Discussion and Writers Workshop with author and MFA professor Lawrence Coates
With an eye toward the upcoming NaNoWriMo, novelist Lawrence Coates will lead a discussion / workshop on conceiving and developing your novel idea. The evening will feature an outline of the seven basic plots, some guided exercises that can be shared, and some questions that can be used to strengthen your idea or the manuscript you’re currently working on. Coates has published five books, most recently The Goodbye House. He teaches Creative Writing in the MFA program at Bowling Green State University.
Lawrence Coates is chair of the Department of English at Bowling Green State University. He has published three previous novels, all set in Northern California: _e Blossom Festival (a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection), _e Master of Monterey, and _e Garden of the World. His fourth novel, _e Goodbye House, will be published in September. Coates is recipient of the Western
States Book Award for Fiction, the Nancy Dasher Award, the Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
In the aftermath of the early 2000s dot-com bust, the people of San Jose, California, face a changing landscape of lost dreams and careers gone awry. It's in this setting that Katherine Watson, a forty-seven-year-old event planner and mother of two, moves back into her childhood home with her teenage son, Carter. They live with her aging father, who is undergoing palliative care for prostate cancer. Katherine's husband, Scott, has gone missing after his risky investments failed and they were forced to sell their dream home.
In this multigenerational family story, Katherine, Carter, and Scott all try to navigate an evolving world in the Golden State that doesn t seem quite so golden any longer. Scott returns and hopes to restore and recreate their past happiness, Katherine contemplates divorce and explores new love along the way, and Carter works to find a place for himself in a new school among classmates who are hostile to him.
The characters fervently chase their dreams across Silicon Valley and beyond, from the gleaming office parks of Cupertino to a self-help seminar on the Las Vegas Strip and an underfunded high school theater production of "The Tempest. "The one element tying them all together is the house of the title, a 1950s tract home that once represented happiness and now holds the family close in its protective embrace, until, in the end, even this constant changes.
In the California heartland in 1932, at a migrant labor camp whose very name means forgotten, a child's sudden illness leads to tensions between workers wishing to break camp and the land barons enforcing their contracts. Into this dispute Esteban Alas - contrabandista and self-styled businessman - is reluctantly drawn as a mediator, until an act of violence forces him into a more tragic role.