Writer’s Center Workshops at GBF

If you are looking to learn about screenwriting, craft the perfect mystery or generally sharpen your writing skills, the Gaithersburg Book Festival and The Writer’s Center (TWC) can help. TWC will be leading a series of free writing workshops during the fifth annual Gaithersburg Book Festival, taking place Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of City Hall, 31 S. Summit Ave. in Gaithersburg.

Interested participants can join the workshops on a first-come, first-served basis by registering in the TWC tent on the day of the festival. Workshops, however, will be limited to 20 participants.

“The Writer’s Center is so excited to once again be partnering with the Gaithersburg Book Festival in a celebration of our vibrant local, literary community,” said Caitlin Rizzo, program manager for The Writer’s Center. “Here at The Writer’s Center, we are proud to offer those who attend the Gaithersburg Book Festival the opportunity to join in our literary family and experience for themselves the joy of creating and sharing their own writing.”

The workshops include:

Transitions (Ages 16 and up) – 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Presented by Mary Carpenter
For beginners, writers who are stuck, or simply anyone who wants the experience of writing and getting feedback in a group, this workshop will offer the experience of writing with a “prompt.” Participants also will learn how best to respond as a group to provide each writer with insights on his or her strengths, which sentences or words make the reader want to read more, and where the voice is strongest and most compelling.

Writing With Your Child: A Workshop for Parents and Their Young Writers (Ages 5 and up, must be accompanied by a parent) – 11 a.m.-Noon
Presented by Andra Abramson
In this hands-on workshop, parents and young writers of all ages will collaborate on a short story while learning skills that will allow them to work together to revise, edit and improve writing of all kinds. By focusing on the basics – audience, voice and story – parents will learn to guide the child’s writing without doing the actual work for them, making for a calmer, more productive and ultimately more fulfilling writing experience. From school reports and poems to thank you notes and emails, both parent and child will acquire writing skills that will be useful in school, work and beyond.

Whodunit! How to Write a Mystery (Ages 16 and up) – 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
Presented by Alan Orloff
Have you always wanted to write a mystery? Then come and join the fun! This workshop discusses writing fundamentals as they apply to the mystery and its many subgenres (thrillers, too). It will cover mystery-specific conventions and pitfalls including TSTL syndrome, macguffins, red herrings, killer twists, wacky sidekicks and clue dropping.

Your Story in 25 Words (or Fewer) (Ages 16 and up) – 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Presented by Sierra Prasada
What if one magical sentence could help you define and strengthen your story, as well as anchoring a plan for revision? In this one-hour workshop, participants will learn how to formulate a “What If” question and discover how 25 (or fewer) words can transform both their latest project and their writing process.

How to Get Your Poetry Published (Ages 16 and up) – 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Presented by Michele Wolf
Whether you have yet to submit your first poem to a literary journal or are ready to offer a publisher a book-length manuscript, this mini version of Wolf’s one-day Writer’s Center workshop provides advice on how to succeed. Get tips on placing poems in print and online journals, why anthologies are such an appealing platform, how to publish chapbooks and books, the pros and cons of contests, the etiquette of poetry submission, how to develop your poetry network, and how to keep your morale high while facing rejection in a highly competitive field.

Story Writing (Ages 16 and up) – 4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Presented by Con Lehane
This hands-on workshop will concentrate on short stories—those things with beginnings, middles and ends that delve into the human spirit and attempt to reveal to us who we are. We’ll work on a couple of exercises that involve turning memory into fiction and help attendees come up with the ingredients for a story of your own.

Building a Blockbuster: Screenwriting Workshop (Ages 16 and up) – 5 p.m.-6 p.m.
Presented by Monica Lee Bellais
The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area is a unique place, where people have incredible global experiences that could translate into a blockbuster concept. Get that amazing political thriller, spy, espionage, humanitarian, military and/or war movie out of your mind and into a marketable screenplay. Participants will learn the essential development skills needed to write an amazing movie that will grab the attention of producers in Hollywood.

For more information about the workshops, the presenters and the schedule, including additional workshops geared for younger writers, please visit the Workshop page of the GBF website.

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