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Nonfiction [clear filter]
Friday, April 3
 

9:00am EDT

1B: Perfecting Page One
Limited Capacity full

You know the great opening lines: Ishmael, Manderley, the last camel. Why do those work? And how can you create one for your own novel? How can you set the proper expectations for the story to come, and make every word work? How do you avoid info dumps, dreaded exposition and book-killing backstory? How do you create a first page that will entice editors and enchant readers? (If they don't love the first one, they'll never get to the second one.)

In this class, suitable for any genre, we will dissect and analyze acclaimed first lines and opening paragraphs, and reveal the writing secrets these brilliant examples offer. If you are brave enough, please bring your own first line! Hank and the class will offer advice and guidance—to set you and your book off in the right direction.


Speakers
avatar for Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Author, THE MURDER LIST
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV. She's won 36 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. The nationally bestselling author of 11 mysteries, Ryan's also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

9:00am EDT

1D: Creating Graphic Novels, Memoirs, and Comics
Limited Capacity seats available

Have you ever thought about creating a graphic novel or memoir, but don’t know where to start? Never fear, citizen! In this lecture we’ll explore visual storytelling techniques from American Comics, Japanese Manga, and Franco-Belgian comics. Attendees will learn the principles of short-form comic creation and how to develop these ideas into a full length graphic novel. Writers will learn how to write visually and work with artists.

Speakers
avatar for Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh

Literary Agent, Ayesha Pande Literary
Anjali Singh is an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary. Before becoming an agent, she worked as an editor at Vintage Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster and as Editorial Director at Other Press. She is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis after... Read More →
avatar for Tito James

Tito James

Author, CROSSBONE JONES
Tito W. James is a self-made comic creator with a background in video game art and animation. His travels across the globe and the doors of perception informed his multi-cultural comic book aesthetic and psychedelic philosophy. Whether he’s telling people’s fortunes in speakeasy... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

1F: Imagining the Gap: How to Write a Story When the Story Runs Out
Limited Capacity filling up

Have you ever wanted to uncover the story behind your family's silences and secrets? Ever longed to fill holes in overheard rumors and cryptic tales? As creative nonfiction writers, autobiographical novelists, and gossip lovers of all kinds, what do we do when we try to tell a story but the story runs out? And what do we do when the gap becomes so large that it forces us to question our genre choices?

Two writers of personal narrative whose work uses imagined scenes and fictionalized moments to address "gaps" in history will discuss how to turn what might, at first glance, seem like a limitation into a source of possibility. We'll provide specific examples from authors like Loung Ung, Justin St. Germain, Jesmyn Ward, and Helen Fremont, and we'll also provide specific tips and take-home prompts for advancing narratives while engaging daringly with the complex boundaries of genre.

Speakers
avatar for Caitlin McGill

Caitlin McGill

Nonfiction Writer
Caitlin McGill’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, The Chattahoochee Review, Crab Orchard Review, Consequence, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Southeast Review, Vox, War, Literature, & the Arts, and several other magazines. Her writing has been supported by the... Read More →
avatar for Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (Flatiron Books), which received a Lambda Literary Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE, and the Prix France Inter-JDD, an award for one book of any genre in the world. Named... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

1G: Bottling the Muse: The Not-So-Impossible Task of Writing on Command
Limited Capacity seats available

Many writers have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. They help us push through murky drafts and make difficult choices, and prompt us to write when we may not feel like it. But what happens when the deadline is set, the contracts are signed, the topic is set, and the Muse-- that great breath of inspiration-- is nowhere to be found? Whether you're under contract, short on time, or simply need to get that idea from your head to the page, this session will have something for you.

In this guided writing session, we will write to prompts and discuss techniques for getting your project off and running, even in the face of a painfully blank page or blinking cursor. We will disprove the existence of writer's block and help impart the confidence to slay that upcoming deadline.

Speakers
avatar for Emily Franklin

Emily Franklin

Author, LAST NIGHT AT THE CIRCLE CINEMA
Emily Franklin is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the London Sunday Times, The Cincinnati Review, The Rumpus, and DIAGRAM among other places as well as featured and read aloud... Read More →
avatar for Maria Pinto

Maria Pinto

Fiction Writer
Maria Pinto is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared or will appear in Frigg, Necessary Fiction, The Butter, Word Riot, and Dostoevsky Wannabe Cities: Boston. She studied Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University, where her work was awarded... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

1J: But How Do I Begin? Taking the First Steps to Writing a Book
Limited Capacity seats available

Description coming!

Speakers
avatar for Cherise Fisher

Cherise Fisher

Literary Agent, Wendy Sherman Associates
Cherise Fisher began her career in publishing as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Dell Publishing a month after graduating from Yale University. Over the course of her twenty-five year career as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and the Editor in Chief of Plume (an imprint... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

1K: Self-Translation: Writing from a Non-English Perspective
Limited Capacity seats available

Conveying a non-English world, piece of dialogue, and or a sentiment through English for the sake of a majority English readership is something writers have wrestled with in numerous ways. Choices in how we present languages besides English-- whether in dialogue, description, and more-- can vary from deliberately removing any contextual "clues," offering just enough explanation to English readers, or to suspend disbelief and suggest that all English dialogue is, in fact, being spoken in another language. 

The cultural, socio-economic, and racial implications of these various choices determine who a book is meant for, who has access to what information, and to recreate or reverse a linguistic exclusion that many non-English speakers encounter in contemporary and canonical works of fiction and non-fiction. Come for a thoughtful discussion, examples of how other authors have tackled this problem, and your own questions and ideas. This session is particularly useful for attendees who are writing in a non-English language (or who want to).

Speakers
avatar for Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi

Author, THE RUMI PRESCRIPTION: HOW AN ANCIENT MYSTIC POET CHANGED MY MODERN MANIC LIFE
Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American Muslim writer, activist, attorney, and award-winning author. A United Nations Global Expert and an Opinion Leader for the British Council’s Our Shared Future initiative, she is a visiting professor of creative nonfiction at the University of... Read More →
avatar for Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Author, CHILDREN OF THE LAND
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize (BOA editions 2018), winner of the 2019 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award in poetry, The Foreword Indies bronze prize, The Golden Poppy Award from N.C.B.I.A, and a finalist for... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

1L: Building & Layering Tension
Limited Capacity full

If there's no tension in your story, then there's really no story. But how do you create and build and sustain tension? In this class for committed prose writers, we will explore the many different ways to add and build tension in your work. We'll look at various examples of masters in the art of creating tension and we'll practice with in-class exercises the different ways you can tighten the screws for your characters and your readers, too.

Speakers
avatar for Manuel Gonzales

Manuel Gonzales

Author, THE REGIONAL OFFICE IS UNDER ATTACK!
Manuel Gonzales is the author of the collection, The Miniature Wife and other stories, for which he received the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, and the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack!, for which he received an Alex Award from the YALSA. His work has been published... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

2B: Forming and Publishing an Essay Collection
Limited Capacity seats available

The road to publishing an essay collection does not have to be a confusing process. In this workshop we will discuss how to polish single essays for journal submission, shop for journals that are a good fit for your work, and what nonfiction editors look for in submissions. We will then transition to strategies for compiling loose essays into a cohesive collection, including tips for writing between the "gaps" of your pieces, how to use key words as thematic anchors, and overall tips for structuring a strong collection.

