Writing is a lonely occupation. You fight the blank page into submission (or at least to a draw), sweat over the details, rewrite it a million times, then hand it off to someone else who says “It was nice.” It’s one reason I’m such a fan of writing groups and other ways for writers to connect and support each other.
The trick is finding a good group or workshop to attend. A wonderful Arizona independent bookstore (another interest of mine) called Changing Hands Bookstore has a series of writing events going on, and I just got their newsletter for their July/August schedule. They are covering an increasing range of writing genres, from novels to non-fiction. Previous workshops have covered childrens books and women’s novels.
This list isn’t currently up on their site, but watch their calendar section for more information, or subscribe to their newsletter. If you’re a writer, you need to be reading, and Changing Hands is a great place to get your reading material.
|WOMEN’S WRITING RETREAT|
|1-4PM SATURDAY, JULY 19
Back by popular demand, Robin Brande returns with her Women’s Writing Retreat. Learn how to find your own true voice, research your novel, and stay motivated throughout the entire process. Brande is the author of Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, selected by the American Library Association as one of the Year’s Best Books for Young Adults. Robin will also discuss some of the the fundamentals of writing novels for young adults and teens. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
|WORKSHOP: HOW TO WRITE A MIDDLE GRADE NOVEL|
| 6:30-8:30PM MONDAY, JULY 21
Are you interested in writing for teens? Learn from Janette Rallison , author of Revenge of the Cheerleaders, how to write a young adult novel. Rallison will discuss the differences between YA literature and other books. She’ll also share how to create main characters that will hold teen interest and develop story questions, believable motivation, conflict, antagonists and more. Rallison is the author of seven young adult novels which have been put on various state reading lists, as well as YALSA’s Popular Picks lists and the YA Choices list. Her books have sold over 700,000 copies. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
|WRITING FOR THE SLICKS WITH 944 MAGAZINE’S JULIE STONE|
| 6:30-8:30PM TUESDAY, JULY 22
Since entering the fast-paced world of print media as an Editorial Assistant for 944 magazine in February 2007, Julie Stone has had many published articles including ones on eco-friendly sex, feng shui for the bedroom and aphrodisiac foods, which have enhanced the sultry image that 944 has sported for the last six years. In this new workshop, Writing for the Slicks, Stone discusses her weekly web column and shows you what it takes to be a writer for print and multi-media. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
|21 DAYS TO A NOVEL WITH MICHAEL STACKPOLE|
| 6:30-8:30PM MONDAY, AUGUST 4
New York Times bestselling author Michael Stackpole steps you through twenty-one days worth of exercises that will enable you to plan everything you’ll need to be able to successfully write a novel. Topics covered by the exercises include character creation, conflict, world building, dialogue and plotting. No more having a novel burn out after twenty pages, or getting stuck five chapters in-21 Days to a Novel sets you up to finish that novel once and for all. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
| HOW NOT TO WRITE
WITH JACK PENDARVIS
| 6-7PM TUESDAY, AUGUST 5
Cost: One copy of Pendarvis’s new novel, Awesome ($18), or any other Pendarvis title
Join the always hilarious Jack Pendarvis for the fiction writing workshop “How Not to Write,” in which participants will explore the three most important aspects of not writing: 1) How to avoid writing. 2) If you must write, how to sidestep the deadly pitfall of beautifully crafted prose. 3) How to do everything wrong and still be happy. Pendarvis is the author of Awesome (a novel) and two books of short stories, The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure and Your Body Is Changing. He is currently whipping his detective novel (titled Shut Up, Ugly) into shape. Like his other books before it, Shut Up, Ugly will be published by MacAdam/Cage. PLEASE NOTE: Awesome is indeed awesome, and filled with frank sexual humor. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
|WRITING WORKSHOP: JOURNALING YOUR DREAMS|
| 6:30-8:30PM THURSDAY, AUGUST 21
Creativity coach Quinn McDonald conducts the workshop, Dream Journaling for the Hopelessly Practical. Dreams deliver specific symbols and signs for your life. Learn how to make the most of your dreams through a dream journal, even if you don’t remember them. Use your daydreams as idea generators and to explore sleep thinking. Cost: $20. Registration and pre-payment at 480-730-0205.
|NON FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP: TO TELL THE TRUTH|
| 6:30-8:30PM THURSDAY, AUGUST 28
Many of today’s hottest writers — David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, Jon Krakauer, Mary Karr, Sebastian Junger — publish in creative nonfiction. Freelance writer and the editor of Dave Pratt’s forthcoming memoir, Behind the Mic, Lori Pfeiffer leads a course for the creative nonfiction writer. Pfeiffer introduces the literary techniques that turn truth into stories, such as nurturing a narrative, structuring a scene and wielding vivid verbs. Registration and pre-payment required at 480-730-0205.
(I just wish they wouldn’t format their newsletter so weird… )
If you know of any other workshops around Arizona, let me know!