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Craft
ZOOM: Chester River Breakout Room

9:15 AM
Crafting the Setting in Nontraditional Narratives
Katherine Bell

In typical, linear, short stories, authors establish setting by stating where the story is taking place. How do authors establish a setting when the story is non-linear or uses a nontraditional structure? This presentation will focus on "Escape from Spiderhead," by George Saunders; "Girl" by Jamaica Kincade; and "Great Rock and Roll Pauses" by Jennifer Egan to understand the ways in which authors establish setting using new and innovative ways. Participants will complete a writing prompt after careful exploration of these stories.

Katherine Bell earned an MFA from Eastern Washington University in 2017 and is an adjunct English professor at both Frederick Community College and Carroll Community College in Central Maryland. She currently serves as the associate fiction editor for Doubleback Review. Her work has been published in The Maryland Literary Review, Grub Street Literary Magazine, and Welter Literary Magazine.

10:30 AM
Artifact as Muse: Using the Things We Share to Bring Nonfiction and Poetry to Life
Ann Quinn 

How can we as writers interact with the past in a tangible way? In this session we will examine how ten writers in both poetry and nonfiction asked questions of artifact to bring the past into relevant relationship with the present. Come prepared to write--we will practice posing questions to an artifact (bring one, or a picture of one if you like) to see how it can inspire our own writing.  

Ann Quinn is the poetry editor for Yellow Arrow Journal and conducts writing workshops at The Writer's Center, for Yellow Arrow, and at writer's conferences throughout the country. Ann holds an MFA in poetry from Pacific Lutheran University and lives in Catonsville, Maryland, with her family. Her award-winning work can be read in Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, Vietnam War Poetry, Haibun Today, and other journals and is included in the anthology Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women. Her chapbook, Final Deployment, is published by Finishing Line Press. Visit her at www.annquinn.net


11:45 AM
The Spark: Neuroscience,
the Senses, & Memory
Tara A. Elliott

What is it about certain writers that permits their words to linger long after you have put the book back on the shelf? Why do we remember certain lines, scenes, or settings? How is it that we can perfectly picture Platform 13, the green light across from Gatsby's pier, the plums in William's icebox? Is there a secret? Attendees will probe how the human brain works through an overview of its various parts and functions, participate in hands-on writing activities designed to highlight certain brain triggers, and explore the use of sensory imagery as well as its impact on memory through intense close reading. This session is open to all levels and all genres of writers and will fundamentally explore how memory is the single most important spark in igniting our reader's imaginations.

Tara A. Elliott's poems have appeared in The TAOS Journal of International Poetry & Art, The American Journal of Poetry, and Stirring, among others. A middle grades English teacher, Tara established Salisbury, Maryland's Poetry Week in 2016 and the City of Salisbury's Poet Laureate Project in 2019.  A former poet-in-residence for Freeman Stage and a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), she has received grants from MD Humanities, The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Maryland State Arts Council, and others.  She is honored to serve as the current president of Eastern Shore Writers Association.  Forthcoming poems will soon appear in Gargoyle and The Shore. For more information, visit: www.taraaelliott.com



2:15 PM
Getting Readers to your Place without Google Maps
Jane Edna Mohler

When we invite someone into our home, we don't make them stand in the doorway and ask them to survey the whole house. We show them in, give them a seat, maybe offer a cup of steaming coffee. What do our guests notice when you head back to the kitchen for a plate of shortbread? Do they look for stories in your tchotchkes? Maybe they want to look in your medicine cabinet! Similarly, we want our readers to intimately experience the places we write about. Workshop participants will engage in active prompts to create spaces our readers will want to enter. Activities will sharpen our focus on details that resonate with readers when writing about places in our past, present, and even imaginary places. Readings will include poems that offer novel perspectives on place. You will leave this informal workshop with new maps to your important places.

Jane Edna Mohler is the author of Broken Umbrellas (Kelsay, 2019). She is the current Bucks County Poet Laureate (Pennsylvania.) She is 2016 winner of Main Street Voices, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a Robert Fraser finalist. Her poems have appeared, or will soon appear in Gargoyle, Schuylkill Valley Journal, U.S.1 Worksheets, River Heron Review, The Skinny Poetry Journal, BTO Anthology, and the Boston Globe. She was a presenter at the 2020 BTO Writer's conference.


3: 30 PM
Make a Place in your Life for your Writing:
Build a Writing Routine that Works
Melanie Figg

Join us to build a sustainable place for your writing--a place in your schedule, a place in your crowded house, and a positive and motivated place in your head.  In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn practical ways to begin to build a sustainable writing practice that works for you. As a group, we'll discuss obstacles to success, bust some myths that hold us back, and take note of some common pitfalls. You'll leave with a renewed commitment to your work, lots of tips and strategies, and a strong plan to put in place. Please bring a notebook and your calendar to the session.

Melanie Figg --  With 30 years of teaching expertise, Melanie Figg is a skilled and generous instructor. She brings humor and compassion to her workshops and offers lots of practical advice. Her award-winning poetry collection, Trace, received a prestigious Kirkus starred review and was named one of the "Best Indie Books of 2020." She's received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council and others. As a professional certified coach, Melanie offers manuscript reviews, women's writing retreats, online writing groups, and works one-on-one with writers to tame their inner critics and finish their projects. She's now working on a hybrid memoir. Website: www.melaniefigg.net



SESSION SUMMARIES by TRACK 

 Beginning Fiction  Advanced Fiction

Poetry  -  Publishing/Marketing

CraftMemoir & Nonfiction

Conference Overview



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