Presidents' Day Weekend, February 16-18, 2018 A Weekend For Words, September 22-24, 2017 Settle For Exceptional, May 26-27, 2018

LA15 (Irvine) Schedule

  • Visit Weekend-At-A-Glance for a static view of the working schedule (as of 9/18/17). A summary of all sessions can be found on the Workshops and Events page.

    Click on any individual workshop title to view its summary. For specific instructions on how to navigate the interactive online schedule, or customize and print your own weekend itinerary, please go to the “Tips” tab above, where we also have a video tutorial. All workshops and events will take place at the conference hotel, the Wyndham Irvine, located at 17941 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614.

    Interactive Schedule (below) Updated 8/26/17.

    • Scroll down to any given day by using your browser’s schroll bar on the right (or touch and drag).
    • Position your mouse pointer over the timetable grids to scroll to the relevant timeframe using the horizontal scroll buttons that will appear.
    • Click on the gray box with the title of the event you’re interested in to expand it and to view more information about the event.
    • In an expanded event box, click the “Add to Program” button to highlight this event on the printable schedule (optional).
    • Access a printable schedule (which also contains any highlighted events) by clicking the tiny, black printer icon at the upper-right of each day’s timetable (optional).
    • Watch the video below for a tutorial that walks you through all of this functionality. Be sure to click the little “gear” icon and set the quality to “720p” HD for the best possible viewing experience.


Friday, September 22nd, 2017

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REGISTRATION DESK

Walk-in Registration
September 22nd 12:00pm - 8:00pm
 
 

WORKSHOP

Read & Critique

Read, Critique & Live to Write Another Day
September 22nd 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Melanie Hooks & Laura Perkins
Staff members and R&C vets Laura Perkins and Melanie Hooks walk you through critique-giving etiquette and their most helpful methods of interpreting ‘craft vs opinion’ notes, all while keeping your ego – and passion for your work – alive and well.
 
All-Genre
September 22nd 3:40pm - 5:10pm
Laura Taylor
Troubleshoot potentially problematic aspects of works-in-progress.
 
Rogue Read & Critique(s)
Sep 22nd 9:00pm - Sep 23rd 12:00am
Various

  • All-Genre: Laura Taylor

  • Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?

  • Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Melanie Hooks & Laura Perkins

 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

Creating Tension on Every Page
September 22nd 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Claudia Whitsitt
Placement of tension turns a ho-hum story into a page-turner. In this intensive workshop, participants will learn the value of tension, how to arc their pages to infuse tension throughout and spend time workshopping their first pages for maximum effect. Please bring the first pages of your story with you to this hands-on session.
 
Writing for Your Reader
September 22nd 3:40pm - 5:10pm
Jean Jenkins
Interactive writing is the easy secret but hard to do. How much does the reader need to know? When does your story start (or need to) and why? How to use descriptives to the story’s advantage and to involve the reader. The goal is for the reader to identify with your character or the situation or the predicament from page one, line one. We’ll talk about universals (things every reader can identify with) as well as situations unique to your character, why stories lose focus and what to do about it, and how to entice readers so they don’t put the book down early.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

Turning Your Real-life Experiences into a Book
September 22nd 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Maralys Wills
Memoir and personal-experience stories continue to do well today. However, three crucial factors are necessary to succeed: a unique and interesting story; superb writing; near-obsessive determination. Where editors were once prejudiced against the first-person viewpoint readers always responded favorably, resulting in a need to meet unusually high standards for the genre. In this workshop, learn what essential decisions must be made before tackling this type of book.
 
Nonfiction for Newbies: Is it a Book, Blog, Feature or What?
September 22nd 3:40pm - 5:10pm
Marla Miller
Not every good idea, nor fascinating subject, warrants a book-length effort. In this workshop we’ll take steps to determine whether your subject matter might be better explored as a blog, feature-length article for magazines, newspaper or other periodicals publication.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Business & Alternative

The Long and Short of Storytelling
September 22nd 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Jeffrey J. Michaels
In this workshop author and editor Jeffrey J. Michaels will share insights and engage in lively discussion on the necessary elements of telling a worthy tale: long or short, fiction or nonfiction and their similarities and differences. Explore ways of connecting to your audience and creating the impact you envision from your story.
 
