SPOKE LITERARY FESTIVAL 2016: Friday, August 19-Sunday, August 21


The Art of Dialogue: From Page to Stage with Jeremy Beaulne

In the world of the theatre, perhaps more than in any other literary genre, characters reveal themselves through dialogue. They reveal themselves through what they say and what they do not say. They reveal themselves through their word choices, their speech patterns, and their vocal rhythms. Given the centrality of dialogue to theatre, playwrights need to take particular care to ensure that the words that come out of their characters’ mouths are emotionally and psychologically authentic. Actors can bring a great deal to a script, both with their presence and their delivery; however, in order for dialogue to come alive on the stage, it must first come alive on the page.  In this session, participants will explore some of the crucial elements of effective, character-driven dialogue. After discussing dialogue written by playwrights ranging from Oscar Wilde to Michel Tremblay to David Mamet, participants will plan, draft, and workshop their own short scenes of dialogue.


Feel the Fear and Write Anyway with Hannah Calder & Kerry Gilbert

We have so many excuses not to write.  What are we afraid of and why do we let fear get in our way?  Maybe we’re afraid of judgment.  Maybe we’re afraid to reveal our secret inner selves. Perhaps we’re afraid that what we write won’t be ‘good enough.’ In this workshop we explore fear from all angles and at all stages of the writing process.  We also attempt to dispel some of the myths around so-called ‘writers’ block’ by viewing the writing practice as unique to the individual writer, rather than as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ process.  By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to set and reach some of your writing goals. In this talk Calder and Gilbert discuss their process of writing and how it ultimately is both a precarious balancing act and an act of overcoming fear. This is both a discussion and a hands on workshop.

Lurking in the Belly of Poetry with Garry Gottfriedson

In this workshop we will explore the useful art of imagery in poetry.  This workshop is intended to allow participants the opportunity to play with the imagination using images to construct enticing metaphors.  We will play on the sound within words, vowels, and consonants critical to poetic expression.  In addition, we will explore how sounds create rhythm in poetry to channel tone and enhance other elements within poetry.


Misdirection and Intuition with Sean Johnston

The most engaging writing requires active, intuitive reading and gaps in the narrative are one way to do this. Flannery O’Connor claims the writer’s surprise while writing is essential to producing the reader’s surprise. Working by intuition is the best way to do this. Intuition is something that guides us all, but it is often in danger of being ignored as we become more proficient at dealing with the mechanical concerns of writing. Despite our best efforts, we cannot entirely silence the inner editor that limits our imagination in the early stages of writing. This workshop is about producing work that startles you as a writer and about preserving that surprise for the reader. The workshop’s focus on sentences will make it useful for writers in any genre.


Novel Exploration with Laisha Rosnau

In this workshop, we explore the driving creative force behind a novel or novel-length memoir. By exploring your artistic process, personal history, knowledge, interests, and obsessions, we will discover not only your central characters and their stories, but the pivotal themes, most resonant ideas and biggest questions asked by your work. All of this drives both your writing life and your story and becomes the voice and the vision of your work. Each workshop participant will leave with a personalized Novel Blueprint to help jumpstart, guide, and expand your creative process and provide waypoints along the journey to writing a novel.


Plot Plus What Else? with Adam Lewis Schroeder

This lively workshop features exercises in describing people and places, how details define characters which in turn define plot, and exploration of how narration itself defines character, and how we can make any or all of these characteristics deliberately misleading. Plus chats about the writing business.


Poetry Workshop:  Lyric Energy with Sharon Thesen

In this poetry workshop, based on American poet Pater Campion’s “Lyric Energy” workshop, we will be drafting a fairly substantial poem through a series of steps that will bring certain levels of “energy” into the poem.   In the two hours that we have together, we will be writing, talking, looking at examples, and sharing our drafts in roundtable discussions.  The goal of the workshop is for everyone to be inspired, chuffed, and eager to plant their tray of seedlings when they get home.


Story Alive:  Four Flash Lessons with Natalie Appleton & Michelle Doege

The stories we write about our own lives are deeply personal and meaningful, but how do we make them engaging and interesting to others?  In these four flash lessons, discover concrete tools and techniques to give your memoir writing depth, meaning and a universality that will come alive on the page and impact your reader.  Natalie’s two sessions will focus on how to get beyond the me, me, me in your writing.  Learn how to weave your experiences with often overlooked details and perspectives to give your true story dimension and life.  In Michelle’s two sessions, writers will explore and learn how to write a fragmented narrative – using thematic layering and repetition to rub up against each other and add spark – while assuring a center of meaning rises out of the unique and distinct parts.