2016 Other Words Genre Workshops


Ron Cooper

Friday, November 4th

In his “Fiction Do’s and Don’ts, and Why are You Laughing?” workshop, Ron Cooper will discussion some traps into which fiction writers often stumble and some advice on how to avoid them. He will consider questions such as: How do I make dialogue authentic yet distinctive? How do I make my characters memorable yet not too eccentric?  How can I write an opening that grabs attention yet does not run out of steam three pages in? How can I write an ending that is inevitable yet unpredictable? How can I make my work funny yet not ridiculous? How can I create a setting that is humorous yet not fanciful? How can I believe that Cooper will actually answer these questions?

Ron Cooper is the author of the novels Hume’s Fork (which Ron Rash called “one of the funniest novels I’ve read in a long time”), Purple Jesus (which the Washington Post labeled “a literary event of the first magnitude”) and most recently The Gospel of the Twin (which Steve Yarbrough said “is beautifully written, smart, gripping, and richly textured.”) He has also published short stories, poems, and essays in a number of journals. Cooper is Professor of Humanities at the College of Central Florida.

Suzanne Heagy

Saturday, November 5th

Exaggeration, writ large or small, is a central element of humor. When a character is insulted over twenty-seven cents, it can be just as funny as when a character is insulted by something like the national debt, which is nineteen trillion dollars and counting. In this workshop, we will explore the art of exaggeration in the dramatic monologue (one person speaking) and in dialogue (two or more people speaking). In both the monologue and in dialogue, characters have strong desires and something is at stake. If a character doesn’t get what they want, what’s the consequence? What if they get what they want? Is the desire of the character ironic or unattainable, like a used car salesman who wants to sing opera? The element of surprise, of discovery, and of exaggeration lend themselves to humor. In this workshop, we’ll look at a dramatic monologue and at dialogue poems before writing our own funny “voice” pieces. 

Suzanne Heagy’s first novel Love Lets Us Down (All Nations Press) was released is November 2015 and recognized as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. The novel is a humorous, heartfelt look at broken hearts and doomed love on a single night in a fallen Midwestern hotel. Suzanne is a fiction writer, poet, and editor who currently lives in West Virginia. Her short stories have appeared most recently in The Anthology of Appalachian LiteratureNikki Giovanni Volume VII, and in Your Impossible Voice, Pleiades, and Untamed Ink. Suzanne has served as the fiction editor of Kestrel, the art and literary journal of Fairmont State University, since 2008. She is currently working on stories set in airports. 


Michelle Boisseau

Friday, November 4th

Beautiful and Brutal Soundscapes: In significant ways poems work on us first by how they sound—both to the poet and the reader. In this workshop we’ll play with a linked sounds exercise, create a draft of a poem, discuss ways that sound often works below our awareness, and discover ways to use sound to enrich poems as we compose and revise them.

Michelle Boisseau won the Tampa Review Prize for her fifth book of poems, Among the Gorgons, published by University of Tampa Press in 2016. Her A Sunday in God-Years, Arkansas 2009, in part examines her paternal ancestors’s slave-holding past in Virginia, into the 17th century. Trembling Air was a PEN USA finalist, University of Arkansas Press, 2003; she’s also published Understory, the Morse Prize, Northeastern University Press, 1996, and No Private Life, Vanderbilt, 1990.  Recent poems appear in Best American Poetry 2016Poetry Daily, Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Yale Review, and Shenandoah. Her textbook, Writing Poems (Longman), is now in its 8th edition, with her colleague Hadara Bar-Nadav. Boisseau has twice been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she is Senior Editor of BkMk Press and Contributing Editor of New Letters.

Kenneth Hart

Saturday, November 5th

William Blake (1757-1827) counseled us in "the minute particulars." In this workshop, you will generate

poems that begin with concrete description, after brief discussion and reading of some exemplary poems.

When we observe and describe something very "minutely" and specifically, often we can then follow the thread to some larger metaphor, allowing for some sort of surprising insight and discovery we would not have been able to predict at the outset. Bring paper and pen, and be prepared to write. 

Kenneth Hart teaches writing at New York University, and is Poetry Editor of The Florida Review. His poems have been published in Arts & LettersNorth American ReviewMississippi ReviewGulf Coast, Poet Lore, Garrison Keillor’s The Writer's Almanac and elsewhere, and his book reviews and essays have appeared in Green Mountains Review and Journal of New Jersey Poets. He is the 2007 co-winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award, and the recipient of the 2008 editor's prize for New Ohio Review. Hart's book, Uh Oh Time was selected by Mark Jarman as winner of the 2007 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. 


Carrie J. Cole

Friday, November 4th

Hone in on crafting the witty banter of your characters by focusing on dialogue in this "Flash Play" workshop. In this workshop we will "rehearse" letting your characters speak for themselves using prompts (and props!) to write two-minute plays. Timing is everything in two-minutes...as you will find out when we put these plays in performance for the rest of the conference attendees.

Dr. Carrie J. Cole teaches integrative theater studies in the Department of Theater and Dance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarship focuses on American theatre, performance and popular culture (specifically staging science fiction and the fantastic); translation and adaptation for the stage; and audience and fan studies. As a scholar-practitioner, her recent artistic projects include directing Theater-by-the-Grove’s I and You and Fahrenheit 451 (recognized by the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for Excellence in Direction), premiering a new stage adaptation of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, which was staged during the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books in the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Planetarium as part of Arizona Theatre Company’s Café Bohemia, directing staged readings of the award-winning science fiction plays at the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts, as well as producing a flash play festival for the 2016 conference. She has presented papers and performances on theatre and science fiction at national and international conferences, including Stage the Future, The International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts, and The Association of Theatre in Higher Education (where she serves as Dramaturgy Focus Group Conference Planner). She is currently at work on a book-length project on 21st Century Science Fiction Theatre, as well as adapting and devising a play called The Electriad using Greek mythology to explore the repercussions of war.

Creative Non-Fiction

Dawn Davies

Friday, November 4th

Writing funny can be a challenge. Humor writer Erma Bombeck says, “Anybody can bring out your tears. That’s a piece of cake. It is twenty times—no, make that fifty times easier to make people cry rather than laugh.” Yet, humor is a healthy part of life and often can be the sugar that helps the bitter stuff go down, and in personal essays or memoir, humor can be both a refreshing and a startling honest way to connect with your readers. This workshop will address how to incorporate humor into your own creative nonfiction work.

Dawn S. Davies (www.dawnsdavies.com) has an MFA from Florida International University. She is the 2016 recipient of the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction, and her first book, Mothers of Sparta, will be published in 2017 by Flatiron Books. She had a notable essay in the Best American Essays 2015, and a Pushcart Prize special mention for nonfiction in 2015. Her work can be found in The Missouri Review, Fourth Genre, River Styx, Brain, Child, Hippocampus, Cease, Cows, Saw Palm, Ninth Letter, Green Mountains Review, Chautauqua and elsewhere.

Bob Kunzinger

Saturday, November 5th

Readers expect a certain degree of decorum, but sometimes something is simply too funny to ignore. But at what point does the joke overshadow the narrative? In The Dark Side: Appropriate and Inappropriate Use of Humor: What to Leave In; What to Leave Out we will workshop our stories as well as our sick sides. 
Bob Kunzinger is a non-fiction writer and professor of arts and humanities in Virginia. He has published seven collections of essays and his work has appeared in many journals and magazines including Kestrel, Southern Humanities Review, St Anthony Messenger, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, WW2 History as well as being noted several times in Best American Essays. He currently at work on a book of essays about Siberia.