Schedule - Writing the Rockies 2014

2014 Schedule

Dates for the 2014 conference are Thursday afternoon, July 24, through Saturday evening, July 26, with optional break-out sessions on Sunday morning, July 28. Attendees can concentrate on a single concentration of interest -- genre fiction and nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, or publishing -- during the course of the conference, or else "mix and match" sessions as desired.

Thursday, July 24

Registration

Noon – 5 p.m.: Taylor Hall Welcome Center
(enter south Taylor Hall door above "Mountaineer" statue)

On-Campus Room Check-in
4 – 6 p.m.: Chipeta and Pinnacles Halls (for those staying on campus)

Reception

6 – 7 p.m.: Aspinall-Wilson Conference Center

Event Locations

  • Keynotes and Panels are in Taylor 228.
  • Genre sessions are in Taylor 200.
  • Poetry Symposium sessions are in Taylor 101.
  • Publishing sessions are in Taylor 100.
     
  • Joint Sessions are in Taylor 228.
 
  • Screenwriting sessions are in Taylor 205.
  • Pitches and Critiques in Taylor Hall, as assigned.
  • Saturday afternoon Open Mic is in Taylor Studio Theater.
  • Evening Presenter Readings are in Aspinall-Wilson Conference Center.

 

Click below for info on

KEYNOTES

 Keynotes take place in Taylor Hall 228.

Friday, July 25, 9-9:45 a.m.
Joe Haldeman
“How to Get a Job Like Mine”
Internationally acclaimed and Hugo Award-winner Joe Haldeman tells the audience how to make a pretty good living sitting at the keyboard a couple of hours a day, telling lies.  All it takes is a love of reading, a little talent -- and a certain amount of luck.

Friday, July 25, 1-1:45 p.m.

Joel Thompson
“Re-Writes, Writer's Block, Ruptured Silicon – Tales from the Television Writing Trade”
Before selling his first work, he taught in the Compton Public School System by day and wrote by night. His writing credits include House MD, Boomtown, Battlestar Galactica, and Falling Skies.  He was a former story analyst for Icon Pictures, Village Roadshow, and John Wells Productions.  He has also sold pitches to various networks including CBS, HBO Films, and Disney's Stage 9 Productions. Joel Thompson tells all!

Saturday, July 27, 9-9:45 a.m.

Frederick Turner
"Evolution is Slow Poetry: Poetry is Fast Evolution”
Writing may be an activity peculiar to the kind of natural animal we are. In fact, storytelling and poetry are rituals that helped us evolve ourselves into human beings. Epic genre (including contemporary versions in film, media, science fiction, etc.) is the history of our evolution as a species, told by memory from the inside.

Saturday, July 27, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

John Helfers 
“State of Publishing”
Things have changed remarkably in the past three years, and I will address those changes:  how regular publishing is reacting (or not) to that, and how authors can maximize a two-pronged approach to publishing their work by aiming for both traditional and independent publishing.

Evening Readings

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Our featured guest presenters will offer readings open to the public each evening of the conference. These events take place 7-9 p.m. in the Aspinall-Wilson Conference Center.

We'll also offer a cash bar preceding each evening reading.

(You can find bios on each evening's featured presenters by following the "Faculty" and "Speaker" navigation buttons to the upper left on this page.)

Thursday, July 24

  • Jack Lucido
  • Natalie Gerber
  • Tom Cable
  • Diana Pharaoh Francis
  • David Yezzi

Friday, July 25

  • Joel Thompson
  • Jan Schreiber
  • Kim Bridgford
  • Michaela Roessner
  • Marilyn Taylor

Saturday, July 26

  • Joe Haldeman
  • David J. Rothman
  • John Helfers
  • Diana Tixier Herald
  • Frederick Turner

POPULAR GENRE FICTION/NONFICTION SESSIONS

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Genre sessions take place in Taylor Hall 200.

Friday, July 25, 10-10:45 a.m.

“Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Empires: The Price of Story”
Presenter: Diana Pharaoh Francis
The whole point of creating a story is to keep readers reading. If you don’t stir up excitement and tension, then everybody goes to sleep and you just failed your job. I’m going to talk about using stakes and tension to make your story more engaging and powerful so your readers can’t stop turning pages. We’ll look at the some of the basic building blocks of constructing tension and upping stakes and we’ll do some practicing to help you get the most from your story.

Friday, July 25, 11-11:45 a.m.

Joint Session for Popular Genres and Publishing

“The Royal Road to Publishing Markets”
Presenters: Robert McBrearty
Pushcart Prize-winning author Robert McBrearty maps out one of the primary routes to author recognition by editors and agents – the short story markets, including journals, contests, small press anthologies, and the proliferation of e-zines.

Friday, July 25, 2-2:45 p.m.

"Becoming Your Own Best Editor"
Presenter: Russell Davis
The great Kurt Vonnegut, when asked if it was really possible to teach anyone how to write, said, “… there were creative writing teachers long before there were creative writing courses, and they were called and continue to be called editors.” But until you’ve sold a novel and you have an editor of your very own, you need to learn how to become your own best editor. In this one hour session, we discuss two key topics: how to think like an editor and an actual step-by-step revision process that will make your book better before an agent or editor ever sees it.

Friday, July 25, 3-4 p.m.

“The State of the Genre World” in Taylor 228
Presenters: Diana Tixier Herald
In the ever changing publishing world, how do genres matter? What is a hot genre one year is anathema in another. Is there a logical evolution to the rise and fall, of say, science fiction? How are genres perceived differently by publishing houses and readers? Diana Tixier Herald will give an overview of the current state of genre fiction and will illustrate current trends by booktalking recent titles.

Friday, July 25, 4:15-5 p.m.

KAFFEE KLATCHES in Taylor Hall Welcome Center, Mezzanine Level
Hosts: Diana Tixier Herald, John Helfers,  and Terrie Wolf
Grab some java and sit in on any of the informal circles to chat with our guest industry professionals about what they do.

Saturday, July 26,  10-10:45 a.m.

"Dying is Easy. Comedy Is Hard."
Presenter: Michaela Roessner
Even if you never intend to be a humorist or a comedian, as a writer it’s important to understand comedy and learn some humor-writing techniques (yes, comedy skills can be learned!) This presentation goes into depth about the uses of humor in all kinds of narrative: look at examples from a variety of authors; explore (and have fun with!) a few of the basic techniques for writing humor in order to give everybody a good running start on this important skill set; and learn resources so participants can continue to develop their comedic abilities. And yes, we can do all of this in under an hour!
 

Saturday, July 26, 11-11:45 a.m. (Taylor 229)

Joint Sessions for Popular Genres and Publishing

"Markets, Markets, Markets"
Panelists: Leah Rogin, Terrie Wolf, John Helfers, Diana Tixier Herald
Our professionals share their insights on what writers should know about pitching to the story market gatekeepers.

PUBLISHING SESSIONS

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Publishing sessions take place in Taylor Hall 101.

Thursday, July 24, 2-3 p.m.

"Building Your Author Platform Before You Publish"
Presenter: Julie Luek
Building your fanbase starts long before you sign that contract. In fact, one of the questions an interested agent or acquisitions editor will ask is, “What’s your platform?” Be sure you’ve done your homework and have the answer that lands your book deal. Author Julie Luek will share strategies that help you build your audience, so readers can’t wait for the release of your published book.

Thursday, July 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

" The Business Side of a Writing Career"
Presenter: Greg Smith
Freelance photojournalist Greg Smith will talk about the very real parallels – and solutions – he shares at conferences around the country about the business side of a writing career, from recordkeeping to budgeting to deciding on how to set and get fair prices in competitive markets.

Friday, July 25, 10-10:45 a.m.

"Publish or Perish!”
Presenter: Larry Meredith
Okay, maybe not perish, but join author-turned-publisher Larry Meredith as he shares the eye-opening journey of moving to the other side of the submission table, explaining what authors can expect from the dynamic world of large and small publishers – and what authors should know if they’re thinking about independent publishing.

Friday, July 25, 11-11:45 a.m.

"The Royal Road to Publishing Markets”
Presenter:  Robert McBrearty
Pushcart Prize-winning author Robert McBrearty maps out one of the primary routes to author recognition by editors and agents – the short story markets, including journals, contests, small press anthologies, and the proliferation of e-zines.

Friday, July 25, 3-4 p.m.
(Taylor 100)

"The State of Genre World"
Presenter: Diana Tixier Herald  
In the ever changing publishing world, how do genres matter? What is a hot genre one year is anathema in another. Is there a logical evolution to the rise and fall, of say, science fiction? How are genres perceived differently by publishing houses and readers? Diana Tixier Herald will give an overview of the current state of genre fiction and will illustrate current trends by booktalking recent titles.

Friday, July 25, 4:15-5 p.m.

KAFFEE KLATCHES in Taylor Hall Welcome Center, Mezzanine Level
Hosts: Diana Tixier Herald, John Helfers, and Terrie Wolf
Grab some java and sit in on any informal circle to chat with our guest industry professionals about what they do.

SCREENWRITING SESSIONS

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All Screenwriting sessions take place in Taylor Hall 105.

Thursday, July 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

"What Do Actors Look for in a Script and Story?"
Presenter: Sam Robards
Special guest, actor Sam Robards (A.I., American Beauty) will share what he looks for when he’s asked to consider a script.
 

Friday, July 25, 10-11:45 a.m.

“Screenwriting Primary School (Not everyone goes straight to film school)”
Presenter: Jack Lucido
With motion picture writing you get to play “show” and “tell.”  Every expert tells you that showing is always better that telling.  Here we’ll learn the basic tools and strategies of how best to show your characters, your core meaning, and tell your story in the visual medium of screenwriting.

Friday, July 25, 2-4 p.m.

“TV: Not an idiot box anymore. (We're in the Golden Age of Television after all!)”
Presenter: JS Mayank

Television (or short form serialized storytelling) is changing the face of Hollywood. With all the top talent (both in front of, and behind the camera) moving to avenues like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu... competing with the big Networks (CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC) and cable channels (HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX, A&E etc.) alike, writers have never had this kind of control in the industry before. Currently, Writer-Producers and Showrunners are king. The likes of Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, Grey's Anatomy), Weiss & Benioff (Game of Thrones) and Matt Weiner (Mad Men) are quickly becoming the rockstars of our generation. So come see why TV is so impressive at the moment. How can you break in? What does a TV pitch look like? What's the hierarchy in a writer's room?

Saturday, July 26, 10-11:45 a.m.

“Structuring Your Story”
Presenter: Michael Brody

Inspiration has blasted you. You've got a great story idea that you're ready to commit months if not years to. Where do you start? What are the elements you need to tell a well-rounded, satisfying, explicit story that just might get you some attention? In this session, we'll work with story ideas that you offer and find the best way to develop them by working on structure, motivation, conflict, antagonists, plot turns and supporting characters. We'll also learn how to really tune into both your story and characters to learn what they have to say, which is storytelling made very easy.

POETRY SYMPOSIUM: THE CRITICAL PATH

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All Poetry sessions take place in Taylor Hall 100.

Session leaders David J. Rothman and Jan Schreiber will moderate the four rounds of papers presented by a distinguished panel of nationally published poets and critics, followed by discussion among presenters and audience.

The presenters are as follows:

  • Kim Bridgford
  • Tom Cable
  • Natalie Gerber
  • David J. Rothman
  • Jan Schreiber
  • Marilyn L. Taylor
  • Frederick Turner
  • David Yezzi

Thursday, July 24, 1-4 p.m.

