The One Story Workshop for Writers…so far.

We’re at the beginning of day 5 of 6 for the One Story Workshop for Writers.

The workshop is designed to help emerging writers determine what will be the next phase of their writing journey.  On Sunday, we welcomed 11 excited and talented students to a jam packed week, one that Associate Editor Marie-Helene Bertino promised would “tire them out intellectually and physically so they spend the full day after its conclusion sleeping.”  Each morning they workshop their short stories, novel excerpts, short shorts and, in one case, prose poems with Marie-Helene. 

Every afternoon they have been treated to craft lectures with different writers.  Hannah Tinti kicked off the lecture series with a discussion about story structure in which she read aloud from “Cat in the Hat” and we all sat and listened like good little four year-olds before bed realizing, at last, that the little fish was right. Myla Goldberg encouraged everyone to take a walk and eavesdrop in order to build strong characters during her lecture. And yesterday One Story author Terese Svoboda (Issue #130: “Bomb Jockey”) stressed the importance of using contradictions to create energy, in her lecture on how to begin a story.

At night the tone changes as the panels of agents, MFA directors, and editors address questions of the business side of writing and publishing. The question driving the workshop has been: Are MFAs for me? I am happy to say that as someone who is always asking this question to my bank account and my writing, this workshop has been honest and illuminating.

Onto day 5: a lecture on dialogue with Allison Amend (Issue #13, “Stations West”), and a reading by Sam Lipsyte!

Terese Svoboda shows us how to create a powerful opening line.

MFA directors Josh Henkin (Brooklyn College) and Deborah Landau (NYU) talk about what they look for in an application.

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