Critical Reading Workshop is Tonight!

We’ll be critiquing Michael Chabon’s Werewolves in Their Youth at the Capital Club this evening. Bring your thoughts, comments, and your teenage angst!

Questions to ponder while reading:

  1. Chabon is sometimes referred to as one of the foremost “stylists” of his generation (referring not, I think, to a propensity for playing with hair, but rather a propensity for playing with sentence structure)–did any of the sentences in this story strike you as being particularly well formed? Did you notice instances in which the sentence structure or paragraph structure helped carrying the meaning of the text? Were any sentences that were out and out duds?
  2. This story attempts to portray the inner and outer worlds of beleaguered tween boys–how does Chabon build these worlds? What details does he use to make them believable? What details does he leave out? What sort of building block short cuts does he use?
  3. The story is split into two distinct halves and two distinct settings–how does this structure help carry the story’s message and intent?

That’s it for questions!

As always, this event is free and open to the public, and you do not need to be a CCC member to attend. The Capital Club is located on the lobby floor of the Doubletree Suites Hotel on South Front Street. Get more details in this ancient blog post.

Check back next week when we’ll be posting discussion questions for you to mull over before the meetup.

Questions? Comments? Got a story you’d love to discuss? Send them to the workshop moderator at heather@ohiowriters.org. See you there.

Next Folk & Fiction Event: 9/25

CCC Members!

The next Folk & Fiction is set for Sunday, September 25th. The event will take place from 3-5pm at Java Central Cafe in Westerville (20 S. State St.).

Folk & Fiction features local authors, poets and singer-songwriters performing their original creative works. The lineup for the upcoming event includes:

Music by The Castros – Based in Columbus OH, Sara and Marco Castro have been making waves regionally and internationally with their heartfelt folky tunes. Named Best Local Band in 2013 by (614) Magazine (and runner-up in 2012 and 2014), the Castros are a staple of the local music scene and have played throughout the U.S. and Europe. Alternating between haunting emotional pieces and catchy and happy tunes, their performances are dynamic and memorable!

Poetry by Chris Minton – A member of the Ohio Poetry Association, The Columbus Creative Cooperative and Writer’s Ink, Chris has had poems featured in publications such as Mad Swirl and Common Threads. He is also a past winner of Brilliant Flash Fiction Magazine’s international flash fiction contest. Chris is also a songwriter and member of the Columbus Songwriters Association. He can be heard around town reading his poems and short stories and performing original songs.

Short Stories by Tom Barlow – Tom is an Otterbein grad and writer of speculative fiction whose stories have appeared in Crossed Genres, Redivider, Hobart, The Apalachee Review, Heater, Plots with Guns and many other magazines and anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories and the upcoming CCC anthology, Best of Ohio II. His science fiction novel “I’ll Meet You Yesterday” is available from Bundoran Press and his short story collection “Welcome to the Goat Rodeo” is available from PageSpring Publishing.

Come out and support the CCC and enjoy an afternoon of creativity…see you there!

Writing Flash: Reading Workshop Discussion Questions

We hope you can join us for our reading workshop this Wednesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. We’re discussing strategies for writing better flash fiction and nonfiction. Don’t worry: if you’re short on time, so are these stories. And, all of them are available to read online! For those of you who like to prepare in the parking garage or on your way up the elevator to the Capital Club: you totally can.

We’re reading two fiction stories from the anthology Flash Fiction International. Sovetskoye Shampanskoye (Berit Ellingsen) reads like a poetic abstract to an international crime thriller, and shows just how much you can actually communicate in a limited space. Please Hold Me the Forgotten Way (H.J. Shepard) is a quieter snapshot of a moment in time for its two characters.

We’re also reading two flash essays from Brevity, a flash nonfiction journal: Roots by M. Sausun and Naked  by Alyssa Quinn.

Below are a few discussion questions to think about while you read. Then join us Wednesday to figure out how to fit a world into 1,000 words or less.

This event is free and open to the public, and you do not need to be a CCC member to attend. We’ll meet at 7 p.m. at the Capital Club. Get directions here.

Never been to a reading workshop? Check out our FAQ, and feel free to contact the workshop moderator with any questions.

Flash Fiction Discussion Questions

These apply to every story. Answer them all four times if you’re an overachiever, or cherry-pick to your liking. It’s okay.

