Workshops

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Workshops are two-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some are offered in both sessions, others just once. The workshops are positive and generative—our goal is to inspire you to write and share your stories, whether as poetry, fiction, or memoir. This year we’ve added a track for readers (Book Buzz and the Conversation with Victoria Patterson) for those who don’t write, but still want to participate. Because this is a small retreat, the breakout groups will be even smaller, allowing for a great deal of one-on-one interaction.

Morning Session (10 a.m.)

Crafting the Draft – SOLD OUT!

ConstantineBrendan Constantine presents a generative poetry workshop. Participants will explore techniques for getting started, what it means to “craft a draft,” and the challenges of ending a poem well. Known for his dreamy abstraction and the emotional ferocity of his work, Constantine is also a teacher of poetry in local schools and colleges as well as hospitals, elder care centers and shelters for the homeless. He’ll bring has vast experience to the mountains. Sufferers of Writer’s Block strongly encouraged. Bring something to write with and something to write on. This workshop will be repeated in the afternoon, and writers of all skill-levels are welcome at either session.

The Four Foundations of Fiction Writing (Advanced)

UrmstonJoin author and professor Elisa Suzanne Grajeda-Urmston for a workshop on the essential components of story. This workshop will help writers create realistic characters and stories by focusing on atmosphere/setting, character vs. caricature, plot and dialogue by offering exercises that encourage writers explore each of these important components of writing fiction. Bring something to write with and on. This workshop is repeated in the afternoon. The morning session is geared slightly more toward advanced writers, but the content is the same, and writers of all levels are welcome at either session.

Page to Stage: The Creation of Spoken Word

Transform your poetry from page to stage with the power of spoken word. Join poet and championship slam coach Kelly Grace Thomas to use your words to awaken, inspire and ignite. In this high-energy spoken word workshop, participants will move through the crafting phase of the creative process. Be ready to write, learn, and apply techniques tailored towards crafting dynamic and lasting performative poetry. Combined with Kelly’s (optional) afternoon workshop for performance and revision, this could create a day-long sequence on slam poetry. Bring a notebook and something to write with.

Editing Circle: Engaging Page One

GreenIf you don’t grab a reader in the first few paragraphs or stanzas, they usually don’t keep reading the rest—and that goes for editors, too. Timothy Green will lead a multi-genre editing workshop formatted in the Japanese style of the haiku circle. Participants should bring several samples of their writing—this can be anything from poems to short stories, essays, memoirs, articles, or novel chapters. Do not write your name on the samples. We’ll read their opening sections anonymously, so that you can hear how your writing sounds in someone else’s mouth, and discuss the ways in which we’re engaged as an audience, or not. Tim will offer advice and lessons on grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it. This is a workshop for all skill-levels and genres, and will be repeated in the afternoon, so pick the session that works best for your other workshop choice.

Nature, Words, and Spirit: Connecting the Dots – SOLD OUT!

McCandless

Former Yosemite park ranger and Wrightwood resident Joan McCandless will lead a beginner-level hike through the trails of the 200-acre Camp Mariastella property. Learn about the flora and fauna of the San Gabriel Mountains and use the beauty of these mountains as inspiration. Mary Duman, also calls Wrightwood home, and is a teacher, healer, and artist. She will co-lead this hike and facilitate the creation of a mandala, using meditation. The finished products will also act as focusing tools for writing. Discover the benefits of combining meditation, making art & writing. Bring your creative spirit and a set of sturdy shoes, a notebook, and something to write with.

Performing Prose

FrankPublishing your story is only half the battle. Authorship in the 21st century is part performance—and the performance aspect is something authors tend to ignore. From bookstore readings, to radio appearances, to literary festivals, one of your jobs as a writer is to engage a live audience. Wrightwoodian Ronald Frank, a professionally trained Shakespearean method actor, will teach you how to make the most of your own voice as a physical instrument—how to project, engage, enunciate, and, most importantly, how to bring an authentic emotional presentation to the stage. Bring a few of your own writing samples that you would like to perform.

Book Buzz

Looking for your next great read? Do you have a favorite book you would love to share? In the middle of reading a book and want to share your excitement (or frustration)? If so, join Wrightwood resident and retired educator, Jan Vondra, for this interactive session designed for lovers of written expression. Come with a few of your own suggestions for favorite books, an excerpt to share, and a resource that you use to find new books to read. All genres and opinions are welcome. Participants will leave with a list of group-recommended “Best of Festival” titles, ideas about online and other resources for finding new books, different perspectives about books you may already know, and some new acquaintances who share your passion for reading.

