January 28, 2014

Eckerd College Writers Conference Wrap-Up

I suspect few, if any, of the eight dozen “students” who attended the eight-day Eckerd College Writers Conference, went away dissatisfied. That, in and of itself, is remarkable and a testimony to the conference organizers and staff. While many of the students may have experienced a twinge of dissatisfaction when contemplating the status of their writing careers or the quality of the document they submitted for the workshops, I can’t imagine any left without a glimmer of hope and clear guidelines to improving their craft. The faculty readings, from Tim O’Brien’s remarkable Things They Carried (1998) to newcomer Attica Locke’s second novel The Cutting Season (2013), were nothing short of inspirational. They reinforced each student’s justification for dedicating themselves to […]
January 24, 2014

Report on Days 4 & 5 from the Eckerd College Writers Conference

I’ll call the theme of Day 4 “wants versus needs” and that of Day 5 “story structure.” On Day 4, after the two workshop stories were discussed, we focused on identifying the elements of the story arc in the first part of the novel. Using the movie Legally Blond as a teaching devise, workshop leader Lori Roy broke the movie down into beats or segments, starting with showing the status quo at the start of the movie. (The Reese Witherspoon character is shown to be beautiful and rich, but also kind; she is preparing for a date with her boyfriend whom she expects to ask her to marry him.) The inciting incident in the movie––the breaking of the status quo––is […]