  • Are these complete stories? What elements are necessary for a story to feel whole? Do these stories contain all of those elements, either explicit or implicit?
  • What are the most powerful sentences in each story? Why?
  • Titles become very important in flash—they really account for a significant percentage of the word count. How do the titles of each story further our understanding?
  • What is omitted in each story? What is included? Why do you think the author made those choices?
  • What does the story gain by its brevity? What is lost?
  • What tricks do the authors use to convey information in few words? What specific words can you find that are doing lots of work?
  • How much do you actually know about the characters in each story? How much more do you guess about the characters, and how does the author influence your assumptions?
  • In the nonfiction essays, the author’s voice (or the “I” of the story—the one who is speaking) takes on a special importance. It’s really this voice that distinguishes the nonfiction essay from fiction. How does this voice influence the story being told?

Critical Reading Workshop: Flash Edition

Planning on taking top honors in the flash essay contest? Come to the reading workshop on July 13 to hone your skills. We’ll discuss techniques for crafting better flash fiction and essays using story selections from the altogether brilliant anthology Flash Fiction International, and essay selections from Brevity, an online journal of “extremely brief” creative nonfiction.

Grab your copy of Flash Fiction International, and bring it to the Capital Club on July 13 at 7 p.m. Stay tuned to the blog for story selections and discussion questions. And don’t worry: the stories, like this blog post, will be brief.

This event is free and open to the public, and you do not need to be a CCC member to attend. See you there!

6/12 Folk and Fiction Lineup Set

CCC Members! Our next Folk & Fiction is all set. This free event will happen from 3-5pm on Sunday June 12th at Java Central Café in Westerville (20 S. State St.).

In case you’ve been in hibernation for the last few years, or are new to CCC, here is the deal with these events – we recruit super talented and creative types to share their gifts in the form of original songs, stories and poems.

This event in particular is one you don’t want to miss, so mark your calendars and tell a friend. You’ll be treated to performances from the following:

Rick Barr – Rick has been playing guitar for 30 years and has self-produced several albums of both original songs and cover tunes.  He’s been playing shows in and around Columbus for a few years and is known for sets that feature both classic rock and country.  His latest album is a rock opera titled “Seventy Lies”, which will be available June, 2016 on CD and in online stores.

Matt Betts – Matt is the author of two novels (Indelible Ink and Odd Men Out) and a collected work of poetry (See No Evil, Say No Evil). His work has been published in dozens of journals and his poem “Godzilla’s Better Half” was nominated for a Rhysling Award. Matt also teaches writing workshops and seminars, coordinates writing groups and acts as a panelist in a wide variety of venues.

Jamie Sagle – After working for years with other local bands, songwriters and musicians, for the last several years Jamie has been writing her own songs, which reflect on trials of life and finding the strength within to overcome.  Jamie has been featured on WOSU’s “Songs at the Center” and was recently a finalist in the Columbus Songwriters Association’s Finale Showcase.

Brenda Layman – Brenda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Pickerington Community Magazine, Ohio Valley Outdoors magazine and other outdoor magazines.  Her short stories have appeared in a number of CCC anthologies. Brenda is also a watercolor artist and a member of the National League of American Pen Women and the Outdoor Writers of Ohio.

Anisa Gandevivala – Anisa Gandevivala is a writer, poet and artist who lives in Columbus, Ohio; her work is about teasing the edges of comfort zones to create growth, and, she enjoys exploring the impermanent nature of things. Anisa studied to be a physician and worked as a leader in healthcare before she became a full-time barrier-breaker and rabble-rouser… she has been featured as a reader and speaker at a number of events and you can learn more about her art and balance workshops via the facebook page, ‘The Connection Experiment’ . Most of the time, she procrastinates when it comes to writing bios because labels can be such a bore.

April Critical Reading Workshop: Character Development

No foolin’—the April critical reading workshop is just around the corner! This month we’ll use Dan Chaon’s quietly uncanny story “To Psychic Underworld” to talk about strategies for developing interesting characters. You can find the full story on Tin House’s website here, or pick up a copy of Stay Awake, Chaon’s newest story collection.

