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. Continue reading “Agenda and application info for the Everyday Mormon Writer Retreat/Master Class this June”

A method for easily voting in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest

Five easy steps you can take to make sure that you vote in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest.

Everyday Mormon Writer is reporting that four of the stories in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest are within three votes of the top position and all of the stories are within ten votes. This means that if you haven’t voted yet, you really should make your voice heard — because it will count. And since voting closes at the end of the day Tuesday, Nov. 6, this weekend is your bet for making it happen.

With that in mind, I have a method for you that will make it easier to decide and vote. It’s the same method that I suggested for the Mormon Lit Blitz but updated for this contest:

First: open up your email program, create a new message, type VOTE in the subject line, and then the numbers 1-4 (each on its own line).

Second: click on this link. If you have a lot of browser tabs open, you might want to close them first or open a new browser window.

Third: Scroll down and right click on each of the contest entries, which are linked to from the post I linked to in the second step. You should now have 12 open tabs. Click on each one and read as far as your interest is captured — or just skim. If you like what you read, go on to the next tab. If you don’t like it or have “meh” feelings, close the tab. That entry is now out of contention. Do this with each open tab. Try to get down to at least six or seven in your first read through. If in the end you don’t have it down to four, click on the tabs, re-skim, read deeper if you want to. If you are having a hard time making a decision, take a deep breath or two and just go with your gut.

Fourth: Now that you have your final four, click through them real quick and think about which ones you responded to the most strongly. If your browser allows you to do this (and most should) begin re-arranging the four tabs with the piece you like most to the left and the one you like least to the right. Keep re-arranging until the order feels right. The moment you feel like it feels right STOP and go immediately to the next step. If you don’t, there’s a danger you’ll second-guess yourself and then the process will drag out. Don’t let that happen.

Fifth: Type the name or title in your email in the order in which your tabs are arranged (left to right  slots into 1 through 4). Copy and paste this email address into the “To:” field: Hit send. And you’re done.

Congratulations and thank you for your support of Mormon literature!

Discuss Avek, Who Is Distributed by Steven Peck

AMV hosts a discussion of Steven Peck’s 22nd century Mormon story Avek, Who Is Distributed as part of the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest.

Wm says: I’m pleased to host a discussion of the penultimate story in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories contest. Here’s a guest post from the contest organizers to help us kick things off:

You may have heard of the “Four Centuries of Mormon Stories” contest before, or even smelled its aroma rising out of Minnesota, the Middle East, or Pleasant Grove. If you haven’t, the conceit is simple: we’re featuring very short stories about Mormons in the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd centuries, then holding a vote for the best of our twelve finalists and giving $400 to the winner. We’re also holding a blog tour of discussions, bring the people to the stories and the stories to the people. Or something like that.

Seriously: if you haven’t read these stories, take half an hour to catch up. Or at least take three minutes to read Steven Peck’s “Avek, Who Is Distributed” and discuss it today and one of the world’s oldest Mormon arts & culture blogs.

Some questions:

  1. What are your initial reactions to the story?
  2. How much would you pay for a StraythoughtAssist device?
  3. What role might all the Mormon Literature ever written have played in Avek’s intense desire to join the Mormon panth
  4. If you could have lunch with Avek, what questions would you ask him? And what drink would you order?

Everyday Mormon Writer contest submissions are due at midnight

Just a reminder: entries for Everyday Mormon Writer’s are due at midnight tonight to You also can still donate to the contest. The dinners are over, but if you want to kick in $5-10 to support Mormon arts–or if you want an art print of one or all of the finalists, now is the time to step up and make that contribution.

The hard limit for contest submissions is 2,000 words — 1,000-word stories are preferred. Write 1k words on your lunch break and then revise tonight. I have it on good authority that the midnight deadline may be flexible so long as you can get your entries in before the editors check their email early tomorrow morning (but don’t push this flexibility; there will be a cut off. I’m just saying if 12 pm MDT arrives and you need 30 more minutes, you’ll be okay.).

I will admit that two of my three entries are closer to 2k than 1k and only of them is probably justified in going that long. But my laziness opens up the door for the rest of you to hit the editors’ sweet spot. And it can be done. For example, Everyday Mormon Writer recently re-published my Mormon Lit Blitz finalist “The Elder Who Wouldn’t Stop…“. That story started out around 1500 words, but by the time I submitted it to the Lit Blitz it was just under 1,000. Pruning 1/3 of the story was difficult, but I was able to do it. And it didn’t take more than a couple of hours. So get to it people. This is anyone’s competition to win.

A poll for those entering Everyday Mormon Writer’s upcoming contest

With just over 10 days left to enter Everyday Mormon Writer’s , I thought I’d see if we can get a sense of which centuries AMVers are focusing on. If you have entered or are planning on entering the contest, please answer the following question.

If you have no idea what I’m taking about, read my interview with James Goldberg on the contest. Or click the link in the first sentence of this post.

Full disclosure: I have entered the 20th, 21st and 22nd century contests.

[poll id=”8″]

Wm and James talk the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest

By now, most AMV readers are likely (and hopefully) familiar with the contest. And many have probably also read the James Goldberg self-interview at or  his guest post at Modern Mormon Men or his reasons behind running the contest Dawning of a Brighter Day. All good stuff. But seeing as there were still important gaps to be filled — in particular for those who intend to submit — James and I concocted the following conversation. Enjoy!

So James, exactly how good is your paneer masala? And will it be served with rice or naan?

Our paneer masala produces a feeling of elevated well-being and sensory satisfaction that could drive drug cartels out of business. It will be served with both roti and basmati rice, after two courses of appetizers, along with two other dishes and a cool drink of mango lassi, and before a gulab jamun dessert. When it comes to cooking, we don’t mess around.

We don’t mess around with guests of honor, either. If Eric James Stone is not coming up with an alternate system of evolution from another world, he’ll be imagining myths that men might carry (or that might carry men) across the stars. Meanwhile, Mel Larsen will be immersing herself in another culture, showing you how the things people take for granted show where they come from and who they are.

Obviously, we’d love more dinner ticket money in the prize purse. But the dinners are also opportunities to bring together people with healthy appetites and voracious imaginations. We hope an AMV reader or two can join us for what I’m confident will be two incredible evenings. Continue reading “Wm and James talk the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest”

Mormon Lit Blitz post-game

Wm congratulates the winners of the Mormon Lit Blitz, thanks those who made it happen, ruminates a bit on the experience, and makes a plea for submissions to Everyday Mormon Writer.

A few post-game thoughts on the Mormon Lit Blitz

1. Congratulations to Merrijane and the rest of the top 5! In case you didn’t know, Merrijane has a blog where every Friday she posts a poem (sometimes one by her; sometimes one by someone else) plus a few thoughts. Check it out.

2. I’m not going to reveal my ballot, but I will say that I voted for two of the five works that placed. And while the finalists didn’t get a complete breakdown of voting, the organizers did let us know that all of us got a good number of votes. What’s cool is that each of the finalists were able to bring in their readership, which meant we all benefited, in terms of readers, from each other’s efforts.

3. Many thanks to James, Nicole and Scott for running the contest and to my sister Katherine and Ben for hosting it at Mormon Artist and to anybody who helped with the graphics, which were very cool (Anneke and ??). I thought it was all very well managed and promoted and am pleased that I decided to participate. Continue reading “Mormon Lit Blitz post-game”