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18A451W Writers Retreat: Mining the Story
April 27-29, 2018

18A451W Writers Retreat: Mining the Story


Join us for the second annual Writers Retreat at Shake Rag Alley, open to writers of all levels. This year we are pleased to work in partnership with Hypertext Magazine & Studio. Enrich your talent and prospects at Shake Rag Alley School for the Arts in this charming art community and old mining town.

Choose one of three genres taught by either Patricia Ann McNair (Memoir, and Retreat Artistic Director), Christine Rice (Short Story), or Shawn Shiflett (Novel) for an in-depth workshop that will challenge you across the three days. These workshop directors are well-published and award-winning, and are active, experienced teachers of writing.

Interwoven around these main workshops will be optional and inspiring activities, panel discussions, and readings - Visual Mark Making: Drawing for Writers with Philip Hartigan, Writing For Young People with Sarah Hammond, On Literary Journals with Christine Rice and Patricia Ann McNair, Handmade and Candybox Books with Philip Hartigan and Judy Sutcliffe, Faculty Reading and Participant Reading. 

Share lunches with your new writing friends each day and have some fun together in the evenings. 

The retreat begins at 10am, Friday, April 27 
and runs through 5pm, Sunday, April 29 

Retreat price $295
includes main workshop selection, optional workshops and activities, and lunches

Optional Manuscript Consultations $35
Manuscript consultations are available with instructors on a first sign up, first served basis. 

Workshop Descriptions:

Memoir-Patricia McNair

Our lives are filled with exciting moments and ordinary ones, good times and trying times, bits and pieces that make us who we are now. During this intensive three-day workshop, we will mine our memories and experiences in order to render our memoirs. Our own stories will be our foundation, and we will learn elements of the craft of writing and effective ways of capturing these moments on the page. We will read from published models and essays, we will write each day. We will leave with work-in-progress and pathways to pursue after the workshop. Whether your goal is publication or preservation, this workshop is for you. Open to all levels of skill and experience.

Short Story-Christine Rice

Short stories are the lifeblood of thousands of literary journals; editors are on a constant hunt for beautifully-crafted work. Are your short stories ready? If not, or if you are simply on a lifelong journey of discovery and learning, this workshop is for you. Each session will employ a range of exercises and activities to help you craft a powerful short story. We will focus on elements of scene including the 'right' point of view, character development, dialogue, sense of place, and story movement. You will learn how to incorporate basic storytelling principles, forms, and techniques into your writing. This class will be useful for writers at any level of experience who wish to develop new or ongoing material. We will read from published models and write each day.

 Novel-Shawn Shiflett

The novel form has been fondly described as the “pachyderm” of prose. How does one begin to tackle such a huge project and keep the story dramatically moving forward from beginning to end? During this three-day workshop, we will explore the craft of writing a novel—structure, plot development, setting, dialogue, character interaction, placement and shaping of chapters, and much more. Time will be put aside each class for generating new material, as well as for reading our work out loud in order to further develop our sense of audience.  Writers with novels at different stages of completion, as well as those who just need a creative nudge to get started, are welcome. 
Manuscript Consultation-McNair, Rice, Shiflett

Participants in the Writers Retreat may sign up for a 25 minute one-on-one manuscript consultation with any one of the writing instructors (Patricia McNair, Christine Rice or Shawn Shiflett).

Please call the Shake Rag Alley office to schedule an appointment (608-987-3292).
There are 15 consultation appointments available. Appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis:
Fri: 5:30pm & 6:15pm
Sat: 9am
Sun: 9am & 9:30am

Please email manuscript in advance. Click here for instructions.

  • Registration deadline is April 16

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