come across as real on the page, avoiding problems with plot and structure, and selecting the appropriate point of view from which to tell your story. We'll also talk about techniques for putting the setting to work for you, the importance of replacing weak, flabby writing with strong nouns and telling verbs, and how to keep your reader turning the pages.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Building a Fictional Society
Setting your SciFi or Fantasy in a world you get to make up is fun until you realize just how much work it is. To make it even more frustrating, ninety percent of your world won’t make it into the story! We will discuss a long list of elements to consider when building your fictional world.
Presented by Erin Beaty

Know Your Genre
You've finished your novel and now hope to land a literary agent. To do so, you must be able to describe your book. What is the genre? What should the word count be? Where will it sit on the shelf and what are some comparable titles? Even if you don't use comparable titles when pitching an agent, it's important to know where your book will sit on a bookshelf and what books might be next to it.
Presented by Valerie Noble

There is no “I” in Poetry
Point of view might be thought of as more of a prose concern, but shouldn’t we consider it just as much in poetry and verse? In this hour, we will investigate poetic perspective, authorial intent, and how to draft a poem without using the first person POV. Because, why not?
Presented by Amanda Gomez

Saturday, September 16, 2:05 - 3:05 PM

The Language of Experience: Using Our Own Voice in Writing
Some writers feel a pressure that to be “a good writer” they need to use elevated, poetic, or flowery language. However, the language of our experiences can be the most powerful tool in our writing. In this workshop, we’ll read examples of writing that uses the language of the experience. Then we'll complete a translation exercise to explore how to find our unique voice.
Presented by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Diversity in Writing
Movements such as #weneeddiversebooks and #Isupportdiversity are more than a trend; they’re a permanent shift in authentic representation in literature. But if your cultural experience is limited, how do you properly include diverse elements in your work? Learn the pitfalls and steps in writing beyond your experience without damaging minority or underrepresented characters.
Presented by Erin Beaty

Under the Influence: Exploring External Influences on Your Characters
In the real world, people are influenced by alcohol, drugs (legal and not), mental and physical illness, disability, tiredness, and so much more, but not enough of those influences come through on the page, as writers hesitate to write what they don’t know. We will discuss ways to be aware of and communicate those influences and the opportunities they offer to writers.
Presented by Dr. Meriah L. Crawford

One Writer's Experience in Marketing
There are hundreds of things you COULD do to market your books. On Camacho's 17-year journey from self-published through other publishers, to running a small press, he's tried most of them and has learned the importance of the details. In this workshop, he'll share what he's learned in developing his concept of evidence-based marketing
Presented by Austin Camacho

Ending Well: Short Story Endings and Their Lessons
Flannery O'Connor contended that the key to a short story’s success is “an action or a gesture which was both totally right and totally unexpected; it would have to be one that was both in character and beyond character; it would have to suggest both the world and eternity.” Because the weight of these demands often falls on a story’s ending, discovering the right way to end is among the most difficult of a fiction writer’s tasks. Through reading and discussion of brief published pieces, and using a short exercise or two, we’ll explore some of the hallmarks of the great short-story ending: that combination of surprise and inevitability that feels final but never, ever neat. Please bring the last page of a draft of a story you’ve written; you’ll be examining this page with fresh eyes to discover how your ending is working, how it could work even better, and how the flaws in your ending can help you recognize earlier flaws in your story and understand how to address them.
Presented by Charity Ayres

How to Give Good Feedback when Critiquing Poetry
Many students of poetry have found themselves sitting in a workshop without a clue as to how one “critiques” a poem and provides feedback. This hour will be spent learning the tools of constructive conversation for poetry, or, in other words, how to “read” one’s work and talk about it beyond just “good” or “bad.”
Presented by Amanda Gomez

Saturday, September 16, 3:15 - 4:15 PM

The Power of Subtext in Fiction
In fiction, as in life, people rarely express their most intimate feelings. The emotions that lie beneath the surface of conflict in a narrative are sources of great tension in a story. In this workshop, we’ll read excerpts from published work as well as your own manuscripts and write prompts to explore the power of subtext. The techniques of writing subtext include the use of particular details in setting, characters’ body language and gestures, dialogue (what’s not said), and silences.
Presented by Charity Ayres

