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Susan Miles Gulbransen

Nonfiction with a Fiction Twist

Utilizing fiction-writing techniques to create page-turning nonfiction

9:00-11:30 AM
RM 234

Ever wonder why a good novel or short story makes you want to turn the pages and read on? Those same techniques and craft can work for nonfiction, too.This workshop focuses on these tools and how to incorporate them into your writing. Each day will begin with a brief discussion on a particular feature of writing: characterization, voice, structure, etc.You then will be asked to do a short writing assignment followed by voluntary readings and critiquing, a method to get you to teach and, consequently, learn about your own work.This evens the playing field and provides springboards for discussions.Works-in-progress will be read and critiqued the final hour, always with good writing in mind.

Message to Students

Join the discussions, share your writing dilemmas, and get feedback on in-class assignments and/or works-in-progress. If it’s your first time to the conference, come with an open mind, bring several pages of your manuscript and stay flexible throughout the week.This is a time to rev up your writing motors so you can return to your desk with new energy.


Susan Miles Gulbransen’s writing background includes the literary column “InPrint,” book reviews, travel writing, and essays. Gulbransen’s articles have appeared in such publications as the Santa Barbara News-Press, Santa Barbara Magazine, Santa Barbara Independent, and Book Magazine. She is also a published poet and short story writer. Her teaching experience includes secondary history and English, and she has led writing workshops for Santa Barbara Adult Education, SBWC and San Francisco Writers Conference. Gulbransen co-founded the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival, which ran for eight years, and currently writes a column,“Beyond Books,” for the online newspaper Noozhawk.

Writing Tip I Live By

Keep at it, even if it means only fragments of time or a few paragraphs at a crack. Aim for longer writing periods every day. Those add up. Make three words part of your daily routines: Read, exercise and write!

Recommended Authors

Gulbransen loves historical fiction and puts Robert Harris, Philippa Gregory, and Edward Rutherfurd at the top of her list. In nonfiction, she gravitates to Thomas Friedman, David McCullough and Doris Kerns Goodwin. For fun reads, she’ll read anything by Bryce Courtenay, David Liss and Sue Grafton.