Saturday Workshop: How to Make the Fat Lady Sing

Goodbyes are always hard, but never as much as when you’re stuck trying to write the perfect ending. Whether a short story, poem, news article, or essay, that satisfying ending can seem ever-elusive. You can’t always kill off your main character, right? Right? Come join us in exploring methods of closing your creative pieces with clever, captivating, and gratifying endings that do not involve character suicide and can easily be adapted to suit your unique writing style. Take home a few writing “hacks” that will help you break through the final chapter jitters and end your piece with panache.

As always, our Saturday workshops are free and open to the public. Entirely unimpressive refreshments might be provided, but you’ll need to serve yourself.

  • What & Who: How to Make the Fat Lady Sing: Strategies for Creative Endings, with Jayme Cook.
  • When: Saturday, February 10th from 9:30AM to 11:30AM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room LA-141
  • Why: Because if the curtain won’t close on its own, sometimes you have to cut the strings.
the-end

Tonight: Poetry & Prose Slam

Don’t forget that tonight is our annual Poetry & Prose Slam. It’s a free and open competition to the public. Bring and read any of your short creative work–poems, flash fiction, song lyrics, whatever you have! There are monetary prizes for the top three performers/readers, as determined by a panel of judges. Either print out the registration form from our site, or show up a little early and fill a form out at the event.

  • What: The Annual Poetry & Prose Slam
  • When: Wednesday, November 15th from 7:00 to 9:00PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room SU-104
  • Why: Money

The Poetry & Prose Slam Looms

  • What: The Annual Poetry & Prose Slam
  • When: Wednesday, November 15th from 7:00 to 9:00PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room SU-104
  • Why: Money

The final GCC CRW event for Fall 2017 draws near, and with it comes money. As we do every year, we’re concluding our event schedule with the Poetry & Prose Slam. Unlike our open mic events, the Slam is a competition, and as a competition, there will be prizes. Prizes, as in, money. We do not promise big, floppy checks, but we do promise letter-sized envelopes filled with prize money for the top three performers. Via a highly complex algorithm involving quality of writing and quality of performance, our illustrious judges will select these winners. Competitors can enter short stories, poetry, drama, essays, song lyrics, creative nonfiction, or any other kind of creative writing so long as you can read/perform it in three minutes or fewer! Time permitting, interested parties will be able to enter up to three separate pieces of writing.

In order to participate, you’ll need to fill out a simple entry form that you can download and print right here: Registration Form. Or, pick up a copy on campus from the English Department office in the 05 building. If you forget to grab a form, we’ll have extra entry forms available before the event begins.

So, come read, come perform, come listen, come get paid!

Witness Writing Workshop Tomorrow!

As Loverboy proudly declared in 1981, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” Well, with Friday here, the weekend has arrived, so you can officially stop working. It’s true. Stop, right now.

Good.

Now, as all of you get to planning your sleep cycles and recreational activities and Netflix binging, leave room for tomorrow’s free creative writing workshop here at GCC.

Enjoy the weekend, and see you tomorrow!

District & GCC Writing Competitions

Friends. Fall is here, winter approaches, and with these seasons come the usual visitors: 90 to 100 degree weather, National Novel Writing Month, existential dread, and writing competitions within the Maricopa Community College District and here at GCC.

First up is Maricopa’s competition, which is open to all students within the Maricopa district. The contest accepts submissions in essay, fiction, one-act play/script, and poetry categories. The deadline for this contest is November 17th, 2017.  

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended to December 1st, 2017 by 10:59PM.

Read through the official entry guidelines and submit here: Creative Writing at MCCCD.


bus - night

Not to be outdone, GCC has our own writing contest through the Traveler, our arts and literary magazine. We accept the same genres as the district competition above–essay, fiction, one-act play/script, and poetry. Plus, we also accept submissions of flash fiction (500 words or fewer) as a separate category.

To read the full entry guidelines and submit your work, head here: Submissions


Don’t know which competition to submit to? Simple: submit to both.