Speakers
avatar for Artress Bethany White

Artress Bethany White

Author, SURVIVOR'S GUILT: ESSAYS ON RACE AND AMERICAN IDENTITY
Artress Bethany White is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. She is the recipient of the 2018 Trio Award for her poetry collection, My Afmerica (Trio House Press, 2019). Her collection of essays, Survivor’s Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity is forthcoming from New Rivers... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

2C: Writing the Climate Crisis
Limited Capacity seats available

In recent years climate change has risen to the forefront of human concerns. And yet, as David Wallace-Wells points out in his recent book, The Uninhabitable Earth, the dilemmas and dramas of our global environmental crisis are often mismatched to the kinds of stories we tell ourselves.  Can we address it in ways that are realistic and accessible, yet still leave space for hope and resiliency? How do writers address ecological catastrophe while still telling human stories of love, fear, grief, and longing that engage readers? This class will consider excerpts from authors such as Octavia Butler, Richard Powers, Cormac McCarthy, and Omar El Akkad, with the ultimate goal of helping participants formulate tools and strategies to address the changing planetary environment in their own work.

Speakers
avatar for Tim Weed

Tim Weed

Author, A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
Tim Weed’s short fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, made the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Shortlist, and his novel, Will Poole’s Island, was named to Bank Street College of Education’s list of the Best Books of the Year. Tim is the winner of... Read More →
avatar for Julie Carrick Dalton

Julie Carrick Dalton

Author, WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG
Julie Carrick Dalton's debut novel Waiting for the Night Song is forthcoming from Tor/Forge Macmillan in January 2021. Her second novel, The Last Beekeeper, comes out in 2022. Owner of a 100-acre farm in rural New Hampshire, Julie is passionate about the representation of climate... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

2F: From Personal History to Social History: How to Get Beyond the ME in Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

Every writer of memoir and personal essay is at some point dogged with the question: who cares? As creative nonfiction writers, we can see beyond this question by locating socio-historical stories within our personal narratives, uncovering tales that are about much more than the individual narrator.

In this session, we’ll offer tips and techniques for identifying larger themes in your work, including how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to incorporate reporting techniques (such as interviews, historical research, and old advertisements and commercials) without losing your engaging personal voice. We’ll also provide examples from authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nick Flynn, and Jesmyn Ward, examining how personal narratives are often inseparable from larger histories, communities, and movements. You’ll leave with several examples and take-home writing exercises that will jump-start your efforts to expand the scope of your nonfiction narratives.

Speakers
avatar for Alysia Abbott

Alysia Abbott

Author, FAIRYLAND, A MEMOIR OF MY FATHER
Alysia Abbott’s memoir, Fairyland, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and was named Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Shelf Awareness. It’s been translated into Polish, Spanish, Italian, and French and has been awarded the ALA Stonewall Award and the... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

2G: It’s All in the Details
Limited Capacity filling up

How do we write fiction and creative non-fiction that makes our readers feel love, hope, dread, sadness, and the whole range of emotion embodied in our work? While pacing, setting, and structure all come into the play, one of the most powerful (and often overlooked) techniques for any writer is the use of specific and significant details. But too much detail can backfire, and too little can take the reader out of the "dream." 

In this session, we will learn how to use details effectively so our readers share our characters’ emotional worlds. We’ll look at how specificity, filtering, and use of the active voice can build meaning for the reader. We’ll discuss examples from R.O. Kwon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Toni Morrison and end with a short writing exercise that will help us apply what we’ve learned.

Speakers
avatar for Marjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali

Author, THE STATIONERY SHOP
Marjan Kamali was born in Turkey to Iranian parents and spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran and the United States. She is the author of the novels The Stationery Shop (Gallery/Simon&Schuster), which was an Indie Next Pick, one of Newsweek’s Best Summer Books, and... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

2K: Intuitive Timing: Using Patterns of Music for Strong Narrative Structure
Limited Capacity seats available

Try this: calculate the two-thirds mark in a piece of music and listen to see what happens at that point in time. Chances are, things become more complicated, denser. Melodies and patterns likely come to a sort of climax at right around that point in the music. Music isn't the only art form that often adheres to a structure of thirds. Some of the oldest narrative forms--fairy tales and folk tales--do too, and they've loaned their structure to many classic forms of narrative that follow.

In this session, we'll listen to short pieces by composers as wide-ranging as Wagner, Thomas Newman, Coltrane, and Beyoncé, among others, to hear how music tells its stories in three parts. You'll learn how to borrow from elements like the leitmotif, the coda, the refrain, to build stronger narrative structures for your novels, short fiction, and essays.

Speakers
avatar for Henriette Lazaridis

Henriette Lazaridis

Author, THE CLOVER HOUSE
Henriette Lazaridis is the author of the Boston Globe best-selling novel The Clover House. Her work has appeared in publications including ELLE, Narrative Magazine, Salamander, New England Review, The Millions, The New York Times online, and elsewhere, and has earned her a Massachusetts... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3B: The Conversation Without Answers: Writing Better Dialogue
Limited Capacity full

Dialogue is a convenient way to provide exposition and advance plot. But when writers concentrate only on these aims, the dialogue they write barely resembles the way people really talk. In this session, we’ll focus on how conversations -- with their interruptions, non sequiturs and misunderstandings -- can be used to characterize speakers and bring their relationships to the next level. We’ll look at transcripts from real conversations, as well as excerpts from published fiction that will include “Tomi” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine and “Our Lady of Peace” by ZZ Packer, among others. And we’ll use a series of writing prompts to try out techniques right in class.

Speakers
avatar for K Chess

K Chess

Author, FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED
K Chess is the author of Famous Men Who Never Lived (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, Tor.com and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3G: Place as Character: Bringing the World to Life on the Page
Limited Capacity full

The places where we love and die, the homes we inherit and adopt, the library, the corner store, the basketball court, the city block and the small town meeting hall--the writer neglects the importance of such locations at her peril. When a piece of writing doesn't seem to be happening anywhere, we sense something's amiss, but when it takes full advantage of place, we find ourselves settling into the story's narrative, ready to be transported there.

In this directed writing session, attendees will explore strategies for fully fleshing out the "where" of the matter. In a series of short exercises, attendees will thoroughly imagine and map out their pieces' setting so that the characters they create will have a proper place to live, whether that's the treehouse in the banyan or the city in the sky

Speakers
avatar for Maria Pinto

Maria Pinto

Fiction Writer
Maria Pinto is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared or will appear in Frigg, Necessary Fiction, The Butter, Word Riot, and Dostoevsky Wannabe Cities: Boston. She studied Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University, where her work was awarded... Read More →
avatar for Paloma Valenzuela

Paloma Valenzuela

Director, Producer, & Writer, THE PINEAPPLE DIARIES
Paloma Valenzuela is a Dominican-American writer, director and actress originally from the city of Boston. She is the creative director of the production operation La Gringa Loca Productions based in Boston and the Dominican Republic. Paloma has worked on several Dominican productions... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3J: When the Protagonist is You: Using Novelists' Techniques for Your Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

Fiction writers spend a lot of time developing their protagonist, creating conflict for them, and moving them through a propulsive plot. But what if you're writing a memoir, and the protagonist is you? What craft techniques can memoirists learn from novelists?

In this class, we'll discuss how to apply the craft elements commonly associated with fiction-- including character development, narrative arc, structure, plot, and more-- to our memoirs-in-progress. Before the author Reyna Grande embarked on her memoir-writing journey, she first wrote two novels, and learned how the two genres can learn from one another. She'll share tricks from fiction that she used to write her memoirs, The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home, which will come in handy as you become the protagonist of your story.

Speakers
avatar for Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande

Keynote Speaker, A DREAM CALLED HOME
Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us, (Atria, 2012) where she writes about her life before and after she arrived in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home (Atria... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

3K: Nonfiction Idea Clinic
Limited Capacity seats available

In this session, the moderator (an established writer) will offer a brief preamble of the art of the non-fiction idea. Then, you will get two minutes to share your own idea for a non-fiction book for the audience, the moderator, and a panel of experts. The experts are agents, editors and publicists with years of experience working with non-fiction writers to turn their book proposals into reality and to promote them in the marketplace. After you read your idea (preferably from a text you have prepared and brought with you!), the agents and editors will ask you follow-up questions and troubleshoot your idea. You will discuss issues of platform, expertise, the viability of the idea itself, and other elements of the non-fiction market.

