In “The Searchers,” author and publisher Robert James Russell will not only work through what it means to be a storyteller, but how to find the story worth telling—keeping ourselves and our readers engaged. As writers, it’s easy to forget that we are storytellers—take away social media and publication fanfare, and what we’re left with, at a most basic level, is our desire to tell a story we feel is important and necessary. But how do we know what makes a good story? Whether the material is better suited for a poem or vignette? Whether you’ve stitched together the right pieces to yield the most effective whole?
In this course, Russell will address these questions, helping writers determine when to identify when a story or manuscript is too light on detail or when it’s overwritten; he will give advice on shaping a piece—from initial brainstorming through final edits—including how we carve stories out of our lives and create meaningful narratives; additionally, writers will, through various exercises, craft stories not only from their own experiences, but from the world around them, with an eye toward publication, ultimately asking: What is the story we’re trying to tell? Who is it we’re trying to reach?
Writers will leave this workshop with a renewed sense of vigor in their craft and confidence in their ability to suss out when a piece is working or not—when, and how, the story’s worth telling. In addition, we will discuss important resources for writers, examples of fiction and nonfiction that instruct and move us, and resources to get pieces published. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels and backgrounds.
When: Friday, October 26th, 6:00pm-7:30pm
Saturday, October 27th, 9:30am-3:30pm
Sunday, October 28th, 9:30am-3:30pm
Where: Iowa Writers' House