LSD. The slinky. X-Rays. Penicillin. What do these things have in common? They were all created by accident. So often, when we're writing, we can get hung up on the end goal that we don't notice the opportunities evidencing themselves along the way. Or we might so closely edit ourselves and our ideas, that we never get to see what might have developed out of the initial mess. Writing a longer work can become a lot easier if we get out of our own way and allow for both stages of a two-step process: 1) Chaos and 2) Organization. By following Rebecca Solnit's advice, we can find so much more than we ever knew to anticipate: “Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.”
Want to explore more alternative methods of generating material for your novel? Then make sure to attend Jac’s workshop June 26-28th at the David R. Collins Writer’s Conference at McCarthy Hall on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport, Iowa. The workshop will also encourage you to follow tangents, explore characters, find the intersection of multiple storylines, and let the language lead you to free yourself and write your novel more quickly and organically.
Jac Jemc’s novel, MyOnly Wife, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time, is due out from Dzanc in October 2014. She's the poetry editor for decomP and web fiction editor for Hobart.
The conference also features other three day workshops on memoir, poetry, essay, and flash fiction. Critiques, pitches, and free evening events open to the public are also planned. Discounts are offered for MWC member and early bird (before June 15th) registrants. Click here for moredetails. The conference is made possible by our generous sponsors: Modern Woodman of America, St. Ambrose University English Department, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Genesis Health Systems.