| With more to come!
Finding the Heart of the Story in Research - Sheila Ingle
“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.” Native American Proverb
Students are by nature storytellers, and it makes sense to emphasize something they already know. Since this art is also personal, the engagement is immediate. Stories energize a conversation, as well as any writing. Before throwing up my hands in despair, I constantly examine my characters and their actions. Arduous, yes. Worthwhile, oh, yes. To make the imaginary become reality takes time. Knowledge of
characters’ relationships with each other builds depth. Notes are a necessary evil, as well as a treasure, that help connect the factual dots that can jump from 4 to 62 in one sentence. Yes, research can
be overwhelming, but manageable.
Empathy for a character brings a reader into another world that opens a door to new understanding about history. A myriad of unknown details capture interest and imagination; they spotlight the plot/narrative/story as a frame does a picture. The reader has an opportunity to walk where the characters walked. So stories enable us to learn from the experiences of others and transfer that knowledge and emotional connect to ourselves and others.
As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
A Genre-Bending Manuscript: How to Pitch a Duck Out of Water! - Alan Winter
How does an author (in this case, two authors) present new information, much of it buried in resources inexplicably ignored by historians, on the man that more books have been written about than probably anyone else in history? To be clear, "Wolf" is about Adolf Hitler, which is how he referred to himself in his early years. Our challenge was clear from the start: how could we expose, dissect, and then write about key parts of history that only Hitler or one in his inner circle were privy to . . . but had never revealed?
If these challenges weren’t enough, how do you position this manuscript when fictional characters were needed to tell the story? If we accomplished our goals, what genre did we create? Straight history? Narrative nonfiction? Historical fiction? Or, as has been described in Truman Capote’s "In Cold Blood," historical non-fiction? This is the dilemma we faced when trying to shape our manuscript and then find a literary agent and publisher for "Wolf."
This talk will discuss our challenges and the problems we faced in writing "Wolf."
|Changing Perceptions of Selfhood—Matching Character to Historical Period - David Corbett
Although it is sometimes remarked that historical novels are always in truth about the present—and bear the inescapable preoccupations and presumptions of the era in which they are published—this needn’t, and arguably shouldn’t, be so.
Although research often focuses on physical and sociological facts of the period in question—where did people live, what did they wear, what work did they do, how did they eat, who could marry whom, how did they move about, how did they talk, who had power, who was enslaved—another subtler, deeper question asks: How did they conceive of the human condition? What did it mean to be an “I”?
Award-winning author and teacher David Corbett will guide students through a brief account of selfhood as revealed in Western storytelling techniques from Homer to the present day, with particular focus on:
• The transition from the Homeric to the Tragic hero: fate vs. will.
• The moral types of Theophrastus and Plutarch.
• The codification of the soul in Platonic philosophy and Christianity.
• The emergence of realism during the Renaissance and its fulfillment in the humanistic tradition
• The Freudian revolution.
• The human condition as existential problem, from Kafka to Kundera.
In each instance, the class will explore how a given period’s concept of selfhood can be used to enhance verisimilitude in characterization in historical fiction.
Creating Historical Fiction: The Union of the Novelist with the Historian - Thomas Ott
How many times have you picked up a work of historical fiction only to be disappointed? More often than not, the historical base of the novel was weak, incorrect, or missing altogether. Or was it so poorly written that you lost interest? And yet, historical fiction in the right balance of the historian's craft with the novelist's art can be beautiful. Margaret Walker Alexander's JUBILEE illustrates the results of this balance. It is about the slave and freedman's odyssey of Vyry, the author's great-grandmother in Georgia and Alabama. I used JUBILEE in my college classes for years, and my students loved it. Colleen McCullough's historical novels about ancient Rome further demonstrates the balance between sound research and skillful writing.
I 'll discuss several works of historical fiction, and whether they meet the test of a good balance between the two disciplines. I'll speak about my own research efforts to build a historical foundation for SATURDAY & THE WITCH WOMAN and my acquiring novelist's skills to write the story. I based Saturday's story on 75 primary sources before I used fiction to sew it together.
Cross That Finish Line: Productivity for Writers -Nancy Kotkin
This session examines effective goal-setting, accountability methods, and the important relationship between the two. Both are necessary to increase output and then sustain those results. We will
consider productivity processes and review a variety of online and off-line tools and techniques specifically for writers.
As a result of this session, participants will:
1) Understand that both goal-setting and an accountability system are necessary to be productive.
2) Master how to set SMART goals, and break them down into achievable steps.
3) Learn accountability methods and be able to select the best approach for their individual circumstances and needs.
4) Be acquainted with online and off-line productivity tools for writers.
5) Recognize that both goals and accountability techniques must be evaluated periodically and altered with changing conditions.
Discovery Through Multigenre Writing: How to Use Poetry and Playwriting to Develop Characterization, Conflict, & Plot in Fiction - Kristin Leonard
In this seminar, we will examine how poetry and playwriting can help writers uncover the essence of real and imagined characters and the stories they live in. Using the real experience of constructing a novel, set within a finite time in United States History, we will analyze how a seemingly insignificant moment or detail, expressed in the emotionality of poetic form, can inspire fictional characters to speak and respond. Likewise, we will look closely at the language of playwriting and the condensed characterization of dialogue and dramatic action which can bring another dimension to our story. We will discuss ways to harness the complimentary language of poetry, playwriting, and prose to create characters that come to life, and better align with historical timelines.
|Explore and Enliven History Through Poetry - Vernita Hall
This presentation discusses strategies used by this author to create the award-winning collection of poems Where William Walked: Poems About Philadelphia and Its People of Color, based on stories from Philadelphia history.
The poet shares considerations with which she grappled in trying to re-create history as a living, relevant source of inspiration and learning, a teaching tool for today’s youth, a re-introduction to characters—both heroic and despicable—whose experiences and lessons must not be forgotten.
She describes necessary storytelling decisions, such as the selection of a key moment in an historic event and a narrator’s point of view; the use of a writer’s tools of humor, wit, dialogue, and character development; the artist’s craft choices with imagery, language, and structure. Linkages among disparate events can generate thought-provoking insights. Biography and autobiography are a treasure trove in the formation of vivid, evocative, and memorable portraits, and discovered online sources for out-of-print books proved an invaluable resource.
She will read examples from her book and explain how these decisions coalesced into creation of the poems and shaped the overall manuscript structure. She will describe several of the characters and how their experiences compelled her poetic inspiration.
|Flies Buzz in an Information Dump -Guy Cote
The real trick for any novelist, particularly those who incorporate history in their writing, is to know how to disseminate information, and at what pace to do so. The easiest way to lose a reader is to simply dump information upon them, be it back story or a dump of historical facts. This session will discuss the difference between a dump and a contextual setting. It will share novelistic strategies which will enable a writer to share information with a reader in such a way that he/she will feel entertained rather than lectured to. This talk will also ingrain the following mantra in the minds of its attendees: DO NOT LET RESEARCH TAKE THE PLACE OF WRITING. ALL THAT MATTERS IS STORY, STORY, AND STORY.
|Give Your Characters Voice: Bring your Readings to life! - Barbara Salvatore
While creating characters and spinning stories, writers occupy the mind, body and spirit of others. I aim to demonstrate ways to make your characters real, at public readings or in video.
We must hook listeners, so they will remember the human stories we pass on.
-Deal with stage fright and nerves. Get beyond the stage.
-Free yourself from monotone delivery, and the fear of being judged.
-Give your characters voice, posture, body movements, unique to them.
-Vary tone and pace, build suspense, hook your audience, engage your listeners.
-Use simple props, gestures, and choices of clothing.
|Historic and Fantastic Trees in America - Betsy Iversen
When it comes to the flora and fauna of our country, trees are among its most magnificent members. The landscape of the United States, whether it includes mountains, deserts, forests, swamps, or even the White House lawn, is often defined by its trees.
This presentation will highlight some of the most famous trees in our country and include a story or two, such as Washington's mythical cherry tree, and some trees planted on the White House lawn, including Andrew Jackson's magnolia tree that had to be cut down last year. A story or two about Lincoln cutting down the trees of his youth would be mentioned as well. Learn about trees that are indigenous to different parts of the country. For instance, the joshua tree and bristlecone pine tree are found in the West, and the magnolia and southern oak indigenous to the South. Important details about setting is often the types of trees in the region.