Please note that presenters will be chosen at random from names submitted in a hat at the start of the session. Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that your name will be called. This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your idea and illuminate the process a writer goes through when she is developing an idea with an agent and/or editor. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Though most people will be reading ideas for full-length books, you may also read an idea for a feature story or article to assess its viability with the panel of experts.

Speakers
avatar for Jessica Papin

Jessica Papin

Literary Agent, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Jessica Papin first joined DG&B in 2003, after spending eight years as an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central). In 2004, she moved to Egypt, where she spent three years working for the American University in Cairo Press. Upon her return to the United States, she rejoined DG&B... Read More →
avatar for Linda K. Wertheimer

Linda K. Wertheimer

Author, Faith Ed.
Linda K. Wertheimer, a veteran journalist and a Grub Street instructor, is the author of Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance, published by Beacon Press in August 2015. Faith Ed, which grew out of a nonfiction proposal she wrote in a Finding Your Book course... Read More →
avatar for Jonah Straus

Jonah Straus

Literary Agent, Straus Literary
Jonah Straus is founder of Straus Literary, a boutique literary agency based in San Francisco with an office in New York. He specializes in literary fiction, journalism, history, narrative nonfiction, and the culinary arts.Jonah got his start in publishing in the warehouse of Atrium... Read More →
avatar for Annie Hwang

Annie Hwang

Literary Agency, Ayesha Pande Literary
Before joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Annie began her career at Folio Literary Management where she had the pleasure of working with debut and seasoned authors alike. As a former journalist, Annie possesses a keen editorial eye which she brings to her approach to agenting, taking... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

3:30pm EDT

4C: Writing Sentences that Sing
Limited Capacity filling up

What are captivating sentences, and how do we write them? How can we borrow from music and poetry to produce vivid, arresting prose that activates the imagination and delights our inner ear? In this session, we’ll explore concrete strategies for crafting musical sentences in fiction and non-fiction. We’ll look closely at how to harness rhythm, meter, assonance, consonance, alliteration, internal rhyme, and other techniques to deepen meaning and create unforgettable prose that readers will love. You'll have a chance to try out these techniques in your own writing, and we'll discuss examples from contemporary authors such as Justin Torres, Sonya Larson, and Jesmyn Ward. Together, we'll work toward a collective understanding of what makes great sentences sing.

Speakers
avatar for Colwill Brown

Colwill Brown

Fiction Writer
Colwill Brown is an instructor and manuscript consultant at GrubStreet, an associate editor at Bat City Review, and an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the recipient of the Wellspring House Emerging Writer Fellowship, the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize, and... Read More →
avatar for Jonathan Escoffery

Jonathan Escoffery

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Jonathan Escoffery’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review, AGNI, Pleiades, Salt Hill, The Caribbean Writer, Creative Nonfiction, Solstice Literary Magazine, Pangyrus, and elsewhere. His most recent honors include a Distinguished Story citation in The Best American Short Stories... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4D: Negotiating Time in Memoir and Novels
Limited Capacity full

In books, as in life, timing is everything. How do we deliver a story in the right order? How should a book unfold? In memoir and fiction, linear chronology can be boring, but if we play around with the sequence of events too much, the reader may feel confused or disconcerted. 

In this session, we will think about structure and how to organize a story's timing for maximum impact. Specifically, we look at how to incorporate backstory. Too much of it up front and you risk losing the reader; too little, and your story may lack depth. We will examine how to raise the stakes so that flashbacks feel necessary and urgent. We will also explore when in time a story should begin. We'll consider techniques and strategies to manipulate the reader's experience of time, with an eye towards how these affect pacing and voice.

Speakers
avatar for Maya Lang

Maya Lang

Author, WHAT WE CARRY
Maya Shanbhag Lang is the author of What We Carry: A Memoir, forthcoming from Random House in April 2020, and The Sixteenth of June: A Novel. Her novel was featured in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and In Style, was a Finalist for the 2015 Audie Awards for best... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4F: The Oversight Draft: From Manuscript to Publishable Draft
Limited Capacity filling up

What keeps a finished manuscript from being accepted for publication, or from catching a judge's eye or attention, or from being read all the way to the end? How do you know when your manuscript is truly done? From flat plots to false dialogue. thin and under researched scenes, we will discuss the most common mistakes that keep a finished manuscript from being ready for publication and then offer suggestions about how to address these issues in an "oversight" draft.

Speakers
avatar for Amina Gautier

Amina Gautier

Author, THE LOSS OF ALL LOST THINGS
Amina Gautier, Ph.D., is the author of three award-winning short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy and The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award, The First Horizon Award, and the Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction Award. Now We Will Be... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4H: A Tale of Two Narrative Modes: Linear vs. Atmospheric Storytelling
Limited Capacity full

Are you someone who relies on drama to push your stories or essays forward? Or do you prefer to "feel" your way into a narrative by creating a distinctive atmosphere?

This session will consider two different "modes" of storytelling and explore the strengths and challenges of each. We’ll examine excerpts from two highly accomplished authors: international bestseller Elena Ferrante (translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein) and Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano (translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti, among others). While Ferrante often uses events and plot points to drive her narratives, Modiano's atmospheric novels lure the reader toward a truth or mystery that is ultimately elusive.

Through discussion, Q&A, and, as time allows, writing prompts, we’ll consider the effects of these different narrative approaches. You’ll leave with tools to discover compelling forms for your own project.

Speakers
avatar for Shuchi Saraswat

Shuchi Saraswat

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Shuchi Saraswat's work has appeared in Ecotone, Tin House online, Literary Hub, Women’s Review of Books, and Quick Fiction. Her essay "The Journey Home" received a special mention in Pushcart XLII 2018 and is anthologized in Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place... Read More →
avatar for Stacy Mattingly

Stacy Mattingly

Author, UNLIKELY ANGEL
Stacy Mattingly is coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Unlikely Angel. Her work has appeared in the Oxford American, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, EuropeNow, and elsewhere. In 2012, she launched the Sarajevo Writers' Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina and later helped lead the... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4I: Addressing Race and Racial Identity as Writers and Readers
Limited Capacity seats available

In our race-conscious society, white people are asked, often reluctantly, to define themselves as racial beings, a process to which people of color have been socialized since birth. Racial identity is the psychological connection we have with our race; its resolution process occurs for everyone, regardless of one’s identified race.

As writers, how might our characters, arguments, and storylines reflect any conscious and unconscious racial bias that we hold? As readers, how might our racial identities affect how we resonate with, review and recommend books, short stories, essays and poetry?

In this engaged conversation, two writer-psychologists explore with participants how to challenge and reframe dominant narratives about race, how to sharpen our perceptions of the impact of our racial identity on our writing, and how to read with greater racial consciousness. Using our collective wisdom, we will work toward a more enlightened understanding of race and racial identity in writing.

Speakers
avatar for Molly Howes

Molly Howes

Author, A GOOD APOLOGY
Molly Howes is a graduate of both the first Memoir Incubator and the only Nonfiction Career Lab, two of GrubStreet’s yearlong, intensive programs.Her work has appeared in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, Boston Globe Magazine, WBUR “Cognoscenti” column, NPR Morning... Read More →
avatar for Deborah Plummer

Deborah Plummer

Chief Diversity Officer, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care
Deborah L. Plummer, PhD is a psychologist, university professor, diversity thought leader, author, and speaker on topics central to racial equality, inclusion, and mutual respect.Her groundbreaking and timely book, Some of My Friends Are…The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Benefits... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

4J: Show Me the Money: The (Surprisingly Lucrative) World of Freelance Writing
Limited Capacity full

"Writing?" your relatives ask you, a look of pity in their eyes. "Can you really make enough money to get by?"

