Workshops : Writing Immersion Weekends

Writing Immersion Weekends

October 30, 2015 - October 30, 2015

These weekends are offered intermittently in Taos, New Mexico. Past topics have included Accessing Voice Through Wordplay; Working with Point of View; and Gesture, Staging and Dialogue for Character Development.

From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, a small group of no more than ten participants will meet to write, read, discuss, and critique each other’s work. We’ll be expanding our minds and enhancing our skills while exploring the intricacies of character development.This session meets from 6-9pm Friday, 10am-9pm Saturday (with plenty of breaks, and the option of cooking together and sharing meals), and 10am-noon on Sunday. A weekend gives us the luxury of extended time together, so we’ll be able to include generative exercises as well as critical study, craft talks, and group critique. Individual critique will be offered for workshop participants at a discounted rate; those meetings are reserved for Sunday afternoon (or later in the week for Taos residents).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the workshops appropriate for writers of all levels?
A: Occasionally I offer specialized workshops – for beginners, or for advanced writers, or small master classes for those preparing for publication in a particular genre – but most of my workshops are for writers of all levels. Crafting the Inside Story workshops take a craft-based approach to writing instruction and are focused on enhancing participants’ mastery of specific narrative elements. We do less critique, less “workshopping” of already polished work, and we spend a good amount of time generating new work. I find I never tire of learning more about essential elements of story-building and am always eager to see how other writers handle questions of time, structure, point of view, setting, characterization, and the like. That’s why we do a fair amount of reading and discussing as well as timed writing exercises and sharing of work, and writers of all levels can benefit from this.

Q: Are these “how-to” classes?
A: No. No. And again, no. There’s no formula for good writing, and no set of rules that will yield a good story. Every writer has to build a personal repertoire of effective techniques that will provide a vehicle for her/his voice and story. Form and content evolve in tandem, with each narrative demanding its own unique presentation. That said, there are elements that are common to most stories – be they fiction, memoir, biography, or creative reporting – and the more facility a writer has with these elements, the more versatile a writer he/she will be.

Q: Are the writing immersion weekends intended to build on one another?
A: Each is an independent session, but writers who are able to attend more than one—ideally, the whole series—will find themselves able to make increasingly better use of each weekend. They are designed so that the content of each is fresh and exercises are never repeated, and the full ten sessions together comprise a rigorous engagement with the fundamental elements of narrative. Writers who are working on an ongoing project are encouraged to tailor the writing time to their own specific needs. I’m happy to help customize to that end.

Q: You’re a fiction writer. Do you draw all the examples from fiction, or are other genres represented as well?
A: I write fiction, but I read everything. Fiction and narrative non-fiction share all the same elements of story-building. Both will be evenly represented, and we’ll discuss the particularities of each in workshop.

Q: Are there prerequisites to the workshops?
A: There are no formal prerequisites. You may never have taken a writing class, and sit next to a person who has earned his MFA in writing and published books—or the reverse. Both of you will be expected to bring an open and engaged mind, a willingness to apply your critical intelligence to the reading, a commitment to grow in your writing, and a basic generosity toward the others in the group. You can expect the same of me.
The rest is magic.