Saturday Workshop: Point of View & Narrative Distance

For our final Saturday workshop of Fall 2022, we turn our attention to point of view. This workshop will explore issues related to who tells our stories, when and where they tell these stories from, and how narratives change depending on who controls telling. From Henry James’s ‘central intelligence’ to Sesame Street’s ‘near and far’ to John Gardner’s ‘psychic distance’, we’ll discuss concepts and practice techniques to help you get the most out of your narratives.

Facilitated by Jeff Baker, come join us for a free writing workshop on GCC Main.

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Saturday Workshop: Ready, Setting, Action!

“Places are never just places in a piece of writing. If they are, the author has failed,” author Carmen Maria Machado insists. “Setting is not inert. It is activated by point of view.” 

Whether we land our readers in Hogwarts or in Wonderland, at 221B Baker Street, London or 31 Spooner Street, Quahog, Rhode Island, whether they witness the unraveling tales of Derry, Maine or of Forks, Washington, the setting of a story does more than simply mark a spot on a real or fictional map. As Machado notes, setting is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in the creation of a story, and in some stories, setting is a role in the story; it becomes a character all its own.

Come join the Saturday Workshop to discuss the necessity of setting, examine the effects of setting on plot, and to garner techniques for creating parallels between setting and other integral story elements like characters, foreshadowing, symbolism, and theme.

Saturday Workshops Are Back!

Excuse the dust, but we are happy to announce that our Saturday Morning Workshops are back up and running as of Fall 2022. The first of three planned workshops is on Saturday, September 24th. These workshops are free and open to the public, as always. Tell your friends, family, enemies, pets, random passersby in the street, telemarketers, what-have-you. Details below!


Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference 2021

Early registration for the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Virtual Conference has been extended through February. What better way to get a jump-start on your writing goals for Spring 2021 than to join in on the workshops and events offered by our friends at ASU and the Virginia G. Piper Center? Follow the links below to learn more about the conference, the workshops offered, and various registration discounts for senior citizens, students, veterans, ASU affiliates, and anyone experiencing a financial hardship.


Creative Writing Events Cancelled

As many of you have already heard, GCC and the Maricopa County Community Colleges District have taken steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These steps include the extension of spring break for students by one week, and the implementation of distance/online learning for our classes thereafter. If you are a student at GCC or another college within the district, please check your student email for official communication from the district.

As you might expect, then, we are cancelling/postponing all of our creative writing events for the foreseeable future. That includes:

  • The Humorous Poetry Contest & Traveler Celebratory Reading, currently scheduled for March 18th, has been postponed indefinitely.
  • Our student Writing Club will not meet. Use the Discord channel if you would like to stay in touch with each other and share work.
  • Our Saturday Workshop planned for March 21st has been cancelled. The April workshop is still TBD.

Details about rescheduling postponed events will be provided once they are available. If you have any questions about creative writing events at GCC, please contact jeffrey.baker@gccaz.edu.

Saturday Workshop: How To Whip Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is an all-too-frequent complaint from aspiring and professional writers of all genres. If it hasn’t hit you yet, it probably will sometime in your writing (or student) career — maybe sooner than later.

Hopefully you’ll recover. Somehow.  Some way.

The issue is what to DO about writer’s block when it does inevitably hit you.

None of us are immune to writer’s block. Unfortunately, never having been hit by writer’s Block, and/or having been hit by writer’s block once (or twice) does not make you immune to being hit with a case of writer’s Block in the future.

Let’s talk more about our dirty little secret disease and explore ways to eliminate writer’s block with Gary Lawrence, short story author and GCC CRW instructor.  Gary will present ten steps any writer can take to loosen the grip of writer’s block, building upon his Writerly Advice post on the same subject.

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Analyze and discuss Gary’s short story “Writer’s Block” in the second half of this participative workshop. Read the story HERE before coming to the workshop, or read the story at or before the workshop (copies provided). Gary will read the story out loud if enough time is available, and will field your  questions regarding the story and his writing process for this story from the author’s point of view.

This workshop is free and open to the public. Light refreshments provided (BYOC = bring your own coffee or beverage).

  • What: How To Whip Writer’s Block, by Gary Lawrence
  • When: Saturday, February 8th from 9:30AM to 12:00PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room LA-141
  • Why: Writer’s block is like termites around here: You either have them or you’re going to get them sometime soon.

