River Styx Writers Workshops
The goal of the River Styx Writers Workshops is to satisfy a need from members of the St. Louis literary community who desire guidance from published writers, group workshops, and mentor feedback but do not want to pay the high tuition 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.