Writers of all skill levels from all genres are invited to get their creative juices flowing Saturday afternoon at a writing workshop hosted by the Maryland Writers' Association.
The workshop, held at the Finksburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library, will be led by Julie Castillo, a teacher and an author of both fiction and nonfiction.
"She's a very dynamic instructor," Kerry Peresta, president of the Carroll County Chapter of the MWA, said of Castillo.
Castillo teaches creative writing and anthropology courses at area community colleges, including Carroll Community College, but said she spent years as a publishing industry insider, working as a writer-for-hire and in various consulting positions before she began teaching.
"I sort of drifted into teaching," she said. "I found it enjoyable."
Castillo is also preparing for the February 2015 release of her book, "Eat Local for Less: The Ultimate Guide to Opting Out of Our Broken Industrial Food System."
At Saturday's workshop, which is open to members of the MWA and the public, Castillo said she was asked to speak about writing at the sentence level and also about crafting dialogue.
"I'm hoping that everyone is going to bring a notebook and maybe a couple of pages of what they're working on," she said, adding that both fiction and nonfiction writers can benefit from working on writing visually and eliminating extraneous words.
Peresta said she hopes attendees will be inspired to begin writing something new or revisit something they have written in the past.
Castillo said she plans interactive classes when she teaches, so very little time is spent on lecture and more time is spent writing and in discussion. She said she plans to have attendees at Saturday's workshop dive in early and participate in various exercises.
"I just love working with people when they're doing something creative," she said.
Though she will be spending the majority of her time Saturday focused on the mechanics of writing and storytelling, Castillo said she hopes to allow time for questions at the end of the workshop or make herself available to writers one-on-one afterward if they have questions about the big picture.
"I don't want anyone to come and not get their questions answered," she said.
Peresta said the goal of workshops like Saturday's is to encourage all writers, whether established or aspiring, to learn more about the craft of writing.
Castillo said she has prepared activities and discussion topics that will appeal to all types of writers.
"I never know what level of expertise people are coming to my class with," she said.
A common question from aspiring writers is whether they have enough talent to do it, Castillo said. Her response is that if someone is drawn to writing and wants to develop that talent, then they should.
Peresta was just elected as the president of the Carroll County chapter of the MWA in June and said one of her goals has been to expand membership and interest.
"We're trying to promote more visibly," she said. "A lot of writers in Carroll County don't know we exist."
One of the benefits of the association is the ability to establish contacts in the writing and publishing industry, Peresta said. The chapter was formed in 2011 and has approximately 50 members.
Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email email@example.com.
If You Go:
What: Fiction Writing Workshop
When: 2:30-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9
Where: Finksburg Library, 2265 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg
Latest Carroll County News
Cost: Free, no pre-registration required