Editor's Note: In advance of the March 11 deadline to apply for Lit Fest Advanced Workshops, we've asked the 2023 Visiting Authors for a preview of their workshop style, what they're reading, and more.

What’s the most surprising source of inspiration for you lately? I don’t know if it’s surprising, but an essential part of my practice is walking in silence. I try and walk three miles every day, whether I am in Iowa or Los Angeles, and I have been trying to leave my air pods at home, so that I don’t always have a podcast, audiobook, or music in my ears. When I come home, I try and free write, longhand, for fifteen minutes, before getting back to emails, text messages, and the pressing deadlines of the day. I just write down whatever I remember thinking about on my walk.

What are you working on these days? I am developing two television series, The Off Weeks and Goodwinter, both with a wonderful group of collaborators. My solo projects include a film adaptation of my short story “The Dog,” an original screenplay entitled The Hugger, and a book-length meditation on It’s A Wonderful Life.

How would you describe your workshop style? I tend to focus on expansion and amplification in the revision process: What are the missed opportunities in your work (i.e. the moment you glossed over, the minor character who disappears, the scene left off stage)? On the flipside, I also try to pinpoint the drums you beat too loudly and the neon lights you might not need. I focus on credibility and clarity, and always urge the writer author to find what is truly unique, magical, and transcendent about his or her story and characters. I attempt to nudge my students to think about the escalation of their narratives: does your work move in a way that is thrilling, surprising, suspenseful, or exciting? If not, why not? Attempting to move a story or a novel from competent to mythic, from flat to textured, might be one way of describing the way I edit when I revise my own work, and I try to bring that same eye to the work of my students.

Which writer or artist whose work you love should more people know about? Every novelist should read William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow. It’s a slim, gorgeous, wise, and heartbreaking novel, as much as it is a meditation on the need for stories and memories and grief.

Dean Bakopoulos is teaching Weeklong Advanced Screenwriting Workshop: Breaking the Story—Writing a Great Pilot. Learn more here. Apply via Submittable.