Showcasing student work produced during the workshop
In the Archer City Writer’s Workshop, students are asked to look to images for story, whether a painting in a rustic hotel, a photograph in the hands of an intriguing character or a memory from yesterday stuck in one’s mind. Other assignments include writing in the landscape in order to find stories hiding among the rocks and lizards, searching for dialogue in order to create a lively scene, and assuming the point-of-view of inanimate objects to convey the ineffable.
Literary nonfiction writers employ all kinds of literary devices to create stories: exposition, scene setting, description, characterization, foreshadowing, points of view, pacing, spacing, and on and on. But perhaps the most valuable tool employed in the service of the literary nonfiction writer is dialogue. Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people, reproduced in writing. Good dialogue comes across on the page as the actual voices of the characters in a story, with their own diction, dialect, rhythm and pacing that is consistent with the personality of the subjects.
Any place, even a flyspeck town like Archer City, is rich with images. And for the writer, an image is a place to start, the doorway to perception, the channel through which we can begin to grasp a place and the people who make that place their home.