Chaon has earned a reputation for writing stories that are driven by the inner lives of his characters, and “To Psychic Underworld” is no different. Check it out, then join us at the Capital Club on April 13 at 7 p.m. for a casual roundtable discussion of the story.

We’ll post discussion questions before the workshop to help us focus on how Chaon develops Critter, the central character of “To Psychic Underworld.”

Never attended a reading workshop? Check out our FAQ, and feel free to contact the workshop moderator with comments and questions. As always, this event is free and you do not need to be a CCC member to attend. Hope to see you there!

 

3/20 Folk and Fiction Lineup Set

Okay, CCC members, here are the details on the next Folk & Fiction event, which will take place at Java Central Café (20 S. State St. in Westerville) from 3-5pm on Sunday, March 20th.  On the docket this time we’ve got two truly outstanding music acts – Chris Shaw and Daniel Dye.  Because National Poetry month is coming up, we’ll be doing poetry readings instead of short stories and we’ve got a great lineup of poets.

If you’ve been to a previous event, you know how creatively cool they are! What better way to spend the afternoon on the first day of spring (yes, that’s the day of the spring vernal equinox and the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity…what a day!).  Support CCC by grabbing a buddy and heading over to Java Central on the 20th.  Information on all of our performers is below.

Songwriters:

Daniel Dye:  Daniel was born and raised in rural Ohio, but spends much time working and traveling throughout Europe and Asia.  He writes music, and is sometimes accompanied by the Miller Road Band – a combination of cello, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, accordion, and guitar.  His songs have been featured many times on several different NPR programs.  In reviewing his album Blinded Again, IAmTunedUp.com called his music “thoroughly organic and full of soul.”

Learn more about Daniel here.

Chris Shaw:  Chris is one of the most talented – and busiest – songwriters in Central Ohio.  He performs as Topher James & Biscuit Brigade and has been featured in Columbus’ 614 Magazine. His EP “Art & Soul” was released in 2014 to critical acclaim. GroundSounds.com described it as “rich with funky guitar licks” and “lyrically rich storytelling.”  Chris is a member of The Andy Shaw Band, which plays original soul, rock and reggae.  He’s also half of the acoustically-driven Shaw Brothers.

Learn more about Chris here.

Poets:

We’ll be featuring poets who were published in CCC’s poetry anthology The Ides of March: An Anthology of Ohio Poets.  This is a unique opportunity to hear some of Ohio’s best poets in one place.  Our readers include:

Jennifer Hambrick – Jennifer’s poetry has been honored with a Pushcart Prize nomination, and her debut chapbook was nominated for an Ohioana Book Award.  She also won the Ohio Poetry Association’s 2013 Ides of March contest and has received many other recognitions for her work.

Jack Schwarz – Jack formerly taught writing and literature at two Ohio universities and subsequently worked as a ghostwriter for the Ohio General Assembly.  These days he provides interfaith pastoral care within several area medical facilities.

Hannah Stephenson – is a poet, editor and instructor living in Columbus.  Her poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Huffington Post. In 2013 she published a full-length collection of poems.  She is the founder of Paging Columbus, a literary arts monthly event series with a local focus.  Hannah was also the editor of the CCC poetry anthology.

Jordy Lawrence Stewart – originates from the small town of Cedarville, Ohio.  When he isn’t busy writing or studying he also enjoys spending time writing music, painting and diving into the various scenes and creative landscapes of greater Columbus.

Scott Woods – is the author of We Over Here Now and has published widely.  He has been featured multiple times on NPR, was the President of Poetry Slam Inc. and emcees the Writers’ Block Poetry Night in Columbus.

 

Critical Reading Workshop: Writing the Graphic Novel

Do you read graphic novels? Ever thought about writing one, but don’t know where to start? This month’s critical reading workshop is for you! Join us March 9 at 7 p.m. for a discussion of Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying, a collection of graphic short stories that will change the way you think about comics.

So, we’re reading a comic book?

Yes. And no. The term “graphic novel” has become a catch-all for any illustrated work that is not a serial superhero comic. Not that graphic novels can’t be about superheroes. They can. They can be long-form narrative (like a novel) or a collection of short stories. They can stick to a genre like sci-fi or fantasy, or they can be realistic, satirical, or autobiographical. In short: graphic novels can be about anything.

What about the book we’re reading?