Something to Talk About: Speaking Publicly About Your Book
September 22nd 3:40pm - 5:10pm
Gayle Carline
Social media is good, but sooner or later, an author must add public speaking to their toolkit, in order to increase their visibility. This workshop will offer ideas for organizing material and overcoming fear when making presentations to an audience, as well as a chance to practice in a supportive environment. Events from launch parties to sharing a spot on a panel, to being a guest speaker will be covered.
 
How to Make the Most of the Conference
September 22nd 1:00pm - 1:50pm
Wes Albers
 
 

WORKSHOP

Business & Alternative

Marketing Literary Fiction and Memoir
September 22nd 3:40pm - 5:10pm
Jennifer Silva Redmond
Literary fiction and memoir can be the most challenging genres to market and promote. Whether you're taking the traditional publishing route or going independent as an author-entrepreneur it's never too early to start thinking about marketing; if you've already published a book, it's never too late to try something new to stimulate sales.
 
 

PANELS & SPECIAL EVENTS

No-host Mixer & Booksigning
September 22nd 5:15pm - 7:15pm
 
Welcome & Intros
September 22nd 7:15pm - 8:00pm
Michael Steven Gregory
 
 

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER

Greta Boris
September 22nd 8:00pm - 8:45pm
Author, Suspense
 
 


Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

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REGISTRATION DESK

Walk-in Registration
September 23rd 7:00am - 6:00pm
 
 

WORKSHOP

Read & Critique

Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Marla Miller & Jennifer Silva Redmond
An exceptional query letter is what lands a manuscript request from an agent or acquisitions editor. But is the book you’re pitching in it an accurate description of the book you’ve written? Is it too long or filled with superfluous information that actually undermines a reader’s confidence in your potential? Bring in your no-more-than-1-page query letter and let the “Pitch Witches” work their “magic” to make it the best it can be.
 
Rewrite & Read
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Darlene Quinn
TBA
 
Rewrite & Critique
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Darlene Quinn
TBA
 
All-Genre
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Teresa Burrell
Troubleshoot potentially problematic aspects of works-in-progress.
 
Rogue Read & Critique(s)
Sep 23rd 9:00pm - Sep 24th 12:00am
Various

  • All-Genre: Laura Taylor

  • Cold Openings: Your First Five Pages: Marla Miller

  • Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Melanie Hooks & Laura Perkins

 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

The Storyteller’s Toolbox
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Janis Thomas
Whether you’re writing sci fi, paranormal, coming of age, romance, or memoir, all stories have key elements that make them engaging reads. In this workshop, we will cover structure, character arc, beats, and other tools that will raise your story to the next level.
 
Every Story is a Love Story
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Ara Grigorian
Every story has an element of love, whether it’s a Romance (OutlanderNotting Hill), a story with a love interest sub-plot (Hunger Games), a buddy love (JawsDie Hard), or team love (Harry PotterAvengers). In this session we’ll cover the various ways love is incorporated into all story types; how the theme of your story drives its heart and is tightly coupled with the lesson your main character(s) will learn during the journey; and explore how both structure and the associated story beats drive the love story.
 
The Doctor is IN: Using Psychology to Master Character Development
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Seth Wagerman
Want characters so deep and genuine that your readers will feel as though they’ve known them for years? Develop their quirks, traits, and deeply-buried scars using the Science of Personality Psychology. In this active workshop, participants will come to understand their creations as complex beings, using everything from classic psychoanalysis to modern-day research on the way personality manifests in the way we walk, talk, and even decorate our bedrooms!  Learn something new about your characters–and maybe even yourself–and leave with more than one “take-home” method for showing, not telling, what drives them.
 
