Start at the Beginning; Start at the Top

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You've already self-published a book or books. You're writing all the time and have your story well underway. You want to write a story, but you've never written before.

Can the Village Writing School help you write better and get published?

There's a delicate balance in designing and offering a program in creative writing that is both accessible to the most timid beginner and robust enough to offer new information and approaches for "established" writers.

I worked really hard to make our program friendly and fun. But I'm not published in any big way, so perhaps someone could wonder: what can she teach me? That's a valid question, and I don't resent it. I try to bring in teachers of the highest caliber. Literary writers who have won major awards. Feature writers who publish regularly in magazines and newspapers like the Boston Globe. Writers of well-known television series and movies. New York agents and publishers of all kinds.

But these visiting teachers, while they share knowledge and techniques on the craft of writing, as well as inside stories about publishing, do not create a "program" that covers all major aspects of writing. For that, we need someone who can plan out the program and return regularly to teach it. Someone with a passion for helping people tell their stories in the most beautiful and the most publishable way. And who will work for what we can afford to pay. Someone credentialed but not in an academic ivory tower. Someone published in top anthologies and journals and who regularly wins prestigious awards.

The Village Writing School is excited to welcome Pat Carr as our new Program Coordinator.

Pat has a Ph.D. from Tulane, and she's taught literature and writing in colleges all across the South. She's published sixteen books, including the Iowa Fiction Prize winner, The Women in the Mirror, and the PEN Book Award finalist, If We Must Die, and she's had over a hundred short stories appear in such places as The Southern Review, Yale Review, and Best American Short Stories. Her latest short story collection, The Death of a Confederate Colonel, a nominee for the Faulkner Award, won the PEN Southwest Fiction Award, the John Estes Cooke Fiction Award, and was voted one of the top ten books from university presses.

Pat has a writing text, Writing Fiction with Pat Carr and her autobiography, One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life was published by Texas Tech University Press. She writes literary fiction, historical fiction, young adult fiction, memoir, and she even has a new graphic novel. She leads the Hemingway Writers' Retreat and is a board member of the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow.

No matter what level of writing expertise you consider yourself to have achieved, Pat Carr can take you further. Start with Pat Carr, and you'll definitely be starting at the top.

Pat's new workshops will be three hours long, once a month, and each will cost $25. Her 2014 schedule is:

* July: Infinite Choices: Character Driven Stories

* August: Framing the Love Scene--and the Other Major Scenes

* September: Vision, Voice, and POV

* December: Claiming the Land: Our Personal Setting[s]

If you want to know more about Pat's workshops as we get dates for them, email me at to receive our newsletter.

Take your writing journey to new heights with Pat Carr.

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Alison Taylor-Brown has an MFA in Fiction and a lifetime of teaching experience. She directs the Village Writing School ( to foster the development of area writers through workshops, writing circles, coaching, and special events. Her column, The Village View, appears weekly. To talk to Alison about your writing goals and dreams, contact her at or 479-292-3665.