WRITING WORKSHOPS

SATURDAY MORNING WRITING WORKSHOP CHOICES

 Please choose ONE workshop for Saturday morning. You will attend the same workshop on Saturday morning for the duration of this academic year

1. Exploring Fiction with Mary Kay Zuravleff

This workshop encourages you to actively develop your insights and intuition to identify the psychological underpinnings of good story telling. Participants will bring one complete short story to the session, with word count to be determined by enrollment. Each writer will read aloud, and the group, led by the workshop leader—will honor achievements and offer compassionate feedback, including specific suggestions for revision. The psychological insights gained will be applied to your future revisions. The leader will facilitate and demonstrate group dynamics to provide a creative and supportive work group. Limited to 7 students.

 Mary Kay Zuravleff has published three novels. She has taught writing at Johns Hopkins, American University, and George Mason University. www.mkzuravleff.com

 2. Generating a Written Legacy with Jeanne Lemkau, Ph.D., MFA

Would you like to leave a written legacy for your children or grandchildren: words of wisdom, clarification, encouragement, advice, and/or personal story? Midlife and beyond can be a stretch of tremendous generativity in which we actively gift and nurture future generations and those persons most important to us; writing is one means to do so. In this workshop, we will explore writing for the audience of those people most important in our family lives. Who better deserves our best writing efforts?

We will explore various forms of creating legacy through writing, using writing prompts and structured exercises to clarify our motivations, provoke our thinking and generate personal writing. There will be emphasis on writing vividly and directly and on balancing emotional honesty with reflection and care. Throughout, we will consider the complex psychological issues related to speaking our truths and creating personal writing. Participants will be expected to work on related writing projects across the year and to bring writing to the second and third weekends for sharing. The group will be closed after the first meeting in order to protect group continuity and confidentiality.

3.  Free Write: Discovering What We Know with Sally Steenland, M.Ed.

Through writing, “self-knowledge is brought to light,” says Kafka. This process–of discovering what we know–is one of writing’s great challenges and joys. Workshop participants will select, among a variety of topics and devices, one that prompts them to write a short exercise. After writing, participants will share their exercise with the group. Some questions we might discuss: What in the piece is vivid and memorable? What is buried or latent? Writers might also want to share why they chose their topic-and they might want to build on the piece later, turning a nugget of insight, discovery or memory into a more fully formed work.

4. Book Writers’ Workshop with Sara Mansfield Taber, MSW, Ed.D.

A great book may be an accident, but a good one is a possibility, and it is thinking of that that one writes.  -James Salter

This workshop is designed for those working on longer creative nonfiction writing projects, such as memoir, personal essay collections, travel, and literary journalism.  During each session of this small group, we will focus on one particular aspect of book construction, for instance: openings, voice, narrative arc, scenes, balance of scene, summary, & musing, characterization, use of concrete detail, etc.  The instructor will supply examples of the type of writing at hand and participants will have a chance to share excerpts from their own writing for response from the group.  Participants will also have an opportunity to discuss the struggles and issues particular to book-writers: channeling the obsession, overcoming self-imposed restrictions, getting over the hump at about page 100, finding the strength to persevere… This class will be small so that all participants may have a chance to share their work and have their concerns addressed.

  1. Shaping an Idea/ Moving Forward with Michaele Weissman

This group will help writers shape their ideas into workable book-writing projects and it will help nurture these projects during the many phases of book-writing, from conception to (at long last) publication.  Writers working in all genres (clinical/professional, memoir, non-fiction, literary nonfiction and fiction) are invited to take part.

This workshop will focus on the process of book writing as well as the writing itself. All those who are immersed in a subject and have begun to write about it with the idea — even if the idea is not fully formed — of writing a book are welcomed to participate.

The first meeting will explore the question of framing: how do you frame an idea broadly enough to encompass rich material, but narrowly enough that the writer is not overwhelmed and defeated? Participants are asked to prepare a short (one page or less) description of the idea they hope to germinate into a book.

During each subsequent session the group will consider particular questions related to book construction. How, for example, does the writer use research without being buried by it? How does one create a compelling narrative arc, no matter the genre? What is the impact of the writer’s psychological relationship to her/his material?

Participants will have an opportunity to discuss the struggles particular to undertaking long writing projects. The focus, however, will be on moving forward. This class will be small so that all participants may have a chance to share their work, air their concerns and explore their process.

6. Alive Clinical Writing with  Elizabeth Thomas, Ph.D., and Bob Winer M.D.

 Clinical writing in our journals tends to lack liveliness and immediacy – the patient and the author, and their interaction, don’t come to life for us, being buried either in generalized description, abstractness, or cliché. In this workshop we will study some examples of what we consider good clinical writing to discover what makes them work. And, we will also look at brief clinical vignettes (500 word maximum length) which the students will bring to each session. Limited to six students.