PT Barnum billed his “Egress” as a fearsome attraction, but visitors to his museum found out the truth: The egress was nothing more than the exit. During this workshop, we’ll do a little truth-seeking of our own to discover what completing a novel or memoir is really all about. We’ll debunk some myths, allay some fears, and demystify the process, turning the thought of finishing a long work from a petrifying prospect to a realistic goal.
Writing a novel or memoir in isolation can be exhilarating, but it can also leave you with abandoned drafts, half-written chapters, and the sinking feeling that there’s no way out. Gaining insight from unbiased readers—myself and the other members of the group—in a supportive, creative atmosphere will help you identify issues, clarify your intent, and find real ways to improve your manuscript. To this end, our primary focus will be on the craft of writing. Through exercises and activities, we’ll pinpoint potential trouble spots and equip you with the tools to address them.
Activities will be combined with discussions aimed at helping you gain new insight to constructing and completing your novel or memoir. We’ll explore ways to approach characters, work with point of view (POV) and tense, create immersive scenes, and reinforce the structure of your existing manuscript. Because writing a novel or memoir takes as long as it takes, this workshop is designed to inspire you to finish your manuscript in your own time.
This workshop is intended for writers who are looking for guidance and encouragement while working on a novel or memoir already in progress, so please be prepared to share elements of your work with the group. Ideally, you’ll have a portion of your novel or memoir already completed, as well as a solid grasp of the story you’re working on.
We’ll be doing writing exercises in pairs or groups, so be sure to bring a pen and paper with you. Readings and illustrative materials will be provided.