pens

The California Creative Writing Conference is the perfect venue for you to learn from more than 40 literary agents, best-selling authors, editors, publishers, industry experts, Hollywood veterans, educators, and publishing professionals. Over 8 days and 5 nights, they will share their expertise in the craft and business of writing to help take your writing to the next level and guide your career on the path to success.

This event offers workshops for Aspiring, Active and Accomplished writers of fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting. Each topic offers an educational and inspirational experience in a stream of learning that progresses throughout the event. This methodology allows you to participate and learn at a comfortable level and speed with peers of similar interests and disciplines. We reserve the right to update and improve the schedule based on the availability of the best educators, agents, editors, publishers, and best-selling authors. Register Now!

Before the conference starts, attendees will receive a password to access the final program
using the "Link to Event" buttons for each virtual meeting or webinar.

March 2022 Virtual Program/Schedule

CCWC™ is presented as a 9-Day/Night VIRTUAL program with consecutive topics. Instead of being limited to attend only of 1/4 of the event  (as with an In-Person multi-track event with workshops running concurrently opposite each other) you are able to attend virtually everything from beginning to end.


(The "Link to Event" buttons only function for paid attendees during the conference)

FridaySaturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Friday March 04, 2022   TOP^

6:00 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

How to Get the Most from This Virtual Conference

A live, interactive tutorial to help you enjoy the conference to its fullest. We show you how to personalize for free Zoom for the event so you look good and sound the best possible, as well as stay linked to every topic.

We update this presentation to explore the best and most requested features of the Zoom virtual platform, and provide an opportunity to ask questions.


Nic Nelson

Virtual Events Manager

Click to Link to Event

6:45 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Welcome and Opening Remarks

WC2 Executive Director Tony N Todaro has directed and/or programmed more than 1200 workshops, almost 200 special speaker events, and countless topics over the years.

Tony looks forward to sharing a wealth of new and updated topics, plus a few popular favorites by request.

Plus, learn how you can thrive and benefit from this educational and inspiration event.


Tony N Todaro
Executive Director

Click to Link to Event

7:00 PM
Pacific Time

Goal Setting for Writers
How to Get the Most out of the Conference

Over the next week or so, you will get a ton of advice and inspiration to help make your writing dreams come true. But how do you keep track of what to attend, with whom to connect, and how to proceed?

In this session, goal-strategist Debra Eckerling, author of Your Goal Guide and creator of The DEB Method system of goal-setting simplified, will help you prioritize what sessions to attend and offer tips for turning the information you gather into action. She will also share strategies for connecting - and developing relationships - with experts and other attendees. Discover how to make this the most valuable conference of your writing career.

Debra Eckerling

Click to Link to Event

Saturday March 05, 2022The Path to Becoming a Professional Author   TOP^

9:30 AM
Pacific Time

Saturday Orientation and update

Tony Todaro gives an overview of today's sessions as well as any important announcements or updates. This is the time to ask the president of West Coast Writers Conferences any questions you may have about the conference in general, or specific questions about what's happening this weekend.

Tony N Todaro &
Event Officials

Click to Link to Event

10:00 - 11:00 AM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author

About 200 million people in the US have an idea for a book, yet most never become an author. In this helpful webinar, Keith Ogorek shares seven key things he has learned from working with hundreds of writers and authors so that you don’t end up with an idea and unfinished manuscript instead a copy of your book. Keith will share:

• The most important things every writer needs to do

• How to create a plan to get to your goal

• The keys to turning your idea into a compelling fiction or non-fiction book

• The importance of constructive feedback and the risks of unqualified opinions

Keith will also answer your questions LIVE

panel

Keith Ogorek
President, ALC

Click to Link to Event

11:15 AM
Pacific Time

Presented by:

How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher
 You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more?

This panel of agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later any day at the conference.

Ken Sherman
Steven Hutson
Sue Arroyo

Literary Agents,
Scouts & Publishers

Tony N Todaro(M)

Click to Link to Event

1:00 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

The Art of the Visual Pitch

Film or TV pitching starts with how to perform your story,  breathe life into your characters, and show off your world so they can’t say no. Join the Executive Producer and Head Writer of TV’s Quantum Leap and The Net as she reveals how to walk into a pitch room, for TV or film, and own it!

