Upcoming: March 6 & 13, 2021

Thoughts, Flashbacks & Commentary: A Two-Part Workshop on Backstory & Other Narrative Elements in Fiction

Fiction writers, especially novelists, often focus on writing scenes, which function to move a story forward. But what about the other elements of narrative—summary, exposition, interiority, and commentary—the ones that add depth and nuance and increase reader engagement with characters and situations? Think of Mrs. Dalloway without interior monologue, or The Great Gatsby if Jay Gatsby’s backstory was simply plunked in the first chapter. This class will focus on how to effectively deploy these narrative elements.

The first session, March 6, will focus on concepts and examples; during the second session, March 13, participants will give and receive feedback on their writing.

Register here: Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance


Professional Development

Don’t Submit, Share! How to Manage the Process of Publishing in Literary Journals

Many well-intentioned writers enthusiastically set out to submit their work to literary journals, only to encounter numerous roadblocks.

This seminar demystifies the submission process by offering strategies for overcoming obstacles, clarifying personal goals, and creating a simple, actionable plan to get one’s writing in front of editors and, ultimately, readers.

Professional Development

Start Where You’re Standing: How to Create & Develop Your Writer’s Platform

Whether you’re just starting out, on the road to publication, or have already published a book, creating and maintaining your “author platform” is part of the business of being a writer. Simply put, a platform is defined by a) who you are and b) who you want to reach.

This talk will outline the essential functions and elements of an author platform (focusing on web sites, social media, and events); share tools for participants to assess their own efforts; and offer tips for integrating creative and promotional work to reflect one’s unique vision and mission as a writer.

Writing Craft

Who is Talking? A Workshop on Point of View and Narrative Voice

Deciding which narrative point of view will best serve a story or novel is challenging. In Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway suggests that writers consider the following deceptively simple questions: “Who is talking? To whom? At what distance? And with what limitations?”

This first of two creative writing classes tackles the complex issues of selecting a point of view by examining how various authors handle POV, discussion of participant drafts, and targeted writing exercises.

Writing Craft

Real Talk: A Workshop on Dialogue in Fiction

Well-written dialogue not only captures the unique, specific voices of fictional characters, but also helps a writer structure and revise scenes. Dialogue contributes to character development, summarizes situations, and reveals emotional subtext, particularly when in direct contrast with a character’s actions.

In this workshop, participants will explore these different functions of dialogue. Using a series of examples from literature and film, the class will analyze and discuss a variety of approaches to getting at the real rhythms and content of what people say.

Panel Discussion

Substance as Style: What Noir Writing Can Teach Us about Literary Form

As a genre, noir fiction explores flawed protagonists, individuals attempting to negotiate a corrupt society, and propulsive, plot-driven language that embraces the vernacular. What can this very American literary form teach fiction writers about nuance in character development, innovative approaches to building tension in a narrative, and the ways setting impacts plot?

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference


Two for the Road: Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Travel, & Identity

This talk explores different approaches to the collaborative process through the lens of several projects undertaken by writer Tanya Whiton and photographer Heidi Killion (Two for the Road: Adventures in Maine). Touching on the different ways artists can work together across disciplines, it also addresses some of the challenges inherent to cross-disciplinary collaboration—and ways to overcome them.

What are you working on?