Any work you enter into the district competition can also be entered in the Traveler competition, and the reverse is also true.

Problem solved. Now, get your work ready, polish it up, and submit!

Reminder: Open Mic & Kimberly Williams Tonight!

kwilliams-bookcoverDon’t forget that tonight (Wednesday, 10/18) GCC is hosting our October Open Mic event. This event is free and open to the public. Come share your own creative work, be it poetry, prose, or some other genre. Or, simply come listen to the creative endeavors of your peers and neighbors.

In addition to the Open Mic, poet Kimberly Williams will read from her new collection of poetry Finally, the Moon. She is our featured reader for the night, and will take to the stage after the Open Mic portion ends.

All of this begins at 7:00PM on the GCC Main Campus, in SU104. Follow the signs! We’ll have some light refreshments. Have questions? Contact Jeff Baker at jeffrey.baker@gccaz.edu.

October Open Mic: Featuring Kimberly Williams

kwilliams-bookcoverThere comes a time in every blog post’s life when it needs to put away childish things and enter society as a responsible adult. Time to get a job. Time to find a like-minded blog post and settle down. Have a family. Raise little baby blog posts. Secretly choose a favorite. Find a new web hosting service with more bandwidth and greater security. Time to shop for life insurance policies. Designate secret favorite the sole beneficiary of said life insurance policy. Time to move to Florida. Wait weeks between phone calls.  Be condescended to by no-longer-baby blog posts once those calls do come. Time to regret life choices and question the necessity for putting childish things away in the first place.

But now is not that time.

Now is the time to talk about our next open mic event where you creative wonders regale us with poetry and prose and song. Read us your finished work, your unfinished work, your work that prefers not to be labeled. Now is also the time to talk about GCC’s own Kimberly Williams and her book of poetry, Finally, the Moon, and how she is our featured reader for October’s open mic event. Come to read, come to listen, come to support a great community of writers and people.

  • When: Wednesday, October 18th from 7:00PM to 9:00PM.
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, SU104.
  • Why: Because life is too short not to.

Contract

Kimberly K. Williams teaches Creative Writing and Composition classes at Glendale Community College. She earned an MFA from University of Texas El Paso in Creative Writing. Filled with art, angels, and poems that explore other places, Finally, the Moon is her first full-length publication.

Register now for CRW202: The Writer as Witness or CRW251: In a Flash! Writing Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry with Kimberly Williams in Spring 2018.

Saturday Workshop: Travel Writing With Renee Rivers

 

  • What & Who: Travel Writing Workshop conducted by Renee Rivers
  • When: Saturday, October 14th from 9:30AM to 11:30AM
  • Where: GCC Main, Room LA-141
  • Why: I mean, read the post. This sounds amazing!

Travel Writing is an area of writing that is open to everyone. Given the upsurge in travel and online publication possibilities with multiple audiences, travel writing opportunities abound.  Once the parlance of colonial adventurers and conquerors, this art form has been rightfully infiltrated by genre- and boundary-busting creatives, inter-cultural sojourners, and reflective writers to produce a flurry of stories that not only transport readers into other places and cultures, but in which any reader can find themselves whether they travel or not.

Some of today’s most sumptuous and widely read travel writing seeks to situate the individual at the center of the narrative and defines travel in wide-open ways. When travel asks us to show up and interact with new places, peoples and cultures, we are often challenged to understand our inner world in terms of the outer.

And that’s where story magic happens.

rrivers2
Photo: Renee Rivers, Selfie, Lhasa, Tibet, 2014.

You x place x culture x your interests x your memories x some kind of new insight is where the intersection of exciting new travel narratives emerge. Consider how a story may come to life after visiting a neighborhood ethnic market triggers a childhood memory, or how a grandparent’s journal takes you on a search for cousins across the country, or how sensuous food can transport you into the realm of imaginary travel, or how your college engineering notebooks inspire a trip to university archives or another country to research the science and history of aeronautics, or even how a family vacation may have gone hilariously wrong.

