2016 Gathering Schedule

9:00- 9:25


Check-in/Coffee and bagels


Intro and Keynote Speech by Marianne Boruch





Break Out Session 1:

Angela Jackson-Brown

Why Did They Do That: Learning To Ask The Right Questions of our Characters
As writers, we often start with what. What did our character do? Then what? And then, what? Unfortunately, by focusing so much attention on the “what,” we often end up with stories that lack layers. Layers that would add texture to our stories. But if we rethought how we approached storytelling, and focused more on the “why,” we might even surprise ourselves by how more complicated and interesting our stories can become. This workshop will focus entirely on you discovering the whys in your stories. By the time you leave, you will have a whole new approach to creating lively and more vivid storylines that will excite you to write and readers to read.



Alessandra Lynch

 Portals & Ramps: Venturing into the Interior
In this workshop, we will try to lift off from the literal, stumble into mystery and find new depths in our poetry.  You will respond to an assortment of writing prompts designed to lead you into unexpected terrain and to help avail you of new material for your poems.  Part of the workshop will involve a bit of drawing/doodling to help ease your mind into writing.  We will also use others’ art as a catalyst for discovering potentially surprising subject matter and fresh poetic perspectives.  By the end of the class, you will have written a rough draft of a poem, and with luck, have generated enough material for several new poems.


Lili Wright

The Art of Small
We will study two short nonfiction essays —one lyric, one comic—and dissect how these writers created poignant work in just a few pages. We’ll study how they move from small observations to large ideas and back again. Other topics: comic timing, identifying critical moments, the tragedy of miscommunication, and the rhyme of language. 



Open-Mic signup is at the raffle table during lunch.



Break Out Session 2:

 Kip Robisch

Vivid Writing
Creative writing teachers practically chant, "Show. Don't Tell" from the time we’re in grade school. This is because the problem of abstraction—the tendency to write around, or about, a scene rather than to show it—persists for many writers and sometimes for long into their writing lives. The literature classes we took in school probably emphasized a very conceptual way of reading: What do you think? How does that make you feel? What does this piece seems to mean? All of these questions ask for concept-driven answers, words we can't see, touch, taste, hear, or smell. Yet writers are expected to make us experience their worlds, not just understand them. Add to the problem that our jobs run on some kind of jargon, slogans, and euphemisms that keep us from specific meaning. This session will focus on the sensory nouns, skillful word choices, and specific physical details that make a reader emotionally invested in your story, essay, or poem.


Shari Wagner

Let Me Count the Ways: Writing the List Poem
There’s something universally appealing about the list poem, a form going back to Homer, the Old Testament, and Native American prayers. During this workshop, we’ll look at some list poems by contemporary poets and engage in writing activities designed to generate inventory and transform it into meaningful verse.

Robert Rebein

Memory and Imagination in Creative Nonfiction
What are the roles played by memory and imagination in the crafting of engaging, honest creative nonfiction? When and where are writers allowed to “make things up,” and when and where are they not? These questions will be explored in the first half of this session; in the second half, participants will make their own attempt at creative remembering.




Break Out Session 3:


Melissa Fraterrigo

Connecting the Unconnected: Exploring the Novel-in-Stories
What do Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Cathy Day’s Circus in Winter and Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson have in common? All are novels-in-stories, existing between a collection of stories and a novel. The stories in this form can stand-alone, but together create a deeper impact that is reflective of a novel. In this session we will examine samples from novels-in-stories and discuss common attributes. We’ll then experiment by writing in response to an array of though-provoking prompts. You will leave this session with a clear idea of possible


Mitchell L. H. Douglas

Poems of Now: Writing in the Age of Social Action
You watch the news, you’re troubled by issues of social, racial, economic, and environmental injustice, but how do you take the next step and turn anger into action? This class will focus on strategies to respond to current events in verse that will satisfy the poet’s urge to create meaningful art in the name of protest.



Bryan Furuness

Writing," says Michael Martone, "is adult play with words." This doesn't mean it's silly or unserious—after all, Michael Jordan played basketball; Coltrane played saxophone—as much as it speaks to a spirit of joy and improvisation and, sometimes, mischief. In this short class, we'll play with words and play with each other and generally have some serious fun. 



Open Mic

Open-Mic signup is at the raffle table during lunch.


© Indiana Writers Center 2012