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Retreat Program

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Fosston Library & Arts Center

5 – 7pm  |  Welcome & Reception  |  Upper Gallery

7 – 8pm  |  Panel: Meet the Authors  |  Auditorium

8pm  |  Icebreaker Activity  |  Sorenson Gallery

Friday, August 26, 2022
8am – 12pm  |  Bookstore Open  |  Sorenson Gallery

8 – 9am  |  Yoga for Writers  |  Auditorium Stage at the Arts Center

8 – 9:30am  |  Coffee and Refreshments  |  Upper Gallery

9:30 – 10:30am  |  Panel: The Writer’s Life  |  Auditorium

11am – 12:30pm  |  Workshops  |  Heritage Grounds

Rendon’s poem, Resilience, is published in Living Nations/Living Worlds [Norton] and the poem “what’s an indian woman to do…” is in When the Light of the World Was Subdued Our Songs Came Through [Norton]; both edited by U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. In this poetry session, Rendon will give a series of writing prompts for the creation of new work by participants who will then read their work to each other with the opportunity for feedback if they so choose.

Erin Soderberg Downing has created four successful children’s book series: The Great Peach Experiment, Disney’s Daring Dreamers Club, Puppy Pirates, and The Quirks (as well as several work-for-hire series about other peoples’ characters!). During this session, she will share her process, her sources of inspiration, and some stories about how she gets from raw idea to a finished novel. She’ll also share lots of tips for how to create characters that readers will want to spend more time with, ways to plan your writing if you think your book might eventually turn into a series, and how she plans future adventures and story arcs while still writing the first book in a series. There will be some time for writing/idea generation. Be sure to bring your questions!

With over twenty years of experience in education and social work, in this workshop, Monique offers an energetic and clear-eyed look at mental health in the arts and offers tools to protect and honor the mental health of writers.

Have you ever written an entire novel only to discover that your characters are flat, your plot lags, and – worst of all – you have no story? I have! Whether you’ve got a draft on your desk or you’re only thinking about writing a novel, this workshop will help you nail down the fundamentals of your story so you can resume writing (or start!) with confidence and direction.

12:30 – 1:30pm  |  Lunch on your own (Coupons in registration bag), Bus pick-up at the Heritage Grounds

1:30 – 3pm  |  Workshops  |  Heritage Grounds

Rendon’s Cash Blackbear crime series features a young Anishinaabe woman who helps the local sheriff solve crimes between going to college and working as a farm laborer. This award-winning/nominated series features characters that compel you to cheer for them, characters who invite you into their often messy but nevertheless resilient, uplifting lives. As you read the series you feel the itch of wheat chaff and the soft breeze that comes up off the riverbank and cools one in the midday heat. This workshop will explore how to write memorable characters who inhabit a world you can experience with all your senses.

Are you stuck or can’t get started? Don’t ever seem to find time to put words on paper? Does writing always seem to be the last thing you have time to do? In this session, author Erin Soderberg Downing (mom to three humans and two dogs, and the author of over one hundred books for kids) will share some of the tricks she uses to carve out time to write and keep herself motivated when sometimes (most of the time) she’d much rather sit in bed with a glass of wine and watch TV. Be prepared to spend some time writing out ideas that will get you excited to move forward, and brainstorming ways to carve out a little more time in your schedule. Bring lots of questions!

It is one thing to write down your memories. It is another to craft your memories into a compelling story.

Editor, proofreader, publisher, publicist, literary agent, book coach!?! Who are they and what do they do? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of these people who would be happy to offer you their services. In this workshop, you’ll come away with a better understanding of today’s publishing landscape, who does what, for how much, and when it’s time to call the professionals!

3:30 – 5:30pm  |  One-on-One Consultations  |  Larson House

1 – 5:30pm  |  Bookstore Open  |  Sorenson Gallery

6 – 7pm  |  Social Hour  |  Location TBD

7pm  |  An Evening Out with Elisa Korenne dinner and entertainment  |  The Embassy Center
Note: This event is open to the public. Additional tickets for non-retreat guests are available at the Fosston Community Library & Arts Association website

Saturday, August 27, 2022

9am – 12:30pm  |  Bookstore Open  |  Sorenson Gallery

9 – 10am  |  Yoga for Writers  |  Auditorium Stage at the Arts Center

9 – 10am  |  Coffee and Refreshments  |  Upper Gallery

10- 11am  |  Panel: Your Publishing Story  |  Auditorium

11 – 12:30pm  |  Lunch & Writing Time (box lunch provided)

12:30 – 2pm  |  Workshops  |  Heritage Grounds

Authors living and writing in the Midwest come from a culture often overlooked and misunderstood. It is as if the only reality is either the East Coast, the West Coast, or some fantasy land. As I write novels and short stories set in the Midwest, I am surprised and pleased by my readership who appreciates things like ‘windblown prairies, tuna hotdish at Ladies Aid, a farmer’s wave from a pickup truck’. In our rural and small-town lives, we carry people’s secrets close to the chest because we know that in a springtime flood or a winter snowstorm the woman who cheated on her husband or the man who ‘maybe’ killed his wife might be the person we will need to rely on in the moment of crisis. All of which makes for good crime and mystery writing.

A former children’s book editor and marketer for Scholastic, Erin Soderberg Downing has written more than 100 books for kids, tweens, teens (and a few for adults), ranging from work-for-hire movie novelizations and Scooby-Doo mysteries to funny chapter book series and heartfelt middle-grade novels to adult romantic comedies and edgy teen romance. Erin has worked with every major children’s book publisher (except Harper Collins), she has self-published 3 novels, and has edited numerous NYT Bestselling authors. Come to this session where she will share her winding path to becoming a published author, then leave lots of time for you to ask her ANYTHING about children’s publishing, writing books kids love, agent questions, the editorial process, the truth about revision, etc. Much of this session will be structured as an open Q&A and discussion (with lots of tips, tricks, and advice) that will combine brutal honesty, helpful encouragement, and plenty of time for conversation.

Nonfiction writing is a vast arena encompassing all kinds of writing such as essays, articles, blogging, and books. In this workshop, we’ll explore what it is you want to write about (your message), identify your audience, and cover the basic elements of a book proposal. This workshop will be especially helpful for participants who want to incorporate their writing into their professional work or business.

Did your great uncle collect matchbooks? Was your cousin’s brother a lumberjack-turned-Vaudeville star? Is your mother “unusual?” Create better characters in your writing by using elements of the most engaging people you know. Bring your pen and notebook and join writer, songwriter, and storyteller, Elisa Korenne, in transforming your anecdotes into engaging stories.

2:15 – 3:30pm  |  Workshop: At the Mic: Writing for the Ear  |  Kim Hruba  |  Arts Center Auditorium
Note: This session includes prep and practice time for the Saturday night storytelling event. 

3:30 – 4:30pm  |  One-on-One Consultations  |  Kim Hruba  |  Larson House

5 – 8pm  |  There’s No Place Like Home: Celebrating Small Town Stories  |  dinner and storytelling event  |  The Embassy Center