Sat 2/20 @ 9AM-1PM
Reality may (or may not be) more interesting than fiction. Whatever the case, Literary Cleveland (aka Lit Cleveland), which was formed less than a year ago, is offering local creative writers a unique opportunity to enrich their talents through classes, workshops, readings and other programs.
One such event is the inaugural “Winter Fictionfest: A Mini-Conference,” which takes place Sat 2/20 @9am-1pm at Loganberry Books on Larchmere. Admission is $23.50 for members.
Attendees have the opportunity to experience two of the conference’s three workshops: “Beyond the Creaking Step: How to Create Suspenseful Fiction with Casey Daniels and Shelley Bloomfield,” “You’re Creeping Me Out: Writing Dark Characters with Kevin Keating and Laura Walter” and “How to Make Everything Go Wrong with Eric Anderson.” Also, Susan Petrone will moderate a panel discussion.
CoolCleveland talked to Literary Cleveland cofounder and coordinator Lee Chilcote about the new organization, the need for Winter Fictionfest and the local writing scene.
First of all, what led to the creation of Literary Cleveland?
Lit Cleveland is a new organization that was started six months ago and came out of efforts by a whole group of people to create more community-based programs for writers in Cleveland. So our mission is helping writers develop their craft, helping writers connect and network with each other, and build a community, and really promoting Cleveland as a literary town and helping writers connect with readers. Those are three prongs of our mission.
What was the impetus for the Winter Fictionfest: A Mini-Conference?
We were working on our programs for the first quarter of this year. We surveyed our members and did a needx assessment. Fiction was at the top of the list for what people wanted classes and workshops on. So we decided to serve our audience and organize this mini-conference because people want a one-stop shop, if you will, where they can gather with other writers, meet other writers, hear from different published authors and take a bunch of workshops in the same setting, but at the same time they wanted to be accessible and affordably priced. We’ve gotten a good response, 25 to 30 people signed up already. For a conference like this, you don’t want too many people.
Can you describe the three different workshops?
Shelly Costa and Casey Daniels are both successful mystery writers. They’ll talk about how to create suspense in fiction, which is something that applies to any fiction writer, regardless if you write mystery. The next one (“Writing Dark Characters”), Kevin Keating and Laura Walter will be talking about the dark side of fiction. Like how to let your dark narrator shine and how dark narrators, dark characters are sometimes the most compelling because they’re complex and interesting. The last one is “How to Make Everything Go Wrong.” Eric Anderson talks about how to pace your fiction so it moves at the right beat to keep readers engaged and excited.
In your opinion, does Winter Fictionfest: A Mini-Conference appeal to all aspiring writers, not just fiction writers?
If you write nonfiction, which is a very popular genre these days, especially creative nonfiction and memoir, you’re going to use fictional and literary techniques in your nonfiction. So can the techniques learned from this workshop be applied to nonfiction? Absolutely. I think Literary Cleveland is all about helping people engage and explore in our region through writing.
That said, how would you characterize the Northeast Ohio writing scene?
I think it’s vibrant, but frankly it’s not as well known as it could be or should be. And one of our goals is to connect the dots between all of the wonderful things that are already happening here as well as fill in some of the gaps. There are so many cool things happening from university programs down to coffee shop readings. There’s so much stuff here, it’s just getting it out to people, letting audiences know about it and cultivating audiences.
Finally, will people leave the mini-conference feeling as though reality is truly stranger than fiction?
[laughs] I don’t know how to answer that but I think they’ll leave there with a better sense of how to turn their realities into fiction.
Go here for more information about Literary Cleveland’s schedule of workshops, classes and other events.