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Drew PerryGREENSBORO, NC—Warp, weave. Thieve and lie. Hearts that beat—and break. Fiction is action, and a good story demands a writer's best verbs. Need proof? Just check out the titles of the fiction course offerings at the upcoming North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 12, at UNCG. 

Nancy Peacock, author of the novel The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson, will lead the Two-Part Fiction Workshop. The title? "The Warp and Wave of Fiction."

Two-part workshops meet twice during the conference, once during Workshop Session I (in the morning) and again for Workshop Session II (in the afternoon). Peacock, whose first novel Life Without Water was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, says about her course:

Writing good fiction is not the same as laying a brick wall: first the characterization brick, then the setting brick, then the action brick. Instead, all the elements (character, plot, setting, action, structure, description, emotion, and more) must work together to form the tapestry of storytelling. In this class we will examine successful storytelling through reading and commenting on students' work and the work of published writers, as well as through class exercises.

In addition Drew Perry will lead a fiction workshop titled "Thieves & Liars: How We Build the World."

Nancy PeacockThis workshop will address something critical to the crafting of stories and novels: When and how to steal from the world around us (hint: early and often), and when to make things up (another hint: when the story demands it). Registrants will talk about how things like landscape, humor, oddity, and stray detail are often the most important ways of entering into a piece of work—and keeping it alive in draft after draft after draft. Another way of thinking about this: attendees will talk about how to use their own strange obsessions most productively in their writing. So someone really loves, say, tractors. Or tigers. And they keep appearing on the page. Registrants will find ways to make that feel less weird, and more like they're working.

Perry is the author of two novels: This Is Just Exactly Like You, which was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and an Atlanta Journal Best of the Year pick for 2010, and Kids These Days, just published by Algonquin Books. He teaches writing at Elon University and holds an MFA from the writing program at UNC-Greensboro.

In the afternoon session, Kim Church will lead a fiction workshop titled "The Beating, Breaking Hearts of Fictional Characters." Church's debut novel, Byrd (Dzanc Books, March 2014), is the fragmented family history of a child secretly given up for adoption.

Kim ChurchThe heart of fiction is character; but what is the heart of a fictional character? How is it revealed to the writer, and how does the writer express it? This workshop, for fiction writers at all levels, will focus on how to create characters that are unique, lively, and memorable—characters we might like to spend time with after the workshop is over. To prepare for this session, registrants should think of a memorable event from their own life—something that touched or scared or excited or confused or changed or defined them in some small way. Something they don’t mind sharing with others, a moment they’d like to put in a time capsule. Attendees should not write about it beforehand, but come with an idea. And paper and pen.

Registration is now open. 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. For additional information, visit

Jonathan FarmerGREENSBORO, NC—“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly,” said Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in his 1913-1914 collected lectures, On the Art of Writing, “and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

The first cut is the kindest cut—as are the second and third (and fourth). That's the theme of this year’s Two-Part Creative Nonfiction Workshop at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference, led by Jonathan Farmer, titled “The Kindest Cut: Writing Energetic Nonfiction.” Registration is now open.

Two-part workshops meet twice during the conference, once during Workshop Session I (in the morning) and again for Workshop Session II (in the afternoon). Farmer, Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor of At Length magazine and the poetry critic for Slate, describes his course as follows:

When we’re working from reality, the need to say what happened puts a lot of pressure on our style. In this workshop, we’ll experiment with cutting a surprising number of words from our own and each other’s writing in order to uncover some of the possibilities we’ve already woven into our prose. We’ll also look at examples of efficient nonfiction writing for models of the ways we can answer the pressure to say everything with language that carries the weight and vitality of our reckoning. All participants should bring at least five copies of a double-spaced excerpt from a nonfiction project—ideally one that you’re currently working on—that’s between 500 and 750 words long. (It’s fine if it cuts off suddenly.)

In addition, Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan will lead a workshop titled “Writing from Experience.”

Steve MitchellWriting is more than something that happens in our heads. Every element of our selves has a voice we might use. How do we engage this wealth of experience in our writing? This workshop will use short exercises and prompts to open up the question. This workshop will be great for those interested in creative nonfiction—but also for fiction writers and poets as well.

Carol RoanSteve Mitchell is the Pushcart-Prize nominated author of the short-story collection, The Naming of Ghosts (Press 53). Award-winning writer Carol Roan’s most recent books are Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer (Press 53) and When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over 50 (Holy Cow! Press).

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference will be held Saturday, April 12, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 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. For additional information, visit


Russ HatlerNORTH CAROLINA—Welcome to the new website of the North Carolina Writers’ Network! Things are grouped a little differently now than they were on our old site, so here are a few tips to help you get oriented:

At the top of the page is a menu bar. If you’re looking for any information about the Network, including contact info, it’s under “About Us.”

If you’re looking for information about conferences, competitions, or hunting for our events calendar, that’s under “Programs and Services.”

Hats Off!, Book Buzz, and other sections that showcase our members are under “Our Members.”

And if you’re a member of NCWN, you can sign in and then access the “Members Only” section, which includes “Opportunities” and contacts for “Literary Agents and Editors.” But you must be a current member, and you must sign in, to access this section.

Below the menu bar are graphics which link to our White Cross School Blog, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and one of our current contests, the 2014 Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

A bit farther down the right-hand side of the page is a menu of links. In redesigning our site, we decided there are other organizations who keep much better databases of things like funding opportunities, literary magazines, and publishers than we ever could. So most of these menu items link to trustworthy, outside sites. Enjoy!

Another major change is that, in order to submit your news to Hats Off! or Book Buzz, or submit an event for an inclusion in our events calendar, there’s no longer any need to e-mail us. Simply click on the link(s) provided, fill out the appropriate form, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Can’t find something? See a typo? Something not working right? E-mail Charles Fiore, Communications Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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