October 28, 2008


Dan Carter, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Russell Rowland, author of the acclaimed books “In Open Spaces” and “The Watershed Years,” will lead a workshop Saturday designed to help writers get the most of their ideas.


Rowland’s workshop is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rim Country Land Institute on Molt Road north of Billings near Phipps Park. The cost is $25.


The workshop is the second of four “Call of the Wild” writing workshops offered through the YMCA Writer’s Voice.  The next sessions are Nov. 8 at the Rim Country Land Institute, with Tami Haaland and Nov. 15 at the Stillwater County Public Library in Columbus with Bernie Quetchenbach. Both Haaland and Quetchenbach are assistant professors of English at MSU Billings.


According to Rowland, participants in his workshop will read and discuss stories from well-known writers, including Jack London, to see what it is that makes them work. Exercises will be done to generate story ideas and enhance the students' ability to use character, plot, setting and point of view.


“My main rule about writing is that there are no rules as long as you can make it work,” he said. “But the best stories work because they utilize certain basic elements, and that's what we'll talk about. No matter how wild a story may appear, there is usually a structure working under the surface.”

Rowland was born and raised in Montana and recently returned to Billings after a 20-year absence. He is the author of two novels, “In Open Spaces,” which made the San Francisco Chronicle's bestseller list, and “The Watershed Years,” a finalist for this year’s High Plains Book Award. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University, and currently teaches at MSU Billings and online with Gotham Writing Workshops. He is also the fiction editor for two online magazines, The Smoking Poet and the soon to be launched Stone's Throw.


To register, contact the YMCA Writer’s Voice at 406-248-1685 ext 231 or email corbyskinner@yahoo.com. For additional information, contact Quetchenbach at 248-1028 or bquetchenbach@msubillings.edu.


For information on college credit through MSU Billings College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning, contact Kim Schweikert at 896-5890.