Join author Katie Bayerl and agent Emmanuelle Morgen for a long weekend of lectures, craft exercises, and workshop in Austin, TX.
Have you ever tried to drive stickshift? The first time probably felt impossible, with lots of lurching and stalling until you found the right balance between the two pedals. Guess what? Writing a story that is both “literary” and a pageturner can feel the same way. You might begin with a mind-blowing plot concept, but soon the scenes feel mechanical and empty. Or maybe you get carried away exploring character and voice… but nothing actually happens in your scenes. Maybe you run into both problems sometimes. (I sure do!) We’re going to talk about that delicate balance of keeping the story fluid and engaging for readers, while not losing sight of that beating heart that will make them care in the first place. Author Katie Bayerl will share some tricks and exercises to help you attend to both levels of your story. The good news? When you find that balance, you’ll find the process of writing more fluid and fun too!
Literary Depth, Commercial Pacing with Emmanuelle Morgen
Many writers have a favorite aspect of writing, and a least favorite one. For example, you might love writing all around a character, trying to get at the heart of their experience and motivations, but have trouble getting them physically out of their house or another setting. Or maybe you’re good at writing action and violence, but skirt around spending time exploring your characters’ inner worlds. Or you might do both, but sporadically, with lots of transitional filler, backstory, or context that slows the pacing of the work as a whole. In this course, we’ll consider: What is it that you really love about your favorite books and authors? What is it about these stories that clutches at your heart? What is the spark that drives your own story or stories? Why do stakes matter? And where does fiction intersect with the human condition? We’ll discuss these questions and a variety of different writing styles, as well as exercises for practicing skills in different areas: character, plot, world-building, and themes. We’ll look at excerpts of a number of popular books, ranging from classics to contemporary works, to discuss how each one achieves that literary/commercial crossover sweet spot. Books to be familiar with that may enter our discussion: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, Hope Blooms by Jamie Pope, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Reboot by Amy Tintera, Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman, and What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang.
- published writers
- writers with agents
- writers who are getting personal rejections from agents and editors
- writers looking to examine pacing and plot/character development
- those writing MG/YA and writers for the contemporary adult and literary fiction market
- SCBWI members and WLT members, and others who have attended classes, workshops, and conferences routinely
- those looking to give and receive thoughtful and critical creative feedback
Katie Bayerl fell in love with books before she can remember and with teaching when she was just a teen. The writing books for teens part came a bit later. She jumped right in and hasn’t looked back.
Katie has degrees in education from Brown and Tufts universities and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught teens in a range of settings, worked as editor of a teen-generated magazine, and helped dozens of schools and nonprofits tell their stories. She currently leads the VCFA Young Writers Network and teaches creative writing classes at Boston’s GrubStreet. Her young adult novel A Psalm for Lost Girls (Putnam Books for Young Readers) has been selected as one of the most anticipated YA debuts of 2017 by Barnes & Noble and Bustle.
Emmanuelle Morgen is a literary agent at Stonesong in New York, representing adult and children’s fiction, particularly young adult novels, dark literary fiction, fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and romance and women’s fiction. She has a soft spot for journey stories and well-developed villains. She also represents certain categories of nonfiction, including memoir, research-based narratives, experiential journalism, self-help, and popular science.
Her fiction authors include Alexandra Christo (TO KILL A KINGDOM, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan), Alissa Johnson (A TALENT FOR TRICKERY, Sourcebooks), Intisar Khanani (THORN, Harper Children’s), Kristyn Merbeth (BITE, Orbit), Kathleen Peacock (HEMLOCK, Harper Children’s), Jamie Pope (HOPE BLOOMS, Kensington), New York Times-bestseller Milly Taiden (A.L.F.A. MATES, Berkley), New York Times-bestseller Amy Tintera (RUINED, Harper Children’s), Danielle Younge-Ullman (EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED, Viking Children’s), and Kat Zhang (THE EMPEROR’S RIDDLE, Aladdin/S&S Children’s).
Her nonfiction authors include Jackson MacKenzie (PSYCHOPATH FREE, Berkley), international bestseller M.E. Thomas (CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH, Crown), Georg Rauch (UNLIKELY WARRIOR, FSG Children’s), Candace Walsh (LICKING THE SPOON, Seal Press), and indie author Catherine McCall (NEVER TELL).
WORKSHOP with ONSITE LODGING: $899, includes:
- Lodging provided Thursday through Sunday am on The Writing Barn grounds at The Book House in one of five bedrooms: Pulitzer, Booker, Printz, Newbery, and Caldecott. (No single occupancy rooms if the event sells out. The Pulitzer and Booker have two full-sized beds, all other rooms have two single beds. Each bedroom has a private bathroom. If you and a friend are both applying, please specify roommate request on your application form.)
- Please see HERE for pictures of the rooms and grounds.
- One dinner, three breakfasts, and two lunches. All vegetarian. (Three additional dinners not included in the price of the workshop will be off-site at local Austin area eateries/food trucks.)
- Unlimited snacks and beverages, wine and beer included.
- Airport shuttle to and from The Writing Barn for those traveling to Austin, at pre-arranged times.
- Up to ten pages workshopped by Katie, Emmanuelle, and the group.
- If you care to extend your stay at The Writing Barn or Book House to retreat/write after the event, please inquire about discounted stays.
- If you wish to have a Writer Massage in your room, during an evening, with one of Austin’s top massage therapists, the cost for an hour, full body massage is $100.
- If you wish to schedule a headshot session with Author Headshot Photographer, Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography on the arrival day, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- APPLICATIONS: Applications are taken on a rolling basis. To apply, fill out the application form here. Deadline to apply is September 23, 2017.