Craft Sessions

During Craft Sessions, Creative Writing Instructors go in-depth on a particular element of craft, and participants expand their writing knowledge by exploring different topics and prompts. Residential and online participants will have the opportunity to choose several of these sessions as electives, based on their interests and areas in which they wish to grow. Each session offers instruction and time for writers to put elements of craft into practice.

Craft Sessions are included in the Juniper Institute for Young Writers and Juniper Young Writers Online.

Craft Session descriptions for the summer 2024 Juniper Institute for Young Writers and Juniper Young Writers Online will be posted early in February 2024. See below for examples of sessions offered in previous years.

A List of Possibilities (summer 2023)

Taught by: Sarah Ahmad

Umberto Eco said, “The list is the origin of culture.” In her diaries, Susan Sontag made endless lists: things I like, things I dislike, places I have been, and so on. Nabokov stated that there are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter.

In this craft session, we will travel to merge through these ideas of lists: a list as a place of possibility, a list as a place where we can enchant through cataloging, a daily cultural product we can be creative with. Working to list generatively and intensely, we will look at lists by Nazim Hikmet, Chen Chen, Linda Pastan, among others, and see if we can rethink the marginalia as a space of possibility.

The Magic behind Worldbuilding (summer 2023)

Taught by: Rutendo Chidzodzo

Have you ever read a story that transported you out of this world? Have you ever lost yourself in a story and imagined yourself in it? How can we create such worlds? What craft techniques make for great worldbuilding? In this craft session, we will focus on how to create magical worlds, we will focus on how the five senses can help with worldbuilding. How can smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste create worlds that allow the reader to get lost in?

Attention Span: How to Attract Your Readers (summer 2023)

Taught by: Dyala Kasim

When you look at a great work of art, what grabs your attention, drawing you towards it? What makes a lasting impression on you? What is it about the work that evokes emotion within you? In this craft session, we will focus on the elements that immediately hook and hold us, generating various techniques to maintain attention. We will look at several paintings online, and participants will choose one work that they love and write a short, yet impactful description about it. This session is meant to teach young writers how to compose strong beginnings that engage their readers.