Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories – from those contained in her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies, to her most recent New Yorker story, “Casting Shadows,” are quietly transformational and manage to be both micro and macrocosms of modernity. Lahiri’s work offers a master class in fiction craft, and in this workshop, we’ll discuss what we can learn as writers from Lahiri’s technique. We’ll specifically look at Lahiri’s use of point of view to drive narrative in Lahiri’s stories “Hell-Heaven,” “Year’s End,” and “Casting Shadows,” and we’ll conclude with exercises for practicing the craft techniques we discuss. Reading Lahiri’s stories prior to the workshop is recommended but not required. For copies of the stories, email email@example.com
Book Length Considerations (a.k.a. Actually Thinking Through Your Book and Thus Save Supremely Important Things Such As Time, Energy, and Backaches from Typing)
Half-day workshop with Laura Pritchett
This half-day intensive class (limited capacity) is for those who are working on book-length projects—and need to think through structure, point of view, scope, arc, themes, and pacing of a longer work—as well as the psychology of wedding oneself to a long-term project. The class is appropriate for fiction and nonfiction, although be aware that some discussions will pertain more to one genre than the other. It is most helpful for those in the beginning or middle stages of writing a book (it does not focus on generating initial ideas, nor does it focus on final revision and submission) and is meant for writers who have been seriously engaged with their craft for some time.
If you can, please bring the first 3 pages of your work, a one-paragraph synopsis, and a rough 1 page outline—enough copies for everyone (approx 10 copies).
Included in Mountain Words Literary Festival Pass, or $75 single entry ($300 value).
At the Center.
Faith and Philosophy: The Deep Beliefs of Your Characters
Characters who want something and who have something at stake in a story are more interesting characters — but what if you need to know what a character believes, at the deepest level, before you can know what they really want and what they truly have at risk? In this seminar we will look at how to deepen our characters by forcing ourselves to explicitly examine and describe our characters’ beliefs in terms of the timeless questions of faith and philosophy, and to work through how those beliefs provide a foundation for the wants and stakes that will propel a story. Come prepared for in-class discussion and short writing exercises.
Nick Arvin’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Ploughshares, Electric Literature, Missouri Review, and elsewhere. His writing has been honored with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Library Association, the Isherwood Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his novel Articles of War was selected for the One Book, One Denver program. More on Nick
The Physical Stuff of Your Life (and how to use it to gain access to the emotional stuff); A Generative Workshop with Pam Houston.
In this generative workshop we will focus on all the ways the sensory details that surround us—the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures—can give us access to that much more elusive interior landscape we are always trying to access when we write. If we write those details all the way down to the bone. If we sit in the dark with them and let them distill up from the swamps of memory. We will focus on what I believe to be the real artistry of prose writing: the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup of our lived and witnessed experience and pull out what we need; the way we pick up hunks of the physical world and bring them back to the page, translated into language.
We will be aiming for work in which the language is always working in at least two ways at once, where metaphors dance between meanings like beads of water on a too hot grill. We will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of prose writing (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. We will all, no doubt, be humbled in the face of languages unlimited possibility as well as its limitation. At the same time we will honor (and hope for) the inexplicable flights of creativity (and madness?) that take a good story and make it great.
Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading The West Advocacy Award and even more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place coauthored with Amy Irvine. She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness as well as five other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and teaches at UC Davis and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers and the fiction editor at the Environmental Arts Journal Terrain.org.
Why has erotica been so popular throughout the last 400 years? What makes an erotic story compelling? How do you take your hottest fantasies and turn them into art that readers will devour? Brian Palmer’s erotica workshop explores structure and strategy in the art of erotica to help workshop-goers learn to tell a compelling, sexy story that will delight and titillate readers. Learn the four essential story beats to an erotic story, how to create tension that will keep readers hooked on the page and, for those hoping to publish erotic stories, how to find your audience by identifying the key marketing elements of any story. Students will leave the workshop ready to write their first stories and market them effectively to a target audience.
Brian Palmer is an independent author and ghostwriter who has written nearly 100 novels and over 30 short stories in the erotica, romance, fantasy, cozy mystery and domestic thriller genres. The only thing he loves more than writing for a living is teaching others to access their creativity and bring their stories to life.
In-person AND Virtual attendance possible.
Film uses space and lighting to evoke certain emotions. We will look at ways to make sentences and paragraphs function like how cameras zoom, pan, tilt, etc. We’ll consider what is in the visual frame — the composition of a scene. We’ll discuss high-key and low-key lighting and what effects those produce. We’ll also view a short video that summarizes camera angles, as well as read and examine passages with a filmic quality. Think of some of your favorite films and we’ll also discuss some of the techniques and try to transfer them to writing. At the Center.
Steven Dunn is the author of two novels from Tarpaulin Sky Press: Potted Meat (2016) and water & power (2018), and the chapbook Our Migrations (Business Bear Press, 2018 & 2019) Potted Meat was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, and shortlisted for Granta Magazine’s Best of Young American Novelists, and adapted to a short film by Foothills Productions. The Usual Route has played at L.A. International Film Festival, Houston International Film Festival, and others. He was born and raised in West Virginia and currently teaches at Regis University’s Mile High MFA. More on Steven
Join us for a very special virtual writing workshop with best-selling Scottish author, Alan Bissett. Learn how to ‘hook’ the reader from the start of a short story, pulling them in and keeping them there, and how to develop your story in such a way that it flows and is engaging. Structure is often overlooked in story writing, but it is crucial, and this fun and absorbing session will help you think a bit more about what your narrative needs to cast a spell over the reader.
Scholarships available. Contact Brooke for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
A timely virtual writing workshop for all level writers and genres. We are living through extraordinary times. How do we document what we are witnessing, feeling, experiencing, while honoring our strengths, frailties, and imaginations?
Mathangi Subramanian, Ed.D., believes stories have the power to change the world. Her middle grades book, Dear Mrs. Naidu, won the South Asia Book Award, and her picture book A Butterfly Smile was inducted into the Nobel Museum by Laureate Dr. Esther Duflo. Her novel A People’s History of Heaven was longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was named a finalist for the LAMBDA literary award and the Valley of Words prize. A former public school teacher, senior policy analyst at the New York City Council, and Fulbright Scholar, she currently consults for Sesame Workshop. She holds a doctorate in education from Columbia Teachers College.