Spring Writing Intensive

Saturday, May 21, 2016


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The Second Annual Writing Intensive

Organized by Laura Oliver and Lynn Auld Schwartz
Mellon Hall
Saturday, May 21, 2016
9:15 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuition: $175

In this one-day writing intensive, participants will have the opportunity to join other writers for a day devoted to writing instruction, discovery, and inspiration. Working under the guidance of award-winning authors, attendees may select four workshops from seven choices. By choosing from a menu of craft options that will include memoir, fiction, nonfiction, and publishing advice, participants will select the subjects that address their most challenging writing issues and will leave armed with new skills, understanding, and motivation. All levels are welcome.

These concentrated writing workshops are complemented by an extraordinary setting—the idyllic campus of St. John’s College and charming, historic Annapolis. Come for the day or spend the weekend.



Here is the schedule for the Summer Writing Intensive. Tuition includes:

  • Continental breakfast
  • Seven workshops. Participants may choose four workshops (specific courses to be announced online).
  • Box lunch and question and answer forum (Laura Oliver and Lynn Schwartz will facilitate)
  • Afternoon coffee
  • Wine reception. Meet and talk with instructors and fellow writing participants.

“Adapting your Novel, Memoir, or True Story for The Big Screen” - Led by Khris Baxter
We'll examine strategies for adapting your novel, narrative non-fiction, memoir, short story, or stage play to the big screen, including writing the all-important Treatment. This workshop will review the elements of crafting a professional-grade screenplay adaptation (or TV pilot): structure, dramatic scenes, and dialogue. As well, we'll discuss essential strategies for marketing your adapted screenplay, working with producers and development executives, and the importance of pitching. Open to all levels and genres.

“To Set the Darkness Echoing: Mining the Metaphors in your Work” - Led by Temple Cone
In our efforts to produce enthralling plots and memorable characters that hook readers, we sometimes neglect our metaphors, perhaps thinking them minor ornaments. But well-wrought metaphors have the power to intensify actions, round out characters, and satisfy the reader’s love of language, achievements that will bring us both readers and re-readers. In this seminar, we will discuss what metaphorical language is, examine successful examples of metaphors from a number of contemporary authors, and work on mining and developing potential metaphors from a variety of sample passages.

“The Digital Era of Authorship” - Led by Jane Friedman
Before the arrival of the Internet, a modern author had few options for making a living that didn’t involve working with a publisher. Today, there are so many potential paths that most authors are confused about the right choice for them—and now live with the burden and opportunity of being able to reach their readers directly. This talk addresses how authors can plot a course that makes sense for their strengths and long-term career goals.

“Building a Page Turner” - Led by James Mathews
This workshop is for fiction writers at all levels who have a short story or novel in progress. The class will cover many of the basic elements of fiction, but will concentrate on the infusion of tension and forward movement in character, scene and plot development. Participants will also learn techniques to maximize dramatic effect through dialogue and action.

"Predicting the Past" (Historical Fiction) - Led by Lucia St. Clair Robson
The workshop will cover aspects of writing historical fiction—characters, use of the five senses, period language, humor and details, and strategies for organizing research information.

“Behind the Passes: Why Literary Agents Say No (and, Occasionally, Yes)” - Led by Lauren Sharp (Agent)
You’ve written and revised your manuscript, or you’ve honed your book proposal into what you feel is its best shape. You’re ready to publish. Now what? In this workshop, writers will learn the basics of what literary agents do, how to find the agent that’s right for their book, and why we pass on projects (beyond the reasons we often provide in a generic rejection letter). We’ll discuss query letters, book proposals, and a wide variety of other topics to be determined by Q&A.

“The Art and Craft of the Memoir” - Led by Sonia Taitz
This workshop will cover the elements of good memoir writing. What belongs in a narrative and what should be left out? How do we incorporate the elements of fiction (plot, character, pacing) into your story? How does the memoir writing process compare to that of the novel? There is something particularly beautiful about collecting life experiences and capturing that "universal nugget." Together, let's explore the difference between mere fact and artistic truth.

Khris Baxter

AN Khris Baxter, CEFA Writing IntensiveKhris is a screenwriter, producer, and co-founder of Boundary Stone Films which develops, finances, and produces a wide range of projects for Film and TV. Baxter has been a screenwriter for two decades and has taught screenwriting since 2004, most recently at The MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University, and American University. He’s been a judge for the annual Virginia Screenwriting Competition since 2004, and is the co-founder of the Telluride Screenwriting Conference held annually in Telluride, CO.


Temple Cone

AN Temple Cone, CEFA Writing IntensiveTempleis the author of four books of poetry, including the forthcoming Guzzle (Future Cycle Press, 2016); six poetry chapbooks; and scholarly works on Walt Whitman, Cormac McCarthy, and 20th-Century American Poetry. He has received two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, an Annie Award for Literary Achievement from the Anne Arundel Arts Council, and the Harold G. Henderson Haiku Award from the Haiku Society of America, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin, an MFA from the University of Virginia, and an MA from Hollins University, and is Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy. www.templecone.com.


Jane Friedman

AN Jane Friedman, CEFA Writing IntensiveJane has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher and editorial director of the $10-million multimedia brand. More recently, she served as the digital editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led a strategic overhaul of its website and launched digital subscriptions. Jane currently teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).


James Mathews

AN James Mathews, CEFA Writing IntensiveJames was born in Maryland, but spent most of his life in Texas as well as a variety of Army bases throughout the country. He is also a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who served two tours in Iraq. He graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland and later received an M.A. in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University. His fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including the Northwest Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Wisconsin Review, The Florida Review, The Potomac Review, Iron Horse Literary Review and many moreHe is the recipient of a number of fiction awards, including three Maryland State Arts Council grants. In 2008, the University of North Texas Press published his first collection of short stories called Last Known Position, which won the 2008 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. More recently, his short story "Many Dogs Have Died Here" was chosen for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2015, edited by James Patterson. He currently teaches fiction for the Veterans Writing Project as well as the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland where he is also a member of the Board of Directors. His website is www.jamesmathewsonline.com.


Laura Oliver

AN Laura Oliver, CEFA Writing IntensiveLaura (The Writing Intensive Co-Creator) is the author of The Story Within: New Insights and Inspiration for Writers (Penguin Random House,) named by "The Writer Magazine" as one of the best writing books of the year. Already in its sixth printing, Story was additionally selected by "Poets and Writers Magazine" as one of the best writing books ever published. Oliver has taught fiction and essay writing at the University of Maryland and The Writer’s Center and currently teaches writing workshops at St. John's College and mentors individual writers.

Oliver's award-winning fiction and essays are published in national newspapers, magazines and top-tier literary reviews such as: The Washington Post, Country Living Magazine, The Writer Magazine, The Writer’s Guide 2013, Glimmer Train Stories, The Sun Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Portland Magazine, and The Baltimore Review. Among other distinctions, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, the Anne Arundel County Arts Council Annie Award for Literary Achievement, two Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist awards, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

Oliver holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College, and has completed writing seminars in creative non-fiction at the University of Iowa. www.thestorywithin.com.


Lucia St. Clair Robson

AN Lucia St. Clair Robson, CEFA Writing IntensiveLucia wrote her first historical novel, Ride the Wind, while working as a public librarian in Anne Arundel County, MD. Ride the Wind made the New York Times best-seller list and was included in the list of 100 best Westerns of the 20th century. She has written eight more historical novels, and Devilish, a contemporary mystery with a supernatural twist.


Lynn Auld Schwartz

AN Lynn Auld Schwartz, CEFA Writing IntensiveLynn (The Writing Intensive Co-Creator) is a writer, ghostwriter, and story development editor. Her plays and staged readings have been performed in Atlanta and NYC, including the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading Series in NYC, which hosted over 100 renowned authors including Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award recipients, and which The Village Voice reviewed as "Lively lineups … always smart, never predictable."  Schwartz has received two Individual Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a 2014 Annie Award from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County for literary arts. Her stories have appeared in literary journals, she has published numerous nonfiction lifestyle articles, and has produced and directed the ongoing Page To Stage series, which offers writers the opportunity to tell their stories on stage. A graduate of The City College of New York (MA), Columbia University (BA), and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, Schwartz teaches fiction and memoir at St. John’s College and The Writer’s Center. Visit www.writerswordhouse.com.


Lauren Sharp

AN Lauren Sharp, CEFA Writing IntensiveLauren is an agent with Kuhn Projects and is based in Washington, D.C. She works primarily with nonfiction and is interested in expert writing about politics, history, current affairs, science, and business. She’s also seeking political, legal, and/or tech-centric fiction. She has previously worked for the agency ICM/Sagalyn and earned her Masters in English/Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati.


Sonia Taitz

AN Sonia Taitz, CEFA Writing IntensiveSonia is the author of four books, including The Watchmaker’s Daughter, a prize-winning memoir, and Down Under, a novel published last year. She has also written extensively for The New York Times, The New York Observer (where she held a column), and The Huffington Post. Taitz’s work has been praised by The New York Times Sunday Book Review, Vanity Fair, People, The American Library Association, Foreword Review, and NPR. Learn more about Sonia Taitz and her writing at www.soniataitz.com.


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