Veteran Writing Workshops


All veterans have a story to tell.  Since 2011, the Missouri Humanities Council has partnered with many great organizations to provide veterans and their families with an outlet for self-expression through writing.  MHC’s Veterans Programs offer support to both new and experienced writers through workshops, readings, and an annual publication.  Together, these programs encourage hundreds of veterans each year to tell their stories.

In partnership with libraries and veteran support organizations throughout Missouri, MHC offers Veterans Writing Workshops to develop the skills of veterans and their families — empowering them to share their stories, thoughts, and experiences through the written word.  The workshops are free of charge and facilitated by professional writers.  Topics include the basics of writing from first draft to publication.  Participants are lead through writing exercises with meaningful feedback from facilitators, fellow veterans, and family. Beginners to advanced writers welcome.

The workshops are a collaborative community effort.  Past and present partners include:  VA St. Louis Medical System at Jefferson Barracks-Occupational Therapy, the St. Louis Public Library, Drury University, Springfield-Greene County Library, Moral Injury Association of Americathe Kansas City Public Library, and The Writers Place .

I really enjoyed the caliber of the instructors and the camaraderie with the veterans.

-Workshop Participant

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS


SATURDAYS, MARCH 30TH – MAY 4TH (EXCEPT APRIL 20TH)

9:00AM – 12:30PM  |  ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY, 1301 OLIVE ST, 2ND FLOOR, ST. LOUIS, MO

VETERANS WRITING WORKSHOPS ARE FREE, BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE FOR SESSION DESCRIPTIONS:

The Veterans Writing Workshop provides veterans, military personnel, and their family members a creative space to develop their writing skills and to tell their stories. The Missouri Humanities and the St. Louis Public Library will host this five-session workshop on Saturdays, from March 30th through May 4th (except April 20th) from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Workshop participants are led through writing exercises with meaningful feedback from facilitators, Kent Walker, a combat Army veteran, and Stacey Walker, lecturer at University of Missouri. Both hold MFAs in writing. Participants are not required to write about their military experience.

Session 1: Writing Overview and Point of View
Bring a piece of writing, prose or poetry to be reviewed by workshop facilitators Stacey and Kent Walker. If you don’t have a first piece, don’t worry. Learn to create a meaningful critique that will help you and your fellow writers improve on literary works. Participants will enjoy instructor and group discussion using video clips and sample writings to learn about Point of View, Voice, and Considering Your Audience.

Session 2: Characterization and Dialogue
In this session participants will explore character more closely and determine who is telling the story. Participants will look at main and minor characters and how they work together to help reveal plot and tension. Guest speaker,
Angela Mitchell, will help facilitate this session.
Angela Mitchell is the author of the story collection, Unnatural Habitats & Other Stories (WTAW Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, New South, Carve, Midwestern Gothic, storySouth and other journals. Her story, “Animal Lovers,” was awarded Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction and given special mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXV; more recently, her work has been featured in The Best Small Fictions 2018 (Braddock Avenue Books). A past Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Mitchell has also directed a community writing workshop and served as an associate editor for december magazine. An eighth generation native of the Ozarks of southern Missouri, she now lives in St. Louis with her husband and sons. 

Session 3: Developing Plot and Beginning Character Development
This session will explore plot structures, setting, and how characters are intertwined. As each event of the plot unfolds, the character will grow a little in order to cope with that event, and so the plot development leads to character development. Participants will explore literary examples and participate in low-key writing exercises. Workshop facilitators Stacey and Kent Walker will show participants how writers can use these techniques in any genre they choose: biography, family memoir, short story, poetry, and/or essay.

Session 4: Setting, Imagery, and Details
By studying examples of memorable, imagistic writing, workshop participants will learn how writers creatively engage the senses of touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste to create vivid scenes, paragraphs, and stories. Participants may either bring their writing from the previous week, or begin a new piece with suggested writing prompts. Guest speaker, Ron A. Austin, will help facilitate this session.

Ron A. Austin holds an MFA from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and is a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, his first collection of linked stories, won the 2017 Nilsen Prize. The book will be released in fall of 2019. Austin’s short stories have been placed or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Story Quarterly, Ninth Letter, and Black Warrior Review. As co-director of the River Styx Reading Series he works to share local and national literary talent.

Session 5: Polishing the Details and Publication
Participants will learn the tools of the trade in the all-important job of shaping their writing for personal use or final publication. In conclusion, we will explore how all previous sessions combine to support your writing skill set. Participants may choose to receive advice and critique from the workshop facilitators, and/or the group, on writing they produced in the various sessions or at home. Participants will discuss how to move forward in their craft and continue to improve their writing.

SATURDAYS, MAY 4TH – 18TH

9:00AM – 12:00PM  |  UNICORN THEATER, 3828 MAIN ST, KANSAS CITY, MO

VETERANS WRITING WORKSHOPS ARE FREE, BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE FOR SESSION DESCRIPTIONS:

Workshop Facilitators:

Logan Black: Kansas City actor, veteran, and author of the play, “Bond: A Soldier and His Dog”

Frank Higgins: playwright, poet, and adjunct instructor at University of Missouri-Kansas City

Join fellow veterans and military personnel, past and present, for an interactive workshop that explores dramatic writing and performance techniques. This unique workshop focuses on monologue and scenes to help enhance writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, stage plays, or screenplays. Participants will then discover how performance techniques can help writers create memorable characters on the page and on the stage. No prior dramatic writing experience needed.

Workshop is FREE, but space is limited. Registration is required (insert Eventbrite link).

Workshop participants will receive a complimentary ticket to see the World Premiere production of “Bond,” the autobiographical story of Logan Black and his Specialized Search Dog, Diego on either May 15 or May 16. Learn how they became one of the most successful bomb-searching squads to serve in Iraq.

This workshop is presented in partnership with the Missouri Humanities, Unicorn Theater, and the KC Vets Writing Team.

QUESTIONS? Call 314-781-9660 or email lisa@mohumanities.org.

Session 1: Introduction to Dramatic Writing

This session serves as an introduction to dramatic writing and performance techniques. The group will explore the differences between narrative and dramatic writing. Workshop facilitators, Logan Black and Frank Higgins, will lead a discussion on how to search for subject matter from one’s life experience and adapt one’s fiction or non-fiction into dramatic writing.

Feel free to bring an existing short piece of writing to utilize. If you don’t have a first piece, don’t worry. Facilitators will guide participants through a generative writing exercise to create a dramatic monologue.

Session 2: Shaping Monologues and Scenes

Participants will continue to shape and revise their scenes and monologues from the first session. Under Logan Black’s direction, participants will explore how one performs the written piece and turns it into dramatic writing.

Session 3: Polishing the Details (& Performance)

In this final session, participants will polish and complete their final dramatic piece. Participants will have the opportunity to present their scenes and monologues to the group (optional). Facilitators, Logan Black and Frank Higgins, and participants will discuss how to move forward in their craft and continue to improve their writing.

Would you like to host or attend a Veterans Writing Workshop in your community?

Contact MHC’s Veterans & Family Programs Director, Lisa Carrico at lisa@mohumanities.org or call 314.781.9660.

Do you know about our Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors anthology series?

Click on the book below for more information.

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 7 was released on Veterans Day, 11.11.18.

To purchase Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1-7, click here –>

Send us your questions!