POETRY SYMPOSIUM SESSION ONE (1-3 p.m.)

Presenter: Tom Cable
“'Make me thy neural lyre’: The Embodiment of Poetic Rhythm"

Presenter: David J. Rothman
“Robinson Jeffers, Translation, and the Survival of Narrative"

K-12 Teachers Symposium Roundtable (3-4 p.m. Taylor 101)

This year the Symposium introduces a new component, two hours of roundtable discussion on the opportunities and challenges that teachers face when presenting poetry in primary, middle, and secondary school. Dave Reynolds, a poet and Chair of the English Department at the Fountain Valley School of Colorado Springs, will chair a discussion among a group of K-12 teachers treating questions of curriculum, pedagogy, standards, testing and the Common Core. The K-12 Teachers' Symposium will take place Thursday from 4 - 5 and Friday from 2 - 3. As with all other meetings of the Symposium, this discussion is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend and participate.

Roundtable Presenter: Benjamin Dancer
Topic: “Slam Poetry”

Roundtable Presenter: Dave Reynolds
Topic: “Poetry Out Loud, Imitation”
 

Friday, July 25, 10 a.m. - 12 noon

POETRY SYMPOSIUM SESSION TWO

Presenter: Jan Schreiber
"Some Mimetic Strategies"

Presenter: Marilyn Taylor
“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: The Elusive Art of Poetic Closure”

Friday, July 25, 2-5 p.m.

K-12 Teachers Symposium Roundtable (2-3 p.m. Taylor 101)

This year the Symposium introduces a new component, two hours of roundtable discussion on the opportunities and challenges that teachers face when presenting poetry in primary, middle, and secondary school. Dave Reynolds, a poet and Chair of the English Department at the Fountain Valley School of Colorado Springs, will chair a discussion among a group of K-12 teachers treating questions of curriculum, pedagogy, standards, testing and the Common Core. The K-12 Teachers' Symposium will take place Thursday from 4 - 5 and Friday from 2 - 3. As with all other meetings of the Symposium, this discussion is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend and participate.

Roundtable Presenter: Laura Stuckey
Topic: “Exploring Poetry with a Beginner’s Mind”

Roundtable Presenter: Malinda Miller
Topic: “Nurturing the Passion”
 

POETRY SYMPOSIUM SESSION THREE (3-5 p.m. Taylor 101)

Presenter: Frederick Turner
“The Articulate Energy of the Trivium”

Presenter: David Yezzi
“Sound & Sensibility in Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’”

Saturday, July 26, 10 a.m. - 12 noon

POETRY SYMPOSIUM SESSION FOUR

Presenter: Kim Bridgford
“Rachel Hadas:  “‘The Shape of the Mind Is an Eternal Thing’”

Presenter: Natalie Gerber
“Stress, Accent, Beat and Other Troubles”

Pitches and MSS Critiques

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 Click here for
  • Pitches and Critiques locations assigned at conference.

Saturday, July 26

2:30-5 p.m.: Pitch, read, pitch, read...
(See sign-up schedules at the conference for times, places.)

  • Robert McBrearty will coach pitches for those who want to warm-up! (Taylor Hall)
  • Concurrent pitch sessions (Taylor Hall)
  • Concurrent ms critiques (Taylor Hall)
  • Concurrent screen script pitch critiques (Taylor Hall)
  • Concurrent open mic for conference attendees - 5-minute limit per speaker (Taylor Studio Theater)

Closure

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Sunday, July 27

7:00-9:00 a.m.: On-campus room check-out

10:00 a.m.: For those of you not catching flights or starting home early, we'll hold informal "brunch debriefings" (Dutch treat) of the conference by genre. Talk to the following during the conference to find out more:

  • Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction -- Mark Todd
  • Poetry -- David Rothman
  • Screenwriting -- Jack Lucido
  • Publishing -- Larry Meredith