Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Iowa City

Not Much Time Left To Sign-Up for FREE Creative Writing Course !


I wish I’d heard about this sooner but I’m grateful my Best Friend’s Best Friend noticed this MOOC.

Don’t know what a MOOC is?

A Massive Open Online Course and here’s a link to Lots of MOOCs

The one I’m featuring today is at the University of Iowa, sponsored by their International Writing Program, and called How Writers Write Fiction.

Iowa City, Iowa

Image Courtesy of Google Earth

The course begins Friday, September 26th and runs through Friday, November 21st.

The instructors will contextualize the contributing authors’ video talks, encourage online discussion, and offer writing assignments. A team of fiction moderators will join the instructors in leading discussion and hosting live online fiction workshops.

You will be able to participate in How Writers Write Fiction 24 hours per day, seven days per week, as it suits your schedule. Our course moderators will be actively leading discussion in the forum almost around the clock. No matter where you live, you will be able to interact in real time with your fellow fiction writers.

Each week, we will post a new video class and a new writing assignment. You will be invited to post your writing exercise for discussion with your fellow fiction writers. We will select a small representative sample of the writing exercises for formal weekly workshops led by the moderators.

Here’s the link for yet more details and the place to sign-up

Don’t forget, it’s FREE and you can take part wearing whatever you wish… :-)

And, here’s a video of the professors in charge:


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Is Workshopping Really Good for Writers?


If someone asked me the question of this post’s title, my first response would be, “Depends on who’s there.”.

Did you notice the two periods in that last sentence?

Some would say I broke a rule; yet, to me, the quoted sentence needs a period for itself and the sentence it occurs in needs one, too.

Logical

So, if I can feel OK about using non-consensual punctuation, I’d be a real riot in a writers’ workshop—I’d overlook many “faults” and be criticized for “poor judgement” when I did offer a point-of-view.

Funny thing about that criticism: most folks who give it don’t use judgement to decide when to hurl invective—they swallow what others have said and spit it out like venom.

I don’t think the wildly famous poet Emily Dickinson would have done well in workshops either.

She wrote over 1700 poems but only six were published in her lifetime.

The editors stripped-away her unique use of dashes as “breathing-punctuation” and wrenched her near-rhymes toward what “proper” poets would do

Back in May, I wrote the post, Global Cities of Literature Network—Iowa City, USA is one of them.

Their University newspaper published an article, apparently by a student, with the same title as this post, Is Workshopping Really Good for Writers?, from which I’ll share a few excerpts:

“I can honestly say that some of the best writing I had to read during those times [in workshops] came from individuals with no real training or significant experience with writing before. It seemed that they were writing well despite the workshop.”

“For those trained to write, their stories or pieces, while eloquently written, weren’t necessarily good pieces.”

“The workshop format tries to force individuals to take too seriously the opinions of others.”

“This isn’t so bad if your workshop group is composed of Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Dr. Suess, and Chuck Palahniuk.”

“Why then should someone take people’s advice on how to write when the chances are that they probably know little more than you do about their own craft?”

How would you answer that last question??

Naturally, my first answer would be, “Depends on who’s giving it.”.

Then, I’d qualify that with, “Unless the advice strikes an immediate chord in my writer’s heart“.

What’s your opinion on writers’ workshops?
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Global Cities of Literature Network


Many people think the United Nations does nothing for World Peace.

Still, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization—UNESCO—instituted the Creative Cities Network with awards in the categories of Literature, Film, Music, Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Media Arts, and Gastronomy.

From their site:

“A network of creative cities, working together towards a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development.

“Member cities are recognised as:

  • ‘Creative hubs’ that promote socio-economic and cultural development in both the developed and the developing world through creative industries
  • ‘Socio-cultural clusters’ connecting socio-culturally diverse communities to create a healthy urban environment.

“The Network aims at developing international cooperation among cities and encouraging them to drive joint development partnerships in line with UNESCO’s global priorities of ‘culture and development’ and ‘sustainable development’.”

The first City of Literature was Edinburgh, Scotland in 2004.

In 2008, Melbourne, Australia and Iowa City, USA became Cities of Literature.

Dublin, Ireland received the award in 2010 and Reykjavik, Iceland in 2011.

And, just this month, Norwich, England was added to the Network.

And, to underscore how these cities are working to further Global Peace through Literature, here is their description (with my underlined emphases):

“UNESCO Cities of Literature work together to build strong global partnerships: encouraging literary exchanges, creating cross-cultural initiatives and developing local, national and international literary links. Each City will also be dedicated to pursuing excellence in literature on a local level, engaging citizens in a dynamic culture of words.”
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