As part of the Writers Return to Campus Series, ’05, ’09 alumni Michael Pogach, appeared as a guest to coordinate a fiction writing workshop with ten undergrad and grad students in the afternoon at the Arcadia’s Castle (yes, it’s an actual Grey Towers Castle) in the Rose Room on Feb. 27, 2015 from 7 to 10 p.m.
During his workshop he talked with members about the technical details of writing, such as point of view uniformity and developing sensory imagery, which draws on our five senses. Later that evening Pogach did his reading of fiction. During the Q&A he answered questions from the audience about the publishing process and where to find inspiration for stories.
His latest debut novel, The Spider in the Laurel, will be published in Sept. of this year by Regnarok Publications. He describes his latest work as “part Indiana Jones adventure, part Jason Bourne thriller, and part V for Vendetta dystopia”. Other acclaimed published stories include Zero to Sixty, She Knows, Stay, A Thistle in the Heart Of and Getaway.
“Overall, it was an amazing experience – to see that many people (about 50) show up because they wanted to hear my work read aloud was both humbling and inspiring. It made me want to go right home and get back to writing. It made me want to fill the next event with 100 people, or 200 or more,” Pogach proudly explained.
Writing isn’t the only specialty on his plate. Aside from being a father of a 5-month-old daughter, Pogach is a professor of English, an editor of the online literary magazine Obsession and the founder/advisor of NCC’s literary and arts magazine The Laconic. In addition, he was nominated a third time during the 2013-2014 school year for NCC’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Past recipients include both the 2009 and 2011 Pennsylvania Professors of the Year.
“My writing has slowed to something like a chapter or two a month. I expect this will get better over the summer and as my daughter gets older. When spare time once again presents itself to me, I will devote much of it to writing. But I also like to spend time riding and working on mymotorcycle, working with a writers group, and maybe trying to un-retire from playing hockey,”Pogach exclaimed.
He concluded his visit with an inspiring message for those who are striving to become writers:
“Read, read, read then read some more. And write until you have no words left. Then write some more. The hardest part for most young writers is finishing. If you can finish a story or a novel, you’re already ahead of about 95 percent of the people who start writing one. The other side of that is this – when you think your story or novel is complete, done and ready to be seen by publishers, put it away for a month. Then revise and edit it again.”
He then added;
“Get yourself into a writers group. You need feedback, not from parents, friends, or significant others. Their views are skewed. You need objective voices to tell you when a passage sucks, when more detail is needed, when a plot hole is big enough to swallow a casino… because no matter how good you are, there is always room to get better.”