Spring 2024 Craft Talks

January-April, 2024

Register Now

Literary Cleveland is excited to introduce a series of fresh and forward-thinking craft talks to our spring course schedule, beginning in January of 2024. Register today and learn to promote yourself as a professional writer, build fiction with fairy tales, refine your flash fiction, revise your poems, write comics, and more with some of the talented and engaging writers in Cleveland, Ohio, and the US. Our Spring 2024 instructor lineup for craft talks includes Pushcart Prize nominee Athena Dixon (The Loneliness Files), Electric Literature Editor-in-Chief Denne Michele Norris, Cave Canem fellow Natasha Oladokan, National Endowment for the Arts fellow Aubrey Hirsch, and Cleveland Arts Prize winners playwright Eric Coble and poet Stephanie Ginese.

See the links below for more information and to register for the two-hour session of your choice:

Spring 2024 Craft Talks (January-April)

REGISTER HERE!

Shameless Self Promotion


Monday, January 8
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Ken Schneck

If a writer pens something amazing in the woods and no one is around to read it, does it make a sound? No! No it does not. Marketing your work is essential to building an audience. Whether you want to get more people to listen to your podcast, have someone remember you after a Lit Cleveland mixer or more simply answer the question, "What do you create?", you need to be able to talk about your work clearly, concisely, and compellingly. Get inspired to share your work as we talk about the basics of self-marketing from social media to websites to that ever-critical elevator pitch. This workshop will strengthen your voice and build your confidence. Guaranteed.

Click here for more info and to register.

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Building Fiction with Fairy Tales


Saturday, February 17
10-11am
w/ Amber Sparks


Everyone knows at least a few fairy tales by heart, thanks in part to Walt Disney. Those Disney versions, cleaned up and sanitized, often follow conventional film (and fiction) rules. But the original fairy tales as written are far older, far stranger, and far more interesting when it comes to filling up our fiction toolbox. During this hour, we’ll talk about the rules of structure of fairy tales, how they got they why and how they’ve changed, and how we can use many of the elements in fairy tales to riff on, or as constraints, or as inspiration to build our own strange and resilient fictions.

Click here for more info and to register.

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Curiosity Created the Essay: Using a Whole Body Approach in Crafting Personal Narratives


Tuesday, February 20
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Athena Dixon


Writing personal essays is a multi-faceted practice. The creation of them springs from memory and lived experiences that drive us to the page. But how do you turn this emotional curiosity into a polished piece? In this two-hour course, Athena Dixon will guide writers through how our work wells from not only our brains, but also our physical bodies. Participants will explore how to create vessels out of our senses, memories, and physical beings to help immerse our readers in a fully fleshed narrative experience.

Click here for more info and to register.

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A Sentence as Clean as a Bone: Refining Your Flash Fiction


Tuesday, February 27
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Denne Michele Norris


Amy Hempel says, "I do feel that if you can write one good sentence, then another good sentence, and then another, you end up with a good story." James Baldwin says, "You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal." Refine the building blocks for your own brief writing in this two-hour course with editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and winner of the 2022 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize Denne Michele Norris, in which she will guide you through writing cleaner sentences for more skillful and affecting flash fiction.

Click here for more info and to register.

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Revising Your Poems Like Gardeners (& Not Police)


Tuesday, March 5
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Natasha Oladokan


Perhaps you've been told: "Writing is revising." Well, it's true. Writing is revising—but what does "revising" mean exactly? Altering line breaks? Adding stanzas? Cutting stanzas? Throwing the whole poem in the Recycle Bin? Revising can be intimidating, but in this workshop, we will take a different approach from that exacting editor that lives in most of our brains. We will approach our poems as gardeners and not police, drawing from Rachel Zucker's method of "radical revision" and examining our own poems through lenses of re-visioning to explore new incarnations our poems might exist in.

Note: This craft talk is aimed toward intermediate and advanced writers that already have a number of poems to choose from, old or new, that they would like to radically revise.

Click here for more info and to register.

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Comics for People Who Can't Draw


Saturday, March 9
10-11:30am
w/ Aubry Hirsch


Comics are great! They’re enjoyable to make, quick and easy to read, and people love to share them. But when I talk to writers who are interested in comics, they often point to the same roadblock that keeps them from experimenting with this fun and innovative form.

“But,” they say, “I can’t draw!”

I’m here to tell you that your fine art skills have very little to do with your aptitude for making comics. And how you (yes, YOU!) can make comics without any drawing ability at all.

In this workshop, we’ll identify main goals of comics artists and talk about the fundamentals of using art as communication. We’ll discuss ideas to work around gaps in artistic skills while still producing work that is visually compelling. We’ll also identify and practice ways you can leverage what you have to create a readable style that’s uniquely yours.

This workshop is for anyone with an interest in comics, and no special equipment or drawing skills are required!

Click here for more info and to register.

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Donuts And Mountain Climbing: Stories I Tell Myself About Playwriting


Wednesday, March 20
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Eric Coble


Want to learn more about playwriting? Looking for tips on developing your script or breaking into the business? Join this talk with acclaimed playwright Eric Coble.

Through odd writing prompts, six rules for the stage (featuring a pile of metaphors), and a wild & wooly Q&A, Eric Coble will delve into his accumulated philosophies about writing, life, and secret Truth About Theatre.

Click here for more info and to register.

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Can I Hook You on My Book? - Finding an Agent & Writing the Query


Thursday April 4
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Karen Odden


This workshop draws on industry research and interviews with four literary agents to provide current advice about the query letter, which is really a genre all its own. Even for established writers, it is a challenge to take a book of 80,000 to 100,000 words that we know and love and not only distill it down to fewer than 300 words but to go “meta” on it in a way that will entice an agent. Like a good novel, the effective query letter both tells and shows that you and your manuscript are ready to be represented. The workshop begins with a discussion of how to find agents to query. Then, we break the query letter into four parts—(1) shape the hook, (2) pitch the book, (3) pitch you, and (4) KISS at the close—and review examples of both poorly crafted elements and more effective ones. The presentation includes “rules of thumb” to help writers avoid pitfalls as well as “instant turnoffs”—elements that cause an agent to set aside the letter.

Click here for more info and to register.

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The Ekphrastic Hour: Art as a Feedback Loop for Fiction


Saturday April 6
10 -11am
w/ Amber Sparks


Writers have long been inspired by visual art, and more recently by films and other visual mediums. Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum “the medium is the message” is a waving red cape for the kind of writer who lives for the challenge of translating the visual message into a non-visual medium. And for writers truly interested in putting something wondrous strange on the page, the visual can - pardon the pun - stay in the picture to create a sort of feedback loop between text and image, and other texts and other images, resulting in a fiction that’s both defamiliarized but also deeply human and recognizable. We’ll look at examples of ekphrastic writing and ekphrastic experiments, and get inspired to go beyond description to get at something more fundamental than setting, something deeper and more surreal than simple translation of an image.

Click for more info and to register.

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Pegado Poetica


Monday April 15
6:30-8:30pm
w/ Stephanie Ginese


In this workshop, participants will be introduced to classic and contemporary Puerto Rican poets & poetry as a way to discover new voices and inspire their own. Participants will use the example poems to generate one original piece of their own. This class will follow a pay-what-you-can model in an endeavor to promote accessibility and inclusion for all.

NOTE: In keeping with our mission, to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, the registration fee for this course is "Pay What You Can." We believe every writer, reader, storyteller, and literary enthusiast who wants to attend a Literary Cleveland course should be able to have that experience. "Pay What You Can" registration allows comfortable, affordable participation for everyone. We have suggested fees--you can pay one of them, or pay what you can. Your participation is the priority for us. We want you to have an opportunity to learn with Literary Cleveland.

Click here for more info and to register.

Learn More

Literary Cleveland is excited to introduce a series of fresh and forward-thinking craft talks to our spring course schedule, beginning in January of 2024. Register today and learn to promote yourself as a professional writer, build fiction with fairy tales, refine your flash fiction, revise your poems, write comics, and more with some of the talented and engaging writers in Cleveland, Ohio, and the US. Our Spring 2024 instructor lineup for craft talks includes Pushcart Prize nominee Athena Dixon (The Loneliness Files), Electric Literature Editor-in-Chief Denne Michele Norris, Cave Canem fellow Natasha Oladokan, National Endowment for the Arts fellow Aubrey Hirsch, and Cleveland Arts Prize winners playwright Eric Coble and poet Stephanie Ginese.

See the links below for more information and to register for the two-hour session of your choice:

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