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Topical Writing and Comedy

This session is about topical, monologue-style joke writing. These are jokes based on that day’s news stories - politics, current events, entertainment, sports - anything in the news that day (or week). All late-night TV talk/variety shows (Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, James Cordon, Conan O’Brien, Bill Maher, etc.) begin with an opening monologue. In this session, students will learn about the different formulas topical jokes have, how to find good joke premises, the process of writing monologue jokes, and what a joke writer’s typical work day is like. Students may also try their hand at writing jokes themselves if they like.

Featured Instructor: Mr. Ned Rice

Ned RiceNed Rice has been a staff writer for The Chevy Chase Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fashion Police with Joan Rivers, The Jeselnik Offensive, and The Howard Stern Show. During his 25-year TV and radio writing career, Ned has been nominated for two Prime Time Emmy Awards and five Writers Guild of America Awards for Best Comedy Writing.

Cartooning and Graphic Novels

This session is about story and character development brainstorming processes. Drawing and literary random brainstorming techniques will be covered from cartooning to plot and script development of sequential art. We will also cover topics from writing outlines, attributes of characters, drawings-sketches-doodles, and more – perfect for the budding artist or writer. Tailored to each camper’s level and skill, you will leave with your own project and inspiration for the rest of the summer! No previous art or writing experience needed.

Featured Instructor: Mr. John Martin

John MartinJohn Martin is the co-creator and illustrator of "Sci-Fi Junior High" and the "Vordak the Incomprehensible" series. He runs a commercial illustration and design company and is an adjunct professor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. John has always loved Marvel Comics, The Hulk, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Dr. Doom, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Godzilla, Ray Harryhausen, The Three Stooges, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mel Blanc, Vincent Price, Scooby-Doo, Lost in Space, The Munsters, Star Trek, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Star Wars, Adam West’s Batman, Jonny Quest, Sponge Bob, and Slurpees. A day doesn’t go by without him drawing monsters, robots, and characters from his childhood. He lives in Michigan with his wife Mary, sons Adam and Paul, daughter Grace, two dogs and three cats.

Poetry and Poetry Out Loud

This session will explore topics in poetry and the spoken word. For example, one of the topics is titled "Ekphrasis and Self-Portraiture: Painting Pictures with Poetry." Students will create poems that comment on famous works of art (paintings, photographs, sculptures) to enhance the reader’s understanding of those works. Students will also work to create their own “Self-Portrait,” poems that reveal their real and true selves to the reader. Students will develop skills in tone, diction, and syntax as they create poems that take the reader on unpredictable journeys towards revealing moments of insight.

Featured Instructors: Mr. Kevin Griffin and Mr. Peter Markus

Kevin GriffinKevin Griffin chairs the English department at Detroit Catholic Central High School where he teaches English, public speaking, and creative writing courses. His poetry has been published in The Broad River Review, The Garfield Lake Review, The MacGuffin, Third Wednesday, and Voices, among other publications. His first chapbook of poems, "Line and Hook," will be published by the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press in the summer of 2017.

Peter MarkusPeter Markus is the Senior Writer with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit. He is the author of the novel, "Bob, or Man on Boat" (2008) as well as several other books of short fiction, "Good, Brother" (2001), "We Make Mud" (2011), and "The Fish and the Not Fish" (2014) which was selected for a Notable Michigan Book Award. His most recent book is the book of non-fiction, "Inside My Pencil: Teaching Poetry in Detroit Public Schools" (2017). He is a recipient of a Kresge Arts Fellowship in Literary Arts in 2012, as well as the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award from Oakland University where he currently teaches in the Creative Writing Department.

Flash Fiction and Creative Writing

Perhaps the best-known example of flash fiction is Ernest Hemingway’s story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Besides six-word stories, flash fiction includes 140-character stories (twitterature), 50-word stories (the dribble), 100-word stories (the drabble), and 750-word stories (sudden fiction). One trait that distinguishes flash fiction is its implication of a bigger story. Our workshop will feature exercises on writing creative excuses in under 30 words, developing a main character, starting in the middle of the action, focusing on a single image, leaving out unnecessary words, and providing twist endings.

Featured Instructors: Ms. Frances E. Fitzgerald and Mr. Marquin Parks

Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald, Writing Center coordinator, has taught journalism, technical writing, and composition classes at Madonna University. She helped launch the Madonna Pen, the campus writing group, and MU Voices, Madonna’s literary blog. In addition, Frances has presented at the Michigan Writing Centers Association (MWCA) and East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA) conferences, as well as the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). She received her tutor certification through the College Reading and Language Association (CRLA). In addition, Frances’s satire has been published in Funny Times. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, and an M.A. in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Frances enjoys working with students as they discover their unique writer’s voice.

Marquin ParksMarquin Parks is an author and educator from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shortly after participating in the Eastern Michigan Writing Project, Marquin's debut novel for his "Wrinkles Wallace" series was released. Marquin provides consultation services to classrooms ranging from elementary and major universities, to non-traditional learning environments. He lives and writes in Southeastern Michigan.

Sports Media Writing and Editing

Students will experience the variety of writing used for today’s sports media personnel. From traditional columnists to digital media coordinators, students will learn what it takes to write and edit compelling and informative pieces that sports fans will enjoy and consume.

Featured Instructors: Dr. Neal Haldane and Ms. Michele Lewis Watts

Neal HaldaneNeal Haldane directs the Madonna University Journalism/Public Relations program and also teaches Communication and Writing courses. His courses prepare students for a wide range of media careers by emphasizing hands-on experience with traditional and digital communication tools and strategies. The former newspaper reporter, editor, and public relations practitioner extols the virtues of experiential learning through internships and co-ops. He also emphasizes the importance of connecting the classroom to the community via service-learning and study abroad initiatives. In addition, Haldane works closely with the First-Year Experience helping students transition to college.

Michele Lewis WattsMichele Lewis Watts serves as Madonna University's Director of the Sport Management Program. She teaches introductory sport management and sport sociology courses. Lewis Watts has 20 years of experience in sports and events management, starting her career at the Detroit Pistons and working on both the 2006 Super Bowl XL Host Committee and 2009 Final Four Organizing Committee. She is actively engaged in the community, coaching high school and club volleyball in Detroit, serving on the board of Detroit PAL, and frequently speaks at coaching conferences. A former collegiate volleyball player, Lewis Watts is also a former member of the semi-professional, five-time champion Detroit Demolition women’s tackle football team.

Playwriting and Screenwriting

In this session, students will explore both playwriting and screenwriting. We will work with scenes from short plays and view excerpts from films. You will learn how to take your ideas and transform them into a one-act play. Topics that will be discussed include plot development, characterization, writing for the stage, as well as incorporating props and setting the scene. Our goal is to end the week with a one-act play that can be staged.

Featured Instructor: Dr. Christopher Tremblay

Christopher TremblayChristopher Tremblay has been affiliated with local theatre productions since 2003. He is a playwright, producer, director, and an actor. He is co-founder of TLC Productions, a resident theater group at The Village Theater at Cherry Hill in Canton, MI. TLC Productions has produced four one-act festivals since 2011. Tremblay has taught playwriting workshops at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.


This workshop is part of the Madonna micro-scholarship program. Learn more at: https://www.raise.me/join/madonna.
Sign up to earn scholarships from Madonna University for your achievements in high school.