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2010 Conference
UPDATED 5/24/10

1.    Podcasting for Fun and (mostly) Nonprofit -- With the advent of podcasting and vidcasting, nearly anyone can host their own show and build an audience worldwide--and cheaply.  Some people even make money doing it.  WV Writers' webguy, Eric Fritzius, offers an exploratory look into some of the creative avenues to be found in the podcasting world, covering non-fiction, fiction, not to mention the technical side of things.  (ERIC FRITZIUS)

2.   The Appalachian Inquisition – “Appalachia’s Last Stand” -- A frank and lively discussion about the possibility of the true Appalachia Voice and style becoming extinct as viewed and played from the mountains and valleys of West Virginia and Appalachia.  Our discussion panel is composed of some of the literary elite of this community, including: Denise Giardina, Irene McKinney, Norman Jordan, Gretchen Moran Laskas, Daniel Boyd, Kirk Judd, and Tim Poland.

3.    Hey, Slow Down, Buddy: Pacing in Fiction --  A discussion of the more technical aspects of pacing.  In instructor Tim Poland’s experience, less experienced writers give a lot of attention to rushing through the plot and action, that they often overlook the things, like pacing, that allow for depth and texture in a piece of fiction.  (TIM POLAND)
4.  Assembling the Book --   A practical discussion and reading, showing the development of a novel. Tim Poland shows us how he builds a novel, using The Safety of Deeper Water as a backdrop of this process. Join us in this success story, from beginning to publication. (TIM POLAND)

5.    Get Inspired! How to Plot A Romance -- This session will shed light on one of the most popular sub-genres in romance right now, the inspirational romance. Plotting a romance novel in general will be discussed. Tips will also be offered on trends and how to follow your own voice and still produce a suitable manuscript for the romance market. (PAM HANSON)

6.    How to Interject Humor Into Your Writing and Your Reading -- This workshop will show you how to incorporate humor into what you write, whether it be long pieces or short, and how to be funny, intentionally, when you get up to read it. (PAM HANSON)

7 & 8.    Tones, Timbres and Tunes  (w/cont.) -- Workshops revised specifically for authors (v. songwriters), in which Walker and Martin discuss their approach to the craft. (POPS WALKER / KIPYN MARTIN)

9. How Do You Publish For Children? --  Have questions about publishing children’s books?  Cheryl Ware will share her experience of working with small and large publishers and entertain questions from WVW participants.  (CHERYL WARE)

10.   Writing Books for Young Children --  If you love picture books and easy readers, this is the workshop for you.  Ware will discuss the format and some of the most popular picture books on the market today. (CHERYL WARE)

11.   Writing for Middle Grade and Young Adults --  What is the difference between middle grade, young adult, and an adult novel with a young protagonist?  Join Ware as she shares her knowledge of the Middle Grade and YA formats and for an overview of some of today’s most popular novels for older children and teens. (CHERYL WARE)

12.   Genesis of a Story -- Short stories often grow from a vital nugget (something seen, something heard, something read, something imagined) that may be the beginning, or the turning point, or the end of the story.  In this workshop, students will learn to envision a short story as linear, with the nugget at any point on the story line. Through discussion and writing exercises, students will create a nugget and extend a story from it.  (JIMMY CARL HARRIS)
13.   The Where and When of a Story -- Stories are about people, but the setting (place, time) locates the story and helps to define the characters, establish the mood, and enhance the action. Setting may be described or revealed through narrative or dialogue or both. By discussing examples and participating in writing exercises, students will learn to effectively employ setting. (JIMMY CARL HARRIS)
14.   The Opportunity to Discover -- Writing is more effective when readers are given the opportunity to discover, rather than simply be told, the nature and purpose of the characters. Through a series of examples and exercises, participants will learn to write in a more evocative fashion. (JIMMY CARL HARRIS)
15.   Collaborative Writing -- This session would explore the creative benefits of collaboration.  Collaboration could mean working with a friend on a writing project, using someone else’s work to inspire your own, using a prompt such as a visual image to inspire a piece or writing, or using a piece of writing to inspire and create something visual.  We will discuss various methods of collaboration and do a number of writing activities.  (NATALIE SYPOLT / RENÉE NICHOLSON)

