IWC will hold its first annual creative writing conference on October 11, 2014 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Merrillville, Indiana. This is an extension of the annual banquet, which is now in its sixth year.
The conference sessions will begin at 1:00 p.m., with registration and the bookfair opening at noon.
The registration fee includes:
- three breakout sessions with a choice of three options per session (see the schedule below),
- meet and greet with light refreshments,
- cocktail hour with a cash bar
- dinner with keynote speaker Barbara Shoup (www.barbarashoup.com), and
- an open mic.
Early Registration, Through August 15th
IWC Member, $45Non-Member, $50
Open Registration, August 16th – October 1st
IWC Member, $50Non-Member, $55
Late Registration, October 2nd – October 7th
IWC Member, $53Non-Member, $58
Registration will be available through the conference website, which is coming soon. Watch this blog for an announcement.
Student Scholarships and Bookfair Tables: To inquire about student scholarships or bookfair table availability or with other questions, please email Janine Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel Information: The Hilton Garden Inn, 7775 Mississippi Street, in Merrillville, Indiana, is located a half-mile east of I-65 off of US 30 E/E Lincoln Hwy. If traveling east on Rt. 30, turn left onto Mississippi Street. The hotel is on the right. Free parking is available on-site.
Accommodations: To reserve a room, please contact the Hilton Garden Inn at (219) 769-7100. There is a block of rooms on reserve until September 17th.
Area Activities: Merrillville is approximately 50 minutes away from the Chicago Loop. The Hilton Garden Inn is directly across from Southlake Mall, and many other shopping outlets and restaurants are available on Route 30. For additional information, please see www.southshorecva.com/about-south-shore/indiana-welcome-center/.
2014 IWC CREATIVE WRITING CONFERENCE
SCHEDULE of EVENTS
12 – 1 PM
Conference registration in lobby. Bookfair will be open from 12 until 6:30 PM.
1 – 2:10 PM Breakout Session
The Art of Conversation: Tame the Tag Monster and Make Your Dialogue Sparkle
Presenter: Kate Collins
A writer has three devices with which to tell a story: narration, action, and dialogue. My focus for this workshop is on dialogue. It is well-known among seasoned writers that great dialogue may not earn you a publishing contract, but lousy dialogue will often prevent you from getting one. Awkward, unrealistic, or pointless conversation is a common reason acquisitions editors and agents will decline the opportunity to publish your work. Why? Because conversation between and among characters should drive the story forward and give it emotional punch and immediacy. A writer’s goal, therefore, is to create dialogue that allows the reader to witness the story’s movement and feel the characters’ emotions in that moment. In my workshop, attendees will learn 18 keys to great dialogue and will have a chance to practice them. I also include a 5 page handout and worksheet.
Encouraging the Unexpected: Choreography for Writers
Presenter: Katherine Mitchell
In this workshop, we will explore parallels in both the craft and creative process of writing and composing movement. With a basic movement vocabulary, weʼll compose movement vignettes, exploring the parallels between writing a poem and composing a movement study. Weʼll consider this both in terms of craft and creative process. Students will learn a basic movement vocabulary and use structured improvisation to generate material. Weʼll experiment with ﬂoor pattern, shape, gesture, dynamics, focus and line. How does varying these elements create meaning? Weʼll experience how ordinary movement can become extraordinary though attention, changes in vantage point, speed, juxtaposition. Can we enlarge how we think about writing by exploring composition in another art form? No previous movement or dance experience is required.
Lit Mags aren’t Dead Yet! Networking through Publication
Presenter: Meg Eden
In this session, we’ll talk about what literary magazines are, and why it’s important for emerging and established writers to publish through them. We’ll have a litmag “translation” exercise, tips on 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. The skills you learn in this session can easily apply to other publication realms, including writing to agents and editors of small book presses.
2:20 – 3:30 PM Breakout Session
Creating Emotional Back Story
Presenter: Paulette Livers
As writers develop characters, we often initially sketch them in broad strokes, figuring out external aspects, and their place in plot and trouble. When we begin to flesh them out from the inside, our biggest hurdle can be avoiding flat stereotypes. Both the purely evil demon and the good and gentle perfectionist are equally boring and predictable. This workshop involves a few simple techniques for getting at emotional back story that will help you write specific, unique individuals that readers can believe in—even the seemingly demonic or perfect ones.
“Can We Be Funny?” Good Wit and Good Writing
Presenter: Dana Bowman
After 9/11, Saturday Night Live continued with its programming, but not without some trepidation. At the cold opener, Lorne Michaels, the show’s producer, asked Mayor Guiliani quite simply and sadly, “Can we be funny?” To which Guiliani famously countered, “Why start now?” Writing humor is a delicate and difficult art, and I don’t recommend it to anyone who has a heart condition. Actually, we humorists have great hearts - we feel, and wonder, and wickedly poke at all of life around us, because our hearts are full. My session would cover why humor is important in the wake of heartbreak and sadness and even tragedy, and why good humor is crucial and often cathartic - for both writer and audience. I will share samples from the great humorists and we’ll discuss the art behind the laughter. We will also analyze various types of humor from deadpan, to anecdotal, to parody, digging into the structure and style of wit. Good writing can be good for a laugh.