You can do a whole lot more than that.

While much of the current discussion around freelance writing centers on stagnant word-rates and shrinking editorial budgets at major magazines, the happy truth is that a talented and hard-working writer can earn an income well into the six figures. The trick is to look beyond the newsstand and search out lucrative, unadvertised opportunities in high-demand sectors like technology, business, healthcare, and even the nonprofit world. Organizations in these fields often have an insatiable demand for new content, along with the sorts of budgets that -- for a disciplined writer -- can result in thousands of dollars of work per week.

This session will cover how to identify, seek out, and create new opportunities, as well as how to quickly build up expertise in areas of high demand.

Speakers
avatar for Calvin Hennick

Calvin Hennick

Author, ONCE MORE TO THE RODEO
Calvin Hennick's debut memoir, Once More to the Rodeo received the Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award. His essays, fiction, and journalism have appeared in dozens of publications, including Yahoo Parenting, Parent & Child, Esquire, Runner's World, Bellevue Literary Review, and The... Read More →


Friday April 3, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor
 
Saturday, April 4
 

9:00am EDT

5A: Different Worlds and Different Bodies: the Disabled Figure in Literature
Limited Capacity seats available

From Tiny Tim to the Seven Dwarves, disability in literature all too often falls into ableist tropes that continue to perpetuate disabled exclusion. 

How, then, do we look to expand disability representation in literature? How can we work toward representing the vast richness of disability experience on the page in thoughtful, inclusive ways?

Join writer Amanda Leduc on a part-history adventure, part-brainstorming discussion, all-round fabulous discussion class on how to increase disability representation in your work in ways that centre and respect the disabled experience.

Speakers
avatar for Amanda Leduc

Amanda Leduc

Author, DISFIGURED: ON FAIRY TALES, DISABILITY, AND MAKING SPACE
Amanda Leduc is a disabled author with cerebral palsy whose essays and stories have appeared in publications across Canada and the US. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews, UK. Her first novel, The Miracles of Ordinary Men, was published... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

5D: When Revision Becomes Re-Envisioning
Limited Capacity full

Revision is the most essential—and for many, the most difficult—aspect of the writing process. Ideally, revision should open up new directions that allow you to re-envision your entire project, but after investing so much energy in the first draft, it can be hard to see new possibilities.

Through lecture and lively exercises, we will explore a variety of revision strategies meant to help you see the possibilities ready to burst from your latest draft. Whether you approach your manuscript spatially, visually, musically, or one word at a time, you'll find new ways to energize your writing.

Speakers
avatar for Brendan Mathews

Brendan Mathews

Author, THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG
Brendan Mathews is the author of the short story collection This is Not a Love Song and the novel The World of Tomorrow, both published by Little, Brown. The World of Tomorrow was chosen as an Honor Book by the Massachusetts Book Awards, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

9:00am EDT

5F: Getting Read, Noticed, and Understood on Sensitive Topics in Impossibly Polarized Times
Limited Capacity seats available

Learn to take the heat and take charge when taking a stand on hot-button issues, like politics, culture, gender, and race. This skill is more important than ever in today's polarized climate. Silence is a temptation, but not an option. Mary C. Curtis, award-winning journalist, columnist and essayist, will share how to add your voice - and change the narrative - to the never-ending debate on issues that matter, while keeping your sanity and the worst of the critics at bay, and offer tips on how to craft writing that is marketable to a variety of publishing outlets, no matter their particular persuasion. Yes, there are ways that may not get readers or editors to agree, but may lead them to grudging respect. Bring an idea and be prepared to explain it, defend it, and get readers to care. Walk away with a one-page sheet of never miss writing essentials.

Speakers
avatar for Mary C. Curtis

Mary C. Curtis

Columnist, Roll Call
Mary C. Curtis, a columnist at Roll Call, is an award-winning journalist and educator based in Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C. She has contributed to NBC News, NPR, The Washington Post, CNN, The Root, ESPN's The Undefeated and talks politics on WCCB-TV in Charlotte. Curtis... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6B: Narrative Unbound: Experimental Structures in Essays and Stories
Limited Capacity seats available

Are you struggling to tell a story in a traditional narrative structure? Sometimes it’s not you-- it’s the form that’s got you down. See how a more experimental form can illuminate the story you’re trying to tell, and how leaving your comfort zone can bust open your writing style. 

We’ll explore several approaches to narrative structure for both short stories and essays, such as collage and fragmentation, borrowed forms, and associative structures, and see how writers have used them in surprising and moving ways. We’ll provide guidelines to help you work with these structures on your own, as well as a writing prompt to get you started. You’ll come out of this session with new ways to approach narrative writing.

Speakers
avatar for Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean

Author, WE MIGHT AS WELL LIGHT SOMETHING ON FIRE
Ron MacLean teaches writing at GrubStreet. His short fiction has been anthologized, and has appeared widely in magazines including GQ, Narrative, Fiction International, Night Train, Other Voices, Drunken Boat, Best Online Fiction 2010, and elsewhere. He is author most recently of... Read More →
avatar for Sari Boren

Sari Boren

Playwright, TO REST
Sari Boren is an essayist and playwright who has published in Copper Nickel, Lilith Magazine, The Southeast Review, Alimentum, Hobart, and Pangyrus, among others. She teaches creative nonfiction at GrubStreet and co-manages Boston’s Four Stories reading series. In 2019 she was... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6D: Your Nonfiction Book Proposal: Key Questions to Answer
Limited Capacity seats available

You may have been told that a nonfiction book proposal is a marketing tool, and it is. But it is also a narrative about why your book should be published. To tell this story, you will need to answer important questions: Why are you telling this story? Why is this book important now? Who is your ideal reader? What books do your readers already love and why?

In this session, we’ll talk about how the answers to these question will help you craft every section of a proposal so that it is more compelling. These answers can even help you sharpen the focus of your book and create the outline of chapters. We will look at excerpts from successful proposals and discuss how the writers answered these questions to build their proposals.

Speakers
avatar for Michelle Seaton

Michelle Seaton

Author, CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review, Sycamore Review, and The Pushcart Anthology among others. Her journalism and essays have appeared in Robb Report, Bostonia, Yankee Magazine, The Pinch and Lake Effect. Her essay, “How to Work a Locker... Read More →
avatar for Paul Levine

Paul Levine

Literary Agent, Paul S. Levine Literary Agency
Paul S. Levine “wears two hats”–he is a lawyer and a literary agent.Mr. Levine has practiced entertainment law for over 38 years, specializing in the representation of writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6E: To Whom Are You Telling Your Tale? Race & the Question of Readership
Limited Capacity seats available

In some writing workshops, writers are told not to worry about their audience, but to focus on their craft. And yet, in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness & the Literary Imagination, Toni Morrison exposes issues of race that underlie the question, To whom are you telling your tale? “For reasons that should not need explanation here, until very recently, and regardless of the race of the author, the readers of virtually all of American fiction have been positioned as white,” Morrison writes. The implication here is that white writers don’t think about readers of color; in contrast, writers of color are aware their work will be read and judged by white readers even if some, as Morrison did, feel they are writing primarily to their community.

How are writers to navigate the question of readership in America’s rapidly shifting demographics? Can or should one write for a specific audience? How are these questions related to four fundamental questions of any narration, either in fiction or nonfiction: Who is the narrator? To whom is the narrator telling their tale? When is the narrator telling their tale? Why is the narrator telling their tale? This session explores aesthetic choices that often go unexamined to help writers discover how considering their intended reader can be liberating, rather than restrictive. For writers of color, this may entail a deeper freedom to own their own voice and material; for white writers, this may mean expanding their vision and material.

Speakers
avatar for David Mura

David Mura

Author, A STRANGER'S JOURNEY: RACE, IDENTITY & NARRATIVE CRAFT IN WRITING
David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, and playwright. His newest book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing.A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

6H: Stealth Description
Limited Capacity filling up

We’ve all had the experience of reading a book or story and finding ourselves skimming—perhaps even skipping—a stagnant paragraph of scene-setting description. Yet there are ways to describe actively, to incorporate exposition organically, even to set a scene without “describing” at all. This seminar will present effective, original, and artful approaches to “stealth description”: keeping the reader engaged and the story moving forward without drawing undue attention to the act of describing. 

We’ll learn how to put descriptions to work in ways that serve multiple story elements at once, while addressing common pitfalls (the unincorporated block of prose; the flashy detail that calls too much attention to itself; generic depictions of the familiar). This is a combined lecture-discussion, so bring a pen and paper for note-taking and exercises.

Speakers
avatar for Daphne Kalotay

Daphne Kalotay

Author, BLUE HOURS
Daphne Kalotay’s books include the bestselling novels Sight Reading and Russian Winter—winners of the 2014 New England Society Book Award and the 2011 Writers’ League of Texas Fiction Award, respectively—and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories, shortlisted for... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6I: The Rhythm and Structure of Memoir
Limited Capacity filling up

The most engaging memoirs move seamlessly from specific moments to general significance and back again, striking an artful balance between scene, summary and exposition, while serving a larger narrative arc. In this session, we’ll look at excerpts from published memoirs to discover and discuss how authors manage to pull off this feat. Along the way we’ll explore topics including narrative distance, dialogue, transitions, and finding the shape of your memoir. Texts will include When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, The Suicide Index by Joan Wickersham and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

Speakers
avatar for Jane Roper

Jane Roper

Author, DOUBLE TIME
Jane Roper is the author of a memoir, Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins, and a novel, Eden Lake. Her short stories, essays and humor have appeared in Salon, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Cognoscenti, Post... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor
  Block 6

1:45pm EDT

7A: From Research to Narrative
Limited Capacity seats available

Incorporating research into fiction. The variety of sources, interviews, texts, source documents, maps, etc. How these aspects lead to ideas for characters, settings etc. What are the constraints, the creative possibilities. How to "modernize" the historical to appeal to current readers.

Speakers
avatar for Jeffrey Colvin

Jeffrey Colvin

Author, AFRICAVILLE
Jeffrey Colvin was born and raised in Alabama. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Harvard University, and Columbia University, where he received an MFA in fiction. His writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Hot Metal Bridge, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rain Taxi... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7C: Structure, Risk, and Meaning in Memoir
Limited Capacity full

What drives the writer of personal narrative is often an impulse to speak where there has been silence. Early drafts may be guided by intuition, a gravitational pull towards what lies unresolved. And yet sooner or later, the work requires structure. Far from being strictly architecture, structure is a means to learn more about what possibilities lie hidden in the stories of our lives. This session will address the process of finding a structure that isn’t merely an organizing principle, but rather calls forth theme and stakes, and how considering structure can help the writer crack through to deeper, riskier layers of meaning. Several recently published memoirs will be discussed, and participants will leave with strategies and exercises to help them deepen and re-energize their own work. Our aim will be experimentation and discovery.

Speakers
avatar for Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Author, THE FACT OF A BODY
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (Flatiron Books), which received a Lambda Literary Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE, and the Prix France Inter-JDD, an award for one book of any genre in the world. Named... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor
  Block 7, Lecture

1:45pm EDT

7E: Reclaiming Our Narrative: How Black Women Writers Showcase Versatility Through Storytelling
Limited Capacity seats available

It's no secret that in 2019, Black women are still plagued with stereotypes that rob us of our humanity. These tropes have permeated every crevice of popular culture and are so routine, they have become normalized. We are consistently portrayed or viewed as sexually insatiable, ardently pliant or irrationally angry. With Black women noticeably invisible in white American literature and the publishing world, how can we employ storytelling to fully capture our narrative?

In this session, led by writers Candace McDuffie and Ashley-Rose Salomon, we will discuss how steeping our works in our identity not only peels back the layers of our marginalization but allows us to have a seat at the table for a meal that was never meant for us. We will discuss how embracing our identities in the publishing world has led to success, and how maintaining self-care is vital for a healthy and abundant career as a writer.

Speakers
avatar for Candace McDuffie

Candace McDuffie

Nonfiction Writer
Candace McDuffie is a dedicated journalist and teacher who holds a Master's Degree in Education specializing in Critical and Creative Thinking from the University at Massachusetts Boston. She is a monthly contributor for the Under 30 Section at Forbes. Her work has also been featured... Read More →
avatar for Ashley-Rose Salomon

Ashley-Rose Salomon

Poet
Ashley-Rose is an award winning Haitian-American educator, organizer, actress and award-winning poet from Boston, MA. She was honored by Mayor Marty Walsh with the OneIn3 Impact Award for being one of the most influential people under age 35 in Boston and in 2016 she was awarded Boston’s... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7F: Approaching Race as a White Writer
Limited Capacity filling up

How can white writers address their own racial subjectivity, and that of others, in ways that are artistically meaningful and challenging? We'll talk about questions of appropriation and representation, approaches to research and inquiry, and ways to introduce anti-racist conversations in literary spaces.

Speakers
avatar for Jess Row

Jess Row

Author, WHITE FLIGHTS
Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine, two collections of short stories, The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost, and a book of essays, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7H: Writing Evil: How to Harness Lethal Characters in Stories of Tragedy and Trauma
Limited Capacity seats available

How do we tell stories about heinous crimes committed at the hands of our protagonists and antagonists in a way that’s palatable for readers? How can we prevent glorification of horrific actions? Why should villains get intimate page time? And how can writers manage sensitive subjects without succumbing to heavy dread during the creative process?

We’ll explore these questions as well as the power of complex characterization and necessary storytelling through selected readings. Our discussion will be followed by thoughtful writing strategies to help us navigate and meaningfully develop problematic characters.

Speakers
avatar for Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah

Author, THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FACE
Sahar Mustafah is author of The Beauty of Your Face (W.W. Norton, 2020), her first novel, and Code of the West, a short story collection and winner of the 2016 Willow Books Fiction Award. Her stories have earned a Distinguished Story citation from Best American Short Stories 2016... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7J: How I Wrote This: Discussion of THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS with Esmé Weijun Wang
Limited Capacity seats available

We’re thrilled to welcome author Esmé Weijun Wang as our Muse 2020 Fellow in Non-Fiction, for her singular essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Wang's book is lauded as "an intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness...Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the 'collected schizophrenias' but to those who wish to understand it as well."

Join Wang for an intimate discussion about her construction of The Collected Schizophrenias, her writing process, and more.

This event is free & open to the public. Pre-reading the collection is recommended, but not required.

Speakers
avatar for Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé Weijun Wang

Muse 2020 Fellow in Nonfiction, THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS
Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the New York Times-bestselling essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias (2019), for which she won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

1:45pm EDT

7K: First Page Clinic
Limited Capacity full

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this session, four seasoned authors -- who, among them, have published over twenty-five books of fiction and non-fiction -- will offer on-the-spot concrete advice on the first page of your novel, short story, memoir, or personal essay. First pages will be chosen randomly and read aloud by a volunteer.

