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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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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Exploring Narrative Journeys: Heroes, Heroines, and Coming of Age
Oct
6
to Oct 8

Exploring Narrative Journeys: Heroes, Heroines, and Coming of Age

In this course, we’ll explore three narrative journey devices in order to better understand their structure, characterization, and universal qualities. Undeniably, the hero’s quest has timeless appeal and continues to drive the plots of bestselling novels and Hollywood movies. More and more, however, the heroine’s (or feminine) journey and its unique arc is being explored for story constructs, so we’ll take a look at how it compares. And with the crossover success of the YA genre, it makes sense to consider the coming-of-age journey separately and equally. 

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The Fundamentals of Fiction
Oct
20
to Oct 22

The Fundamentals of Fiction

The difference between a person who reads and a person who reads and writes is quite simple: the act of writing itself. But where and how to start? It's one thing to understand how fiction works—the knowledge and ability to identify key elements on the page; it's another thing entirely to apply that same understanding to one's own work. In this weekend workshop, we will discuss in concrete terms how to apply that knowledge of character development, setting, dialogue, conflict, plot, and more to our own work. This will be a fun, lively, and productive weekend, with a host of highly interactive discussions and writing exercises to generate our own work—practicing the fundamental aspects of fiction—so that we might leave with several pages of material and perhaps a draft of something larger and more complete to bring home. 

This course is designed for beginning writers as well as experienced writers who want a refresher. Regardless of level, all are welcome, and all will leave the workshop with better knowledge, understanding, and application of these fundamental elements of fiction. 

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Short Fiction: From Conception to Publication
Oct
27
to Oct 29

Short Fiction: From Conception to Publication

Cailler will address the essential elements of short fiction that separate it from other genres, and he will speak to how practicing the short form can grow one's ability to attempt and conquer longer, novel-like work. In addition, he will show participants the best resources for finding suitable publishers and how short fiction can allow a writer to publish frequently and bolster his or her writing credentials. 

Writers will leave this workshop with a renewed sense of passion, purpose, and direction. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels and backgrounds. 

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The Craft of Fiction
Nov
3
to Nov 5

The Craft of Fiction

The purpose of this workshop, open to all levels of experience, is to focus on the craft of fiction, allowing each student to learn the basics of novel writing. Together, we will generate new material and refine the writing generated in the workshop. Beginners will learn the elements of fiction and more advanced students will dig deep into craft and hone their skills. With a special focus on character, plot, voice, and narrative drive, each student will have the opportunity to grow through writing exercises, reading (very short) pieces, sharing your work, as well as providing feedback for the other members of the class.

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Revision Strategies for Novels and Memoirs
Nov
10
to Nov 12

Revision Strategies for Novels and Memoirs

You’ve written the first draft of a novel or memoir and you’re ready to start shaping and polishing it through the revision and editing processes. Through discussion, examples, and writing exercises, we’ll focus on revision versus editing, revision stages, and techniques to revise plot and structure, scene, characterization/narrative voice, setting, opening chapters, opening lines, and titles. 

This workshop is designed for writers at any skill level. While a working first draft is a plus for this workshop, it’s not a requirement and the workshop will be beneficial whatever stage your project is in. All genres are welcome. 

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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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Our Available Wilderness: Using Personal Experiences and Memories to Elevate Fiction and Nonfiction
Dec
1
to Dec 3

Our Available Wilderness: Using Personal Experiences and Memories to Elevate Fiction and Nonfiction

Russell will teach writers how to tap into memories and physical senses, why physical and place-setting details are essential to good writing, and how our own histories are rich with stories worth telling, no matter the genre. Writers will leave this workshop with a renewed sense of pride in their personal experiences. In addition, Russell will discuss important resources for writers, examples of fiction and nonfiction that instruct and move us, and resources for getting pieces published. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels and backgrounds. 
 

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

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
6:00pm 6:00pm

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
1:00pm 1:00pm

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
1:00pm 1:00pm

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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The Love Story: A Writing Workshop with Vu Tran
Apr
21
to Apr 23

The Love Story: A Writing Workshop with Vu Tran

This workshop will examine the ways we write about love in fiction: romantic love, familial love, unconventional love, etc.  Our basis will be the notion that love is ultimately self-knowledge, which lies at the core of all great fiction, and like self-knowledge it involves an endless and inexhaustible act of seeking. 

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