The Writer and The Writing Group
Presenter: Gabriella Brand
Writing is a solitary act. It's often a question of sitting in a room and talking to oneself. Writing is the lonely process of staring out the window and searching for the perfect words, as if they were plums hanging on a tree in the backyard. We all know that the experience can get lonely. A really good writing group can pull a writer out of a rut, help trim fat off a manuscript, beef up a skinny draft, inspire fertile dreams, and offer occasions to laugh and cry with others. But how does one go about starting such a group? How can one derive the most benefit from a writing group? What makes a good participant? A good leader? What are the characteristics of highly functioning writing groups? What are the behaviors that can splinter or destroy a group? Does a professional writer need to surround herself with professional writers in order to grow? What about the Nadia Boulanger effect? (Does the piano teacher need to be as good a pianist as her gifted students? Or does she just need to know how to guide the student toward perfection?)
This presentation will offer practical advice about starting, sustaining and promoting groups for writers across genres, both face to face groups and virtual ones. The targeted audience would be anyone who is curious about the writing group experience, either as a participant or a leader/participant.
Meet and Greet
Please join us in the hotel bar area for an informal Meet and Greet! Light refreshments will be served.
4:00 – 5:10 PM Breakout Session
Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Violence Anthology Reading
Presenters: Laura Madeline Wiseman and Poets
Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), edited by Laura Madeline Wiseman, views poetry as a transformative art. By deploying techniques to challenge narratives about violence against women and making alternatives to that violence visible, the over one hundred American poets in Women Write Resistance intervene in the ways gender violence is perceived in American culture. A poem from a victim’s perspective, for example, might use explicit imagery but also show the emotional consequences often obscured when newspapers, video games, films, and television programs depict violence in superficial or sexualized ways. A poet might also critique dominant narratives, such as calling into question the perception that certain women deserved to be raped. The critical introduction frames the intellectual work behind the building of the anthology by describing how poets break silence, disrupt narratives, and use strategic anger to resist for change. Poetry of resistance distinguishes itself by a persuasive rhetoric that asks readers to act. The anthology’s stance believes poetry can compel action using both rhetoric and poetic techniques to motivate readers. In their deployment of these techniques, poets of resistance claim the power to name and talk about gender violence in and on their own terms. Indeed, these poets resist for change by revising justice and framing poetry as action. This IWC Conference reading will include an introduction by the editor and feature 4-5 Women Write Resistance poets who will read their poems and others from Women Write Resistance.
From Diarist to Memoirist
Presenter: Marion Cohen
Many memoirists keep diaries, and use their diaries to various extents and in various ways for writing their memoirs. But not everything that appears in a memoir comes from a diary; some passages and insights come from, so to speak, pure memory. Indeed, some memoirs arise from a writer's sudden realization that a particular thread of the memoirist's life has never been written about, or recognized. Many, in fact, come from flashbacks. And many come from things that could not possibly be in diaries because they happened long before the writer was writing, or even speaking. Also, many pieces of writing that wouldn't ordinarily be classified under the memoir genre are in fact memoir-LIKE, perhaps actual memoirs. Poem sequences, some book-length, are often memoirs, along with themed poetry chapbooks or books. There are also more unusual, sometimes controversial, memoir-like genres such as family albums, lists of favorite childhood toys, and the six-word memoir. Some memoirs are mere "thinking memoirs" (like the one I carried around in my mind from age 17 months to age eleven), or "talking memoirs" (such as interesting and/or poignant conversations between friends). A non-writer I knew once said, "If you can talk, you can write". Is this true? Perhaps. It's another idea that's worth exploring. I would also like to talk about advantages of memoirs over novels and other fiction -- such as the fact that, since the material actually happened, its believability cannot be easily challenged.
“Hot Pockets, Butterflies, and Chevron: Fifth Grade Creative Writing Pedagogy and the Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest”
Presenter: Lauren Mallett
This workshop details my instructional approach to writing workshop at Washington Elementary in Richmond, California from 2010-2013. My pedagogy coupled state writing standards with my own, more holistic writing goals for my students. I examine the successes, challenges, collaborations, and celebrations involved in developing the curriculum, and I reflect on the ways in which creative writing has the potential to empower our young people. I will reference and share writing samples throughout the presentation as well.
5:30 – 6:30 PM Cocktail Hour
We hope to see you in the hotel bar area for Cocktail Hour (cash bar). Now that we have met you, we would really enjoy getting to know you better!
6:30 – 10:30 PM Dinner
Dinner, with keynote address by Barbara Shoup, will be followed by an open mic. Please sign up for the open mic at the IWC’s informational table.