This year’s Winter Fictionfest will focus on “the long and short of it,” with a panel discussion on the craft of fiction, workshops on writing flash fiction and other topics, and a reception, book-signing and open mic following the classes. Hone your craft with award-winning Cleveland authors, connect with other writers and develop new work at this half-day conference.
Schedule 1-2 pm: Panel discussion with Imad Rahman, Michael Garriga and Lucy Biederman 2-2:15 pm: Break 2:15-3:45 pm: Workshops 3:45-4 pm: Break 4-5 pm: Reception, book-signing and open mic
Workshop A Flash Fiction: The Short and the Strange of It With Lucy Biederman
How can a very short story undermine the expectations a reader brings to the page? And why might we, as writers of fiction, want to undermine our readers’ expectations? In this workshop, we will read and analyze a few very short works by contemporary writers who use the flash form to ask fundamental questions about how stories are constructed—and why stories are constructed. You will leave this 90-minute workshop having attempted at least one flash fiction piece and with a sense of where to find flash fiction in the wild.
Workshop B Show Don’t Tell on Steroids; or, How Method Writing Strengthens Character With Michael Garriga
This workshop serves as an introduction to “method writing.” To that end, we will investigate the connections between human emotion and sensory detail. We’ll focus on how the specific concrete choices we make as writers help to create fully realized, emotionally round characters. We will explore ways to engage the five emotional registers that help bridge the abstract divide between text and reader; by deeply inhabiting our characters’ lives, we can craft unique, resonant reading experiences. To this end, our ninety-minute workshop will focus on, first, published examples of fiction that illustrate how this “method writing” conveys the exterior manifestations of rich interior lives; second, we’ll write and workshop a hyper-focused exercise; and finally, we’ll discuss ways to transform this exercise into a working piece of flash fiction or the beginnings of a larger work. https://milkweed.org/author/michael-garriga
Workshop C You Want Characters Who Make Us Think, Not Characters You Want To Invite Over For A Drink With Imad Rahman
In this generative workshop, we will use the familiar axiom that plot springs from character and that character springs from desire in any form of literary fiction regardless of genre, and explore different ways to create fictional characters who haunt and resonate. We will then find ways to develop stories short and long and longer that allow these characters to grow in complicated ways, to wander off outside their comfort zones and make questionable choices and behave badly, and to maintain a dynamic sense of agency without losing the ability to charm and/or engage.
About the presenters
Lucy Diamond Biedermanis a Lecturer in English at Case Western Reserve University and an adjunct professor at Cleveland State University. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where she specialized in creative writing and American literature. Her first book, The Walmart Book of the Dead, won the 2017 Vine Leaves Press Vignette Award.
Michael Garrigacomes from a long line of Creole outlaws and storytellers. He has worked as a shrimp picker, a bartender, and a soundman in a blues bar. The Book of Duels is his first collection of fiction, but his work has appeared extensively in journals and magazines including Esquire, Huffington Post, New Letters, Black Warrior Review, and the Southern Review. He currently teaches writing at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio.
Imad Rahman'sfirst book, I Dream Of Microwaves, a collection of connected stories, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and has since been translated into French. His stories have appeared in One Story, Chelsea, Gulf Coast, The Sonora Review and Willow Springs, among others. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council & the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.