Tuesday, December 6

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8:00am: Breakfast


9:00am – 10:30am

Faculty Lecture: Molly Bendall (Poetry)

Room: Salon 6

Wastelands and Apocalypses in Recent Poetry. I would like to consider some poems that respond to both real and imagined apocalypses. How do poets approach these events and settings?  How do they position themselves as witness?  And then what happens to language and form?  And finally, is it really an end or a step toward reparation and re-invention?

9:00am – 10:30am

Faculty Lecture: Stephen Graham Jones (Fiction/Screenwriting)

Room: Salon 4

Elements of Horror. What are the core techniques of horror? In here we’ll talk about what elements go into a good scare, maybe what order — if any — is most effective, and try to identify some of the pitfalls along the way. Come ready to discuss. Most of this will work for both fiction and film.


10:30am – 12:00pm

Faculty Lecture: Bill Rabkin (Screenwriting)

Room: Salon 4

Joss Whedon The Screenplay Slayer. From his script doctoring of Toy Story and Speed to the creation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly to the international blockbuster Avengers movies, Joss Whedon’s scripts have inspired both a passionate cult following and a mass audience. How does he do this? By centering every plot move, story element and even every action sequence on character. In this lecture we’ll look at how Whedon creates characters and how he creates stories to explore them even in the context of billion-dollar superhero franchises – and how you can bring the same blend of intimacy and spectacle to your own scripts.


Faculty Lecture: Mark Haskell Smith (Fiction/Nonfiction)

Room: Salon 6

The single most important thing you need to know about writing fiction and nonfiction.There are lots of rules for writing. Famous authors make money writing books about their rules for writing.  Some of the rules are good, some are complete bullshit.  But if you took all the famous writer’s rules for writing and boiled them down into some kind of essence of narrative wisdom, you would come out with one rule for successful writing.  Just one.  And it’s all you need to know.  Don’t be boring. In this lecture we’ll look at the building blocks of non-boring narrative: Character, Conflict, Core Yearning and the importance of writing to all five senses.


1:15pm  – 4:15pm: Cross-Genre Workshops

Classes will be held in the Las Flores Conference Center
Map: http://www.rancholaspalmas.com/resort-map

Salons 1, 2 and 8 are located in the main conference and meeting area
Map: http://www.rancholaspalmas.com/resort-map

Birnbaum: Lavender

Crane/Graham Jones/Roberge: Begonia

Essbaum: Iris

McCann: Jasmine

Otis/Waters: Larkspur

Rabkin: Lavender

Schimmel: Hibiscus

Stillman: Primrose

Ulin: Lantana


Graduate Lecture: Kate MacMurray (Fiction)

Room: Salon 4

A Sense of Place: Redemptive or Destructive? A sense of place, specifically the setting of a story, defines character. But is the character’s interaction with their setting redemptive or destructive? Ron Hansen, Rick Bass, Claire Vaye Watkins, Christine McKellar and Lori Kozlowski cast the characters of their short stories into a wide variety of settings, and the outcome is often surprising.


Graduate Lecture: Jon Levenson (Screenwriting)

Room: Salon 4

Outing Interiority: Making Thought Visible — Emotional voyeurism: It’s why I read, why I watch. Understanding another’s innermost thoughts is what I’m after. And I want to get close. Super close. But, film is a visual medium. And, while an audience can see action unfold from a character’s POV, it’s tough to show actual thought. So, what are the screenwriter’s tools to make interiority visible? Is there a way to get closer than the close up?


Evening Program: Getting Your Film Produced: A conversation with Luisa Iskin.

Room: Salon 6