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Across cultures and literary history, the literary arts have had a longstanding connection to visual culture. In this class, we’ll look at various examples of the ways in which literary and visual artists have approached bringing text and image together – we’ll look at ekphrastic poetry, visual artists using text, and literary authors using image and visual forms to innovate their work. We’ll focus primarily on creative strategies to generate your own ideas for writing and try out a variety of writing exercises.
Bring a laptop or notebook to take notes and use for exercises. We’ll meet for one, three-hour session and explore a range of exercises and creative strategies. This class is for beginning and intermediate writers.
Instructor: Shin Yu Pai holds a Masters of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and writes poetry and personal essays, in addition to making work as a visual artist. From 2015-2017, she served as the fourth Poet Laureate for the City of Redmond. Her work has been awarded grants from the Awesome Foundation, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture. Her latest book Same Cloth will be published by Entre Rios Books in Fall 2018. She lives with her husband and 4-year-old son in Seattle, where she serves as Deputy Head of the Obscura Society for Atlas Obscura and curates programs that inspire curiosity and wonder for the Seattle Obscura Society.
Before there is a great movie or TV series, there has to be a great screenwriter. If you’ve thought about writing or have already written a script, you’ll enjoy hearing what our screenwriters have to say about their experiences.
Because of unforeseen changes to their schedules, Bridget Foley and Stephen Susco will be unable to participate in this Roundtable.
Hope McPherson is an award-winning and optioned screenwriter, but, in the scheme of things, a rank beginner when it comes to scriptwriting. She has also been an editor and a feature writer for more than 20 years and has interviewed a variety of people, including physicians, theologians, cartoonists, academics, and a Hollywood wrangler. She lives in Port Orchard on a small farm with a contemplative llama, three partying goats, and two softhearted mini donkeys.
Julie Bliss Umbreit is a screenwriter, but her career has been fueled by a wide variety of related jobs: journalist, photo-journalist, editor, magazine writer, public relations, corporate trainer, producer and multi-media business owner.
She has written ten screenplays. Three of them – a comedy, family film and true story -- have won first-place awards from film festivals, such as Sundance, Austin, San Diego, Nashville, Moondance, Kids First!, Washington State, and Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. Two scripts have been optioned by L.A. producers.
A believer in keeping skills up-to-date, she currently is enrolled in an online ScreenwritingU Master Screenwriting Course. She also has taken classes in comedy, dialogue, Mini-Movie Method, creating characters for movie stars, the Chinese film market and more. She has a Screenwriting Certificate from the University of Washington. Professional organizations she belongs to are Northwest Screenwriters Guild and Women in Film/Seattle.
The Welcome to the BARN Writers' Studio is designed for members. Before attending one of these sessions, be sure you are a BARN member and have obtained your fob for entry into BARN.
Then, at this orientation session, we will give you the information you need to have fob access into the Writers' Studio.
This one-day workshop is about the bones of narrative. While a well-plotted story has intrinsic value, what's less explored is the way that tight plotting aids more subtle stories which emphasize character or theme. Engaging the audience with a simmering want-to-know keeps them fully focused on whatever story you want to tell.
Using examples from your narratives and classic films, we will explore the reality beneath the catchphrases of large-scale plotting—Inciting Incident, Balance of Forces, the Problem and the Path, the Dark Night of the Soul, "the Page-75 Scene," Root Action, and of course, pinches, turns, breaks, and twists. We will also focus on the way plot operates within scenes, through the techniques of Expectation/Reality Gap and Win/Loss and the unique narrative power of the scene cut.
Understanding the levers of structure is the key to enlisting the audience in the construction of your narrative.
The lunch break will be a half-hour to forty-five minutes. We suggest you bring a sack lunch and enjoy the use of our Commons area.
Instructor: Christian Ford is a screenwriter with over twenty professional credits, an essayist, an occasional director, and an extremely slow boat-builder. He has lived on Bainbridge Island since 2006.
Teens! Teens! Teens! (ages 14-18)
Two days. One Essay. No Sweat.