How I Sold My First Nonfiction Book with My First Pitch and Proposal, and How You Can Too
Using Milligan's first book as an example of what (and what not) to do in seeking commercial publication for your nonfiction book, we'll cover choosing your topic, finding the niche your book will fill, coming up with a catchy working title, planning the contents, and showing why you're the best person to write this book. Then we'll talk about identifying potential agents or publishers to which to direct your written query or oral pitch, and understanding what should be the goal of your query or pitch. Finally, we'll talk about constructing the component parts of a solid book proposal. Note: This session will not cover memoir, which is sold more like fiction.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Polishing Your Prose
What do filter words, crutch phrases, head-hopping, and purple prose have in common? Why did Stephen King say “The road to hell is paved with adverbs”? The answer is they are all weeds in the garden of your writing. This session will discuss several factors that damage your connection with your reader and act as red flags to editors considering your work, as well as how to root them out of your writing.
Presented by Erin Beaty

How to Write a Key Scene
A key scene is an essential building block in any work of fiction. In this session, you'll learn tips and strategies for making the scene you see in your head come alive on the page so that your reader is compelled to keep turning the pages. Writing exercises will give class members a hands-on feel for how to add texture, dynamism, and drama to a story.
Presented by John DeDakis

The Magic of Opposites: How to Create Conflict out of Thin Air
From foil characters to fish out of water scenarios, writers use the tension created by opposite elements to forward their plots and spice up their scenes. Why do opposites attract? How can magnetism inform our prose? What effects can you create by delivering plot twists that confound the reader's expectations? Learn how to create instant drama with the magic of opposites in this workshop -- part lecture and part hands-on writing exercise.
Presented by Lydia Netzer

The Resonant Line (Poetry)
Good poems are often born out of a messy brainstorm or a quick write without real direction. For this hour, we will write freely and then mine our material for a kernel of truth or meaning that begs to be explored more deeply. This is the resonant line—a phrase or sentence that contains the possibility of further consideration and maybe even a great poem.
Presented by Amanda Gomez

Saturday, September 16, 4:25 - 5:25 PM

Be More Productive
Almost all writers wish they got more done. There are lots of different approaches to finding more time and making better use of the time you have. A wide variety of options and tools will be provided.
Presented by Dr. Meriah L. Crawford

I've Decided to Be a Writer—Now What?
Let's get practical and figure out how to build the writing life you've been dreaming about. Whether a plotter, a pantser, a poet, a dramatist, or a nonfiction writer, to give yourself the best chance of achieving your writing dreams, it helps to have a plan. We'll engage in an exercise that will help you figure out how to integrate your writing life into the rest of your life and achieve the right balance for you. We'll talk about how to set long and short-term goals and establish priorities to stay on target. You'll leave this session with a completed plan in hand and a process you can use from here on out to help you identify the actions you can take now to move forward toward your goals.
Presented by Frank Milligan

Black Women Writers
This presentation will highlight and explore the transformative work of several key black women writers of the past and present (including Claudia Rankine's Citizen) who wrote, and write, to confront, recover, engage and refute stereotypical images of black characters, traditional plots, and historical misnomers. We will also look at what characterizes "the Black Voice" of contemporary fiction of black women writers that the literary industry has sought since the publication of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Poetry of Protest
In an age where the personal is political, and the political is personal, we will spend an hour considering poems that protest, poems that resist, and poems that bear witness. How can poetry be a voice for the voiceless? What other purpose does poetry serve right now? Is it possible for poems to teach empathy and also contain outrage? We will read, write, and engage with these questions.
Presented by Amanda Gomez

Writing First Lines Last
Opening lines can be problematic in a variety of ways. Often we struggle with where to begin a piece of writing or how much of a “hook” we need. We’ve all been told how important those first lines are, but how do we figure out what that means to a particular story? In this session, we will look at how a few masterful openings work, and we will look at your works-in-progress to determine how to think about creating the strongest opening for your story (fictional or nonfictional). Please bring a first draft of something you have been working on.
Presented by Dr. Lisa Roney

Getting Out of Your Own (and Your Character's) Way: Guided Fiction Writing
Doris Betts said of writing fiction, “Each draft is a conversation I'm having with my characters, getting to know them.” Sometimes, however, the conversation stalls, leaving you and your character feeling like strangers. That’s when guided writing exercises can help. These can be a great way to overcome writer’s block, learn more about your characters and story, and take your writing to places you never thought you’d go. The constraints of sentence-level prompts may lead you to discover new aspects of your subject even as you develop your content because following these prompts keeps you from directing your observations in familiar, perhaps predictable, ways.
Presented by Charity Ayres

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