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GREENSBORO, NC—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference offers fiction writers the chance to hone in on very specific aspects of the craft under the tutelage of three renowned authors. The Spring Conference will be held Saturday, April 13, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and offer workshops focused specifically on dialog, plot, and other foundational components of successful fiction.

Lee Zacharias will lead an all-day workshop titled "Animating Fiction." There are many elements to fiction, both short stories and novels—plot, character, point-of-view, and setting, to name a few—but perhaps none so important as character, which brings the fiction to life and drives the plot. This all-day workshop will center on characterization as we talk about ways to create plot, animate description, and discover the right point of view. The morning session will focus on discussion, the afternoon session on student writing and will include a prompt for generating new writing. Please also bring a short character description—no more than a couple of paragraphs—to share with the class. The description you bring may be from your own work or from a work you particularly admire and want to talk about.

Lynn York will lead a half-day fiction session in the morning. Titled "How to Write Dynamic Dialog," this workshop, which open to all levels of writers, will focus on the role of dialog in fiction writing. What should it do? What should it not do? Most important, how do you make it sound real—and make it do as much work as possible in your story or novel? In-class exercises will provide practical support and tools for writers to apply to their own in-progress and future work.

In the afternoon, John McNally will lead a workshop titled, "Plot: The Shape of Fiction." Have you ever had a good idea for a story but couldn't figure out how best to tell it? Have you written stories that fall flat because of the way you've plotted them? This purpose of this workshop is to refine the way you think about plot, to consider the ways it should function in stories and novels, and to expand your repertoire of plot's many shapes.

Lee Zacharias is the author of Helping Muriel Make It Through the Night (short stories); two novels, Lessons and At Random; and The World You Leave Behind, a volume of personal essays forthcoming from Hub City Press. Her work has appeared in The Best American Essays and numerous journals, including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, The Gettysburg Review, and The North Carolina Literary Review among others. A former fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, she is English Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she won the North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Outstanding Teaching Award, and was for a decade editor of The Greensboro Review.

Lynn York is the author of two novels: The Piano Teacher (Plume, 2004) and The Sweet Life (Plume, 2007), a Booksense Notable Book. She has taught workshops at Duke’s Osher Institute, the Duke Summer Writer’s Workshop, NC State University, and High Point University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the NC Arts Council and the NC Art Society and lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

John McNally is the author of three novels: After the Workshop, The Book of Ralph, and America’s Report Card; and two story collections, Troublemakers and Ghosts of Chicago. He is also author of two nonfiction books: The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide: Advice from an Unrepentant Novelist and Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction, both published the University of Iowa Press. He has edited, coedited, or guest edited seven anthologies. John’s work has appeared in over a hundred publications, including the Washington Post, The Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, and Virginia Quarterly Review. As a screenwriter, he has a script in development with the producer of Winter’s Bone. He’s an Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University and on the Core Faculty of Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program.

For more information, or to register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, visit www.ncwriters.org or call 336-293-8844.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development.

 

Jennifer BringleNORTH CAROLINA—Greensboro writer Jennifer Bringle won top honors in the 2013 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition for her essay “Mamaw’s House.”

Author Shawna Kenney, the judge of this year’s contest, said, “This was the winner from the very first sentence to the very last. This writer's personal essay is a heartfelt ode to the hoarding of all that is handwritten, told in a subtle southern voice the world would do well to hear more from.”

Bringle’s has written for The Washington Post, Southern Living, and Our State, among other publications. She also is a regular contributor at The News & Record of Greensboro and The News & Observer of Raleigh.

“I'm originally from Salisbury and grew up reading Rose Post's columns, so to win a competition bearing her name means so much to me,” Bringle said.

Jane Andrews of Raleigh won second place for her essay “Where the Heart Is.” Andrews is a North Carolina native and graduate of North Carolina State University whose work has appeared in Main Street Rag, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Southern Arts Journal, Raleigh Review, and other publications. Kenney said of Andrews’ entry, “This personal-yet-universal story shows the sibling bond through the prism of gem-like sentences.”

Helen Aitken of Swansboro won third place for her essay “The Last Wooden Boat,” which Kenney described as “a journalistic piece that feels as important to the endangered arts of boat building as it is to the state of North Carolina.”

