It’s our second year at Poets House, and we’re excited to offer new workshops and teachers, as well as reprise the popular session on queries and pitches. Meet agents and new authors, and participate in the All Voices Open Mic!
Read about the agents and new authors here.
What Poetry and Fiction Can Learn from Each Other
Poetry and fiction are perceived as separate and opposing forms, governed by different values and objectives: fiction, as leading with narrative and characterization; poetry, as a more effective vehicle for abstraction and the aesthetics of language. In this workshop, we will examine how the structures and devices of one form can generate stronger work in the other and provide a framework for editing. We will look at how the characterization and logistics of fiction can sharpen the purpose of your poems, and how poetry can calibrate the voice and language of your fiction and act as a catalyst for experimentation. We will study the works of great writers who have blurred the lines between forms, then put techniques into practice with writing exercises.
Yun Wei received her M.F.A. in poetry from Brooklyn College and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University. Her writing awards include the Geneva Literary Prizes for Fiction and Poetry, the Himan Brown Poetry Fellowship, and recent nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Wigleaf, decomP Magazine, Roanoke Review, Word Riot, The Brooklyn Review, and other journals. For the last few years, she has been working on global health in Switzerland, where she consistently fails at mountain sports.
A Crash Course on Queries and Pitches
Paula Chaffee Scardamalia
As if it isn’t challenging enough to write a book, you also have to sell it. To agents, editors, marketing teams, publishers. Self-publishing? You still have to sell it to book reviewers, book sellers, and readers. This crash course provides tips on how to structure and write effective queries and pitches—ones that sell. With discussion, critique, and role play, Paula will share with you what makes an effective query or pitch, what to put in, what to leave out, and how to start building relationships with these marketing tools. Bring a printed copy of your query or pitch if you'd like a critique (if time allows). Come prepared to learn and to laugh.
Paula Chaffee Scardamalia, former dream consultant for PEOPLE Country Magazine, is an author, book coach, and dream and tarot intuitive. She has taught at small private workshops on the East Coast, at national and regional Romance Writers of America conferences and meetings, and at the 2014 San Diego University Writers’ Conference. Paula publishes a weekly e-newsletter on writing, dreams, and tarot, and is the award-winning author of Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom. She is currently under contract and at work on her book on tarot for fiction writers. www.diviningthemuse.com.
Narrative Arc in Fiction and Nonfiction
If you think the word “arc” implies a nice balanced curve, think again! The narrative arc is made up of the scenes and episodes in your story or memoir that keep the tension building and the reader glued to your book. It is the framework on which you build your story. In this workshop, we will explore four key components of the narrative arc that are vital to get you to that satisfying ending that every reader wants. We’ll use an example to illustrate the narrative arc, and then you’ll get to test the narrative arcs of your own projects. Time for writing and discussion will be provided.
Cathleen O’Connor, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and intuitive coach who works with other writers. She is currently at work on a screenplay and romance fiction, and is co-editor of The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory, a special project focused on keeping the love of reading alive for those with short-term memory loss. She is the author of 365 Days of Angel Prayers and The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary (Adams Media, 2010). Cathleen has been quoted in The Huffington Post and featured as an expert work–life balance source in various publications, including the Canadian magazine alive. www.cathleenoconnor.com.
8:30 am • Registration & Coffee, Tea & Pastry
9:00 am • Introductions & Opening Remarks
9:15 am • Cathleen O'Connor; Paula Scardamalia
11:30 am • New Authors Panel & Book Signing
12:30 pm • Catered Lunch
1:30 pm • Agents Panel
2:30 pm • Yun Wei; Meet-the-Agents Sessions
4:45 pm • All Voices Open Mic (attendee poetry & prose readings)
6:15 pm • Wrap-Up
Download a printable event flyer.
"Community matters. I found a safe place to have a voice.
There are all levels of writing, and all levels matter."
– past conference participant