SpaldingCon: Post-graduate Writers’ Conference
November 21-23, 2019
SpaldingCon is a post-graduate writers’ conference held during the School of Writing’s fall residency. The conference begins with registration at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 21, and ends at about noon on Saturday, November 23. Attendees can build their SpaldingCon experience around a workshop or treat it as a writing retreat with the option of a full novel manuscript or script review. Either way, plenty of other activities are included.
- Option to participate in a faculty-led workshop
- Option to use workshop time as a writer’s retreat, plus receive a novel/script review
- 2-hour lecture and generative session with Kenny Cook: “Let’s Misbehave: The Art of Disobedience”
- Open access to all faculty or guest lectures and readings during SpaldingCon
- Optional pre-con lunch dine-around on Thursday
- Evening reception with alumni, faculty, and staff on Friday
Workshop and options descriptions are given below.
The early-bird price of $449 is available through September 8; $499 afterward. Registration closes September 15.
To register, click here and indicate whether you wish to participate in a SpaldingCon workshop or receive the manuscript review. If you want to do both, email Karen Mann at email@example.com to ask about the additional cost.
Rooms may be available at the Brown Hotel for a special SpaldingCon rate of $110 per night (including tax) and can be requested through our registration form (first come, first served). We’ll let you know whether a room is available by September 19.
See below for cancellation policies.
All fees are due no later than October 15.
The SpaldingCon workshops shown below are open to alums from any area of concentration. Each workshop has a minimum of 5 people. Applicants will receive confirmation of a space in the workshop by September 19.
Workshop 1: And Then What Comes Next: Pitching Your Manuscript
led by John Pipkin
Focal area: fiction, creative nonfiction
Format: generative and review workshop
Worksheet: Students may bring to the first workshop an existing query letter, synopsis, and a few opening pages to revise, but can also plan to use the workshop to generate these materials.
When you are trying to get an agent and sell your manuscript, there is no substitute for a good story expressed in good writing. Period. But in order for an agent or editor to appreciate your work, you first need to get their attention. It is never too early to begin thinking about pitching, since this will help you bring focus to your narrative and understand what is at stake in your story. In this workshop we will identify strategies for writing the query letter and synopsis, and we will discuss ways to revise the opening pages of your manuscript. There is no pre-assignment, and students don’t need to have finished writing their manuscript to take this class.
Workshop 2: Writing a Novel on the Clock: NaNoWriMo and Beyond
led by Rachel Harper
Open to anyone who wants to write a novel or is already in the process of writing one.
Focal area: fiction
Format: generative or revision workshop
Worksheet: A 1- or 2-page document that includes the following information—a working title for your novel; a one-sentence description of the novel that includes the central conflict; a list of main characters; a list of 2-3 central themes explored; and a description of 3-4 major events/scenes in the novel. (These items may be altered to fit the specific needs of participants in advance of the workshop sessions.) Email Worksheets by October 9 to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, include your name and “Novel Worksheet.”
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) offers support and encouragement to anyone who wants to write a novel in a month. For those bold enough (some might say crazy!) to accept this challenge, what does it take to prepare (and survive) the experience of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month? How do you know if you’re ready for such a challenge, and how do you pace yourself once it’s begun? But not everyone wants or needs to write with such restrictions—and this workshop can work for you too. For those who want a less demanding approach to novel writing, yet still struggle with questions of time management, scope of story, and motivation, similar questions of readiness, pacing, and dedication also apply. Even if you intend to spend months or years working on your novel (or if you already have), yet find yourself struggling to stay interested or motivated, wondering if your story makes sense or if the conflict is big enough—you, too, are welcome to join us. Perhaps you’re participating in NaNoWriMo and need encouragement to keep going or a better plan to stay on track; maybe you’re just starting your first novel and wonder if your story has the legs to keep going; or you might be in process with a current novel that seems to have stalled, and you just want some feedback on how to pick it up and get started again. Any and all of these novel writers are welcome!
The structure and format of this generative workshop will be tailored to the specific needs of the participants who sign up.
Workshop 3: How to Adapt: Techniques of Adapting One Genre to Another
led by Kira Obolensky
Open to writers from all areas
Focal area: dramatic writing
Format: generative workshop
Worksheet: Worksheets should include the material students would like to adapt, whether it be their own work or existing work by another author. Email Worksheets by October 9 to email@example.com. In the subject line, include your name and “Adaptation Worksheet.”
How do you adapt one genre to another? Adaptations of prose to dramatic scripts account for a great majority of produced film and works for the stage. How can the study of adaptation help us understand what literature/prose can do? In this generative workshop, we’re going to learn approaches to adapting existing material—your own or the work of others. We’ll discuss building blocks of narrative, finding “narrative spines,” types of structuring devices and how to approach most any adaptation, from something faithful to your own personal “riff.”
Workshop 4: Flash Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Generative Workshop
led by Robin Lippincott
Open to writers from any area who are interested in the short-short form
Focal area: fiction, creative nonfiction
Format: generative workshop
Writing short forces the writer of fiction/creative nonfiction to pay closer attention to language and the poetic techniques of lyrical compression, as well as to formal experimentation. During this workshop, we’ll focus on generating new pieces of sudden work, as well as sharing and revising that work.
If you choose not to participate in a workshop, you may use workshop time as a writer’s retreat and receive a manuscript review. (If you’re participating in a workshop and getting a manuscript review, the review will be scheduled at another time.) All participants are welcome to attend faculty and guest lectures, readings, and other SpaldingCon sessions.
FICTION: Up to five alumni may submit complete novel manuscripts for critique by Karen Mann. Karen will make margin notes, offer a written critique, and have a 45-minute video conference with each participant at a mutually agreed upon time. (Manuscripts to be sent by September 15.)
DRAMATIC WRITING: Up to five alumni may submit complete scripts (screenwriting or playwriting) for critique by Charlie Schulman. Charlie will make margin notes, offer a written critique, and have a 45-minute phone or video conference with each participant at a mutually agreed up time. (Manuscripts to be sent by September 15.)
Featured Session with Kenny Cook
(Open to alums only)
Let’s Misbehave: The Art of Disobedience
The best art is disobedient. The creative words that move us, compel us, provoke us, haunt us, and transform us—the works that matter most to us and that we cherish—break the rules in some significant way. Of course, if you’re writing narrative, your characters must act out, act up, or transgress in important ways; otherwise, there’s no drama. But, as authors, we must misbehave as well, in terms of subject, structure, or sensibility. In this combined lecture and generative session, we’ll look at strategies for getting our stories, poems, essays, and scripts to productively misbehave in ways that will enliven not only our creative work but our relationship to our work.
Cancellation policy for SpaldingCon
100% of fee will be refunded through September 30.
50% of fee will be refunded October 1 – November 13.
No refund after November 13.
Cancellation policy for rooms at the Brown
Full refund through November 13. After that, full refund minus any charges made by the Brown Hotel.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.