International Women's Writing Guild

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California Dreaming 2017

  • Saturday, March 25, 2017
  • 8:45 AM - 6:30 PM (PDT)
  • Antioch University Los Angeles


  • This registration includes membership to IWWG for one year ($55 value) for new members and for renewals of memberships lapsed longer than a year.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

8:45 a.m.     Registration & Coffee

9:30 a.m.     Welcome & Introductions

10:00 a.m.   Session I

  Bernadette Murphy – Memoir

  Dorothy Randall Gray – Mind/Body/Spirit

  Linda Bergman – Screenwriting  (all day)

11:45 a.m.   Book Fair & Lunch (on your own)   (café on campus)

1:00 p.m.     Session II

  Alyce Smith Cooper  – Fiction

  Maureen Murdock – Memoir

  Linda Bergman Screenwriting  (cont'd)

2:45 p.m.     Break

3:00 p.m.     Session III

  Marj Hahne – Poetry

  Mel Ryane – Page to Podium

  Linda Bergman  Screenwriting  (cont'd)

4:45 p.m.     Wine & Cheese

5:15 p.m.     Open Readings

6:30 p.m.     Adjournment 

* * *

Workshop Descriptions & Instructor Bios

Good Bones: Exploring Structural Choices

You’re working on the first draft of your narrative, fiction or nonfiction. It hits all the major points, but kind of rambles. What is this story really about? How you organize and structure your narrative will depend on the core story you’re trying to tell. In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore various structural choices, first by comparing and discussing others’ works, and then by applying what we’ve learned to our own. Please bring a selection from a narrative you’re working on, printed on one side only, 5-10 pages in length, along with a hearty sense of adventure.

Bernadette Murphy writes fiction and narrative   nonfiction. Her newest book, Harley and Me: Embracing Risk on the Road to a More Authentic Life (Counterpoint Press, May 2016), explores female risk-taking through the lens of her own experience learning to ride a motorcycle at age 48, weaving together memoir with psychology and  neuroscience. She has published three additional books of narrative nonfiction and is currently working on a novel about music, motherhood, and madness. She is a former weekly book critic for the LA Times and currently an associate professor of creative writing for the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA program.

WRITUALS – The Power and Spirit of Authentic Writing

Learn how to use the spirit of who you are and what you’ve experienced to create powerful poetry, memorable   memoirs, and fabulous fiction. Let evocative music and stimulating exercises invite the flow of your words, while affirmation empowers your spirit, and meditation energizes your mind. Enjoy helpful handouts, in-class writing, and nonjudgmental feedback. Bring your pregnant writing ideas and fertile fragments. Writuals workshop is an inviting arena of acceptance, humor, storytelling, and professional guidance. In this atmosphere, your authentic self emerges, soars, revels, and writes. You are heard. Join us in creation, community, consciousness, unlimited inspiration, and invaluable insight. You will never be the same.

Dorothy Randall Gray is the bestselling author of Soul Between the Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing (Avon/HarperCollins), an inspirational teacher, a prize-winning artist, and a global activist. She has been featured on radio and television and at universities and cultural   centers throughout the world. She has been a Poet-in-Residence at Hunter College, a National Public Radio commentator, an NYU faculty member, and a literary consultant to the United Nations. She is the author of Muse Blues, The Passion Collection, Woman, Family, A Taste of Tamarinda, and Sharing the Same Sky, and the editor of the anthology MuseMatrix. Her writings have appeared in San Gabriel Quarterly Review, Drum Voices, The New York Times, Best Black Women's Erotica, SisterFire, and Personal Journaling, among others. Dorothy’s creative writing workshops and empowerment and healing seminars have been commissioned by the National Writers Union, PEN America, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon Institute, and other organizations. Highlights of her life include sharing the dais with the Dalai Lama, dancing with tribal boys in the hills of Kerala, India, and boogying with James Baldwin.

The Screenplay – An Original or Adapted from Another Medium  (day-long workshop)

This workshop deals with crafting a good story, which novelists, essayists, and memoirists understand, too, so no screenwriting experience is necessary! We will learn the nuts and bolts of a screenplay: the importance of having a logline before you start writing, a three-act structure that fulfills the promise of that log line, and the use of a paradigm that keeps your good story on track. We will discuss characters, dialogue, and the art of good scene writing, learning how to make every scene move the story forward. And we will watch film clips of award-winning scenes. Because many films are based on other mediums—plays, books, fairy tales, even songs—and because I am in the process of adapting a novel into screenplay form, we will touch on that process, as well.

Linda Bergman, while enrolled in Film Studies at UCLA, worked for a number of production companies in development and production, including being a part of the groundbreaking team of the ABC Movie of the Week series under the aegis of creative force Barry Diller. She has   taught screenwriting in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco, and for The International Women’s Writing Guild. She is also a faculty member for the 2018 San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. Linda is the author of So You Think Your Lifes A Movie: Ten Steps to a Script That Sells, a 2011 Global E Award Winner in the category of Arts and Entertainment, and also So You Think Your Life’s A Movie? The Sequel, published in 2016. She has been paid to write over twenty scripts and produced five of them for television. Linda is currently adapting a feature film based on the novel Moving Targets Live Longer, by Linda Rappoport.

