Am I You? Getting to the Heart of Your Characters, June 7-11th, 6-8pm EST at SALT Institute of Documentary Studies at MECA.
“Am I you? That’s where the conversation begins always,” says journalist and author Michael Paterniti of character writing. In this intensive, through generative writing exercises, readings, and class discussions we will learn creative writing techniques that bring our nonfiction characters to life on the page. Whether you’re writing a profile piece or crafting a character as part of a larger story, we’ll explore interview techniques that go for depth, use dialogue and voice to enhance characterization, try our hand at profiling fascinating subcultures, and leverage background research to locate and tap into the universal stories that run through us all.
By the end of the course students will have a profile piece or excerpt focused on characterization, polished and revised with instructor feedback.
Session 1: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Session 2: CHARACTERIZATION BOOT CAMP
Session 3: DIALOGUE
Session 4: WRITING SUBCULTURES
Session 5: HEAT & UNIVERSALITY
100 Mile Wilderness Adventure
Join Jenny and Maine Guide and A.T. thru-hiker Chloë Rowse on a 7-day backpacking and writing adventure through Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness this September!
Considered one of the wildest sections of the Appalachian Trail, the 100 Mile Wilderness spans from Monson to Millinocket, ME. This section of trail is known for its remote location and challenging terrain, as well as its pristine and rugged beauty.
This trip is for backpacking enthusiasts who want to safely increase their level of challenge in a supportive environment, and outdoor creatives who are interested in learning how to write compelling stories of their adventures.
Dates: 9/4/21 – 9/10/21
Do you want to unlock your personal stories, improve your writing, or receive feedback on your creative work? Hoping to polish a piece for publication? Wanting to creatively connect with your friends and peers? Looking for someone to walk with you on your creative journey?
What draws me most to creative writing is the potential it allows for connecting people to each other, to their environment, and to the experience of being alive. Writing has helped me find my voice in the world, and I am motivated to help my students do the same. This is the writing life I want to live: knee-deep in the challenge of the creative process, right next to the artists around me.
A teaching artist and writing mentor for three years and an educator for twelve, I have a deep creative arsenal of ways to inspire reflection, creative breakthroughs, and courage in telling personal truths. Over the past seven years in my career as a writer I have published a wide range of creative nonfiction, from memoir, personal essay, and magazine writing to hybrid nonfiction and prose poetry, and I am committed to helping my students find whatever form best fits their ideas. I tailor every session to the specific needs of each individual, and believe in nurturing not only the work, but the whole writer.
Here are the services I offer:
Creative Writing Warm-Up: This option is for getting the creative juices flowing, generating new work, and setting up structures for success in your writing. I will guide you through a series of custom-tailored prompts aimed at unlocking the stories you want to tell, work with you to establish and stick to a writing routine, help you curate a reading list relevant to your writing, and provide a phone consultation with feedback on your writing samples. This is a great option for developing a new body of work quickly.
Manuscript Critiques: This option is for work (personal essays, memoir excerpts, or short nonfiction) that is ready for the revision process. I will read your piece (up to 25 pages) with a focus on voice, setting, vulnerability and interior, characterization, and structure, as well as other elements that need attention. You will receive a detailed letter with feedback, as well as suggestions for deepening the work, pushing it forward, and placing it with a publication if so desired.
The Writing Life: Looking to creatively unstick yourself? This option is for writers interested in working with a creative coach. Over 3 hour-long phone, Zoom, or in-person coaching sessions we will engage in detailed conversation about your creative dreams and goals, and set up structures in your life that will help you achieve them. I will lead you through a series of visualizations, reflective prompts, and goal-setting exercises, and together we will chart a schedule that will propel you forward. Potential topics we can explore together include strategies for publishing, querying and signing an agent, deciding on whether or not to pursue an M.F.A., and — most importantly — understanding what you truly want out of your creative life, and how to reach for it.
Custom Mentorship: This is a flexible option for those looking to improve their creative nonfiction writing over the course of a few months or longer, or for writers looking for developmental edits on a longer body of work. This service is customized to the individual, and depends on the writer’s goals and needs.
Discounts available for BIPOC writers.
Group workshop: Give your friends and/or co-workers the gift of creativity. Build deeper connections by writing together and sharing your work. Help your organization reach more people by improving the storytelling skills needed to communicate your mission. Whatever your aim is, I offer group and organizational writing workshops to help you get there.
Discounts available for organizations involved in social and environmental justice work.
The Wilderness Within: An outdoor guide for the past eleven years, I believe in the power of wilderness experiences to release the potential of the human spirit. I offer one-day and overnight sea kayaking, backpacking, or hiking expeditions aimed at pushing the limits of our bodies to help us be brave within. Each experience is crafted to include a balance of learning technical skills, exploring the outdoors, and writing time. You will leave with a journal full of new writing and a deeper connection to yourself, your peers, and the natural world. Custom expeditions (rock climbing, ice climbing, winter camping, whitewater rafting or canoeing, and international travel) are subject to the availability of additional guide team members, but may be available upon request.
It would be a joy to be part of your creative journey! For more information and to receive a quote, please get in touch.
Teaching Experience: I earned my M.F.A. in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine in 2017. An educator for twelve years, currently I teach creative writing to youth at The Telling Room, where I am a Lead Teaching Artist, and lead workshops for adults through the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies at MECA, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance‘s Community Word Program, and independently online and in the Portland, Maine community.