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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Writers’ Toolbox: Weaving past and present (Updated)

This weekend, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History presents The Writers' Toolbox: Weaving past and present, at the Cultural Center in downtown Charleston.

Admission is free

Writing memoir? Recreating the Civil War? Setting your story in the past? Weaving the past into the present? Sharpen your ability to bring the past to life, with the help of.

  • Novelist Denise Giardina, 5 acclaimed novels set in the past

  • Poet Diane Fisher, National best-selling collection set in 1920s Mingo County

  • Civil War author Terry Lowry, 6 books recreating Civil War events

  • Writing coach and songwriter Kate Long, 23 years coaching professional writers

  • Songwriter Pete Kosky, Appalachian history in song

  • Writing coach Geoff Fuller, First-rate advice and critiques

  • Want a private coaching session? Coach Geoff Fuller has time to meet with 8 people. Send material and $20 in advance. Individual Critiques with Geoff Fuller
    Ten page limit. For longer pieces, add a one-page summary and a statement of your goals for your writing.

    To register your place for a critiques session send $20 check made out to Geoff Fuller with manuscript. Manuscripts sent without check will not be included in the schedule.

    Send packages to The Cultural Center c/o Pat Cowdery 1900 Kanawha Blvd East, Charleston, WV 25305

    Friday night, April 13: Finding the right details.
    6:30 - 7:30 Creative non-fiction: Late night roads and battlefields. Two skilled literary researchers tell you how they recreate times and places they never lived through. Terry Lowry is noted for his ability to find and use details, large and small, that bring soldiers and West Virginia Civil War battles alive. Geoff Fuller is recreating 1970s Morgantown, detail by detail, as he writes about the murder of two coeds.

    7:45 - 9:15 Beef up your writer's tool chest. A writer's guide to two libraries full of useful tools for any writer who wants to research West Virginia's past - or the past in general: the State Archives library and the West Virginia Library Commission Research Library.

    Workshops will be repeated twice, Go to one, then the other.

    * The State Archives Library: State and local history. Through quick-write exercises, learn to tap county history, family history, historical photographs and videos, unpublished letters and a rich array of other documents. Limit: 45 participants.

    * The West Virginia Library Commission Research Library: Local to international detail. Get to know online and in-house resources that help you gather authentic detail about any day, any time, any place. Apply those resources through quick-write exercises. Limit: 45 participants.

    Saturday, April 14: Bringing the past to life
    Top-notch teachers and a great chance to sharpen skills and meet other writers.

    9:30 - 9:45 Continental breakfast, greetings and overview. Peruse the book sales area and Goldenseal table, where you can talk with an editor about ways to submit manuscripts.

    10:00 to 11:30: Workshops. They will be repeated in the afternoon.

    * When history and creative writing meet. Diane Fisher's poetry collection, Kettle Bottom, is on the top-selling national poetry list. She wrote her poems in the voices of imagined people living in a Mingo County coal camp in the 1920-21 West Virginia mine wars. She drew her first collection from her family history. Fisher will pass along tips about nuts-and-bolts of historical research, and lead you in writing exercises based on your own history. You'll leave with topics, prompts and models for writing about the past.

    * The Civil War: Recreating a different time and place. Terry Lowry, author of 6 books about West Virginia Civil War battles, knows how to find the details and true-to-life stories and details that bring another time to life. He focuses on the Civil War, but his advice will apply to whatever time you choose.

    * Flashing forward, flashing back. For 23 years, writing coach Kate Long, an award-winning writer herself, has been teaching other writers how to weave the past and present. Practice tricks of time travel in this workshop: Flash forward, flash backward. Tap your right brain. Cover a century in two sentences or two minutes in two pages.

    During the workshops: Individual coaching sessions for those who sent in writing samples in advance. If you sent in your material and received confirmation, check at the registration desk when you arrive for your conference time with Geoff Fuller.

    11:30 - 12:20 The past in a song. A sit-back-and-enjoy theater session. Songwriters Kate Long and Pete Kosky will demonstrate ways they combine music and historical detail to create songs that bring another time, another place alive.

    12:30 - 1:45 Lunch on your own.

    1:45 - 3:15: Denise Giardina and Diane Fisher: A visit with two master time travelers. Two accomplished time travelers read from their work and tell you how they brought past West Virginians to life. You'll get valuable tips and advice, then they'll answer your questions.

    3:15 - 4:45 Workshops B: Repeat morning workshops .

    The faculty:

    In her five novels, internationally-acclaimed novelist Denise Giardina has recreated the past many times, from the West Virginia mine wars through the Buffalo Creek Flood to pre-WWII Germany. A McDowell County native, she won the prestigious Boston Book Award and was a finalist for the Dublin Literary Prize for Saints and Villains. The characters in her last novel, Fallam's Secret, literally travel between the 17th and 21st centuries.

    Diane Fisher burst onto the national poetry scene in 2006 when her second collection, Kettle Bottom, hit the national poetry best-seller list. Writing in the voices of residents of a Mingo County coal camp during the 1920s mine wars, Fisher created a stunning collection that caused a New Pages critic to write: "Kettle Bottom is a one-woman rescue operation accomplished in words that say plainly, yet eloquently, as only a gifted poet can, that these men and women and children were once here in the same world as ours, that they gave up the breath in their lungs and their very daylight to fuel this world, they loved and often lost too soon "that all of it mattered."

    Fayette County native Kate Long, longtime Charleston Gazette writing coach, has won national awards for her fiction, newspaper stories, radio production, and songwriting. She has coached professional writers for 23 years, so she knows how to pack a lot of writer-tested, ready-to-use advice into a workshop. Her songs have won honors from Merlefest, the International Bluegrass Music Association, and others, and she has taught songwriting for the Augusta Heritage Center, the Swannanoa Gathering, and others.

    Popular Charleston writing workshop leader Geoff Fuller also coaches individual writers who are finishing larger projects for publication or personal satisfaction. A former textbook editor and business writing teacher, he is working on a manuscript about the 1970 murders of two Morgantown co-eds, with a working premise that the wrong person is in jail.

    Prolific songwriter and accomplished guitar player Pete Kosky reaches back into West Virginia's history to create memorable songs about settlers and explorers, Indians and politicians. A wildly entertaining performer and comedian, Pete has taught songwriting workshops for Allegheny Echoes and is a popular festival performer.