Agenda and application info for the Everyday Mormon Writer Retreat/Master Class this June

Instructions and agenda for the Everyday Mormon Writer retreat/master class June 27-29, 2013. Deadline to apply is June 1.

Note: James Goldberg asked me to post this information. It’s a very interesting agenda and a low-cost proposition in comparison to other, similar retreats. I highly recommend applying if you can make the travel costs and schedule work. –Wm

Mormon Writers’ Retreat/Master Class Agenda and Application Instructions

The Everdyday Mormon Writer Retreat/Master Class will take place at a cabin near Heber, Utah, on June 27-29. There is no charge for tuition and there is space for all participants to sleep in the cabin: the only costs will be travel to Salt Lake City or Utah Valley (we’ll carpool from there) and food (either purchasing your own or contributing to a group fund if you’d like to share meals).

The agenda will be as follows:


12 pm:

Carpools leave SLC and Utah Valley”“travel to Heber and get settled

2 pm:

Discussion Session: Audience Baselines

What are the current obstacles between various extant audiences and Mormon Lit? We’ll discuss concerns/stereotypes readers have about Mormon Lit. We’ll talk about what else potential Mormon Lit readers are currently reading and what it gives them. And then we’ll talk about what roles Mormon literature might productively play for readers.

4 pm:

Class Session: The Parable of the Irritated Oyster

Most writing rises out of an underlying desire to reach people in some way. But often, writing instruction ignores the initial layers of processing between the itch to communicate and the concept for a work, focusing on the later stages from concept to publication.

In this session, we’ll generate some sample itches and then brainstorm ways a writer could develop a concept from each itch, trying to name costs and benefits of choices along the way.

6 pm:

Dinner break

7:30 pm:

Breakout challenge: Form and Content Drawing

Small groups will draw form and content cards and create a collaborative work filling their randomly assigned form and content.

8:30 pm:

Sharing of challenge pieces and evening prayer.


8 am:


9 am:

Discussion Session: Myth and the Mormon Writer

One of the great assets available to Mormon writers is a rich body of myth, both in the scripture and the oral tradition of our community. What is a myth? What does myth do for people? What overlap is there between mythic story and contemporary writing?

11 am:

Class Session: Myth, Vision, Revision

In order to improve something, you first have to decide what exactly you want it to be. In this session, we’ll talk about how identifying the mythic core of a piece can help a writer decide how to refine it. We’ll also discuss some critique techniques and do one sample critique.

1 pm:


2 pm:

Breakout Challenge: Brainstorming and Notecard Pitches

Between 2 and 4 pm, each writer will come up with three project pitches concise enough to fit on notecards and clear enough to give the group a strong sense of what the finished project might be like.

4 pm:

Notecard Pitch Workshop

Each writer will share and get brief feedback on one of his/her pitches.

6 pm:

Dinner break and evening of informal discussions/excursions


8 am:


9 am:

Discussion session: Finding and Building Audience

We’ll pool our knowledge about existing publication venues and methods and then talk about possible new strategies to build an audience for our work.

11 am:

Discussion session: Therefore…what?

We’ll share our insights and resolutions.

12 pm:

Closing prayer and departure

Application Instructions

To apply, please email by May 31st with short responses to the following three prompts:

1) What short reading would you recommend to writers at the retreat and why? (That is, what can Mormon writers learn from your recommended reading?)

2) What’s a cool (even if impractical) idea you’ve had for a Mormon Lit project? What might you write were it not for constraints of time, money, or fears-you-can’t-actually-pull-it-off?

3) What is your writing like? Attach a writing sample of no more than 500 words with the beginning of a story, essay, play, or other type of piece, previously published or in progress to give us a quick sense of what you can do.

We will select our class and respond to applicants on June 1st, 2013.

Please consider applying”“I realize travel and time costs can be limiting, but I also feel like we’re at an exciting period in the history of Mormon Lit and stand to gain a lot by having face time together to compare notes, brainstorm, and challenge each other.

Writing is solitary work, but imagination and storytelling need not be. Let’s take the time to share the richness of live interaction together.

3 thoughts on “Agenda and application info for the Everyday Mormon Writer Retreat/Master Class this June”

  1. James is doing a great thing here! I think I may be at a family reunion at that point, otherwise I would really consider going. I especially love the focus on the mythical approach to a writer’s work– one of my favorite topics. Good work, James.

  2. Amazing idea! You should get a ‘Champion of Mormon Lit’ sash to wear during the retreat. If I figure out a way to teleport from Iowa…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s