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 $250.

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GENRE FICTION PANELS

Genre Fiction Panel #1: "Three SFWA Presidents All in a Row." Russell Davis, Moderator, with Robin Wayne Bailey and James Gunn.

This panel features three past presidents of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) on stage to answer your questions about SFWA (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with close to 2000 members worldwide), science fiction and fantasy publishing past, present and future, and speculative fiction writing in general.

Thursday, July 21, 8:30 - 10:00 am, Taylor Hall 200

To see full biographies of the panelists, click each speaker's name below:

Russell Davis, Moderator

Robin Wayne Bailey

James Gunn

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GENRE FICTION ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS

Genre Fiction Workshop #1: "Money Flows Towards the Writer." Instructor: Stacia Deutsch

Thursday, July 21, 2:00 - 4:00, Taylor Hall 229

There are many roads to becoming a published author and many more paths to making a living with words. We will explore the multitude of places a writer can work. From magazines, to write-for-hire, to freelance, to blogs - you can get paid to write. It might not be a lot, or it might be more than your wildest dreams, but as Russell Davis says, "Money flows towards the writer." Let's look at all the ways to make that happen!

Stacia Deutsch
New York Times Best-Selling Author Stacia Deutsch serves as Visiting Professor in Western's Genre Fiction Concentration. She has written more than a hundred children's books. In addition to her award-winning creative chapter book series Blast to the Past, Stacia has also ghost-written for a popular girl's mystery series, published non-fiction texts, and penned a young adult romantic comedy called In the Stars. She has written junior movie tie-in novels for summer blockbuster films including Batman, The Dark Knight and the New York Times Best Sellers Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Jr. and The Smurfs. She is currently writing stories for Lego. In 2013, she earned her MFA from Western. Find her at www.staciadeutsch.com, @staciadeutsch and www.facebook/staciadeutsch.

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Genre Fiction Workshop #2: "The Art of Flash Fiction." Instructor: Michaela Roessner

Saturday, July 23, 2:00 - 4:00, Kelly Hall 128

Everybody understands the concept that Flash Fiction is writing that can be read in a flash. But what is it really? And why is it so hot these days? Learn what defines it including its various forms, how to write it, and how to utilize its terrific advantages for getting a leg up in becoming a published writer and entering your chosen genre or genres. Bring paper and a pen or pencil, or your laptop. This presentation will include a couple of in-house writing exercises.

Michaela Roessner
Michaela Roessner is visiting Professor of Genre Fiction in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She holds an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She has published four novels, as well as assorted short fiction and nonfiction in publications that include Asimov’s Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, OMNI Magazine, Canada’s Room Magazine and anthologies that include Full Spectrum 2 and Intersections. Her first novel, Walkabout Woman, won the Crawford and John W. Campbell awards. She has also had work short-listed for the Calvino Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Millennium Publishing short fiction contest. Her current major projects include a number of short fiction pieces, finishing up her novel The Waters of Babylon, completing the last of her trio of novels that center around the early life of Catherine de Medici, and participating in several group ekphrastic commissions.​

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Genre Fiction Workshop #3: "Beyond the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the Warrior Princess: Creating Complex Female Characters." Instructor: Candace Nadon

Sunday, July 24, 8:30 -10:00 am, Taylor Hall 200

Pop culture is populated with a wider range of female characters than ever before.  These characters are usually upheld as strong, independent, sometimes fierce, and always complex, “true” heroes for a technological age.  However, most of these characters have not shattered cultural stereotypes about women, broadening how we think of women in fictional narrative, but are merely repackaged traditional representations of women that are decidedly not complex.  As writers, we want to create compelling, complex and specifically rendered characters, regardless gender or genre.  At the same time, we know archetypal characters deeply resonate with readers, but how do we know if we are perpetuating stereotypes instead of mining archetypes? In this seminar, we’ll discuss the difference between archetype and stereotype and why it matters in fiction, tying it to contemporary representations of women.  Then, we’ll discuss how to balance archetype and specificity when developing female characters, and you’ll have the opportunity to develop your own.

Candace Nadon
Candace Nadon is Visiting Professor of Genre Fiction in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. has an MFA in Fiction from Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English with Creative Concentration from Georgia State University. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Hartskill Review in The Fourth River, Platte Valley Review, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, and Mary: A Journal of New Writing, among others. She edited the book Our Place Two, and contributed to the forthcoming textbook Primary Research and Writing. Candace is a fifth generation Coloradan and currently lives in Durango, Colorado, where she teaches at Fort Lewis College and is working on a novel.

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Genre Fiction Workshop #4: "The Seven Habits of the Highly Effective Writer." Instructor: Russell Davis

Sunday, July 24, 2:00 - 4:00, Taylor Hall 204

In this ninety minute talk, bestselling author and editor Russell Davis will offer both new and experienced writers a blueprint for being more effective, and ultimately, more successful: seven different habits that can absolutely improve your approach to writing, being productive, and selling more of your work. There will be time for questions and answers about writing and the publishing business at the end.

