I am usually at Willamette Writers but I won't be there this year. In my absence, here's are my recommendations for Sunday of what workshops you don't want to miss! [With apologies to the film side of the conference. I'm sure someone else is better informed about what film session you don't want to miss.]
Write Memoirs for Fun and Profit
We'll begin by defining this nonfiction genre with examples from magazines, literary journals, and book-length works. Agents and editors continue to seek memoir, and this workshop will guide participants in identifying key themes about which to write. It will also explore the craft of writing memoir, and how to pitch a finished short or long memoir to agents and/or editors.
In this workshop, students will learn how to identify viable topics for memoir, what editors want in terms of style and content, how to structure memoir around a key theme or themes, what to put in and what to leave out, how not to get sued when writing about people you know, how to navigate the difficulties of writing from memory, when to use dialogue, and how to approach editors and literary agents with your memoir.
Break into Children's and YA Magazine Markets
Learn what freelancers must know about magazine publishing. Activities will help you identify children's magazines that buy the writing you want to do; analyze any children's or YA magazine's audience, format, subject matter, and writing style; and learn how to write a query that convinces editors you can nail the assignment. Writers who attend this workshop will learn: The hierarchy of publications – from the easiest to break into and lowest paying, to the hardest to break into but best paying; how to use the secret of "the smallest doors open widest;" the formula for a winning query, how to follow up and how to turn one assignment into a career.
Write and Sell Humorous Short Essays
We'll define the nonfiction genre with examples from magazines and newspapers. Thousands of periodicals publish short humorous essays, and pay ranges from approximately $20 to $800. This genre represents a creative way for freelance writers to break into a magazine or newspaper; it also offers authors the opportunity to promote their books with related essays. The workshop covers how to identify topics for humorous essays, how to maximize humor, how to approach editors with a completed essay, tips for marketing your books through humorous essays, how to build relationships with editors, and how to use current events to give essays added appeal. Attendees will identify topics for their own humorous essays. They'll receive handouts with contact information for editors who accept short humorous essays. They'll also receive a sample cover letter, along with copies of three short humorous essays by successful Northwest writers.
Characters in stories often embody what I call dramatic truths. A character's dramatic truth is what they seek to resolve or fulfill in a story. When a character embodies a truth that resonates with a story's audience, readers will want to see how a character resolves his or her issues. Powerful, successful stories (Harry Potter, Rocky, The Wizard of Oz) often have characters with clearly defined truths. This workshop focuses on helping writers to perceive the dramatic truths of their main characters.
The Mystery of Voice
This fun, interactive seminar will unravel the mysteries of "voice." We've all heard the phrase, "We're looking for a fresh voice, and we'll know it when we see it." So, what is it and how can you create it? Eric Witchey will break the concept of voice down into easy to understand, manageable techniques that will allow you to develop and exploit "voice" in your fiction. This seminar is appropriate for all levels of development.
Write a Profile
Some of the best nonfiction books and articles being published are profiles of people – scientists, celebrities, local personalities and more. The truth is that everyone has a fascinating story to tell. In this workshop you will learn how to uncover the best, juiciest, most important parts of a person’s life and turn it into compelling storytelling. Writers who attend this workshop will learn: How to write interview questions; how to conduct an interview; how to develop a theme or focus for the profile; how to write an engaging lead; how to structure the middle; options for powerful endings. Also valuable for biography authors. Bring your pen, lots of paper, and come ready to interview and write.