Think it can’t be done? I disagree. I know college essays can be intimidating, but once you drill down past what a college essay isn’t and understand what it is, the rest is easy. I’ll show you how to go from blank page to finished draft in less than a week. You’ll discover powerful tools to help you brainstorm, craft, analyze, and edit your essay. Together, we’ll find a meaningful topic and story structure to help you stand out from the pack. You’ll have time to write, edit, and polish to ensure admission has the chance to see the best in you.
Get real. Get messy. Get it done.
Instructor: Pam Shor is Executive Director and Essay-Mentor-In-Chief - College Advisory Service.
I love colleges and I love working with students. I've mentored students who've gone on to Ivy League Universities and students who've discovered their voice at less well-known, but still awesome, institutions. Helping each student find just the right fit and guiding them through the application process is at the heart of what I do. While essays can be particularly challenging, years of experience have taught me that every student has an inspiring story to tell. One of the great joys of my job is helping students discover those stories and present them well.
Prior to working with inspired and amazing college-bound students, I developed educational, multimedia software for Microsoft, including the award-winning Dinosaurs. Go ahead, ask me about T-Rex or the dreaded Velociraptor. I can go head to head with (almost) any 8-year-old. I also produced programming for KING-TV. My projects included documentaries, children’s programming, and an occasional stint with Almost Live! Early in my career, I worked with gifted students through the School of Education at the University of Virginia. I graduated from Kenyon College with a Bachelor of Science degree and I would go back in a heartbeat. I received my Educational Consulting Certificate from the University of California, Irvine.
Let's just get together and talk. Share your latest writing projects, problems, and ideas. Are you writing children's literature? Join Mary Sloat and Bridgett Wonder as they share their experiences, problems, and questions as they write for young people. Talk about your own experiences as you think about writing for younger audiences, as you are in the midst of writing a book for children, or as you have finished a book.
Sometimes it's pleasant or cathartic to get together with other writers or prospective writers and share. There is no better place to do that than a monthly roundtable. Register now for this BARN Writers' Forum.
In this Production Series class, you will be challenged to write a 60,000 word novel in four months. Topics to be covered when you meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month during that time include the following: (1) the premise, your story as a series of events, the opening, time management, and how to participate in a response group; (2) character development; (3) plot and story arc; (4) dialogue; (5) point of view and setting; (6) show don’t tell; (7) self-editing; (8) revision and manuscript preparation.
Before the first class, you will submit the premise for your novel to the instructor. Instructions will be emailed about the formula for a premise. Student premises will be discussed and refined during the first class.
Instructor: T.M. Smith has loved to write since childhood, and it is little wonder that she majored in English in undergraduate school and went on to earn a Master of Arts in the same subject, accumulating more than one hundred credits in writing and literature courses while on that journey. Putting her schooling to good use, she taught her favorite subject at high school, community college, and university. During that busy time, like Virginia Woolf’s character in Between the Acts, she produced “orts, scraps, and fragments” that she now returns to and uses in her writings--a novel, Affection for Crime; two recently finished short stories; and a soon-to-be-completed novel series.
She takes great joy in writing but a greater joy in sharing what she knows, thereby encouraging others to pursue their dreams and become authors.
In her previous life, she earned a master of arts in English and a doctorate in Educational Administration and Higher Education; as principal she was honored when her school received the highly-sought-after National Secondary School Recognition Award (Blue Ribbon School); and she was excited to receive a Milken Outstanding Educator Award.
For all BARN studio artists or other visual and performing artists! At some time, you have submitted or will need to submit an artist's statement. This class will help you polish the one you have or create a new statement.
You will examine samples of working artists’ biographies and determine the essential elements in an effective statement. Various styles will be discussed, and a list of key words and sentence starters will be reviewed.
Dinah Satterwhite will provide a template and you will begin to outline your biography with some easy and fun creative exercises that are sure to bring out your personal style. You will receive direct feedback from the instructor and others in the class and discuss how to make minor variations in order to address specific audiences, like a fine arts gallery or small gift shop.
And finally, you'll develop a polished statement that will effectively generate interest in your work and you as an artist. Helpful marketing hints will be interjected throughout this course, including writing a press release.
