Happening July 15-22, 2012!
Pam Houston is the author of two collections of linked short stories, “Cowboys Are My Weakness,” which was the winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award and has been translated into nine languages, and “Waltzing the Cat.” Her stories have been selected for the 1999 volumes of Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Awards. She is a regular contributor to O, the Oprah Magazine. Her novel “Sight Hound” was released in January, 2005.
It was great when it happened, gorgeous when it lived in your imagination, transcendent as you hit the “on” button of your computer and got to work. Now that it is on the page it is seeming both flat and unapproachable. In this workshop we will look at drafts of stories and novel chapters that aren’t quite making it, and see if we can figure out how to make them not just good but great. We’ll address structure (making sure that form is following function or vice versa), narrative tension, voice, point of view, dialogue, and beginnings and endings. We will talk about how to find the real pain spot of a story and we will force ourselves to slow down where it hurts. We will make sure that our glimmers, those hunks of the physical world that sent us into the story in the first place, have been remade in all of their complexity in language. We will talk about the difficult moments when writing feels like juggling an apple, a chainsaw, and a toaster, and celebrate the rare but intoxicating moments when the place we were most afraid to go did not kill us after all. We will do some brief, nightly exercises, and I would like you to read Mary Gaitskill’s “Don’t Cry” and Tim Winton’s “The Turning,” before you come to the conference. Register.