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Block 3 [clear filter]
Friday, April 3

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.

avatar for K Chess

K Chess

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

3D: Polished to Published: Placing Your Short Fiction in Literary Magazines and Small Presses
Limited Capacity filling up

Do you have short stories, essays, or poems that have been put through the wringer? Are you ready to take the leap into the submission world? Or perhaps you already have, but acceptances have been hard to come by? 

This session will demystify the submission process and provide specific strategies to maximize your chances at successful publication. From determining when your writing is ready for submission, to learning what parameters editors use to evaluate your work, to familiarizing yourself with the literary journal and small press landscape, you will receive resources, strategies, and tips that will ensure that your submissions are taken seriously. Whether you are working on individual stories or a full manuscript, realist fiction or more experimental work, we will discuss effective approaches to engage with a wide range of publications and ultimately find a home for your writing.

avatar for Dariel Suarez

Dariel Suarez

Dariel Suarez was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1997, during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. Dariel’s story collection, A Kind of Solitude, was selected as the winner of the 2017 Spokane Short Fiction Prize... Read More →
avatar for Joy Baglio

Joy Baglio

Fiction Writer & Editor
Joy Baglio's short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, New Ohio Review, TriQuarterly, PANK, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere, and she's received fellowships and grants from The Corporation of Yaddo... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

3E: Please Sir, I Want Some More: How to Construct a Story with Multiple Timelines or Protagonists
Limited Capacity full

With the publishing world at last opening up to a diversity of voices and viewpoints, writing a single protagonist story with a single timeline in a single locale might feel, well, less than inspiring. Why can’t we have more? 

This session will explore the reasons for and against such a choice as well as how to find the right balance and structure to make it all work. Participants will leave with methods to create cohesion and continuity as well as ideas for organization and how to keep the writing flowing.

avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover leads the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program and will be coordinating the 20th Anniversary Massachusetts Book Awards for the Mass Center for the Book. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner... Read More →

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

1:45pm EDT

3H: Writing While Multilingual: How to Leverage Your Languages for Strong Fiction
Limited Capacity seats available

For bi- or multilingual writers, our relationship to language(s) can be complex, and there is a growing appreciation in today’s market for stories that reflect this. Colonization, immigration, belonging versus otherness, the circumstances of our growing up-- all these influence how we use and feel about language.

In this fiction-focused session, we will work to identify our own relationships with our languages and how they influence what/how we write. We'll draw on excerpts by writers such as Junot Díaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwige Danticat, and Amitav Ghosh, who use their particular flexibility with words in their writing. We will identify some practical techniques for how to use our own languages to craft the strongest, truest fiction for an audience who might not be familiar with all of them.

avatar for Anjali Duva

Anjali Duva

Anjali Mitter Duva is an Indian-American writer, dancer and educator raised in France. She is the author of Faint Promise of Rain, shortlisted for the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and a 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction, and she was a finalist for 2018... Read More →

Friday April 3, 2020 1:45pm - 3:00pm EDT
Cabot 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.

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.

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