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Block 6 [clear filter]
Saturday, April 4

10:15am EDT

6F: Last Evenings on Earth: Writing the Otherworldly
Limited Capacity seats available

When we write fiction, we create parallel worlds. As such, possibility is not only a question of genre or believability on the page, but also one of language: what if?

This is especially true of Latin-American fiction, in which the relationship between the past and the future, the real and the unreal is often blurred beyond recognition. Through a close reading of two stories by Claudia Hernández, this class will explore these relationships and discuss writing techniques and strategies to create the otherworldly.

The class will include a short lecture on Latin-American literary traditions; craft discussion; and an exercise.

avatar for Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata is the author of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau (Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins). He is a founding editor of the award-winning MAKE: A Literary Magazine. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction and the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist... Read More →

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

10:15am EDT

6G: Do Leave Them Hanging: Why Suspense is Critical in Any Fiction And How To Create It
Limited Capacity full

Some stories offer themselves naturally as arenas for suspense. Death is near; disaster looms; desire turns dangerous. But what about a story in which the dramatic stakes are quieter, or not quite clear from the start? How can we make a reader hold her breath even when she’s not sure what she’s holding it for? 

This session will explore the critical role suspense plays in any fiction, help reframe our notions of what constitutes and creates suspense, and provide concrete examples of writers using pacing, imagery, structure, repetition, syntax, etc. to heighten tension and compel readers to keep reading.

avatar for Anna Solomon

Anna Solomon

Author, THE BOOK OF V.
Anna Solomon is the author of three novels—The Book of V., Leaving Lucy Pear, and The Little Bride—and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, One Story, The Boston Globe, Tablet... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Statler 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.

avatar for Daphne Kalotay

Daphne Kalotay

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

6J: How to Be a Great Publishing Partner: The Author’s Job as Industry Insiders See It
Limited Capacity filling up

Congratulations! You’ve put in the work, have written an amazing book, and found a wonderful publisher. Most aspiring authors dealing with the challenges of the craft and finding an agent haven’t thought beyond this point-- and yet there is still a lot of work to do. In a no-holds-barred, lively conversation, literary agent Stéphanie Abou and acclaimed author Christopher Castellani will informally walk through the dos and don’ts of life after a book deal, to help make you the best partner to your publishing team.

Examples of Possible Topics (with questions and real life situations to illustrate):
*What is your agent's role after selling your book? What exactly do they do?
*What does your editor do (besides edit), and how can you partner with them effectively?
*What are the most effective ways to communicate with your agent, editor, and your publishing team?
*Publicity is key, but what does that (holistically) mean?
*I'm struggling to complete a non-fiction work sold on proposal, or struggling to make revisions. What should I do?
*Tips on what NOT to do

avatar for Stephanie Abou

Stephanie Abou

Literary Agent, Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents
Stéphanie Abou is an agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents. Originally from Paris, where she completed a Master’s in Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne, she decided to make a career out of her passion for literature after an internship at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani's fourth novel, Leading Men, is forthcoming from Viking in February 2019. He is also the author of The Art of Perspective, a collection of essays on point of view in fiction, and three other novels. Christopher works as artistic director of GrubStreet, was a... Read More →

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