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 launch Spartanburg's first Upstate Writing Month (UpWriMo), a month-long literary festival by the Upstate for the Upstate throughout the month of June.

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Upstate Writing Month #UpWriMo Up is where we write.

 


Events will be hosted around Spartanburg: 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. See complete schedule below.

Registration is encouraged, especially for events with refreshments. *Note: Events with a * take place in venues that serve alcohol.

For Young Writers and Educators

Enjoy young adult fiction and writing by young writers from the local community

  • "From Hogwarts to Westeros: Building Realistic Fantasy Worlds" with Jill Criswell on June 18
  • USC Upstate students and alumni of the writersINC Literary Journal: Panel Presentation on June 29
For Professional Writers, Filmmakers, and Songwriters

Improve your craft in commercial and media genres

  • "Creativity Like a Freight Train: Writing New Songs from Old Songs" with Wayne Robbins of Wayne Robbins and the Hellsayers on June 1*
  • "Perceptions of Song: Building Lyrics through Narrative" with Mark Tebalt on June 10
  • "How to Write a Screenplay that Doesn't Suck" with LaTracey McDowell, writer and producer of The Group and Charlesvoix Street, on June 11
  • "Writing Grants that Win: Secrets of Successful Grant Writing" with George Williams on June 25
For Anyone with a Story to Tell 

Be inspired by award-winning, published authors

  • "Writing Your Way to the Spark" with Keynote Author Tessa Fontaine on June 1
  • "Wild Words: Adventures in EcoWriting" with Beth Keefauver on June 1
  • "Writing and Paying Attention" with novelist Tom McConnell on June 3
  • "Fiction Flight" with novelist Brock Adams on June 13*
  • "Can You Hear Me Now? How to Craft Authentic Voices for Characters from the Past" with historical fiction writer Susan Rivers on June 20
  • "Murder She Wrote: Why I Happily Kill my Character" with Marilyn Reynolds on June 27 
  • "Why I Write Memoir" with Keynote Author Cinelle Barnes on June 30*

Look for updates on Twitter at #UpWriMo 

Contact Brock Adams at badams@uscupstate.edu for more information.

Kick-off: Saturday June 1, 2019

Speaker Name: Tessa Fontaine 

See Speaker Bio

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

Refreshments will be provided by Downtown Deli and Donuts.

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

Speaker Name: Beth Keefauver

See Speaker Bio

Session Title: “Wild Words: Adventures in EcoWriting”
Session Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve - 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 Garden and Woodland Preserve. Journals and pens will be provided, but you may also bring your own.

Speaker Name: Wayne Robbins

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speakers Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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 event, Rivers will share her writing. The reading will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.

In Part 2, Rivers will lead a hands-on workshop in which she shares her methods for creating compelling and believable voices from the past, methods she employed while writing her Civil War-era novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday (Algonquin Books, 2017), as well as 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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Speaker Name: George Williams

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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

See Speaker Bio

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