The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Conference Schedule 2018

Friday, Feb 23, 2018

Frame Work
Jac Jemc

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

In his essay, “The Perception of Reality,” William James posed the question, “Under what circumstances do we think things are real?” We’ll use this question as a jumping off point to examine how it is we generate feelings of authenticity in our fiction using different frameworks. How can voice be used to indicate truth? How can stories within stories aid the attempt at making meaning? How can a structure that supports multiple levels of fact or fiction strengthen the overall effect of the narrative and serve as a platform for the objective of the piece?

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction

Working with Agents
Rayhané Sanders

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Learn an overview of an agent’s job and role in working with authors throughout the process—from signing to the publishing deal and beyond. This session opens for Q&A from the audience and is intended to be conversational, so bring your questions.

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation, Q&A
Genre: Agents, Business of Writing, Publishing

Writing in the Visual Medium
Kristen Radtke, Cecil Castellucci

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

What is the intersection of image and text? What does it mean to be a writer in today’s graphic medium? Join Cecil Castellucci and Kristen Radkte for an intimate conversation exploring their respective journeys as graphic novelists, how writing graphic novels differs from traditional narratives in fiction and nonfiction, their different approaches to the medium—practicing the art form versus collaborating with artists—and a survey of the field and art in contemporary society.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Conversation, Panel
Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels, Mixed Genre

Research for Writers
Derek Palacio

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

This session will explore broad approaches and philosophies to incorporating research into fiction writing. What are the goals of research? How can research be employed in fiction writing beyond ambiguous ideas of "authenticity"? How does one mine facts and histories for rich narrative discovery? A mixture of lecture and exercises, this session will ask participants to think differently on how we research fiction, and how to better employ acquired knowledge and expertise.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Research

Representing Foreign Territories in Fiction
Nina McConigley

Friday, February 23, 2018, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

This session discusses the issues that arise when authors represent foreign spaces in fiction—such as other countries, cities, states, and landscapes—they themselves have not traveled to or are not originally from. We will look to what extent a writer can “know” a place they did not grow up in; we will discuss/write how to deal with the social and factual issues innate to representing unfamiliar territories, sharing observations from our own work and experience.

Location: Traditions, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction

From Acquisition to Publication
Emily Bell

Friday, February 23, 2018, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Here's the "what you need to know" about publication. We will discuss the publication process—every step that goes into getting your manuscript published by a major publishing house and all of the people who would be working with you throughout the process.

Location: Thoren, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Editing, Publishing

Putting the Science in Science Fiction
Amy K. Nichols

Friday, February 23, 2018, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

It’s one thing to imagine a space battle; it’s quite another to write one in such a way it slips easily through the reader’s believability filter. This session will explore research and writing techniques for incorporating scientific fact in your fiction. Participants will gain practical knowledge of scientific resources for writers, as well as tips for crafting science fiction that is both compelling and believable.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction, Research, Science Fiction

The Craft of Character: From the Charismatic to the Anti-Hero
Tod Goldberg, Roy Kesey, Alix Ohlin

Friday, February 23, 2018, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

What makes a character memorable? How do you design a character that drives story? Great characters are not perfect. Some great characters are not even likable. At times, it’s character’s meanness, cynicism, and wretchedness that draws a reader to them and makes the plot matter. Great characters are complex, flawed, unique human beings—just like their writers and readers.

Location: Carson Ballroom, Old Main
Type: Panel
Genre: Fiction, Mixed Genre

Memoir and the Body
Rosemarie Dombrowski, Stephen Kuusisto, Andrea Avery

Friday, February 23, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

How do we conceptualize the body in narrative? How does society enable or disable certain modes of being? What kinds of physical assumptions do we bring to a text? Join authors Andrea Avery, Rosemarie Dombrowski, and Stephen Kuusisto as they explore the role of ability in text: where personal narratives intersect with social constructions of health and illness, how these stories can be given power through the vehicle of memoir, and how the body can serve as a site of lyrical resistance.

Location: Heritage, University Club
Type: Panel
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

Narrative Fundamentals
Daniel José Older

Friday, February 23, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

In this session, we will examine four fundamental elements of narrative and how they fit together to craft a story that readers won't want to put down.

Location: Basha, Old Main
Type: Presentation
Genre: Fiction

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