The best storytellers move their readers, whether to laughter, tears, or some other point on the spectrum of human emotion. In order to write emotionally evocative, sensory rich, compelling narratives, we must mine our wellspring of personal experiences using the storyteller’s first set of tools: our memory, emotion, and body.
In this ten-week workshop, we will meet over Zoom to explore our own "first tools" in a safe, supportive small group. Nonfiction writers working in personal essay and memoir and fiction writers working with short story and the novel will find inspiration, tools, and support as they dig down to produce honest, vulnerable, and memorable prose. Mine your memories for material. Translate your emotions, big and small, into words that move readers to feel. Embody your physical being and breathe life into your characters.
This is a generative workshop. Together, we will examine published works of both fiction and memoir, do writing exercises designed to tap into our "first tools," and produce short pieces (freewriting, story, essay, and/or chapter) to share and discuss throughout the workshop.
This workshop is for both fiction and creative nonfiction writers.
About the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop
I've been involved in MPWW since 2012, when I began mentoring an incarcerated writer. I began teaching in the prisons with MPWW in 2016. The experience has been nothing but rewarding. MPWW students continually produce impressive writing, get published, and win PEN awards. But more important than the quality of writing that comes out of MPWW workshops is the impact these courses have on our students' lives.
For many of our students, an MPWW workshop is the first time in their lives they feel they have a voice and are heard. That is the power of art.
"The thought that something I write could have a positive impact on other people gives me a sense of a life purpose, a reason to get out of bed and get moving for another day."
Student, Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop
There is much to discover about MPWW and our students at our website. Please, read all about MPWW. Here, I'll tell you about our workshop.
- We will hold class over Zoom each week for 10 weeks.
- The recordings will be sent to facilities offering this workshop, where your fellow writers will participate by watching the video, doing the writing exercises and homework.
- MPWW students will be able to write in questions and send me their writing. I will answer their questions and when possible share their work with you for discussion during our calls.
- Other MPWW instructors have conducted workshops this way and found students on both sides of the classroom truly enjoyed the shared experience.
- Have questions? Email me: [email protected]
Tuesdays, February 22 - April 26, 2022
5:00 - 7:00 Central
6:00- 8:00 New York
4:00 - 6:00 Denver
3:00 - 5:00 Seattle
*Check a timezone converter for your local time.
Students are encouraged to stretch and move as needed during our calls.
Alida Winternheimer is an award-winning author and experienced teacher, editor, and writing coach. She’s published numerous short stories, two of which were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Alida is the creator and host of two literary podcasts: Story Works Round Table, conversations about craft; and Story Works Reading Series, a literary journal for your ears. She is the author of the Story Works Guide to Writing Character and the Story Works Guide to Writing Point of View.
Her essay, "The Sun Still Shines on the Worst Day of Your Life" was recently published in Under the Sun and nominated for the Best American Essays anthology.
Every day, Alida helps writers write better through her craft books, the Story Works Fiction online school, free writing tips, and her podcasts. When she's not writing or teaching, you can spot her around Minneapolis on her bike, in her kayak, or being walked by her golden retriever.
Alida's material is clear, concise, and full of applicable-right-now exercises. I feel equipped not only to develop amazing characters but gripping arcs and intriguing themes. I will definitely be revisiting these processes over and over as I develop new characters. This course is worth every cent and every second spent in it. Thank you for taking my writing to the next level!
Kathryn Arnold, writer
Alida continues to provide invaluable assistance in the creation of my novels. She definitely took the rough draft of my concept to a higher level. With her direction and encouragement, my development as a writer progressed immensely. Her coaching improved my writing techniques. I found her insights into all the aspects of my story and characters indispensable. I would still be fumbling around in the dark without her. She’s a great coach!
Having published several novels, she completely understands the hurdles facing authors. I highly recommend her to anyone who wants to produce outstanding writing.
Mark Cherniack, another blooming novelist.
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