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CHARLOTTE—For the first time ever, the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference will offer programming for writers of the stage and screen. As part of this effort to serve more writers, screenwriter Paula Martinac will lead the session "Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, and Screen."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Pre-registration is open through October 26.

Paula Martinac is a fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter. Her recent novel, The Ada Decades, was a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and her fiction debut, Out of Time, won a Lambda Literary Award. A fifth novel, Clio Rising, will be published by Bywater Books in May, 2019. Her short stories have appeared in Raleigh Review, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere, and her plays have been produced at festivals in Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington, DC. Her full-length screenplay, Foreign Affairs, placed second in the 2003 POWER UP Screenplay Award. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates at UNC Charlotte and is a writing coach with Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Paula to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Paula said:

"With my windfall, I’d start a publishing house devoted to fiction that’s both bite-sized—micro novels, flash novellas, tiny triptychs of stories—and pocket-sized. My inspiration comes from a friend who founded an indie press that publishes books of poetry so small you can slip them into your pocket or handbag. I absolutely love the size of them, the way they feel in your hands, how they look laid out next to each other in a book exhibit—inviting readers not just to buy one, but to 'take two, they’re small.' The press would also spotlight authors writing at the margins, exploring race, gender, class, or sexual identity in their prose. And then my first act would be to hire enough staff to carry out the vision, ensuring I’d have plenty of time to write!"

What issues and problems arise when playwrights, screenwriters, and fiction writers create characters whose race, sexual orientation, class, or gender differs from their own? Maybe you’ve been nervous about writing characters who represent the broad spectrum of society, or maybe your early attempts tripped you up. Research, imagination, and empathy go a long way toward making characters dynamic and authentic. In her workshop, Paula will discuss the possible pitfalls of writing diverse characters, explore tips for success, and try out writing exercises to help the process.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Paul Reali will lead the session "Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is open through October 26.

Paul Reali is a co-founder of Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc. (Charlotte Lit), a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the literary arts in the Charlotte area. He is the co-author of Creativity Rising, a why-to and how-to guide to finding creative solutions, with more than 10,000 copies in print; and is the co-editor of three volumes in the Big Questions in Creativity series from ICSC Press. His articles and essays have been published in more than a dozen publications, including the Winston-Salem Journal, InSpine Magazine, Lawyers Weekly, NC Entrepreneur, and Office Solutions. Among other honors, Paul was awarded First Place in the Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest and the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Short Fiction Contest. Paul has an MS in Creativity from SUNY Buffalo State. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Paul to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Paul said:

"With my fortune, I’d create 'Blinding Brilliance Books,' exclusively for works that are magnificent but for some reason—out of the mainstream, too complex too synopsize, not grabby enough in the first 100 words—agents and publishers are blinded to their merits. The work should be submitted with evidence of 100 industry rejections, along with three letters of praise from knowledgable beta readers who actually read and actually loved the work. "

Technology giveth and technology taketh away. When trying to find the right tools to support our writing, it seems we spend so much time choosing and learning—then changing and re-learning—that we can’t tell if we’re saving time or wasting it. You don’t have to suffer for your art, at least not where technology is concerned. In his session, "Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers," Paul will highlight the tools in his tech toolkit that, through extensive trial and error, he has found most useful. Among the topics: Scrivener vs. Microsoft Word (and the seven things that will make you go to Scrivener and never come back); online grammar and proofreading tools; how to back up and never lose your work (external drives, Dropbox, backup services, etc.); and other tools for the tool kit, such as dictation software, timers, and note-takers.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, award-winning essayist Cynthia Lewis will lead the nonfiction session "Get People Talking."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Pre-registration is open through October 26.

Cynthia Lewis is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Davidson College, where she has been teaching Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, and creative nonfiction since 1980. She has published numerous articles and two books on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the latest just out: “The game’s afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare. Her creative nonfiction ranges in focus from American culture to personal essays and has been published in such venues as The Hudson Review, New Letters, The Antioch Review, Southern Cultures, The Massachusetts Review, and Charlotte Magazine. Four of her essays have been cited as a “Notable Essay” in the Best American Essays series between 2006 and 2016. Her essay “Return Engagement: The Haunting of Hamlet and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” won Shenandoah’s Thomas Carter Essay Prize for 2016, and another essay, “Body Doubles,” was awarded the 2017 Meringoff Prize for nonfiction by the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Cynthia to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Cynthia said:

"For anyone who’s tired of reading that a publishing group is looking for work like the work they already publish, or for anyone who’s been told that a proposed book project just isn’t marketable, I’m founding a press that will, I hope, inspire you. It’s for books that are one-of-a-kind. My publication house, 'Sui Generis,' wants books so unpredictable but dead-on that readers will wonder why no one had thought of writing them before; books too delectably different not to prove sellable; books that each pave a new and stimulating path. Think Thomas More’s Utopia, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo. Think Joyce’s Dubliners, nine years in the pitching for a total of eighteen attempts with fifteen publishers. The principal criterion is quality—not quirkiness for its own sake, not experimentation that hasn’t quite panned out, not work in progress—but finished, polished, irresistible fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, as well combinations and variations thereof. I’m looking forward to reading your manuscript."

The title of Cynthia's class, "Get People Talking," is the first sentence in William Zinsser’s chapter on “Writing about People: The Interview” in his gem of a book On Writing Well. This class is indeed about interviewing, a craft that any writer of nonfiction will use at some point. Even a memoirist will need to consult others about the past and acquire factual information from other people. How do you ask for an interview? How do you conduct an interview? What are the ethical considerations a writer should take into account about interviewing? How about practical concerns—should you take notes or use a voice recorder? How do you “get people talking”?

Cynthia will begin the class by sharing some experiences, strategies, and recommendations she’s collected over many years of interviewing subjects for reported creative nonfiction. Then she’ll ask class members to share their experiences with interviewing and ask questions about their own work. Ideally, class members will read Zinsser’s chapter—which should be available in almost any public or school library—before the class meets. Each class member should also be able to refer to an example of interviewing that seems especially well done, as well as a weaker example and ideas about how it could be improved.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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