Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Tea Room Writer's Workshop (whole curriculum)

Where: The Tea Room
The Holiday Chalet
1820 E. Colfax AVE
Denver, CO 80218

When: Monday nights 5:30-8:00
January 28-March 17, 2008

Contact: Anthony Ilacqua


January 28: Flash Fiction. An exploration of fiction beginning with the very short.  If it can be said, say it briefly.

 February 4: The pitfalls of memory.  Suffering from “sometimers” disease?  Making connections of memory and biography into crafted story telling.

 February 11: Characterization. A scapegoat is born every minute.  Realization of characters to develop pages of personalities.

 February 18: “Just say it,” she said.  “Oh, I will,” he said.  Dialogue in narration, getting to know characters though their own voices.

 February 25: Putting it into place. Development of a sense of place, space, and locality.

 March 3:  Publishing? How to get it off your desk and onto someone else's.  A thumbnail guide to publication.

 March 17: Closing time.  Reaching the logical conclusion.

Writing time is provided at all workshops through guided exercises, please come prepared to write.

Session #1 Flash Fiction Workshop
An introduction to the Tea Room Writer's Workshop focusing on types of fiction, recommended reading, and writing exercises end in the exploration of a Flash Fiction project.

1. Opening Exercise: The “Why Read Quiz.”
2. Discussion: recommended reading list including Noble prize, and Pulitzer Prize winning novels.
3. Writing Exercise: The Haiku
4. Discussion: Basho and Haibun
5. Writing Exercise: The Haibun
6. Discssion: Flash Fiction defined
7. Reading: “The Colonial” and “Crossing into Poland”

1. Babel, Isaac. “Crossing into Poland”
2. Basho. “The Mountain Temple,” “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”
3. Forche, Carolyn. “The Colonial”
4. Kerouac, John. “Desolation Angels”


Write a piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) beginning with one of these sentences:
1. Days and Months are travelers of eternity...
2. Meanwhile the sunsets are mad orange fools...
3. Silence overcame all...
4. While the poinsettias were bathing...
1. a protagonist
2. conflict
3. climax of action
4. plot points: a beginning, a middle and an end

Session #2: Pitfalls of Memory
The use of memory and biography as a springboard to the writing process in creating developed storytelling.

1. Opening Exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Recap of Flash Fiction project readings:
1. Gio: “Operation Linebacker II”
2. Micheal: “Poinsettias”
3. Gregory: “The 15” a Haibun
4. Janice: “The Pinto Bean Capital Kidnappers”
3. Discussion: The Fictean Curve for crafting plot.  (Using Micheal's “Poinsettias” as an example)
4. Discussion: Memory, what do you remember?
Exercise: “The Room”
5. Reading: Richard Brautigan's “The Weather in San Fransisco,” and Edward Hopper's painting “The Hotel Room.”
6. Discussion: Esposition in storytelling, when to use back story.
7. Exercise: The anecdote: write and anecdote that is not your own.
8. Homework: Continue work on the Flash Fiction piece making it into a short story (2,000-7,500 words).  Make use of either (or both) of the memory exercises.

1. Brautigan, Richard. “The Weather in San Fransisco,” Revenge of the Lawn.
2. Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction.
3. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Sketches from Memory.”

Additional Reading:
1. Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time.
2. Maugham, W. Somerset. The Razor's Edge.
3. O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.
4. Ondaatje, Michael. Coming Through Slaugter.

Session #3: Characterization
The development of personalities from conception to page, this workshop builds characters using literary examples, Jungian archetypes and writing exercises.

1. The opening exercise: “He'd be a good guy if...”
2. Rehash of session two:
1. revisit types of fiction
2. current development of the short story
3. the goal of the workshop (a sovereign piece of well crafted fiction)
4. Plotting, part II: revisiting John Gardner
3. Reading: “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
4. Discussion: archetypes
5. Writing Exercise: “opposite me”
6. Reading John Tait;s “Reasons Concerning Monica Garza”
7. Discussion: The Character Dossier

1. Kincaid, Jamaica.  “Girl” Sudden Fiction International. Ed. Thomas and Shapard. WW Norton: New York, 1989.
2. Tait, John. “Reasons Concerning Monica Garza” Crazyhorse.