Access the Ancient to Produce the New~Creation of New Fairy Tales

Do the words of people long ago passed away now echo in your daily activities, giving rise to daydreams? Does an image of an archetype flash across your mental screen while meditating or problem-solving? If you are a writer of fiction, this could be an invitation from the ancient wisdom to engage, encounter, and produce new characters who operationalize fantastic adventures and offer new solutions. You will be guided to use your breath to create the atmosphere in which the ancient and the contemporary cooperate to produce the future. You are encouraged to bring an image that ignites you memory and leads to love light and admiration.

Alyce Smith Cooper is an ancestral storyteller, writer, poet, actor, and television host. She co-authored The   Gumbo Pot Poems: A Savory Recipe for Life, Community and Gumbo through Poetry, which celebrates food, friendship, and family. In 2005, Alyce was inducted into the Women’s Museum Hall of Fame. She currently works as a registered nurse and is an associate minister at Bethel A.M.E. Church in San Diego, California.

Crafting Memoir from Memory

A memoir is an exploration of a particular slice of the writer’s life. The vitality of the form comes in discovering what the present self knows that the past self could not have known. In doing so, the writer makes meaning for herself and helps the reader reflect upon her own life, as well. A memoir focuses on the events of an individual’s personal memory but, to be successful, the writing has to be grounded within the context of historical time, place, gender, culture, generation, and current events. The essence of a great memoir is the voice of the writer and how she brings the reader into a scene with sensory details. Memoir has to deliver vivid characters, evocative settings, and pitch-perfect dialogue. In this workshop, we will look at the basic components of memoir writing and the themes explored in select memoirs. Come prepared to write in class.

Maureen Murdock, Ph.D., is a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Barbara, California. Since 1990, she has taught memoir writing in   the UCLA Extensions Writers’ Program, where she received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1995. Her  bestselling book, The Heroine’s Journey, explores the rich territory of the feminine psyche and delineates the feminine psycho-spiritual journey. Maureen is also the   author of Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory; Fathers’ Daughters: Breaking the Ties that Bind; Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children; and The Heroine’s Journey Workbook. She is the editor of an anthology of memoir writing entitled Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life and has published a Kindle short entitled The Emergence of Bipolar Disorder: A Mother’s Perspective. Maureen has written pieces for The Huffington Post on criminal justice and mental illness and has presented short memoir pieces at Center Theater in Santa Barbara and Spark Theater in Los Angeles about the men in prison she works with. Her blog is at her website:


Ezra Pound said that poetry begins to atrophy when it departs too far from music, and music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance. How do we source our poems from our own body’s rhythms, so that our poems are bodies of sound—sound bodies—durable because they are built from the language’s meaning and music? In this workshop, we will attend primarily to sound as we generate lots of new writing. Memorable poems are often those that get inside and move both our brain (what’s said is heard) and our body (what’s unsaid is felt).

Marj Hahne is a freelance editor and writing teacher, and   a 2015 MFA graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop,   with a concentration in poetry. She has performed and taught at over 100 venues around the country, as well as been featured on public radio and television programs. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art exhibits, and dance performances.

Page to Podium: Reading Your Work Aloud

Writing is lonely. Sometimes it feels like you could use another voice. Fortunately you have one—yours. In this workshop, you will learn how to prep, practice, and present your material, revealing truths in what you’ve written and showing how best to deliver your words before an audience. The act of reading your work aloud begins the necessary process of editing and becoming a self-sufficient writer. We will read aloud from published works as well as our own writing, making the courageous leap to the podium in a safe rehearsal space. Mels experience as a classically trained actor and acting coach in theatre, film, and television allows her to share the benefits of a professionals vocal and physical craft as well as skill in scanning text and conquering stage fright. Bring two hard copies (no laptops or devices, please) of one double-spaced page of writing, preferably material you have not previously read publicly.

Mel Ryane is the author of the memoir Teaching Will: What Shakespeare and 10 Kids Gave Me That Hollywood   Couldn't (Familius), called lively and funny by Publishers Weekly and hilarious...a bravura performance” by Kirkus Reviews. Mel began her artistic life as an actor, performing on stages in her native Canada as well as across the U.S. She studied acting at the storied HB Studio in New York City and, in Los Angeles, coached actors in film and TV and was a graduate of the American Film Institutes prestigious Directing Workshop for Women. Mel teaches Page to Podium: Reading Your Work Aloud at writers conferences across North America. Her writing has been published in the LA Times, and she has an essay in an upcoming anthology of quirky love stories, Rendezvous in the Rough. Mel is currently at work on her latest novel.

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