Co-Coordinators Lucy Turner and Carolyn Bardos have done a wonderful job organizing this year’s Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat.  While there may be a bit more tweaking of the time slots, those attending can look forward to:

A Morning's Writing at the CWC Conference & Retreat, Photo: Heather Huddleston
A Morning’s Writing at the CWC Conference & Retreat,
Photo: Heather Huddleston

Monday, June 27th

 

11:00 – 1:00    Arrivals, Check-ins, and Welcomes Aiken Lounge

 

11:45 – 12:45    Lunch Cafeteria

 

1:15 – 3:00        Getting to Yes          Haybarn Theatre

With Visiting Professional Kirby Kim, a Janklow & Nesbit Literary Agent

Literary agent Kirby Kim will talk about ways writers can get through that first door: representation. Mr. Kim will talk about how to make yourself a more attractive client apart from what’s between the covers of your book. He will discuss what you can do to alleviate some of an agent’s more mundane concerns, and how to build an author platform, particularly as a writer of fiction. Mr. Kim will also talk about the ultimate yes, which is the one from the publisher.
Organized by the MFAW Program

 

4:00 – 6:00 Community Meeting and Group Photo, followed by Plenary Panel and Discussion Pratt Gallery

Community Meeting: welcome and roundtable discussion in which each participant briefly introduces him or herself and describes expectations for CWC & R, including whether he or she will primarily use the experience as retreat time or as a conference. There will also be announcements, nominations, and elections for the CWC Board of Stewards.

Moderator: Kathryn Cullen-Dupont, CWC Lead Steward

Plenary Panel and Discussion:

In the Background

Panelists: Maggie Cleveland, Michelle Embree, and Lucy Turner

Moderator: Carolyn Bardos, CWC & R Co-Coordinator

 

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner Cafeteria

 

7:00 – 8:30 Screening of Bulworth by Visiting Writer Jeremy Pikser Haybarn Theatre, Organized by the MFAW Program

 

8:30 – 9:00 Q & A and reception with Visiting Writer Jeremy Pikser Haybarn Gallery, Organized by the MFAW Program

 

Tuesday, June 28th

 

7:45 – 9:00 Breakfast Cafeteria

 

8:00 – 9:00 CWC Information Table (for MFAW students) Cafeteria Hall, CLOCKHOUSE and CWC book sales

 

9:00 – 11:45 Individual Writing Retreat Aiken

Please consider the dorm a quiet location during this time.

or

9:00 – 10:30 Stations of the Word Garden House

With Sam Sherman, 2005.  A CWC tradition: Sam Sherman will lead us through a series of timed writing prompts to start the week with writing.   Bring a journal or notebook and your favorite pen.

 

10:30- 12:00            Achieving Thematic Coherence         Haybarn Theatre

With Visiting Writer Jeremy Pikser

Achieving thematic coherence in screenplays through structuring dramatic actions:

In this workshop we will be investigating what films “mean” and how that meaning is achieved through structuring resolutions of dramatic tension. We will screen pivotal scenes from several films and discuss how they affect the development of the overall story and its ultimate meaning.  Organized by the MFAW Program

 

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Cafeteria

CLOCKHOUSE Staff Present at CWC&R:   For a brief staff meeting and to prepare for the Preview Reading & Celebration, please bring your lunch on a tray to [Room TBA] and return it to the kitchen afterward.

 

1:30 – 2:30 CLOCKHOUSE Preview Reading & Celebration Manor Oak Room.  Come hear from brief selections from Volume Four and chat with the editorial staff of CLOCKHOUSE, the national submissions literary journal published by CWC in partnership with Goddard College.  Open to CWC&R participants and MFAW students and faculty.

 

3:00 – 4:30 Escape from Your Inner Expert Manor Oak

With Carolyn Bardos, 2010

Relax. I’m an English teacher, too. I love an Oxford comma. I flinch when I hear someone say, “between you and I.” I insist on Times New Roman, 12 point. I like conventional narrative. I excel at grammar, and I even have a real police badge bearing the message “Grammar Police: Courteous, Candid, and Correct.” This kind of thinking is fine, if I want to show off or feel superior. But the mindset of an expert has stunted the flow of my writing, and only recently did I realize this and take steps to change.

The need to control is a common affliction. Why do we cling to this need? How can we learn to let go, and how will our writing change if we succeed?

This ninety-minute workshop with facilitator Carolyn Bardos will explore ways of loosening the safety belt of “expertise.” You need to bring nothing. Dress to spill. Prepare to be liberated.