16.  Linked Stories -- This session would examine the genre of linked story collections (or novels in stories).  There is some controversy over how these books are to be viewed—is it a novel?  A story collection? Neither or both?—but what is not controversial is their popularity.  One such creation, Olive Kitteridge, recently won the Pulitzer Prize.  Here, we’ll discuss strategies used for creating a successful collection of linked stories and start planning out some of our own. (NATALIE SYPOLT)

17.  All Together Now: Exploring Collective Narration in Fiction -- This session will look at the seldom used narrative technique of the collective voice (or collective narration).  This means that the story (or novel) is narrated by a group instead of by one omniscient narrator or one single character (take, for example, The Virgin Suicides or Then We Came to the End).  We’ll investigate the way this technique has been used to some success, as well as discuss the pitfalls a writer might encounter when trying to use the collective voice.  We’ll then, of course, try writing a piece of our own. .  (NATALIE SYPOLT)

18.  From Music to Music: Using the Sensory Landscape of Music in Prose and Poetry -- Stanley Kunitz once said, "The ear writes my poems, not the mind."  In this multi-genre workshop, you'll use the power of music to help shape either prose or poems to reflect a new sense of musicality on the page.  Attention to how the sonic qualities of writing can develop line by line or sentence by sentence on the page will help writers of any genre enhance their work with an underlying sense of musicality.      (RENÉE NICHOLSON)

19.   All The Right Moves: Unleashing the Potential of Line Breaks in Your Poems -- All poets labor over line breaks, and no two poets break the line of a poem quite the same.  Understanding what can be gained by getting the right line breaks in your poem can help take a poem from "good" or promising" to emotionally powerful and resonant.  This session will stress the use of line in both conventional and unconventional ways. (RENÉE NICHOLSON)
20.   The Life Cycle of a Character -- In this workshop, the dynamic duo from Inspiration for Writers discusses how to take a character from conception to maturity, giving him not only life, but a life that will live on forever in the reader's heart.  We start with a seed—the conception of a character.  We germinate that seed, slowly bringing it to life by giving our character wants and fears. We continue to grow our character, taking him through the tumultuous teen years by exploring his emotions and learning more about him. As our character matures, we add more layers, exploring different aspects of his or her personality and history.  The Life Cycle of a Character is for writers of all levels, and includes discussion and samples of tools such as books, character charts, and growth charts.  (SANDY TRITT / RHONDA BROWNING WHITE)

21.   What's Your Line (Doing)?  In this class we will explore how the line can work, including but not limited to: as a part of a larger unit (including the sentence); as a unit of meaning apart from any larger unit; linguistically; rhythmically; visually (long, short, interrupted). Our own ideas and practice will be the focus of our discussion, and theory and practice by poets like Richard Hugo (The Triggering Town) and Denise Levertov ("On the Function of the Line" Chicago Review Vol. 30, No. 3. 30-36) will further inform our discussion. A wide variety of examples, from the Renaissance sonnet to Kay Ryan, from Dickinson to Robert Dana, will help us see how lines may be used to generate, guide, and/or contain meaning within a poem. Sample poems that have been restructured as prose (and what about the prose poem?!) will provide a fun exercise in discovering formal and organic potential for lines. Students are encouraged to bring a poem or two of their own for fearless revision, and, using various prompts, students will also begin new poems to engage, hopefully, a new-found relationship with their own lines.   (DONNA LONG)

22.   The Poetry of Norman Jordan: A workshop of readings and discussion from one of West Virginia’s most eminent poets. Norman’s work has been anthologized in Wild Sweet Notes, as well as forty-one other anthologies. Join us in celebrating this lyrical journey through his words.  (NORMAN JORDAN)

23.   Poetry: Using Irish Poetry to Enhance your Writing --  We will look at some work by W.B. Yeats & Seamus Heaney for techniques to invigorate our poems.  Like Appalachian writers, these poets are linked to a region.  How can we use history, myth, and legend to heal our relationship to "place"?  (ROB MERRITT)

24.   Poetry: Taking Poetry by Heart --  We will work with different methods for internalizing poetry by discussing methods for reading and performing poems by established poets, then applying these techniques to our own writing (which can offer new avenues for revision).  A poem can work powerful psychology when we let us take us where it wants to go.  Bring a poem you have written.   (ROB MERRITT)

25.   Nonfiction.  Journaling Techniques --  Of course you can write whatever comes to mind in your journal, but sometimes you are blocked or fall into a repetitive pattern.  We shall try a variety of methods- including dialoguing, drawing, writing letters, tapping into inner wisdom- to enrich your journaling journey.  (ROB MERRITT)