Story Beats: Your Story’s Pulse
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Ara Grigorian
One tried-and-true method to becoming a better storyteller is to decompose and analyze favorite works (books, movies, etc.) like a surgeon until finding the inherent patterns that makes all stories flow. These internal patterns are story beats—the pulse of story. Story beats are the events, the decisions, or discoveries that alter the way our protagonist pursues her goal. This session will help you understand the core beats that all great stories share and apply them to your own.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

Rhythm, Pace, and Amusement
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Gayle Carline
As with good fiction, narrative nonfiction–both long- and shortform, columns included–must tell a story that pulls the reader from beginning to end. The best narrative nonfiction not only fulfills the writer’s objective in a logical, emotionally satisfying way, but leaves the reader wanting more (especially challenging with columns). We’ll discuss how to plump up flat sentences, and how to make sure each scene keeps the reader on the edge of their seat in pursuit of that goal. Bring your pages!
 
Structure in Memoir: How to Reveal the Universal Story Inside the Personal Narrative
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Judy Reeves
Memoir, like any story, needs a structure upon which to build and from which to expand. It needs a construction with its own logic that holds the story together. Memoir isn’t autobiography. Memoir is a “slice of life” that has a beginning, middle and ending, but these aren’t birth and death and everything that happened in-between. In this workshop, we’ll look at some of the many ways a writer can structure her memoir—linear, framed, single-focus issue, collage, braided, circular, plus a few other surprising scaffolds. We’ll explore examples of the various structures and discuss why they work and how a writer can determine the most effective structure for the story that wants to be told.
 
Time in Memoir—A Chronology of Its Own
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Judy Reeves
Not every memoir is told in chronological order. In fact, most memoirs move both forward and backward in time, slip-sliding from past to present and back again. The most successful memoirs aren’t simply a recounting of events, but the memoirist’s discovery of the connections among events that were not necessarily sequential and weaving those events into a narrative that reveals a meaning deeper than a mere telling of this happened and then that. Flash back; flash forward; time leaps; “I, then and I, now;” child voice/adult voice; past tense/present tense; reflection/projection; time is fluid in the memoir. In this workshop, we’ll look at the ways a writer controls time to reveal patterns and meaning in telling their story.
 
Crafting a Compelling Book Proposal
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Marla Miller
For nonfiction writers, a well-crafted book proposal package is the key to selling your project. In this workshop, we dissect the components of a book proposal, considered the “tell and sell” document that agents and acquisition editors require for nonfiction books, (memoirs sometimes). Marla has sold two on proposal alone, one to Simon & Schuster, and will use content from her works to illustrate what hooks and what doesn’t. Writers invited to bring book proposal drafts to this workshop for possible partial review.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Path to Publication

Choose Your Adventure: A Publishing Guide for Aspiring Authors
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Greta Boris & Megan Haskell
Imagine yourself, author, as the protagonist in a story full of challenges, twists, and turns. Whether a pantser or a plotter, you have to prepare for the call to adventure. Too many new writers, and sometimes even experienced ones, drown in the swampy middle, give up in the dark night of the soul, and are defeated by their villain. In this course, we will help aspiring novelists plot their own journey by providing a self-outline method to determine which model–Traditional or Self-Publishing, Big 5 Publisher or smaller Indie Press–is best for them and map out the pros, cons, and processes for each.
 
Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Holly Kammier & Jessica Therrien
In an ever-changing industry, hybrid publishing is a new concept. Combining traditional publication expertise and cover appeal with the benefits that come with publishing independently, in this workshop the owners of Acorn Publishing will lead authors through the process, from submission to published novel, of cost-effectively self-publishing vetted, quality books under an established collective imprint–Acorn–while enabling them to retain all rights to their work and collect 100% of their profit.
 
Building the Better Book Trailer
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Michael Steven Gregory
Whether paying a service or electing to do it yourself, a well-produced book trailer or author video raises awareness and helps sell your title long after publication. Unfortunately, most fail to convert viewers into actual book buyers. In fact, the majority are pretty bad. And bad trailers undermine the confidence of prospective readers, forcing them to question whether the book is any better. From concept through completion, this workshop addresses the key components necessary to creating effective trailers that grab viewers’ attention, sustains it, and drives traffic to your website; a how-to complete with freely available resources for you to craft your own quality author video.
 
