The Hume Center and the Creative Writing Program are proud to offer this free workshop series open to all students from all majors. Come to The Writers Studio for intensive, fun, hands-on workshops with the dynamic faculty of the Creative Writing Program. You’ll leave with an expanded understanding of writing and a sheaf full of pages. All workshops are on Monday's from 6-7:30 p.m. and will be offered online in Spring Quarter 2020.
Let's Get it Started with Keith Ekiss | Monday, April 13th
For many writers, whether beginner or advanced, getting started is the toughest part of all. In this fun, hands-on workshop, we’ll look at what inspires a novelist or a poet to write and how we confront the perfect white field of the blank page. We’ll practice different way of taking the first step, including 5-minute spills, imitations, and opening questions. It turns out, getting started is surprisingly easy. You’ll leave with the start of new stories and lots of ideas for future writing.
Pitching into Story with Rachel Hamburg | Monday, April 20th
Pitching a story, whether it's for a class project or for your favorite outlet in the world, can feel totally overwhelming. Especially when you're asking permission to go out and investigate a narrative that's still mysterious to you! But fear not. Crafting your pitch can be a surprisingly deep exercise in storytelling. In this workshop, we'll focus on how to use the process of writing a pitch to investigate deep narrative questions, and also develop a sense of how different editors (or, perhaps, professors) evaluate the pitches they receive. Please bring a story idea, or several.
Building a Scene: The Dramatic Moment with Kevin DiPirro | Monday, May 4th
When building a scene, writers have recourse to a number of tools with character, action, and dialog—but perhaps the pivotal tool is the dramatic moment. In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus looks back—sending his bride Eurydice back to Hades again. In this studio, we will use the “don’t look back” dramatic moment to collaboratively construct a scene that repurposes the myth in a contemporary setting. We will source your own ideas for character, action, dialog, and movement. Reverse-engineering from the dramatic moment, we will practice layering in the central tension of the scene and build it to our dramatic moment--then craft out that exquisite falling tension. Participants will take away to their own prose, poetry, fiction, and script projects the skills of scene building: layering, raising, and enacting the moments of released tension.
A Thing With Feathers: Poems About Birds with Austin Smith | Monday, May 11th
In this time of social distancing and quarantine, many of us are wondering how to engage with our creative spirits when so much seems closed and canceled. Throughout history, poets have written about birds in moments of physical and emotional and spiritual paralysis, identifying with various elements of the avian world: their flight, their song, the beauty and delicacy of their eggs and nests. They have written about watching, listening to, even killing birds. Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Robert Frost, Lorine Niedecker, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robinson Jeffers are amongst the poets who’ve written about winged things. We’ll discuss some of the most famous poems of this kind, and, because there should be birds wherever we find ourselves this spring, we’ll write our own bird poems too.
Trailer Moments: Brainstorm Your Story by Writing Its Movie Trailer with Adam Tobin | Monday, May 18th
"In a world where ..." writers are struggling to develop and organize their stories, what can we learn from movie trailers? Quite a bit, actually. These mini-stories jam-pack character, conflict, and memorable setpieces into just a few short minutes. By breaking down various trailers we'll explore the core concepts and relationships of a story and the most powerful lines of dialogue. We'll also begin to brainstorm the dramatized elements of your own original story, television episode, or film.
Emergency!: Writing Vital Drama with Shannon Pufahl | Monday, June 1st
The very word “emergency” derives from the phenomenon of emergence, the experience of an object or concept or circumstance becoming suddenly visible. As we know from our current emergency, dramatic or dangerous events can reveal great forces such as inequality, kindness, community, and anxiety. In fiction, emergencies are often much smaller in scale – a fight with a friend, a death, a divorce – but they, too, reveal and make visible things about character, relationships, and truths. In this workshop, we’ll practice writing scenes of great drama or conflict as a way of surfacing elements of character and theme. In particular, we’ll study setting and physical gesture as techniques that heighten drama and produce feelings of fear or anxiety in readers, in the service of emerging truths. This workshop will lead very nicely to the following week, when Kevin Dipirro will discuss scene writing.