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Long-Form Journalism in a Short-Form World

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Sul Ross University
Alpine, TX 79832

7/21/2013 to 7/26/2013 From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Writing Articles for Publication

with Michael Hall, Senior Editor at Texas Monthly 

Summer Writing Retreat - Sul Ross State University

Online registration for this event is now closed. There might be one or two slots still available.  If interested, please email informing us of your intention to purchase a ticket and which workshop you are interested in. We will arrange sales on a first come/first served basis until the class is full.

Orientation is Sunday evening, July 21.
Classes run Monday through Friday, July 22 to 26, from 10 am to 4 pm

$299 for members/ $359 for nonmembers

Just when you thought that social media, blogs, and the modern-day short attention span were going to kill long-form journalism, it’s doing better than ever. Long narratives, in-depth profiles, and investigative articles are everywhere—in magazines and on the internet. Instead of killing long-form, the web has revitalized it, providing more and more websites that need to “fill the bucket” with content. And the rise of short-burst social media like Twitter and Facebook have only highlighted long-form stories, helping lead readers to them. In the world of the web, content is content, no matter how short or long. 

So how do you “go long”? This course will give you the basic tools to write lengthy, narrative-driven stories that are more about attitude than objectivity, more about getting at the heart of a story than just the facts. 

We’ll talk about reporting: how to do good interviews, how to get people to open up and tell their stories; how to find documents you need through public or government searches and then how to cull the information you need.

We’ll talk about how to focus a story so that it has one main idea that guides the narrative through its arc. We’ll talk about how to spin the narrative, how to keep people interested for several thousand words. We’ll talk about structure and delve into some typical ones and some more adventurous ones.

We’ll talk about the things a narrative journalist has to do: how to write scenes that bring a manuscript to life, that play like movies in the heads of readers; how to create drama; how to create a sense of place; how to use anecdotes to move a story along; how to begin a story and how to end one.

Finally we’ll talk about revision—cutting, adding, re-writing, killing today those words that seemed so vital yesterday.

The instructor will work with students on all aspects of narrative journalism. You’ll do interviews, craft scenes, learn how to structure a story, practice the fine art of editing your writing. In the end, you’ll learn to tell a story with heart and soul, not just nouns and verbs.

Michael Hall graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. Before joining Texas Monthly in 1997, he was an associate editor of Third Coast magazine and the managing editor of the Austin Chronicle. Hall won two 2001 Katy Awards: one for Best Reporter Writing Portfolio and one for Personality Profile/Interview for his July 2001 story “Lance Armstrong Has Something to Get Off His Chest.” He won a Texas Gavel Award in 2003 for his story about capital punishment, “Death Isn’t Fair,” which was also nominated for a National Magazine Award. Hall’s stories have appeared in the Best American Magazine Writing, the Best American Sportswriting, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Da Capo Best Music Writing. He has also written for Trouser Press, the New York Times, Men’s Journal, and the Austin American-Statesman.

For more details on the Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat and information about lodging, click here.

Refund Policy:

We're sorry, but no refunds can be made. Please make sure you can commit to the dates before purchasing. Tickets are transferrable, so if something unforeseen arises you can make arrangements to have someone go in your stead. Simply alert the office via phone (512.499.8914) or email ( to pass along the name of your replacement.

Problems Registering?

If you are having issues registering online for any reason, you can sign up for the retreat via mail. Please send us your contact information, a check for the registration fee, and indicate which class you are interested in taking.

Mail check to:
The Writers' League of Texas
611 S. Congress, Ste. 505
Austin, TX 78704