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

  • Iowa Writers' House 332 East Davenport Street Iowa City, IA, 52245 United States (map)

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

A workshop for teens ages 12-16 

When: June 19-23, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Iowa Writers' House, 332 East Davenport St
Fee: $235 ($215 early bird price; Regular registration begins May 26th)


In this workshop, young writers 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 mysterious death of Minnie Seamer in Clinton County.

Seeking Signs began as a classroom project. The unsolved Iowa mystery engaged students in history, research, critical thinking, and creative writing. The dynamic classroom experience inspired Mercado to create her own version of the story.

Workshop students will examine old newspaper articles and Minnie Seamer’s death record. Working as a veritable investigation crew, they will collaborate to ask questions and brainstorm possible answers based on the facts of the case.

After analyzing and evaluating theories, student sleuths will create their own versions of the story, creating their very own work of fiction. 

Tell your teens to prepare for a fast-paced, fun-filled, writing workshop adventure!

staci mercado.jpg

Staci Mercado won a Midwest Book Award for her historical fiction novel, Seeking Signs (Four Feathers Press, 2013). She has published work in Barely South Review and Our Iowa and has work forthcoming in Flash Fiction Magazine and Broad Street. Staci teaches writing at her local high school. 

Students should bring a notebook and a pencil for class each day. All other materials including bulletin board creation materials will be provided.
Class begins at 2pm and ends at 5pm. If you need additional time after 5pm to pick up your child, just let us know.

For any questions, feel free to call Iowa Writers' House Director, Andrea Wilson at 786-612-5551.

We are looking forward to an amazing adventure workshop experience and immersing your child in the magic of writing!

Register for Workshop

Everyone has a story to tell. If you are financially unable to attend this workshop, scholarships are available through our generous partners and donors. 


Helping another person attend a workshop is helping them achieve their dreams. Thank you for making our world a better place.


Earlier Event: June 14
Cedar Room Write-In
Later Event: June 20
Rainbow Room Write-In