Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Report from the Field: Joanne M. Lazar Glenn on HippoCamp CNF Conference

By Joanne M. Lozar Glenn

Gave myself a treat this month: I attended the inaugural HippoCamp writers conference on creative nonfiction in Lancaster, Pa. What a great job conference organizer Donna Talarico-Beerman and her team did in creating a positive and generous atmosphere in which to encounter and interact with other writers. Below, some nuggets from my notes. 

On craft:
Don't think: What's the point I want to make? Think cinema. Think, what's the story that will lead to that point?--Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Nonfiction (journal)

 Collage essay is best used not to tell a story but to bring a bunch of ideas or touchpoints together. It pays attention to prosody rather than narrative.--Sarah Einstein, author, Mot: A Memoir 

I did not think about audience. I thought about how could I write a story that would make the audience feel as if they had lived that story. -- Amy Jo Burns, author, Cinderland 

To make your nonfiction more poetic, pay attention to harmony, beat, cadence, word sound and length, punctuation, assonance, and alliteration. --Viannah Duncan, poet and editor 

What is a flash memoir? A slice [of life], and then a smaller slice. -- Jenna McGuiggan, founder, The Word Cellar 

Lots of times writers have two stories written together. Determine the dominant vs. the supporting story line. -- Curtis Smith, essayist

On the business of writing:
Don't have cookie-cutter content across all social media. --Gale Martin, novelist and director of marcomm at Harcum College (Pa.) 

Submit a proposal [for your nonfiction book] because it shows you've really thought it through. --Nicole Frail, editor, Skyhorse Press 

Treat Twitter and Instagram as extensions of your brand ... but understand the distinction between public work and personal persona. --D. Watkins, author and Salon columnist 

Keep calm, write more. There is no one model, only your model. --Jane Friedman, writer and instructor, online writing and publishing, University of Virginia

On literary citizenship:
Put other stories before your own. Where can you help another writer get something s/he wants? -- Jennifer Hill, poet, playwright, arts educator, performer, Paper Kits Press and PA Council on the Arts 

Your success as a writer is not the same as your success as a human being.--Amy Jo Burns, author, Cinderland

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Joanne M. Lozar Glenn is an independent writer, editor, and educator based in Alexandria, Va., whose essays and poems have appeared in print and online literary magazines. She is a coauthor of the forthcoming Memoir Your Way: How to Use Quilts, Recipes, Scrapbooks, Writing, and More to Tell Your Story (Skyhorse Press, 2016) and leads destination writing retreats at the beach and in the mountains.  

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from Writers Write Newsletter.


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