Tuesday, April 25, 2023

What is Fall Writerfest?

Fall Writerfest is a writing program that meets annually at the Pyramid Life Center in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, from the Sunday after Labor Day to the following Friday morning. Our format includes morning workshops for which you pre-register and after lunch walk-in seminars for which you do not have to sign up in advance. We also have a centering/meditation session before breakfast and evening readings, both optional and offered on a walk-in basis. The $395 fee includes room and board as well as all of the above. 

If you decide to register, please pick one of the four morning workshop offerings - Fiction, Work-in-Progress, Poetry. or Nature Writing. You will hear from your instructor prior to arriving at Pyramid, probably about a month before. They might assign reading or a writing exercise to bring to Pyramid with you. You can read about each workshop at these links. 

Fall Writerfest: It’s All About the Telling 

Fall Writerfest: After the First Draft: Revising a Work in Progress

Fall Writerfest: Poets Writing After Other Poets

Fall Writerfest: Nature Writing: Telling the Lake, Story by Story

You can find the description of the after lunch walk-in seminars here. No need to decide in advance. You can attend any or all of them. 

We also have a third program for writers with a complete or near complete manuscript. This is the only aspect of the Fall Writerfest that would cost extra. If you would like a professional manuscript consultation with Jeff Campbell, Clif Travers, or Ellie O'Leary, that is available for an additional fee of $300. If you are nowhere near this stage in your writing, don't be concerned. Only a few people will do this. Additional information is here

You can register for Fall Writerfest and read more about the Pyramid Life Center on their websiteThe Fall Writerfest is facilitated by Nelle Stanton and Ellie O'Leary. Click on the name to send an email if you are looking for additional information. 


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Manuscript Consultation

     We are offering a new program, developmental manuscript consultations, in conjunction with Fall Writerfest. This is a manuscript consultation suited for experienced writers with a work well underway, even finished, and ready for review and is in addition to being a registered participant at Fall Writerfest and whichever workshop you select. It’s important to note this is not a full line edit which could cost $1,000 or more.
Here are the parameters: 

·  Manuscripts must be received by the instructor by August 1.

·  Word count - up to 65,000 or at the discretion of the instructor

·  Writer will receive written commentary of 3-5 pages

·  One-on-one consultation, up to an hour, during Fall Writerfest

·  Clif Travers and Jeff Campbell are available for fiction or creative non fiction such as memoir

·  Ellie O'Leary is available for memoir or a poetry collection (up to 40 poems, no more than 45 pages)

·  Fee is $300, paid directly to the instructor up front with the manuscript.



Tuesday, March 7, 2023

2023 After Lunch Walk-in Seminars

 MONDAY– 1:00pm – Front Room in the Lodge

The Practice of Presence                            Nelle Stanton

It’s a given that writers need time management skills to get their sizzling ideas out of their imaginations and into the hands (and imaginations) of grateful readers. But is there a way to get more from the time that we’re managing? Many physicians, psychologists and neuroscientists say yes. Short daily practices of mindfulness increase our ability to remain present with our lives and our creative work. Driving home on a familiar road may be done on auto-pilot, but describing a pivotal moment for your memoir, short story, or poem may require you to “inhabit” that moment or memory before you can bring it fully to life. We’ll explore 10 mindfulness meditations and techniques that will help you connect more fully to the moments you are given and the moments you are creating.

Nelle Stanton is a poet, voice actor, and retired healthcare chaplain trained in various forms of meditation, energy healing, and spiritual expression.


TUESDAY– 1:00pm – Front Room in the Lodge

How Writing Haiku Can Benefit All Your Other Writing                       Cynthia Brackett-Vincent

Most of us remember having to write haiku in elementary or middle school. Learn how this ancient Japanese practice can help you hone down (edit) all your other writing—whether poetry or prose. Modern haiku in English does not have to be 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables. What’s more important is what elements we include in (and leave out of) our haiku.

Cynthia Brackett-Vincent is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet whose haiku have appeared in Frogpond (the journal of the American Haiku Society) and many others.


WEDNESDAY– 1:00pm – Front Room in the Lodge

Easing into the Sea: Basic Steps for Writers Who Want to Invent a Metaphor Therese Broderick

In this interactive talk, poet Therese L. Broderick will provide some straightforward methods for crafting a metaphor useful in any genre, helpful to writers beginning or advanced. She will lead a group activity of inventing a metaphor for “The Moon,” then allow time for individual practice. Everyone who attends will receive a 23-page handout. 

