The ups & downs of creating a micro-budget feature film

By Sam Zalutsky, Spalding School of Writing Dramatic Writing Faculty

This week, my “new” movie, Seaside (@seasidemovie on Instagram and Facebook), a revenge thriller set on the Oregon Coast, was released by Gravitas Ventures (@gravitasVOD) on multiple streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, and Vimeo. For a while I wondered if Seaside would ever see the light of day so I am really excited and grateful to be able to share it with you.

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“Changing All the Time”: An Interview with Katy Yocom

by Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan

Photo credit: Terry Price

Have you ever turned the last page of a good book and wished you could sit down and have a meaningful conversation with the author? I had just finished reading an advance copy of Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom and decided to act on that impulse.

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In Defense of Writing by Hand

By John Pipkin, Spalding MFA Fiction Faculty

Writers tend to like stories about the way that other writers write, the processes and habits and superstitions and the curious little quirks that define a writer’s methods.  And bound up with this interest in writerly process, there is also a related obsession with something less glamorous, less romantic: speed. 

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The Pressures and Pleasures of a Weekly Critique Group

By Edie Hemingway, Spalding MFA Writing for Children & YA Faculty

If you’re at all familiar with the Spalding University low-residency MFA in Writing program, you know that the daily workshop is a fundamental part of the intense 10-day residency. Each student submits approximately 20 pages of a manuscript to be read and critiqued in advance by each member of the workshop, as well as by the faculty leader/s. Then, over the course of the residency, an hour of positive, constructive discussion is devoted to each piece. Although there are many other exciting events and inspiring aspects of the residency, I have to say, speaking both as a former student and now as a member of the faculty, the workshop has always been my favorite part.

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On Writing Again: a follow-up to my blog post of November 19, 2018

By Robin Lippincott, Spalding MFA Fiction Faculty

I’m writing prose again for the first time in three years. My previous blog post detailed why I hadn’t written, and why I had been unable to write for so long: the catastrophic illness and death of my husband, Lee. Yes, I am finally writing again, and I’m happy to be able to say that it feels good. But because it has been so long, I’m trying to hold the writing that I’m doing lightly: of course, I hope it amounts to something, becomes a publishable piece and thus, a product, but instead of focusing on that I’m trying instead to appreciate and enjoy the process, and the simple fact that I am once again able to spend a part of my day writing, as I’ve done for most of my adult life.

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REFLECTIONS ON TRAVEL WRITING

By Roy Hoffman, Spalding MFA Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Faculty

Roy Hoffman in Amsterdam (Credit Nancy Mosteller Hoffman)

When you pack your bags for your next trip, whether a few hours from home or as far away, to an American traveler, as Buenos Aires, Rome, or Edinburgh, take along your travel writer’s sensibility. You’ll already have the tools in place—pen and paper, laptop and camera—so making a record of where you go, what you see, eat, and learn, is not a practical but perceptual challenge.  Our senses become heightened by the excitement of travel, the allure of different landscapes, languages and foods. As writers we note it all in colorful detail in our journals and e-mails home. But how can we shape this material into articles or personal essays for a larger audience? Here are some tips—and questions—to keep in mind. Travel writing ranges from the service end—how to get there, where to find it, how to buy it—to lyrical musings about place. Travel writing also incorporates stories about interesting individuals in far-off locales. If you’ve got a publication in mind for your travel story, figure out what it’s about, who its audience is. Write for that reader alongside you, shepherding him or her along.

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Making it New

By Dianne Aprile, Spalding School of Writing Creative Nonfiction Faculty

“Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.”

Richard Hugo

The poet Richard Hugo published those lines many years ago to underscore the necessity of flexibility and revision in the writing process. Presumably heeding his own advice, Hugo used a pencil to jot down his first-draft thoughts on the subject. But if ever there was good reason to trade lead for ink, this final version is it. Hugo’s words deserve the permanence of a waterproof, indelible ultra-bold Sharpie.

Why? Well, because his message is so important, there should be no risk of it being rubbed out or overlooked.

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Writing in Times of Tumult

By Eleanor Morse, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Fiction Faculty

I’ve recently finished a book and a hush has fallen over my writing life, not just the stillness that comes from the end of a book, but something else. In a recent blog post, Robin Lippincott wrote eloquently about the silence that comes from personal grief. Although different, the silence I’ve been experiencing has a kinship with what Robin wrote about: a wordlessness connected with the sorrow of being a citizen of a country where lies and injustices have become commonplace, and where those who are vulnerable are ever more at risk.

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A Different Kind of Truth

By Sam Zalutsky, Spalding MFA Screenwriting Faculty

I used to read the New York Times cover to cover, every day. I’d start with the Sports pages (no lie!) and then move on to business, and then arts, and finally open the first section. Sometimes it was a challenge to take in all the events happening around the world, but I was raised by parents who saw the Times as the great American truth-teller, the arbiter of the news that mattered. And despite its many biases, it really is a great paper.

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