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NEW intensive session! “Short Story Fellows Workshop” with Cathy Day

Midwest Writers is offering a NEW intensive session for our Part I format on Thursday, July 23, 2015! 

“Short Story Fellows Workshop” taught by (writer, teacher, bossy narrator) Cathy Day (Blog: The Big Thing www.cathyday.com) is limited to six participants who will spend the day reading and responding to each other’s manuscripts. It’s an intensive intensive.

Those accepted into this intensive will have the opportunity to have their 5-10 page short story critiqued by the whole group. Specifically, participants will be working to improve their facility with scenecraft (when to dramatize, when to summarize), point of view, setting, suspense, and readability. All work will be discussed anonymously and read aloud. To apply, send a 5-10 page writing sample in manuscript form (as an attachment) to Cathy Day at cathy@cathyday.com. Applications will be taken until midnight on (DEADLINE EXTENDED) April 6. Participants will be notified of acceptance by April 18 so that they can sign up for another intensive if not selected. [Note: the writing sample submitted as an application does not need to be the same story you will workshop at the conference. Those who are accepted will be notified at a later date about sending their story for the workshop to Cathy.]

Day CathyCathy Day is the author of two books. Her most recent work is Comeback Season, part memoir about life as a single woman and part sports story about the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl season in 2006. Her first book was The Circus in Winter, a fictional history of her hometown.  The Circus in Winter was a finalist for the GLCA New Writers Award, the Great Lakes Book Award, and the Story Prize, and has been adapted into a musical. [Strange but true: The Circus in Winter was the solution to the New York Times Magazine acrostic puzzle in February 2005.]

Currently, she lives in Muncie, Indiana and teaches at Ball State University, where she’s serving as the Assistant Chair of Operations in the Department of English.

We asked Cathy a few questions about this new intensive session.

MWW:  Why did you decide to offer a short story intensive, something that is new for MWW in recent years?

CATHY: I wanted to do this because I believe that the best way to help people become published authors is to actually read and respond to their writing.

MWW offers so many great pathways to publication, but there’s nothing better than good, old-fashioned writing instruction.

MWW: We sometimes think of short stories as “literary” as opposed to “commercial” so please let us know the types of stories you are open to receiving. (Is something with paranormal elements okay? Fantasy? Dystopian?)

CATHY: I’m open to anything. The craft elements I’m focusing on–scenecraft (when to dramatize, when to summarize), point of view, setting, suspense, and readability–apply to any kind of fiction.

MWW:  What would you say to someone who has never written a short story? Is this class for them or for the experienced short story writer?

CATHY: Honestly, I’d like to work with MWW veterans who come quite often and are looking for something new, something they haven’t gotten already. I know that this is something our diehards have said they’d like. That is why I’m reviewing the manuscripts beforehand–I would prefer that everyone in the class be writing at about the same level: intermediate to advanced. Maybe another year, I’ll do something for beginners.

MWW:  Since you’re accepting six students, what happens if you receive too many registrations?

CATHY: I will choose the six writers I’d like to work with. That’s why those in this workshop are “fellows,” because they were vetted ad selected. I want those in my intensive to feel a little bit special.

MWW:  What specific help will a person get on their manuscript?

CATHY: I do this in my classes at Ball State with much success. I read the story aloud and it’s projected on a screen. I do this without revealing whose story it is. It’s a great experience to be in the room when others are “reading” your work for the first time. You hear them sigh or laugh. You watch them fidget when things are dragging. Then we talk about the story, and you can join in too. There’s something about not knowing exactly whose story it is that frees us up somehow to be honest. At the end, we reveal who wrote what.

I rarely read work by people I don’t know because I do so much of that in my job at Ball State. But I’m offering to read your work, if you’re up for it, too. Every year that I’ve presented at MWW, people have asked if they can take a writing class with me, and I’ve had to say no. Now I’m saying yes. Come work with me. I’m very nice, and I don’t bite.

The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit: March 21, 2015

Greetings! Our latest MWW mini-conference on March 21st is around the corner, and we like to think spring is too! Plan to join us to learn screenwriting, strengthen your social networking, or up your game with non-fiction writing.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

Cost: $155 (includes lunch)

One of the four sessions is “Shaping the Real Work: The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit” taught by Lou Harry.

At MWW, we’re all about forging new paths as publishing continues to evolve. Plus, we are mindful of our rich legacy. So trust us when we say that non-fiction and fiction writing enhance one another. For that reason, we coaxed Lou Harry to tuck MWW into his jam-packed schedule and teach at the mini-conference. Lou’s made a career of specializing in the many forms of non-fiction.

Some of you may remember Earl Conn and Alan Garinger, who passed away after years of service to MWW. They used to say that non-fiction writing can be a stepping stone to a fiction career. If you doubt them, the evidence is clear. The examples are endless, from Michael Connelly to Elizabeth Berg (our keynote speaker last year) to Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig (who is coming this year). Non-fiction writing–from essays to news stories, from columns to blogs–is a great way to get noticed. Just ask our 2013 faculty member Roxane Gay, whose collection of essays Bad Feminist is winning awards and snagging her speaking engagements, as she also promotes her debut novel An Untamed State.

So if you are someone whose first love is fiction, please don’t discount the idea of learning about non-fiction. Lou’s expertise may be just the help you need for getting your non-fiction ideas launched. And writing shorter work has many rewards, such as seeing your byline in print and giving you ideas for your fiction.

Lou Harry’s wildly eclectic output includes books on creativity, sports, drinks, movies, life lessons, gadgets, guilty pleasures, voodoo, excuses, crop circles, Santa Claus (and Martians), curse words, parenting, trivia and, this year, squirrels. The co-creator and editor of Indy Men’s Magazine and current Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal (www.ibj.com/arts), Lou has written for more than 50 publications including Variety, Mental_Floss, and This Old House. While on journalistic assignments, he has profiled CEOs, escorted a spiral-cut ham into a movie theater, took a pie in the face from Soupy Sales, attended Broadway openings, exposed tarot readers, sat on the Full House couch, gotten attached to a Velcro wall, and turned his honeymoon into a travel story. He hopes one day to have a book for every category in the Dewey Decimal System.

MWW: You showed such enthusiasm and creativity at MWW 2013, I’m wondering what you have in store for mini conference participants. Will there be writing and discussion or mostly a lecture format?

LOU: Lecture, schmecture. Yes, I’ll do some talking and offer solid, specific advice. But we’re also going to dig into fun, engaging, and, most importantly, useful writing exercises. The most important thing to me is helping the attendees move forward.

MWW: Is your presentation aimed toward a certain level of writer or can people enter into the class from wherever they are and jump up a level or more?

LOU: Come as you are. All of the discussion and activity is geared toward taking you to the next level, wherever you stand right now.

MWW: What is the scope of the class? For example, will you cover writing craft mostly or will finding markets and how to query be covered?

LOU: There are three key elements: Finding markets, approaching those markets wisely, and being a writer who is ready for those markets. All three need to happen for successful sales.

MWW: What would you tell those who haven’t met you and/or have never been in such an intensive class or maybe haven’t tested the waters of non-fiction, to help them get off the fence and register?

LOU: Are you satisfied with where you are in the writing universe right now? If not, then strongly consider joining us for an afternoon. I’m going to be teaching the class that I wish I could have taken.

MWW: Please provide a couple of links to your work, if possible, so people can easily find it.

www.louharry.com
www.ibj.com/arts
http://howlround.com/authors/lou-harry

Register soon!

