Just in time for SD30, David Putnam’s third Bruno Johnson novel, The Squandered, is out Feb. 2nd from Oceanview. “[A] shocking and intense tale of brotherly love and redemption realized in the midst of moral decay. It’s a raw and gritty story I couldn’t put down,” proclaims New York Times best-selling author C.J. Box. David returns with two workshops this year, including one Writing for Real, part of our periodic focus on real-world perspectives of law enforcement.
For those addressing anything to do with cops, crime, justice (or lack of), this time around our Writing for Real sessions are comprised of the following:
“The Anatomy of Violence”
Leader: David Putnam
Objective: What motivates criminals? What’s involved in complicated officer-involved shootings or hand-to-hand confrontations? Drawing on his 30+ years in law enforcement, working crime scenes, narcotics, robbery, hostage crisis, Internal Affairs, patrol and as a SWAT team sniper, David has long confronted and studied criminal behavior first-hand. This workshop will explore the fundamental underpinnings at work behind both sides of the badge.
“Law Enforcement Immersion”
Leader: Richard Craig Anderson
Objective: In this session you are put behind the wheel of a speeding police cruiser. But why are you behind that wheel, why are you speeding, and where will you end up? To discover the answers, you must first learn why cops think along unique dimensions that only make sense to someone who has been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Armed with this insight, a writer can then develop cop characters with a sense of authenticity that eludes those who fool themselves into thinking they can gain an insider’s perspective from a friend of a friend, whose cousin’s brother knows this guy who once knew a cop.
“Proactive Investigations, Informants & Undercover”
Leader: Michael R. Shevock
Objective: Explore the fundamentals of recruiting and managing informants and touch on the basics of undercover operations. One of the most interesting aspects of complex investigations is the personal dynamic between confidential informants and their handlers – it is also inexplicably ignored by most crime writers.
“Trigger Points and Response”
Leader: Wes Albers
Objective: What happens when previously separate orbits realign to cross paths? This workshop will explore the dynamic world of action and consequence. It will discuss the potential consequences of decisions made during the dangerous moments surrounding a crisis.
Complete information on all SD30 sessions can be found on the Workshops and Events page.
SD30 Schedule Up and Running
Lots going on at our San Diego event. While true, each conference is distinctly constructed on the foundation of the preceding one, addressing what trends and changes within the industry have occurred between them, thing to remember is this: Craft matters. Craft is cool. Craft is king. All else is noise.
The SCWC is not some panel-centric confab focused merely on those occupying the stage, espousing conflicting views which too often muddle the conversation and dilute clear answers. The SCWC is about the writers in attendance–where they are now and where they want to be with their work. For, in our estimation, it is the work that remains an author’s ultimate declaration of purposeful being and it is the work that remains singularly their’s alone. Which is why, for example, a workshop such as “Authorial Voice: Finding and Making It Unmistakably Your Own,” conducted by prolific novelist Frederick Ramsay, is so valuable to emerging authors.
Devoting our attention to craft & execution and embracing the potential of quality material is how the SCWC has managed to facilitate over $4 million worth of first-time book and screen deals. One of the reasons we don’t do “pitch” sessions (charging writers for merely telling an agent or editor what their book’s about in hope of winning a request) is because a good pitch doesn’t necessarily equate to a good book. It’s the pages that matter.
But what about when the pages are good, the book genuinely is ready for prime time, yet the writer fumbles pitching it? It’s a pass. That one potentially passionate advocate, so vital to every writer’s success, never even glimpses what talent might fill the page.
Happens all the time.
Like it or not, in person and in query letters, the ability to convey your story with a polished “elevator pitch” is an essential part of being a commercial writer. Two specific workshops, “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?” and “Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique,” both co-conducted by Marla Miller and Jennifer Silva Redmond, will better prepare you for the inevitable. (The video to the right demonstrates Marla troubleshooting a query letter.)
Where Good Books End (and Others Begin)
As with a good pitch that doesn’t result in good writing, good writing is no guarantee of a good story, let alone a great one. We’ve all seen it: a book with potential fizzle out fast, whether in a few paragraphs, a few pages or several chapters deep. Seasoned agents, editors, writers, even readers, can discern if they’re in the hands of a quality writer pretty quickly. What factors play into why a book fails to grab or sustain the attention of a reader are too multitudinous to mention, but factor they do. Where a good book ends–at least for the reader–is perhaps the biggest challenge a writer must face. Worse? Not knowing where it actually begins. Worse than that? Everything in between!
Whether you’re pursuing a traditional publishing path or seeking to avoid regrettable premature e-publication, there are so many terrific craft and troubleshooting sessions on the schedule addressing these issues that it can be difficult to choose which not to attend. For those joining us for the first time, know that if you end up in one that doesn’t resonate for you, you’re more than welcome to quietly excuse yourself and pop into another. Other than with “A Novel Journey Immersion” and the “Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress” workshops, no other sessions require advance sign-up.
And though we’re still tweaking time slots and such, don’t forget that you can tailor and print your own personal weekend itinerary on the interactive SD30 Schedule page, or visit the Weekend-at-a-Glance page for one big eyeful.
30th Anniversary Writing Contest
Including our L.A./Irvine and Palm Spring events, San Diego’s February gathering will mark our 47th conference in 30 years. Courtesy of longtime SCWCer and debut author Oz Monroe, whose literary dark fantasy Soil-Man is now out, we’re having a contest. The subject of the contest is, appropriately, “Anniversary.”
Written in any genre you wish, but limited to no more than 1500 words, writers everywhere are welcome to submit an original, unpublished story focusing on any kind of anniversary. Two winning submissions will be selected, the writers of which will each receive Full Conference admission to SCWC*LA14, which takes place in Irvine, Sept. 23-25, 2016. (Lodging not included.)
The contest is open to all writers. There is no fee and SD30 attendance is not required to enter. Deadline to submit is March 31, 2016. A contest submission page will be available here on the site soon. Winners will be announced in May.
Latest Good “Muse”
SCWCers with new books include author/workshop leader Suzanne Redfearn’s No Ordinary Life and Sheri Fink’s debut novel, Cake in Bed. Both are out February … Linda Thomas-Sundstrom’s Immortal Redeemed is out April from Harlequin Nocturne, and Midge Raymond’s My Last Continent drops June from Scribner.
Among recent releases that slipped past: Dennis Bowen’s latest, The Redrock Quarantine … Barbara DeShong’s The Mercy, the first in her Jessica LeFave Mysteries … and David and Victoria Povall’s The Gift of the Twin Houses. Congratulations to all and to all, great success!
That’s it for now. It’s going to be another fantastic conference weekend. Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new. Be sure to subscribe to the SCWC newsletter for periodic updates. And do join the ever-informative discussion on our SCWC Facebook Group. There’s lots of stuff posted there that doesn’t make it to WC.com.
Until next time, go forth, write well and take a moment to watch “SCWC: Rise of a Writer” below. (It’ll put you in the mood.)
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC