River Styx Writers Workshops
The River Styx Writers Workshops will kick off the first session of 2019 on April 30th. Please register early to ensure a spot before the workshop fills.
This six-session course will be “Modern Myth and Storytelling Writing Workshop.” This course will examine how storytelling and myth cut across culture and time to probe fundamental mysteries of the human condition. Myths are certainly indicative of the trials and tribulations of a unique period and place, but there also exists a wide array of common themes. Ancient myths and contemporary stories from across cultures will be thoughtfully examined for reoccurring symbolism and structure to discover the purpose and power inherent in storytelling. Knowledge gained from the course readings will be synthesized in written responses and small pastiches that will eventually culminate in the creation of an original short story utilizing mythical tropes.
Instructor: Ron Austin
Ron A. Austin holds an MFA from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and is a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, his first collection of linked stories, won the 2017 Nilsen Prize. The book will be released in October 2019. Austin’s short stories have been placed or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Story Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Midwestern Gothic, Juked and other journals. He, his partner Jennie, and son Elijah live in St. Louis with a whippet named Carmen.
Dates: April 30th, May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, and June 4th
Times: 7–9 p.m.
Location: River Styx Office, 3139A South Grand Boulevard, Suite 203, St. Louis, MO 63118
Cost: $225 (Payment can be made via the PayPal button below or a check made out to River Styx, mailed to River Styx Workshops, 3139A South Grand Boulevard, Suite 203, St. Louis, MO 63118.
If you have any questions, please email ronaaustin (at) gmail.com.
The goal of the River Styx Writers Workshops is to satisfy a need from members of the St. Louis literary community who crave guidance from published writers, group workshops, and mentor feedback but do not want to pay the high prices at local colleges and universities.
History of Workshops
The River Styx Writers Workshops began as the Medinah Workshops at the Centene Center for the Arts in 2007. Since then, River Styx has hosted a variety of workshops on its own and also in partnership with Webster Groves Public Library, Brentwood Public Library, and University City Public Library.
The Art of Line Editing
In-class exercises will explore concepts on how to best line edit one’s own work. This is not a workshop on copy editing. Line editing is the art of knowing what to edit, when less is more, and how to cut a ten-word sentence into a seven-word sentence without losing meaning or voice. We will read authors well known for masterfully line editing and workshop writing with a focus on better line editing techniques.
We’ve all been there. Somewhere. A hometown, the canals of Venice, Joshua Tree, Castlewood State Park. Regardless of distance, writers will investigate their own travel stories, working through concepts of plot and setting along the way. Readings include work Jhumpa Lahiri, John Steinbeck, Bill Bryson, and Cheryl Strayed, and more. This workshop is for adults of any writing level.
Drafting the Book
Your idea is great, you’ve got a chapter, a story, maybe a handful of poems—how do you take it that next big leap. Using the structures of your favorite books as a guide, the workshop will balance both the impulse to plan with the freedom to discover. We will workshop your work not for just its individual merit, but for its value as part of a larger work.
Delve into the world of dreams. Mysterious and surreal, they allow you the process and imagine the world in strange and novel forms. Be inspired by your dreams and turn them into writing and learn to use dreams as important plot points.
During this workshop, we will look at writing and other art forms that have been inspired by dreams to inform our work. We will also see how dreams may be used within stories to reveal the inner thoughts and fears of the characters we love and to enrich the plot through foreshadowing and suspense. Free writes and writing assignments will allow you to explore the dream realm. In a friendly round table setting of fellow writers, we’ll discuss what has worked well for others and experiment through a variety of assignments. You won’t want to sleep through this class!
Advanced Creative Writing
Advanced Creative Writing is for poetry and prose writers who generate work weekly and write at a professional or semi-professional level. This workshop will use exercises to explore poetry concepts such as ekphrasis, poetic punctuation, and lyrical narratives; fiction concepts such as non-linear narratives and point-of-view; and non-fiction concepts such as the braided essay and short forms. The workshops will read diverse work from Maggie Nelson, Louis Glück, Matthew Zapruder, Anne Carson, Raymond Carver, and Ely Shipley.
Memoir: True or False?
You read the introductory credits for the latest blockbuster film and it reads, “Based on a True Story”—well if Fiction pulls from real events, why can’t memoir pull from fiction? In this class, writers will investigate themselves as characters and discuss the conflicts, plots, and arcs of some of the best memoirists and essayists around. Writers include John Jeremiah Johnson, Leslie Jamison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elif Batuman, Ander Monson, Cintra Wilson, and more. This workshop is for adults of any writing level.
Short Prose: Flash Fiction and Nano Non-Fiction
Let’s think small. 500, maybe even 200 words or less. The goal is to distill a person, event, and place to its bare essentials. Readings include Lydia Davis, Pamela Painter, Stuart Dybek, Claudia Rankine, and Michael Martone, among others. Poets welcome! This workshop is for adults of any writing level.