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Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Sanibel Island Writers Conference
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Tom DeMarchi, Director
Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Reed Hall 242
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565









Steve Almond—How to Create an Irresistible Narrator

(Thursday & Friday 9:00-10:15, BIG ARTS)

Many a short story, novel, and memoir have gone unpublished because the author fails to create a strong narrator, one who can act as a wise and entertaining guide to the reader. In this class, we'll examine the work of Ford, Salinger, Austen and others—and try an in-class exercise—in an effort to make sure your next narrator isn't just strong, but irresistible.



Lynne Barrett—Plot & Structure

(Thursday & Friday 2:30-3:45, BIG ARTS)

Too much plot? None at all? Confused about how to handle the past or strengthen your story? This two-session workshop will look at the elements of plot and structure and how they are related. Topics covered will include conflict, complication, resolution, active characters, movement, change, scenic development, movement, presentation of time, and narrative design. Through examples, discussion, and exercises, participants will learn strategies for assessing drafts and revising productively. Note: This class serves fiction writers and those working on memoirs, narrative nonfiction, or any dramatic form.



John Dufresne—Screenwriting

(Saturday 1:15-2:30, Sunday 10:30-11:45, BIG ARTS)

We’ll go over the basics of screenwriting, including storytelling, plot, process, formatting basics, the short film and the feature, adaptation—page to screen, the screenwriting paradigm, the first three minutes of your movie, the first ten, the logline, the pitch, the synopsis—and your marketing tools. We’ll view film clips as examples.


Beth Ann Fennelly—Four Ways Poets Can Use Sound to Make Meaning

(Saturday 9:00-10:15, BIG ARTS)

Poor poets—they’ll ever get to use synonyms, because poets understand that two words that sound different can never mean the same things.  To understand the importance and mysteriousness of sound, we’ll look at the way phonetic intensives affect our perceptions, and seek to understand how writers can underscore the meaning of their works though attention to sound techniques.  Along the way, we’ll look at poems by William Wordsworth, Robert Herrick, Carl Sandberg, and Robert Frost, and finish with a small group “quiz” that lets us put our theories into practice. 


Beth Ann Fennelly—The Secrets of Syntax

(Sunday 9:00-10:15, BIG ARTS)

So often we focus on word choice in poetry, and we forget that the order in which things are said greatly affects how we perceive what is being said.  In this all-levels, interactive craft class, we’ll narrow our focus to a discussion of syntax, that wily tool that poets ignore at their peril.  We’ll study examples by W.C. Williams, e.e.cummings, Donald Justice, John Berryman, and Louise Glück, and attempt to apply our increased appreciation for syntax to our own work.



Tom Franklin—Crippled Orphans at Christmas: Writing Unsentimental Fiction

(Saturday & Sunday 9:00-10:15, BIG ARTS)

We'll discuss what sentimentality is and its place in fiction. We'll read short pro and con examples and discuss, then do exercises against sentimentality.


Darin Strauss—The Art of Narrative (Fiction and Non-)

Our class will emphasize shop talk: how to begin a story, say, and how to introduce a character. And we'll take up such questions as, “What is the relationship of plot to sub-plot? How does one hold the reader's attention?” Of course, in Art, rules must be flexible—but I ask my students to think of writing in strategic terms; each story-telling decision needs to make tactical sense. With that in mind, we'll examine—with fantastic esprit de corps and style—the tenets of the Art of Fiction.