Included in the talk will be how the National Parks protect some of the most famous members in this category. These would include those named for Presidents (Harding, Washington, and more) and generals (Grant, Sherman) in the Giant Forest of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Redwood National Park protects massive masterpieces as well. Learn how those trees received their names and the details about them.
|Historical Middle Grade Novels: Educational Yet Entertaining - Nancy Kotkin
Often referred to as “the golden age of reading,” children aged 9-12 have their reading skills intact, yet their imaginations are still quite active. Novels for this age group share many characteristics with
adult novels, but there are some important differences as well. Many of the Newbery medal winners are historical fiction, a favorite genre with middle grade readers and especially parents, librarians, and
teachers due to the blend of reliable information and attention-grabbing stories. This session presents a genre study of middle grade historical fiction.
|How Far Can a Horse Walk in a Day? - Mary Ann Trail
Characters in historical novels do not stay in one place. Sometimes they need to race after kidnappers, prevent some other skullduggery or even travel for fun! No matter the era, the question of how do you move characters from place to place with historical accuracy is important. Correct presentation of the geography our characters find themselves in, lends an authenticity to our work that our readers enjoy and actually look for. In this presentation, I will demonstrate a couple of primary sources I use, to lend accuracy to my novels. I will then present some sources attendees can use in their own research.
My current series is set amid the chaos of the early the 19th Century in England, 1801. In the beginning of my research, I was struck by how many English men and women of the 18th and 19th centuries were far from the stay-at-homes I pictured them. Many traveled annually to London for the social life, their sons traveled often on the European continent for education and many traveled for just the same reasons people travel today, to see the sights, to enjoy the picturesque! Even the middle class characters in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, take off for a visit to the Lake District. But how did they know what road to take? How did they plan their stops, decide which inns to frequent, and places to change their horses?
In addition to presenting the usefulness of many primary sources, I intend to demonstrate how to utilize some databases that will allow the researcher to find their own materials even if they do not have access to major libraries.
|Iatromathematics: The Eighth Liberal Art - Marlo Ashley
This session examines the structure of the university curriculum through the teaching practices of professors in England and Vienna in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The Medieval and Renaissance scientific worldview maintains that medical astrology is a crucial and primary medical tool, but the undergraduate liberal arts education does not provide the space to study iatromathematics. University professors hesitate to teach medical astrology at the undergraduate level at a time where a medical degree requires prerequisite knowledge on it. Presently, iatromathematics is swallowed up by the seven liberal arts, left for extraordinary lectures, or placed in board games played by students because there is no suitable spot in the curriculum to study the fundamentals of a medical graduate degree at the undergraduate level. The undergraduate liberal arts curriculum is hindered when medical astrology, an essential aspect to medicine, is not properly discussed. Additionally, by avoiding the topic, professors inflame the ignorance of popular medicine and threaten medical astrology and its capacity to provide medical aid. Iatromathematics is a necessary field of study that is overlooked and does not receive the credit it deserves in the Medieval and Renaissance worldview. An eighth liberal art, iatromathematics, would benefit undergraduate students, especially those pursuing a graduate medical degree.
The paper helps understand an aspect of medieval history. As a writer, it is important to gather evidence for historical issues and come up with a solution to historical problems. A historian writes a narrative that helps the reader understand the context of the historical environment.
Language and Culture: The Seed of Language - Barbara Salvatore
In addition to the goal common to all fiction—to tell a gripping story featuring compelling characters—historical fiction aims to transport a reader back in time. In this dynamic and interactive talk, we'll examine the strategies some of the great historical novelists of the past and present have used to achieve this special method of time travel. We'll finish up with a brief writing exercise introducing a surprisingly practical way to incorporate historical world-building techniques into your writing.
|Letting Your Subject Find You - Deborah A. Green
We each have a time, a place, that calls to us. Some of us are fortunate enough to know what that time and place is; others of us know it but are afraid to go there because of what we might find. We go around it, near it, maybe even dance with it, but we never, ever look it in the eye and say “Yes, you are the thing that I must write about”.
Learn how to elicit the passion that you harbor in your own soul – it will bring your subject to you and writing about that subject will become an obsession. Time spent away from the keyboard will be irritating. Other activities will be annoying. You will ignore phone messages, texts and e-mails, the Internet will be used only for research that pulls you deeper into your historical world, and you will wish that your dog would learn to let himself out.
As another creative mind once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” - Steve Jobs.
|Making the Leap from Military Writing to Historical Nonfiction - Eileen Bjorkman
Military writing is famous for passive voice and stilted language. This writing style often occurs in military history books as well. Eileen Bjorkman wanted to break away from this stereotype to turn her knowledge and love of military history into accessible accounts that appeal to wider audiences, while still maintaining accuracy. Using snippets from entertaining military tales, she shares insights and advice from her journey that started with military and technical writing and evolved into narrative nonfiction pieces in local and national publications, as well as publication of her first two books by academic presses and getting a literary agent. She'll cover a wide array of topics, including turning military or technical writing into narrative, breaking bad habits ingrained from technical writing, suggestions for honing your craft for writing narrative or creative nonfiction, working with editors, and how to pitch magazines, small presses, and agents.
|My Book is Written, Now What? Understanding Today’s Publishing Options - Randy Kuckuck
In a lively, interactive and no-holds-barred presentation, we will look at the options for getting your book published today. From major publishing houses to mid-list independent publishing to true self-publishing, all options will be explored, compared, and explained. Each option will be examined in detail with the pros and cons clearly laid out for the author’s review. Some of the topics we will cover include: What is “hybrid” publishing and is it a good option, a passing fad, or a scam? Do I need to get an agent to get published and if I need one, how do I get one?
Everything you wanted to know about publishing but didn’t know who to ask. Interaction is encouraged and questions are answered honestly and fully. This presentation will help you to decide the best publishing option for the book that you have worked so hard to write. We will give you the seven biggest mistakes authors make in publishing their books and tell you how to avoid them.
Each participant will receive a workbook that will be a reference and help them walk through their decision path.
|Plants Are Characters Too! - Barbara Salvatore
Whether on a plate, in a bouquet, as a healing herb, wood for building, or fabrics woven, you will need plants. We use plant knowledge to ground our stories, down to earth, well rooted, tapped into memory. Our characters are drawn to specific plants and places, as keys to survival, nourishment, healing, shelter. What does your character encounter, on trails, in fields, woods and gardens? Plants hold powers and secrets, set and change moods, relay messages, provide strong symbols, have a language. Plants are integral to our history, our stories, poetry, legends and song.
|Screenwriting: How to Adapt your Story for the Screen - Dorothea Bonneau
Want to see your screenplay on the big screen? In this fast-paced experiential workshop, participants will craft a screenplay outline using a screenwriter's beat sheet and the template of the hero's journey that made Homer's Odyssey an enduring tale. This workshop will empower writers to use pacing and dialogue tools that can breathe life into short stories and novels. Hand-outs that detail up-to-date formatting for screenplays will be distributed.
|Self-Publishing – How to Do it Right! - Randy Kuckuck
Self-publishing has become an accepted way to get your book in the market. Hundreds of thousands of authors are self-publishing their books every year. Dozens of companies offer their services and hundreds of experts offer their advice on how to do it right. But still, 98% of self-published books will sell less than 100 copies. How can you beat the odds and make your book a success?
This session will walk, step by step, through the self-publishing process, examining the opportunities and realities of self-publishing. We will discuss formatting choices (print? eBook? both?), hiring freelancers, pricing, distribution options, and how to evaluate what is best for you in each situation. We will help you develop a budget for your book and learn where to best invest your money. Most importantly, we will help you to avoid the pitfalls and scams that can cost you big money and jeopardize your book. Come ready to ask your questions but be ready for honest answers.
|Stories from the Home Front - Sandra O'Connell
Letters, photos and newspaper articles hint at an America that was not totally united in WWII. This session uses artifacts to illustrate how to discover stories that are yet to be told.
When their brother and son left for the Army Air Corps and service as a B-17 pilot in England, the Minker family provided the news of the day in their letter: “The news on the world front has been good for us lately, but here at home we had an awful mess – race riots, coal strikes and zoot suitors.” The 656 letters cover thirty months of war and testify to a multi-faceted view of America: The black market, strikes, race riots, black-outs, and women not always welcome in the workplace. Their lives were also filled with movies, the music of Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra, dances and the never-ending stream of young men leaving for war. All the while they waited, watched and worried as their brother and son entered combat. His letters document the life of a pilot and the air war. Each theme is supported with letters, photos and newspaper articles. Audience members will participate with worksheets on how to use artifacts to explore topics for research and development of story ideas.
|Story Story Story - David Marlett
You’ve identified a historical event that you feel would make a great book or article. From your initial research, it appears to have enough of the key elements: great characters, interesting settings,
accessible time-period, dynamic action, can be reasonably relatable to the modern reader, etc. And it has that most important and elusive of ingredients: it speaks to you. And you feel that you are the right person to write it and that you are willing to give a year of your life to bring it alive. Now the question looms: is there a real story there?
Sometimes (most often) the challenge in historical writing comes in extracting the most riveting, meaningful story from the stew and slurry of historical facts. A number of questions come flooding in:
What is essential? What is expendable? What is superfluous? What is problematic? What is unique? What core arcs can you identify? Can that story be told by the actual characters involved, or will you
need to create a fictional character to do the driving? How have some of these elements been told in other works? Is there room for a fresh take?
In this extended session, we will tackle these questions and others as they relate to mining for the best story in your historical facts. Being a workshop, you are encouraged to bring your thoughts and ideas, to
question and engage.
|Story to Stage: Tools for Aspiring Playwrights and Fiction Writers - Dorothea Bonneau
Story to Stage is a pen-to-paper workshop designed for writers who want to bring their stories to life on stage and for fiction and non-fiction authors eager to breathe vitality into their scenes using the playwright’s toolkit. Participants in this active workshop will explore: how to create mood and vivify theme using the architecture of setting; ways to tap the power of sound as a pathway to memory and/or expectation; how to intrigue an audience using dramatic irony; and how to utilize character tactics that raise the stakes and capture the attention of audience/reader.
|The “Good Bad Man”—The American West’s Contribution to Antihero History - David Corbett
Antiheroes have been with us at least since the time of Homer, and have tended to appear during times of cultural upheaval, when a civilization’s purported values are increasingly seen as out of date, hypocritical, or corrupt. Thus we see them in the form of the picaro as the Hapsburg empire crumbled, the lovable rogues of the English “Age of Scandal,” and the darker Romantic incarnations found in the Gothic and Byronic traditions that arose in the shadow of the Reign of Terror.
But the American frontier contributed a particularly unique example of the type in the lawless lawman of the Western frontier. Born in the shadow of the Civil War’s savagery, this new breed of hero tended to be as evil as the day required, given the vast and virtually lawless frontier. It wasn’t enough to be upstanding, courageous, and strong. Without a certain devilish cunning, mercenary greed, and willing embrace of violence, this outlaw-lawman couldn’t hope to tame the territories in his charge.
Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, John Slaughter, Billy Breakenridge—the history of the West abounds with such men with feet planted firmly on both sides of the law.
None, however, more captures the imagination or better personifies the unique American embodiment of the antihero than John Henry “Doc” Holliday. Although Wyatt Earp defended him to his dying days as one of the most loyal and courageous men he ever knew, Doc was largely considered little more than a vicious, lying drunk suspected of involvement not just in stagecoach robbery but murder. None of that negativity, however, could quite dispel the lingering fascination with an intelligent, well-spoken, highly literate Southerner trained as a dentist who became one of the most feared men in the West.
In this master class workshop, award-winning author and teacher David Corbett will examine how the American outlaw-lawman tradition conforms to the general history of the antihero, and continues to inform the tradition into the 20th and 21st centuries, from the tarnished angels of the hard-boiled detective tradition to the noble outcasts of neo-noir to the recent resurgence of antiheroes in long-format TV, from Tony Soprano to Walter White. (Extended Session)
|The Misadventures of a Newly Published Author - Lory Jones
This presentation will focus on this author's many Lessons Learned from publishing and promoting my debut historical fiction novel, "My Interview with Beethoven." I will discuss how to work with an editor, buying ISBNs (or not), KDP vs Ingram, promoting your book at book fairs, expos and conferences, publicity, advertising, marketing wins and losses (including giveaways and buying reviews), the necessity of an effective website, what to expect when getting paid by Amazon, and little but surprising things new authors should know. I learned so much in one year that I can't wait to share it with others.
|The Romanovs in Historical Fiction: Revolution and Popular Imagination - Tamar Anolic
A century after the fall of Imperial Russia, the word “tsar” and the name “Romanov” still conjure images of wealthy splendor and violent revolution. The reasons for the Communist Revolution of 1917 and the ending of the 304-year-old Romanov dynasty are myriad and often depend on the lens of history that the observer uses: a weak monarch disconnected from his people. An only son and sick heir. A mad monk.
An increased interest in the Romanovs over the last several decades has proven that this period is a fertile one for setting historical fiction. Many recent novels focus on Nicholas II and his immediate family in the midst of the Revolution. My own work, however, has taken a different path: Triumph of a Tsar is an alternate history, where the Russian Revolution is averted and Alexei becomes Tsar. Its companion novel is Through the Fire: An Alternate Life of Prince Konstantin of Russia, which examines the life that Alexei’s cousin, Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich, might have lived if the Revolution had not happened.
As a result, this presentation will discuss the various points in the Romanov dynasty at which the Russian Revolution might have been prevented. It is tempting to claim that if Nicholas II had granted a constitution during the 1905 revolution, that the 1917 Revolution would have been averted. However, there were a number of blunders that happened throughout multiple Romanov reigns, all of which cumulatively led to the disaster of 1917. Both Alexander II and Alexander III neglected to prepare their sons for the throne. Nicholas II was unwilling to stray from a strict interpretation of his coronation oath, and he fired the very ministers who could have led Russia into the modern era. This presentation will delve into these missteps, and the historical fiction that could be written from these periods in history.
This presentation will also focus on writing about the Imperial family as characters in historical fiction, especially Nicholas, Alexandra and the members of the family that lived during the last years of the dynasty. So much nonfiction has been written about Nicholas in particular, but many books have also focused on Alexandra, and more recently, on their children. Many letters and diaries written by the family also survive. This presentation will examine how to use that wealth of information to make fictional versions of the last Romanovs jump off the page.
|Truth in the Law - David Marlett
A significant percentage of historical stories involve some element of legal activity, from criminal investigations to trials. It is important to get the law right, but not to the point of over-saturating your reader. In this talk, attorney and historical trial novelist David Marlett discusses his journey through the process of legal research for historical fiction purposes, understanding the shift in courtroom work and methods over time, and how to stay true to history while not losing the reader to arcane legal procedures. In addition, he will delve into his process for deciding: Is the story best told in flashback from the trial, chronologically leading up to the trial, or by some other design?
|Turn, Turn, Turn: Writing Lessons from Songwriting's Structural Masters - Ugly Cousin Brothers
As songwriters, graphic artists and multi-media story-tellers, our deliberate and structured approach intentionally develops multi-layered narratives aimed at developing historical and fictional characters and exploring their multi-faceted journeys. In this session we'll apply lessons learned through songwriting and graphic design to the larger field of historical writing. We'll explore structure, syntax and phrasing, as well as, developing a structural plan to unveil your narrative in a more suspenseful and gripping way. In addition to our own work, we'll also look at writers like Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson, Brian Wilson, who have mastered the use of structure to increase the impact of their work.
|What Did You Do in the War, Granny? Why US WW2 HIStory should include more HERstory - Barb Warner Deane
During World War II, American women took on many new roles, in the military and as civilians. Beyond Rosie the Riveter and the Atomic Girls, women stepped up as American Red Cross "Clubmobile Girls", driving to the front lines in a mobile club, with doughnuts, coffee, and good old American friendliness. Women established Canteens across the Nation to serve our troops on trains, and learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle before it became a trend. Learn more about the Clubmobile program and all the ways in which American women helped win the war!
The revolution of social and gender roles of American women can be traced directly back to WW2 and the women that stepped up both abroad and here, on the home front. Once the “Jeanie” was out of the bottle - welding, riveting, or flying military aircraft - American women had proof positive that they could do more than they’d ever been given credit for, do it well, and make good money at it.
When President Roosevelt encouraged every American to do their part for the war effort, American women took it to heart. They joined the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, & Marines, de-coded enemy messages in the Signal Corp, took jobs making plutonium for atomic weapons, and flew attack planes with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. The Army made room for African-American and Japanese American women just as the munitions factories opened their doors to Chinese-American women.
Women scrimped, saved, and did without, from saving scrap metal and cooking fat, donating their aluminum for aircraft and ships, rationing meat, sugar, and gasoline, drawing lines down their calves to replace silk stockings, mending and changing fashion to accommodate rationing with shorter and narrower skirts, and using their savings to buy war bonds. They learned to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything before it was hip, and mostly they learned to do without.
American women volunteered with the American Red Cross, both at home and abroad, kept our country fed in the Women’s Land Army, and set up railroad servicemen’s canteens, along with doing their part in every possible volunteer arena, making up for the missing men.
Women took on roles, both in the military and as volunteers, that were previously thought beyond their abilities, did them well, and changed how women were perceived, laying the groundwork for their daughters to grow up in the women’s lib generation, burn bras, protest for the ERA, and demand equal pay for equal work. Millions of American women served, in one way or another, during WW2, but their stories have been lost. We’re losing more stories every day as these fabulous women pass away. The HIStory of WW2 doesn’t include enough HERstory, but readers are ready and waiting to learn more about the Greatest Generation of Women and their stories of triumph in WW2.
|Writing about Family Roots - Melissa W. Hunter
A family legacy is something we all inherit, something we can call our own. The saying "Every person has a story" is a universal truth. We are born into the fabric of an existing story. As a writer, what better source to draw inspiration from than your own family's story?
My presentation, Writing about Family Roots, delves into my experience writing about my family's story and teaches participants how to tap into their own family history. My novel, What She Lost (Cynren Press, fall 2019) is an account of my family's experiences both before and after the Holocaust. Told in two parts, it follows the life of a young girl (my grandmother) growing into a woman amidst the horrors of World War Two. Part memoir, part re-imagined fiction, What She Lost is less a Holocaust story and more a coming-of-age story set against one of the darkest periods in history.
What started as an interview one afternoon in my grandmother’s living room quickly turned into a passion to tell my grandmother’s story. I performed extensive research into my family roots and found the process extremely rewarding. It is my hope to share this process with my audience and inspire other writers hoping to chronicle their own family history.
|Writing Across Genres: Chinese-Mexican Ties and Chinese Expulsion from Mexico in Nonfiction and Fiction - Julia María Schiavone Camacho
This is both a discussion of writing nonfiction and fiction that inform each other and a historical era-specific presentation. A nonfiction book, Chinese Mexicans: Transpacific Migration and the Search for a Homeland, 1910-1960 (North Carolina, 2012), is the basis for a current historical fiction project, Across the Pacific.
I will offer a brief overview of the novel as well as historical context on Chinese-Mexican ties at the turn of the twentieth century. Anti-Chinese campaigns emerged during the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and peaked with a mass expulsion two decades later. Expelled Chinese Mexican families passed through the US as refugees and were deported to China, as this was the era of Chinese Exclusion. Some Chinese Mexicans ultimately returned to Mexico years or decades later.
Inspired by scholarly research, ACROSS THE PACIFIC is a historical novel about a Chinese-Mexican couple who yearn to reunite after being separated during the anti-Chinese crusade. Antonio Lee, a mixed-race young man who was orphaned as a child in China, feels he belongs for the first time when he settles in northern Mexico in the 1910s. He falls in love with a local girl, Rosa Salas. When her family forbids the relationship, they run away together but are soon caught. Rosa is sent to Arizona to live with a great-aunt and eventually works to support immigrants in the US and Mexico. Antonio returns to China, though he cannot forget Rosa. For years neither knows the full truth of their separation, but then, by chance, each of their lives becomes entwined with the same couple.
Drawing on short sections of writing from both works, the session will give specific examples of how the nonfiction project carried into the novel, and will invite participants to share their experiences writing across genres (and if possible invite them to bring copies of short sections of their nonfiction and fiction writing to read and discuss in the group). I will also welcome questions and feedback on the novel-in-progress and a larger discussion of writing for different audiences.
|Writing Biography as Creative Nonfiction - Christina Larocco
Biography is a well-established form of historical writing, but are there ways to produce it besides a chronological play-by-play of a person’s life? This session says YES! In it, writer and historian Christina Larocco will explore the craft and ethics of using literary techniques in biography. She will address how to use voice, story, scene building, reflection, and braided structure to revitalize more traditional historical and biographical techniques like chronology, historical context, and the use of archival materials. Attendees will learn how to choose a subject, conduct and track their research, and combine this research with more literary forms of writing.