Keynote: Cory Doctorow
|10:30 am||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
|1:30 pm||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
|3:30 pm||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
|5:30 pm||Author Book Signing Event||Social (No Host Bar)|
Keynote: Chuck Wendig
Saturday Night Owl
The information below is from SiWC 2014 to give you an idea what to expect from SiWC. SiWC 2015 information will be posted beginning in the spring.
Presenter: Susanna Kearsley
What do you do if the place where you’re setting your story no longer exists, or has changed over time beyond all recognition, or never was real to begin with? As a writer of cross-genre books that can sometimes span centuries, Susanna Kearsley has faced all these problems. She’ll share the techniques she’s developed to deal with them, helping you find those lost overgrown paths through the woods, or build new ones.
Presenter: Robert J. Wiersema
The successful book or story is one that connects with the reader, that elicits an emotional reaction. That connection, though, starts with you. Do you connect with your own work? We’ll explore not only what needs to happen on the page, but what needs to happen within the writer before a single word is written. Are you strong enough to really connect?
Presenter: Kim Foster
Got characters in your story who die, get injured, get sick? No time to go to medical school to make sure your details are plausible? No matter what genre you write, you want to get those medical facts right. What kind of events lead to a coma? How are viruses transmitted? What happens during an anaphylactic allergy? And what about those wonderfully dramatic—but tricky—scenes in hospitals: what’s the difference between a resident and an intern, for example? Why do some of them wear short white coats and some of them wear long white coats...and others wear no damn coat at all? Dr. Kim Foster is an author and a medical doctor, and in this presentation she’ll break down the myths and the tropes, and give you the answers you need for authenticity in your story. She went to medical school...so you don’t have to.
Presenter: Anita Daher
Story-hatching is the easy bit, but how to lasso the bigness of an idea, and contain and sustain that energy all they way through to the end? Through an examination of muse/concrete relationships, we will explore ways to maintain and accelerate motivation—for you, and your characters.
Relationships are at the heart of human existence, from the wildest romantic entanglements to the most casual interactions with the regular cashier at your local grocery store. No matter what sort of fiction you’re writing, chances are relationships of one sort or another are a factor, one its essential to get right. Our panel makes its living writing well about human connections and is here to share their insight into making your fictional relationships ring true.
Wondering if agents and editors really do discuss business over lunch? Not sure how the agent/editor relationship benefits you as a client? Curious about what a day in the life of an agent or an editor looks like? Bring your questions and join our panel for a peek behind the curtain into the mysterious workings of the publishing business.
Presenter: Sean Cranbury
This session will be a frank and open discussion of social media options and strategies for writers in the current climate of online sharing. What options are available to writers? How has social media changed in the recent past and what opportunities are available now and in the future. What tactics can writers deploy to better their chances of discovery in the current landscape? How can a writer best use their most vaulable resource - time - to help their work find an audience and connect one on one with their fans?
Presenter: Susan Brower
The newest buzz word in publishing is “discovery.” How do you, the writer, get your novel discovered by the reader? If you follow the traditional publishing track, this means attracting an agent, then a publisher, then the reader. Even if you are headed down the self-publishing road, you still need to have a proposal for your novel that will help you build a marketing plan. Call it a strategy; call it a pitch sheet, whatever you want. The bottom line is that at some time you must gather every bit of information related to your finished manuscript in a format that will cast a vision for a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes. In Powerful Proposals, agent Susan Brower will discuss key strategies for increasing “discoverability.”
Presenter: Joelle Anthony
It’s challenging enough to create realistic teen characters, but in the ever changing world of today’s young readers, how do you write dialogue that rings true? In this workshop, Joëlle Anthony covers writing dialogue that sounds believable and authentic, language trends, texting, profanity, and how to use these types of dialogue for maximum effect. We’ll try our hand at writing exercises designed to tighten your dialogue, and discuss whether there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed or if it’s a free-for-all in YA literature these days.
Presenter: Peter Rubie
If you want to get published there's a secret you need to know. It's a secret few writing teachers speak about, and fewer still teach. What is this secret? Voice. Some teachers throw up their hands in exasperation and say voice can't even be defined let alone taught, but Peter Rubie disagrees. If your writing has a true, distinctive voice, you will stop traffic. Like the creatures of the forest who fell under the spell of Orpheus when he played and sang, a strong and unselfconscious voice in your writing will seduce editors and agents from their busy schedules. If the essence of writing is thought, then voice is how you put those ideas elegantly and concisely on paper. It is, like Orpheus, the music of writing; and like all good musicians you must study not only the effectiveness of different types of voice, but the best way to clearly say what you want to say so that your audience is both entranced and entertained. This is a hands-on workshop, so come prepared to write!
Presenter: Mary Robinette Kowal
Whether you write historical novels or fantasy based on history, it's important to recognize the actual historical diversity of the world you are writing about. Contemporary media presents a white-washed view of the past, which does not match the historic record. From black Roman soldiers in Scotland to Hawaiian nobles in England, learn about some of the ways to approach the question of diversity in your historical fiction.
Presenter: Robin Spano
Many writers are introverts. Yet to promote a book, we need to place ourselves front and center in the spotlight at literary readings, media interviews, on panels at festivals, and more. This workshop is designed to bring a shy author out of their shell, with focus on strengthening author readings and impromptu speaking/interview skills. Bring a page of your work if you'd like to participate in the reading part, or show up empty handed to test your impromptu skills.
