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Education & Inspiration in the
Craft and Business of Genre Writing
for Literature and Screen.
Genre-La™ Writers Conference
pens

The Genre-LA Writers Conference offers tracks for writers covering everything from Creative Writing to the mastering of particular genres. Each workshop offers an educational and inspirational education in a stream of learning that progresses over the weekend. This allows you to participate and learn at a comfortable level with other writers of similar interests and disciplines.You may jump from one track to another at any time, or over a period of days, experience as many as you can. Its your choice!Register Now!

 

12:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
1:30 Orientation Session
2:00

The Business of Writing

What is the difference between a copyright and a trademark? When is my work protected? When do I need a literary agent and how do I catch one’s attention. What are my responsibilities after signing? What alternatives do I have if a publisher wants all the domestic, international, Ebook, Audio, and Film rights to my work? How do I protect my work Online, or in a writing group? What are the dos and don’ts of publishing and self-publishing?

Learn the answers to these important questions and more from this distinguished panel of industry experts. No matter what you are writing, this is an event you must attend! The panel will also take questions, time permitting.

Paul S. Levine, Greg Victoroff, Steven Hutson, Dr. Arianna A. Rama, panel, Tony N. Todaro (M)

3:15

The Art and Craft of Story Openings

"Hook them from the first sentence." We've heard that time and time again, but what exactly does that mean? How do you do it? Join writer and educator M. Todd Gallowglas as he gives examples of memorable story openings, examines why and how those openings work so well, and explores the ways writers can apply those techniques to their own work.

Michael Todd Gallowglas (Solo Spotlight)


How to Develop Your Memoir with Appeal to the Widest Possible Audience

What makes “Eat, Pray, Love,” “The Liar’s Club” or “Angela’s Ashes” garner dazzling reviews or make readers weep or howl with laughter? How do you impose order on a thousand memories? Why is it important to resist the temptation to summarize your life?

In this workshop, we’ll identify what makes great memoirs unforgettable, as well as identify moments from your own life: the lowest ebb, the most unusual, shattering, funny or triumphant incidents that reveal your character and move readers.

Madeline Sharples, Christina Hoag, Alexis Krasilovsky, Marlan Warren, Sara Anne Fox (M)


How the Hero’s Journey Revolutionized Genre Fiction

When writing genre fiction, it’s important to understand how the Hero’s Journey plays into the structure of your story.  By analyzing six popular films, (Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Matrix, Spider Man, The Lion King and Lord of the Rings), we will discuss how you can use Joseph Campbell’s infamous journey template and make it your own. This class will give you a fresh perspective on your story!

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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

4:30

Are You Writing the Right Book?

This is an important question in today’s hyper-competitive genre fiction market. Pitch your story idea live to Elaine and Dan and receive a kind and supportive critique in front of the class. There will be room for at least four critiques, and those watching will learn heaps about what makes a good premise and how to focus a story. Don't miss Elaine's signature take-home handouts.

Elaine Ash, Dan Kelly


Using Improv to Ignite Genre-Bending, Memorable Characters

Taught by two dedicated improvisation players who are also successful writers, this workshop will employ various improvisation techniques as well as lively, interactive discussion, a short lecture and prompts to demonstrate how improvisation can inspire the best characters, plots and themes – through a sense of play.  You will learn the basics of creating compelling scenes, focusing on place and specifics to make writing come alive.  The purpose is to “ignite your imagination,” and to liberate it for your writing.

Scott Rubenstein, award-winning exec producer and writer of over 30 TV shows including Star Trek: TNG and MacGyver also has written about writing and done stand-up.  His wife and collaborator, Devo, a writing and acting coach who teaches producing for UCLA Extension and writing for directors at USC and acting at the prestigious ACTING INTERNATIONAL in Paris, has studied improvisation with Andy Goldberg, DeVera Marcus and Aretha Sills.  Devo performed in the Edinburgh Arts Festival, IN NO SENSE, a play that was co-created through improvisation techniques.  Together, Scott and Devo have been studying, writing and performing using improvisation techniques for over twenty years, and both are thrilled to share their process.  Devo’s the co-author of DATING YOUR CHARACTER… A Sexy Guide to Screenwriting and was formerly Director, Literary Affairs for Columbia Pictures TV, and is currently completing a YA Speculative Fiction Novel.

Devo Cutler-Rubenstein, Scott Rubenstein


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.

Laurie Finkelstein, Kate Jonez, Marlan Warren, Neil V. Young

5:45

Why You're Not Getting Published, and How to Bullet-Proof your Submissions.

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things they won't tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

Steven Hutson, Literary Agent, WordWise Media Services (Solo Spotlight)


How to Write Outside Your Comfort Zone

If we all wrote just what we know, books, movies, TV shows would be boring stuff indeed. As writers we need to venture into worlds outside our own to make our books interesting for readers--and ourselves. Even if you're writing a memoir, you need to do research. As a longtime news journalist, Christina brings a wealth of research techniques beyond Google and Wikipedia. She will also detail how to approach experts for interviews and conduct interviews. She will also discuss how to guard against information overload, when you put too much in to show off how knowledgeable you are. 

Christina Hoag (Solo Spotlight)


The Geek's Guide to Literary Theory

Once upon a time, some teacher may have tried to convince you of the right way to read a piece of literature. Lit theory is not about the "right" or "wrong" way to read a text. It's like a wibbly wobbly group of lenses through which we view writing in order to gain a greater understanding of the work. What's more, nerd and geek culture are already masters at several of these lenses. Join writer and educator M. Todd Gallowglas to find out what lenses you already use as well as other ways to examine literary texts, yours and others, in order to deepen your understanding of the craft of fiction. Plus, you'll sound hella smart at parties.

Michael Todd Gallowglas (Solo Spotlight)

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.
DoubleTree Hotel, First Floor
, Culver Room

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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  space in Share Restaurant, DoubleTree lobby. Please RSVP by Friday March 29.
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

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.

Elise Capron, Steven Hutson, Paul Levine, Whitney Davis, Elaine Ash, Tony N Todaro (M)


Faith and Fantasy

Exploring the intersection of magic and faith in fantasy fiction, as well as the role of religion in world building, fictional parallels to historical and modern institutions, the role that faith can play in the magic/science divide, and the need to diversify the depictions of faith in fantasy and horror.

Neil V. Young , Kate Jonez


Websites for Authors

 Sure, you hear you need a website, but how do you do that? You aren’t a computer person. You don’t have to be! Learn how something as complicated as building a website can actually be point and click. Learn the three techniques for getting a customized personal site; learn the two types of Wordpress pages (and what makes them different); see four different themes in action; learn what plugins are and how to email people without ending up in the sin bin along with the other lottery winners!

John Gwinner (Solo Spotlight)

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

Why Writing Well Enough Isn't Enough to Guarantee Success

In this talk we’ll discuss the difference between literary skills and story skills. The participants will learn the difference and identify the 5 skills that all successful professionals have that are seldom talked about, and how to acquire these skills that will put you light-years past your competition.  This class is she first step of building a detailed DIY writing education usually reserved for high-priced university programs and studio programs. Open to both novelists and screenwriters. 

Art Holcomb (Solo Spotlight)


Narrative Point of View and Genre

Point of view is one of the most a powerful and at the same time one of the most misunderstood tools in a writer’s kit. Should genre help decide which point of view to choose? Why are so many sci-fi stories and fantasies written in third-person narration? Should memoirs always be written in first-person-narration? And does that choice influence the story? These are important questions, however, point of view goes beyond choosing the narrative mode. Broadly stated, point of view is the perspective from which a scene or an entire story is told. Do you tell your thriller from the murderer’s point of view, the detective’s, or the victim’s? The drama from the perspective of the philandering husband, the lovesick lover, or the depressed wife? Point of view determines what the reader knows and when, directs the way the story will flow, and shapes the narrator’s voice, stance and attitude. Join Helga Schier discuss the pros and cons of common narrative points of view and how to avoid common pitfalls and traps.  

Helga Schier (Solo Spotlight)


What a Wonderful World This Could Be (Building New Worlds as Characters)

Your world is a character in your book, it is expansive, emotional, and had many nuances. Delve into the psychology of world-building in your sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, alternate reality, speculative fiction writing with this panel of writers and experts. So, who is your world going to be?

Mark J. Rose, Howard Hendrix, Sean Patrick Traver, Debra Tash, Desiree Duffy (M)

12:30 Keynote Luncheon & Beverages  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»

First Seating  for
Conference Attendees
+ ALC
1:15 - 2:00

Second Seating for
ALC RSVP

2:30- 3:15

 

panel
7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author

Keith Ogorek, President Author Learning Center

It is estimated about 200 million people in the US have an idea for a book, yet most never become an author. Why is that? Because having an idea for a book is really easy, but writing a good book, getting it published, and marked it can be one of the more challenging accomplishments. In this helpful presentation, Keith Ogorek shares seven key things you need as a writer so you end up with a book, instead of just an idea and unfinished manuscript. During this session, Keith will cover:

  • The keys to turning your idea into a compelling fiction or non-fiction book
  • How to create a plan to get to your goal
  • The importance of constructive feedback and the risks of unqualified opinions
  • plus much more!
If you are working toward your goal of published author, or know someone who is, don’t miss this keynote address.
2:15

Myth, Magic, Metaphysics: How to Use Them in Your Stories

The supernatural and the unexplained are all the rage: magic, channeling, crop circles, remote viewing, psychic spies, aliens, angels, altered states, ESP, time travel, multiple dimensions... .
            Explore the geography and psychology of these other realities, learn ways to use them to give your stories internal integrity and unique power.

Pamela Jaye (Solo Spotlight)


Beyond Cliffhangers: Suspense and Tension in Fiction

It’s no mystery that mysteries and thrillers won’t work without suspense. Cliffhangers make us turn the pages and clues that are carefully spread throughout the novel make us sit on the edge of our seats trying to solve the puzzle along with the detective. Engaged readers are readers so engrossed in the story that they consider the heroes questions their own. Who did it, why and how? Those are the questions in a crime novel. While the questions are different in a romance or drama or fantasy, the sense of urgency that accompanies them remains the same in all genres, or else readers will not turn the pages. This session will discuss the underlying strategies that create suspense and her twin sister tension. We will talk about well-known tropes such as cliffhangers, cutting to the chase, masking and unmasking clues, about exposition and transitions, about pacing and racing to the end.

Helga Schier (Solo Spotlight)


How Short Stories Can Launch Your Career 

Short stories are faster to write, easier to edit, and sell more quickly. Plus, a published credits gets respect from agents and publishers, and can make your writer's bio look great! This panel discusses short stories of all genres, how to get started, How to find short story publishers, and how to submit.

Elaine Ash (M), Chrome Oxide, Marco Subias, Brennan Harvey, Neil V. Young, Howard Hendrix, Joni Labaqui

3:30

Backward Engineering Your Story When Your Stuck in the Middle

We’ve all been there. You are writing, the ideas are flowing like honey…until you hit the middle of your story. And the flow stops. While the “Mid-Story Slump” or “Second Act Sag” has happened to the best of us (even when we have a well-outlined plan), it doesn’t have to be your fate. All stories can be revived through this session to offer ways to breathe life back into your story and your writing career as a whole!!

Sara Anne Fox, Dan Watanabe, Oz Monroe


Master Your Genre

90% of all writers working in America today are genre writers - romance, mystery, thriller, science fiction, and fantasy. And yet, hardly any of them really understand what it is to write in their particular genre. Genre can be your friend: showing you the obligatory scenes and techniques necessary to make a connection with your audience. But it also demands that you work harder to to be effective. Understanding the need for those kind of elements and applying your talents to creating a seamless and compelling story can make a difference between the successful writer and a struggling one. 

Art Holcomb (Solo Spotlight)


Meet the Scientists

A remarkable panel of scientists from vastly different disciplines discussing what they like and/or dislike in fiction books, films, TV etc. They will also discuss what writers get right -- what do they get wrong? Important, how much science should there be in a science fiction novel? The panelist will take questions where you can ask a scientist anything, (other than the meaning of life. Clue it's not "42").

Mark J. Rose,  Dr. Donald Prothero, Paul Hynek, Dr. Arianna A. Rama, Desiree Duffy (M)


4:45

How To Write a Killer Query Letter That Will Get Noticed

You've spent six months to a year developing your new book. Now it's time to find a literary agent who will deliver it to the public. However, the first item that 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. This workshop is intended primarily for authors of novels, but all paid attendees are welcome to participate. 

Paul Levine, Elise Capron, Steve Hutson, Whitney Davis, Deanna Brady


SHOW ME THE LOVE! All kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories

Ever story needs some kind of "love", be it familial love, love of adventure, love of land, or friends' love.
            Utilizing classics from the past to examples of the present we’ll focus on:

  • How to "find the love" in any genre or style
  • The do’s and don’ts when including a romantic plot line
  • Different kinds of love: love of land, young love, LGBTQ love, lost love, warrior bonding, love-gone-bad/mad, sisterhood, love of adventure, love of death and destruction, chivalric love, etc.

Storylines of love add spice and heart, no matter the genre or style. When well-written, the love aspect of a story lives on in the heart and minds of your audience, long after they put down the book or leave the theater.

Pamela Jaye (Solo Spotlight)


Techniques for Building Suspense

Great stories grab readers and never let them go. Kate Jonez will share three suspense building strategies she’s successfully used as a writer and editor. Using examples and discussion, she will offer techniques that can be applied to any genre of writing. 

Dark fantasy and horror author Kate Jonez has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and once for the Shirley Jackson. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Pseudopod, Gamut  and  Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. Her collection Lady Bits published by Trepidatio, an imprint of JournalStone is available March 22nd. She is also the chief editor at the Bram Stoker Award winning small press Omnium Gatherum which is dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror. 

