Perhaps the most vexing question any writer must answer (other than, “Have I read anything you’ve written?”) is: How good is good enough? So often working in isolation, bereft of empirically qualified feedback on what they’ve written, writers must summon the gumption to conclude—unequivocally and without independent assurance—that the book they’ve written is ready for consumer consumption. Certainly, given the overwhelming number of poorly produced, even cringe-inducing books available today, good enough should be just that. Thing is, it’s not.
Aspiring for mediocrity does not a good writer make. And good writing doesn’t necessarily equate to good storytelling. A good writer understands this. A good writer respects the expectations of her reader, aims for awe and settles only for exceptional. Unfortunately, most writers don’t discover their work’s far from good enough until it’s been rejected by agents and editors. Or worse, after their book’s been self-published and too late.
As with our annual Southern California Writers’ Conference (SCWC) events in San Diego and Newport Beach, CA, respectively, the primary emphasis of the Sunriver Writers’ Summit (held in Oregon) is craft and execution. The distinction, beyond being a more intimate gathering, is that it’s track driven, exclusively focused on narrative storytelling for market and raising the bar on what really qualifies as “good enough.”
While the SCWC has amassed an impressive record of first-time author success stories over the past 28 years, the fact remains that for every individual writer who comes to a conference with rightfully high expectations of being discovered—and is—many more others arrive equally confident only to discover their work still needs a lot more work.
Our goal with the Summit is to get writers ready for prime time; to better communicate the story in their mind to a stranger across a printed page, whether that stranger is a peer, an agent, an editor, a publisher, or—the ultimate goal—the book-buying reader.
Regardless of which path to publication you’re considering, whether you’re writing commercial fiction, genre or memoir, craft matters. Period.
—Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/Sunriver Writers’ Summit