GREENSBORO—In most fiction, characters enter scenes, face conflict, and work toward the resolution of that conflict. There are as many approaches to this formula as there are writers in the world, but character and scene remain the twin engines of storytelling.
The North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 21, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Registration is now open.
Emerging fiction writers, or those who want to sample a broader selection of classes, may register for classes in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
Heather Bell Adams, whose debut novel Maranatha Road was published in 2017 by Vandalia Press, will lead the session "Essentials of Scene-Crafting (fiction)."
A good scene does a lot of heavy lifting by immersing the reader in the fictional world, introducing characters and their innermost concerns and propelling the story forward. What essentials should we keep in mind to ensure our scenes are as powerful as possible? In this workshop, attendees will look at scenes from novels or short stories to see what makes them successful. Then they'll engage in prompt-driven exercises to craft their own story-building blocks.
"Writing the Character You Know Best: The Strengths and Pitfalls of Autobiographical Fiction " will be led by David Halperin, author of Journal of a UFO Investigator: A Novel (Viking Press, 2011) and five nonfiction books on Jewish messianism and mysticism.
Beginning fiction writers often start out with stories that are fictionalized versions of experiences they’ve actually had. This can give your work a compelling solidity and authenticity; it also can impose shackles from which your writing needs to be freed. In this workshop, registrants will share about their experiences writing in this way, and explore strategies for keeping the strengths without the pitfalls.
Finally, "Cinematic Storytelling Techniques for All Writers" with Susan Emshwiller, a produced screenwriter and co-writer of the film Pollock, is sure to benefit any writer regardless of what genre he or she writes in.
Whether you write novels, short stories, memoirs, poems, or plays, the tools and tricks of screenwriting can enrich your storytelling dramatically. Conferencegoers will see film clips, do prompt writing, and learn tips on effective exposition, dialogue, theme, the power of reactions, creating mystery by withholding information, show-don’t-tell, how to hide setups for surprising payoffs, writing with “shot-sizes” to invigorate your work, and more.
Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the fourth annual Slush Pile Live! where poetry and prose will be read aloud in two rooms in front of panels of editors and publishers, who will raise their hands as soon as they hear something in the pieces that would make them stop reading if they came across the submission in a slush pile.
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 www.ncwriters.org.