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Master Class Workshops

Four days of close personal guidance in small groups with living masters of their genres. Choose from Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Publishing and more.

MORNING MASTER CLASSES

4 Days | Monday 11/6 – Thursday 11/9  2023 |  9:00am to 12:00

The Hero’s Journey in Fiction and Film

with Christopher Vogler

 

Christopher Vogler is arguably the most important story consultant to major studios over the last several decades. His interpretation of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces became the essential guide to the structure of countless films. At Disney, for example, his ideas were key to the story arc of classics like The Lion King and Finding Nemo.

In this class, Vogler will dive into the deep heart of the hero’s journey. What are its components? Why does it work so universally in stories of diverse genres, times and places? How can you use this concept to tell your own story in a way that readers or audiences will find spellbinding? Then he will work with each of the participants’ stories, helping them to become conscious of the role of the hero’s journey in each of them, as well as in their own lives.

We’re proud to offer this class. It has the potential to fundamentally transform your work and your understanding of the purpose of storytelling. It is equally applicable to writers of fiction, memoir, and screenplay. Participants will be asked to submit excerpts from their work for Vogler to analyze in class.

Here is a good analysis of Christopher Vogler’s concepts in a preface he wrote to Myth and the Movies:

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Christopher Vogler is a staple in film classes the world over, Vogler’s influential guide, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers,  tracks the hero’s path from trials to triumph, a flexible template that has stood the test of time. “Stories are resilient and seem to be adapting to a new age and new realities with the help of writers who are always looking for unexpected ways to put together the elemental pieces,” Vogler says.

Vogler has worked for Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers and was instrumental in developing some of their most iconic films.

Turning Life Into Art

with Christina Baker Kline, Paula McLain & Meg Wolitzer

 

Turning Life into Art has been our most popular class for several years. This year it will expand to four days. The first two days will be the same as previously, and for the last two days the class will split into three sections, one led by each of the teachers. This will allow much more interactive sessions, with more individual workshop-style feedback for each participant.

The class is a rare opportunity to learn from these remarkable authors. Each will delve deeply into the process by which she draws inspiration for her work from people, places and events in her life. Writing, at its essence, is a process of transmuting one’s life experiences into art. In this class, you will learn unique way each of these renowned writers does this.

It is equally suitable for writers of fiction and memoir. Through dialog and written exercises, each of the teachers will inspire and challenge you to become more conscious and intentional about how you yourself are “turning life into art.”

A group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train and A Piece of the World are each major international bestsellers.

Paula McLain is author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, and Love and Ruin.

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking.

Memoir

with Adrienne Brodeur

 

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of Wild Game, Amazon’s #1 best memoir of 2019. This class is a rare opportunity to spend four days with Adrienne and get her direct guidance on your own memoir. She will share her account of the challenges she faced putting her deeply personal—and even shocking—story on the page.

Nearly everyone writing a memoir comes face to face with the question: do I dare write about that? What will my mother, my children, my spouse think? The reality is that the things we most fear to write are often what people most want to read. Adrienne will help you decide how to turn your own intimate and perhaps painful issues into literature, into captivating prose that people are compelled to read, and into a book they will want to own.

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of Wild Game, Amazon’s #1 best memoir of 2019.

“Exquisite and harrowing…. [Wild Game] is so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting.”  — The New York Times

 

The Art and Business of Getting Published: Traditional, Indie, and Everything in Between

with Jeff Kleinman & Regina Brooks

 

In this comprehensive masterclass, you’ll learn not just the foundational principles of getting a book published, but you’ll also gain expert insight into the changing landscape of the publishing industry, and how you can navigate your own path toward success. Learn what it takes to capture the attention of a New York publisher or literary agent, plus when self-publishing might be best suited for your content or business goals.

