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Writing Workshops

Let the Writing Make the Rules with Kate Milliken


1 Session

Out of stock

Friday, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT April 19, 2024

Virtual on Zoom

When we talk about (and teach) creative writing we often speak in terms of the rules of craft. While it is important to have a knowledge of what has worked previously to create compelling stories, in order to write a truly singular story—your story—you will need to move beyond convention. Often students of creative writing are so aware of how a story is supposed to be told that they fail to hear the wisdom that is already present in their own writing; its subtle whispers about the shape it needs to take. In this one-day intensive, through close readings of unconventional narratives, generative writing prompts, and discussion of our own projects, we will deepen our understanding of the voice, the form, and the themes that our work seeks to articulate. Whether you come to our meeting with just an idea of the story you want to tell or you have a full rough draft, our time together will empower you to take the next step—from getting the first pages written to embarking on a needed revision—with a greater authority, deeper connection, and a new understanding of the guidance your material is offering you.

Course Outline

We read a piece of short fiction by Sarah Thankam Mathews as a group, discuss its unusual structure, and then identify its themes and how those inform its form and mode of characterization. From there we turn to our reasons for writing, what motivates us, etc. We look at the themes of our lives–the things we repeatedly think about, the stuff that works on us, the imagery that returns again and again. Then we turn to our own projects. We identify its intentions, its motivations, its themes and from there–through writing exercises and discussion—we seek to identify the potential shape/resolution to the problems the projects pose for the imagined reader but also for us, personally, as authors. We will look at excerpts and interviews from Ocean Voung, Matthew Salesses, Marge Piercy, as well as Bonnie Garmus.

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Led by

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    Kate Milliken

    Kate Milliken

    Kate Milliken is the author of If I’d Known You Were Coming, winner of the 2013 John Simmons Award for Short Fiction, and the novel, Kept Animals, which was long listed for the 2020 First Novel Award. Her work has been supported by the Tin House Writers Workshop, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center among others. When not at work on her next book, Kate is a freelance editor and writing coach.