Therese L. Broderick, MFA, MLS, has lived the sweet life of a poet for more than two decades. Her poems have been published widely in several formats and have won awards both locally and beyond. She lives in Albany, New York with her optimistic husband, two fat cats, and a disheveled garden. She can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, Wordpress, and at brdrck@gmail.com.


THURSDAY– 1:00pm – Front Room in the Lodge

Serious Fun                                                   Jeff Campbell

Writing should be fun, and this seminar is all about playing with words and finding joy in creativity. We’ll respond to a bunch of silly prompts, goof around, and write off the top of our heads. Sometimes the best writing happens when we let go and see where the next word leads.  

Jeff Campbell is a freelance book editor, author, and writing teacher. As an editor for nearly 30 years, he helps authors tell their stories and shape their manuscripts in a wide variety of genres.


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Poets Writing After Other Poets

Poets often write a poetic response in conversation with poets they have read and admired. We may place an epigraph just below the title, we may try a form such as the Golden Shovel, or an acrostic using a line or title from a favorite poem. We will generate new poetry from poetry we admire by analyzing some favorites to see what poetic techniques are used there. Whether it is a longtime favorite or a poem new to you that you want to explore, we’ll study it in this workshop. What is it about those poems that “stick with us”? Gather a few favorites but don't worry if you don’t already have some. The workshop is for both beginners and those who have written poetry before. We’ll start with Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. (What is it about that particular poem?) It will be “. . . like using one candle to light another, like reading a poem to write one”. (From my poem “Where I Have Placed Daylilies”)

Ellie O’Leary, Poet Laureate of Amesbury, Massachusetts, has published Breathe Here (poetry, 2020) and Up Home Again (memoir, 2023), both with North County Press. She has an MFA in poetry from the Stonecoast Program.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

It’s All About the Telling

It’s a tale, a memory, or a thought. Whether it’s fiction, memoir, or essay, it’s all about the telling of the story. It’s one story, not a novel or a life’s work, so we’ll be keeping ours short, definitely under 8,000 words. Old story, a chapter of something larger, a new idea, or a life’s recollection? I’m open to them all, and we’ll be working with the goal of making them publishable.

Whatever tales you’re burning to tell, we’ll work on them together.

Clif Travers is a visual artist and writer who has relocated to his home state of Maine. Besides being featured in Underwood Press, freeze frame fiction, Crack the Spine Anthology, and Coffin Bell Journal, among others, his collection of short stories and novellas, The Stones of Riverton, is forthcoming with Down East Press this year. Its tales are inspired by the gravestones in his hometown in western Maine and are based on the rumors of the suspicious deaths of those who lie beneath them.  He received his MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. 

After the First Draft: Revising a Work in Progress

All writing is rewriting, or so they say. This workshop presents revision strategies for taking that imperfect first draft and whipping it into a thing of beauty. Exercises focus on distilling your premise, gaining perspective, examining structure, honing your voice, practicing sentence craft, and much more. Bring any type of work in progress, whether a novel, memoir, creative nonfiction, or story collection. In separate one-on-one conferences, each participant will develop an individual revision plan.

Jeff Campbell is a freelance book editor, author, and writing teacher. As an editor for nearly 30 years, he helps authors tell their stories and shape their manuscripts in a wide variety of genres. For a dozen years, he was a Lonely Planet travel writer. Most recently, he’s written three YA science books. His latest, Glowing Bunnies!?: Why We’re Making Hybrids, Chimeras & Clones (Lerner Books, 2022), was named a “Best Book for Teens 2023” by the New York Public Library and was a 2023 SCBWI Golden Kite Award finalist.

Nature Writing: Telling the Lake, Story by Story

 Writing authentic nature stories, articles, or poems means having a keen awareness and knowledge of the environment that is the setting or focus of our writing. During this workshop we will learn how to tap into our senses and sharpen our awareness of the natural world by observing and learning from the most enlightening of storytellers – Pyramid Lake and its environs. We will spend time walking the shores of this pristine, wild lake and the surrounding woodlands journaling the plant and animal life and opening ourselves to the stories the lake tells according to time of day, light and shadow, and shifts of weather. Notes and sketches will be used to create or enhance poems or prose pieces which will be shared and discussed. This workshop will be held both out-of-doors along lake shores and indoors. Participants are strongly encouraged to venture out on their own outside of workshop time –to find a dock or rock or bench to observe and write.

Most of this workshop will be held out of doors. Bring notebooks and pens/pencils, rain gear (let’s hope we don’t need it), sturdy rain-proof footwear, knapsack, insect repellant.
Mary Cuffe Perez is a “woods roamer” and author of books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s novels and has published natural history articles in Adirondack Life, Northern Woodlands, the Conservationist and Blueline magazines.