This masterclass will cover:

  • How to evaluate the commercial potential of your project and what it takes to appeal to a mainstream publisher or literary agent—plus how to use databases and online tools to identify the right home for your work.
  • What professional submission materials look like. Your query letter should be short and sweet and pack a punch. Learn what it means to sell your story, and how to avoid problems that plague (and sabotage) authors.
  • Query letter and pitch session workshop. Hone your query letter and work on your book’s one-sentence description.
  • When a literary agent is necessary or desirable. You’ll learn about what  the  role of today’s literary agent looks like and how it is evolving, what standard agenting practices are, how to evaluate the ideal agent for your work, and how to practice proper author etiquette within the agent-author relationship.
  • The author platform dilemma. Not too far into your publishing journey, you’ll hear agents and editors talk about platform. You’ll learn what an author platform is, when it’s necessary for mainstream publication, why it’s often necessary to have one to get published. You’ll also get tips on how to be a good “literary citizen,” which can be comparable to a platform. There aren’t easy answers, but you’ll learn what industry expectations are, and how data and meta tags have created new opportunities for content rich creators.
  • How publishers market books (or not) and the role that authors play as publishing partners for sales success.
  • You’ll also learn how to evaluate if your content is ideal for a book format or another medium such as podcast, course, or documentary.

At the end of the class, you’ll have a comprehensive, business understanding of the book publishing industry and an author’s place in the ecosystem of agents, publishers, and retailers. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the commercial publishing business model, and how you can approach the process with the right expectations and mindset.

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, one of the most influential literary agencies in the U.S.
As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn a great variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something – a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. Books of his clients include the bestsellers The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist; Eowyn Ivey), Widow of the South (Robert Hicks), and Mockingbird (Charles Shields), among many others.
 
Regina Brooks  is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC in New York. Her agency is the largest African American owned agency in the country and has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. Her authors have appeared in USA TODAY, NY TIMES, and the Washington Post, as well as on Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSBNC, TV ONE, BET, and a host of others.

Guiding a Poem to an Ending (Morning)

with Billy Collins

 

This opportunity to study with “America’s most popular poet,” will be limited to twelve participants.
You can spot a Billy Collins poem immediately. The amiable voice, the light touch, the sudden turn at the end. He “puts the ‘fun’ back in profundity,” says poet Alice Fulton. In his own words, his poems tend to “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.”

This workshop will focus on the poem’s transit from its beginning, through its middle to the end–so not to leave anything out. We will observe how a poem launches itself, how it finds reasons to continue to flow, and how it finally discovers a place to settle at the end. We will also examine a number of verbal maneuvers that can brighten a poem and even liberate it from itself, much to everyone’s surprise and delight!

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Billy Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry. He served two terms as the US poet laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State poet laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio programs. In 2002 Collins was asked to write a poem commemorating the first anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11. The reading was in front of a joint session of Congress held outside of Washington, DC.

Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender, or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. He has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he is a Distinguished Professor.

Revision and Improvement

with Nicholas Delbanco

 

It is an honor and a privilege to have Nicholas Delbanco conduct a workshop at the Kauai Writers Conference. He’s served as both chairman of the fiction panel of the National Book Awards and as a judge for, among other contests, the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction.

In this master class, Delbanco will help a maximum of twenty writers discover the key improvements their works-in-progress need. Each student will be invited to submit an excerpt. Delbanco will read them in advance and then spend time on each one in class, analyzing, dissecting, and coming up with a penetrating analysis of where it succeeds or fails to communicate the writer’s deep intention. Each student will come away with a detailed strategy for revision and improvement to achieve the work’s true potential.

Delbanco is the author of thirty-one books, both fiction and nonfiction, most recently WHY WRITING MATTERS, in which he distills a lifetime’s experience of teaching writing. He was the founding director of the Bennington Writing Workshops and served for many years as head of the esteemed creative writing program at University of Michigan. There he was director of the Hopwood Awards Program, the oldest and best known series of writing prizes in the academy.

John Updike said Delbanco “wrestles with the abundance of his gifts as a novelist the way other men wrestle with their deficiencies.” He is a writer that other writers, including many of the most celebrated, look up to and have sought out for advice.

