Full house for Pete Fromm’s workshop. If you missed this one, sign up early next time. Get on our mailing list so you know what is coming up. We hope to entice him back to Jackson for the conference.
We didn’t do any writing, but learned about the do’s and don’t’s of writing contemporary fiction, which is a different breed of literary animal than it was during the Brontes’ or Dickens’ time. Simpler is better, excess verbiage in description tends to be skimmed over. How to begin. How not to begin. Just begin.
Lots of great nuggets to take back to the page. Pete also recommended writing by a number of familiar and unfamiliar authors: British writer Susan Fletcher (Eve Green, Oystercatchers, and Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew); Australian winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road To the Deep North (Pete read excerpts from Death of a River Guide); The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Irish writer Sebastian Barry; Amy Bloom (author of Lucky Us… first line: “My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”–OK so I have to get that book!); American Aimee Bender who has lots of books, from The Girl in the Flammable Skirt to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
Well I’ve got my fiction list for the next month. And I’m a poet.
–Connie Wieneke, Notes after the workshop, April 30, 2017. If anybody remembers some of the other authors and book titles, send me what you’ve got and I’ll add to this post.
About Pete and the Workshop:
While Pete Fromm‘s most recent book is a memoir, The Names of the Stars, published by St.Martins in 2016, he is coming to Jackson for a fiction craft workshop. His cred includes three novels If Not For This, As Cool as I Am, and How All This Started, all of which have won Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards. Pete is definitely not afraid to address issues of family and love and adversity, what makes us human. Things definitely happen in his fiction.
We were excited to bring Pete to Jackson for this craft-oriented workshop, which he has titled: Beginning to End, With A Side Trip to the Swirling Vortex of Doom.
“This workshop will be a pretty much nuts and bolts look at prose in general,” Pete explains, “and the short story in particular, looking at various craft elements such as description and dialogue and truly inhabiting your characters, as well as discussing story beginnings and pushing your story toward the deep end, where the really good stuff happens.”
Judy Blunt has written this about his novels: “Pete Fromm has an amazing gift for creating characters we think we know.” Can’t we all learn something from such a writer and teacher? Plus, he got high marks from a favorite short story writer, Ron Carlson (he used to come to Jackson for workshops): “Here, brave and unabashed, is a novel about love, two sweet droll people who become a family, and then real trouble magnifies everything.” Somebody famous once said that all fiction better have some trouble.
Pete’s first memoir, Indian Creek Chronicles tells the story of the seven months he spent alone in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness guarding salmon eggs during winter. It also won the PNWB award, as did his story collection Dry Rain. The film of As Cool as I Am was released in 2013; it looks like a cool film. Check it out, but more importantly read Pete Fromm. He is the author of four other story collections and has published over two hundred stories in magazines. He is on the faculty of Oregon’s Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA Program and lives in Montana.