Workshops at the Lewisburg Literary Festival are free and open to the public. Space can be reserved by calling 888.716.5082 or by emailing us HERE. Our workshops feature well-known WV writers discussing poetry, fiction and non-fiction techniques and best practices for bettering your craft. All workshops are held in the Greenbrier County CVB's Rahall Room.
Amp up the Antagonists
By Eliot Parker
Writers spend a great deal of time establishing backstory, providing motivations, and otherwise fully "fleshing out" a protagonist. As readers, the protagonist is often the first character we meet and the one with whom we spend the most time with over the course of a story. However, memorable and engaging fiction happens when the protagonist is confronted with an equally challenging and formidable, yet relatable, antagonist. The most compelling and the most terrifying of literary antagonists are those who appear the most human and most appealing to a reader. This type of antagonist is one that the reader might secretly cheer for, despite the problems of doing so. In this workshop, participants will learn six techniques and principles to make their antagonist(s) relatable and multi-dimensional in addition to being a memorable force and obstacle for the protagonist.
Eliot Parker is the author of three novels: Breakdown at Clear River (Mid-Atlantic Highlands Press), Making Arrangements (Sunstone Press) and Fragile Brilliance(Roundfire Books). His second novel, Making Arrangements, was selected as a “Best Book of 2014” by USA BookNews. His latest novel, Fragile Brilliance, was a finalist for the Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize (part of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize) in Thriller Writing. In 2016, the National Literary Habitat Organization awarded Eliot with the Bronze Award for mystery/thriller writing. In October 2016, Eliot was awarded the Literary Merit Award from the West Virginia Library Association for his books and stories. Eliot currently teaches writing and literature at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia. He received the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2015 and was honored by the West Virginia Community College Association (WVCCA) for Outstanding Contributions to Community College Education. Eliot is also a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project and his a certified online course reviewer for Quality Matters. Eliot also hosts the television show “Chapters” across the Armstrong Television Network, which profiles authors, editors, and publishers in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Episodes of the show can be found at youtube.com/armstrongonewire/chapters. For more information, visit www.eliotparker.com
Write More Now
By Mesha Maren
Do you enjoy writing but don’t practice it as often as you would like? Do you sit down to write and feel like you are repeating the same thing over and over again? If so, this workshop is for you. In this class we will focus on exercises aimed at creating new, unexpected work. We will explore constraint-based writing techniques that will help us to surprise our own selves with our writing, avenues towards that white-hot flame of risk that resides at the center of all great writing. We will look at prompts and constraints that writers such as Georges Perec, Cathy Smith Bowers, Leslie Jamison, Otis Winchester and Gordon Lish have used to enliven their writing as well as a few original constraints that I myself have developed and we will talk about methods to help ourselves shake it up and use our writing skills in brand new ways.
Mesha Maren’s debut novel, Sugar Run, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in 2018. Her short stories and essays appear in Tin House, The Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial and other literary journals. She was chosen by Lee Smith as winner of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and is the recipient of a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She currently teaches fiction at the MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College and at the Beckley Federal Correctional Institution.