All Levels Breakout Session Create (Craft)

Recipes for Disaster—The Art of the Catastrophe Narrative (Create A3)


Heritage A August 25, 2018 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

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Kelly Caldwell

Like stories about surviving life-threatening illness or war, disaster stories are always inherently dramatic — and that, for writers, is the problem.

In this session, attendees will take the ingredients of the familiar Disaster Narrative Arc and re-assemble them into stories that are meaningful and compelling on their own terms. We’ll also talk about disaster superlatives and how to avoid them.

Using excerpts from stories like Joe Blair’s “Sandbagged,” Mac McClelland’s dispatches from Haiti for Mother Jones, and Wells Tower’s “Love in the Ruins,” the session will provide strategies useful for writers of memoir, reported essay, and narrative journalism.