AFTERNOON Events

A stimulating variety of programs will be available every afternoon, including some events that are open to the public. Scroll down to see what is scheduled for each conference day. We encourage you to sign up at the welcome desk for seminars, open mics, and pitch panels as spaces are limited.

 

Thursday 

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1:00PM: paths to publishing

Our three panelists, novelist Susie Hara, poet Melissa Eleftherion, and novelist Dorothy Place, discuss how they came to be published with moderator Shara McCallum, who herself has a fascinating story to tell about being published simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K. by two unrelated publishers.
This event is open to the public.

 

2:30pm: surprise and wonder in
flash fiction

Writing a complete story in under 1,000 words poses unique challenges, including making the story feel bigger than its length. Under the guidance of Kara Vernor, we will read and discuss examples in which an author’s use of surprise and wonder makes for roomier stories, and we’ll practice specific techniques together in generative exercises. We’ll also leave time at the end for a general flash fiction Q & A.

 
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2:30pm: making your dialogue sing

Many writers struggle with dialogue, from the technical rules that govern its execution to the bigger questions of authenticity and voice. Join playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Jody Gehrman as she shares her love of dialogue and her top ten tips for making yours come alive.

 
 
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4:00pm: pitch panel

Pitch your book in two minutes flat to agents April Eberhardt, Elizabeth Kracht, and Jessica Sinsheimer (of #MSWL fame). They’ll give you frank reactions to the concept of your book, and to the way you made your pitch. There are grand prizes up for grabs: the coveted words, “send me your manuscript.”

Private, one-on-one consultations can also be booked on registration.

 
 

Friday

 
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1:00pm: open mic 

Share a three-minute excerpt of your work—or sit back and enjoy a medley of good writing and entertainment.
This event is open to the public.

 
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2:30pm: write your film—and what to do when you're finished.

This seminar led by filmmaker Alexandra Lexton will focus on how to tell your story through the medium of film, even if you don’t see it as a mainstream blockbuster. Beyond finalizing your screenplay, we will discuss what to do after you think you have finished writing.

 
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2:30pm: good beginnings 

The beginning of a short story or novel is the portal through which we enter the “vivid and continuous dream” of fiction. It’s where you hook your reader, set the action in motion, introduce your characters, and set out the rules of your work. Michael David Lukas will show you how a good beginning is a fuse that burns through the entire work, while a lackluster one can sink the entire ship. 

 
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4:00pm: PITCH PANEL

Pitch your book in two minutes flat to agents April EberhardtElizabeth Krachtand Jessica Sinsheimer (of #MSWL fame). They’ll give you frank reactions to the concept of your book, and to the way you made your pitch. There are grand prizes up for grabs: the coveted words, “send me your manuscript.”

Private, one-on-one consultations can also be booked on registration.

 
 

Saturday

 

1:00pm: open mic

Share a three-minute excerpt of your work—or sit back and enjoy a medley of good writing and entertainment.
This event is open to the public.

 
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2:30pm: kickstarting your creative nonfiction

We will undertake a series of intensive writing activities with John W. Evans, designed to push your creative limits and generate new material. You will walk out of the session with two to four “starts” that you can take home and develop—as well as one “plan” for how you might build those “starts” into a book-length work. It will be helpful to come to the session with some idea of what you might write about. And maybe also some coffee!

 

2:30pm: voice and how to use it

The very concept of “voice” is something of a tautology: doesn’t everyone have one, whether they like it or not? In this seminar with Lisa Locascio, we will examine several short examples of indelible literary voices and engage in surprising exercises to capture our own—because voice is a persnickety thing, a little bit mythic and a lot elusive, which flees us when we look directly at it. So let’s lay a gentle trap together, coming at our voices sideways, peeking out of our peripheral vision…


see you at hill house!

Saturday afternoon programming ends at 4:00 p.m. to allow you to relax and refresh before meeting us at The Hill House Inn for a 5:30 p.m. reception and faculty book-signing, followed by our closing dinner featuring keynote speaker Michael Krasny.

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closing keynote address

Michael Krasny, PhD, is a scholar and Professor of English and American Literature at San Francisco State University, an award winning broadcast journalist, and the author of three acclaimed books, Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio; Literary Life and Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Search; and now, Let There be Laughter. Since 1993 he has been the host of “Forum with Michael Krasny,” a news and public affairs interview program produced at KQED Radio, the NPR affiliate in San Francisco. In that capacity, he has discussed books and writing with some of the leading authors of our time.