How can you best use social media to make real connections with readers, colleagues, and friends without letting it take over your life? Our social media panel is here to help! This session is likely to be fast-moving and irreverent.
Presenter: Danika Dinsmore
Once in a while, a story descends into a writer’s mind as a complete entity. But, more often than not, the story ideas come in pieces: memories, images, moments captured and filed. These bits of information are useful both as writing prompts and to add Truth to your work. What we notice on a daily basis is a record of our human experience. In this workshop we will start by collecting seeds, respond to a variety of writing prompts, and then use further exercise to connect our pieces to create story. The goal is to leave the workshop with sprouts that have grand visions of becoming trees, as well as to train yourself to notice and record those small moments in time for later germination.
Presenter: Hallie Ephron
In many of today’s bestselling novels, authors write characters who play fast and loose with the truth… and get away with it. And yet we’re advised to “play fair” with the reader. In this workshop we explore how secrets and lies can be used to propel a story forward. We’ll also talk about viewpoint, and its essential role in “fooling” the reader. How to lie and get away with it.
Presenter: Liza Palmer
Writing is hard, but belief in ourselves is even harder. On good days, we write like the wind. On the bad days, we crawl through just to get a paragraph. And then there are the really bad days when we think about quitting all together. Here are ten tips from one fellow traveler to another to keep you from going to the Dark Side.
Presenter: Carrie Mac
What does YA mean? What makes a story a “YA” novel? What’s the difference between writing adult fiction and YA? How do you write authentically to an audience that is so much younger than you? There are several tricks of the trade when it comes to writing and pitching YA novels. In this workshop we will answer these questions as well as talk about the curious beast and voracious reader that is the teenaged booklover.
Presenter: Howard White
Our own lives and those of our families offer the richest material we are ever going to find, but how do we go about getting it on paper and how do we turn it into bestselling books? Howard White shares what he has learned writing, editing and publishing some of BC’s most celebrated and popular books.
Interested in poetry? This session offers you a chance to share yours at our open mic, or simply to sit and listen to your fellow attendees brave standing up in front of you.
Members: Laurie McLean (Moderator), Sam Sykes, Vicki Pettersson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Danika Dinsmore
The world of fantasy is as varied as our imaginations, but even wildly different worlds come with the same concerns for writers. Join our panel of fantasy writers, led by agent Laurie McLean, and bring your questions.
Presenter: Q Lindsey Barrett
How many books have you read that started off great, but had trouble keeping your interest and you found yourself skipping to the end? Whether novel or memoir, learn how to build on the five-scene scaffold to avoid that dreaded sagging middle and ensure an emotionally resonant conclusion. We’ll also talk about incorporating the three-act structure of screenwriting to keep your reader enthralled.
Presenter: Holly Lorincz
Your novel is ready to go. Your nonfiction book is fleshed out. Now what? If you're chasing the traditional publishing dream, you'll need a proposal. Holly Lorincz, agent with MacGregory Literary, will use clear, detailed explanations and annotated examples to show you, step by step, how to build a professional, attention-grabbing proposal for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts.
Presenter: Terry Fallis
Bestselling novelist Terry Fallis, a two-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, will lead this workshop. Find out what it takes to be funny, and learn the techniques used by successful literary and popular comic writers. The workshop will combine teaching with hands-on in-class exercises, and will examine various types of humour and techniques including slapstick, satire, wordplay, surprise, juxtaposition, exaggeration, understatement, and sarcasm among others.
Presenter: David Paul Williams
Some never do, others plunge into the abyss without knowing the color of their parachute. We’ll talk about how to transition from your day job to a successful writing life. Do you have skills necessary to be a working writer? Are you seeking fame, fortune or do you just want to be left alone? We’ll talk about types of paying gigs, where to find free money and some business and organizational skills used by working writers. We’ll also cover how to deal with skeptical family, non-supportive spouses and other human impediments.
Presenter: Arleen Paré
So many times we’re told not to repeat ourselves. But in writing and in poetry, repeating ourselves is necessary. Stephen Price, poet and novelist, claims there is no art without repetition. And while it’s also true that too much repetition might be tedious, not enough can be dull. In this workshop we will we’ll look at poetic repetition: rhyme, rhythm, lineation, and particular traditional poetic forms in to review how poetry can be made more interesting and artistic. There will be opportunity to write using these techniques.
The SiWC Unconference is a chance for attendees to share what they know with their peers. Join facilitator Sean Cranbury for a selection of fifteen-minute presentations from your fellow attendees.
