Art of the Pitch
Feb
11
1:00 PM13:00

Art of the Pitch

Maybe you have a brilliant idea for a non-fiction story or perhaps there is an essay, hidden like a jewel in your files, the only trouble is, you don’t know how to get published. This intensive three-hour course, is designed to take you from idea, to pitch, to publication.

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Go There: Fierce Writing from Exactly Where You Are
Dec
1
to Dec 3

Go There: Fierce Writing from Exactly Where You Are

In this class, we’ll learn how to capture in writing the places and the people we know intimately in order to create the specificity that all readers desire. We’ll reexamine familiar places for new inspiration, look for the totems they offer us to work with, and inhabit the characters of these settings by writing from their points of view. For outside inspiration, we’ll read authors who have mastered the art of place. It’s time to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and start writing with purpose and urgency, right here and right now.

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The Power of Reframing
Nov
15
6:00 PM18:00

The Power of Reframing

In this course, Andrea leads us through a reflective journey into the self; guiding creative methods of self-authorization and purpose finding. The participants will learn ways to translate complex emotions associated with significant events in their lives into a written form of storytelling that is safe, supportive and appropriate for a broader public. 

She discusses how individuals can anticipate narrative arcs that allow us to live as the characters we wish to become. Such public forms of writing are crucial as a way to bear witness both to the mercies and the travesties of the everyday world—it can help others learn the language necessary to give voice to their own experiences.

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The Power of Wonder
Nov
8
6:00 PM18:00

The Power of Wonder

This class focuses on how traumatic and difficult events can also be interpreted as ruptures that open (rather than close) future possibilities. Looking at the power of wonder, the class will explore the work of the imagination to describe how such ruptures can make us more capable of being aware of the surrounding world and thus more able to pursue the lives we wish to lead.

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The Healing in Story
Nov
1
6:00 PM18:00

The Healing in Story

This class focuses on what happens after we find the words that let us connect ourselves to our memories and to the larger world around us. We will move beyond a core memory or event toward a story that promotes an openness to futures that we would desire. In this way, we are able transition from a place of hurt toward a path of healing. Because such writing involves the grieving process it demonstrates the need for editing and the ability to shape our stories by expanding the context. Editing our stories is not simply excising events that we wish not to remember, but involves adding moments, scenes, and contexts that provide a character arc of an autonomous self. Even in stories where characters lack autonomy, the writer / editor is able to alter how events are told or experienced in ways that liberate characters to more choices in the future.

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The Energy of Story
Oct
25
6:00 PM18:00

The Energy of Story

The Energy of Story helps you begin to understand how to access the unconscious stories that influence our conscious decisions.  Learning to listen and express these stories from a personal place allows the release of shame around trauma and begins to move us to a place of response versus reaction. This gives us the power to author our own stories within the larger familial and cultural stories that surround us.  

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The Science of Story
Oct
18
6:00 PM18:00

The Science of Story

The Power of Science provides a way to redefine our stories from what seems to be a given trajectory influenced by forces beyond our control, to embracing the  empowered state of being the author of our own lives. The class grounds writing as a tool for self-transformation in a scientific approach that demonstrates how the power of story can change our chemical makeup and repair emotional scarring on a cellular level.  Gypsy will explore with you the science of emotion, how it manifests in our physical bodies, and discuss inherited traumas that are inscribed on our genetics and that influences our ability to live healthy lives; emotionally and physically. 

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Developing Your Story in Depth with Jennifer Fawcett
Sep
29
to Oct 1

Developing Your Story in Depth with Jennifer Fawcett

To develop a work, sometimes you need to write to discover the world around the story, the history of characters, the provenance of an object, in other words, sometimes you have to write a lot that won’t go directly on the page but will flavor everything that does. In this workshop, writers will dig deep into their work to discover and strengthen structure, explore the complexities and contradictions of their characters, and heighten imagery that can tie the whole piece together. We will look at what has spilled out on the page in the excitement of the first draft and begin the work of refining, deepening and mining the story within.  This workshop is open to anyone writing a story, no matter what the form. Participants who come with in progress work (some pages of flushed out ideas) will gain the most benefit from the workshop. Beginning writers should feel comfortable bringing their work--we all start somewhere. 

This workshop is sure to be an experience that develops you as a writer and helps you dive deep into the possibilities of your stories!

