Other Words Writing Workshops


Jason Ockert--Fiction

Writing the Short Short Story


We use many different names to describe fictional narratives:  a novel, a novella, a novelette, a short story.  In most cases, a novel is more than 40,000 words, a novella is between 17,000 and 40,000 words, a novelette is between 7,500 and 17,000 words, and a short story is between 3,500 and 7,500 words.  Then there is poetry.  And, as William Faulkner mused, “Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry.  And failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.”


A narrative between the poem and the short story exists.  We use many different names to describe it:  sudden fiction, micro fiction, flash fiction, postcard fiction, and short short story.  While people have been telling mini-stories since the creation of language, the genre has been famously traced to Ernest Hemingway’s six word story, "For sale:  Baby shoes.  Never worn.”  


In this workshop we will scrutinize several short short stories and examine a variety of narrative techniques including how writers wrap stories around individual sentences.  You will also write your own short short story around a sentence I provide.


Jason Ockert is the author of Wasp Box, a novel, and two collections of short stories: Neighbors of Nothing and Rabbit Punches. Winner of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, the Atlantic Monthly Fiction Contest, and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, he was also a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Million Writers Award.  His work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Best American Mystery Stories, Oxford American, One Story, and McSweeney’s.

Sandra Beasley--Poetry

An Appetite for Verse

"First we eat, then we do everything else,” wrote M.F.K. Fisher. Food writing creates not only bright, specific images and sensory details, but an opportunity for additional consideration of history, economics, and ethnic identity. A poem can revolve around a single bite that triggers an intimate memory; or the way that preparing a meal showcases a family dynamic; or how a seasoning, vegetable, or protein drives cultural change. We’ll discuss our motivations for centering our poems on food, as well as the potential pitfalls, via close reading of several canonical and contemporary models. This workshop includes a generative prompt and tips for placing your work. 


Sandra Beasley is author of three poetry collections—Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, and Theories of Falling—as well as the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. She edited the forthcoming anthology, Vinegar and Char: Southern Food in Verse, produced with the Southern Foodways Alliance and the University of Georgia Press. Honors for her work include a 2015 NEA Literature Fellowship, the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize, and three DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at the University of Tampa.

Richard Mathews--Print Arts Workshop

Handpress Printing at the Tampa Book Arts Studio


An introductory workshop in printing handset type on the nineteenth-century iron Washington hand press once owned by the American woodcut artist J. J. Lankes, who printed his blocks for first editions by Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, and others on this press.  Materials and printer’s aprons will be available for use during the workshop. Participants will complete a souvenir notecard to take home.


Richard Mathews is editor of Tampa Review and Director of the University of Tampa Press and the Tampa Book Arts Studio. His poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, and in a book, Numbery, and chapbook, a mummery. A fine letterpress printer since the 1970s, he founded Konglomerati Press where he published limited-edition handbound books and broadsides for more than a decade before returning to full-time teaching. He has received printing awards and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Arts Council, Southeast Libraries Association, Dayton Hudson Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, and others. He is Dana Professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa, and president emeritus of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition. 

Frances Auld--Playwriting

The Pleasures of Playwriting and Recipes to Feed the Audience: Appetites, Sensuality, Characters, and Themes


Audiences consume art: our words feed their eyes, their ears, their intellectual and emotional appetites, and their curiosity. It is a painful pleasure to feed them our dreams and nightmares. This is a workshop for cultural cannibals (aka playwrights), alive to the pleasure of consuming ourselves with literary/theatrical productions. How can playwrights use the senses and sensuality of characters and scene to enrich their work? Sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste are key to evoking the very emotions we endeavor to unleash in a person sitting distinct from the real imagined action on stage. This is a workshop to develop and share recipes for writing that whets and fulfills sensory appetite. To paraphrase Chaucer, to teach (or get them to sit still), we must first delight. Let the pleye begin.


Frances Auld teaches, acts, and writes. As Coordinator of the Honors Program and Assistant Professor of Languages and Literature at State College of Florida, she makes students use Barbie Dolls to act out courtly love triangles and write poetry from the POV of Aristotelian insects. Her most recent performances include being a table and a time traveling archeologist. She writes academic stuff about monstrous bodies, fiction, poetry, and, of course, plays. Her most recent non-fiction includes “In the Flesh: The Politics of Apocalyptic Memory” in The Last Midnight, Essays in Apocalyptic Narrative; her fiction has appeared in Dissections: The Journal of Contemporary Horror. She is remarkably cheerful for someone who writes about and analyzes monsters, cannibals, and contemporary popular culture.



Ryan McIlvain

There's Something I Need You To Do: Making Characters and Plots Come Alive. 


You've got an idea for a story, let's say, a notion of character or action or both, but how to combine all this? How to make a story go? In this workshop open to writers of all levels and experience, we'll look at how cause and effect can jumpstart your plots and deepen your characters at the same time, looking at idea that stretch back at least as far as Aristotle's Poetics. Two thousand years of fiction theory and craft, in other words—and you'll get it in under three hours, with plenty of room for conversation and fun and the all-important exercises to get you practicing what we'll preach. 


Ryan McIlvain's first novel, Elders (Hogarth/Random House), was longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. His second novel, The Life and Death of Sam Westergard, will be published by the same press early next year. McIlvain's shorter fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, Post Road, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other places. A former Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University, he now teaches creative writing at the University of Tampa.  


Ira Sukrungruang--Poetry

Shadowing: Writing Imitation Poems


Poetry has a tradition of speaking back to each other. From the Romantics to the contemporary. In this workshop we will be reading and analyzing imitation poems and writing our own.


Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 

American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection

(sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: www.buddhistboy.com.

Jocelyn Bartkevicious--Nonfiction

Savage Desire: Discovering Story in Literary Nonfiction.


As Cheryl Strayed said, “Behind every good essay there’s an author with a savage desire to know more about what is already known.” We will dig into memory for the secrets and stories hidden in what we think we already know. We’ll use writing exercises and passages from published essays as ways to explore and shape pieces of the past into compelling narratives.


Jocelyn Bartkevicius has received the Missouri Review Essay Award, The Annie Dillard Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Iowa Woman Essay Prize, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The Hudson Review, The Missouri Review, The Bellingham Review, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, TriQuarterly, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Bridges, and Sweet, and elsewhere including Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women, edited by Marcia Aldrich.