Over the course of the hour, each author will also read an published first page (possibly one of his/her own) and discuss what makes it work, and/or the decisions they made to get it to its final form.

Please bring FIVE COPIES of THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. STAPLE the copies together into a packet. You will leave the packet in a box at the front of the room, and it will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

Speakers
avatar for Mameve Medwed

Mameve Medwed

Author, OF MEN AND THEIR MOTHERS
Mameve Medwed--Bangor, Maine's other writer--is the author of five novels, Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life, Of Men and Their Mothers. Her short stories, essays, book reviews have appeared in, among others, The New York Times, The... Read More →
avatar for Sebastian Stuart

Sebastian Stuart

Author, THE MENTOR
Sebastian Stuart's novels include: The Mentor, a Book of the Month Club selection; The Hour Between, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award and an NPR Season's Reading selection; and To the Manor Dead. He has co-written a national bestseller published in 8 languages, 24-Karat Kids; and... Read More →
avatar for Rishi Reddi

Rishi Reddi

Author, PASSAGE WEST
Rishi Reddi is the author of the forthcoming novel Passage West, scheduled for release in April 2020. Set in California’s Imperial Valley at the onset of WWI, it tells the tale of Punjabi sharecroppers, their Mexican relatives, Japanese neighbors, and Anglo friends at a time of... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

1:45pm EDT

7M: The Revisionist: Utilizing Your Inner Editor as a Writer
Limited Capacity seats available

The biggest step to finishing is revising and, for many writers, this can be the hardest threshold to cross. When receiving feedback, processing feedback, and finding ways to fill plot holes or alter moments for greater impact how do we as writers implement these updates on the page? And how does our inner editor (critic) zero in on those points to smooth out the wrinkles? 

In this workshop, participants will compare early versions to final versions of fiction & nonfiction to see what's been added/removed, discuss different methods to tackle new drafts, and do on-site revisions of their own with time left over for feedback to compare the before & after based on discussion. The opening icebreaker will have the group write a short scene together and close with us revising it together.

Speakers
avatar for Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker

Contributing Editor, Electric Literature
Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship & a Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant for Nonfiction Literature. Her essay "What... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
St. James Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8A: When Science is Your Main Character
Limited Capacity seats available

In an increasingly science-suspicious world, many writers are wanting to incorporate scientific material into their fiction. But doing so presents some unique challenges.

In this session, we'll discuss approaches to writing fiction about science. How-- in a fictional world-- might we adhere to scientific fact? How can we make science central to our novels' conditions and conflict? How can we make the science work in the plot, without seeming like dull exposition? How might the progress of our characters' research-- or its dead-ends and failures-- drive change? We'll examine excerpts from writers such as Ursula K. LeGuin, Delia Owens, Gregory Benford, Mary Doria Russell, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver, to discover the choices they've made in diction, exposition, and science-as-plot-point. This session will be especially useful for anyone writing about characters who are scientists or researchers.

Speakers
avatar for John Farrell

John Farrell

Author, THE CLOCK AND THE CAMSHAFT, AND OTHER MEDIEVAL INVENTIONS WE STILL CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
John W Farrell is a writer and producer working in Boston. He is the author of The Day Without Yesterday: Lemaître, Einstein, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology from Basic Books, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group. A graduate of Harvard College with a B.A. in English and American... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Author, TALKING TO SNAKES
Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a writer, educator, and eco-grower.​She is the author of Mud Woman, a collaborative chapbook with Joanna Penn Cooper (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). Her creative work has been published in Two Hawks Quarterly, The Cerurove, Lycan Valley Press Publications, Figroot... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8B: Productive Revision: How to Stop Perfecting Your Paragraphs and Think About the Story
Limited Capacity full

Often writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction, long or short, get bogged down in the revision process. Sometimes the problem is polishing too soon or, exasperated and wanting to be done, making desperate "fixes," when what’s needed are ways to re-see what's there in order to develop and structure the material. This workshop will offer strategies for finding opportunities in a messy draft, understanding habits that can limit you, tackling what you’re afraid of, and using your writing time well. We’ll discuss ways to evaluate drafts, looking at scenic development, presentation of characters, timeline, pace, and measurable change to help you find your way on the path to constructing complete and satisfying stories.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Editor, MAKING GOOD TIME
Lynne Barrett's latest book is the new nonfiction anthology Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do (and Don’t) Get Around in South Florida. Her story collection Magpies received the Florida Book Awards fiction gold medal, and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

3:30pm EDT

8C: Writing the Extremely Personal: Sex, Health, Family
Limited Capacity filling up

What does it mean to write the extremely personal? How do you navigate the inclusion and publication of deeply personal details in your fictional or nonfictional work? In this lecture, two writers for The Atlantic and The New York Times' "Modern Love" discuss how to navigate the writing process when your work includes deeply personal details about yourself or others -- sex, family, health, romance, etc., How do we approach the writing process, and what public and private considerations should we keep in mind during and after the publication process? What are the advantages and disadvantages of plumbing your own life for artistic truth? How does the personal differ in fiction and nonfiction, if at all?

Speakers
avatar for Courtney Sender

Courtney Sender

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Courtney Sender’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Tin House, and others. Her nonfiction appears in The New York Times “Modern Love,” The Atlantic, and The Lily at Washington... Read More →
avatar for Christine Gross-Loh

Christine Gross-Loh

Author, THE PATH: WHAT CHINESE PHILOSOPHERS CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE GOOD LIFE
Christine Gross-Loh is a journalist and author. Her most recent book is The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, coauthored with Professor Michael Puett. The Path, an international bestseller, has been published in nearly 30 countries. She is also the... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor
  Block 8, Lecture

3:30pm EDT

8F: How to Create an Irresistible Narrator
Limited Capacity seats available

Many a short story, novel, and memoir have gone unpublished because the author fails to create a strong narrator, one who can act as a wise and entertaining guide to the reader. In this class, we'll examine the work of Didion, Salinger, Austen and others -- and try an in-class exercise -- in an effort to make sure your next narrator isn't just strong, but irresistible.

Speakers
avatar for Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Author, WILLIAM STONER AND THE BATTLE FOR THE INNER LIFE
Steve Almond is the author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, the Best American... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Statler Room - Mezzanine Level

3:30pm EDT

8I: Joke’s on You: The Serious Work Of Using Humor in Your Writing
Limited Capacity seats available

Do you enjoy reading humorous writing but wonder how to make your own work funnier? Sadly, it's impossible, since being funny is a natural gift that only a few magical people are born with. Kidding—it's actually a simple craft issue. One that writers can work to improve just like any other. In this class we'll study the building blocks of humor and examples from masters in fiction and nonfiction, identifying their techniques and learning to incorporate them into our own writing without making it too "jokey." We'll also examine works of pure "humor writing" like The New Yorker's "Shouts & Murmurs" or McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

We'll also discuss humor as a craft issue with real-world stakes. While few writers get called out online when their plot or setting doesn’t work, failed humor can elicit unintended backlash. So we'll consider humor not as a whimsical, throw-stuff-at-the-wall-and-hope-it-sticks element of story, but as a powerful craft tool that writers must utilize with both skill and consideration.

Speakers
avatar for Stephen Macone

Stephen Macone

Nonfiction Writer
Steve Macone is a former headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing, and reporting have also appeared in the American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic, New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, Morning News, VICE and Salon. He's been featured on NPR and Longreads, received... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

3:30pm EDT

8K: Lessons from the Essay & Memoir Incubators
Limited Capacity seats available

The GrubStreet Essay and Memoir Incubator programs have helped dozens of students turn their drafts into excellent nonfiction pieces. Join Ethan Gilsdorf and Alysia Abbott-- instructors of these rigorous programs-- for the most important craft lessons and revision tactics for taking a nonfiction piece from its earliest exploratory draft to its final form. From creating an effective narrative persona to the art of establishing your central question or investigation, crafting scene, narrative summary and reflection, to understanding the kinds and forms of essays and book-length memoirs, this seminar offers a practical overview of what your nonfiction project needs in order to reach its full potential.