 

Afternoon Session (2:15 p.m.)

A Conversation with Victoria Patterson

TulacroWriter and professor Vicki Barras Tulacro sits down with the author of Drift and The Little Brother, Victoria Patterson, to discuss writing, teaching, skateboarding, publishing, mothering and yes, her most recent book The Little Brother. At the end of the conversation, there will be time to open up the floor and have the audience join in the discussion. Book signing to follow.

Songwriting 101

JonesThis is a hands-on workshop in which participants produce one to four songs (depending on group size) by writing ideas and experiencing a suggested corresponding musical arrangement (chords, melody, rhythm and tempo). The workshop, led by Gregory Jones, approaches the subject of songwriting via the categories of Clarity and Sophistication, suggesting that successful songwriting requires communicating a clear idea while being equally entertaining. In large group, using a simplified SYMLOG type graphic, Jones will assign four types of lyric to four types of chords, tempo, styles of music, etc. In small groups, participants will collaborate one verse which is then matched to its musical counterpart. This back and forth process continues and concludes with a performance of each song.

Can I, Should I, Consider Screenwriting?

Adapting a book, a poem, the kernel of an idea, a conversation, a scene in your imagination, anything, into a movie, is a holy grail writers often reach for. But the steps needed to go from some sketched out idea,s or a full-blown and developed novel, then adapting that into a screenplay, take years of research and enduring rejection. Janet Hay adapts her workshops to those in the room attending, from experienced screenwriters with completed scripts for film and television, to writers who have just begun considering a new platform for themselves. She accommodates writers who wish to promote and expand their careers to encompass scripts, or are simply drawn to explore the experience of starting with the prompt of those two magic words: “FADE IN.” Janet’s lively and brutally honest approach on how to plan, adapt, format, pitch, cope with rejection and understand the process from start to finish is fast-paced, so buckle up!

Crafting the Draft (Advanced) – SOLD OUT!

ConstantineBrendan Constantine presents a generative poetry workshop. Participants will explore techniques for getting started, what it means to “craft a draft,” and the challenges of ending a poem well. Known for his dreamy abstraction and the emotional ferocity of his work, Constantine is also a teacher of poetry in local schools and colleges as well as hospitals, elder care centers and shelters for the homeless. He’ll bring has vast experience to the mountains. Sufferers of Writer’s Block strongly encouraged. Bring something to write with and something to write on. This workshop is also offered in the morning. The afternoon session is geared slightly more toward advanced writers, but the content is the same, and writers of all levels are welcome at either session.

The Four Foundations of Fiction Writing – SOLD OUT!

UrmstonJoin author and professor Elisa Suzanne Grajeda-Urmston for a workshop on the essential components of story. This workshop will help writers create realistic characters and stories by focusing on atmosphere/setting, character vs. caricature, plot and dialogue by offering exercises that encourage writers explore each of these important components of writing fiction. Bring something to write with and on. This workshop is also offered in the morning, and writers of all skill-levels are welcome at either session.

Page to Stage: The Performance of Spoken Word

Continue transforming your poetry from page to stage with the power of spoken word. Join poet and championship slam coach Kelly Grace Thomas to focus on the performance aspect of spoken word poetry. With an emphasis on articulation, body language, and emotional truth, participants will practice, perform, and polish work for a public audience. This is a blood pumping, on your feet experience designed to help you explore and embody your art. Bring a few poems you would like to preform and revise—perhaps including the poem you wrote in Kelly’s morning session. You don’t have to take both the morning and afternoon Page-to-Stage workshops—they are designed to work individually—but they can combine to form a day-long immersion into slam poetry.

Editing Circle: Engaging Page One – SOLD OUT!

GreenIf you don’t grab a reader in the first few paragraphs or stanzas, they usually don’t keep reading the rest—and that goes for editors, too. Timothy Green will lead a multi-genre editing workshop formatted in the Japanese style of the haiku circle. Participants should bring several samples of their writing—this can be anything from poems to short stories, essays, memoirs, articles, or novel chapters. Do not write your name on the samples. We’ll read their opening sections anonymously, so that you can hear how your writing sounds in someone else’s mouth, and discuss the ways in which we’re engaged as an audience, or not. Tim will offer advice and lessons on grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it. This is a workshop for all skill-levels and genres, and will be repeated in the morning, so pick the session that works best for your other workshop choice.