26.   Agents, Editors, and You! -- An open discussion forum featuring Peter Lynch, Christine Witthohn, Kaylan Adair, and Kelly Mortimer. These industry professionals will discuss the do’s and don’ts of publishing, an in depth look at the process, and maybe after this session we can all approach editors and agents with more confidence and be better prepared.  (PETER LYNCH, KELLY MORTIMER, KAYLAN ADAIR, & CHRISTINE WITHOHN)
27.   Lost In Translation --    This discussion-based class will focus on how to tell our stories to people who don’t share our mountain heritage.   We will be concentrating on how to write so that the culture and the beauty of the language comes through without catering to stereotypes. We want people to grasp our history without sentences that sound like footnotes.  Let’s talk about how to handle black humor, double negatives, dialect, biblical quotations and mountain music in our work without making our readers feel choked by a too big a swig of whiskey.    Join us to learn how to make Appalachian stories go down smooth!  (GRETCHEN MORAN LASKAS)

28.   Forensic Science: Where truth meets fiction, Part 1: Forensic Identification --  The primary role of forensic identification is discussed, including fingerprint, dental records, tattoo and scars, DNA and other means of identification. All segments contain graphic images and may not be suitable to all members. (DR. MICHAEL KANE)
29.  Forensic Science: Where truth meets fiction. Part 2: Time of Death Estimation -- The main focus is the decomposition process and certain physical landmarks that can help determine the time of death, such as algor mortis, rigor mortis and livor mortis, as well as landmarks in advance decompositions, such as bloating, discoloration, and skeletonization and mummification.  All segments contain graphic images and may not be suitable to all members.  (DR. MICHAEL KANE)
30.  Forensic Science: Where truth meets fiction. Part 3: Injury and Wound Determinations --This segment explores injury caused by blunt-force trauma, sharp-force trauma, gunshot and shot gun wounds. Pattern injuries are also discussed. All segments contain graphic images and may not be suitable to all members. (DR. MICHAEL KANE)

31.  Floaty+Groundy: A Way of Thinking About Fiction -- In this session we will look at and discuss an original idea, one instructor Brad Barkley has used many times as a way to think about the interface between plot and character. We will look at why this connection feels so tricky, and how we can use it both to diagnose already-written stories as well as invent new ones.  This session is useful for any writers of fiction, and is particularly helpful for those stores that *seem* to be done right, bur refuse to lift off and fly.  The workshop includes discussion and exercises.  (BRAD BARKLEY)

32.  Teens Read Too:  Writing Young Adult Fiction -- For those who missed it last year, instructor Brad Barkley is repeating the workshop wherein we discuss writing for this very specialized but constantly-growing audience.  YA is a "hot" field in publishing right now, and this workshop will talk about ways of approaching the YA novel, in particular, as well as selling and marketing these books. (BRAD BARKLEY)

33. Behind the Scenes at Candlewick Press -- A bird’s eye view of the process of publishing a children’s or YA, from the point of inspiration to the first case shipped to bookstores.  (KAYLAN ADAIR)

34.   How to Get an Editor to Notice You (For All the Right Reasons) -- Another good lesson and right from the editor.   (KAYLAN ADAIR)

35.  Fooling Around With Form  -- In this sesson we will examine some new "fixed" forms. If you have never ventured beyond free verse and think writing in form would not appeal to you, this is the class for you. We will talk about and try our hand at writing Double-jointed Persona Poems and Embedded Poems.  (DANA WILDSMITH)

36.  Writing the Personal Essay -- How is a personal essay different from other short non-fiction pieces? What are the structural hallmarks of an essay? In this session we will take a tour of the personal essay as a literary form and focus particularly on its circularity, the way its ending circles back to its beginning, but with an enlarged perspective.   (DANA WILDSMITH)

37.  Using the Essay to Make An Environmental, Social, or Political Statement -- This session will deal with how to address personal environmental concerns in a way that draw readers in rather than drive them away. We will look at how the essay form lends itself naturally (sorry about the pun) to informing readers without making them feel preached to. As well, some of the most effective social and political commentaries were written with gentle humor or with a storytelling feel. In this session we will examine how to use humor and narrative to effectively, but non-confrontationally, make a point.  (DANA WILDSMITH)