Handouts will be provided. Bring paper and pen, and (optionally) electronic writing devices that you are familiar with.
Instructor: Dinah Satterwhite is an active artist living on Bainbridge Island, WA. She manages the regional Studio Tour and coaches artists. She is a professional photographer and specializes in photographing artists’ work. Her work is displayed in art galleries and stores. She is experienced in marketing, copywriting, design and layout.
Have you ever had a secret place? A hideout? A hut? A place that was your own special place? For many writers, a personal journal provides that same sense of privacy and freedom. It’s a place to be alone with your thoughts, to let your imagination run wild, and to explore the richness of your inner world. In this class, you will focus on writing as a means of self-discovery. Expect to keep a journal, which will be shared only voluntarily and to do a series of fun, imaginative activities combining art (working with clay, drawing, etc.) and writing. Join us!!
Both beginning and more experienced writers are welcome. Ages 12-18 are welcome.
Instructor: Emily Chamberlain, M.A. is a professional educator with over twenty years of experience in both public and private schools. As a teacher of literature and writing at Carolina Friends School for much of her career, her greatest joy was to help young people use the writing process to weave deeper connections with themselves, each other, and the world around them. Emily holds a M.A. in Literature from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and was an instructor at the Duke Young Writers’ Camp. In addition to teaching, she serves as a Courage & Renewal® facilitator, leading retreats designed to help participants live and work more fully and wholeheartedly, in alignment with who they truly are.
Your life is a story, and if told correctly, a very interesting one. There is an art to taking the sprawling events of your life and reducing them down to a personal essay or memoir. Using Bill Kenower’s unique inside-out approach to writing, we will look at how to tell the fine difference between telling a story about your life, and using your life to tell a story. Students taking this class can expect to learn:
Agents report that they’re flooded with more queries and proposals than ever before, even as publishers cut back the number of books they produce each year. How can you break through the noise and get your project noticed? This class will help you step back and see your fiction or nonfiction work through fresh eyes and a business-based perspective. We’ll identify the things that make your work unique, marketable, and irresistible to publishing gatekeepers, and then with lots of examples and time for practice and personal feedback, we’ll work on verbal “elevator pitches,” one-paragraph hooks (great for query letters), and the dreaded synopsis.
Whether you attended "The Art and Craft of the Query: Part 1, The Nuts and Bolts" in May or you have a draft of a query letter in need of review, this workshop will help you prepare the final draft. We’ll look at each query letter, assess its effectiveness and impact, and work together to sharpen the query’s essentials with particular emphasis on the pitch.
A maximum of only six students will participate in this class.
Please bring a draft of your query letter to share. Your query should be fully-formed—we won’t be writing letters from scratch—but don’t worry if it’s rough. The goal of this workshop is to refine your query so it’s an irresistible call to action for a literary agent to represent your work.
*This workshop will focus on works of fiction and memoir; narrative nonfiction queries are usually accompanied by substantive proposals, which are animals of a different sort. But non-fiction writers are encouraged to participate; the basic principles hold true for any one-page query letter, which all writers will be expected to present.
Instructor: Julie Christine Johnson is the award-winning author of the novels In Another Life (Sourcebooks, 2016) and The Crows of Beara (Ashland Creek Press, 2017). Her short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss; and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.
A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state.
"BARN Gathering” --Authors’ Reading--In Lieu of Roundtable
In the spirit of Gertrude Stein, BARN Writers and Martha Salinas will be hosting a salon for members and non-members to read their work to an appreciative audience. This is a great opportunity to prepare for your debut as an author. Even if you’ve read at your own book signings before, this is a wonderful chance to reach new readers. Beginners and experienced writers alike are welcome.
There will be room for ten readers and two guests who don’t read. Each reading will be five minutes with two short breaks. Please sign up early.
In the world of creative nonfiction, forms such as the abecedarian are proliferating. In this four-session class we will scrutinize models of three different forms (abecedarian, the A/B form, and the collage) and generate three new creative nonfictions of our own based upon these forms. In class we'll write in our notebooks in the timed writing method developed by Natalie Goldberg. As we develop our pieces, we'll work on prose style—sound and syntax—toward bringing them into the realm of highly publishable. The required text is the Second Edition of The Writers Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life (available in September 2018).
