In February, I’m honored and excited to announce that I will be leading a Fiction Writing Workshop for the Mildred Haun Conference. The Conference started 12 years ago and is “an attempt to explore and define Appalachian literature and culture for ourselves and for the outside world.” Also, “the Conference is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission.”

This year, the entire conference, hosted by Walters State Community College, will be online in what organizer Ms. Kelsey A. Solomon is calling “Mildred Month,” the month of February, so there will be workshops and speakers spread throughout the month via online resources accessible to the public. Keynote Speaker will be Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of many works, including her most recent novel, Wanting Radiance. There will be workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more. Check the “Mildred Haun Conference” page on Facebook for updates and dates, times, etc., of sessions.

For my part, my 90-minute workshop will focus mostly on character-writing in fiction and will offer some writing prompts, as well as examples, and discussion. I hope to include some perspective from other authors, too, as I know that my answers aren’t the only ones viable and valuable.

I’ll be honest: it’s a little daunting right now. I’ve started my homework. But narrowing down fiction to 90 minutes of programming – while building up my own preparations to 90 minutes – seems like the most monumental and frightening task I’ve ever been handed. But only because someone trusted me enough to do it. Because someone believed in me enough to know that I’ve got this. So each time I sit down with it, I have to take that approach. Each time I consider my audience, I do so with the eagerness of getting to know you and being able to share what little I know in a vast field of study, that we can all share and grow from. And that belief is what carries me through my personal study sessions and preparation periods.

I hope that you will consider joining us for the Fiction Workshop in February. Hopefully, it’s going to be 90 minutes of sharing and learning that we can all take good things forward from and share about our culture and the craft of fiction writing.

For more information on the Mildred Haun Conference, you can contact Kelsey Solomon at 423.585.6963. She is our fearless leader and the guru on all things Mildred Haun. And if you don’t know anything about Mildred Haun, I challenge you to find a copy of her best-known work, Hawk’s Done Gone, and read it for yourself. Its’ definitely worth your time to read and embrace.