Russell Davis
Russell Davis is Director of Western’s Genre Fiction Concentration. He has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. He has also worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. He is a past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and his newest work, The End of All Seasons, is a collection of short fiction and poetry that came out in 2013.

 

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GENRE FICTION THREE-DAY WORKSHOP

All three-day workshops meet Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 7/21, 7/23 and 7/24, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $250 in addition to registration.

Genre Fiction Three-Day Workshop: "Is Your Novel Ready to Market?" Instructors: Robin Wayne Bailey, Russell Davis, James Gunn

Kelly Hall 128

In this three day workshop, Russell Davis, Robin Wayne Bailey, and James Gunn - all past Presidents of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America - will help identify common issues with already completed novel-length works that are being prepared to go to market. On Day 1, Russell Davis will tackle the problems often found in plot and conflict. On Day 2, Robin Wayne Bailey will address character and dialogue. And on Day 3, James Gunn will talk about novel proposals and what's important to include that will help your work find a home. There will be writing exercises, and students are encouraged to use completed works or works in progress for the three day session.

Robin Wayne Bailey
Robin Wayne Bailey, this year's Genre Fiction Keynote, is the author of fifteen novels and over two hundred short stories.  His novels include the ongoing Frost series of books and stories, the Brothers of the Dragon trilogy, the young-adult series, Dragonkin, and such stand-alone novels as Shadowdance and Swords Against the Shadowland.  Many of his short stories have been collected in two volumes, Turn Left to Tomorrow and The Fantastikon: Tales of Wonder. Also an editor, he is responsible for Through My Glasses Darkly: Five Stories by Frank M. Robinson, as well as Architects of Dreams and the forthcoming Little Green Men - Attack, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.  He's produced two books of poetry: Zombies in Oz, an assortment of humorous "zombie" poems, and The Geometries of Love. He was a two-term president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and one of the founders of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, now located in Seattle, Washington and part of Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

 

Russell Davis
Russell Davis is Director of Western’s Genre Fiction Concentration. He has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. He has also worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. He is a past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and his newest work, The End of All Seasons, is a collection of short fiction and poetry that came out in 2013.

 

James Gunn
James Gunn, this year's winner of the Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing, has had a career divided between writing and teaching, typified by his service as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and as president of the Science Fiction Research Association, as well as having been presented the Grand Master Award of SFWA and the Pilgrim Award of SFRA and been inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He has taught fiction writing since 1960 and created the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, where he is now Emeritus Professor of English. He has published more than 100 short stories and has written or edited 44 books, including The Immortals, The Listeners, The Dreamers, Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, The Road to Science Fiction, and, most recently, Transcendental and its sequel, Transgalactic. His many nonfiction works include The Science of Science-Fiction Writing.

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GENRE FICTION THREE-DAY CRITICAL SEMINAR

All three-day Critical Seminars meet Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 7/21, 7/23 and 7/24, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $250 in addition to registration.

Genre Fiction Critical Seminar: "The Western Mystery: Just Folks." Leader: Clay Reynolds

Taylor Hall 226

The West is a huge and enigmatic land, one that is, as one nineteenth century historian put it, “full of nothing at all.” Of course, this isn’t true. The West is full of astonishing and amazing people, events, and places, much of which is hidden in plain sight, much of which is shrouded only by the constancy of change and the mutability of time. In other words, it’s full of the mystery of the commonplace. To a large extent, writing fiction is all about unraveling such mysteries, from revealing them as they offer themselves, finding them in the lives of ordinary folks, and the American West is thus a perfect setting for it. In this seminar we will explore the nature of finding such mysteries in what would appear at first glance to be the ordinary, the usual, even the mundane, and discovering through story, character, and theme the intriguing tales behind the obvious. Special importance will be given to considering the traditional mysteries of Western lore—legendary figures, lost towns, missing people, unsolved crimes—but more emphasis will be given to pulling the people of the West into focus, into developing character, dialogue, story, and, of course, setting as elemental parts of the American West. We will discuss the works of Elmore Leonard, as well as western crime and mystery writers such as Tony Hillerman, Loren D. Estleman, Cormac McCarthy, John Nichols, and others. Attention will be paid to the genesis of the Western novel and its traditional evolution. Overall, though, our goal will be to discover the mystery of fiction itself, an analysis of what makes a story work well, and why that at the heart of every great piece of writing is a mystery. We will be considering the fundamental elements of fiction writing and how they can be adapted or shaped to the crime and mystery categories. Students will be asked to participate in exercises that will illustrate the points of the discussion. Limited to 10 participants.

Clay Reynolds
Clay Reynolds, Professor of Arts and Humanities and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Dallas, is the author of twenty volumes, including nine novels and one collection of short fiction. A Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1992 and an NEH Fellow for the same year, his work has been honored with awards by the Writers’ League of Texas, The Texas Commission for the Arts, Western Writers’ Association, and other literary and writing organizations. With more than 1,000 additional publications to his credit, he also was editor for the crime and mystery section of the library reference series, What Do I Read Next?  for the years 2007-2008. His website is http://www.clayreynolds.info/.

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