Instructor: Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, fiction, and history, and is a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her work appears widely and her books are Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press), Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Poets, and Other Creators (Coffeetown Press), and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). Her how-to-write guide is The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life . She is also author of Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America's Bloody Coal Industry. Her awards include a National Magazine Award. Her science column, Science Frictions, ran for 92 weeks in The American Scholar. She earned an MFA from the University of Washington and serves as Founding and Consulting Editor of www.historylink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history. She grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
As writers we long to hook our readers’ hearts as well as their minds. Together we’ll discover how conflict and tension fuel a character’s emotional journey and keep readers engrossed until the very end. Using examples from current literature, we’ll discuss techniques to strengthen your story’s emotional core and identify the one thing every powerful story has in common. Be prepared to participate in short writing exercises. Come with the seed of a story you’ve always wanted to write, opening pages or better yet a work in progress.
Instructor: Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet) is an ALA Best Book for YA 2013, Bank Street and Horne Book recommended book, and a winner of the Westchester Award. Her most recent books are an MG fantasy duo, Beyond the Door, a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth, and The Telling Stone, a finalist for the WA State Book awards. A new historical novel, Everything After, (Blink/HarperCollins) will be released in Feb 2019.
Her poetry appears in Relentless Light, (Finishing Line Press) The Southern Review, Smartish Pace, and Georgetown Review among other journals.
She taught middle school through college for almost twenty years with a specialty in gifted education. In 2000 she was awarded the McAuliffe Teaching Fellowship for WA State. She currently supervises student teachers for WSU, is a board member of SCBWI Inland Northwest.
Learn about travel writing from three experts with many years and miles of experience traveling all over the world. Stefanie Bielekova, Ann Randall and Doug Walsh, local travel writers, will share their secrets to success. Whether you want simply to have a record of your own travels or you hope to publish your memories, these writers will have ideas and inspiration for you.
Doug Walsh originally created a blog to chronicle the two years he and his wife spent traveling the world by bicycle. He continues to update the blog for his travels far and near.
Stefanie Bielekova delights in combining her passion for storytelling with the wonders of worldwide wandering. She’s lived in five countries, has traveled to seventy-seven, and has sailed around the world five times while working aboard the Cunard Line of cruise ships. After seven years at sea, Stefanie returned to “land life” by settling down in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She now works as a Travel Advisor, Speaker, and Tour Assistant for Rick Steves’ Europe and tells tales of travel on her blog, Postcards from Stef.
Ann Randall is a well-traveled international election observer, NGO volunteer and independent traveler who now spends at least two months annually venturing to out-of-the-way locales from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. In the past year she travelled internationally to Iceland, Estonia and Latvia (twice), Cuba, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Macedonia, Germany and India as well as working in Alaska and heading out on U.S. road trips. She’s a regular contributor to the print publications WestSound Home and Garden, Northwest Travel Magazine, Dutch, the Magazine, 3rd Act, Fibre Focus and Northwest Meeting News and the websites Wander With Wonder, My Itchy Travel Feet and Global Comment as well as maintaining two blogs: PeregrineWoman and ExplorationKitsap.
Dialogue is crucial to any kind of story—fiction, nonfiction, any type of script. But dialog is more than simply writing down realistic conversation. In reality, no one wants to hear (or read) about the weather, or what someone had for lunch (unless it really matters!).
Uninteresting dialogue can sink a story like a hole in the hull, while good dialogue makes it sail along beautifully. Writing great dialogue is tricky.
In this class you’ll learn to write dialogue that sounds lifelike, yet is carefully constructed so every line mines character background, tension, emotion and intent.
Instructor: Warren Read is the author of a 2008 memoir, The Lyncher in Me (Borealis Books), and the 2017 novel, Ash Falls (Ig Publishing). His short fiction has been published in Hot Metal Bridge, Mud Season Review, Sliver of Stone, Inklette, Switchback and The East Bay Review. He has been in education for 26 years and is currently an assistant principal with the Bainbridge Island School District.
