Here is the day’s schedule:
9:00—9:30 SIGN-IN / REGISTRATION
9:40—10:30 CHARACTER, POV, AND VOICE
At the heart of good storytelling are good characters. Characters drive our stories, so it’s worthwhile to spend a little time thinking about who and what they are before we let them get behind the wheel. How do we craft strong characters? What elements pop a character off the page? What engages the reader? And, once we’ve crafted our characters, how can we use tools like POV and Voice to better render them on the page?
10:40—11:30 THE 0th LAW OF PUBLISHING
Despite all the time and attention that authors put into perfecting their manuscript for shopping to editors and agents, the toughest part of submitting your work might not be the submission package itself, but rather in identifying the right publisher (or agent) and the optimal way to tailor your submission package in light of the recipient’s intended guidelines. This panel will focus on the 0th Law of Submissions: Read Thy Guidelines and Keep Them Holy. You’ll hear from seasoned small-press editors about how they interpret your conformance to editorial guideline requirements – and what that giant wall of text on a submission form really means.
1:10—2:00 THE ART OF CONFLICT: BUILDING BETTER PLOTS
Every story takes us on a journey. The conflict is the fuel that powers the trip and often makes the difference between a meandering, sedate tour to nowhere special and a tension-filled, satisfying flight to the fantastic. This panel discussion will focus on the importance of a well-defined plot, and how escalating conflict drives the story to a climax your readers won’t forget.
2:10—3:00 THE SUBMITTER’S TOOLBOX
Let’s get to the heart of the matter. This discussion is about practical help to get your work into print. Are there absolute deal breakers that bother editors enough to discard a work that might otherwise have merit? What concrete steps can writers take to give their work the best chance of getting past the first looks? Are there systematic processes that writers can implement that will improve their submissions and get them published?
3:10—4:00 THE LONG AND THE SHORT: PUBLISHING NOVELS vs. SHORT STORIES
Novels and short stories, while both forms of fiction, can be completely different beasts, particularly when it comes to how to get them published. When should (or shouldn’t) a novelist consider working on short pieces? Why might a short-story writer also work long? What are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing both simultaneously? How do you find and submit to short story markets? What are the differences between approaching fiction magazines and anthologies vs. submitting to agents/publishers?
4:10—5:30 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES
Sometimes you only have a short window to engage the editor. A page, an opening paragraph, maybe even just your opening line. So give the editor a reason to keep reading your story once she or he has started. For this session, a panel of editors and publishers will choose a selection of first-page samples volunteered by conference attendees. After reading the page aloud, the panel will critique the writing with an eye to what works and would keep their interest versus what might have caused them to set the work aside. Don’t miss this glimpse into the mind (and process) of an editor.
5:30 CLOSING AND DRAWINGS