Genre Fiction Workshops, Panels and Events
To register for the full conference and enroll in a workshop or critical seminar, click on the button below. All keynote talks, panels, one-day workshops, readings and special events are included in general registration, as is attendance at the Poetry Symposium each afternoon. All three-day Workshops and three-day Critical Seminars require an additional fee of $200.
GENRE FICTION PANELS
Genre Fiction Panel #1: "Writing for Middle Grade & Young Adult Readers." Michaela Roessner, Moderator, with Candace Nadon, Rick Wilber, and Heather Sappenfield.
Writing for middle grade and young adult readers is a special skill, where knowing the the ever-changing market for your work is perhaps more critical than in any other category of fiction. Our panelists will discuss how to write for various age-groups, and what topics you should – or shouldn’t – cover in your story.
Friday, July 19, 8:30 - 10:00 am, Taylor Hall 200
To see full biographies of the panelists, click each speaker's name below:
Michaela Roessner, Moderator
GENRE FICTION ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS
Genre Fiction Workshop #1: "Coping When Our Pieces Don't Sell." Instructor: Michaela Roessner.
Thursday, July 19, 2:00 - 4:00, Taylor Hall 229
Dealing with rejection – how to learn from it, why to not take it personally, and (gasp!) how it can actually be turned to a writer’s advantage and increase a writer’s sales potential. This presentation will provide strategies for coping with rejection, including insightful advice culled from multiple editors and agents on why they reject pieces and why and when they do accept pieces.
Genre Fiction Workshop #2: "'Talk to Me: Developing Voice in Young Adult Fiction." Instructor: Candace Nadon.
Saturday, July 21, 8:30 -10:00 am, Taylor Hall 200
Young Adult fiction lives or dies on the strength of the narrative voice, whether it be first or third person. In YA fiction, the voice must be authentic, must propel the narrative forward, and must engage the reader so they feel a connection to the story being told - no easy task. This workshop will provide you with tools you can use when developing narrative voice. We will look at how YA writers such as Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Angie Thomas, and others develop voice and how you can use their and other techniques in your own writing. Although this workshop focuses on YA fiction, the techniques discussed can be adapted for adult fiction as well.
Genre Fiction Workshop #3: "The Stories We Crave." Instructor: Heather Sappenfield.
Sunday, July 22, 2:00 - 4:00, Taylor Hall 204
We all have those stories we can’t get enough of. The ones that satisfy, that we reflect upon, that we read time and again. What makes them so good? Incorporating Ursula Le Guin’s teachings about story versus plot and Aristotle’s tenets of story, this cross-genre workshop will explore the structural craft that makes great stories tick: the nexus of character and plot. It will then apply this to the stories we crave, and afterward, use it to enhance our own craft. Participants should come prepared with a story they love and a story they hope to write or are currently working on.heathersappenfield.com.
GENRE FICTION THREE-DAY WORKSHOP
All three-day workshops meet Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 7/19, 7/21 and 7/22, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $200 in addition to registration.
Genre Fiction Three-Day Workshop: “Traveling Down the Road Not Taken: Writing Alternate Histories from Ancient Byzantium to Virtual Reality.” Instructor: Rick Wilber.
Location: Taylor Hall 204
Day One: Writing the road not taken. We will look at a few classic and new alternate-history stories and analyze the craft. We will find some turning points in history and then learn how to conjure up a different future from an altered past. We will discuss the two main roads used by writers of alternate histories: time travel with all its paradoxes, and multiverse stories, with their thousands of possible realities. We’ll brainstorm our own ideas for an alternate-history story.
Day Two: Making the road not taken seem real. How to craft the characters, setting and plot for our own alternate-history story. We’ll talk about internal consistency necessary to the plot, the believability of fictionalized real characters from history, and the importance of time and place in setting.
Day Three: Outlining and Sketching the alternate-history story. We’ll get busy writing our own alternate-history story, starting with a turning point, a character sketch, a plan for the plot, and just the right setting. We’ll be ready to write some flash fiction! What if John Wilkes Booth’s Deringer misfired? What if the Nazis had built the first atom bomb? What if Empress Julia Domna kept Rome from its fall? We’ll write that key scene where it all changes and history is altered.
Rick Wilber is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher who has published more than forty short stories, several novels and short-story collections, two edited anthologies, a memoir, and a half-dozen college textbooks on writing and the mass media. Of alien Morning, his new novel for Tor Books, award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Julie Czerneda says, “Brilliantly crafted, fiercely real, Alien Morning is first contact as it may very well happen: experienced by one, shared by all who subscribe. Relentless and original, this is science fiction that matters now. Highly Recommended.” Rick is at work on the next book in the trilogy, Alien Day. Rick’s most recent college textbook is the introductory text, Media Matters (Kendall Hunt 2017), which introduces students to the history, business structure and possible futures of books, newspapers and magazines, sound recording, film, television, public relations, advertising, mass media research, free speech issues, social media and more. The book was written with significant help from colleagues Edward Jay Friedlander, Kelli Burns, Roxanne Watson and Kenneth Killebrew. Previous college textbooks from Rick include Modern Media Writing (Cengage Learning, 2002), with Randy Miller; The Writer’s Handbook for Editing and Revision (NTC, 1996) and Magazine Feature Writing (St. Martin’s Press, 1994). He is also the editor of the recent anthology Field of Fantasies: Baseball Stories of the Strange and Supernatural (Night Shade/Skyhorse, 2014), featuring nearly two-dozen classic baseball fantasy stories by writers ranging from Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan to Karen Joy Fowler, Jack Kerouac, Rod Serling, John Kessel, Harry Turtledove, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Robert Coover, Kim Stanley Robinson, Louise Marley, Ron Carlson, W.P. Kinsella, and many others. Other baseball-themed work includes the baseball mystery novel, Rum Point (McFarland, 2009) and the memoir, My Father’s Game: Life, Death, Baseball (McFarland, 2007) about the caregiving role and about his father’s career in baseball. Broad Street Review said it’s a book “about the mythology of baseball … written with fine observation and wry understatement, and may well become a classic in the literature.” Wilber lives in the St. Petersburg, Florida area of the West Coast of Florida and that area’s barrier islands have often figured into his stories and novels. A longtime journalism and mass-media professor, Wilber is administrator and co-founder with Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, of the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing, awarded annually at the Conference on the Fantastic in Orlando, Florida.
GENRE FICTION THREE-DAY CRITICAL SEMINAR
All three-day Critical Seminars meet Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 7/19, 7/21 and 7/22, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $200 in addition to registration.
Genre Fiction Critical Seminar: "Science Fiction and Creation Epics: A World-building Primer." Leader: Frederick Turner.
Taylor Hall 226
World-building, as in Burroughs, Heinlein, Asimov, Stapledon, Lewis, Tolkien, Niven, Anderson, Banks, Bear, Brin and Robinson, is one of the core arts of science fiction. But it is not a new art: many of the great epics of cultures all over the world since Gilgamesh and the Book of Genesis have pioneered the techniques of creating a believable world and populating it with characters we root for or want to see get their come-uppance. This seminar will explore many of the vital issues: hard science vs. compelling fantasy; implied backstories; the problem of exposition; the tricky interface with theology; what makes a myth mythic; point of view; plausibility of the imagined culture with its technology, economics, and anthropology; evolutionary and ecological realism; the morality of literal planoforming or geoengineering; and other topics of practical interest to writers and critical interest to fans.