Annual Writers Conference: Making Space
Workshops to explore audiobooks, crafting kids’ books, comedy, fan fiction and more.
Columbus State will hold its 17th annual writer’s conference virtually from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24.
Featuring a keynote by Scott Woods, with additional workshops hosted by authors from Florida, Georgia and New York, writers will explore various interpretations of the theme “Making Space.” The virtual event is free and open to the public via Zoom.
Schedule of events:
- First Workshop Sessions 9-10:15 a.m.
- Second Workshop Session 10:30-11:45 a.m.
- Lunch break from 12-1 p.m.
- Keynote from 1-2 p.m.
- Third Workshop Session 2:15-3:30 p.m.
- Open forums to share work socialize 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Session 1 Workshops (9-10:15 a.m.)
Jennifer Jill Araya
Introduction to Audiobook Production
Audiobooks are hot. Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, and the building buzz surrounding audiobooks shows no sign of slowing down. With that in mind, what should today’s authors know about audiobooks and audiobook production? How should authors approach the process of producing their books in audio format?
Accomplished audiobook narrator Jennifer Jill Araya will present an introduction to the process of audiobook production, sharing her first-hand knowledge of the audiobook industry and advising authors as they consider producing their work in audiobook format. Topics will range from finding a narrator and financing your audiobook project to marketing your audiobook and writing successfully for the audio format. Presentation will include listening examples to illustrate style differences among various audiobook genres, followed by a discussion of how authors can use those style differences to find the narrator best suited to their unique writing style. Audiobook newbies will leave the presentation with a firm grasp of how to begin their audiobook production project, and audiobook veterans will have a better understanding of the narrator’s perspective on the audiobook production process.
The Ghazal: Obsession, Longing, and Self Examination
The ghazal is an ancient form of poetry deeply conducive to storytelling. This workshop, led by Liv Mammone, will look at the long history of the ghazal from its roots in religion and music to the ways writers have stretched the form since it was brought into the English language. In the original tradition, the ghazal is often about ecstatics and longing. The beloved is often seen as a channel for divine love. We will use the form to examine what love looks like for each of us and how it can be observed from the multiple angles the form provides.
Basics for Comedy Writing
During this session, comedian Leslie Battle will present basic principles of comedy writing and demonstrate up to three different techniques to enhance writing sessions.
Session 2 Workshops (10:30-11:45 a.m.)
Johnny Rocket Ibanez and J.N. Fishhawk
Artist & Writer as Co-Creators: Crafting Stories for Kids in Words & Pictures
In this workshop, author J.N. Fishhawk and artist Johnny Rocket Ibanez will share
insights from the eight-year odyssey of launching their collaborative children’s book
series. They’ll describe the processes by which they worked together to build a shared,
fictional world and explore it through multiple books.
The process began with the kernel of an idea that first appeared as doodles in Johnny’s notebooks in 2013. From there, they took the idea from shared brainstorms, sketches, and written vignettes to the 2020 publication of their first-in-a-series children’s book, Billy & Tugboat SallyForth.
The focus of the workshop will be on building and sustaining a collaborative, creative process across disciplines. Along the way, the authors will touch on other aspects of the process of shepherding a children’s book from idea to printed object. They’ll share information and anecdotes on promotions and marketing, the state of the self-publishing scene, how to work with bookstores, and more.
The Writing Doctor is In
Got writers' block? Don't know how to start — or finish — your novel? Want to know what it takes to write in today's journalism market? Wondering if your art has to be revolutionary? Writer Scott Woods will conduct an interactive Q&A session about all aspects of writing, with loads of honest advice and a modicum of encouragement.
Fan Fiction + Fan Voices = Space to Be Heard
This session will explore how fanfiction has grown over the last 10 years, and how it allows a place where voices can be shared in new ways. It’s not always easy, and room for more voices can mean room for more turmoil, but fanfiction is, in the end, about playing in the same sandbox with many different kinds of people. It’s about making small sandboxes bigger and big sandboxes smaller. It’s about writing, creating, and building castles together.
Lunch (12 noon - 1 p.m.)
Join us for Lunch
Keep your Zoom on for an informal lunchtime session.
Keynote 1-2 p.m.
Scott Woods is an Emmy award-winning writer and event organizer in Columbus, Ohio. Woods is the author of Urban Contemporary History Month (2016), We Over Here Now (2013) and Prince and Little Weird Black Boy Gods (2017). He has been featured multiple times in national press, including appearances on National Public Radio. He is the founder of Streetlight Guild, a performing arts nonprofit. He is a 2018 Columbus Foundation Spirit of Columbus Award recipient, as well as the Greater Columbus Arts Council winner of the 2017 Columbus Makes Art Excellence Award for his event series Holler: 31 Days of Columbus Black Art, and was named the first-ever “Face of Columbus” by Columbus Alive. He is the co-founder of the Writers’ Block Poetry Night and a regular contributor for LEVEL magazine. In 2006 became the first poet to ever complete a 24-hour solo poetry reading … a feat he bested seven more times without repeating a single poem.
Webinar ID: 959 7464 7664
Session 3 Workshops (2:15-3:30 p.m.)
Wildness, Recklessness and a Cold-Hearted Workplan
Have you always wanted to write a novel, but are unsure where to start? Do you struggle to make time for writing in your jam-packed schedule? Are you halfway through a draft, and wondering where to go from here?
Come to this innovative, lighthearted workshop with award-winning novelist and poet, Moriel Rothman-Zecher. In this workshop, we will focus on making space for creativity by allowing the forces of wildness and recklessness into your writing, and on making space for writing in your days by crafting a cold-hearted workplan. Participants will leave with both creative inspiration and practical tools for making space, in both the creative realm and on the calendar, for writing their first (or next) novel.
Lose Yourself: Crafting and Performing Persona Poems
In this workshop, Akeem Rollins will share ways to build a character and a poem that completely embodies the person, place, thing, or idea that is the speaker of the piece. The point of persona is to create not just a character, but an entire world. How do you become less of yourself to make space for the character's voice? That is the question that this workshop will answer.
Just Stop . . . No, Seriously, Just Stop: How Not to Write BIPOC Characters in Your Stories
Diversity makes the world go around, and writers understandably want to paint vivid pictures of the worlds they create. Often, that involves peopling their stories with BIPOC characters. But too often, these characters are portrayed in one-dimensional ways, with the focus on what’s different about them racially or culturally than other characters in the story. While common, such depictions can be deeply offensive and promote tokenism and stereotypes. So, how does a writer avoid handling these characters poorly? Join Columbus State Professor Steve Kaczmarek for this discussion on what not to do when creating BIPOC characters for your stories.
Closing Session (3:30 - 4:30 p.m.)
Stick around after the session to talk to our panelists and other participants.