 

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Seeing Is Believing: Crafting Great Characters from Real Life
Sep
15
to Sep 17

Seeing Is Believing: Crafting Great Characters from Real Life

Whether you are working on a memoir or are a novelist eager to take your character development to a new level, this workshop will reveal new ways to write compelling and emotionally rich portraits of people that feel instantly recognizable in their honesty and complexity. 

Drawing from the literary journalist’s toolkit, writers will master strategies to approach the familiar with new eyes and to access imagery and details that help us truly see another person on the page. By reading and discussing ways other writers have used the raw material of everyday life to craft compelling, emotionally resonant characters, you will walk away with clear ideas for bringing these techniques to your own writing process. And finally, through a series of writing exercises, you will have a chance to bring together all the strands of what you are learning into a single portrait in miniature, and you will receive supportive feedback that leaves you feeling inspired to continue on your own. 

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Violet Realm Write-In
Jul
25
6:00 PM18:00

Violet Realm Write-In

The Violet Realm (VR) is our IWH room dedicated to fantasy fiction and science fiction-- truly for all writers who are interested in creating magical worlds within their works. The Violet Realm meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 6-8pm at the Iowa Public Library in meeting Room B. If you've attended a Violet Realm write-in and would like to stay connected with other sci-fi/fantasy writers, request to join our Facebook group.

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Violet Realm Write-In
Jul
11
6:00 PM18:00

Violet Realm Write-In

The Violet Realm (VR) is our IWH room dedicated to fantasy fiction and science fiction-- truly for all writers who are interested in creating magical worlds within their works. The Violet Realm meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 6-8pm at the Iowa Public Library in meeting Room B. If you've attended a Violet Realm write-in and would like to stay connected with other sci-fi/fantasy writers, request to join our Facebook group.

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An Adventure In Writing: Using History’s Mysteries to Inspire Fiction
Jun
19
to Jun 23

An Adventure In Writing: Using History’s Mysteries to Inspire Fiction

In this workshop, young writers will explore an unsolved Iowa mystery and use the facts of the case to inspire their own fictional tales. Author and teacher Staci Mercado takes students through the process that created Seeking Signs, the 2013 Midwest Book Award winner and a story of historical fiction based on the death of Minnie Seamer in Clinton County. 

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Ghostwriter for Hire!
Jun
4
1:00 PM13:00

Ghostwriter for Hire!

There is a statistic that states that about 80% of the people in the US feel they have a book inside them they want to write. Only about 2% of the population complete and publish a book. Two things are often an impedance, time and skill. Ghostwriters fill in the gap as they are professional writers that have dedicated time and skill to help a client write a book from idea to published form. Currently there is a high demand for ghostwriters, as people want to expand their brands and presence in their respective marketplaces. Ghostwriters can exercise their writing skills, get paid, and not have to worry about coming up with story ideas, marketing or finding a publisher as these are the duties of the client. This presents a great opportunity for freelance writers to create a sustainable income while doing what they love.
This three-hour workshop provides the tools needed to begin ghostwriting which are different than conventional writing. Participants will learn how to collaborate with an author to develop ideas and outlines that match their needs, and will learn how to write in someone else’s voice. Attention will be paid to interviewing skills, transcribing another person’s ideas and concepts, and duplicating an author’s writing style. In addition, participants will learn the basics of being to find and engage clients.
 

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Learning Graphic Novels!
Jun
4
1:00 PM13:00

Learning Graphic Novels!

FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel and PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi have been some of the most beloved books of the past decades. They are also both graphic memoirs.

A graphic memoir can be the ultimate way to “show rather than tell.” In this workshop, we’ll learn about graphic novels and focus on the unique ways images can help tell a story.

Students will learn to use images to move the story forward and to heighten its emotional impact. They will leave with a greater understanding of how images function in a work of graphic nonfiction and with inspiration and ideas for their own graphic works.

Writers, artists, and participants of all levels are welcome. Previous experience or established drawing skills are not required.

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The Foundational Elements of Storytelling
Jun
2
to Jun 4

The Foundational Elements of Storytelling

Announcing our first Writers' House weekend workshop in Des Moines! 

This weekend workshop will examine six essential foundational elements of storytelling in relation to both fiction and nonfiction: characterization, point of view, dialogue, setting, scene, and plot.

Participants will discuss several short essays and successful story examples related to each craft element, and we will use corresponding writing exercises to help develop the practice of each element. Writing exercises will generate new work or can be applied to a work-in-progress, and participants will have multiple opportunities to share what they have written during class time.

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