Deborah Pratt

Click to Link to Event

2:15 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Please, Please Me
How to Make Readers Happy

Readers of fiction want a powerful emotional experience. If your story doesn't deliver, or doesn't deliver the emotional experience they signed up for, they will be deeply displeased. 

Learn which parts of your story need the most attention, when anguish creates happiness, how to add emotional weight to any scene, what emotional experience best fits your story, and why your back-cover blurb is your first line of defense against reader displeasure.

Nic Nelson


Click to Link to Event

3:30 PM
Pacific Time

 

How To Spot Scams & Predators
And What to Do When You are the Victim

Encore topic from a recent GLAWS Special Speakers Event with a new roster of estemed panelists...

[ reference documents will be available (PDF downloadable) for the session]

Greg Victoroff
Laurel Ann Hill
Trish Watson
Daniel Lorti

Debra Eckerling(M)

Click to Link to Event

4:45 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Working With A Literary Agent, Questions & Answers

If you are seeking to get your book published, the first step is usually finding an agent to represent you.  We will discuss how to decide when your book is ready for submission, how to do research on agents, writing effective query letters, preparing book proposals that are convincing to agents and  publishers, and describing the work of the agent in negotiating a contract.

Eric L. Miller

Click to Link to Event

6:00 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

The Art Of The Hook

Hooking your reader is a way of writing that attracts interest and curiosity in your story. It's a skill and an art that pulls people to buy your book, and within your story propels readers to keep turning pages, and excites readers to buy your next book. This workshop will teach the art of writing hooks within your story, on your cover, and in your marketing. We will discuss:

  • How to grab interest on page 1, in paragraph 1 and with your first sentence
  • How to hook at chapter breaks and other critical points
  • How to build hooks into your story arc and into your plot
  • How to reveal information in tantalizing layers
  • The role of hooks in pacing
  • How to hook with your cover, title, tagline, blurb

Wendy Kendall

Click to Link to Event

7:15 - ? PM
Pacific Time

Social Networking with Attendees (YOU) and Faculty

Most virtual events don't provide the opportunity or time to network with other attendees or speakers. Well, this is your opportunity to "meet and greet" other members of the conference. So, mix up your favorite libation, pull up a comfortable chair in front of your computer, and feel free to spend the evening in a hospitable environment with your fellow writers, peers, and friends.

(The FREE Read and Critique session will be held Sunday night)


Hosted by

Arnie Cantarero

Click to Link to Event

Sunday March 06, 2022Getting Your Story Right   TOP^

10:00 AM
Pacific Time

How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher

You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. agent and client While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more?

Join this panel where the agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is NOT a pitch session, rather an opportunity to hear what each agent needs to hear in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with them later that day at the conference.

Toni Robino
Paul S. Levine
Eric Lincoln Miller

Literary Agents,
Scouts & Publishers

Tony N Todaro(M)

Click to Link to Event

11:45 AM
Pacific Time

Spring-boarding Ideas: How to Jumpstart Your Writing Project

Now that you've got an idea worth writing about, what do you do with it? It's not easy getting started on a best-selling novel or short story, but there are some important steps to take and choices to make that will get the ball rolling and the keyboard clicking. Time permitting, we will address Characters, Plotting and Pacing, and World-building.

Chrome Oxide
Neil V. Young
Daniel Lorti
Michael Tabb

Debra Eckerling(M)

Click to Link to Event

1:00 PM
Pacific Time

Setting Is Not Just A Place

This presentation is filled with valuable information for a broad audience, spanning across genres, and story / poetic structures. Sometimes overlooked by writers, the setting is an impactful ingredient to an author's work. Its importance connects with readers on multiple levels. This presentation focuses on how to effectively write setting to enhance your story, scenes, and characters. 

The panel will discuss:

  • Why Setting Is Important
  • The Emotion Of Setting
  • Impacts Of Setting On Your Protagonist
  • Considerations When Including Famous Settings
  • Describing Setting With Actions
  • Specific Tools and Methods To Hone Your Setting Craft

Presentation content will include specific, brief example readings

Wendy Kendall
Erica Miner

Click to Link to Event

2:15 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Making Your Sentences Sing

If you’re writing about a river, your sentence should sound like a river. If you’re writing about insomnia, it should sound like insomnia.

