Willamette Writers Conference Returning Faculty (Pt. One)

With over sixty faculty members, the 2016 Willamette Writers Conference will offer workshops from the most varied group of instructors ever. They represent the many faces of writing from poetry to prose, fiction to nonfiction, and the art of writing to the business. This extraordinary list of presenters includes well-loved veteran instructors, newbies, and guest speakers from our Willamette Writers Chapter meetings. Instructors who have supported Willamette Writers for years and have proven popular among members include Larry Brooks, Sage Cohen, Susan DeFrieitas, Hallie Ephron, Kim Cooper Findling, William Hertling, Randall Johnson, Jennifer Lauck, Danny Manus, Jessica Morrell, Rosanne Parry, Luke Ryan, Molly Best Tinsley, and Cynthia Whitcomb.

Southern Oregon Treasure at the Willamette Writers Conference

Molly Best Tinsley on Left with Anna Monders at Willamette Writers Southern Oregon

Molly Best Tinsley on Left with Anna Monders at Willamette Writers Southern Oregon

I first met Molly Best Tinsley at the 2012 Willamette Writers Conference, but she hasn’t only presented at our conferences. She has supported the Southern Oregon Willamette Writers Chapter for years. According to Kate Hannon, Chapter Coordinator for the Southern Oregon Chapter—

“Molly Best Tinsley is a Southern Oregon treasure and a mentor to many aspiring writers in our community. She wears many hats, and she wears them all gracefully. One of our most popular and frequent presenters, Molly never gives up on her steadfast insistence on boots-on-the-ground authenticity, exquisite word-craft, and an adherence to the higher calling that writing can be.”

Molly will present the workshop Making a Scene for the Fiction Track on Saturday afternoon.

They Never Forget Him

 Jennifer Lauck and Larry Brooks at the Willamette Writers Conference

Jennifer Lauck and Larry Brooks at the Willamette Writers Conference

When asked about Larry Brooks, Stephanie Rafflelock, Co-Chapter Coordinator for the Southern Oregon Willamette Writers Chapter, said, “People either love him or hate him, but the bottom line is, they never forget him.”

Stephanie attended all of Larry Brook’s classes at the 2015 conference, but she really loved his Masters class. She said, “He pushes. He inspires. He challenges, and he is one intense dude.”

At the 2015 conference, Stephanie pitched to three agents who asked her for her manuscript. But in the end, they weren’t interested. However, what she learned from Larry changed everything.

“Sitting in Larry’s Master class, I was inspired to make a final set of revisions on the book I was trying to sell. Knowing that I had a story that hung together beginning to end gave me a tremendous sense of confidence—and this is what Larry teaches: a story that hangs together. So when I pitched to agent number four, post-conference, I was rewarded with representation. In part, I credit Larry Brooks for that win.”

Stephanie plans to attend Larry’s workshops again at the 2016 conference, and hopes he will teach another Masters class. You’re in luck, Stephanie, he will teach three classes for the Masters Track this year!

More stories to come…

If you have a returning faculty story, please email them to me.

Photos credit: Russell J. Young

Gail Pasternack

As Vice President and Secretary of Willamette Writers, Gail Pasternack is a member of the Executive Committee and helps run the daily affairs of Willamette Writers. She also records the minutes for all board meetings and the annual member meeting and chairs the Governance Committee. Gail is a writer, photographer, blogger, educator, foodie, and tango dancer. Contact her.