Shawna Kenney authored the award-winning memoir I Was a Teenage Dominatrix, which enjoys international translation and a development deal with the FX network. She also wrote Imposters, a book about celebrity impersonators. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Florida Review, Juxtapoz, Ms., and Bust Magazine, among others.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and administered by the creative writing department at UNC Wilmington, the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. The contest is open to any legal resident of North Carolina or member of the NC Writers’ Network. First-, second-, and third-place winners receive $300, $200, and $100, respectively, and the winning entry is considered for publication in the magazine Southern Cultures.

 

GREENSBORO, NC—What do a multi-genre, serial award winner; a former Piedmont Laureate; and the creative nonfiction editor for storySouth have in common? All three will be leading creative nonfiction workshops at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 13, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Judy Goldman will lead an all-day workshop titled "Writing Personal Essays and Memoir: Transforming Memories into Narrative." In this workshop (geared to both beginning and advanced writers), you’ll learn how to transform your experiences and memories into a narrative readers are interested in. For those of you who want to begin, but the way in seems shadowy, you'll discuss how to embark: what to put in your essay or memoir, what to leave out, where to start, how to shape the story. For those of you already immersed in the writing, Judy will encourage you to push all the way to the end of a first draft, no matter how awkward it feels. For those of you who’ve completed essays or a memoir, you'll discuss how to read your pages analytically and diagnostically, how to fix problems so that the writing is as good as you can make it and your story holds together.

Former Piedmont Laureate Scott Huler will lead a half-day creative nonfiction session in the morning. Titled "Nonfiction in a Stupid Golden Age," Huler's workshop will range widely over the territory and address topics such as:

  • the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and how to be absolutely sure you're on solid ground;
  • how to connect so that you have at least a chance at scraping together something like a living in the explosively growing world of nonfiction storytelling; and
  • how to conquer writer's block once and for all (hint: you will not like the method).

 

In the afternoon, Cynthia Nearman will lead a workshop titled, "Creating Images with Nonfiction." This workshop is designed to engage and invigorate participants’ approaches to the smallest yet most essential elements of nonfiction storytelling: sensory images and concrete details, objects and actions. First, you’ll look briefly at vivid scenes from recently published essays, paying careful attention to the connection between concrete details and characters’ desires, and between descriptions of actions and objects and larger meanings or ideas. The main focus will be on what it means to "think from within images" as we generate and revise your own nonfiction prose. You’ll practice strategies for discovering and selecting images that do "double duty"—i.e., concrete detail and sensory information that works organically to create living, moving pictures resonant with meaning.

Judy Goldman has published two novels, two books of poetry, and a memoir, Losing My Sister. Her work has won the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award, Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, Gerald Cable Poetry Prize, Roanoke-Chowan Prize, Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize, and Oscar Arnold Young Prize. She received the Hobson Prize For Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for Outstanding Generosity to Other Writers and the Larger Community, and the Beverly D. Clark Author Award from Queens University. An excerpt from Losing My Sister appeared in Real Simple magazine and Drafthorse, an online journal. She has written book reviews for The Washington Post and The Charlotte Observer, and craft articles for The Writer. Her commentaries have aired on public radio in Charlotte and Chapel Hill.

Scott Huler is a nonfiction generalist who has written everything from newspaper and magazine stories to books, produced radio pieces and essays, and produced video work for a wide variety of on- and offline enterprises. He has written for newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Daily News, and the Raleigh News & Observer, and for magazines such as ESPN the Magazine, Backpacker, Our State, and Walter. His radio work has been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and Day to Day, and on Marketplace and The Splendid Table on American Public Media. The most recent of his six books was On the Grid, about the infrastructure that makes our modern lives possible, published in 2010. He also has served as Piedmont Laureate for the Triangle and surrounding areas.

Cynthia Nearman teaches in the English Department and the Writing Program at Guilford College in Greensboro. Since 2009, she’s served as creative nonfiction editor for storySouth. She writes flash nonfiction, cultural commentary (rants, really), and experiments with lyric essays.

For more information, or to register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, visit www.ncwriters.org or call 336-293-8844.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development.

 

 
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