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The Foundational Elements of Storytelling

  • Wallace House 756 16th Street Des Moines, IA, 50314 United States (map)

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

When: Friday, June 2nd, 6:00-7:00pm (Reception featuring drinks and chef created hors de oeurves)

Saturday, June 3rd, 10:00am-3:30pm (lunch break, 12:00-1:30pm)

Sunday, June 4th, 10:00am-3:30pm (lunch break, 12:00-1:30pm)

Where: The Wallace House, 756 16th St, Des Moines, IA 50314

Fee: $265; Early bird pricing until May 16th- $245



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. All experience levels welcome.


Kali VanBaale’s debut novel, The Space Between, earned an American Book Award, the Independent Publisher’s silver medal for general fiction, and the Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novel Award. Her second novel, The Good Divide, was published by Midwestern Gothic Press in 2016. Her third novel, The Cure for Hopeless Causes, was awarded a State of Iowa Arts Council major artist grant and is pending publication.
Her short stories and essays have appeared in Nowhere Magazine, Numéro Cinq, The Milo Review, Northwind Literary, Poets&Writers, The Writer and several anthologies.
Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and she is a faculty member in the Lindenwood University MFA in Creative Writing Program. She currently lives outside Des Moines with her family.


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: May 24
Scarlet Room Write-In
Later Event: June 4
Learning Graphic Novels!