The Art of Storytelling: A Writing Workshop with Christa Parrish


Have you always wanted to write a book but have been unsure where to begin? Are you currently crafting your novel but find something is simply not working? Have you completed a manuscript but feel overwhelmed with the editing process? Maybe you just love writing and want to improve your skills.

Multi-award winning author Christa Parrish is offering a one-day writing workshop on August 19, 10AM to 4PM at Parkside Community Church in Clifton Park, NY.

The Art of Storytelling is open to writers of all experience and ability.

Geared toward the novelist and those writing memoirs or creative non-fiction, the workshop includes the following five-hour sessions (for more details, scroll down to the next post):

  • What is Story?
  • The First Five Pages
  • Structure and Function
  • Writing Real Characters
  • A Conversation About “The Biz”

Cost is $45 and includes lunch. Earlybird rate (before August 1st) is $35. Student cost is $25 (high school and college ages 14-24). For an additional $10, have the first five pages of your project critiqued by Christa. Manuscripts must be submitted by August 1 (upon registration, you will receive submission instructions).

Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of five novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, pastor and writer Chris Coppernoll, and they have four children in their blended family. When not writing, she is creative director of Mission Community and a homeschool mom. She’s at work on her sixth novel, and is now also slightly obsessed with baking wild yeast bread.

Home Another Way (Bethany House, 2008) – Finalist, ECPA Book of the Year in Fiction
Watch Over Me (Bethany House, 2009) – Winner, ECPA Book of the Year in Fiction
The Air We Breathe (Bethany House, 2012) – Finalist, 2013 Christianity Today Book Award for Fiction; Finalist, 2013 Christy Award, Contemporary Fiction (stand-alone)
Stones for Bread (Thomas Nelson, 2013) – Winner, Christy Award in Fiction; Romantic Times TOP PICK
Still Life (Thomas Nelson, 2015) – Award of Merit, 2016 Christianity Today Book Award, Fiction

What to Expect at “The Art of Storytelling” Workshop

So, I thought I’d give a little more detail about my workshop and the content of each session:

What Is Story?
Humans have told stories since the beginning of time. What purpose do stories serve, really? Before we write, we need to know why we write. What compels us to tell our stories? And then, what do others expect from our stories? Why are some tales successful and others easily forgotten? In this session, we’ll discuss what stories do, how they evolve, and why they are so powerful.

The First Five Pages
You know you’ve done it: picked up a book in the library or bookstore, read a bit, and then, based on what was in those first few pages, decided whether to take the book with you or put it back on the shelf. Identifying common writing pitfalls – especially those that creep into the very beginning of your writing – and learning how to correct them will make your book stronger and more likely to be enjoyed.

Structure & Function
Narrative communicates to the reader through both the “how” and the “why.” Structure is how the story is put together: plot, setting, characters. Function is why the story is told. Balancing these two important concepts with other features such as psychology, mood, motivation, and detail, will help create a “narrative organism” that carries your reader into the world of your creation.

Writing Real Characters
Why do some characters seem so alive, when you finish the book you feel like a good friend has moved away? And other characters are so flat and contrived that you roll your eyes when reading them? There is more to creating “real” characters than giving them motivation, quirks, or backstory – while these things are important, they quickly turn into “gimmicks” when used without other vital elements. In this session, we’ll discuss how to turn your paper characters into living, breathing story-people.

A Conversation About “The Biz”
Every writer wants to know, “How do you get published?” This question and answer session will cover the basics of agents, editors, publishing, royalties and advances, self-publishing, vanity presses, the “Indie” movement, and anything you might be wondering. Ask away!