Tinker Mountain Writers' Workshop/Online
Luke T. Johnson, program director
Fax: (540) 561-2325
Everyone talks about writing but does anyone actually do it? It takes practice and dedication to get over that hump; the key is confidence, which comes from understanding how fiction works and doesn’t work. You’ve got to know the rules to break them. In this workshop, students will focus on the nuts and bolts of writing fiction, from creating compelling characters to crafting complete stories with something at stake. Students will examine the elements of writing fiction, with a focus on applying what's discussed to their own work in selected published works ranging from Ernest Hemingway to James Baldwin, Raymond Carver to Kurt Vonnegut, with many writers in between. Students will also share their own writing for peer review in a digital workshop environment led by a seasoned fiction writer. Finally, students will emerge with the tools necessary to create their own writing and edit it for publication.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
Instructor: CL Bledsoe
In an interview with the Paris Review, Joan Didion states "you get the sense that it's possible simply to go through life noticing things and writing them down and that this is OK, it's worth doing. That the seemingly insignificant things that most of us spend our days noticing are really significant, have meaning, and tell us something." It is from this understanding that the course will approach an emerging genre of creative nonfiction, the lyric essay, which borrows the best of traditional essay writing and the best of lyric poetry. The result is an essay that explores and expands the writer’s own experience through image and scene rather than through exposition. Over ten weeks, students will read the writing of Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Lia Purpura, Jenny Boully, Roxane Gay, David Shields, Annie Dillard, Michael Ondaatje, and many others. We will also produce our own short essays, and train ourselves to keep a writers’ notebook, from which we will develop more structured drafts (we will write three longer pieces). The course is workshop-based and students will discover their own writing as well as each other's while fostering an online community centered on careful observation, critical encouragement, and crafting compelling stories.
The Next American Essay, edited by John D’Agata
Selected texts online
Instructor: Luke Johnson
"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break." If we are to follow Shakespeare's advice, how do we give language to our grief? Writing about sickness, death, loss, or healing may not be new, but each experience is unique, deeply personal, and perpetually relevant. This workshop is designed for the poet who wants to go beyond the initial understanding of grief. During this course we will focus on craft by revising and work-shopping our writing, in whatever stage it originates. We will also explore writing as a cathartic experience with prompts, stream of consciousness exercises, and journaling. Along with drafting, time will be devoted to analyzing a variety of poets, from Auden to Terrance Hayes. By reading classic and contemporary poems of grief, we will learn how to effectively emulate and then create poems not just for ourselves, but for others.
The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, edited by Kevin Young
Selected texts online
Instructor: Brittney Scott