Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CCNE Hosts Seacoast Writers Association Fall Conference

Chester College of New England will host the annual fall writers conference of the Seacoast Writers Association on Saturday, October 18. The conference begins in the Wadleigh Library with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 am. Four two-hour workshops are scheduled for the morning session, to be repeated following a buffet lunch. There is a $10 discount for registration by Oct. 1 and a special rate of $40 for first-time participants. For further information, check the SWA website at or contact SWA registrar Michael Wade at (603-778-8182) or Pat Parnell at (603-778-1470).

Topics are:

Sharpening Your Dialogue--Tom Dunn
Dialogue—for many writers, it is the most difficult aspect of writing to make believable: taking a piece of work you’ve already started that includes (or you think, should include) dialogue and making it feel that it is really being spoken. Well done dialogue can draw your reader into your character’s head while revealing truths and contradictions that narrative often can’t.

Bring 15 copies of a page of drama, fiction, non-fiction, or poetry that either includes dialogue or you think could include dialogue. In a non-performance workshop format we’ll be looking at the dialogue word-by-word to give you suggestions on ways to make the dialogue more believable as well as more interesting.

We’ll be exploring how the dialogue “sounds," how it “resonates," how it “enlightens,” and most importantly, how it helps to build dramatic tension in your work. If time permits, we’ll also start a discussion on how to adapt your work into totally dialogue driven forms of writing such as playwriting and screenwriting.

Tom Dunn has written over one hundred plays that have been produced at theatres around the country. His most recent productions were at World Premiere Theatre in
California (Life and Death at Wal-Mart) and at John StarkHigh School in Weare (Charles Dickens Presents Oliver Twist). Tom is the co-author of The Playwright's Handbook (Plume), the best selling textbook for playwrights for the last twenty years. Before moving to New Hampshire, Tom was the founder and director of The Playwrights’ Center of Minnesota and the director of New Dramatists in NYC (the country’s oldest workshop for playwrights). Currently, Tom is director of The Alchemists’ Workshop, and he runs the performing arts program (film and theatre) at NashuaCommunity College. For more about Tom Dunn and samples of his work, go to

Poetry and the Myth of Experience --Christopher Locke
We each have a story to tell—that’s the easy part. How do we move beyond the easy story to tell the story we never knew was waiting to be shared? In order for poetry to matter, it must be a conduit for Truth. That does not necessarily mean the poem is a true story, or that the validity of the poem resides solely in autobiographical detail.

Poetry is about communication, it is about transferring a ‘felt-thought’ into a reader’s consciousness. What matters in poetry is conveying emotional risk that resonates, so that the reader finds the experience impactful, or better yet, profound. We’ll look at successful poets who subscribe to this practice, as well as try our own hand at a few exercises that focus on going beyond experience to craft the best poem possible.

Christopher Locke was awarded the 2007 Individual Artist Grant in Literature from the New Hampshire Council on the Arts
. The End of American Magic, his first full length collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in Ireland.
His chapbooks of poems include “How to Burn” (Adastra Press, 1995) and “Slipping Under Diamond Light” (Clamp Down Press, 2002) which former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins described as containing “…poems delivered in plain, sure-footed language. Read a few opening lines and you’ll find yourself helplessly engaged.” Chris has been widely published, both in the U. S. and internationally, and is a winner of numerous poetry prizes. He lives with his wife and two daughters in New Lebanon, NY, where he teaches writing and literature at The Darrow School. Check out Chris:

Humor: Writing with your funny bone--Joann Duncanson
Whether you write for newspapers, magazines, poetry readings, contests, or for your own amusement, if humor is your thing, come and join us. We will look at the pleasures and pitfalls of writing with humor in the 21st century, the various genres of humor, writings of humorists past and present, and at some of our own work. Then we’ll try our hands/pens/laptops at an exercise in poetry or prose – your choice – using humor as the base. Last but not least, we will share tips on how to make a literary tuna sandwich that’s to die for.

What to bring: (1) fifteen copies each of one or two examples of your work to share and discuss, (2) a sense of humor, and (3) a readiness to learn, and laugh while you’re doing it.

Through her newspaper columns (25 years) and poetry (forever), Joann has been on a mission to help readers see the humor in their own lives and in the world around them. From her first full-time job as a humorous greeting card editor to her current one-woman "Laughing at Ourselves" program, she’s been on a funny bone roll. Currently a columnist for
The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, she is the author of Who Gets the Yellow Bananas? and co-author with Fred Samuels of Breakfast in the Bathtub. She lives in Greenland
, NH, and writes in a coffee shop near you. Find more about Joann at

Getting to Know You: Digging Deeper Into Your Characters--Katherine Towler
In this workshop you will look at the different types of characters found in fiction and discuss the intersection between character and such elements as setting, plot, dialogue, and language. How do you take a rough draft and through revision deepen your understanding (and the reader’s) of your characters? You'll explore strategies for creating characters who are more dynamic and complex and will complete a short writing exercise designed to help you discover more about a character (or characters).

Of Katie's characters, our beloved SWA presenter Don Murray said in the Boston Globe "Towler's characters are as complex and contradictory as those with whom we live our lives... A master of pacing, [she] accomplishes the higher art of bringing us to see the drama in the commonplace."

Katherine Towler is author of the novels Snow Island and Evening Ferry. She has received fellowships from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and Phillips Exeter Academy where she served as the George Bennett Writer-in-Residence. She teaches in the MFA Program in Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. She has just completed the third volume in her Snow Island trilogy. You can hear Katie read from her work at

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