Building Blocks of Spec Screenwriting: March 21, 2015

There’s still time to register for Midwest Writers Workshop’s ONE-DAY INTENSIVE SESSIONS.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

Cost: $155 (includes lunch)

 One of the four sessions is The Basics of Compelling Cinematic Storytelling” taught by Matt Mullins. His session will run the gamut of the basics of storytelling for film, beginning with the building blocks of spec screenwriting format and style, how to approach it and what to avoid, and then moving on to the core elements of visual/cinematic storytelling structure and content. This includes, among other things, how plots are shaped and how they arc, how characters are constructed and why/how they change, how scenes work, and how/when to use dialogue versus/along with visual exposition.

Matthew Mullins is a writer, experimental filmmaker, videopoet, and multimedia artist. His videopoems have been screened at conferences and film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. His fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online literary journals including Mid American Review, Pleiades, Hunger Mountain, Descant, and Hobart. His debut collection of short stories, Three Ways of the Saw, was published by Atticus Books in 2012 and was named a finalist forForeword Magazine‘s 2012 Book of the Year. And his work in screenwriting has won awards from the Broadcast Education Association. Matt teaches creative writing at Ball State University where he is an Emerging Media Fellow at the Center for Media Design. You can engage his interactive/digital literary interfaces at lit-digital.com.

MWW board member Cathy Shouse caught up with Matt to discuss his intensive session on screenwriting.

MWW: What should those attending your intensive session expect? Should they have an outline or idea for a screenplay? Will they be writing or will you be sharing your ideas?

MM: I’ll be talking about how to write in proper spec screenwriting format and style and I’ll be talking about the basic principles of good storytelling for the screen. So it’ll be mostly sharing ideas. They don’t need to come with an idea for a screenplay or any kind of outline.  If we do any writing it would be simple exercises. But I think it will mostly be lecture and watching short films and clips that illustrate the points I’m trying to make.

MWW: What are some benefits that attendees will take away from the day?

MM: I would hope that they learn the very basics of format/style and get a sense of what’s required to tell a compelling story for the screen.

MWW: How would you rate the level of the class, such as aimed at beginning writers, those who have completed a manuscript or others?

MM: I’d say it’s beginning to intermediate in terms of format and style and beginning to intermediate in terms of storytelling principles, maybe with a touch of advanced in that area.

MWW: With so much pressure to “grab attention,” can you give a hint at something that adds creativity to a story?

MM: Be yourself. Think about what it means to be a human being and how creativity/storytelling/art can comment on that condition in ways that allow us to see life’s ironic complexities. Go for endings where something is lost or gained at the cost of something meaningful (literally and/or metaphorically).

MWW: What are some awards that you have won? Which one holds special meaning for you and why?

MM: Winning the Broadcast Education Association’s Best Feature-length Screenplay Award (for a collaboration with Rich Swingley) meant a lot. We put that script (“Nerdvana” a kind of geek road trip comedy) through twenty drafts. Winning Ball State’s Creative Endeavor Award was also special. It was really nice to have the breadth of my work recognized.

MWW: Is there anything else potential participants should know?

MM: We’ll be talking about format and style. We’ll be watching/analyzing short films and various scenes and discussing how they work from a writer’s perspective.

REGISTER NOW!

Announcing One-Day Intensive Sessions: March 21, 2015

Midwest Writers Workshop invites you to join us for one of our most popular offerings: ONE-DAY INTENSIVE SESSIONS. This spring take advantage of the opportunity to attend one of four amazing sessions. Choosing which of these dynamite professionals to spend the day with will be a challenge. Look at these helpful sessions:

Manuscript Makeover, Nonfiction, Screenwriting, or Building Your Author Platform. These one-day intensive sessions will be held at the Ball State University Alumni Center, Muncie, IN on Saturday, March 21, 2015 (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Each session is capped at 20 participants. Cost of each intensive session is $155 (includes a brown bag lunch so the work continues to flow).

So here’s how it works:

1) Register for the mini.

2) If you’re signing up for Manuscript Makeover, you must submit the requested number RECEIVED by MARCH 6, 2015.

3) Come to Muncie, IN on Saturday, March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for personalized instruction and a chance to network with other writers.

Payment and registration close on March 16, but if you’re signing up for Manuscript Makeover, get registered NOW, pay, and send your pages RECEIVED by March 6.

