The West Virginia Division of Culture and History in collaboration with the West Virginia Library Commission will sponsor an intensive creative writing skills workshop on Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The conference, Writers’ Toolbox: Honing Your Craft, is free and open to the public.
There will be two sessions of two-hour workshops: 10 a.m. - noon, and 1 - 3 p.m. Each session will feature four concurrent classes. The morning session will offer “Writing Poetry in Three Steps” with Doug Van Gundy of Elkins; “West Virginia’s Historical Archives and You” with popular Charleston workshop leader Geoffrey Fuller; “Whose View to Choose: Point of View” with writer, editor and speaker Sandy Tritt; and “Building A Better Screenplay” with filmmaker and graphic novelist Robert Tinnell.
Van Gundy will focus on the Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s three steps: getting started, keeping going and getting started again. This includes creating a first draft, editing the draft and getting feedback from others. Van Gundy’s poems and essays have appeared in Fretboard Journal, The Charleston Gazette, The Lullwater Review, Ecotone and Goldenseal. His first book of poetry, A Life Above Water, was recently published by Red Hen Press. Fuller will reveal various sources in the West Virginia State Archives and techniques for utilizing them that writers can employ to enrich their life-writing or genealogical narratives. Fuller is a former textbook editor and business writing teacher. Currently he is working on a manuscript about the 1970 murders of two Morgantown coeds, with a working premise that the wrong person is in jail.
Tritt will examine how to select which point of view to use, how to control the omniscient point of view to avoid “head hopping,” and how to select the perfect viewpoint character for each scene. The workshop is valuable for beginning and mid-level writers who want to improve their craft, or for readers who want a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create a working story. Tritt is the founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, an editing and critiquing service for aspiring writers. Her novels and short stories have been published in journals and magazines such as Gambit, Confluence, Mountain Voices, and Northwestern. She also has published seven technical manuals, and ghostwritten one award-winning screenplay and two memoirs. Tinnell will teach participants ways to make meaningful improvements to screenplays including avoiding the easy traps that give development executives excuses to say no. In addition to the graphic novel Feast of the Seven Fishes, Tinnell has directed such films as Believe with Elisha Cuthbert and Frankenstein and Me with Burt Reynolds. More recently he penned the hit graphic novels The Black Forest and The Wicked West. Rue Morgue magazine chose his graphic novel Sight Unseen as the Best Horror Comic of 2006.
Afternoon sessions will include a repeat of Fuller’s workshop, “West Virginia’s Historical Archives and You;” “Basics of Screenwriting” with filmmaker Daniel Boyd; “Drop and Give Me Fifty: Writing Skinny and Sexy Prose” with Tritt; and “Words Meet Pictures” with Tinnell. Boyd’s workshop will concentrate on crafting a story for the screen using the classical three-act structure, and how to get the story on the page in screenplay format. Boyd’s early film projects took him from the hobo jungles of the United States with Homeless Brother to the war-torn mountains of Guatemala with Marcos De San Marcos. His first feature film Chillers was released in 1988 and was awarded the Silver Scroll for excellence from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in Los Angeles.
Tritt’s session will cover how to write so your reader can’t stop reading–which is to put your prose on a diet and cut all unnecessary words, all redundancy, all adverbs, all telling, and all passivity. The result? Skinny, sexy prose your reader can’t stop reading. Tinnell’s workshop will cover the basics of writing for comics and graphic novels, including an effort at creating a basic comic strip.
Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch to eat from noon - 1 p.m. The Appalachian Book Company will be on hand selling books from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
For more information about the Writers’ Toolbox: Honing Your Craft workshop, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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