Speakers
avatar for Alysia Abbott

Alysia Abbott

Author, FAIRYLAND, A MEMOIR OF MY FATHER
Alysia Abbott’s memoir, Fairyland, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and was named Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Shelf Awareness. It’s been translated into Polish, Spanish, Italian, and French and has been awarded the ALA Stonewall Award and the... Read More →
avatar for Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf

Author, FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS
Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd. He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms... Read More →


Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30pm - 4:45pm EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor
 
Sunday, April 5
 

10:15am EDT

9D: Hero of Another Story: the Antagonist that Drives the Story Forward
Limited Capacity seats available

The best stories have antagonists who, in another book, are the heroes of their own story. While your main character should be the only one to whom the story can happen, a multi-faceted person blocking your protagonist from their goals drives the plot forward and creates compelling, gripping fiction. With exercises and discussion, this workshop will help you get to know your antagonist, how they oppose your protagonist, and how to be as invested in them as you are in your main character.  

Speakers
avatar for Anne Gaughen

Anne Gaughen

Author, REIGN THE EARTH
A. C. Gaughen is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart) and the Elementae series (Reign the Earth, Imprison the Sky). She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

9E: Scene CPR
Limited Capacity seats available

The writer Sandra Scofield describes a “pulse” – that spark that makes the story come alive – as a vital element to all scenes. But what is a “pulse,” and how can a writer ensure each scene has one? How can we write in such a way that our characters come to life, that a scene breathes emotion and urgency, while moving the plot forward and keeping tension taut?

Using published examples and exercises, we will look at the scene both as a discrete unit with its own internal dynamics, and in terms of its function in the plot of a novel or memoir. You will come away from this class with a checklist to help you determine whether a given scene in your manuscript passes the pulse test – and if not, how to bring it to life.

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Borders

Lisa Borders

Author, THE FIFTY-FIRST STATE
Lisa Borders’ second novel, The Fifty-First State, was published by Engine Books in 2013. Her first novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award, and received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9G: Writing Transgender Characters
Limited Capacity seats available

With demand for transgender and non-binary narratives on the rise, more cisgender (non-trans/NB) people are adding trans and NB characters to their stories. But what can you do to make sure you’re providing accurate representation? In this session, we will explore the "Three E’s" of wanting to write a trans/NB character (empathy, education, and empowerment), the best craft approaches for each, and their potential pitfalls. We’ll also go over inappropriate reasons to write a trans/NB narrative, general do’s and don’ts, and an overview of the experiences most often used incorrectly in stories.

Speakers
avatar for Milo Todd

Milo Todd

Fiction Writer
Milo Todd writes trans historical fiction based on people and events that have often been distorted, erased, or cis-washed. He’s presented at Muse and the Marketplace and the Boston Book Festival, is an instructor at GrubStreet, and an alum of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator Program... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9H: Don't Just Try to Please Me: On Incorporating Editorial Feedback (Or Not)
Limited Capacity seats available

After months (and often years) of toil, blood and tears, the writer finally shares the work. This triumphant moment inevitably tilts toward anxiety. What has been an intimate conversation between the mind and the computer screen is now opened up to others: a professional editor, literary agent, or perhaps fellow writers in a writing group. The vulnerability often causes authors to surrender to the (over)eagerness to please those responding to their work. This might result in writer's block/paralysis, finished work that feels choppy, or a manuscript that is disconnected from the writer's original imagination.

This discussion will offer the best practices for a writer on how to thoughtfully incorporate suggestions from others, effectively push back on feedback that is off base, and distinguish between a resistant ego and a true creative impulse.

Speakers
avatar for Cherise Fisher

Cherise Fisher

Literary Agent, Wendy Sherman Associates
Cherise Fisher began her career in publishing as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Dell Publishing a month after graduating from Yale University. Over the course of her twenty-five year career as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and the Editor in Chief of Plume (an imprint... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9I: Essentials of Voice
Limited Capacity seats available

Voice is arguably the storyteller’s most powerful tool. Voice, after all, is what tells the story. Voice is integrally tied to atmosphere, tension, mood. Voice helps make characters come to life and off the page.

This workshop will help us develop this most essential device for characterization and plot. Combining close readings with writing prompts, we’ll identify and try out various techniques for how to listen for and develop voice in order to help us create authentic characters and stories that speak to us and through us to the reader. Get ready to start creating interesting, distinctive voices.

Speakers
avatar for Mona Awad

Mona Awad

Author, BUNNY
Mona Awad was born in Montreal and has lived in the US since 2009. Her debut novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin), won the Amazon Best First Novel Award, the Colorado Book Award and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Arab American Book Award. It was also long-listed... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9J: Yes, You Can Write That in Your Memoir: On Line-Crossing, Competing Memories, and Giving Yourself Permission
Limited Capacity filling up

Who has agency over our memories? When do we withhold writing our stories to satisfy and preserve our relationships? What about fact-checking, libel, and other legal tangles? These are thorny questions that the memoirist struggles with from the moment we begin to compose our stories. Even with the mildest of secrets, or living in this golden age of personal disclosure, we still contend with cultural contexts, honoring or ignoring the dead, family loyalty, and geographical considerations.

In this workshop, we will learn how other writers approached ‘telling’ on and about their families. We will talk through strategies that can work in your writing, so you leave with ideas to enrich your story without sacrificing your ownership of it.

Speakers
avatar for Daphne  Santana-Strassmann

Daphne Santana-Strassmann

Memoir Writer
Daphne Santana Strassmann is a memoirist. Her work has appeared in Creative NonFiction, GrubWrites, Tex{t}Mex, and textbooks. She is a recent member of the Macondo Foundation.She writes about the intangible spaces between her Latino heritage and her American life. She focuses on personal... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor
  Block 9

10:15am EDT

9K: Literary Idol: Nonfiction Focus
Limited Capacity seats available

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished manuscript -- in this case, a work of non-fiction, including memoir and personal essay -- for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The actor will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no agent raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript, double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent/editor goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Speakers
avatar for Lauren Scovel

Lauren Scovel

Literary Agent, Laura Gross Literary Agency
Lauren grew up outside of Seattle and graduated summa cum laude from Emerson College with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing as well as Theatre Studies. She began her publishing career as an editorial intern at Aevitas Creative Management (formerly Zachary Shuster Harmsworth... Read More →
avatar for E. Dolores Johnson

E. Dolores Johnson

Author, SAY I'M DEAD
E. Dolores Johnson’s writing on race has appeared in Narratively, the Buffalo News, the Writers of Color Anthology, Lunch Ticket and Pangyrus. Her multi-generational memoir in progress on mixed race life (Say I’m Dead) is looking for its publisher. She has done readings at Boston’s... Read More →
avatar for Helene Atwan

Helene Atwan

Director, Beacon Press
Helene Atwan is the Director of Beacon Press, an independent non-profit book publisher founded in 1854. She began her publishing career in 1976 at Random House in New York as an assistant editor in their College Division, before moving to Alfred A. Knopf in 1977 as a publicity associate... Read More →
avatar for Sonali Chanchani

Sonali Chanchani

Literary Agent, Folio Literary Management
Sonali Chanchani is an associate agent at Folio Literary Management, where she represents character-driven upmarket and literary fiction with a strong, distinctive voice. In particular, she’s drawn to smart women’s fiction; quirky, heartfelt family stories; nuanced psychological... Read More →
avatar for Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Literary Agent, Waxman Literary Agency
Ashley Lopez joined the Waxman Literary Agency in 2015. She received her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and is a founder and the Managing Editor of Pigeon Pages Literary Journal. Ashley is looking for literary and young adult fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

11:45am EDT

10C: Writing Homelands: Place in Literature
Limited Capacity seats available

This craft intensive lecture is designed for any writer concerned with notions of homeland, both real and the imagined. This course will focus on helping writers utilize setting in ways that push, expand, and further the idea of place. The goal of this intensive is to provide students with the tools needed to create a fully realized and immersive fictional world that thrums with the breath of life.

