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GREENSBORO—As a fiction writer, you want to tell a good story. But how will the shape of that story influence—and be influenced by—the narrative?

What about the world you're trying to build? Does it lie there static like a cardboard cutout? Or is it a dynamic world filled with people or things that interact and exchange dialogue every now and then?

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, can help you settle these questions for yourself, and more.

Registration is now open.

Writers interested in fiction, or those who want to sample a broader selection of classes, may register for several offerings.

Krystal A. Smith, whose debut collection of speculative fiction Two Moons: A Collection of Short Fiction came out last year from BLF Press, will lead the session "Writing Speculative Fiction: World Building to Shape Story."

World building plays a major role in a speculative fiction story’s believability. Environment often motivates a character’s actions and attitudes. In this workshop, writers will practice world building techniques and create context for characters’ actions, thoughts, needs, and desires.

Kathryn Schwille, author of the novel, What Luck, This Life, which was selected by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of the best Southern books of 2018, will lead the session "The Art of Dialogue."

Talk is easy. Dialogue? That’s something else. In this class, participants will talk about what makes good dialogue--how to use it and when, what it can do and what it can’t. How can speech reveal character? How can it be planted in a garden that enriches it? Attendees will start with a short exercise, then look at the work of master story-tellers. In the meantime, eavesdrop on their fellow humans, and listen for the unsaid.

"Stepping Back from Your Writing" with Joseph Mills, whose poetry collection This Miraculous Turning was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family, invites participants to bring a draft in progress and plan to revise. In James Thurber’s “Many Moons,” a jeweler steps back from a creation and asks, “What is this thing I’ve made?” This is what wall writers need to do as we revise, but it can be difficult to get the necessary distance. In this workshop, participants will discuss ways to “defamiliarize themselves” with their writing so that they can see it more clearly, and they’ll consider several quick “down and dirty diagnostics” exercises that help a writer assess a piece of work in process.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the 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.

Register now.

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.

 

RALEIGH—NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in this year's Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Pam Van Dyk of Raleigh won first place for her essay, "ABC to XYZ." Van Dyk will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

Final judge Madge McKeithen said "ABC to XYZ" is “an emotionally and cognitively compelling recollection by a woman at mid-life of her Vietnam Veteran Dad's love of nature and the sustaining tapestry of identity she created for herself at his side."

Van Dyk is a senior editor at Regal House Publishing and enjoys working with both fiction and nonfiction authors on their way to publication. When it comes to her own writing, she adheres to the philosophy that one must learn how to write by reading. Thus, she spends a great deal of time adding books to her ever-growing "to read" list. A selection of her fiction has been anthologized by the Maine Review, Outrider Press, and Flying South.

Ashley Memory of Asheboro took second place with her essay, "Eulogy of a Northern Red Oak," which McKeithen described as "an ambitious and accomplished use of the second person perspective to keep the reader's focus and attention on one particular Oak Tree amid the whirl of other world and very local goings-on during its life span. As experiential as it is experimental, this essay echoes with long resonance a deep caring for the specifics of our natural world."

Memory lives in the Uwharrie Mountains of the Piedmont with her husband, the sculptor Johnpaul Harris, and "happily counts many red oaks as her neighbors." A former communications director at UNC, she now spends her days musing on metaphors and poking around abandoned cemeteries. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Thomas Wolfe Review, The News & Observer in Raleigh, Wildlife in North Carolina, Naugatuck River Review, and Romantic Homes, among others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is a two-time recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. Memory will receive a $300 prize check.

"Oh Brother, Where Are You?" by Barbara Furr took third place. "This essay is a decades-spanning sibling connection revealed through a personal essay written in spare prose. The narrator's voice is spunky and savvy and able to capture the essence of a lifetime's connection in a few scenes well told."

Furr was born in Northampton County, North Carolina, in 1927. She and her husband Curt have lived in the village of Corrales, New Mexico, for four decades, but Barbara says she "is a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’ll be a Tar Heel dead." She has published poetry and book reviews.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, 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.

Normally administered by the UNC-Wilmington creative writing department, Queens University of Charlotte’s MFA in Creative Writing program took over this year’s contest so that UNCW could concentrate on hurricane recovery.

Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for fifty-six years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the NC Press Women's top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists' Award.

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.

GREENSBORO—All writers have something of an investigative eye, perhaps none more so than poets who, with every line scrutinized, must unearth the most effective words and symbols to convey their artistic intent.

Poets do this, of course, through curiosity, by being unafraid to fail, and by using elements of the craft such as metaphor and point of view, all of which will be shared and discussed at the upcoming North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Registration is now open.

Amy Catanzano will lead the Master Class in Poetry "Investigative Poetics."

This Master Class will focus on what is known as “investigative poetics,” where writers innovatively and adventurously probe, explore, and research subjects of study that can bring their writing—and lived experiences—to new depths and rewards. Investigation begins with curiosity, ambition, and possibility. It is sustained by exploration, skill, and resources. We start with the notion that the artistic practice of poetry, when vital and inventive, happens within an “expanded field” situated beyond the homogenous, the ordinary, the obvious, and the habituated. As “field poets” (like “field journalists” who go into the field to do their reporting), we work with and alongside language to interface with this expanded field in the service of our writing and research. We will discuss effective strategies that will maximize our creative research efforts, develop personalized plans for conducting field work, and practice writing techniques that are designed to initiate and support our work. The curriculum will be suited to those who already have a subject of investigation in mind as well as to those interested in beginning a new project.

Poets also have the option of taking poetry courses a la carte.

Ashley Lumpkin, author of three chapbooks and a member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015, will lead the session "Metaphor and Memory in Poetry."

This course will explore personal narrative poetry and the techniques necessary to make an individual experience accessible to a universal audience. In particular, participants will discuss crafting an extended metaphor as the framework of a personal narrative.

In the afternoon session, Charlotte Matthews will lead "The Wonder of Falling." Charlotte's most recent book Whistle What Can’t Be Said (Unicorn Press, 2016) chronicles part of her experience with stage three breast cancer.

For poets, the act of writing embodies the act of falling by engendering a wider, albeit riskier, realm. How can we foster and celebrate the process? How can we preserve our spot in this riskier realm and still live, still engage, in the “real” world? This class will explore the notion of falling, of unmasking the placid exterior of our human selves to reveal a riotous core. It will include a guided look at several poems as well as a writing exercise, which will be shaped into a collaborative poem. Participants will experience first-hand the risker, fallen realm.

Finally, "Stepping Back from Your Writing" with Joseph Mills, whose poetry collection This Miraculous Turning was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family, invites participants to bring a draft in progress and plan to revise. In James Thurber’s “Many Moons,” a jeweler steps back from a creation and asks, “What is this thing I’ve made?” This is what wall writers need to do as we revise, but it can be difficult to get the necessary distance. In this workshop, participants will discuss ways to “defamiliarize themselves” with their writing so that they can see it more clearly, and they’ll consider several quick “down and dirty diagnostics” exercises that help a writer assess a piece of work in process.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the 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.

Register now.

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.

 

 
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