Kate Jonez (Solo Spotlight)

6:00

The 4th Language of Genre Fiction

In his book, How Fiction Works, James Wood claims, "...the novelist is working with at least three languages." Hey, the guy teaches English at Harvard, so he's probably on to something. Scholar of genre literature, M. Todd Gallowglas, suggests a fourth language, one of vast importance to genre fiction, largely specific to science fiction and fantasy. Find out what these four languages are, and how having a conscious understanding of all three will allow writers to weave these languages together in order to create a more immersive reading experience.

Michael Todd Gallowglas (Solo Spotlight)


Write a Book a Year with a Sentence a Day

As amazing as that sounds, author Steven Barnes has laid out a six-step process to accomplish just this.  Bring your skepticism and questions and prepare to challenge all you want. But if you can commit to writing a single sentence every day...you can build a career!

Steven Barnes (Solo Spotlight)


Jello Wrestling With Aliens -- No Longer? How The Science Fiction Pulp Market Has (and Hasn't) Changed. 

A number of critics argue (controversially) that the science fiction genre itself begins with the first issue of Amazing Stories in 1926. Nearly all critics agree, however, that pulp science fiction begins with that first publication of a popular magazine dedicated to science fiction -- and such magazines are still with us. As science fiction pulp approaches its centennial, how has the market for this medium changed? What is its role in the larger constellation of science fiction overall? And how does a writer sell to the pulps?

Howard knows much about this sector of the business, since The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes (And Other Analog Stories for a Digital Age) -- the 100,000 word collection of shorter fiction originally published in the pulps between 2007 and 2017 -- is due out this year from Fairwood Press.

Howard Hendrix (Solo Spotlight)

7:30 "A Gathering of Writers"
No-host cocktail party and dinner at a nearby restaurant.
All attendees are welcome to meet and network with the speakers and special guests.
DoubleTree Hotel, First Floor, Share Restaurant
9 pm - 12 ± Renegade Late Night Read and Critique Workshop with M. Todd Gallowglas
Bring something to write with and write on. Join Todd and a group of your fellow writers for 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 and Published Author/Educator.  Limited seating.
Must RSVP
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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 - 12:00 noon

3 Clicks 2 - 1 Book

Formatting a manuscript can be a nightmare – and it takes you out of your writing streak. Having to indent half a space on each line, adding blank lines, creating the # # # in between white space breaks, adding carriage returns – none of it has anything to do with writing, right? Yet – it does. A publisher will reject a manuscript if it doesn’t look professional.

In this two hour session, you will learn how to make a professionally laid out book with only three clicks! You will be able to keep writing as fast as you can and learn one way to lay down three things: chapter headings, quotes, and section breaks by literally clicking a button.

In the second half, we will also show you how to fix books that haven’t been done via the three click method. Time permitting, we will even publish a Kindle book at the end of class using these techniques.

John D. Gwinner (Solo Spotlight)

10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Great Beginnings for Novels – Your First Line, First Pages

You've heard that if the first paragraph of your novel isn't strong enough, agents and publishers won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn to draft a first line that will grab an acquisition editor and 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 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 six (6) copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how an agent or publisher reviews a manuscript. Time permitting, they may suggest improving the samples.

A panel of literary agents and professional editors

Howard Hendrix, Helga Schier, Marlan Warren, M. Todd Gallowglas, Marco Subias (M)


Great Beginnings for Screenplays– Your First Line, First Pages

You hear that if the first paragraph of your script isn't strong enough, the studios and producers won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn how to grab the attention of an agent and announce your authority as an screenwriter. This workshop will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the writer, then offer improvements covering everything from story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring 5 copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud by actors or audience members for each part, so the audience can follow along and learn how a producer or agent reviews. Screenwriters are advised to network with fellow attendees to read "sides" of the script live for the panel. Time permitting, they may suggest improvements for the samples.

A panel of screenwriters, studio veterans, and special guests

Dan Watanabe, Sara Anne Fox, Art Holcomb, Craig Miller, and panel

12:15 - 1pm

 

Michael Todd Gallowglas "Your Writing Career is a Marathon, Not a Sprint"
Michael Todd Gallowglas

In the whirlwind of today's publishing industry, it's easy to get swept up in the demands to rush, rush, rush. Get that novel written yesterday. Book that promotion gig.  You feel compelled to compete with other writers who are publishing way more than you are.

The truth is, every writer's path to success is different. Not all writers work well in an ever-constant pace of double-time. M. Todd Gallowglas will show you how to plan your next ten years of writing, right down to the specific word count per day. Learn how to cultivate and foster creative endurance that will lay the foundation for a long, steady, and successful career.
  Conference wrap up
Thank you for attending!
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