 

4:45- 6:00            Works in Progress                                                                                         Manor Oak

Bring a draft, preferably in multiple copies to distribute and discuss. Participants will decide how to structure the group and allocate the time.

 

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner Cafeteria

 

7:15 – 9:30 CWC Readings   Clockhouse

Please sign up for one slot for the week; that should allow everyone an opportunity to read. There will also be a table for CWC authors who have books to sell. Individuals take responsibility for their own wares and sales.

 

Wednesday, June 29th

 

7:45 – 9:00 Breakfast Cafeteria

 

8:00 – 9:00 CWC Information Table (for MFAW students) Cafeteria Hall, CLOCKHOUSE and CWC book sales

 

9:00 – 11:45 Individual Writing Retreat

Please consider the dorm a quiet location during this time.

or

9:00 – 10:30 A Question of Character Manor Oak
With Julie Parent, 2005
An acting teacher of mine once answered a fellow student struggling with a character by saying, “You in the situation. That’s character.” But what does constitute “character” for a writer? Do we “play the parts” of our characters or merely record their lives as benevolent observers? Are characters formed by behavior in compelling circumstances? A full and detailed backstory? A set of physical, psychological or cultural traits? Can an interesting character be drawn with a minimum of detail, or is there a set amount of information that is required? In this discussion and experiential workshop, we’ll unpack conventional literary wisdom of the well-drawn character and look at some modifications and alternatives. We’ll also play with placing ourselves within circumstances and recording what happens. Open to writers of all genres.

Note: There will be a handout to read before the workshop that will be available in the CWC dorm.

 

11:00 – 12:00 The Trouble with Trouble Manor Oak

With Chrystal Wing, 1996

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about how to liven up a piece I was writing.

“Well,” he said, “only trouble is interesting.”

“What?” I exclaimed. “Is that true!?”

Conflict, trouble, problems, tension, struggle – are these really necessary for good writing? And is it true for all genres? Is internal struggle as compelling as two characters arguing? What about paradox or a sense of mystery–do these provide tension? And don’t we all have different tolerance levels for conflict anyway? What’s the right amount to keep ourselves interested and at the same time keep a reader engaged? We’ll discuss these issues, as well as your own thoughts about and experiences with trouble.

 

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Cafeteria

OR

Board of Stewards Working Lunch Meeting

Bring your lunch tray to [Room TBA].  An additional BOS meeting will be scheduled as necessary.

 

1:15 – 2:15 Impromptu! Manor Oak

Bring a writing prompt to share as well as your writing materials and a willingness to experiment.

 

2:30 – 4:00 Now You See It…Now You Don’t (Prose and Poetry)            Clockhouse

With Jeff Ihlenfeldt, 1996

In a passage from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard describes how she searches for years, vigilant and conscious, for what a newly sighted girl she has encountered names “the tree with the lights in it.” Only in the moment when she is “thinking of nothing” does Dillard finally see “the tree with the lights in it” and more: “grass that [is] wholly fire.” The conscious and the un-conscious; the holding on and the “letting go.”

Do we see only the expected? Do we visualize and describe only the expected in our writing? Or are we, even momentarily, astounded by what we envision? Do we see in a way that is “utterly focused and utterly dreamed”? Through the use of visualization, imagination, and writing prompts, we will focus on the un-conscious way of seeing—the way of seeing that leads to surprise—that which is un-expected and un-preconceived.

Materials required: you, something to write with, something to write on.

 

4:15 – 5:45 CWC Readings   Clockhouse

Please sign up for one slot for the week; that should allow everyone an opportunity to read. There will also be a table for CWC authors who have books to sell. Individuals take responsibility for their own wares and sales.

 

5:45 – 7:00 Dinner Cafeteria

 

7:15 – 9:30 CWC Readings Clockhouse

Please sign up for one slot for the week; that should allow everyone an opportunity to read. There will also be a table for CWC authors who have books to sell. (Individuals take responsibility for their own wares and sales.)

 

Thursday, June 30th

 

7:45 – 9:00 Breakfast Cafeteria

 

9:00 – 11:45 Individual Writing Retreat Aiken

Please consider the dorm a quiet location during this time.

or

9:00 – 10:30 Structure and Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns Clockhouse

With Carolyn Locke, 1996

In this workshop, we will use the concepts presented in Michael Thune’s book Structure and Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2007) to examine the poetic turns in a variety of poems to see how they shape the poem and reveal its intent. Using these poems as models, we will try our hand at some exercises crafting surprising turns. Although the emphasis here will be on poetry, poetic turns are useful in all genres, and so writers of fiction and nonfiction writers might find this concept interesting as well.

