Military veterans have stories to tell and the various learning opportunities provided by the Kansas City Vets Writing Team, a program supported by Moral Injury Association of America, will help them gain the tools and confidence to tell them well. By using reading and writing exercises to explore deployment, wartime and post-deployment experiences — fear, boredom, anxieties, thrills, brutality, tears and beauty — attendees learn how to write their stories and make them compelling. Through our workshops, monthly veteran critique groups and other literary events, participants explore the many approaches possible to create personal stories, poetry, fiction and essays.
The objective of this program is that attendees write about their military memories, begin the process of owning their stories, and by doing so, possibly negotiate their way around serious barriers. As one vet wrote in his evaluation, “[The workshop] is a great start to help me tell my story of service, however painful it may be.”
The first writing workshop was in April 2014, and the program has grown in the five years since. More than 200 vets and family members have attended day-long workshops in the Spring and the multi-week sessions held the last two years in the Fall. Many graduates of the workshops now meet on a monthly basis in a structured writing critique group, continuing to hone their writing skills, and share their personal stories in a safe environment, offering the camaraderie of military life.
Our work has been made possible through the support of the Missouri Humanities Council, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mid-Continent Library and Story Center, Kansas City Public Library System, Moral Injury Association of America, Kansas Humanities Council, The Writers Place, The World War I Museum and individual donors.
The 2018 Spring Veterans Writing Workshop is set for 8:45a to 4p, April 21 at the Story Center at the Mid-Continent Public Library at the Woodneath Campus in Kansas City, Missouri. The schedule is listed:
8:45 – 9 a.m. Welcome and Schedule Discussion
9 – 10 a.m. Editor/Author Panel: About that Writing Life . . .
Hear from a poet and a novelist about their passion for writing. Learn how they’re inspired and how they create their craft. Take away tips and tools for expanding your own written work or simply getting started.
10:15 – 11:15 a.m. Session I Select One
Both discussions focus on the simple, but all-important topic, of methods to “jump start” your writing. One focuses on prose, the other on poetry.
Writing Prompts - Prose
Writing Prompts - Poetry
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Session II Select One
Writer’s Tool Kit
Investigate ways to use the basics of writing, which include plot, theme, character, imagery, detail and irony, regardless of your genre.
Use of Technology
Learn to make the most of Microsoft software to make you a more efficient and effective writer. Discover how “One Note” can help you organize your research and background materials so that details are at your fingertips and your computer keyboard.
12:30 – 1 p.m. Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Session III Select One
Importance of Revision
You will be guided through a series of revision techniques that show how crucial this stage of your writing can be.
Value of Critique Groups
Discover the importance of input from fellow writers to help you improve your work through a hands-on demonstration. Learn how to participate to get the most benefit.
2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Session IV
Reading Your Work Out Loud
You’ve completed the hard work: your poem or prose is finished. But is it really? Reading your work out loud in front of others is the next step in achieving the maximum enjoyment from your efforts. In this session with all workshop participants, you’ll learn how to perform your writing, even if you’ve never spoken before a group. Understand rhythm, timing, voice inflection and more for the most impact on your writing and your audience.
3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Final Words and Participant Evaluations
You must register to attend and attendance is limited to 30. You do not have to select which sessions you'd like to attend. Just sign up for the day.