Lamplighter Literary Arts Summer Writing Institute Course Descriptions

Please note: all programming is virtual.


Session 1 (July 11–23)

Choose one workshop from the following options.

Fiction: Character and Conflict

Where do characters come from? How does your favorite author bring their worlds to life? In this workshop, we’ll try to answer those timeless and perplexing questions. Each day, when we come together as a community, we’ll practice technique, studying both the fundamental and nuanced skills of fiction writing. You’ll be encouraged to look within yourself to find your authentic voice. You’ll write scenes and create characters, in hopes of producing a short story. Above all, you’ll see your writing skills develop, and you’ll know you’re part of a community of artists. 

Journalism: Telling True Stories

This journalism workshop will take the basics of who, what, where, when, why, and jump from there into storytelling. If you are curious about something — anything! — and you’re willing to ask a few questions about it, then you’re ready to be a reporter. We’ll discuss and practice how to conduct an interview, how to write a juicy lead and a sturdy nut graph, and how to develop a story that will inform, educate, and inspire readers. After we practice basic tools and techniques together, you’ll go out and do them in real life, always returning to the group to process what’s working and how to improve. You’ll write, edit, and revise, get one-on-one coaching from a workshop leader, and finish the workshop with a published feature story. 

Play/Screen writing: Stories Made for the Stage and Screen

Ever had an idea and thought, “This would make a great play!”? Ever watched Netflix and said, “How do I make something like that?” This screenwriting and playwriting workshop will introduce you to the basics of script creation for each medium. Guided by your individual interests, we’ll look at the differences between the stage and screen. We’ll explore where and how script ideas start. Each day, we’ll add a new component of the process — from storyboarding and developing characters to writing dialogue, setting tone, and formatting work to fit an industry standard. Enter the world of dramatic writing on your own terms and investigate the stories that interest you, all the while connecting with other artists. The course will culminate in table readings of your brand new work by actors and fellow writers. 

Poetry: The Art and Craft of Poetry

“Poetry,” wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti, NMH ’37, “is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” In this workshop, we’ll dive into poetry and see all it has to offer. You’ll explore the written word and the music of language in ways that will excite you. You’ll learn the craft of making poems. Discussions will cover the elements of poetry, its many forms, and how to express your voice using poetic techniques. Count on fun activities that help you write your own poems and enhance your writing skills.

Session 2: (July 26–30)

Crime Fiction

Love a good mystery? Enjoy stories that keep you turning the pages? Crime fiction has been popular since 1841 because, as author Sue Grafton once said, “The psychology of crime is the psychology of human nature.” In this one-week workshop, you’ll study classic and contemporary tales, learn about the elements of the crime fiction genre, participate in workshops, write your own scenes, and strive to complete a mystery story. You’ll get one-on-one help and plenty of feedback and can expect visits from award-winning crime writers.

 


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