Additional Reading:
1. Cain, James M. The Postman Always Rings Twice.
2. Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley.
3. Thompson, Jim. The Killer Inside Me and The Grifters.

Archetypal Study:
1. Aesop's Fables
2. Book of Ruth
3. Estes, Clarrisa Pinkola, PHD. Women Who Run with Wolves.
4. Perrault, Charles. Collected Folktales.
5. Grimm's Folktales

Setting and time placement:
1. Hunt, Irene. No Promises in the Wind.
2. Steinbeck, John. Burning Bright.

1. Homes, Amy M. The End of Alice.
2. Selby, Hurbert. Requiem for a Dream.

Project for session #4: Further work on the short story including character development.

Session #4: Dialogue
The use of dialogue in story telling to describe characters, and locations through vernacular and dialects, the workshop begins with examples, and lead to exercises.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Reading: William Faulkner's “That Evening Sun”
3. Discussion: The use of vernacular in Faulkner's piece to gain an understanding of characters and time
4. Discussion: Dr Tami Silver's Talking through one another
5. Exercise: Talking through one another.  Pick one:
1. in a car with a maniac behind the wheel
2. the last date, for one involved
3. at a robbery, something has gone terribly wrong
6. Reading: Raymond Carver's “What We Talk About When We Talk about Love”
7. Discussion: Faulkner's dialogue VS. Carver's
8. Reading Colette's “The Other Wife”
9. Discussion: Importance of dialogue, putting it together
10. Exercise: Mr. Kyle Bass's Putting it together:
Step one: Choose three of the following:
1. a foreigner
2. an alien (from outer space)
3. a child
4. someone with memory loss
Step Two:  They have a common everyday object and do not know what it is, they try to figure out what its purpose could be
Step Three: Begin in the middle of the conflict

1. Submissions Via email
2. short email evaluation
3. your story with incorporated dialogue

1. Carver, Raymond. “What We Talk about When We talk about Love,” Vintage Contemporaries: New York, 1989.
2. Colette. “The Other Wife,” Sudden Fiction International Ed. Thomas and Shapard.  WW Norton: New York, 1989.
3. Faulkner, William.  “That Evening Sun.”

Additional Reading:

1. Eliot, T.S. “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
2. Rosetti, Christina. “Goblin Market”

Session #5: Location
This Workshop makes use of space, place, and locality to develop mood and context in fiction writing with an analysis of literary examples.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Reading: Introduction to John Steinbeck's Cannery Row
3. Discussion: Location of Steinbeck's novel
4. Exercise: “My Favorite Place.”
5. Reading: Thomas Pynchon's descriptions of Southern California in The Crying of Lot 49.
6. Exercise: “My Least Favorite Place.”
7. Discussion: Juxtaposition and putting together two seemingly different things.
8. Reading: Introduction to Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy.
9. Exercise: Juxtaposition: Location, relationship, event, and an occupation

1. Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. “In Golden Gate Park that Day”
2. Knolwes, John. A Separate Peace.
3. Miller, Henry. Quiet Days in Clichy.
4. Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49.
5. Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row.

Additional Reading

1. Burgess, Anthony. The Wanting Seed
2. Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaiden's Tale
3. Asimov, Isaac. Caves of Steel
4. Shulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles

1. Write a juxtaposition piece heavy on the location
2. Read A Separate Peace by John Knolwes

Session #6: Publication
This workshop attempts to make sense of the publication process from literary journals to novels, finding markets, and turning a manuscript into the correct format.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Discussion:
1. workshops, grad schools, residencies
2. resources
3. markets
4. query letters
3. Exercise: “My Bad Day...”
4. Discussion: A Separate Peace
5. Discussion: Critical writing to develop critical reading
6. Discussion: The Final Portfolio Project
7. End with Annie Dillard's “Write till You Drop”

1. Finish Reading John Knowles
2. Write a short critical piece on A Separate Peace
3. Assembly of the final portfolio