Our traditional live slush event features Jack Whyte reading your first-page submissions to our panel of agents until they'd stop reading if it was a submission. Double-spaced first pages (one page only) may be submitted at the front of the room at the beginning of the session only, and will be drawn randomly for reading. Pages will not be returned, but will be recycled after the session.
In this fast paced workshop, Bob and Chris will discuss such issues as handling spouses’ comments, dealing with the deaf editor and the resentment at having to change even one damned word. They will show how to achieve an excellent second draft by reworking the structure, dialogue and character while exploring the idea of ‘killing your darlings’. Bring your first draft angst, and a whole lot of questions – because the second draft is where the fun begins!
Presenter: Chip MacGregor
What's your brand? And how can branding help you grow your writing career? In this one-hour workshop, longtime literary agent Chip MacGregor will explore the meaning and benefits of branding, then help you know how you can define, research, evaluate, and launch your brand as an author. This workshop will prove most helpful to authors who know their writing voice and have a good sense of what they want to write. Chip has taught on this topic at conferences around the country, and it has always proven to be fun and helpful.
Presenter: A.J. Banner
In her wonderful book, Bird by Book, Anne Lamott writes, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” So why do we expect instant, unattainable perfection? In this workshop, we’ll do a fun exercise on writing playful first drafts – and we’ll learn something surprising about the importance of writing badly.
Presenter: Vicki Pettersson
Seeing your work on bookstore shelves for the first time is an undeniable high, but a long-term writer’s career typically contains challenges and rewards in equal measure.In this workshop we’ll discuss overcoming the ups-and-downs on your way to becoming a career writer, how neither success nor failure is absolute, and how to face the ambiguous nature of the publishing business … while continuing to love what you do every step of the way.
Presenter: Steven Galloway
Using a 3rd person narrator is a skill that many writers have without knowing they have it. In this workshop we'll look at the concrete techniques used when writing a 3rd person narrator, and the ways we can shape story around this delivery method. We'll look at a few different types of 3rd person narratives, and talk about how to figure out which is best for a particular story.
Sensuality is a lot more than love scenes, in fiction and in life. Whether you're writing romance or any other genre, it's likely sensuality plays a role in your book. Our panel of experts discusses what that role can be and how to make it work in your writing.
Presenter: Jasper Fforde
What is the last 5% of the writing art? It's the intangible and unteachable ‘sparkle’ that moves a book from ‘solid & professional’ to ‘genuinely moving and hugely enjoyable’. In this session, Jasper Fforde will help you learn to teach yourself the all-important last 5%.
Presenter: Michael Slade
KILLERS AND THEIR MOTIVES. COPS AND THEIR CLUES. LAWYERS AND THEIR TRIALS: Criminal lawyer turned crime writer Michael Slade, who’s done a hundred real-life murder cases, leads a practical workshop and Q&A on researching and writing realistic cop and courtroom thrillers, mysteries, and whodunits.
Presenter: Gigi Pandian
What’s your publishing personality? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all “right way” to get published. This workshop will explore the hidden differences between various publishing options, and give you the tools to determine which paths to publication are a good fit for you based on your goals, strengths, and interests. Presenter Gigi Pandian is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who has both self-published and been traditionally published by presses of different sizes. She’ll share what she’s learned from her experiences with each type of publishing.
Presenter: Shaena Lambert
Do you want to take your memoir, story or novel to the next level but don’t know where to start? Join Shaena Lambert for Going Deeper: Writing and Revising Fiction and Memoir. This workshop teaches writers practical tools for revision: how to 'get under the words,' uncovering layers, finding connections, taking writing to a deeper level. Learn how to let the revision process work for you, by penetrating or even shucking the outer skins of a piece, in order to get at the more fascinating heart. If you have the first page of your manuscript with you, please bring it with you to this session. If you don't, you're still welcome to attend!
Presenter: Sam Sykes
All story comes from conflict. All conflict comes from motivation. All motivation comes from character. This workshop will study how character agencies interact with each other and the plot to form conflicts that will grip your readers and make your book linger with them long after they've turned the last page.
Presenter: Leanne Shirtliffe
Writing Picture Books for a 21st-Century Audience gives writers updated information on one of the hottest genres in the publishing business today. Attendees will learn the state of the current market (or, how things have changed since we were (or had!) kids), the characteristics of strong storytelling in the picture book genre (with examples from recently published picture books), and revision tips specific to the writing of picture books.
Want to share your opening without the extra stress of having it judged by our SiWC Idol panel? Our opening pages open mic gives you that chance. Come read from your opening or simply sit and enjoy listening to those who brave standing in front of you to read theirs.