Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dreamy Writing Workshop on the island of Seriphos!

Want to do something exciting this June to propel your writing forward? Wouldn't it be fun to mingle with a great community of writers, playwrights, poets and filmmakers? Consider signing on to this four-week writing workshop in Greece, sponsored by Missouri University’s Department of English, and open to any and all non-MU participants!
Immerse yourself in the literary life of contemporary Greece. Attendees develop their craft in workshops taught by acclaimed mentors, while experiencing life on an extraordinarily beautiful Greek island. While in Athens, participants gather with University of Athens students and faculty. In addition to attending daily seminars, students focus on a single genre of writing in a workshop.
Sarah Micklem and I will be teaching one of these: a two-part workshop. She writes fantasy, I focus on YA and new adult fiction. When I met her for lunch, we laughed over the fact that our books both have red-haired female leads and FIRE in their titles (Fireseed One is mine, Firethorn and Wildfire are hers). Beyond that, our plot lines are vastly different. Her fiction is set in an alternate Middle Ages, mine in 2089!

Writing Fiction in & Beyond Genre–A Course in Two Parts

Part One: The Art of Speculation
Genre divisions in fiction are marketing conventions. They should not be boundaries to the imagination. To achieve what John Gardner called the "vivid and continuous dream" of fiction, a writer must speculate, scene after scene: what will my characters say and do, think and feel in this invented situation? How will they change? How is the story to be told? In the first two weeks of the course, taught by fantasy/science fiction writer Sarah Micklem, we will use short exercises as seeds for stories, and draw on the landscape, myths, and everyday life of Greece as a source for improvisation.

Sarah’s novels: Firethorn & Wildfire, Sarah's website

Part Two: Edgy Adventures in Crossover Land
The second part of the course will be taught by Catherine Stine, who writes for the young adult, crossover and new adult market, all red-hot current genres. Students will have an opportunity to receive detailed feedback on work started in Sarah's class, and on additional stories and novels-in-progress. Catherine's particular expertise is on plotting, pacing and characterization, and designing custom exercises that address authors' specific needs. The current market and how to find a good agent will also be addressed. Catherine has taught "Writing Teen Fiction" and literature at the New School, the School of Visual Arts, Rosemont College, at high-schools in and around New York City, and in her ongoing class in downtown Manhattan.

Catherine’s Books: Fireseed One, Refugees, A Girl's Best Friend
Catherine's Website

Blurbs from Students: "Catherine gives creative exercises, smart critiques, exposure to different genres, and nuts-and-bolts instruction on the mechanics of plotting a novel. I began the class with a three-sentence story idea, and within a few months, I had a book contract. I can't recommend her class highly enough."

–Holly Kowitt, author of the novels, The Loser List & The Sweetheart Deal (Scholastic)

"Catherine's workshops motivated me to write consistently and provided me with literary tools and techniques that enhanced my work. I especially benefited from her insightful critiques. I highly recommend her class to both aspiring and established writers. She's also resourceful about the business of writing and publishing."

–Renee Watson, author of her picture book A Place Where Hurricanes Happen (Random House) and a novel, What Momma Left Me (Bloomsbury)

*Sarah and Catherine welcome writers of all genres, published authors and novices.

Concurrent Workshops: The Poem's Geographies - with Natasha Trethewey, Writing Lyric Poetry - with Major Jackson, Fiction - with Sarah Micklem & Catherine Stine, Memoir - with Linda Gray Sexton, Fiction - with Marilynne Robinson, Filmmaking - with Norris J. Chumley, Editing for Publication - with Gregory Donovan, Playwriting - with David Crespy & Cornelius Eady, Translation - with Douglas Unger

*Non-credit participants pay only the program fee, $3000, which includes hotel, boat fare, a workshop, all events, and some meals. *Non-credit participants should contact Jason Kinnear: 
kinnearj (at) missouri (dot) edu in order to apply.
For credit students (Can arrange credit from your university) who are non-Missouri residents there is tuition reduction. Out-of-state students who wish to receive a tuition reduction will have the best chance if they apply before the February 20 deadline.
*People who can’t participate for the whole month are welcome, but  must choose the non-credit option, and pay the whole program fee.
The hotel in Athens: Novotel
The resort where we stay on Serifos
Website for the program on the MU International Center site. A description of the program, course descriptions, a budget, location, and faculty bios: here


  1. Sounds like a dream come true. Wish I could attend. Have a greaat time.

  2. Great teachers (I know because I still use your character & conflict worksheet & my students love it)...and a gorgeous setting. What could be better?

  3. I hear they have restaurants on the beach, and they catch your fish right after you order it.

    1. What a dream come true for the writers who get the opportunity to go! Any possibility of scholarship contests?

  4. There are credit reductions. You'd have to email Jason for the details. It's a good price once you figure in all of what's included-flight, hotel, some meals, workshop fee, boat rides and events.

  5. That sounds awesome. Though I'm not sure my hubby and kids would go for that. :P

  6. Amazing opportunity, Catherine. I'd give a lot to pull up my tent stakes and join you. I'll have to be content to live vicariously from your blog posts! Please do tell us all that happens, okay?