No matter what you write, you have to make it out of sentences: that’s all you’ve got. And to make your sentences compelling, you have to work with their music — the rhythms and cadences, the melody of consonants and vowels. That requires reading out loud and listening deeply, to the work of writers who inspire us and to our own work, to hear where the music is strong and where it needs tuning. In this session, we’ll listen to some great sentences from writers like Twain, Woolf, and Nabokov, then take some less-than-great sentences and collaborate on making them sing.

Dean Sluyter


Click to Link to Event

3:30 PM
Pacific Time

Retelling Old Stories with a New Twist

Join young adult authors Jordan Bartlett (Contest of Queens), Sara Hosey (Imagining Elsewhere), and Ruth Fox (Under the Heavens) as they discuss flipping the script on classic tropes, circumventing cliches, and building immersive stories that are at once familiar and completely unique.

See/browse authors bios and contact info here >
Ruth Fox
Sarah Hosey
Jordan Bartlett

Josh Chamberlain [M]

Click to Link to Event

4:45 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

How Far is Your Future?
Writing the Many Literatures of Tech and Time
 

Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,"  immediately suggests a writing corollary: "Any science fiction that presumes uninterrupted technological innovation and is set far enough in the future will be indistinguishable from fantasy."  This corollary is a major unspoken premise behind the common designation of science fiction stories as "near future," "mid future," and "far future".  These parameters also interact with the three traditional speculative fiction categories -- science fiction, fantasy, horror -- to help produce mashups such as "science fantasy" and "science fiction horror."Yet -- just as the authority source for science fiction is science and technology, and the authority for fantasy is magic and its systems, and for horror is the psychological understanding of fear -- how closely a speculation adheres to its authority source also affects the "fictionality" of particular genres such as speculative nonfiction, technothriller, and hard science fiction. Learning the rules of genres (the similarities and differences between and among them) is an important step toward writing succesfully within -- and beyond -- these rules.  


Dr. Howard V. Hendrix

Click to Link to Event

6:00 PM
Pacific Time

Read and Critique Workshop - Fiction & Non-Fiction

Would you like feedback on your work additional to the quick pitch meeting? What is it like to work with a critique group of good, focused writers?

This is an opportunity for registered attendees to participate in a live editing of their work-in-progress. Fuel up on caffeine, drink and words, and join us for Renegade Late Night Read & Critique.  It is an amazing creative experience — not to be missed.

Have a few pages of your manuscript to read and share, and enjoy the feedback exchange!

Attendees
YOU

Hosted/Moderated by

Marco Subias


Click to Link to Event

Monday March 07, 2022 Manuscript Development   TOP^

5:00 PM
Pacific Time

Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I First Started Writing

Becoming a writer and then a published author is a steep, steep learning curve. Even for those with prior experience and previously published books, the rapidly changing landscape of the industry means you can easily make mistakes; in your writing, pitching, marketing and certainly when it comes to finding and signing a deal with a publisher or entering the shark-infested waters of the self-publishing pool. The aim of this session is to keep you safe, strong and smart as you progress in your work and career.

(We cover this topic regularly, each time with new authors and voices of professionals.)

Laurel Anne Hill
Daniel Lorti
Kim O'Hara
+ Panel +


Nic Nelson(M)

Click to Link to Event

6:15 PM
Pacific Time

Deception as Theme and Strategy

Our panel of thriller and suspense authors know a few things about deceiving both their characters and readers. Join Colin Homes (Thunder Road), Joanna Elm (Fool Her Once), Bryan Johnston (Death Warrant), and Susan Ouellette (The Wayward Series) for a discussion about when suspense works and when it doesn't. They will also reveal how to heighten a story's stakes with misinformation, and what we can learn from letting an author mislead us.

See/browse authors bios and contact info here >

Colin Homes
Joanna Elm
Bryan Johnston
Susan Ouellette

Josh Chamberlain [M]

Click to Link to Event
7:30 PM
Pacific Time

Jamie McGuire interview

Author of Beautiful Disaster Jamie McGuire, tells about her experience in publishing, both self published and traditional. One of few authors to go back to self publishing, even after obtaining a contract with a traditional publisher.

Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with the international bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel, Walking Disaster, debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists in all four categories. Beautiful Oblivion, book one of the Maddox Brothers series, also topped the New York Times bestseller list, debuting at #1. In 2015, books two and three of the Maddox Brothers series, Beautiful Redemption and Beautiful Sacrifice, respectively, also topped the New York Times, as well as a Beautiful series novella, Something Beautiful. In 2016, Beautiful Burn made an appearance on the New York Times and USA Today, and was also named iBooks' Romance Book of the Year. The same year, A Beautiful Funeral also topped the New York Times bestseller list.

Interviews with Best-Selling Authors
hosted by
Arnie Cantereo

Click to Link to Event

Tuesday March 08, 2022 Manuscript Development   TOP^

5:00 PM
Pacific Time

Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal That Sells to an Agent or Publisher

Nonficion authors have a special task of developing a Book Proposal that actually speaks for them -- even before the book is written. This panel will explain the elements of the proposal, and how to structure a successful one. Learn the essen0al steps to conceptualize and plan a nonfic0on book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy.

Eric Lincoln Miller
Steve Hutson
Toni Robino


Debra Eckerling
(M)

Click to Link to Event

6:15 PM
Pacific Time

Editors Happy Hour
Networking + Q&A

Hang out with professional editors and talk about our work—and your writing! Ask us anything; watch us edit a few paragraphs of your writing; debate grammar, style, and wordcraft with us, whatever makes you happy. 

Deanna Brady
Helga Schier
Steve Hutson
Kim O'Hara
Stephanie Kelly

Nic Nelson (M)

Click to Link to Event

MOVED TO THURSDAY NIGHT 7:00 PM pst

Lee Child and Stephen King

These two super-star authors share the stage at Harvard University for an extended, lively discussion of writing, their books, Jack Reacher, and more.

Interviews with Best-Selling Authors
hosted by
Arnie Cantereo

 

Wednesday March 09, 2022Screenplays TOP^

5:00 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Prewriting Your Screenplay:

An Introduction to the Step-By-Step Process of Going From Zero to Story

Prewriting Your Screenplay cements all the bricks of a story’s foundations together and forms a single, organic story-growing technique, starting with a blank slate. It shows writers how to design each element so that they perfectly interlock together like pieces of a puzzle, creating a stronger story foundation that does not leave gaps and holes for readers to find. This construction process is performed one piece at a time, one character at a time, building and incorporating each element into the whole.

Based on Michael's book published by Routledge, and Taylor & Francis

Michael Tabb

Click to Link to Event

6:15 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Writing Screen Dialogue: "How to Develop A Good Ear"

Mike Nichols said that every scene in a movie is one of three things: A fight, a seduction, or a negotiation. All three require the use of one's good ear in writing dialogue, the engine that propels forward the character development, necessary conflict, and plot of a screenplay. Screen dialogue isn't real talk; rather, it's highly selective language that is succinct, quirky, with a rhythm and style particular to each character. It makes creative use of ordinary words and minimizes direct exposition. A good ear enables a screenwriter to discover how a script's characters will act and react in any situation.

Former feature film development executive and story editing consultant Sara Anne Fox will explore how to develop that good ear and discover what makes the words flow in your screenplay.

Sara Anne Fox 

Click to Link to Event

7:30 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

From Screenplay to Novel - Give Legs to Your Legacy

How many spec script do you have sitting on your hard drive? How many times have you heard from an exec, “Where’s the Novel?” or “We need the IP first.”

Walk with this multi-award winning writer/author/director/producer through the 10 steps it will take you to not only realize your vision in the page but dive deep into the minds and hearts of the characters you’ve already created. 

Deborah Pratt

Click to Link to Event
All Day Thursday
March 10, 2022
1 on-1 Pitch Meets with Agents, Scouts, Editors, and Publishers  TOP^

Subject to
individual
availability

Meet top industry professionals for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule In-Person meets and appointment at the Registration Desk. Schedule Virtual meets and appointments by calling our 1-on-1 studio. Some may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. Consult the wcwriters.com website for details.

We recommend that you attend the "How to Pitch" session first Saturday in order to help identify the best professionals for your individual genre and work.

Reserve an appointment
by calling the
"1-on-1 Desk"
at 310.379.2650

Meetings are held via Zoom or phone
in confidence.

