Writer-in-Residence Kurt DinanKurt Dinan served as the 2017 Writer-in-Residence.

Kurt Dinan is a busy man. The father of four teaches sophomore English and creative writing at William Mason High School and serves as advisor for the school yearbook. Dinan has a passion for writing and telling stories. He spent 2017 as the Library Foundation’s Writer-in-Residence sharing that passion through workshops, community events, podcasts, and blog posts.

Dinan published many short stories, one of which, Plink, appears in 2015’s The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 7. His first young adult novel, Don’t Get Caught was released by Sourcebooks Fire.

Don’t Get Caught tells the story of Max, who receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club. With a 2.5 GPA and no social life, Max wonders why he was chosen and becomes suspicious. Max along with four fellow students—who also received invites—are standing on a newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. They believe it’s a setup and plan to get payback by unleashing a prank war.

February 4, 2017, 2 p.m. - So You’ve Lost Your Mind and Want to Write a Novel. Most readers at one time or another have considered writing a novel. Well, maybe now’s the time to start doing it instead of just thinking about it. This workshop will not only cover novel-writing basics (Novel 101), but will also include hands-on strategies and tips regarding brainstorming and dealing with writer’s block.

March 4, 2017, 2 p.m. - Plotting versus Pantsing: How to (Maybe) Outline a Novel. So you’ve got a great concept for a novel and a whole bunch of characters you’re ready to manipulate and torture...what’s next? In this workshop we’ll talk about plot construction, scene crafting, and other things to consider as you start writing.

July 29, 2017, 2 p.m. - Fiction Writing Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts I’ve Learned. They say that the more you write, the more you learn. With that in mind, I’ll share with you the strategies and lessons I’ve learned (many the hard way) in the fifteen years I’ve been writing. Tips on writing dialogue and description, plotting, revising, brainstorming, even when and where to write…all of it, and other things, will be covered.

August 26, 2017, 2 p.m. - Yay, I Have a Finished Draft! Now What? Good news/bad news--The good news is you’ve finished a novel, something most people will never do. The bad news is, it’s probably not sellable…at least not yet. In this workshop I’ll cover my approach to revising a novel, the hard questions I ask myself, revision strategies, and how I ignore the temptation to light my computer on fire before crawling into the closet for a long crying session.

September 23, 2017, 2 p.m. - The Long and Tortuous Road to Publication: A Roadmap to Traditional Publication. Now that you have a finished novel, you can probably picture it on the shelf at your local library. Before that happens though, there’s a lot of work to be done. In this workshop I’ll cover the process to researching agents, writing (the nightmare that is) a query letter, what happens once you sign an agent, and, if you’re a masochist, great ways to sabotage your chances at ever getting your book published and being blacklisted forever.

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