Class will have four components: readings, story generating exercises, and first-blush in-class feedback, and research tips. In this intensive, we will also focus on ways to conduct research and how to incorporate folktales, music, photography, and other art forms into our place-based writing.

Speakers
avatar for Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Author, SABRINA & CORINA
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is the author of Sabrina & Corina, a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. Sabrina & Corina has been selected as a campus one-read by the University of Colorado and Regis University. Fajardo-Anstine’s fiction has appeared in The American Scholar, Boston... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

11:45am EDT

10D: Plotting, Pantsing and Everything in Between: How to Find Your Way Through That Messy First Draft
Limited Capacity filling up

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

Do you write like J.K. Rowling or more like Stephen King? In other words, do you make a detailed outline before writing your first scene, or do you follow the muse wherever it leads you? Most writers fall somewhere on the spectrum between extreme planning and seat-of-the-pants pathfinding. Whichever way you intuitively get through that first draft, you can streamline your process and minimize frustration (and writer’s block) by understanding the pros and cons of your personal style.

In this session, we will define these different approaches to writing, assess which category best describes you, and offer specific strategies that help you both capitalize on your strengths and overcome the challenges of your usual process. You'll leave with new and enhanced strategies to get to a strong finished draft.

Speakers
avatar for Michele Ferrari

Michele Ferrari

Fiction Writer
A Brooklyn-bred, Boston-based writer, Michele Ierardi Ferrari holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell University and a PhD in American Literature from the University of Virginia. She teaches Novel In Progress at GrubStreet. She completed GrubStreet's Novel Generator... Read More →
avatar for Andrea Meyer

Andrea Meyer

Author, ROOM FOR LOVE
Andrea Meyer’s first novel, Room for Love (St. Martin’s Press) is a romantic comedy based on an article she wrote for the New York Post, for which she pretended to look for a roommate as a way to meet men. The book was included in Cosmo’s “Lit We Love.” She completed her... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

11:45am EDT

10E: The Things People Don't Say: Writing What Is Taboo
Limited Capacity seats available

In this discussion, we will explore the power and transformative nature of writing non-fiction about what is taboo. For us presenters, that has meant writing about postpartum depression, job loss, manic depression, invisible disabilities, and divorce (a taboo in South Asian American culture). How might we say the unsayable? What forms, structures, and other elements can help us craft effective "taboo" essays and memoirs? And what might writing about taboos-- and sharing these stories via publication-- do to the taboo itself, or ourselves as writers?

We'll examine how some writers have done exactly this, including excerpts from Roxane Gay's Hunger and Bad Feminist, Carley Moore's 16 Pills, Esmé Weijun Wang's The Collected Schizophrenias, and Cheryl Strayed's "The Love of My Life," about infidelity and her grief over her mother's death. We'll also do 1-2 short writing exercises, to help put these strategies into practice.


Speakers
avatar for Pooja Makhijani

Pooja Makhijani

Editor, UNDER HER SKIN: HOW GIRLS EXPERIENCE RACE IN AMERICA
Pooja is the editor of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press), an anthology of essays by women that explores the complex ways in which race shapes American lives and families. She is also the author of Mama’s Saris (Little Brown Books for Young Readers... Read More →
avatar for Sejal Shah

Sejal Shah

Author, THIS IS ONE WAY TO DANCE
Sejal Shah is the author of the debut essay collection about race, place, and belonging: This Is One Way to Dance: Essays (University of Georgia Press, June 2020). Her essays and stories have appeared in Brevity, Conjunctions, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, the Rumpus, and the anthologies... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor

11:45am EDT

10G: How to Sell a Memoir If You Aren’t a Celebrity or a Politician
Limited Capacity filling up

Arguably, memoir is the toughest genre to sell. Two dozen agents told me my memoir was beautifully written but that no publisher would buy it because I wasn’t a celebrity. Instead of getting discouraged, I retooled my approach, found an agent, and got a publishing deal. 

In this session, I’ll reveal how I turned things around by identifying and amplifying themes that resonated with current cultural conversations. We'll broaden the scope with examples of other memoir successes by non-celebrity authors, such as Educated, Sick, and Maid. Extensive handouts highlight passages where these writers connected their prose to a broader conversation as well as positioned themselves as credible voices with valuable insights to share. By the end of the session, you’ll see your writing from a new perspective. And you’ll walk away with concrete examples for how to communicate what's urgent and important about your nonfiction writing to agents and editors.

Speakers
avatar for Catherine Guthrie

Catherine Guthrie

Author, FLAT
Catherine Guthrie is a memoirist and an award-winning magazine journalist. Her new memoir, FLAT: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer, debuted in September 2018 from Skyhorse Publishing. Catherine is a graduate of GrubStreet's Memoir Incubator (class of 2014-15) and is the first... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

11:45am EDT

10H: Micro-Level Revision: On Writer Tics, Filler Words, Grammatical Habits, and Other Sources of Slow Prose
Limited Capacity filling up

The difference between your manuscript getting a “yes” or a “no” is often in cutting what Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner’s editor called “extraneous baggage.” In this interactive class, author and former Atlantic staff editor Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne will help you torch your manuscript of the filler words that junk up stories and slow prose.

Through instructor examples and a brainstorming session, we will establish a list of words and then strike out on the prowl, using Find and Replace as our weapon. Together, we will flush out those tic words and brainstorm cuts or replacements. Bring your computer and a willingness both to share your words and laugh at the instances of their use! You will leave with a cleaner manuscript and a toolkit for line-editing that will have you one step closer to being ready to submit, whether to an agent, an editor, or the reading public!

Speakers
avatar for Elizabeth Shelburne

Elizabeth Shelburne

Author, HOLDING ON TO NOTHING
Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne grew up reading, writing, and shooting in East Tennessee. After graduating from Amherst College, she worked at The Atlantic Monthly. Her nonfiction work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, and Globalpost, among others and her short... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

11:45am EDT

10J: Writing on Your Own Terms: How to Start, Promote, and Maintain a Compelling Blog
Limited Capacity filling up

For many of us writers, we often fall into the routine of writing amazing poetry and prose without it ever being read, and become discouraged when our work is rejected from countless literary journals and magazines. Well, what if I told you there's a way to publish your work on your terms, promote it the way you want, any one in the world can read it, and you'll have an online presence. Drum Roll...start a blog!

Through her experiences, Serina will give essential tips and resources on how to build and track your blog using WordPress and Google Analytics, how to find your niche topic, how you can make money off blogging, and how your blog can make you a stronger writer. She'll also share pros and cons to publishing your work, how to protect your work from plagiarism, copyright policies, how your blog can grant you opportunities, and more!

Speakers
avatar for Serina Gousby

Serina Gousby

Nonfiction Writer & Poet
Serina Gousby is the founder of her lifestyle blog, The Rina Collective, where she posts reflective, literary, and pop culture essays. She is the Development Associate and Boston Writers of Color Group Coordinator at GrubStreet, and Events Chair on her alumni council board at Suffolk... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 11:45am - 12:45pm EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor