Writers’ workshop in Frisco
Three years ago, Nancy Karklins started a writers’ workshop at The Next Page bookstore in Frisco. She anticipated it would draw enough interest for two or three sessions — it ended up lasting 14 weeks.
“Then I took a break,” Karklins said. “One of our good customers, Douglas Hundley, approached me this winter, and he asked if I would be interested in co-facilitating a workshop for this summer. I said absolutely because I missed it.”
This time around, the workshop is scheduled to last for six sessions over the course of seven weeks, taking a week off for the Fourth of July.
“I liked the fact that we had people who didn’t know each other, and there’s safety in that,” Karklins said of her first go-round with the writing workshops. “We get to know each other very well over the course of six weeks, and it’s been very gratifying for me personally to hear what other people are writing, to hear their stories, to learn from them, and I think we all learn a lot from each other, including the pros learning from the amateurs.”
Are you a ‘writer’?
Karklins started the workshops because she really likes to write, but she doesn’t consider herself a “writer.”
“It’s a form of meditation for me, making time to be quiet and put my thoughts down on paper and push the creative envelope a little bit,” she said. “I reached a point where it was time to see if anything I was writing had any value.”
The workshops draw everyone from published writers to people like Karklins who have never shared any of their work and may be terrified by the prospect.
“I’ve been writing a lot since that first workshop and getting new ideas and expanding the types of writing I do,” she said. “I don’t do just memoir anymore; I’ve taken a stab at poetry, and I really enjoy fiction, creating my own characters.”
The sessions will begin with memoir, drawing from that which each writer knows the most intimately, before building into fiction and creating fictional characters from the writers’ experiences.
“But it will depend on the people who will come, and I anticipate that will vary from week to week because it’s come when you can,” Karklins said. “The group will probably vary from week to week, and we have a plan, but we are flexible. And if we get a group of people who all really want to experiment with fiction, we can. From week to week, we can adapt.”
Practice and presentation
The workshops will provide spontaneous, free-writing exercises, based on prompts that may vary from one word to an entire theme. Writers will be given time to write based on the exercise of the day and then read and discuss their work with the group, Karklins said.
“We will talk about a different theme in writing, whether it’s imagination or building awareness or writing about place or personality — all those things,” she said. “Then we will give a weekly assignment, so over the period of the week, people will write on whatever theme it is that we’ve discussed with them.
“We encourage people to come every week because there’s that consistency of working together and building confidence and trust; getting to know each other is a big part of that continuity.”
The goal is to provide tools to help aspiring writers use their imaginations in a safe environment where they can explore their creativity and draw out their memories to create something new, whether it’s factual or imaginary. Karklins and Hundley will take turns facilitating the workshops, teaching good writing habits and creating a platform to access right-brain thinking without fretting over details.
“I’m in their shoes,” Karklins said of her fellow aspiring authors. “That’s why I started the program is because I had never shared, and I got a lot of encouragement and confidence by putting my writing out there for other people to look at and hear me read.
“It’s getting the confidence and the trust from other people who are in the same boat. They want to write but they are afraid to and to share it. … Writing for other writers helps you; they understand that vulnerability. We don’t focus on critique — we focus on confidence.”
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