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Writers absorb knowledge from author
Wayne Dick and Rita Keller concentrated on a creative writing exercise at the writers workshop with New York City author Alison Espach on Saturday at the Riverton Branch Library. Photo by Christina George

Writers absorb knowledge from author

Mar 29, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Lawrence Miles has spent the last nine years working on an eight-novel urban fantasy project.

The 27-year-old Central Wyoming College student said he hopes to see the pieces in print one day, and his aspiration motivated him to attend a writers workshop led Saturday by New York City novelist Alison Espach at the Riverton Branch Library.

"She's a published author and about my age. I hope to learn from her experiences and learn some of her techniques," Miles said. "I saw this as an opportunity to improve my skills and meet other authors."

To prepare for the workshop, Miles read Espach's novel, "The Adults," which made the Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Novels of 2011 list and earned other recognition.

"It's not my normal genre, but it made me think," he said. "It took me two days to read. I took the time to digest it."

Library assistant Teri Wiblemo, who is in charge of adult programming, advertising and marketing, said Saturday's workshop was the first of its kind in the four years she has been at the library.

"Being in Riverton in the middle of Wyoming, we try to bring people opportunities in culture and art," Wiblemo said. "We try to look out of the box."

On Friday, Espach gave a two-hour talk at the library, reading portions from her book and taking questions from the 30 attendees.

Espach, 27, teaches creative writing in New York City. She said she committed to Saturday's workshop because she enjoys teaching.

"It is always fun to work with aspiring writers and get inspired," she said. "It's mutually beneficial."

With sharpened pencils and spiral notebooks in hand, the class was ready to soak in any information Espach shared.

The author covered elements of writing that included how to develop well-rounded characters, plots and the importance of descriptive words.

"You can't have a point of view without a character," she told the group. "And you can't have a point of view without a plot."

The 15 participants had different reasons on why they signed up for the three-hour workshop.

Rita Keller said she finds her art interrelated to writing and hoped to come out of the session with a few writing tips.

Wayne Dick has a novel he'd like get published.

Riverton High School students Mason Webb and Scotty Heckert, both 17, are prospective writers.

"I wanted to know what kind of effort to put in a good work," Webb said.

Heckert agreed.

"I want to develop my writing skills," he said.

RHS teacher Annette Thornton opted to be a learner for the day, rather than an instructor.

"Sometimes it's really good to stop being a teacher and be a student," she said.

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