Indie Excellence: Glocalization and the Key to Survival
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Laura Taylor
Two issues loom large on the Independent Author-Publisher horizon once a writer produces a beautifully written, skillfully edited book and makes it available for purchase: diversification and discoverability. This workshop is geared for writers who wish to globally expand their readership beyond Amazon and gain royalty income from a wide range of sources. >>Details
 
 

WORKSHOP

Business & Alternative

Applying Tension and Voice to First Pages
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Claudia Whitsitt
Combine what you’ve learned about tension to this workshop on adding that elusive voice to your first pages, so that your readers are gripped to your story from the very start. Please bring your first pages so you can apply the lesson to your manuscript.
 
Storytelling is Murder
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Gayle Carline
Like any genre, mysteries need great characters, but they also need a puzzle to be solved within the pages. The same techniques used by screenwriters to create an interesting crime solved by fascinating characters can be used by novelists to write a compelling story. This workshop will take a look at an episode from a popular TV mystery series and what makes it work. Be prepared to dissect, dismember, and disembowel a 50-minute TV show, then be amazed at how much you’ve learned.
 
X-traordinary Sex Writing
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Janet F. Williams
Writing sex scenes can be intimidating, even for seasoned authors. This session will inform attendees on the “ins and outs” of good sex writing, from mild to wild, straight or gay or whatever suits the mood. Expect graphic language, humor, and information designed to help authors change wooden scenes into writing readers crave. Workshop assignments will give you a new way to get started.
 
Getting to the Heart of Women’s Fiction
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Janis Thomas
Women’s Lit is a broad genre, but one of the most popular and best-selling forms of fiction today. In this workshop, we’ll explore the overall genre, its sub-genres and the commonalities they share; what makes women’s fiction work; interweaving plot and character to create a compelling story, and more.
 
 

PANELS & SPECIAL EVENTS

Lunch
September 23rd 12:10pm - 1:00pm
On Your Own
 
Agents Panel: State of Publishing
September 23rd 4:15pm - 5:30pm
Various
 
SCWC Banquet
September 23rd 6:30pm - 8:00pm
 
Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress 1
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Jean Jenkins
Limited to 12 participants, in this two-part workshop freelance editor Jean Jenkins analyzes your story idea, writing style, character motivation, sense of setting, character commitment, and all the other little things that agents and editors look for when reviewing pages. Submission of material prior to conference required. >>Details
 
 

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS

Cherie Kephart
September 23rd 8:00am - 8:45am
Author, Memoir
 
Rachel Howzell Hall
September 23rd 8:00pm - 8:45pm
Author, Mystery/Crime Fiction
 
 

ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTATIONS

Advance Submissions
September 23rd 9:00am - 10:30am
Appointments
 
Advance Submissions
September 23rd 10:40am - 12:10pm
Appointments
 
Advance Submissions
September 23rd 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Appointments
 
Advance Submissions
September 23rd 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Appointments
 
 


Sunday, September 24th, 2017

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REGISTRATION DESK

Walk-in Registration
September 24th 8:30am - 12:00pm
 
 

WORKSHOP

Read & Critique

All-Genre
September 24th 7:00am - 8:45am
Jennifer Silva Redmond
Early morning opportunity to troubleshoot potentially problematic aspects of works-in-progress.
 
All-Genre
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Claudia Whitsitt
Troubleshoot potentially problematic aspects of works-in-progress.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

7 Character Motivations You Need to Know
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Janet F. Williams
Learn the seven motivations that drive behavior. You will discover how to focus on specific motivations and then combine them to create believable characters that think, feel, and act with conviction. You will find it easier to keep your characters “in character” and your story will take on better drive.
 
Backstory: Employing Expository Like a Screenwriter
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Jennifer Silva Redmond
Learning how and when to give readers information about what came before page one. Clunky, obvious, “on the nose” expository is the bane of agents and editors—not to mention readers—and one of the chief reasons that manuscripts and books get put down, never to be picked up again. Readers want (and need) to learn about characters and situations as they go along, much as we learn about people and situations in real life. In this workshop you’ll learn how to integrate the backstory into your story by employing “character reveals,” “visual expository,” and some other screenwriting tricks. Bring the first two pages of your manuscript, short story, essay, or article—you may be called upon to share.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Craft & Execution

Tell Me a Story: Using the Techniques of Fiction to Craft a Compelling Memoir
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Judy Reeves
When we say, “tell me a story,” what we really mean is transport me to another place and time where something interesting—maybe even captivating—is happening. We want something exciting or moving to occur, and we want to experience it right along with the characters. We want to get to know the characters, see what they look like and hear their voices. We want to learn about them through their actions and behavior. We want to be grounded in a place, at a particular time. It isn’t just in novels and short stories, we want all this—readers these days expect these story-telling qualities in our memoirs as well. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the various techniques good fiction writers use to shape their story and reveal their characters and learn how to apply them in our memoirs.
 
An Editorial Perspective of Memoirs and Personal Narrative
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Laura Taylor
A very wise memoir writer once observed: "Writing memoirs is about harnessing what you see so that you can reveal what you know." An equally wise personal narrative writer made a very similar observation. A unique story, brilliant writing that breathes life into a "real" event/series of events, and the emotional and intellectual engagement of readers--in a nutshell, this is what publishers seek from memoir and personal narrative writers. This workshop will examine the structural components and responsibilities inherent to these two forms of writing from an editorial perspective. All writing levels are welcome.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Business & Alternative

Scrivener 101: Maximize the Value, Minimize the Stress
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Ara Grigorian
Arguably one of the most powerful tools available to writers today is Scrivener, a content-generation software for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, the sheer breadth of its capabilities can be overwhelming. This workshop cuts straight to the chase to get you up to speed with only what you need to know to get to writing fast. >>Details
 
Write from the Heart
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Jeffrey J. Michaels
Successful creative writers rely on the ability to consistently access clear inspiration in their works. The word “inspiration” shares its origins with the words “breath” and “spirit.” The development of this creative spirit must become as natural as breathing in your evolving skills as a writer. This workshop will assist in integrating the diverse elements and experiences of the weekend, and encourage you to re-ignite your creative spirit by Writing from the Heart.
 
 

WORKSHOP

Path to Publication

$0 to Six-figures in 7 'Not-So-Easy' Steps
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Teresa Burrell
Writing as a business or a hobby? Learn how to make writing your day job. This workshop is for writers who want to make money. If you have multiple books or are just starting your first one, you need to know the “business” of being an author, and the sooner you start the better. Writing is fun, but making a living at it is totally awesome!
 
An Agent, an Editor, and a Publishing Consultant Walk into a Bar…
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Claire Gerus, Helga Schier & Pam Sheppard
Publishing professionals often try to be diplomatic when commenting to you on your work. What do they really say about your project? Listen in … and hear the worst, and the best things we have to say. And yes, we’ll give you real advice on making your project something we love. Find out why you have yet to hear, “Yes, I”m interested!” from your agent of choice.
 
 

PANELS & SPECIAL EVENTS

To Be Announced
September 24th 12:30pm - 1:15pm
TBA
 
Awards & Farewell
September 24th 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Wes Albers & Michael Steven Gregory
 
Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress 2
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Jean Jenkins
Limited to 12 participants, in this two-part workshop freelance editor Jean Jenkins analyzes your story idea, writing style, character motivation, sense of setting, character commitment, and all the other little things that agents and editors look for when reviewing pages. Submission of material prior to conference required. >>Details
 
 

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER

Kelly Abbott
September 24th 12:30pm - 1:15pm
CEO, Great Jones Street
 
 

ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTATIONS

Advance Submissions
September 24th 9:00am - 10:30am
Appointments
 
Advance Submissions
September 24th 10:40am - 12:10pm
Appointments
 
 

 

Schedule subject to change. Final schedule available upon conference check-in.