We think this class is the literary equivalent of having Chopin give you a piano lesson. Over his distinguished career, he has helped many hundreds of writers in all stages of their careers, from absolute beginners to established authors seeking to top The NY Times bestseller list.

We can promise that those fortunate enough to find a spot in Delbanco’s workshop will find it a seminal event in their writing careers.

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Nicholas Delbanco has published thirty-one books of fiction and non-fiction. His most recent novels are The Count of Concord and Spring and Fall; his most recent works of non-fiction are The Countess of Stanlein Restored and The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life. As editor he has compiled the work of, among others, John Gardner and Bernard Malamud.

Nicholas has served as Chair of the Fiction Panel for the National Book Awards. He’s The Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan and heads the MFA Program as well as the Hopwood Awards Program. He  received a Guggenheim Fellowship and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship. His teaching text for McGraw-Hill is entitled Literature: Craft and Voice, and he edited a three-volume Introduction to Literature with Alan Cheuse. in 2004 he published The Sincerest Form: Writiing Fiction by Imitation. His new non-fiction book, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age was published by Grand Central Publishing in 2011.

TBA (Morning)

with Angie Kim

A small group workshop | 4 Mornings | 3 hours per day

Angie Kim is the debut author of the international bestseller and Edgar winner Miracle Creek, named a “Best Book of the Year” by Time, The Washington Post, Kirkus, and The Today Show, among others. Her novel also won the ITW Thriller Award, the Strand Critics’ Award, and the Pinckley Prize. A Korean immigrant, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and one of Variety Magazine’s inaugural “10 Storytellers to Watch,” Kim has written for VogueThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostGlamour, and numerous literary journals. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

AFTERNOON MASTER CLASSES

4 Days | Monday 11/6 – Thursday 11/9 2023 |  1:30 to 4:30pm  2022   |  1:30pm to 4:30pm

Funny On the Page – Comedy Writing in Fiction

with Adriana Trigiani

 

Tap your original comic voice as you write your novel. Identify the stories that are best suited to sustain a comic narrative. Broaden your storytelling skills through humor as we explore character, structure, style, and point of view through your particular lens. Humor is personal but its reach is universal. We will explore techniques and writing exercises to bring your sense of humor to the page to delight readers and expand your own sense of possibility and joy.

 

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Adriana Trigiani | Beloved by millions of readers around the world for her “dazzling” novels, (USA Today) Adriana Trigiani is The New York Times bestselling author of twenty books in fiction and nonfiction. She has been published in 38 countries around the world. The New York Times calls her “a comedy writer with a heart of gold,” her books “tiramisu for the soul.” She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia. Trigiani’s themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have brought her legions of fans around the world. Their devotion has made Adriana one of “the reigning queens of women’s fiction” (USA Today).

Adriana’s latest novel, The Good Left Undone, was an instant New York Times best seller, Book of the Month pick and People’s Book of the Week. The book also garnered recognition from book clubs across the country – it was named a Read with Jenna Best Beach of All Time, a Katie Couric Media Must-Read Book of 2022, Bustle Magazine’s Most Anticipated Book of 2022, Goodreads Most Popular Historical Fiction of 2022, a Veranda Magazine Book Club Pick, an Emily Giffin Book Club Pick, a New York Journal of Books Book Club Pick and a LibraryReads Pick! The national book tour sold out crowds across the country, carrying the book to national best seller lists: New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly

Narrative Stockholm Syndrome

with Joshua Mohr

 

Josh Mohr returns to KWC Online with a master class that will give you an entirely new way to look at your own writing. Like his previous sessions, this one promises to enliven your writing process in fundamental and unexpected ways.

The best stories present vibrant characters. We’re looking for the opportunity to experience a foreign consciousness. So how do we as creative writers bring these inner worlds of our protagonists to life for our readers to explore, to inhabit? Narrative Stockholm Syndrome is a technique to take full advantage of the incarceration that a reader experiences in a main character’s set of perceptions. This tactic is a fantastic way for authors to foster camaraderie, and ultimately empathy.

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novels “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List, and “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a SF Chronicle best-seller. His most recent novel is “Damascus” about which the New York Times said:

“The author’s jaunty voice [is] Beat-poet cool…Mohr nails the atmosphere of a San Francisco still breathing in the smoke that lingers from the days of Jim Jones and Dan White, a time when passionate ideologies and personal dysfunction intermingled and combusted.”  — New York Times

Mohr teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University’s creative writing program.

Writing Scenes for the Screen

with David Paul Kirkpatrick

 

Director John Ford said that it’s critical to have 5 great scenes in any movie. Kirkpatrick built his career working with writers creating 5 memorable, scenes in their screenplays. In this workshop, you will not only learn how to conceptualize and write the scenes, but your fellow participants will be “getting those scenes on their feet” and acting them out together in scene labs. Part of learning scene is playing all the parts. When you leave this workshop, Kirkpatrick’s intent is to equip you with the secret sauce in scene-making that will make your script irresistible and producible.

black and white photo of David Kirkpatrick working on a scene with Sally Field and Kevin Kline in the comedy Soapdish

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Most notably, David Kirkpatrick, was the President of Paramount Pictures and the Production President of Walt Disney Studios. He started as a screenwriter, selling his first script to Paramount at 16. He became story editor at Paramount at 25 where he managed thousands of screenplays.  Over his long career, David has worked on over 200 motion pictures starting with ideas and seeing them through to successful production, marketing, and distribution. He has worked on such recognizable global franchises as Indiana Jones, and Star Trek.  He has developed countless Academy Award winning movies including Ordinary People, Elephant Man, Witness, Terms of Endearment, and Forest Gump.

Lessons from Historical Fiction

with Priya Parmar

 

This class is an exceptional opportunity both for writers of historical fiction to hone their craft, and for writers of other genres to apply the insights from historical fiction to bring verisimilitude to their own characters. It is designed for writers at all levels of accomplishment. Historical fiction presents unique challenges. It is neither biography nor pure fiction. Subjects’ lives must be meticulously researched, and the knowledge gained has to inspire rather than merely be reported upon. Achieving a distinctive voice for each character is nowhere more important than in historical fiction. Each must come alive on the page with authenticity, remaining always true to their personality. Priya will inspire their students with accounts of her fascination in immersing herself in the lives of real people, and extrapolating narratives as plausible as if they were purely factual.

Historical fiction presents its own challenges of point of view, character development, and story arc. Priya deals with these issues in a unique way. You will learn not merely to imitate her, but to adapt the lessons she has learned to tell your story in the way that rings most true to you and your characters.

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Priya Parmar’s novel, Vanessa and Her Sister was recently chosen as a New York Times Book Review ‘Editor’s Choice’ selection, an Entertainment Weekly ‘Must List’ pick, a People Magazine ‘Book of the Week’, and as an editor’s pick for: O Magazine, Oprah.com, Vanity Fair, Elle Magazine, New York Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, US Weekly and USA Today and Priya was chosen for the Barnes and Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ 2015 program. She is the author of one previous novel, Exit the Actress. Priya is also the co-author of the wildly successful musical Sylvia, which debuted last year at London’s Old Vic theater. Priya divides her time between Kauai and London.

Promoting & Marketing your Book (Afternoon)

with Sam Horn

 

There are more book titles for sale now than ever in history. The great majority of them sell very few copies. A strategic marketing and promotional plan is behind nearly all books that sell well. Sam Horn is one of the cleverest book marketers in the US. She has helped many hundreds of authors to design and implement campaigns that allowed their books to rise up out of the multitudes of others and achieve big sales volumes.

In this class, Sam will lead you to create a unique action plan based on your own life, your book and its audience. There is no one plan that fits everyone, but there is a plan that is ideally suited to you and your most likely readers. Sam will work with each participant to help them identify the specific elements of their book and its future readers that should be the basis of a successful program.

Whether you self-publish, work with a hybrid publisher, or go the traditional route with an agent and a major publisher, you will need to devote considerable time to marketing and promotion. How you go about this can make the difference between a book that sells a few hundred copies and one that sells a few hundred thousand copies. Moreover, devoting thought to this before publication can be instrumental in securing a deal with an agent and a publisher. There is no one more knowledgeable than Sam Horn to help you do this in the most time and cost effective way.

 

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Sam Horn is the CEO of the Intrigue Agency. Her 3 TEDx talks and 9 books – including Tongue Fu!, POP!, Wash Post bestseller Got Your Attention, and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Publishers Weekly, on NPR. 

Her speaking clients include Oracle, Intel, Cisco, Accenture, Fidelity, Nationwide, Ernst Young.  She’s been hired by Richard Branson’s New Now Leaders, TED Fellows, SXSW and NASA to coach their executives and project managers on media relations and public speaking. 

Sam was Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises, which has helped female entrepreneurs generate $26 billion in funding/valuation, and was Exec.Director of Maui Writers Conference (which Writers Digest called “The best writers conference in the world”) for 17 years.

Writing Modern Women’s Fiction

with Mary Kay Andrews

 

We are thrilled to offer this workshop with New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of the Beach Reads,” Mary Kay Andrews Sessions will include defining commercial women’s fiction, analyzing what editors are looking for and what works and doesn’t work. There will be nuts and bolts sessions involving character, setting, plot and theme. Mary Kay will talk about her own unique and much-loved brand of women’s fiction, which she describes as a mash-up of romance and mystery with humor thrown in.

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels (including The HomewreckersThe Santa Suit; The Newcomer; Hello, SummerSunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The WeekendersBeach Town; Save the Date; Ladies’ Night; Christmas Bliss; Spring FeverSummer Rental; The Fixer Upper; Deep Dish; Blue Christmas; Savannah Breeze; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by fifteen more New York TimesUSA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. 

Narrative Design | Keeping Readers Hooked (Afternoon)

with Jean Kwok

 

Jean Kwok’s novels consistently hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial fiction. Her award-winning books are taught in schools around the world while hitting the New York Times and international bestseller lists. She often uses material from her own life, transforming sometimes painful experiences into art, and is living her dream of being a full-time, successful author. A gifted, encouraging, and experienced teacher, she is now ready to share her secrets with you in this rare opportunity. She writes:

We’ve all been there. You have a pile of carefully polished pages, yet they don’t seem to cohere. Or you have a sprawling monster of a novel that resists any attempt to tame it. Or maybe it’s always been your dream to write a novel but you have no idea how to get started. We all love to move commas around but often, our work needs larger structural changes to make it as compelling and powerful as possible.

This is a class that looks at different ways to plot and structure a novel, including treatment of character development, themes, setting, voice, and point of view. You don’t need to have a draft of a novel to attend. Rather, the course is a combination of lectures and generative writing time.

Each participant should bring a short excerpt from their own fiction and/or a brief synopsis of their novel-in-progress (up to 5 pages.) This submission will not be workshopped. It’s only to give Jean a sense of what you’re working on. We will be creating new work in class that will then be discussed together. Our ultimate goal is to help you find a stronger structure for your novel that could lead to publication.

A small group workshop | 4 Afternoons | 3 hours per day

Jean Kwok is the award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie LeeGirl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in twenty countries and taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. An instant New York Times bestseller, Searching for Sylvie Lee was selected for the Today Show Book Club and featured in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, CNN, The New York Post, The Washington Post, O Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly and more. 

Jean has been chosen for numerous honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, an Orange New Writers title and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America, and spoken at many schools and venues including Harvard University, Columbia University, Talks at Google and the Tucson Festival of Books.  A television documentary was filmed about Jean and her work.

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