Greenfire Creative, L.L.C.  

Interpretive Writing Intensive

4-day, 5-night workshop

Some days, your interpretive writing falls flat and stays there. Every sentence is boring and lackluster. The story you're supposed to tell won't fit where it's supposed to. All the good metaphors have been taken, and all the old ones are clichés. You try to convince yourself that when Tilden said interpretive writing should be "concise, focused, inspirational, and engaging," he really meant one out of four.

Sure, you know it's got to be theme-based (but is that a good theme? How do you get a great theme?). And you know all about keeping the word count down (let's see, 275 words divided by 45 seconds, unless it's a really big sign or a fat brochure, and then it's times pi or maybe 1023) and the word length short (two syllables? four?) and about not cramming too many words into a sentence (stand back—I have punctuation and I know how to use it!). Maybe you even know the dangers of jargon (noun, from Middle English jargoun, derived from Middle French jargon, akin to gargle; synonyms babble, nonsense) and the dreaded passive phrase.

But how do you take that knowledge and weave it into writing that inspires, intrigues, provokes, surprises, delights, and educates? How do you turn it into writing that is powerful, passionate, and persuasive?

Interpretive writing is one of the toughest types of writing to do well. It draws from practically every other form and category of writing, from detailed scientific studies to poetry. At its best, it paints memorable images and ideas that connect on profound and emotional levels with the reader, precipitating changes in beliefs and behavior. At its worst, it alienates the very people we are trying to engage.

In this workshop, we will explore and practice the art and craft of interpretive writing. Each day will include writing exercises to experiment with and practice different approaches to writing. We'll push our creative envelopes, court the muse, and uncover new talents and skills. We'll also examine attendee works-in-progress, and each participant will have a half-hour one-on-one consultation with workshop leader Judy Fort Brenneman.

What's covered:

  • What makes a theme—and what makes a great theme
  • Verb Volts and Word Music: pacing, language use, word choice
  • Techniques for strengthening language
  • Carving it up, paring it down
  • Strategies for organizing
  • Writing for different media
  • Writing for different audiences
  • Writing for maximum impact
  • Humble punctuation
  • Heart, soul, and truth-with-a-capital-T: is it interpretive?
  • Accessing—and improving—creativity (or, the Muse will visit if chocolate is involved)
  • Dealing with writer's block (or, how to get the Muse to visit if you're out of chocolate)

We meet each day beginning promptly at 9:00 a.m. and ending by 4:30 p.m., including Friday.

Space is limited to 15 attendees, and registration is first-come, first-served.


Who Should Attend: Interpreters of all experience levels who are involved or plan to be involved in interpretive writing or editing.

The Fine Print: We reserve the right to cancel this workshop if minimum registration is not reached at least 21 days before the start of the workshop. In this case, we will refund your entire fee. Registrants who cancel on or before 21 days before the first day of the workshop will be refunded their registration fee minus a $50 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for registrants who cancel within 21 days of the first day of the workshop, though you may send another person in your place.

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