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Workshops

Personal Essay Workshop with Jennifer Brice

Jennifer Brice workshop for summer writer's.A nurturing but rigorous workshop in the art and craft of transforming life into art. Open to writers who are at work on one or more personal essays. Submit up to 25 pages. The idea is to meet everyone’s work wherever it is and to help them take it to the next level, whether that’s Draft #2, Draft #17, or publication. Ideally, every member should come to the conference having read each manuscript with care. Detailed written comments aren’t necessary; constructive criticism is. Individual conferences will be scheduled with the instructor. Depending on time, there is the possibility of reading additional material and generating new work over the course of the week.

Submission Limit: 7,500 words (~25 pages)
Workshop Size: Ten participants


The Art of the Narrative with Bill Barich

At the core of every successful book, whether fiction or nonfiction, is a strong narrative component. The art of storytelling is ancient, of course, but writers often overlook the need to connect with a reader and become too caught up in moving the parts of a book around. A story’s DNA is established in its first few pages, and that determines the rightness or wrongness of everything to follow. Garcia Marquez once said he can spend two or three months on a first paragraph, unable to continue until he gets it right.

In this workshop, we’ll concentrate on how best to achieve a page-turning narrative by cutting and compressing. We’ll focus most especially on language, on the clarity and concision that distinguishes first-rate work from the run-of-the-mill. Participants must be actively involved with each other’s writing, open to constructive criticism, and willing to think outside the box. The idea is to break the habits holding you back.

The workshop is limited to five writers, each of whom will submit a work in progress—fiction, memoir, or autobiography.

Submission Limit: 60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Workshop Size: Five participants


Hybrid Creative Writing Intensive (Non-fiction/Fiction/Auto-fiction) with David Ryan

In this workshop we'll discuss each other's essays, autobiographical fiction, or any blend of the two, with dramatic interest in mind. I want to show how metaphor and memory work together to layer and deepen the truth of self-reflective writing, regardless of genre. Each workshop will include a roundtable discussion, where everyone will have read each other's work and prepared in-depth, thoughtful comments. Line edits aren't necessary, but a deep engagement with other participants' work is. The goal will be to find the center of interest living, but sometimes hiding, in the work—to then draw it out and intensify it. Through prompts and some theory I'd like to talk about how to create surprise, suspense, and empathy in your writing; how to use form and symmetry to shape conscious experience from the chaos of our lives into something artful and imaginative. Ultimately, you'll not only have improved your manuscript, but you'll know a bit more about how your life relates to, and compels, broader human experience.

Submission Limit: 60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Workshop Size: Five participants


Novel Intensive with Brock Clarke

This workshop will focus on writing and revising a novel, with an eye toward pacing, structure, logic, theme, voice, plot, characterization--everything, in other words. Workshop members are asked to submit whatever they've finished, whether it's a full draft or a representative excerpt or something in between, just as long as the submission is substantial enough to enable your readers to give you what you need. Speaking of that: workshop members will be asked to do a good bit of reading in preparation for the conference. I encourage everyone to line-edit brief passages in each other's work, but I will definitely expect everyone to be able to talk, in detail, about each other's fiction during workshop, and also to provide a detailed letter to the writer offering praise, encouragement, gentle (but specific) criticism, and ideas for revision. I will write each of you a long letter, and will line-edit a substantial, representative section of each of your manuscripts. Each participant will get his or her own workshop session, and I will meet with you outside of workshop as well. Finally, I will bring in examples of fiction and non-fiction that will help you with writing and revising your novels.

Submission Limit: 60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Workshop Size: Five participants


Novel Intensive with Brian Hall

This workshop is an opportunity to have a novel manuscript read by the instructor and your fellow attendees (partial manuscripts are also welcome: recommended minimum of 50 pages).

With five participants, each possibly bringing a full novel, attendees must be ready to do a lot of reading in preparation for the conference. Line editing of each other's work is not necessary, but everyone should come prepared to comment in detail on each submission during the morning session, and provide each other with written comments of a general (or specific, of course, if you want) nature on their work.

We will workshop one manuscript each morning. I will meet one-on-one in the afternoon with the writer whose work was discussed in the morning. I will provide detailed feedback on the entire manuscript, and will line-edit about 50 pages, to give an idea of textual issues that might pertain to the whole. Although a lot of preparation is required, the week is worth it.

Submission Limit: 60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Workshop Size: Five participants


This Summer, You Write Your Novel with Naomi Jackson

Stephen King suggests that a novel should be written in a season. Walter Moseley’s This Year, You Write Your Novel offers advice on how to do as the title of this book suggests. In this workshop, students will make significant progress towards their goal of finishing a complete first draft of their novels by the end of the summer. Participants will cheer each other on as they break through obstacles to their projects’ completion. Each student will submit and receive substantive feedback on a new excerpt of their novel-in-progress. Appropriate for beginning as well as advanced writers, this weeklong workshop will be of particular interest to writers who want to strengthen character development and employ new ideas for plotting and structuring their manuscripts.

Submission Limit: 60,000 words (~200 pages)*
Workshop Size: Five participants


Poetry with Bruce Smith

In the brief but intense time we have at Colgate, I'd like to think of the workshop as both a close reading of your existing work [in appreciative and critical ways] and as suggestions on how to push the work farther. The emphasis will be both on the language and the shaping and forming of the writing, and the imagination -- the vision that's unique to each individual. Workshop style discussion of student work will be the emphasis, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as model or target for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer. I’ll begin class with what I call, an “exemplary” poet – avoiding the more proscriptive term “essential.” Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to lick them into shape, and to revise them.

Submission Limit: Six poems, totaling no more than 25 pages
Workshop Size: Ten participants


Poetry with Javier Zamora

Workshop description coming soon!

Submission Limit: Six poems, totaling no more than 25 pages
Workshop Size: Ten participants


Two Fictions, Fat and Thin (Stories and Flashes) with CJ Hauser

For this workshop you will submit a complete short story draft to be critiqued by your fellow writers. You will receive written critiques from all members of the class as well as from me. We will discuss your work to help guide you toward a revisions strategy, but we will also use your submissions as a springboard for more macro discussions about the craft of story writing.

Each day we will also read a piece of flash fiction in class in order to learn how to conjure potent language and enchant readers with our storytelling. We will do exercises in class, inspired by our daily flashes, to generate new ideas and work.

This workshop welcomes writers of realism as well as writers of speculative or experimental fiction. Bring me your unflinchingly real, your incisively true, your fantastically weird, or your terrifically peculiar. I can’t wait.

Submission Limit: 7,500 words (~25 pages)
Workshop Size: Ten participants


Writers' Retreat

In addition to the workshop experience, there are increasingly participants who attend for the week simply to engage in a Writers’ Retreat. During such a retreat, one refrains from joining a workshop, but rather participates in whatever portions of the conference one finds interesting: craft and shop talks by professional editors and agents; evening readings; readings of one’s own work to other participants; socializing and sharing.

Perhaps you have earned yourself a retreat of this nature?


*We can only guarantee space for manuscripts of 60,000 words or less, but we will try to accommodate larger submissions.

The standard workshop fee covers up to 60,000 words (~200 pages). Participants can submit additional pages at a rate of $250 for every additional 30,000 words (~100 pages).