 

10:45 – 12:15 Works in Progress Cottage

 

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Cafeteri

 

1:15- 4:15 Characters by the Numbers: Paradigm, Symbol, Allegory, 

& Good Ol’ Fashioned Dice Rolling   Manor Oak

With Keith Backhaus, 2007

The purpose of this workshop is to explore various modes of character creation from the roleplaying perspective and apply them to the process of creating fictional characters/perspectives. Participants will build a character(s) using techniques that will hamper/constrict their creative focus, and force them to turn their usual character-building process upside-down. By investigating not only this practice, but the components and theory behind this technique, participants will be able to approach the building of characters with the deliberation necessary to meet with a character’s purpose–a character is NOT a person, instead both more and less than a person, and this reality should be confronted rather than hidden.

Section One: So You Want To Be A Hero: Understanding Allegory/Symbol as Essential Components of Character (A discussion and activity exploring paradigmatic character construction through the Dungeons and Dragons model) 1 hour

Section Two: You Are a Person/You Are a Monster: Relationships Internal to Character and Creator (A discussion and activity exploring purposeful self-infusion utilizing the WhiteWolf model) 1 hour

Section Three: You Are Not a Participant, Your Characters Are: Inter-character Creation and Perspectival Influence on Character Context (A discussion and activity exploring character-to-character creation using the free-form model) 1 hour

 

4:30 – 6:00 Life after Goddard: Submitting to Literary Journals Manor Oak

With Sarah Cedeno, Julie Parent, Edward Pinkowski, and David Waite, Open to MFAW Students and CWC&R Participants

How to decide if a particular literary journal might be the right one for your poem, short story, creative non-fiction, or dramatic work? How to know what editors are interested in? What to make of those sometimes-confusing submissions guidelines? And how best to present yourself and your work when you do submit? These questions and any others you may have will be answered by an eminently qualified group of MFAW alums: Sarah Cedeno, the Editorial Director of CLOCKHOUSE, the national-submissions literary journal published by the Clockhouse Writers’ Conference alumni association in partnership with Goddard College; Julie Parent, CLOCKHOUSE’s Consulting Editor and one of its Fiction Editors; David Waite, CLOCKHOUSE’s Layout Coordinator and Lead Poetry Editor; and Edward Pinkowski, CLOCKHOUSE’s Lead Drama Editor. Together, these editorial staff members have read and evaluated many thousands of submissions to select the works that fill the CLOCKHOUSE volumes. Come to hear their thoughts on the submission process and to ask your own questions about that seemingly mysterious process!

 

5:45 – 7:00 Dinner Cafeteria

 

7:45 – 8:45 MFA Closing Party Haybarn Theatre

Please join other CWC participants as hosts of this party for MFA students and faculty.

 

9:00- 9:45 CWC Closing Readings Clockhouse

Like to take the final bow? Then this one’s for you!

Please sign up for one slot for the week; that should allow everyone an opportunity to read. There will also be a table for CWC authors who have books to sell. Individuals take responsibility for their own wares and sales.

 

Friday, July 1st

 

7:45 – 9:00 Breakfast Cafeteria

 

10:00 – 11:00 Closing Community Meeting Aiken Lounge

 

11:00 – 12:00 Pack Up, Clean Up Aiken

In support of the Goddard housekeepers, please leave your room tidy, strip the bed, fold the bed cover, and leave sheets and towels in the pillowcase on the bed.

 

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Cafeteria

 

1:00 Dorm closes

See you next year!

 

The 2016 Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat will take place from June 27 through July 1 on Goddard College’s Plainfield, Vermont, campus. If you’re an alum of Goddard’s MFAW program–from either Plainfield or Port Townsend–please consider joining us! Registration forms are available here.

Sneak Preview: CWC&R Schedule
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CWC is the alumni association of Goddard's MFAW Program. It holds the annual summer Clockhouse Writers' Conference & Retreat in Plainfield, Vermont, and the annual winter Lighthouse Conference & Retreat each winter. Its national literary journal CLOCKHOUSE is published in partnership with Goddard College and the MFAW Program. For more information, please visit www.clockhousewriters.com or contact CWC's lead steward, Lucy Turner.

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