In this class with Jennifer Longo, you will explore the various conventions found in contemporary young adult novels, focusing on working with and against these tropes to create a unique narrative that remains true to its audience.
YA novels, no matter the genre, nearly always feature many of the same recognizable characters and relationships, plotlines, and conflicts. New writers may not be familiar with (or fond of) some of these tropes. The authors may feel as if their books need to be shoved through a veritable sieve of conventions that have nothing to do with the narrative.
You will explore ways to work with and around these, sometimes, irksome elements. During the last part of class, you will examine opening pages of YA-- how they grab and hold the reader and how they are free of conventions. Along with Jennifer Longo, discover how it is possible to create a story that remains true to your vision and yet captivating for the YA reader.
Here’s a tip from the instructor and successful author: YA is written about, but not always for, a teen audience.
Instructor: Jennifer Longo is a playwright and novelist with Random House Books. Her first two YA novels, Six Feet Over it and Up To This Pointe were both finalists for the Washington State Book Award. Jen holds a B.A. in Acting from San Francisco State University and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Humboldt State University. Her next novel (Random House, Fall 2018) is set in her forever home, her best writing inspiration - the beautiful PNW.
Few subjects stir a debate more than how to develop a plot. That's why we have invited four Seattle7 authors to discuss plot development in this "mini" conference.
Where do you begin? With an idea? Then what? Is your plot action- or character-driven? Do you jot down a few notes and start writing? Do you assemble an outline—sketchy or detailed? Do you just start writing and see where the characters and ideas take you?
Join authors Kathleen Alcala and Jennie Shortridge, both in the character-driven camp, in the morning as they discuss their ideas on plot development. Then, in the afternoon, join thriller writers, Mike Lawson and Kevin O'Brien, as they put on boxing gloves and go to their separate corners to argue for how they develop an action-driven plot. Though all of these authors use different methods, the result is the same--each consistently turns out bestselling novels.
A lunch break will be from noon-1 pm. You are free to brown-bag it in our Commons or step out in town. A question-and-answer session will follow each presentation session.
Presenters: Kathleen Alcalá is the author of six books of fiction and nonfiction. A graduate of the Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop, she has also served as an instructor in the program. Kathleen earned her MA from the University of Washington, and her MFA from the University of New Orleans. Until recently, she was a fiction instructor at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island. Besides her short story collection and three novels, Kathleen has published fiction in numerous anthologies, most recently in the speculative fiction anthology Latin@ Rising, edited by Matthew David Goodwin and published by Wings Press. Her most recent book is The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, from the University of Washington Press.
Mike Lawson is the award-winning author of fifteen published novels. He has been nominated for the Barry Award several times and has twice won the Portland-based Friends of Mystery Award for his Joe DeMarco political thriller series. The latest DeMarco work is House Witness. The first book in his second series, titled Rosarito Beach, involving a rogue DEA agent named Kay Hamilton, was optioned for television. Prior to turning to writing full time, Mike was a nuclear engineer employed by the Navy and he lives in the Northwest.
Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times Bestseller list, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector. The author of eighteen internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery and is a core member of Seattle 7 Writers. Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin’s latest nail-biter is Hide Your Fear. He’s hard at work on his nineteenth novel.
Jennie Shortridge is the author of five bestselling novels, including Love Water Memory and When She Flew. Her books have been translated into several languages and optioned for film, as well as being selected as American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next picks and Library Journal’s Editors’ Picks. An avid volunteer, she is the co-founder of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Northwest authors who raise money and awareness for literature and literacy. Learn more at www.jennieshortridge.com.
Let's just get together and talk. Share your latest writing projects, problems, and ideas.
Sometimes it's pleasant or cathartic to get together with other writers or prospective writers and share. There is no better place to do that than a monthly roundtable. Register now for this BARN Writers' Colloquy.
Whether you attended "The Art and Craft of the Query: Part 1, The Nuts and Bolts" in May or you have a draft of a query letter in need of review, this workshop will help you prepare the final draft.We’ll look at each query letter, assess its effectiveness and impact, and work together to sharpen the query’s essentials with particular emphasis on the pitch.