What a fine weekend with fine writers. The overwhelming consensus from workshop leaders, editors, and even all the agents, was that the level of quality represented in manuscripts presented by attending writers was off the charts in level of quality. Not a rare thing at the SCWC, but always inspiring. Good job. And to our extraordinary LA14 staff who so generously expend their time, talent and guidance, great job. Thank you. Especially to the full-day-late-into-the-night “Novel Intensive” workshop leaders, novelists Ara Grigorian and Janis Thomas (pictured). A long slog well worth the effort.
This year’s Special Guest Speakers warrant a shout out, as well. Group hugs to Lisa Brackmann (Go-Between), Tom Huth (Forty Years Stoned: A Journalist’s Romance), Matthew Quirk (Cold Barrel Zero) and the inimitable Gwendolyn Womack (The Memory Painter). Great writers. Great people. And it looks like a couple are in store to join us again as great workshop leaders. The stories they shared with us over the weekend and invaluable insight provided will remain cherished by all.
Now let’s get to the awards…
SCWC*LA/IRVINE Award Recipients
OUTSTANDING FICTION (Adult)
by Kat Clark of Naperville, IL
OUTSTANDING FICTION (Women’s)
Cash to Dash
by P.J. Colando of Irvine, CA
OUTSTANDING FICTION (Romantic Suspense)
by Madeline Tighe Margarita of San Juan Capistrano, CA
And each conference the SCWC holds a contest in which all writers are invited to participate. The rules are simple: Write a piece in any form you wish of no more than 250 words based on the topic announced Friday night. The topic for LA14 was “Axle/Axel/Axl.” Here’s this year’s winning entry…
OUTSTANDING TOPIC STORY
What Happened After SCWC
of Diamond Bar, CA
Midnight – 10/1/2016
“Axel! It’s finished. The opening page of my novel.”
I rubbed the beagle’s soft, furry ears as his cold, wet nose nudged my leg. Between us, on the floor, I proudly laid my first draft, suffused with narrative, dialogue and plot, a guaranteed best-sellas.
“What do you think?” I asked, having tremendous respect for Axel’s opinion.
Axel peed on the page.
“All right. All right. It was a first draft.”
Two days later – 1 a.m. – 3rd revision
Axel scooted his bottom over the sheet.
Five days later – 3 a.m. – 7th revision
Axel wiped his paws.
Ahhh—Ara, what am I doing wrong?
10 days later – 3 a.m. – 12th revision
Axel sniffed the paper’s edge, then gently stepped aboard, circled, curled up and fell asleep.
Ahh. Write more, suck less. It’s true!
I gazed out at the star littered sky. “Thank you, SCWC.”
And looked down at my pal. “Thank you, Axel.”
Congratulations to all the award winners!
We’ll return to Orange County next year with our 15th annual event. Dates for LA(ish) 15 will be Sept. 22-24. Discounted pre-registration opens March 1, 2017. In the meantime, don’t forget to join us for our 31st annual San Diego conference, taking place Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 17-20, 2017. Limited to 175 writers, get all the details here.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC