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Education & Inspiration in the
Craft and Business of Genre Writing
for Literature and Screen.
Genre-La™ Writers Conference
12:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
1:30 Orientation Session
2:00 How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher (Friday Edition)
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? Join this panel at the beginning of each day, where the 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.

Panel of the Literary Agents and Publishers Du Jour

3:30 - 6:30 ProCritiques™ with Editors & Literary Agents
1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors 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 you attend the Saturday or Sunday "How to Pitch" session at 10:00 am in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Meetings Desk

3:15

Great Beginnings Openings 
– Your First Line, First Page, First Three Pages

You hear from editors and agents that if the first paragraph of your story isn't strong enough, they won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Writing a first line that will grab an editor and immediately announce your authority as an author. This will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how real pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the author, then offer improvements covering everything from glaring grammar errors to story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring your first 3 pages. Selected pages will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how the editors review and suggest improving the samples.

Sara Anne Fox, Mike Robinson, Robert Yehling, Plus Panel


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

Many aspiring writers waste time and brain cells when they first enter the world of writing professionally. 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. Learn from industry pros many of the things you can avoid to save years of frustration and yes, brain cells, too.

Panel of Published Authors, first appearance
Justin Robinson, Christina Cigala, Andrew Grant Jackson


The Wonders of Language and Culture: How to Seduce Readers and Lure Them Deeper Into Your World

A Conversation about researching cultures while writing fiction. How important is it to authentically capture a region, country, or culture? How can you ensure you don’t make rookie mistakes when it comes to cultural sensitivity and appropriations? And how does understanding the nuances of language, slang and lingo help you develop rich worlds in genre fiction? Learn how to research an area and add juicy flavor to your manuscript.

Kimberly Blagrove, translator and world traveler, took Desireé Duffy on a guided tour of France and conducted French translations for her book. They will share their experiences and advice in this intimate conversation.

Kimberly Blagrove, Founder and Owner of Vogue Translations
Desireé Duffy, Author and Founder of Black Château Enterprises

4:30

Self-Editing that Wins Readers — and Deals
​"What is my final step before getting a professional editor or submitting my manuscript?" Many of us ask this; the answer is simple — self-editing. By editing your own work, you polish it as YOU want it, making it far easier for editors to bring it to its final published form. Author and book editor Robert Yehling will present 20 key steps to self-editing that will bring out the fullest luster in your characters, dialogue, settings, and story. A big favorite at past conferences, this is sure to be lively.

Bring two (2) pages of your manuscript.  
Robert Yehling  (spotlight presentation)


When Worlds Collide. Writing a Short Story that Sells

Everybody believes they can write a short story. But writing a good one, worthy of publication in an anthology or magazine is a craft of its own. Get tips on the best way to use an economy of words to tell a compelling story of any size.
As the details of your science fiction/fantasy worlds hit the page, do your short stories collapse from the impact? Strategies for juggling world building, characters, short-story arcs and forward momentum.

Laurel Anne Hill, Howard Hendrix  Joni Labaqui (m), plus panel


Choosing a Salable Topic

Description coming...


Steve Rosenthal, Marilyn Atlas Agency


5:45

The Evolution of Folklore, Legend & Mythology into science fiction and fantasy.  

Where are the boundaries?  In 2017 alone, within the space of a few months, we have had three films based on Arthurian legend, all of which ran with the story in totally different ways, from the descendants of King Arthur doing a martial arts competition in Bangkok to a very sinister medieval version with overtones of Tolkien, to the Transformers.  Same archetypes, totally different films.

S.P. Hendrick, Pamela Jaye Smith, Robert Seutter, Carl Nelson


THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE


Nothing kills a story faster than a weak antagonist and insufficient barriers to your protagonist’s goals and desires. No matter your genre – from sci-fi to spiritual, mystery to fantasy, romance to horror, and more – an engaging story needs believable challenges from within, from other beings, and from outside forces. In this workshop we’ll explore some essentials of the Dark Side you can put to work in your stories to more fully develop your characters and situations and to more surely capture your audience. 

  • Three Levels of the Dark Side
  • Lure of the Dark Side   
  • Confronting the Dark Side
  • Selecting your Worthy Opponent

Join us and master the Dark Side to bring more Light into all your stories, no matter the genre, style, or topic. 

PAMELA JAYE SMITH. mythologist, writer, international consultant/speaker, and award-winning writer/producer/director


Beyond the First Draft – Techniques for Editing Your Own Work and When to Hire a Pro – Friday Edition

Like a legal client who tries to represent themselves, a writer who solely relies on their ability as an editor is probably headed for literary disaster. Beyond friends and first readers, there is a real need to have a professional editor review every manuscript, and bring it up to literary standards.

This panel of editors will give you tips of how to best edit your work, and what to avoid, then explain how to prepare the MS for a professional and how to find an affordable one.
 
Deanna Brady, Mike Robinson, Sara Anne Fox, Whitney Davis, plus  panel


7:30 "A Gathering of Writers"
No-host cocktail party with the speakers and agents
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the agents, speakers and special guests. Location TBA
As of January 22, 2018 Change   Download PDF
7:30 am Literary Breakfast with Art Holcomb
Join this popular author/editor/educator/screenwriter for a round-table discussion
+ Q&A on the craft of writing. No host breakfast. Limited to ten.
Must RSVP. Mikado Hotel Restaurant
9:00 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
9:30 Orientation Session
10:00 am How To Pitch an 
Agent or Publisher (Saturday Edition)
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? Join this panel at the beginning of each day, where the 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.

Panel of Literary Agents and Publishers Du Jour


Thanks for the Memories – How to Write and Self-Publish a Successful  Memoir

Description coming…

Elaine Ash, Madeline Sharples, Morgan St. James, A.G. Billig (moderator)


11:15 am - 6:30 pm ProCritiques™ with Editors
Master ProCritiques™ w/ Agents

1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors 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 you attend the Saturday or Sunday "How to Pitch" session at 10:00 am in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Meetings Desk

11:15

World Building and Word Building -- Getting Both the Speculation and the Fiction Right.

At its most challenging, the speculative fiction genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror, SF/F/H) present the writer with a double burden: Creating a world that differs markedly from our contemporary reality but is nonetheless plausible and intriguing, and realizing that world through the medium of well-crafted fiction.  Join us as we examine tools for integrating history and story, world building and word building, in the writing of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Craig Miller (M), Howard Hendrix, Deborah Pratt, plus panel


How to Hook an Agent

How do agents think? What's the best way to present your material to hook an agent's interest? Elaine Ash pitches literary agents every day on behalf of writers, nurturing ongoing relationships. She will teach you how to pitch and query like a pro.

Elaine Ash (M), Andrew Jackson, ​Daryl Wood Gerber, Dan Kelly, Craig Faustus Buck


Makers and Monsters.

Many scholars have argued that science fiction was born with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  This presentation examines how that novel provides a "creation story" -- not only for the monster, or for science fiction as a genre, but also for the individual writer's process in producing a science-fiction story or novel.  A monster needs a Frankenstein like a Frankenstein needs a monster. Learn what Shelley's novel tells us about how to make our monsters live!  

Howard Hendrix (spotlight presentation)

12:30 Keynote Luncheon & Beverages  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»
1:00
"A Brave New World for Women: How Dystopian Worlds Are Merging with the Times"

A panel of women and men who are creating stories that send poignant messages to our society on the science fiction, fantasy, YA, and dystopian fiction front. Bringing to light topics such as: How are authors creating worlds for women today; The importance of empowerment themes; What readers are readers looking for--what themes are resonating today that writers should be aware of; How do books impact the current zeitgeist—a world where sexual harassment accusations have impacted society with movements like #MeToo; Margaret Atwood'sHandmaid's Tale, and other feminist fiction being adapted for TV and film — what opportunities does that present for writers; Things to consider when an author develops characters who are a different gender than themselves; Visions for the future; and where are we heading?

Diana Tierney (M), Christina Cigala, Deborah M. Pratt, Leslie Ann Moore, Sean Patrick Traver, and Laurel Anne Hill

2:15

Getting Under The Reader’s Skin

Every great, successful book in every genre — from the most out-there fantasy fiction to the most feet-on-the-ground nonfiction — works by getting under the reader’s skin. That is, it connects with readers in an intimate, inner space, inside the five senses. Once this connection is established, each new fact or plot twist is experienced from that space, vividly and with immediacy, as if it’s all happening to the reader. But like any skill, writing this way takes practice. To make that under-the-skin connection with our readers, we need to be wide awake, cutting through stale cliché and pale imitation with fresh observation of our own inner responses to experience. And we need to rewrite diligently, regarding the process as a treasure hunt in which we find opportunities to reawaken the senses, again and again.

Award-winning/best-selling author Dean Sluyter will share his favorite techniques for getting under the reader’s skin. Drawing on his years as a literature teacher at a top prep school, he’ll show how the masters have done it, from Homer and Mark Twain to Edith Wharton and Truman Capote. And as a writer who specializes in the genres of self-help and inspiration, he’ll show that this approach is not limited to fiction. In fact, the more (supposedly) dry and abstract your subject is, the greater the need to bring it to life through the power of the senses.

Dean Sluyter


Using Neuroscience to Create Compelling Characters

Leading neuroscientists have discovered that there are nine distinct personality types. Do you know what they are? Do you know how to use cutting edge neuroscience to create characters that leap off the page? How can you ensure that a character does not act out of character? What are the nine distinct motivations, fears, tendencies, and attributes? Which types make the best protagonists? Antagonists? Lovers? Detectives? Sidekicks? Mentors? Which character types will appeal the best to your target audience? A New York Times bestselling author and neuroscience expert reveals these answers and many more in this exciting and entertaining course.

William Craig Reed


How to Structure Your Novel So Readers Can’t Put it Down

What one thing holds back most unpublished manuscripts?
 According to book doctor and fiction editor Elaine Ash, it’s not a lack of sparkling characters or lustrous prose—it’s structure! 

Screenwriters are classically taught to write in three acts, with specific places for plot points and builds, action and dialog. But does that hold true for novelists? How do you keep the reader and story moving forward page after page and know when to blow up spaceships or avoid boring your reader?

 Take-home materials provided.

Elaine Ash (M), Tim Powers, plus panel


3:30

Query Letters That Work

You've spent six months to a year developing your new book. Now it's time to find a literary agent or publisher who will deliver it to the public. However, the first item that potential acquisitions professionals want is a query letter. But how do you condense a year's work into three paragraphs on one sheet of paper? This need not be a daunting document. In this workshop, you will learn how to craft a query letter that sells you and your work. Plus, selected members of the audience will have a chance to read theirs out loud and have them critiqued on the spot. This workshop is intended primarily for authors of fiction, but all paid attendees are welcome to participate. 

Bring your work-in-progress query letter. Some will be read aloud and commented on by our panel.

Elaine Ash (M) , Paul S. Levine, Steve Hutson, Steve Rosenthal


Art of Faction: Weaving real science & other true details into Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Robert Yehling – Spotlight presentation


Selling to Hollywood - What does it take to get past the Studio Gatekeepers?

The paradigm for selling to Hollywood has changed just as dramatically as the literary business in New York. Many of the television and motion picture studios are now operating with a different set of directives and priorities that may drive some writers crazy, but afford the smart ones to get there in style. Especially now that Science Fiction and Fantasy epics dominate the summer box office, and have an increasing presence in the fall TV schedule.

Craig Miller, Dan Watanabe, Deborah Pratt, Sara Anne Fox, Ken Sherman


4:45

Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing vs Traditional Publishing— Everything You Need to Know When It Comes to Marketing and Selling Your Book Across Publishing Platforms

What are some of the major differences when it comes to self-published, Indie, hybrid and traditionally published books for authors in regards to sales and marketing, distribution and PR behind the book? Where will you make the most money? How can you make sure that your book is successful? What are some of the platforms that will help you promote your self-published or Indie published book? The literary industry is always evolving and there are many ways to make sure that your book becomes a success. But what does success really mean in the literary industry across these mediums? Join this workshop to find out more about each publishing platform and get a better idea of what is right for you!

Panel


Game of Thrones - How George R. R. Martin Did It

​The structure of Game of Thrones made easy! Based on Book 1, A Song of Fire and Ice, this fascinating talk demystifies epics and sagas, and gives a sense of direction, focus and control that writers can apply to their own "literary leviathans." Helpful take-home handouts.

Elaine Ash  Solo Spotlight


Doing Historical Research That Adds Value to your Book

Description coming...

Steve Rosenthal, Marilyn Atlas Agency, Gayle K. Brunelle, Diana Tierney, Tim Powers (?)


6:00

"Your News Is Not True": Writing Science Fiction in a Fact-Challenged Time.

 Science fiction writers have long relied (to varying degrees) on science as the source of authority and "backstop" for the stories we tell. But what is a writer of science fiction to do when science itself is politicized and under attack from many directions? Join us as we explore how this situation affects science fiction writing at many levels -- from the sf writer at work to the marketing of speculative fiction generally.
Howard Hendrix Spotlight Presentation


How To Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing And Avoid Writer's Block

The literary history abounds in authors who wrote books that stood the test of time. Nowadays, some successful authors launch book after book after book, and never seem to be out of ideas or inspiration. What do they have in common? They are authentic, go beyond the limits of their mind, and don't question their worth as writers, and their success. Their follow their inner compass, enjoy the process of writing, and are happy to offer their gift to the world. If they can do it, you can do it. 

In this session, you will learn all about their tricks. You will be given practical tools and exercises that will help you to keep your creative juice flowing so that you never have to face writer's block again.

Join us and discover:
•    What the masters of the writing game do to stay creative,
•    How to connect your heart and your mind to write a great book,
•    How to use spiritual practices such as meditation to boost your creativity,
•    How to overcome self-imposed limitations and beliefs regarding your success as a writer,
•    How to use your five senses (and the sixth one, too) to find inspiration on the spot,
•    How to find the courage to express your authentic you,
•    How to create the right writing environment,
•    How to enjoy the process of writing (even when it feels lonely).

            A.G Billig (spotlight solo)

7:30 "A Gathering of Writers"
No-host cocktail party with the speakers and agents. All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the speakers and special guests
9 pm - 12± TBA
Renegade Late Night Read and Critique Workshop with Robert Yehling
An after hours opportunity for registered attendees to bring their work-in-progress and participate in a late night live editing session with a Master Editor. Limited seating. Nominal Fee. Mikado Hotel
As of January 22, 2018 - Subject to Change Download PDF
9:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
10:15 am - 12 noon ProCritiques™ with Editors
Master ProCritiques™ w/ Agents

1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors 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. We recommend you attend the Friday and Saturday "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Registration Desk

10:00 am

Working with Major Publishers

Descriptions coming...

Neo Edmund  (solo spotlight)


Challenges of Self-publishing -- Making Money as an Indie Author

Description coming…
Justin Robinson, Russell Nohelty, Deborah Pratt

 

11:15

How To Write and Sell or Publish a Successful Graphic Novel

Learn the differences between writing prose, a screenplay, audio dramas and comic books.  Also learn about what it takes to put your own comic book together.

Russell Nohelty,
Debbie Lynn Smith Daughetee,
Neo Edmund,
Justin Robinson


Brand Building Your Business as an Author

Description coming…
Russell Nohelty, Desiree Dufffy, A.G. Billig, plus panel


Reviving the failed manuscript: CPR or Necromancy?

Most writers have at least one story that never worked right and languishes in an electronic grave. When is it worth trying to revive such manuscripts? How can writers avoid creating worse monstrosities in the process?

Laurel Anne Hill Solo spotlight

12:30 Keynote Speaker Address / Luncheon  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»
1:00 TBA
"Say Something Real"
with special guest speaker, Dean Sluyter
Motivational presentation. Description coming...
  Conference wrap up - Thank you for attending!

 

As of January 22, 2018 - Subject to Change

Download PDF