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Conversations & Connections DC Writers Conference: Scene-by scene


doodle by Goodloe Byron (buy his stuff or commission a painting)

April 18 (Saturday!!) is the date for Conversations and Connections, a day long conference focusing on practical advice and networking for writers. I’ll be presenting a session called Scene-by-Scene: Writing the Irresistible Story. Here’s the gist:

Learning to write and connect strong scenes, whether your approach is linear or modular, is the key to writing irresistible fiction. In this session, we’ll talk scene anatomy, rhythms of action, and scene-to-scene interdependence, as well as the effect of writing tools (like Scrivener) on the ways we think of scenes and their arrangement in long forms. We’ll also discuss strategies for getting your characters into enough trouble to make a story worth reading. ​

It’s going to be a value-packed day. Register now.

From the organizers, our dear buddies at Barrelhouse:

Cool Thing #1: It’s affordable.

$70 gets you the whole day, which includes a keynote speech, three sessions of panels focused on business and craft, and whole host of cool stuff (see below). Keynote speakers have included Steve Almond, Mary Gaitskill, Sam Lipsyte, Matthea Harvey and many others.

Cool Thing #2: You get to meet editors.

Our “speed dating with the editors” (one session is included in the registration fee, additional sessions available for $5) is a ten-minute meeting with an editor who will review the first two pages of a story, a novel synopsis, or a few poems, providing feedback on how you might improve your work or where you might consider sending it.

Cool Thing #3: Free Book by a Featured Writer

We feature four writers at every conference. And you get to leave with one of their books as part of your admission fee.

Cool Thing #4: Subscription to a Literary Journal

Before you leave our conference, charged and ready to finish your novel, you will get to select a one-year subscription from one of several participating literary journals. Past choices have included Barrelhouse, Potomac Review, Gettysburg Review, The Common, The Believer, StoryQuarterly, Publishing Genius, Gigantic Sequins, Cobalt, and many others.

Cool Thing #5: You’ll Be Supporting Local Independent Literature

All the profits from Conversations and Connections go directly back to Barrelhouse and the rest of the participating literary magazines and small presses.

Cool Thing #6: Boxed Wine Happy Hour

Boxed wine happy hour! The name kind of speaks for itself.

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Fan Mail

When’s the last time you ever offered a panel for a conference and got fan mail? This comes from someone who attended the “Flash Evolution: Flash Novella” session for Conversations and Connections.

Photo on 4-15-14 at 3.37 PM Photo on 4-15-14 at 3.43 PM #2

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Last Saturday, April 5, was the day of Conversations and Connections in DC. C & C is a one day writers’ conference with a minimum level of bullshit–no one there trying to pitch the one size fits all platform, etc. I directed a panel on the how and why of the Flash Novella, with guests Erin Fitzgerald and Tara Laskowski, and it was very well attended. I got a little overexcited, and when I handed out a prompt list (15 sections in 15 weeks), I promised everyone in the room that if they tried the FN and sent me their draft in August, I would read it or find someone else who would. Wonder if anyone will take me up on that . . .

I attended the crime writing panel–low turn out for that one because it was up against a “what editors want” session–and I’m really glad I did. Nick Korpon, Art Taylor, Steve Weddle, and Tara Laskowski had a great conversation about the state of crime fiction, confirming some of my own experiences. I’m finding writing with the knowledge that I am operating firmly within the genre is delightful. And natural, dammit.  Hot tip from the panel: agents troll crime mags to find new clients. That there is news you can use.

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