As I write this, I am at my local library for the annual local authors reception (here in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania). It’s great to meet everyone and talk to other writers, and obviously I encourage all authors to participate in these things, because just about every locality has something like this.
Last year, after talking to many of the writers, I decided that what we really needed was a Writers Conference where we can learn from published authors, agents and editors. So now I am organizing one for the area.
The First Annual Pocono Writers Conference will be held on the 27th of October at the Eastern Monroe Public Library. The goal is to provide assistance to aspiring fiction writers. A panel of published authors and editors will discuss each topic and take questions from the audience.
You don’t have to be from the Poconos to attend, although I’d prefer that only local writers join our new “Pocono Writers” Facebook page.
Guest panelists are still being confirmed, but the schedule of panels looks like this:
9:00 – 9:15: Opening remarks and introductions
9:15 – 10:30: YOUR OPENING PAGE: Grabbing a reader right from the start is imperative. As a new writer, that is the first impression they will get from you and you have to make it count. Our panel will discuss what you need to do and what you need to avoid in order to make that sale to the reader. Participants can submit their opening pages in advance for the panel to review and comment upon. Submissions should be double spaced and contain only the first page of the story and emailed in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:45 – 12:00: IT’S THE CHARACTERS, STUPID: A story isn’t about what it’s about – it’s about the characters. The plot is there to move your characters and change them in some way. A character that is exactly the same by the end of the book is not a well-developed one. The panelists will discuss techniques they use to make their stories about the characters, and not just the plot, and how to turn those characters into real, three-dimensional, believable people.
12:00 – 12:30: Lunch
12:30 – 1:45: JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING: Keeping tension on every page is a way to make sure readers stay glued to your pages. The dreaded middle dump haunts many writers, and in this session, the panel will discuss the most common story stalling mistakes authors make and how you can keep your readers turning the pages.
2:00 – 3:15: THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY WRITERS: Editors see the same mistakes over and over again from new writers – shifts in Point of View, telling and not showing, cliches and poor dialogue, and much more. Most of these are just beginner’s mistakes, but you can avoid them if you know what to look out for. Our panel discusses the mistakes that are most commonly made by new authors that will keep your work from being sold (or read!).
3:30 – 4:45: GETTING PUBLISHED: Once your book is done, what’s next? Hiring an editor? Self-publishing? Looking for an agent? The panel will discuss the choices available, whether self-publishing is an option, and the scams to look out for.
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