Check out these great workshops at Winter Wheat!
“Writing Respectfully and Accurately about Characters with Disabilities,” with Sheri Wells-Jensen, Tex Thompson, Jason Wells-Jensen and Abberley Sorg.
Being inclusive means more than choosing to designate one of your characters as disabled. It means (1) asking yourself why you want to include that character, (2) doing the research to make sure you are able to portray that character with accuracy and respect, and (3) taking steps to follow through to make sure your depiction does no harm. This workshop provides guidelines and hands-on activities to practice these skills.
Jason Wells-Jensen was the “language architect” for Tex Thompson’s Children of the Drought series of rural fantasy novels. He has taught linguistics and ESL in Puerto Rico and on the mainland, and also has degrees in library science and music.
Sheri Wells-Jensen is a linguist at BGSU who specializes in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She has worked as a language creator for Scholastic Books and writes about disability with special emphasis on blindness.
Look for her internationally published epic fantasy Western series, Children of the Drought (Solaris), and find her online at www.thetexfiles.com!
Abberley Sorg is a student in the Literature and Textual Studies MA program at BGSU. Prior to this, she attended the University of Toledo’s Sociology MA program. Her research interests include representation of disability in media and literature and societal perceptions of individuals with personality disorders.
(this workshop will be held on Friday, November 4th from 4:30-5:45pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select B8 when you register!)
“Let’s Deal With This Thing Called Family,” with Marissa Medley
Families can be a source of inspiration for writers. Whether good or bad emotions flow from these relationships, they can give us much to write about. Here we can take a look at how to write about families and explore why we do this as writers. We’ll also look at writers like Sylvia Plath and Rita Dove. And, of course, we’ll have some writing time to get our emotions on paper.
Marissa Medley is a senior at BGSU studying arts management and creative writing. She is the poetry editor of BGSU’s Prairie Margins. She enjoys playing steel drums and working at the local record store.
(this workshop will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 9:30-10:45am. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select C6 when you register!)
“Giving Snow White the Heimlich Maneuver and other Tales: Using Classic Tropes and Characters in Original Writing,” with Erika Schnepp
One of the strongest techniques a writer (of any genre) can employ is drawing on the common chords and tropes we as readers have seen since we were little: tropes like religious figures, characters from fairytales, and literary and pop culture figures who have managed to stand the test of time. Also increasingly popular is the updating of these characters for the modern era, introducing the figures and themes to new generations and even subverting outdated messages to better represent the lessons we want to pass down now versus generations ago. It is just as important that the stories are used in a fashion that increases a new theme and that the same story isn’t merely retold. This workshop will explore ways common tropes and characters are currently being updated and played with in prose and poetry, as well as methods to revitalize the tropes for your own work without being bogged down in their shared history.
E.B. Schnepp is a poet from rural Mid-Michigan who’s found herself in the flatlands of Ohio with an MFA from BGSU and a bad procrasti-baking habit. She is currently the Director of the Learning Center and Retention Coordinator at OSU Lima. Her work can also be found in Crab Fat, pacificREVIEW, and Paper Nautilus, among others.
(this workshop will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 9:30-10:45am. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select C7 when you register!)
“Do Tell: 100 Facts for Writing Sensory Details,” with Laurin Wolf
Thanks to William Carlos Williams, we know, “There are no ideas but in things.” Thanks to the glittering handbooks for writers, we know that concrete details are what make writing powerful. We know we need more grit and gusto in our details. But how do we get at those precious details? If your prosody engine needs a jump-start on the details, do tell. In this workshop, we will look at examples from poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that rely on objects to tell a narrative. The workshop culminates in a fact-finding exercise using random objects to generate narrative.
Laurin Wolf has an MFA from Kent State in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, PoetsArtists, Rune, Scholars & Rogues, PMS, and Two Review. She hosts the monthly reading series MadFridays and guest hosts the radio program Prosody on WESA. She teaches at Robert Morris University.
(this workshop will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 11:00-12:15pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select D7 when you register!)
“Collars, Capes, and Chantilly Lace: Learn to Describe Clothing,” with Anne-Marie Yerks
Clothing is the costume of life and creates identity. What are your characters wearing? Lend a layer of realism to your fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with precise descriptions of fabrics, seams, and shapes. We’ll go over a fashion vocabulary list then swatch out a sample of fashion-forward prose.
Anne-Marie Yerks is the author of a novel, Dream Junkies (New Rivers Press, 2016), and lives outside Detroit. She has work forthcoming in Modern Memoir (Fiction Attic Press) and in Juked. She is a blogger for Sewingmachinesplus.com and is working on a BA in fashion. Find her @amy1620 and at www.annemariewrites.com.
(this workshop will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 11:00-12:15pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select D8 when you register!)
“Making Details Matter,” with Christi Clancy, Alicia Holliday, Miette Muller, Lexi Schnitzer, and Alby Leonardi
A well-chosen detail has the power to reveal character, advance plot, convey social and economic status, and establish a sense of place. Think of the kielbasa and rosaries hanging from the car mirror in Stuart Dybek’s story “We Didn’t.”
This workshop will focus on some strategies I’ve employed to help writers make effective use of details, including classroom exercises and writing prompts. I also leverage the campus and surrounding community as fertile ground for quirky, surprising, and sometimes heartbreaking details. The trick is to move away from Google searches and out of our comfort zone; we are more likely to notice details when our senses are on alert in unfamiliar (but safe) spaces.
We’ll discuss activities like the “battle of the details” to architecture hunts, and field trips to quirky museums and strange auctions. We’ll engage the workshop in several short detail-writing exercises.
Christi Clancy teaches English at Beloit College. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and in Glimmer Train Stories, Hobart, Pleiades, Midwestern Gothic, the minnesota review and elsewhere.
Alicia Holliday, Miette Mueller, Lexi Schnitzer, and Alby Leonardi are all students at Beloit College.
(this workshop will be held on Saturday, November 5th from 3:00-4:15pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select F2 when you register!)