Workshops

The pre-conference workshops will be offered on June 22nd, and run for three hours: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Workshop early bird fee is 90€. Participants may register for workshops without attending the conference. (minimum 5 persons – maximum 15 persons, or consent of workshop leader as to increase or decrease numbers) Please note that participants attending the workshops need to arrive on the 21st of June.

10:00 am – 1:00 pm
1. Robin McLean – Monsters, Tales, and Going to the Dark Side
4. Rebekah Clarkson – Finding the Gaps: Giving and Receiving Feedback on Short Stories
5. Evelyn Conlon – After The Boots Have Gone On
7. Cyril Dabydeen – Does Length Really Matter? The Poet as Short Story Writer

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
2. Licia Canton – Finding the Story: Writing Forward in Calabria
3. Marjorie Kanter – Creativity Writing Workshop: Notice/Attention, Accurate Recording and Playfulness
6. Michael Mirolla – How to Maximize your Chances of Publishing a Short Story Collection
8.  Sena Jeter Naslund – The Short-Short Story in Practice


1- Monsters, Tales, and Going to the Dark Side with ROBIN MCLEAN

We live in strange times. On one hand, we in the 21st Century claim to prize logic and rationality above all else; in our college classrooms, in our Fortune 50 boardrooms and in our civic debates over immigration, climate change and other vexing moral and ethical issues, our society seeks empirical data and proof. Yet in the popular and artistic media the irrational is booming! We are obsessed, it seems, with zombies and vampires, magic and tall tales. Why? Is there something in us that craves the balance of light and darkness? Whatever the reason, short fiction writers should rejoice over the surging interest in the modern fairy tale. Fairy tales—the oldest form of the short story—have always provided an artistic and intellectual space to explore what logic and reason cannot, the unspoken possibilities inherent in human beings.
In this workshop, through a series of exercises, we will leave reality in the dust. We will explore the fairy tale as a highly relevant, accessible, fun and liberating modern form of the short story. In doing so, we will see how this form can enlighten us about the light and dark sides of ourselves.


2- Finding the Story: Writing Forward in Calabria with LICIA CANTON

You have ideas for a story but don’t know how to begin. How do you decide if a story is worthy of being written? How do you move forward from a story idea to a first draft?
This workshop will guide you through the writing process. We will look at ways of perfecting the story and steps to follow once a final version has been completed.


3- Creativity Writing Workshop: Notice/Attention, Accurate Recording and Playfulness with MARJORIE KANTER

This workshop is interactive and process oriented. It has as its goal, the opening of doors to and enhancing your creative energies. Multiple short activities and exercises bring about exploration and understanding of self, context, relationship…etc. You will participate in the presentation and working through of multiple short activities and exercises to facilitate this opening of doors to your creative mind. We will look at things from diverse points of view. You will dig into your sub-conscious, work to catch floating (and often previously unnoticed) thoughts, expand your thinking and use language to express that thinking. We will turn things upside down and inside out, pay attention to oneself and what is around one’s self, hear and see different points of view, capture and record accurately and then engage in playfulness to transform collected data into creative writing pieces.  The workshop will include the cycling and weaving through of activities focused on the following:
• Notice and attention.
• Data gathering and accurate recording.
• Playfulness.


4- Finding the Gaps: Giving and Receiving Feedback on Short Stories with REBEKAH CLARKSON

By virtue of their brevity, it is quick and easy to provide a writer with great feedback on a short story, right?

Wrong! (And we’ve all lived through a horror to know it.) But at some point in the writing process, we need and want to receive feedback on our short stories. The first half of this workshop will guide you through a range of reflections to help you better understand your own creative process as a short story writer, how to find appropriate feedback and how to hear it in a way that empowers you to serve the story you’ve written. When should we seek feedback? How? And from whom? Is a writing group a good idea? And what group model – if any – might suit us best? The second half of the workshop will provide strategies for giving astute and sensitive feedback on the stories of others and particularly, how to shed light on missed narrative opportunities peculiar to the short form – those elusive and wondrous ‘gaps’ that have the capacity to create whole worlds. This workshop is designed to be empowering, illuminating and skill-building: no scary feedback sessions here.


5 – After The Boots Have Gone On with EVELYN CONLON

In this workshop, I will help the writers enter into negotiations with all their senses, as they begin at the beginning of stories. In other words, we will look at what happens “after the boots have been put on,” as the writer begins those first steps and how to continue walking with confidence. I would like participants to leave knowing why they are creating the particular work they’re engaged in and how to finish it.


6- How to Maximize your Chances of Publishing a Short Story Collection with MICHAEL MIROLLA

Personal experiences by someone who combines publishing, editing and writing. From putting together the best collection possible to creating can’t-miss tag lines, synopses, audience targeting and marketing plans. Historical examples followed by one-on-one tutoring of workshop attendee presentations. This workshop will provide 1. Hands-on information and one-to-one dialogue for short story writers at all levels of their development. The approach will depend on the make-up of the attendees. 2. Specific information on what makes a good short story collection. 3. Information on publishers who are favorable towards publishing short story collections and the types of collections they favor. 4. Information on how to create/fine tune successful tag lines, synopses, audience targeting and marketing plans — with examples followed by one-on-one with attendees. Mirolla will help writers develop the ability to explain during the workshop the level they’re at (how close they feel they are to having a collection ready), and the types of short stories they write. He will assist writers the skill of bringing in tag lines, synopses, audience targeting and marketing plans so that they can be discussed and dissected in the workshop.

7- Does Length Really Matter? The Poet as Short Story Writer with CYRIL DABYDEEN

This workshop is aimed at those who see themselves as poets but wish to attempt the short fiction genre with its challenges. Emphasis on Voice and Extending the Language for the Poet in you (participant) and becoming the Short Story Writer. Character and quality of the emotion are emphasized as writers go about the task, e.g, writing flash fiction. Emphasis also will be placed on the structure of sentences and paragraphs, i.e, pacing the narrative, including word-choices (diction, parts of speech), and apt use of imagery drawn from one’s “own story” and memory. How to overcome verbosity–the poet’s plague–to writing the tight, well-structured short story will be key.


8- The Short-Short Story in Practice with SENA JETER NASLUND

This workshop will be an exercise in which the critiquing of a story is practiced–what worked best about the piece; what most needed additional attention? I will ask participants to submit stories ahead of time; they should be very short stories–not more than three, typed, double-spaced, unpublished pages, but complete. I will select five of the three-page stories submitted for the workshop discussion. As such, both writers who want their work critiqued, as well as students who want to hone their critiquing skills, should attend this workshop. Depending on the number of stories submitted, I cannot guarantee that each story will be critiqued in class, but everyone will receive feedback. Everyone is expected to read the five selected stories in advance. The discussion will be about the merits of the piece, in general. That is, we’ll touch on its subject, structure, style, and significance (the 4 s’s, I call these categories), and we may also talk about aspects of plot, character, theme, setting, and point of view. Stories must be submitted by May 15, 2021, in word format to sena.naslund@gmail.com