Choose ONE of these four sessions:

Manuscript Makeover – Dennis Hensley & Holly Miller

This intensive session is limited to 20 participants who have book projects–either fiction or nonfiction–in progress. The six-hour workshop is led by Holly G. Miller, author of Feature and Magazine Writing and consulting editor to two national magazines, and Dennis E. Hensley, chair of the professional writing department at Taylor University and author of Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 hours. After registering for the class, each participant should e-mail a one-page synopsis–with a working title–plus the first nine pages of his/her book project to Dennis and Holly. Please double-space and format in 12-point Times New Roman font. Holly and Dennis will personally edit all pages to return to the authors at the workshop. In addition, the instructors will display on a screen and discuss portions of each student’s manuscript. Students will receive folders filled with handouts plus their edited manuscripts midway through the day. As time permits, Miller and Hensley will discuss plots, character development, editing techniques, finding an agent, and marketing a published book. The instructors have co-authored seven books–including a series of novels–as well as completed several solo book assignments. Dennis just signed a multiple-novel book deal, co-writing with Diana Savage, with Whittaker House Publishing Company. Don’t hesitate; this workshop always fills up quickly and is offered only once a year.

Shaping the Real World: The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit – Lou Harry

The non-fiction writer’s task is to shape and frame a piece of the world, whether that’s in an opinion column, a travel tale, a review, a celebrity profile, a news story, or a feature story. At this workshop, the Indianapolis Business Journal‘s Lou Harry, recently seen on CBS News Sunday Morning and the author of more than 25 books, helps you maximize the impact of your stories and increase demand for your writing. The Society of Professional Journalists award winner will open up a tool kit collected from penning

hundreds of stories in more than 50 publications, from Writer’s Digest to Variety and from Men’s Health toThe Sondheim Review. He’ll guide you through exercises to improve your interviewing skills, shape opening paragraphs, find your rhythm, and develop a passionate curiosity about any subject. Manuscripts up to five pages can be submitted two weeks ahead of the workshop for critique and use in class. Bring your laptop, your questions, and your open mind for a lively day of working with words.

The Basics of Compelling Cinematic Storytelling – Matt Mullins

We’ll run the gamut of the basics of storytelling for film, beginning with the building blocks of spec screenwriting format and style, how to approach it and what to avoid, and then moving on to the core elements of visual/cinematic storytelling structure and content. This includes, among other things, how plots are shaped and how they arc, how characters are constructed and why/how they change, how scenes work, and how/when to use dialogue versus/along with visual exposition.

The Best (and I Mean BEST) Way to Build Your Author Platform – Linda Taylor

Authors don’t like to think about the importance of building a platform. They want to just write their books and watch them climb best-seller lists. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. But building your platform isn’t about tooting your own horn or getting people to buy your book. Instead, it’s about finding your “tribe,” appreciating others’ work, connecting, and being interested in what others are doing. This is important (even vital) for all writers-published or not-because we’re all part of the literary community. In this all-day session, we’ll learn about blogging and tweeting and connecting–all to join the literary community and build a platform in a non-scary way. Come if you’re published; come if you’re not. It’s about “literary citizenship.” Bring your laptop and be prepared for a day of encouragement and hands-on training.

Meet the Faculty:

Holly picHolly Miller is an editor with The Saturday Evening Post and co-author of Feature & Magazine Writing. She and Dennis Hensley have collaborated on four novels and three nonfiction books. Holly’s byline has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest and TV Guide. She is the author of 14 fiction and nonfiction books. She has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of American Travel Writers and Society of Professional Journalists.

Hensley DDennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., is a contributing editor for Writers’ Journal and the author of eight textbooks on writing, including How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It. He has written 51 books, including  Millennium

Approaches (Avon), Uncommon Sense (Bobbs-Merrill), and Money Wise (Harvest House). He directs the professional writing major at Taylor University. His 3,000 freelance articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Success, People, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Downbeat, among dozens of others.