Thursday March 10, 2022 - A Live Encore Presentation by Popular Demand

6:00 PM
Pacific Time

Special  Encore Presentation

7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author

About 200 million people in the US have an idea for a book, yet most never become an author. In this helpful webinar, Keith Ogorek shares seven key things he has learned from working with hundreds of writers and authors so that you don’t end up with an idea and unfinished manuscript instead a copy of your book. Keith will share:

• The most important things every writer needs to do

• How to create a plan to get to your goal

• The keys to turning your idea into a compelling fiction or non-fiction book

• The importance of constructive feedback and the risks of unqualified opinions

Keith will also answer your questions LIVE

panel

Keith Ogorek
President, ALC

Click to Link to Event

7:00 PM
Pacific Time

Lee Child and Stephen King

REBROADCAST

These two super-star authors share the stage at Harvard University for an extended, lively discussion of writing, their books, Jack Reacher, and more.

Interviews with Best-Selling Authors
hosted by
Arnie Cantereo

Click to Link to Event

All Day Friday
March 11, 2022
1 on-1 Pitch Meets with Agents, Scouts, Editors, and Publishers  TOP^

Subject to
individual
availability

Meet top industry professionals for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule In-Person meets and appointment at the Registration Desk. Schedule Virtual meets and appointments by calling our 1-on-1 studio. Some may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. Consult the wcwriters.com website for details.

We recommend that you attend the "How to Pitch" session first Saturday in order to help identify the best professionals for your individual genre and work.

Reserve an appointment
by calling the
"1-on-1 Desk"
at 310.379.2650

Meetings are held via Zoom or phone
in confidence.

 
Saturday March 12, 2022Business of Writing  TOP^

8:00 AM
Pacific Time

Writers Digital Coffee Klatch
On the Craft and Business of Writing SF/F/H

A very popular event at our conferences is the opportunity to gather with popular author / editor / educator Dr. Howard V. Hendrix for a round-table discussion. This session will focus on the interplay between the craft of writing (particularly SF/F/H) writing) and the business of writing -- and how to maintain a balance between the two. Though we are meeting virtually, all attendees can still participate in this popular event, updated into a coffee klatch.

Just click up the link and have a leisurely coffee and networking discussion.

Refills are free :-)


Howard V. Hendrix
Click to Link to Event

10:00 AM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Successful Authors Know Their Business

When you finally finish your book and earn the title of author you may not realize it, but you are actually opening your own business. Accounting, taxes, marketing, promotion, sales, distribution and even legal are all important things you need to think about.

In this informative webinar, Author Learning Center President Keith Ogorek will provide insight on how to think about these critical areas and suggest where you can find help so that along with a great book, you will also have a well-run business.

panel

Keith Ogorek
President, ALC

Click to Link to Event

11:15 AM
Pacific Time

Going from 0-1,000 Email Subscribers
Getting started and scaling up your Email Marketing

In this presentation, you will learn how to build your mailing list, write a welcome sequence, arrange cross-promotions, and vet potential reviewers.

Evan Gow
Troy Lambert


Click to Link to Event

12:30 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

The Power of Book Reviews and How to Garner Them

Excellent reviews can greatly increase your book’s chances at success, but garnering reviews can be a challenging endeavor in this saturated book market.

Independent Book Publishers Association Director of Membership & Member Services & author publisher Christopher Locke will discuss strategic planning for obtaining consumer and trade reviews; whether or not to consider paid reviews; and more.

No matter if you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, and so on, if you’re looking to garner more reviews, this talk is for you!

Independent Book Publishers Association is the largest trade association for independent publishers in the U.S. As the IBPA Director of Membership & Member Services, Christopher Locke assists the 4,000+ members as they travel along their publishing journeys.

Christopher Locke

Director of Membership & Member Services


Click to Link to Event

1:45 PM
Pacific Time

(Solo Spotlight)

Authors are Brands
Why and How to Start Developing Your Own Brand

James Patterson, Danielle Steele, Stephen King—all of these people are author brands.  Did they start out thinking of themselves as “brands”?  Probably not, but their management, publishers, agents, and their own personal styles and voices were honed over their careers to make them household names.   With book marketing becoming more reliant on merchandising and "celebrity" status, independent authors, and authors published by small presses, need to be proactive to generate awareness in the marketplace.   Find out how to identify your brand and how you can use it to build your own audience of book buyers.

Claire McKinney

Click to Link to Event

3:00 PM
Pacific Time


Closing Remarks, Drawing for Prizes

Description coming...

Tony N Todaro
Nic Nelson
Arnie Cantarero
Lillian Todaro

Click to Link to Event

TOP^

Your fellow writers at WC2 wish
you the greatest success
with all your literary endeavors!
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