Teaching

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New Role at Writers Studio

Published October 20, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I’m pleased to announce I’ve been asked to assume a new role at the Tucson branch of Writers Studio. In addition to continuing to be a teacher on the intermediate level, I’ll be serving as assistant director and working closely with branch director Reneé Bibby. 

Here’s some info about the program and its philosophy, from our web site at writerstudio.com:

“The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.”

Janelle Drumwright, who has done an amazing job as Tucson branch assistant director for years, is relocating to another city. I hope I can carry on in her spirit and continue to bring the Writer Studio discipline and devotion to craft to students looking to expand and improve their skills. I’ll also be involved in outreach to potential students and planning of special events.

I started as a student in the program, and its emphasis on craft and the importance of creating a distinctive persona narrator for every piece of writing has been extremely helpful to me. It jump-started me after a long period of non-writing and put me on the road to getting work published. I can definitely attest to the program’s effectiveness.

New classes will be starting in January. Writers of all experience levels are welcome. Online classes are available as well as our in-person classes here in Tucson. Feel free to send me any questions about the program at philivory@writerstudio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writers Studio Summer 2018 Intermediate Class

Published September 1, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I just completed teaching an 8-week summer session at Writers Studio Tucson. I had a great class with really talented students who worked extremely hard to develop their craft and produced some stunning material. Here we are meeting for a final pre-class bite at Brother John’s on Stone Avenue.

Writers Studio offers classes to help you develop your skills in writing fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. From our web site:

The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.

Our fall session starts in late September. Visit our web site at Writers Studio and sign up for a class today! If you don’t live in a city that offers in-person classes, try one of our online sessions.

Apparition on the Threshold: New Flash Fiction at Ghost Parachute

Published May 1, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I have a new flash fiction piece online today at online journal Ghost Parachute. It grew from an exercise I did when I was as student in the Writers Studio Intermediate Class in 2014, taught by Janelle Drumwright. The exercise is based on a gorgeous poem “Ignis Fatuus,” by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Since I become a Writers Studio teacher myself, I have assigned the exercise a number of times, and it always yields interesting results.

My piece,  to which I eventually assigned the name “Apparition on the Threshold,” is probably the closest to poetry of all the pieces I’ve written.

Imagistic and enigmatic, it doesn’t pause to explain itself, instead letting images flow from one to another, allowing the piece to unfold according to its own mysterious logic.

This is a testament to the Writers Studio method, as I would never have written this piece without being exposed to the Komunyakaa exercise.

Here is “Apparition on the Threshold.”

(Before finding its home at Ghost Parachute, this piece underwent an arduous journey, which you can  read about here.)

 

Read the rest of this entry →

Arizona Mystery Writers

Published April 19, 2018 by Philip Ivory

My thanks to my friends at Arizona Mystery Writers for inviting me on April 14 to deliver a reprise of the “Craft of Dark Fiction” lecture I gave for Writers Studio last December. My friend Bill Adams is a longtime member and accomplished writer who initially approached me about repeating this lecture for his group. My thanks to him and also to the group’s workshop chair Kay Lesh who made the arrangements with me.  Thanks also to another good friend and outstanding writer, Alice Hatcher, for helping with the audiovisual aspect of my lecture.

The lunch was tasty, the meeting was fun and the group was attentive and appreciative. I was speaking about horror fiction, which often intersects with mystery, although the two genres can also seem like two very different worlds.

Just for fun, I created and handed out the flyer below, a personal list but one that name checks examples of short writing in the dark fiction field that have impressed and influenced me. Check it out.

 

The Horror! The Horror! The Craft of Writing Dark Fiction

Published November 29, 2017 by Philip Ivory

Calling all Tucson-area writers and devotees of the scary and macabre! Come out and hear me, Phil Ivory, deliver a special free lecture at 2:30 on December 9, 2017 at the Himmel Park Library here in Tucson. It’s part of the Writers Studio lecture series. It should be fun, inspirational and a little bit scary!

DESCRIPTION:

From William Faulkner to Shirley Jackson to Margaret Atwood, writers have achieved memorable effects by putting characters in extreme situations and evoking sensations of fear, dread, awe and horror. In this Writers Studio lecture, we’ll look at horror not as something confined to the macabre shelf but as an emotion that will add power and resonance to any material regardless of genre. We’ll talk about using description to evoke a dark and lingering mood. Crafting the best narrator to evoke singular emotional effects. Laying groundwork for readers to have a powerful emotional experience while never telling them what to feel.

So take a writing journey to the dark side, and come back stronger than you were before.

 

Hope to see you there on Dec. 9!

And while you’re at it, why not sign up for one of our upcoming Writers Studio Winter classes?  Show the world how scarily creative you really are.

Tucson Writers: Free Lecture to Jumpstart Your Writing Skills

Published June 9, 2017 by Philip Ivory

Check out the latest in a series of special free lectures from Writers Studio. Join us for an inspiring talk by Writers Studio teacher Frances Lynch on the value of using writing exercises to improve your craft.

WHAT: Free Lecture: Writing Exercises — The Path To Your Best Writing

WHERE: Woods Memorial Library at 3455 N. First Avenue

WHEN: Thursday June 22 at 6:30 to 7:30 PM

Hope to see you there!

Also, new classes start at the Writers Studio here in Tucson in only a few weeks. Sign up for a workshop class and put exercises to work to enhance your writing skills and try your hand at new voices and techniques:

Register here.

Flash Sale: $30 off any summer writing class. Discount must be taken at time of registration, cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid while supplies last. Expires 6/12/17. Use coupon code: Facebook17

Pushcart Prize Nomination

Published March 8, 2017 by Philip Ivory

A distinguished annual literary event.”
— New York Times

 

Early this year, I received a letter from Pushcart Press informing me that I am nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

This means that I was invited to submit to the Pushcart Committee up to three stories I had published in 2016. The pieces are now under consideration for publication in the upcoming Pushcart Prize XLII: Best of the Small Presses 2018 Edition, to be published in November. To win the Prize is to be published in the book. And vice versa.

(Okay, it’s a mite confusing. I’m submitting stories from 2016 for a book that will be published in 2017 but which will be labelled 2018. If I win, I will take a TARDIS to the ceremony. Well, I would, if I had a TARDIS. And if there were a ceremony.)

“Of far more significance than other awards.” 
— Joyce Carol Oates

As a teacher with The Writers Studio, I know how valuable these annual volumes are. We use them in teaching our students, selecting stories and poems that demonstrate craft techniques that we ask our students to emulate in their own writing.

To comply with the nomination, I submitted the following three stories:

Where did the Pushcart Prize come from? Here’s an excerpt from an article in Poets & Writers, “Pushcart Prize Turns Forty”:

The idea for the Pushcart Prize anthology was first conceived in the early 1970s by founding editor Bill Henderson, who at the time was a senior editor at Doubleday. “I was tired of the publishing industry turning writers into dollar signs,” Henderson says, citing the tendency for big houses to favor marketability over substance.

I’m grateful to whomever nominated me for this prestigious honor. That person’s identity is unknown to me. Truth be told, many people are nominated and there are long odds against winning. I should know by end of May whether I’ll be a winner or remain a humble nominee, and I’ll report any news here.

“This is the anthology that the writers read.”
— Russell Banks

Meanwhile, you can purchase the Pushcart’s most recent edition, Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses 2017 Edition at Amazon.com.

Teaching at Writers Studio Tucson

Published August 30, 2016 by Philip Ivory

I’m pleased to announce that as of the first week in October, I’ll be joining the faculty at Writers Studio Tucson as a teacher on the Intermediate Level.

I’ve worked my way up through the program, and the Writers Studio method has done a lot for me, encouraging me to stretch my writing muscles and attempt techniques I otherwise would have never have dreamed of using. (And it has helped me get a few things published.)

Want to try the program? Take one of our upcoming Tucson Workshop classes, available on Wed and Thursday nights, and on Saturday mornings. I know the teachers and they are all great.

Click Here To Sign Up Now.

If you ever hear yourself saying, “I would like to write more, but don’t know what to write about,” you’ll find yourself reassured by the variety of stimulating exercises to jump start your creativity. They’ll prompt you to unleash strong new voices that have been simmering inside you for too long.

“Every week, I presented a new story. Finally something did click, the very thing that’s their specialty at The Writers Studio, emotional content. Before, my work was dead. When I brought in my breakthrough story, I felt I was carrying a weird animal in my bag. It was the first story I sold.”

-JENNIFER EGAN, former student at The Writers Studio, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for A Visit From the Goon Squad (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010)

You’ll receive friendly, constructive feedback from your teacher and fellow students, never with the intent to tear each other down, always with an emphasis to strengthening our use of writerly techniques to make our writing really sing.

Classes are also available in New York, San Francisco and Amsterdam …. and if you’re not in one of those places, there are online classes as well.

It’s a great program, so try it!