The Writer & The Inner Critic with Alexander Weinstein (All Genres)

As we grow as writers, both professionally and artistically, it's vital to continue to approach the page with a sense of play, curiosity, and wonder. We will discuss various ways to keep this sense of play alive in our writing. In turn we will look at the benefits of literary experiments, the art of taking risks, and explore the "big projects" we've been longing to tackle and how to bring them to the page successfully. This is a class for writers of all genres.

The Writer's Life: A Panel Discussion

with Samrat Upadhyay, Tia Clark, Amelia Martens, Britton Shurley, and Alexander Weinstein

​This panel discussion will address the joys and dilemmas of writing, along with the techniques the visiting writers use to pursue their profession.  We will talk about what methods have worked for us in establishing a regular writing practice and how to remain inspired in one’s daily life, followed by a Q&A with attendees.


I. Who's on First? The Persona Poem at Play (with Amelia Martens)

We play with persona every day, but what voices or stories might come to us, if we play with persona on the page? The persona poem has a long history of offering insight and access, of moving the spotlight of history over lesser-known figures, or altering an accepted point of view. Our ability to imagine alter-perspectives requires cultivation, and presents a limitless door to deeper understanding of experience.  Using a variety of sources for inspiration, we’ll create, alter, or imagine poems from other voices.


II. The Pliable Prose Poem (with Amelia Martens)

Subversive, surreal, fable, postcard, polaroid, box: the prose poem can be illusive and magically accessible. Instead of trying to pin down this hybrid form, we will examine several manifestations to expand our notion of what is possible in a prose poem. We’ll play with appearance, discover potential source materials, and generate our own poems that bridge the ordinary and the extraordinary.

III. Loss & Love (with Britton Shurley)

These two big themes, like birth and death, are parts of life we all must experience. No wonder they’re the subject of countless works of art. In this class, we’ll examine how other writers have used these themes in many different ways to create moving, memorable poems. We’ll remember our loves and losses, learning how our own unique experiences can be used to write the universal.  

IV. Ode to Joy (with Britton Shurley)

The “news” most days is bad, and our eyes are drawn to disaster. But as writers we can’t forget beauty, those bright moments of joy so often dulled by the dark. In this session, we’ll focus on finding beauty in unexpected places, exploring how to catch more clearly this flash and dance more freely on the page.


I. Speech & Silence - The Art of Dialogue (with Samrat Upadhyay)

How your characters speak and what they say are crucial components of your fiction. Dialogue is integrally tied to character, but it can also be a powerful tool to add tension to scenes, to advance the plot, to provide subtext, and to accentuate themes. Perhaps even more important, what your characters don’t say—what is suggested in the silences and the gaps and the empty spaces—can speak volumes for your fiction. In this session, through examples and exercises, we will learn to how create dialogue that will come alive on the page.

II. Pray Tell - The Beauty of the Summary (with Samrat Upadhyay) 

Summaries often get a bad rap in fiction. Because they use the “telling” mode, as opposed to showing, they are often not considered to be the best way to tell your stories. But summaries, either of specific moments or of long stretches of time (even years), can help with pacing and provide a rhythm to prose not possible to achieve with just scenes. Summaries can also be instrumental in imparting background information regarding history or politics or culture, both quickly and efficiently. In this session, through examples and exercises, we will learn how to write summaries without losing sight of the details that provide the backbone for good fiction.

III. Writing Desire, or Lack Thereof (with Tia Clark)

We’re taught our characters must “want and want intensely,” but what does that mean for the character who is depressed, lives on the sidelines, or struggles to recognize their own desires? This class will dive into the elements of character development, and how to bring your characters to life through description of their inner worlds as well as their outer--transforming intangible desires to tangible needs that pop on the page. We will explore the many layers of desire and how to use it as a tool to drive character and plot.


IV. Writing the Tarot (with Tia Clark)

The Major Arcana of traditional tarot decks tells us of a Fool’s Journey, from stepping out into a new world, to reaching satisfaction and completion. While used for divination and self-reflection, tarot cards can also be a useful tool for writing. Is your character being too much of a Hermit for anything exciting to happen? Does your plot need a Chariot to get it from point A to point B? In this session, we will use the tarot for in-class exercises to jump start our writing, and explore how it can be used outside of the class to facilitate the writing process.


Publishing and Editing: A Seminar and Forum (with John T. Howard)

For writers, publication can be as exciting as it is anxiety-inducing.  How do you know your work is ready to send out? How do you begin the submission process, and how do become friends with rejection?  In this class, we will explore final stage editing techniques, publication strategies, and writing past rejection.


Sunday 5:00-6:00 pm: Opening Reception & Welcome

Sunday 6:00-7:00 pm: Alexander Weinstein 

Monday 6:00-7:00 pm: Samrat Upadhyay & Amelia Martens

Tuesday 6:00-7:00 pm: Tia Clark & Britton Shurley 


Thursday 5:00-7:00 pm: Attendee Reading I

Friday 5:00-7:00 pm: Attendee Reading II

Friday 7:00-9:00 pm: Closing Celebration Dinner

The Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing

a 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Organization

      telephone: 954-242-2903       email: info@mvicw.com



Many of the Vineyard photos courtesy of Vineyard Colors www.vineyardcolors.com

  • Wix Facebook page
  • Instagram - Black Circle