November Events & Highlights

With October behind us, it’s time to look at all the great November events and news relevant to CRW at GCC.

Spring classes are open and ready to be filled. We have our usual stalwarts of CRW150, CRW160, and CRW170. Plus, we also have more unique and special offerings like CRW202: Witness Writing and CRW251 – Worldbuilding. Whether you’ve taken courses with us before, or you’re thinking of taking that first step, we have plenty to offer. See our full list of offerings and course descriptions here: Spring 2019 Classes.

Our final Saturday workshop for Fall 2018 lands this weekend on November 3rd. Laura White, in all her clever glory, presents Fight Die Love: The Hardest Scenes to Write.  In this workshop, which is free and open to all, Laura will talk about scene doctoring, making sure you get the most out of your prose, be it short-form fiction, long-form fiction, or creative nonfiction.

Our annual Poetry & Prose Slam falls on Wednesday, November 14th from 7 to 9PM. Come read your work, come win some money, and come have fun at GCC after dark. The competition is open to the public, GCC student and non-student alike. There’s money on the line! Stay tuned for more details and guidelines, coming very soon.

The Magical Library writing competition, put on by the kind and creative folks in GCC’s library, ends on Friday, November 2nd. They’re accepting short fiction, flash fiction, and poetry incorporating the theme of “magical library”–all interpretations welcome, but only GCC students may submit.

The Traveler, GCC’s Arts & Literary Magazine, is still accepting submissions for this year’s issue. The Traveler accepts short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and one-act plays, but only GCC students may enter. The deadline is November 18th! For full guidelines, and to submit online, head here: Submit to the Traveler!

And not to be outdone, the Maricopa Community Colleges are holding an even bigger contest: The District Writing Competition. If you’re a student at any of Maricopa’s community colleges, you’re eligible to enter. Much like The Traveler, you can submit your short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and one-act plays. So, whatever you decide to submit to the Traveler you should also submit to the District Writing Competition! Enter here!

Know of a creative writing or artistic event taking place in November? Let us know and we’ll add it to the calendar.

Saturday Workshop: Tricks & Treats of Genre Writing

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Feral cat, looming cheese curd, night

October is an important month. There’s Halloween, Oktoberfest, both National Pizza and Pretzel Month (not to be confused with National Soft Pretzel Month which, as we all know, is in April), National Kick Butt Day (which, sadly, seems more about kicking bad habits and not about, you know, kicking actual butts), and who can forget National Feral Cat Day which follows closely on the heels of National Cheese Curd Day, and how October has the wonderful internal contradiction of being both National Caramel Month and National Dental Hygiene Month, and then there’s the classic National Transfer Money to Your Daughter Day, and National Writing Day on the 20th and National Bologna Day on the 24th and…

What was I talking about?

Right, well, now there’s another important holiday: National Come to a Saturday Morning Creative Writing Workshop Day. We have the perfect choice, too, as Jayme Cook dives into genre writing and offers strategies and activities for building suspense, developing mood, and creeping out an audience.

  • What & Who: Tricks & Treats of Genre Writing, with Jayme Cook
  • When: Saturday, October 13th from 10:00AM to 12:00PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room LA-141
  • Why: Because the day before was National Pulled Pork Day and you need to work off some calories.

Writer’s Quote: Killing Your Darlings

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

— William Faulkner.

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William Faulkner

What does it mean to kill your darlings? Well, first, what is a darling? A darling is something that interferes with the relationship between you and your audience. It’s a part of your writing (could be a line in a poem, a paragraph in a story, or an entire chapter in a novel) that doesn’t do the work it needs to do but, despite this, you love it and refuse to edit it out.

All writers are guilty of harboring darlings. It’s the line that someone told you had such a nice ring to it. It’s the character trait that is pulled from someone you know in your own life. It’s the pop culture reference that only you and your friends “get.” As fun as it is for us writers to read and re-read these darlings, as much as they make us smile, we have to remember the writing is not for us, not unless it’s a diary. And if the writing is for someone else, an audience, we must be attentive to its purpose, what effect it is designed to have on the reader. Does the passage advance the plot, does it build the character, does it enhance the reader’s sense of setting? No matter how long the work is, every line in it has to “do” something. If you’re not sure what the line is “doing” but you just like the way it sounds, it might be a darling. And as fun as they are for us to read, they fall flat for our audience and thus interfere with whatever else we are trying to communicate to them. Good writers become “good” by being ruthless in their determination of what really “works” on the page and what doesn’t.

But isn’t writing supposed to be fun? Do we have to be ruthless all the time? Darlings persist when there is ambivalence on the author’s part about who a piece of writing is for. If the story is akin to a diary entry, if it will only ever be read by you, then you can have as many darlings as you want. But if it’s for anyone else, then you have a duty as a writer to consider your audience’s expectations (often based on genre) and their desire for entertainment (this cuts across all genres.) As authors we certainly don’t want to pander to audiences, but we can’t afford to ignore them either. Your writing is the machinery that delivers your dreams, your ideas. Darlings are the pretty little flowers that get stuck between the gears.

Click here to read more about weeding out your darlings. This author has suggestions for how you can preserve them, to some degree, if you can’t quite bear to kill them entirely.

Have you ever killed a darling? How did it feel?


This post was contributed by Jeff Sanger, one of GCC’s English and CRW faculty. In addition to periodically contributing thoughtful posts like this, he is also planning to facilitate our first Saturday Morning Workshop for Fall 2018. That workshop will take place this weekend, September 8th, from 10AM to Noon on GCC Main. Read more about it here: Who Are Your Characters?

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!

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.