Upstate Writing Month at USC Upstate

Upstate Writing Month

USC Upstate's Division of Languages, Literature, and Composition, in partnership with the Spartanburg County Library, will host Upstate Writing Month (UpWriMo) in June of 2019. Upstate Writing Month #UpWriMo Up is where we write.
UpWriMo will feature a series of readings, presentations, and workshops led by local and regional writers. Participants will explore topics such as songwriting, flash fiction, fantasy, screenwriting, grant writing, ecofiction, memoir, and more. Workshops will take place on Upstate's main campus and downtown location, at the Spartanburg County Library, and in local businesses and galleries. All events are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged, but not required. Register Today

Look for updates on Twitter at #UpWriMo 

Contact Brock Adams at for more information.

Kick-off: Saturday June 1, 2019

Speaker Name: Tessa Fontaine 

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Session Title: “Writing Your Way to the Spark”
Session Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Venue: Spartanburg County Headquarters Library, Barnett Room - Directions Map Location

How does a writer translate personal experience and research into effective memoir or personal essay? In this talk, Tessa Fontaine will read from her memoir, The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, and discuss putting personal experience and research down on the page—techniques useful for a writer in any genre.

Books will be available for purchase through representatives of Hub City Bookshop.

Speaker Name: Beth Keefauver

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Session Title: “Wild Words: Adventures in EcoWriting”
Session Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hatcher’s Horticulture Garden - Directions Map Location

"We can never have enough of nature," said Thoreau, a sentiment that rings especially true for writers, whether we see nature as an inspirational muse or a political platform. This class offers students an introduction to the variety of genres inspired by nature, place, wildlife, wilderness adventure, and environmentalism. Through nature-themed field writing exercises, participants will hone their observation skills and reflect on the value of the natural world as metaphor and reality. We will explore ecofiction, ecopoetry, the nature essay, nature journaling, as well as consider the special problems and opportunities eco-writers encounter. Participants can expect personalized feedback from the instructor and classmates in the workshop session. This class will take place outdoors, so dress for comfort and movement. The workshop includes a brief walk through the Hatcher Horticulture Garden. Journals and pens will be provided, but you may also bring your own.

Speaker Name: Wayne Robbins

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Session Title: “Creativity Like A Freight Train: Writing New Songs from Old Songs”
Session Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Venue: Gallery on Main - Directions Map Location

In western music we have only 8 notes and 12 semitones.  This means much of popular music is recycled and recast.  In this workshop, Wayne Robbins will demonstrate methods of breaking down familiar songs by chords, structure, and lyrics, in order to put them back together as new, original ones.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Speaker Name: Tom McConnell

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Session Title: “Writing and Paying Attention”
Session Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Venue: Hub City Bookshop - Directions Map Location

What distinguishes passable or tolerable writing from prose that excels? Partly it has to do with being alert to the pitfalls and promise of language. We'll exam particular passages from writers--famous and otherwise--who have a lot to teach us by example--for good or ill--about writing and paying attention.

Books will be available for purchase through representatives of Hub City Bookshop.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Speaker Name: Mark Tebalt

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Session Title: "Perceptions of Song: Building Lyrics through Narrative”
Session Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Gallery on Main - Directions Map Location

Mark Tebalt is a singer/songwriter who lives with his wife and two daughters in Inman, SC.  A popular performer at venues all over Spartanburg S.C and beyond, his work focuses on writing and performing songs that contain colorful narratives and characters. His workshop will include a discussion of the fundamentals of songwriting and a few group exercises that will help guide the creative process of building a song.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Speaker Name: LaTracey McDowell

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Session Title: “How to Write a Screenplay that Doesn’t Suck”
Session Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Venue: USC Upstate, Health Education Complex, Room 2001 - Directions Map Location

Screenplays are the starting points for all films and are an essential guideline for the director in bringing a story to life.  This course will introduce you to the basic elements and key concepts behind a professional screenplay. Additionally, you will learn the techniques for generating ideas, the drafting process, the traditional three-act structure, dialogue, characterization, and screenplay formatting. By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts necessary to write an effective screenplay and will be fluent in the language used to discuss this encompassing art form.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Speaker Name: Brock Adams

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Session Title: “Fiction Flight”
Session Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Venue: Growler Haus Spartanburg - Directions Map Location

An interesting or exotic taste can trigger memories and inspire creativity, and what tastes better than a delicious beer? Brock Adams, author of Ember, has teamed with Growler Haus to pair an inspiring flight of beers with an interactive writing exercise. Drink, write, and see where the flavors take you.

Books will be available for purchase through representatives of Hub City Bookshop.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Speaker Name: Jill Criswell

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Session Title: “From Hogwarts to Westeros: Building Realistic Fantasy Worlds”
Session Time: 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Venue: Spartanburg County Headquarters Library, Harley Room - Directions Map Location

Jill Criswell, author of the young adult fantasy novel Beasts of the Frozen Sun (August 6, 2019, Blackstone Publishing), will read from her book and discuss how she developed the Celtic-and-Viking-inspired world she writes about. She’ll offer tips for how writers can create their own realistic fantasy worlds, including landscapes, cultures, religions, and languages. Following this will be a question and answer session, then time for any interested attendees to briefly write and workshop their own ideas for fantasy worlds.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Speaker Name: Susan Rivers

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Session Title: “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? How to Craft Authentic Voices for Characters From the Past”
Session Time: Part 1: 5:00-5:50; Part 2: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Venue: The George Dean Johnson Building, Room 280 - Directions Map Location

Readers of historical fiction know that a novel must be based in sound, accurate details of the time and place involved if it's to be convincing. Most importantly, they recognize that a novel sinks or swims by virtue of the authenticity of its characters' voices, whether shared through a 1st or 3rd person narrator.

In Part 1 of this hands-on workshop, Rivers will share her methods for creating compelling and believable voices from the past, which are methods she employed while writing her Civil War-era novel The Second Mrs. Hockaday (Algonquin Books, 2017)

In Part 2, Rivers will delve into her early 20th century milltown novel, Troublefield, which will be published in 2019-20 by Algonquin. These techniques involve intensive research digs for primary source material such as letters, newspaper stories, inquest reports, memoirs, journals, diaries, and oral histories.

Bring a character profile with you if you're currently working on an historical novel, or a specific period of time in a particular region. And don't forget your notebooks!

Books will be available for purchase through representatives of Hub City Bookshop.

Thursday, June 25, 2019

Speaker Name: George Williams

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Session Title: “Writing Grants that Win: Secrets of Successful Grant Writing”
Session Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Venue: The George Dean Johnson Building, Room 260 - Directions Map Location

In this session, participants will learn how to research and write effective grant applications for a wide variety of projects.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Speaker Name: Marilyn Reynolds

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Session Title: “Murder She Wrote: Why I Happily Kill my Characters.”
Session Time: 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Venue: USC Upstate, Health Education Complex, Room 2039 - Directions Map Location

Sometimes killing off our literary darlings is a necessity.  Would Little Women be the same without Beth’s heart tending departure?  Would Game of Thrones be as thrilling without the death of ....insert one of many, many names.  It can be hard to do in your own creation, but if it advances your plot pick up the knife, the gun, the arsenic—or the pen.

Closing: Saturday, June 29, 2019

Speaker’s Name: writersINC Literary Journal: Panel Presentation

Jamie Caldwell, Callum Carr, Avis Dawkins, Theresa Holliday, Harrison McGinnis and Amaya Shurick

Session Title: “Beyond the Inc: Editing the Literary Journal”
Session Time: 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.
Venue: USC Upstate, Health Education Complex, Room 2001 - Directions Map Location

During this panel discussion, members of the Editorial Staff for writersINC, the USC Upstate student literary journal, will share readings from their original work and conduct a roundtable talk on how they make difficult editorial choices.  Presenters will share their “diet” scale of evaluation for the magazine, and take questions from the audience.  Award winning student writers from the 2019 writersINC publication will also join the staff to discuss their experiences getting published. This session will be of special interest to high school students and teachers, as well as college-age writers and anyone curious about publishing a literary magazine generated by student work.

Speaker Name: Cinelle Barnes

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Session Title: "Why I Write Memoir”
Session Time: 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Venue: JM Smith Board Room, USC Upstate, Health Education ComplexDirections Map Location

Memoirist and essayist Cinelle Barnes discusses the why, how, when, what, who and for whom of the genre/form, and the pre-publication, publication, and post-publication realities of authoring a memoir, and how her time in South Carolina served as an impetus for writing Monsoon Mansion. After the talk, she will lead the group in a short writing exercise.

Books will be available for purchase through representatives of Hub City Bookshop.

Growler Haus  Spartanburg County Public Libraries