Lou Harry‘s wildly eclectic output includes books on creativity, sports, drinks, movies, life lessons, gadgets, guilty pleasures, voodoo, excuses, crop circles, Santa Claus (and Martians), curse words, parenting, trivia and, this year, squirrels. The co-creator and editor of Indy Men’s Magazine and current Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal (www.ibj.com/arts), Lou has written for more than 50 publications including Variety, Mental_Floss, and This Old House. While on journalistic assignments, he has profiled CEOs, escorted a spiral-cut ham into a movie theater, took a pie in the face from Soupy Sales, attended Broadway openings, exposed tarot readers, sat on the Full House couch, gotten attached to a Velcro wall, and turned his honeymoon into a travel story. He hopes one day to have a book for every category in the Dewey Decimal System.

Matt Mullins is a writer, experimental filmmaker, videopoet, and multimedia artist. His videopoems have been screened at conferences and film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. His fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online literary journals including Mid American Review, Pleiades, Hunger Mountain, Descant, and Hobart.  His debut collection of short stories, Three Ways of the Saw, was published by Atticus Books in 2012 and was named a finalist for Foreward Magazine‘s 2012 Book of the Year. And his work in screenwriting has won awards from the Broadcast Education Association.  Matt teaches creative writing at Ball State University where he is an Emerging Media Fellow at the Center for Media Design. You can engage his interactive/digital literary interfaces at lit-digital.com.

Linda Taylor has been working in publishing and doing writing and editing for the last three decades. She also loves teaching about social media for authors, editing, and publishing at writers’ conferences and at Taylor University where she is an instructor in the professional writing department.

 

Announcing One-Day Intensive Sessions: March 22, 2014

Spring clean your writing!

Midwest Writers Workshop invites you to “Think Spring!” and join us in one of our most popular offerings: The Manuscript Makeover. These one-day intensive sessions offered at the Ball State University Alumni Center, Muncie, IN on March 22, 2014 (9 am to 3 pm) and will help you to de-clutter and polish your manuscript, guided by some of our most popular faculty: Holly Miller and Dennis Hensley, Dianne Drake, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

In his bestselling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discovered it takes 100,000 hours—or 100,000 words in this case—to master a profession. But as Coach Vince Lombardi would say: Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Getting expert advice about your manuscript can put you light-years ahead of the competition. And we all know how competitive publishing is!

Just 20 participants will be able to attend the session of their choice at a cost of $150 (includes a brown bag lunch so the work continues to flow). So here’s how it works:

1) Register for the mini.

2) Submit the requested number of manuscript pages by MARCH 1, 2014.

3) Come to Muncie, IN on March 22 from 9 am. to 3 p.m.) for personalized instruction and a chance to network with other writers.

Let’s get our writing houses in order this spring! Don’t procrastinate! We really want to review your manuscript pages ahead of time, to provide personalized help.

Choose from these three sessions:

Manuscript Makeover with Holly G. Miller & Dennis E. Hensley

This interactive seminar is designed for those fiction and nonfiction writers who are ready to take a quantum leap forward in enhancing their writing skills. Participants will submit a one-page synopsis and the first 10 pages of a manuscript in progress. The instructors will edit and critique these pages and display them (anonymously) to the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses in the material. Additionally, the instructors will lead the students in writing exercises and offer advice on such topics as enhancing dialogue, learning to self-edit, mastering proofreading, finding the right markets for manuscripts and knowing when and how to go into writing full-time.

Note: Holly and Dennis will not be offering Manuscript Makeover at our summer workshop in July, so catch them while you can!

Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights with Dianne Drake

Do you know what a trope is?  Or how to arc your book to get the most out of it?  Since all romances seem to fall into a formula, how can you make yours stand out as something different?  These questions and many more will be answered at MWW’s one-day session Romance Manuscript Makeovers and Other Important Publishing Insights.  So, if you want your manuscript critiqued and if you have specific questions about romance that have always bugged you, or maybe you just want to learn what the author of 50 romances knows, this is the place to be.  Please feel free to send your questions to me ahead of time to be assured yours will be answered in class: DianneDrake@earthlink.net

Writing for Children Manuscript Makeover with Rebecca Kai Dotlich

This interactive workshop is designed for those who write for children and are ready to dig in and explore what makes a picture book (or easy reader, or chapter book) work by looking at mentor texts, and specifically structure, language, the elusive show-don’t- tell, character development, and details. Participants will submit two pages or less of a manuscript in progress. The instructor will lightly edit and critique these pages and share (anonymously) with the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses to focus on improving writing skills in this genre for all attending.  There will also be writing exercises and advice offered, with additional time for questions and answers about the writing process.

Meet the Faculty:

Miller-HollyHolly Miller is an editor with The Saturday Evening Post and co-author of Feature & Magazine Writing. She and Dennis Hensley have collaborated on four novels and three nonfiction books. Holly’s byline has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest and TV Guide. She is the author of 14 fiction and nonfiction books. She has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of American Travel Writers and Society of Professional Journalists.

Hensley DennisDennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., is a contributing editor for Writers’ Journal and the author of eight textbooks on writing, including How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It. He has written 51 books, including Millennium Approaches (Avon), Uncommon Sense (Bobbs-Merrill), and Money Wise (Harvest House). He directs the professional writing major at Taylor University. His 3,000 freelance articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Success, People, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Downbeat, among dozens of others.

Drake DianneDianne Drake has written 50+ romance novels. Since 2001, she’s been writing romances for Harlequin, including everything from romantic comedy to sweet romances. Currently, she writes warm, family-oriented stories often set in small towns or foreign countries for Harlequin Mills and Boon Medical Line. Dianne’s first romance novel for Harlequin, The Doctor Dilemma, was published in 2001and was voted a reader top five favorite for that year. She has published extensively in nonfiction as well. MWW alumni Megan Powell found Dianne’s comments so helpful that she named her in the acknowledgements of her debut novel!

Dotlich, RebeccaRebecca Kai Dotlich grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books, making paper dolls and building snowmen. She is a children’s poet and picture book author of titles such as Bella and Bean (an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor), What Is Science? (a Subaru SB&F finalist and Bank Street’s Best Book of the year,) and What Can A Crane Pick Up? (which received a *starred* review from Publisher’s Weekly.)  She gives poetry workshops, visits classrooms across the country, and speaks at conferences, retreats, libraries and schools to teachers, aspiring writers and students of all ages.  Her books have received the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award as well as an IRA Children’s Choice and her work has been featured on Reading Rainbow and the PBS children’s show Between the Lions.  Rebecca still reads comic books and builds snowmen. Her forthcoming picture book, ALL ABOARD! will be published by Knopf in fall of 2014.

REGISTER HERE! 

SUBMITTING MATERIALS: 

For MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER with Holly & Dennis

For ROMANCE MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVERS with Dianne

Include a one-page synopsis of your book, single-spaced AND the first 10 pages of your manuscript. These manuscript pages should be double-spaced and should be the opening pages of your book (the books can be fiction or nonfiction and don’t have to be completed; can be works in progress).

For WRITING FOR CHILDREN MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER with Rebecca

Include a one or two paragraph synopsis of your book, single-spaced AND 2 pages of your manuscript. These manuscript pages should be double-spaced and should be the opening pages of your book (picture books, easy readers, and chapter books – NO novels).

All submissions should be appropriately labeled (i.e., LEFT CORNER: your name, address, phone, email) and MUST BE RECEIVED by MARCH 1, 2014.

Email synopsis and manuscript pages to:  Jama Kehoe Bigger (MWW), midwestwriters@yahoo.com

 

Reminder: Save the dates for MWW 2014, July 24-26. Best-Selling Author Elizabeth Berg is coming! Check out our faculty. And watch soon for the schedule!