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Writing from Start to Finish

  • Iowa Writers' House 332 E Davenport St (map)

Saturday, February 18th, 10 am- 3:30 pm (break at noon for lunch)
Sunday, February 19th, 10 am- 3:30 pm (break at noon for lunch)
WHERE: The Iowa Writers' House, 332 E Davenport St
FEE: $245

Most of us have a fun time getting a new piece of writing going. We love arriving at the idea for a piece and are excited to begin. But sometimes we write a couple of pages of prose or a few stanzas of poetry, and ask ourselves, “Now what?” Often we become stuck, or simply don’t know how to develop a piece or think that we need to write toward a neat little ending. Sometimes we rush forward and complete the piece in a sketchy way that we know isn’t satisfying. Sometimes we abandon the piece for a while and put it a “To Do” file for later work.

This workshop will help writers learn the craft of development, how we see a piece through from start to finish. We’ll practice strategies to cultivate the ground between the attack, or beginning of piece, and the closure. We’ll learn how to take the next step, whether its building suspense, unwinding the plot, or following through with the central metaphor or other poetic structure. We’ll look at specific techniques like the use of transitions and stylistic choices that create momentum in a piece of writing. Writers in all genres—poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or playwriting are invited to participate.

Bio: Mary Swander is the author of 13 books of non-fiction and poetry, her latest a chapbook called The Sunny Side by Route #3 Press. Swander is currently touring two plays—Vang, a drama about recent immigrate farmers, and Map of my Kingdom or Who’s Going to Get the Farm? throughout the United States. Swander is the Poet Laureate of Iowa and Executive Director of AgArts, a foundation designed to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts.


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: February 14
Violet Realm Write-In
Later Event: February 21
Rainbow Room Write-In