 

Saturday Workshop: Learning to Bleed on the Page with Style

Semesters grow so fast. One day, you’re semester-proofing the electrical outlets in your home, and the next day you have to pause your post-retirement remodel to weep over faded pencil marks on a doorframe meticulously tracking your once-young semester’s height. Where did the time go? Can this really be the final Saturday workshop for Fall 2019? Yes, yes it can. David Martinez describes the workshop’s focus below. As always, workshops are free and open to the public.

Everyone has a story to tell. True stories. Some of them are harrowing, some funny, some insane, but the fact is it doesn’t matter how harrowing, funny, and insane a story may be if it’s not told with style. It doesn’t matter how true. It’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t take away the veracity of the problem. What, then, do we do? We learn the best ways to tell our stories, we find that crucial and often eluding spot between emotion and craft, and we work. How well we tell our stories is as important as the stories themselves. How do we navigate? Join me as I begin to explore this question and search for what it means to tell our personal tales the way we need them to be told, the way they need to be told.

  • What: Learning to Bleed on the Page with Style, by David Martinez
  • When: Saturday, November 16th from 10AM to 12PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room LA-141
  • Why: Because the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon

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Upcoming Writing Events in November

With numerous competitions, workshops, and readings, November promises to be a busy month for creative writers at GCC and around the valley. Here’s a quick list of important dates and events:

November 4th: GCC is holding a series of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) writing sessions in the library. The first session is November 4th from 4PM to 5:30PM in L-138. Additional sessions will take place on November 12th, November 18th, and November 25th. Full flier here.

November 15th & November 22nd: ASU is offering scholarships for their Desert Nights & Rising Stars conference. While the conference will be held in spring, scholarship applications are due this month! More details here.

November 16th: GCC is hosting its third and final Saturday Workshop for this semester. David Martinez presents “Learning to Bleed on the Page with Style.” The workshop runs from 10AM to 12PM and is free/open to the public.

November 18th: The Maricopa County Community Colleges District is holding a creative writing competition where winners both get published and paid. The new deadline for this competition is Monday, November 18th. Read all about this Artists of Promise competition here.

November 19th: Mesa Community College is hosting Tiffany Midge for their Literary Reading Series. Midge is a bestselling author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and she will read from her book Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s. The reading begins at 7PM and will be held in the Mesa Community College Art Gallery.

November 20th: GCC is hosting its annual Poetry & Prose Slam. Participants share their original, creative work (poems, very short fiction or prose) to a live audience and a panel of judges. The top three participants earn monetary prizes! This event is free and open to the public.

November 30th: GCC’s Library is holding a Fabulous First Chapter Contest and the deadline lands on the final day of November. This competition is open only to GCC students. Full details can be found here.

Saturday Workshop: Where Does Your Story Happen?

October. The moodiest of months. So dark. So brooding. With its long hair and Black Sabbath t-shirt. Its worn jeans and Judd Nelson tattoo that, with age, now looks like Al Pacino or wrinkled fruit or a wrinkled Al Pacino eating fruit. Welcome, October. Welcome the pop-up costume stores filled with glowing skeletons and child-sized Avengers and sexy iterations on mundane professions and forest critters and root vegetables. Embrace the candy, cast out the raisin-givers and the unprepared. Admire the faux spiderwebs spread across porches and balconies and tree-limbs. Visit, with perverse interest, the darker places of the world: graveyards, abandoned buildings, Walmart, and (you had to see this coming) GCC’s Main Campus on the morning of October 19th from 10AM to noon.

And why visit such a dark and dreary place as GCC on a Saturday? Because we’re having a writing workshop, of course. Our second of the year. Details below!

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Where Jeff Sanger summers.

Whether you’re writing a memoir, a short story, or a novel, your story has a setting, a place where the events of the story happen. Your readers rely on you to provide some specific details about the setting so they can begin creating the scenes in their minds. But how much detail should you give? And where? And how might the answers to those questions depend on the kind of story you want to tell? Come to this workshop to discuss these and other important questions about your story’s setting.

Saturday workshops are free and open to the public. Water will be providing–begrudgingly. Also, maybe, treats.

  • What: Where does your story happen? with Jeff Sanger
  • When: Saturday, October 19th from 10AM to 12PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room LA-141
  • Why: Everyone is entitled to one good scare writing workshop in October