These ideas represent a tiny peephole into the rich and ready domain of travel writing available to writers of all backgrounds today.

In this workshop you will participate in:

  • exposure to many exciting expressions of travel writing
  • creative ways to access authors and practitioners of this craft
  • travel writing exercises meant to center you, your interests, and travel or every day experiences into a trip-tick for continued writing practices
  • reflective writing that explores where your internal and external travels may take you
  • finding travel writing and travel writing markets for your writing
  • mapping out story ideas and how to craft them for potential markets

rrivers1
Photo: in Phoenix, by Frankie Wheeler, North Mountain.

Renee G. Rivers’ interests can find her behind an acetylene torch, shooing urban chickens from her kitchen or traveling to remote locales.

She holds an M.A. in English from SUNY Brockport, a B.S. in Special Education, and B.A. in German via the Goethe-InstitutMuenchen.

Renee’s stories have appeared in: PBS Filmmaker Jillian Robinson’s Change Your Life Through Travel, Canyon Voices, and The Feminist Wire and have won international awards from SouthWest Writers and Tin House.

Renee currently writes about teaching in remote Alaskan villages, taking her father in a wheelchair to Mount Everest, and teaches First-Year Composition and Travel Writing at Arizona State University at the West Campus.

Call for Submissions: Four Chambers

From our friends at Four Chambers comes a wonderful opportunity for ambitious writers:

FC 05 Call B

“Literally, Four Chambers is a small press and independent community literary magazine based in Phoenix, AZ. Figuratively, we’re a heart. And despite all the puns—or precisely because of them—we take that figure very seriously. While we’re interested in publishing a variety of contemporary literature from new and emerging writers that gets at, somehow, what it means to be human, we don’t like to think of ourselves as writers, we’re human beings, and we’re more interested in using creative writing to advance discourse, develop relationships and build community than we are in publishing. But we’re still publishing. Also, a heart.” http://fourchamberspress.com/submit

Saturday Workshop: “Style” Takes Your Writing From Good to Great

“From Good to Great” was a highly-acclaimed management book in the 1990s. But advancing your business or your writing from good to great takes a lot of work.

A LOT of work.

We writers don’t talk about style much – but we should. All things being equal, writing style is what separates good writing from great writing. Whether it’s prose or poetry, writing style is the Great Differentiator. Your theme, plot, setting, characters can all be perfect and complementary even – supportive of one another – but without an almost invisible “assist” from the Writing-Style gods as well, you can have a good but mediocre result instead of a heart-stopping, bone-chilling, throat-gagging, head-pounding, breath-taking great result.

Defining exactly HOW writing style achieves this “over the top” push is a little like that well-worn definition of pornography: “I’ll know it when I see it.” But not quite. Come explore and analyze examples of where writing style makes all the difference — with Gary Lawrence, short story author and GCC creative writing instructor. Identify and take away a handful of writing style tips and techniques that can make or break your writing – whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

gary_l

Gary Lawrence teaches composition and creative writing at GCC and Cochise College. His short stories have been published in The Rockford Review, Short Story America anthologies, Four Chambers (Phoenix Community Arts magazine), Mirage (literary arts magazine of Cochise College) and Canyon Voices (literary magazine of ASU West). He is a frequent workshop leader at GCC and in Sierra Vista AZ, where he lives now with wife Linda. Gary has been interviewed by NPR for his short story collection Baffled (2013), and in 2016 won first place in Cochise County for his flash fiction piece “BJ.” He has a BA in English from Rockford College and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts (Montpelier).


  • What & Who: Achilles Heel? Or Sweet Spot? Or, The X Factor? “Style” Takes Your Writing From Good to Great will be conducted by Gary Lawrence
  • When: Saturday, April 8th from 9:30AM to 11:30AM.
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, LA-141
  • Why: Because looking good is half the battle.