Presenter: Pam Binder
Why do some scenes stand out long after you’ve finished the novel? Why do they grab you and never let go? Is it a happy accident or premeditated? During this session students will learn the elements of the six key scenes of their novel and will have an opportunity to work on them in class.
Members: Jack Whyte (Moderator), Nephele Tempest, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Michelle Wolfson, Lisa Rodgers
Back by popular demand, SiWC Idol offers a peek into the minds of agents facing the slush pile. Anonymously submit the opening page of your manuscript if you like or simply listen and learn. The inimitable Jack Whyte reads at random from the submissions pile until our agents stop him when they’d have stopped reading in their offices and then they tell us why. Or maybe, if you're really lucky, they ask for more. This is a tough, subjective assessment and a great learning experience. NB Submitted pages will not be returned, but will be recycled. FAQ: One page, double-spaced, in a readable 12-pt font will be accepted at the front of the room at the beginning of SiWC Idol only. Submissions will not be accepted at any other time or in any other place, including our registration desk. Submissions left at registration will be recycled when received.
Presenter: Elizabeth Boyle
Writing a romance or any novel that explores relationships requires an understanding of the deep subtext that is sexual tension. By exploring the process of sexual attraction and tension, participants will learn how to use the attraction between their characters as another layer to their plot and how it adds an emotional payoff for the reader.
Presenter: Katherena Vermette
Made famous with such forms as Haiku and Tanka, pondered with such finds as Sappho's fragments, short forms of poetry have always been alive and well. Short poems prove poets can pack a punch in just a few lines. In this poetry workshop, participants will explore and practice various forms, debate what is and isn't poetry, and learn just how mighty the short verse can be.
Presenter: Chevy Stevens
In this workshop, New York Times Bestselling author Chevy Stevens will show you how you to use the three act structure to make sure your book grabs the reader from the first page and doesn’t let them go until the last. Chevy will also show you how using the three act structure while developing your idea can help you write a solid outline, saving yourself months or years of rewrites.
Presenter: Anne Perry
Handled deftly, a great backstory can allow your characters to pull their own weight… in gold. Join bestselling author Anne Perry for insight into making backstory work for your characters and your novel, adding depth to both without stalling the story you’re trying to tell.
They're much drier than your prose, but book publishing contracts are full of clauses you may never have heard of that could determine the course of your writing life for years to come. We'll discuss contract essentials, industry standards, and negotiation basics. Both aspiring and published authors are welcome. Please bring questions; these will be answered throughout.
Presenter: Dan Bar-el
Giving your picture book story its best shot in a challenging market. The picture book genre is amazing in its versatility. There seems to be no limit to the number of original stories and concepts that are out there. Yet it’s tough to get a picture book published, and there are many roadblocks that can stop a good idea in its tracks. This session is about sidestepping them. Topics will include respecting the form, its limitations and freedoms, thinking about the illustrator by offering compelling and varied visuals, and writing catchy cover letters to get your idea across to an editor.
Presenter: Sarah Wendell
Any press is good press, right? Yet the subject of book reviews is a difficult problem for most authors. As someone who has both dished it out on several occasions and taken it when her own books came out in 2009 and 2011, Sarah knows: reviews can be tricky. She will reveal the basics of how to approach different review websites that specialize in romance, and identifying the right websites for your book. She’ll discuss good reviews and how to truly savor them, and bad reviews and how to make lemonade out of them. While the concepts presented apply to all, the specific resources in this session will be romance focused.
More than twenty years since its first publication, Diana Gabaldon's first book, Outlander, returned to the NYT bestseller list this summer, in response to the debut of the Outlander TV series. That got us wondering about our panelists' first experiences on the list: where were they when they found out? What difference did it make to their careers? Did they buy nicer pyjamas to work in? How did they celebrate? This panel traditionally wanders a great deal of ground with a lot of laughter, so bring your questions and enjoy!
Presenter: Hallie Ephron
It’s all too easy to turn off a reader in the first few pages of your manuscript, or hook them with a great beginning only to lose them with a flabby middle. From idea, to execution, to the final polish, this workshop explores the potholes to avoid.
Presenter: Chuck Wendig
Forget creating silly interview profiles for your characters that ask you to find out what cereal they eat in the morning or what brand of socks they prefer. It’s time instead to crack the breastbone and get right to the pulsing heart of just what characters are – and, more importantly, how can we help give them agency and complexity enough to drive the plot instead of being puppets to it?
Presenter: Liza Palmer
Writing, like everything else in life, hinges on how well you know yourself. Your voice. Your choices. Your passions. These things can either reflect your authenticity or how far you've fallen down the rabbit hole of living someone else's life. Fear based. Hope based. Trying to fit into the marketplace and write something more salable or standing by a long dead idea and not seeing how much our ego is at the wheel. These 9 pieces of advice will help you ask the big questions about why we write and how to stay connected to the work.
Presenter: Andrea MacPherson
Research is an essential part of almost every writing project, but it's especially important when working on historical fiction. Getting the details right is key, but that's only the beginning of using all that fascinating research: how much does your reader need to know about time and place? How do you include all the material in a dynamic way? How can you make the past come to life? Join Andrea MacPherson for insight into how to effectively incorporate your research so it becomes a seamless part of your story.