Woodland Pattern Book Center and the Lynden Sculpture Garden present:
Finding the Hidden Story: A Weekend Workshop with Sharon Fiffer
Friday, March 8 - Sunday, March 10, 2013
$400 / $360 for members of the Lynden Sculpture Garden or Woodland Pattern
Book Center (only one discount applies). Fee includes admission to Fiffer's
reading and lunch on Saturday & Sunday.
Space is very limited; advance registration is required. Register online
now. If you have any questions, please contact Polly Morris at
email@example.com or 414-446-8794, or Kate Fiffer at 414-263-
5001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A block of rooms will be available at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Milwaukee at
very reasonable rates. Check back soon for more information and reservation
Are you writing a mystery, memoir, or a literary novel? Have you begun a
collection of short stories? Are you revising your novel for the third time or are
you struggling with the first draft? All writers, at any stage of their work, are
welcome to participate in a weekend intensive with Sharon Fiffer, author of the
Jane Wheel mysteries and a popular blog, What I Learned At The EZ Way Inn.
Begin by embarking on a junking junket around Milwaukee with Sharon Fiffer
and Anne Kingsbury of Woodland Pattern. Fiffer will introduce you to the world
of her character, Jane Wheelantiques picker and private investigator. Much of
Fiffer's fiction is based on childhood memories of growing up in Kankakee, Illinois
and the objects she finds on her own junking expeditions. She will guide you
through treasure hunting "research," talk about the relationship between found
objects and creative memory, and help you find some good stuff! On Saturday
and Sunday the workshop moves to the Lynden Sculpture Garden, where you
will discover your hidden story.
Sharon Fiffer's residency is a collaboration between Lynden Sculpture Garden
and the Woodland Pattern Book Center. In addition to the workshop, Fiffer
will offer a reading at Woodland Pattern on March 8 at 7pm. The weekend will
conclude at Lynden with a free, informal reading (followed by a reception) by
workshop participants on Sunday, March 10 at 2 pm. Both of these events are
open to the public. Tickets for the Friday reading are available from Woodland
Pattern at (414) 263-5001.
Schedule at a Glance
All activities take place at the Lynden Sculpture Garden unless otherwise
Friday, March 8
2pm: Welcome and assemble for Junk Junket at Woodland Pattern Book
Center, 720 E. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
5pm: Dinner (location TBA)
7pm: Reading by Sharon Fiffer at Woodland Pattern
Saturday, March 9
10am-12 pm: Getting started
12pm-1pm: Lunch (provided by MKELocalicious)
1pm-5pm: The first chapter
Dinner on your own
8pm: EZ Way Inn Outing (optional)
Sunday, March 10
9am-12pm: Writing in short form
12pm-1pm: Lunch (provided by MKELocalicious)
1-2pm: Prepare for reading
2pm-4pm: Reading followed by reception
The weekend will kick off Friday afternoon with a junking junket with Sharon
Fiffer and Anne Kingsbury of Woodland Pattern (Jane Wheel, after all, is known
as a PPI: picker, private investigator). Sharon and Anne will take you to some of
Milwaukee's finest junking spotsand perhaps you'll acquire an object you'd like
to write about over the weekend. The group will stop for dinner prior to a reading
by Sharon Fiffer at Woodland Pattern. Fiffer will read from her latest Jane Wheel
mystery, an essay about transitioning into a mystery writer, and excerpts from
other works. Discussion to follow.
On Saturday, the group convenes at the Lynden Sculpture Garden.
In the morning: Getting started.
The first sentence. The first paragraph. The first page.
Everyone has a story. We will discuss finding yours. Whether you want to tell
your story in fictionas a short story or novel or as a memoirevery story begins
with the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page. And that's where we will
begin. Writing from memory, finding your voice, figuring out what comes next and
exercises to boost your creativity will all be covered in our workshop. Beginners
and seasoned writers alikewe all start each writing day by putting pen to paper
(or fingers to keyboard) and that's what we will do this morning.
We will write, read, discuss, wring our hands and gnash our teeth.
In the afternoon: The first chapter.
How to tell your storywhat to tell and what not to tell. We will discuss plotting a
noveland, quite similarly, structuring a memoir. Various examples of structuring
your work will be discussed and we will work on "timelines" for your pieces.
Writing shorter pieces? Personal essays? Blog posts? Structure is vital since it
will help you decide how to select your topics and the best, truest way to express
We will write, read, discuss, and if necessary, continue our wringing and
gnashing. Yes, writing is hard. However, telling your story just might change the
world. In other words, writing your story is worth it.
After dinner on your own, participants are invited to reassemble for an optional
outing at an appropriately EZ Way Inn-ish Milwaukee nightspot.
Sunday morning: Writing in short form.
From fact to fiction to memoir. That's how I used my own experiences, my own
story in my work. I'll share some of the ways in which I loaned my life to my
fictional character, Jane Wheel, and how I discovered a structure in which to
reclaim the material for a memoir, which I am excerpting on my blog under "What
I Learned At The E Z Way Inn."
In the afternoon: Reading
We will discuss reading one's own workhow to present and how to feel (mostly)
comfortable reading one's work, and we'll select pieces to read at the informal
event this afternoon (friends and family welcome). We'll finish with a reception—a
chance for informal chatting and follow up.
What They Are Saying about Sharon Fiffer
About the first book, Killer Stuff...
"Killer Stuff is one of the funnest reads I have had in years. All of Sharon Fiffer's
characters are absolutely superbly drawn and seem so real."
...to the eighth, Lucky Stuff...
"Fiffer's prose sparkles, and she knows how to tell a story. All her characters are
wonderfully real people, very much like people you might actually know yourself."
...Sharon Fiffer captivates her readers and leaves them wanting more.
"Sharon Fiffer is a terrific, gifted writer and teacher. Her knowledge of literature
is wide-ranging and deep, and her insights are literate, insightful and often
transformative to her writer-students. Her approach is kind, light-hearted and
incredibly intelligent. I feel so fortunate to be a student of hers, which I have been
for three years on a weekly basis."
-Judith Q. Iacuzzi, Author of Trust: A History of ACG
"Not only is Sharon a gifted writer, but she is also an outstanding teacher. Her
instruction is both insightful and practical and her attitude is always positive,
patient and encouraging. I feel lucky to be able to work with her."
- Francie Arenson, Wesley Writers Workshop
Sharon Fiffer is the author of eight Jane Wheel mysteries published by St.
Martin's Minotaur: Killer Stuff, Guy's Stuff, The Wrong Stuff, Buried Stuff, Hollywood
Stuff, Scary Stuff, Backstage Stuff, and Lucky Stuff. She is also the co-editor of
three collections of literary memoirs: HOME: American Writers Remember Rooms
of Their Own; FAMILY: American Writers Remember Their Own; and BODY. She co-edited the award-winning literary magazine Other Voices for eight years. Fiffer's
short fiction has been published in several literary magazines. She received an
Illinois Arts Council Award for her story "The Power of Speech" and was awarded
a fellowship in fiction from The Illinois Arts Council. Fiffer has taught creative
writing and literature at Barat College, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and
Northwestern University. With her husband, writer Steve Fiffer, she is the co-founder of the Wesley Writers Workshop where she currently teaches.
Lynden Sculpture Garden, Marta Pan - Floating Sculpture, photo credit Rick Ebbers/McDill Design