Killing and Dying is a collection of six short stories that are quiet slices from the lives of ordinary, diverse characters: an addict in recovery, a soldier home from the war, an awkward teen grappling with her mother’s impending death, and others. We’re going to focus on two of the stories for our discussion: “Go Owls” and “Translated, from the Japanese,” but feel free to bring your thoughts on any story to the table.  We’ll look at how Tomine (pronounced “TOH-muh-nay”) uses a different style of illustration and narration for each piece, and talk about how words and images work together to tell a story. (FYI: “Go Owls” contains some strong language and brief cartoon nudity. This may be a comic book, but it’s not one for your kids.)

But I don’t draw.

Me neither. Some artists (Tomine included) do both writing and illustration for their work, but writers often will collaborate with a visual artist to produce a graphic novel. As with traditional fiction, the best way to learn how to write a graphic novel is to read a lot of them. And then talk about why they work. With us. On March 9.

OK, I’m interested…

I knew you would be! Grab your copy of Killing and Dying and meet us March 9 at 7 p.m. at the Capital Club in the Doubletree Suites Hotel in downtown Columbus.  We’ll post a few discussion questions soon to consider while you’re reading. Of course, you’re always welcome to just show up and hang out, too. The more you put in, the more you’ll take away, but we’ll enjoy your company either way. See you there!

Questions? Comments? Contact the workshop moderator.

Winter 2016 Writers Retreat at The Narows

Join us for the first ever CCC Writers’ Retreat.  The retreat will be held at The Narrows in Zanesville, Ohio.

The Narrows is an easy 55 minute drive from Columbus. Just far enough to leave your distractions behind, but close enough to make it an easy breezy day trip.

At CCC, we’re serious about helping writers produce great work.  And our retreat will follow suit.  We’ll provide optional opportunities for breaking up the day, doing some fun stuff and engaging with other writers, but our primary focus is on providing dedicated, distraction-free time for you to work on the projects that are important to you.

The Narrows is a really cool space, and it’s big enough for us to provide several different writing environments.  Whether you prefer quiet solitude, a little chaos, or ambient music, I think everyone will find a spot that will really encourage productivity and creativity.

This event will be held all day on February 13th.  It’s up to you how you engage, but we’ll get started right at 8am and proceed until 6pm.  After it’s over, you’re invited to join us at Weasel Boy Brewing, a micro-brewery that shares the building, for dinner.

The fee for the retreat is $25 for CCC Writer and Sponsor Members (membership is $15 and $100 per year, respectively) or $35 for non-members.  That fee includes your access to the space all day, as well as snacks and drinks from favorite Zanesville businesses all day.  Lunch is also included.

We’re really excited for this event.  I think it’s a cool new development in what CCC has to offer.

Use the PayPal buttons below to make a reservation. Space is limited to 20 writers, so don’t hesitate to reserve your spot if you’re interested in attending.  Sorry, but we are not offering refunds.  Update: Wow! Due to tremendous response, this event is now full.  Please email us at info@ohiowriters.org with “Retreat Waiting List” in the subject line, and we’ll let you know of any cancellations.

Find more information about the writers’ retreat and get real time updates on Facebook here.

Makers Market 11/28

Columbus Creative Cooperative is proud to be a participating vendor at the Makers Market happening this Saturday, 11/28 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at The Narrows:  126 Muskingum Ave. Suite Z, Zanesville, Ohio.

Take a trek to Zanesville on Small Business Saturday to check out this cool event that’s featuring small businesses from around the Muskingum Valley. Get out of town, and explore what other writers, craftspeople, artists and artisans are creating outside your own locale.

Join the Facebook event here to view the complete list of vendors.

Swing by the CCC booth on Saturday and say hello, check out some of our books, and learn about our upcoming projects. After you’re through strolling around the market, grab lunch or a coffee at The Bridge Cafe next door (go for the chicken and waffles, trust me), or a pint at Weasel Boy Brewery upstairs.

The Narrows is a space for entrepreneurs, artists and other folks with big ideas, founded by CCC Director Brad Pauquette and his wife Melissa. Check out this recent article in the Times Recorder for more insight into some of the cool stuff happening at this space.

This event is free and open to the public. You DO NOT need to be a CCC member to attend, and no RSVP is required.

Questions? Contact us by clicking here.