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Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Session / Presenter
Location / Time
Jun 06
Sat - 2020
Turning True Stories Into Page-Turners
Sarah Weinman
10:10am to 11:40am

Presenter: Sarah Weinman

Do you have a true story you are dying to tell? If you’re consumed by research, have done all the reporting, but aren’t sure where your story starts, continues, or ends, join Sarah Weinman, the acclaimed crime journalist, editor, and author of The Real Lolita, in a workshop exploring how the best techniques of fiction — characters, setting, pacing, and more — can be used to craft true narratives.

As part of this workshop we'll discuss some great examples of narrative nonfiction in book and magazine form, and how they hold the readers' interest through structure and the sentence. Works may include Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc; Bad Blood by John Carreyrou; Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann; and Furious Hours by Casey Cep; and "96 Hours" by Pamela Colloff.

The class will include craft discussion; an exercise; and Q&A.

Jun 06
Sat - 2020
The Craft of Writing Literary Nonfiction: A “How-To” Workshop
Jeffrey Scott Copeland
1:40pm to 3:10pm

Presenter: Jeffrey Scott Copeland

This session will cover the following – and more:

  • The “Code” of Literary Nonfiction
  • Where and how to find/mine ideas for stories
  • How and where to conduct the research for Literary Nonfiction stories
  • Methods of creating the “Storyboard” for Literary Nonfiction (and many other genres as well)
  • How to avoid the pitfalls particular to this genre (there are many!)

Whether participants are beginners or experienced in writing Literary Nonfiction, all will receive practical suggestions/tips/advice that will help them as they develop their skills in this area.

Jun 06
Sat - 2020
I Remember: Unlocking Memories to Lay the Foundation of Your Memoir
Jamie Brickhouse
3:20pm to 4:50pm

Presenter: Jamie Brickhouse

Memory and fact are two different animals. The meat of literary memoir is the author’s salient memories around the facts of the story he is telling. In this introduction to memoir, Jamie Brickhouse, author of the critically-acclaimed Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and my Mother (St. Martin’s Press; “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir; Amazon “Best Book of May 2015,” Book Chase “Top 10 Nonfiction of 2015” ) shows writers how to unlock their deepest memories—the buried, nearly forgotten, and painful—to allow those memories to flower on the page. Taking a lead from Joe Brainard’s literary and artistic cult classic, I Remember, students will discover that laying “I remembers” on the page before writing prose, is akin to an artist priming a canvas before painting. The first half of the workshop will explore the art and craft of channeling and writing about memory as Brickhouse discusses examples from classic memoirs (The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr, The Night of the Gun by David Carr, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion) and a range of how-to books on memoir and writing (The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss by Jessica Handler, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Victoria Gornick) and his own writing experience. He will also explore how to lift the “burden of too much information”—to weed out the memories, passages, and scenes from a life so that only the essential ones germane to the story you’re telling remain. The second half will be participatory, and students will write their own memories through a series of “I remember” exercises and then transform some of those into prose. Participants will discover that the memories which materialize from their stream of conscious—the ones that cannot be ignored—are the ones that must be written about, and are usually the ones that create literary gold. Brickhouse will lead guided discussions around the students’ work in a supportive, encouraging and laid-back atmosphere. Students will receive a reading list, as well as additional writing prompts and exercises.

Jun 07
Sun - 2020
Looking Back, Moving Forward: Writing About Grief, Loss, and Trauma
Jessica Handler
10:10am to 11:40am

Presenter: Jessica Handler

Robert Frost wrote, “no tears for the writer, no tears for the reader,” but how do we create effective story from emotionally difficult material? Writing well about loss requires more than capturing slippery memory on the page - the act of reflection must advance the narrative.

In this prompt-driven workshop, we will examine elements of renowned trauma memoirs and undertake writing exercises that will help us examine how both sorrow and joy are put to work in powerful creative nonfiction.

Participants will explore strategies for writing about loss and trauma in pursuit of insight, wholeness, and connection to readers. We will end our time together with a new understanding of the little-known continuation of Frost’s quote: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”

Open to writers of all levels.

Participants will:

· Examine the nuts and bolts of notable examples of memoir and essay about loss, grief, and trauma to understand the writers’ craft;

· Generate new material from writing prompts designed to explore memory from new angles;

· Explore the narrative balance of research, memory, and imagination;

· Develop confidence in their right to write their version of events.