Plot is not story. Even the most skilled application of craft will conceal a weak story for only so long. Story is story. Craft is the toolbox an author turns to to tell a story. Surprisingly, many good writers—craft execution-wise—don’t understand the distinction between the two. In fact, over the past few SCWCs, time and again I’ve consulted with those who’ve completed a manuscript, who are seeking advice on which Advance Submission Reader they should select, and I’ll ask, “Yeah, I get what it’s about, but what’s the story?” And they don’t know. They can only recite a plot.
Thing is, a good story can overcome lackluster execution of craft and still, at least in its audience’s mind, endure long after that first read. A good plot, devoid of a great story, will not. (Maybe its unrealized potential will, but little else beyond the ache for what might have been.)
While craft has always been foremost the SCWC’s emphasis, it must be said that one can be too keen or clever with it as to lose sight of what the commercial market craves most: story. We’ll focus substantively on it in February.
The Big Question
“What’s the right path to publication for me?” A question so hard to answer in this supposed new “Golden Age” of publishing. But it ain’t really, a “Golden Age” I mean. For most, it’s a time of confusion, rife with too many avenues to turn down; too many grifters to sift through; too many ever-changing algorithms to work around; too many speed ramps to failure for a writer who doesn’t know what she doesn’t know until it’s far too late.
Traditional. Boutique. Independent. Hybrid. Self. So many publishing options for today’s authors that, inevitably, the choices one makes today will shape the reception of their work in the future. The good gals of Acorn Publishing will return to address the popular select hybrid path. Over the past year they’ve signed five SCWCers, including Mikel J. Wilson. The first of his Mourning Dove Mysteries, Murder on the Lake of Fire, is out December. And from Mandy Urena, her delightful memoir Touchy, Feely Squeezy: Musings of a Masseuse will be released Valentine’s Day, 2018.
The bulk of sessions we’ll be conducting are posted on the Workshops and Events page, and Advance Submission Reader selection is now open. More of both will be added over the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to our .COMmunity newsletter to be alerted of important updates.
SD32 is limited to only 175 conferees. We anticipate a sellout crowd, so take advance of discounted pre-registration sooner than later. For those planning way ahead, discounted pre-registration also now open for our exclusive 3-track spring immersive in Central Oregon. Dates for the Sunriver Writers’ Summit are 26-27, 2018.
—Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC