2018 Gathering of Writers Schedule and Class Descriptions


 9:00-9:25      Check-in /Coffee & bagels available

9:30-10:30     Welcome and Introduction- Barbara Shoup
                      Keynote Speech by Susan Neville
                      "Story, Poem, Essay: Which Door Do You Choose?"

10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Break Out Session 1

Mark Neely

How to Write a New York School Poem

The New York School of poetry is perhaps the most influential poetry movement from the second half of the twentieth century. In this workshop, we will look at several New York School poems, then write poems of our own by following a “recipe” consisting of elements common to this type of writing. New York School poems often combine humor and grief, make references to both “high” art and pop culture, and tend to be colloquial, fast-moving, and fun. Hopefully this session will introduce you to some interesting poems, generate new material, and add techniques and devices to your poetry toolbox


Jill Christman

On the Necessity of Looking Closely: Finding Big Ideas in Ordinary Things

Essayist, memoirist, & Ball State creative writing professor Jill Christman will talk about practicing close observation with the goal of looking past easy representation and everything that tries to distract, scare, intimidate, repulse, or bore us.  Examining memories, research, daily life, and physical objects with deep curiosity, all senses humming, we can engage minute details, find patterns, and maybe even locate bigger meaning—for writing, and life.


Angela Jackson-Brown

 Writing Your Novel

Whether you’re beginning your novel draft or nearing the end, this workshop is a unique opportunity to learn some basic skills and strategies for writing the book you want to write. Topics to be considered include: Story Structure, Character Building, Beginnings and Endings, Point of View, Tense, Voice, Setting, Conflict.



12:00 – 12:45 p.m.

Lunch Provided


12:45 – 2:00 p.m.

Break Out Session 2

Curtis Crisler

Writing the ‘Sonastic’ Poem

Have you ever written a persona poem? Have you ever written an ekphrastic poem? A “sonastic” is a poetic form I created where a persona poem (“sona”) and ekphrastic poem (“astic”) marry/combine. Think neologism or portmanteau. Also, the ekphrastic element is not just a poet describing a painting (or visual) with words, but more the poet’s imbued by the singer/musician (technically, it can be any artist from any artform), but for this workshop we’ll focus on your favorite singer/musician. Bring a sample of one of your favorite singer’s songs to the workshop. We will go through 3 phases to get to the poem you need to create. I’ll use examples from Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium, on Stevie Wonder. I’ll break down components so that you’ll leave with a better understanding of the form and how to manipulate the sonastic. We will discuss, share, and create possibilities for new works.


Kelcey Parker-Ervick

Postcards from Your Life: Writing Micro-Memoirs

Postcards combine image, author, and recipient in an intense trio that suggests both intimacy and distance. In this session, we'll study a sampler of micro-memoirs, and, using the postcard format as inspiration, write short epistles from the journey of our lives.  


Barbara Shoup

The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Writing Historical Fiction

Are you fascinated by events of the past?  Intrigued by how people lived and what they thought—and ate and wore and did to stave off boredom?  Would you like to live in another time, by way of writing fiction?  This class will provide an overview of the practical considerations of writing historical fiction, addressing such questions as, Where do you start? How do you keep your research from overwhelming the story? How true to the historical facts must you remain? How can you create characters true to the standards and knowledge of their time? And more. 



2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

 Break Out Session 3


Nancy Botkin

Inspiration, Inspiring Writers, and Taking Your Poem to the Next Level”

This workshop will address the frustrations of so-called writer’s block. Instead of waiting for inspiration, we need to pursue it. One way is pick up a book and let other writers inspire us. What can we learn?  We’ll look at several contemporary poets’ poems and begin generating ideas for our own poems. Bring an old poem that you’ve had trouble revising, or just bring a notebook.

Sean Lovelace

Flash Fiction: Five Fresh Forms

In my work as a flash fiction editor, judge, and constant researcher/reader, I see a certain style again and again: realism. That’s fine, but flash is international (Etgar Keret, Petina Gappah, Kim Young-ha, Czeslaw Milosz, María Shua, for example), dynamic, a world, much more than only realism. In this class, we will discuss and write new and exciting and modern forms of flash fiction. This will lead to unique ways of writing and possibly of increased opportunities to publish—all editors are looking for the fresh, verve, energy, the true promise of the vibrant form of flash fiction.

Sarah Layden

Writing Creative Nonfiction: Whose Story Is It?

Family lore, historical events, and current cultural moments all might capture our attention as potential writing subjects. But how do we approach nonfiction material creatively? How do we know whether a story is ours to tell? In this session, we'll experiment with point of view and voice, practicing techniques to extend our range. Pairing journalism techniques with the craft of creative nonfiction, we'll navigate the realm of true stories and the larger truths they contain.

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.


Open Mic – up to two pages of poetry or one page of prose; three minutes or less.



© Indiana Writers Center 2012