38.  Building a Screenplay for the Media -- Master film maker and documentorist, Daniel Boyd will show the building blocks and vital sequence to assembling a script for movies, television, and the latest digital media. He’ll show you where to find online giveaways to give your work that professional touch and share his vast experience as a living success story.  (DANIEL BOYD)

39.  Wrestling with the Graphic Novel! -- The ominous tag team of Daniel Boyd and William Bitner join forces once again to bring a new, vivid look at assembling the graphic novel. This genre is rapidly increasing in popularity and dominance in the art/lit/movie industry and Boyd and Bitner, now pioneering the graphic novel industry, are ready to share their firsthand knowledge of the steps involved, the locations of free software, and how to employ this knowledge to get it on paper. (WILLIAM BITNER & DANIEL BOYD)  

40.  Write and Get Paid! -- Can you really make a living as a writer, without being one of the lucky few who make the New York Times Bestseller List? Can you quit your day job, or must writing always come last on your list of ways to earn a living?  Certainly, you can make a living—and a good one—as a writer, without having a long list of novels under your belt. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to build your writing portfolio; land paying jobs as a writer, editor or proofreader; get published; and, yes, eventually quit the daily grind of your current job.   (RHONDA BROWNING WHITE)

41.  Structure of Steel: Outlining Your Novel -- Like any impressive building, your novel needs a firm foundation and a solid, secure structure around which its walls are built. Learn multiple ways in which to draw up your plan and ensure that your novel follows a logical arrangement as you construct your story, and determine which method works best for your style of writing. (RHONDA BROWNING WHITE)

42.  Intro to Playwriting -- Participants will discuss a variety of approaches to the world of writing for the stage.  A fun and engaging writing activity will explore character and plot creation and development. Additional discussion will include aspects of theatre writing through history.  No previous playwriting experience is necessary.  Just bring your pen/pencil, paper and an active imagination.  (JONATHAN JOY)
43.  Intro to Playwriting II --   Participants will move past character and plot development into the world of creating realistic dialogue.  Two different writing activities will explore dialogue development, as well as the descriptive elements of writing for the stage. 

44.  From Page to Stage --  Participants will discuss the state of new plays in America today.  How does one get his/her work produced in such a crowded market?  What are the obstacles to getting a 10 minute play or a full length in front of a live audience?  The instructor will share tips for getting exposure as a playwright and getting work produced and published to reach a wide audience.    (JONATHAN JOY)

45.  The Subtle Art of Backstory -- It's a scenario familiar to many writers: Your first paragraph soars with a sizzling scene and you're off to a great start, but you immediately find yourself backtracking, explaining to the reader the character's background and motivation. And just to be on the safe side, you figure you'd better explain the technical stuff, too. And the next thing you know, you've smothered the reader with an information dump. You had the right instinct in wanting to give your readers a thoughtful plot and characters made compelling by an understanding of their history -- their sorrows, their triumphs, their desires. Join Belinda Anderson in a workshop filled with tips on how to provide backstory while avoiding burdening the reader with information dumps. (BELINDA ANDERSON)

46.  Sentence Elegance -- Sentences are the building blocks of prose, but they also can be the stumbling blocks for a writer struggling to write with polish. Sometimes a manuscript's problem can be pinned on plotting or viewpoint problems. But often it's the lack of flow within and between sentences. Learn about kernel and cumulative sentences and how to elegantly and deftly vary your narrative. (BELINDA ANDERSON)

47.  Sentence Rhythm --  Learn how the structure of a sentence can heighten the sense of suspense. Amaze and astound your writer friends with your new knowledge of anophora and epistrophe.  (BELINDA ANDERSON)

48. Just Say NO! to Passive Writing – Be an active writer! -- Don’t let passive sentences slow your pacing and weaken your writing. Kelly pinpoints how to search out passive sentences, and has helpful suggestions including a 1-2-3/3-2-1 formula showing how to fix them. (KELLY MORTIMER)

49. & 50.  People’s Choice – Poetry

51. & 52.  People’s Choice – Prose

53.  People’s Choice - Youth

54. Agent to Author! -- A real conversation between an agent and her client. This will give an insight into the side of publishing where many pre-published writers are nervous. There are few such samples that will give writers the confidence needed to start strong with your agent. (CHRISTINE WITTHOHN / SHEILA REDLING)