Big Sur on Cape Cod Workshop Review

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No post yesterday since I’m still trying to absorb the experience of the Big Sur on Cape Cod Children’s Writer’s Workshop I attended this weekend. For those who don’t know it, it’s sponsored by the Andrea Brown literary agency, and takes place a couple times per year, usually in Big Sur, CA (hence the name). This was the first time on the East Coast, so I couldn’t resist. The workshop is unique in that the faculty is a mixture of published authors, editors, and agents from the Andrea Brown agency. Each participant has two faculty over the course of the …

Don’t Panic

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These words, famously, were written on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, from the novel by Douglas Adams, but they are equally applicable to someone about to attend a writer’s conference. This week, I’m frantically trying to prepare for the Big Sur on Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, sponsored by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. This is very different from the Grub Street Muse & the Marketplace conference I attended a couple weeks ago. BSCC includes intensive workshops with faculty (authors, agents, editors), pitch time, revision time, panels… so it’s more of a “writing” conference than an “inspirational” …

Try This: Voice Workshop

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I’ve been following Brenda Drake’s blog, which recently has featured Voice Workshops with Pitch Wars mentors. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she runs the #pitchmad Twitter pitch contests and Pitch Wars, where agents and editors mentor promising writers. If you haven’t checked out her site, I highly recommend it: http://www.brenda-drake.com/ The Voice workshops (currently the most recent entries on her blog) are professional critiques of writers’ first pages, and are very instructive of what an agent or editor looks for. Read the series, and then look at the first page of your own manuscript. What do you see that could …

Friday Favorite: Writer’s Conferences Roundup

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I’d like to conclude our theme of Writer’s Conferences by providing some places to hunt for the conference of your dreams. Of course, if you write for a specific genre, you will want to attend one specific to that genre, such as: Yes, it’s a bewildering array or possibilities. That’s why it pays to do your research, to plan ahead, and to get organized so you get the most out of any conference you choose. What conferences are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Getting the Most Out of a Writer’s Conference

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Now that you’ve found the right conference for you, how do you maximize your time there? Part of it is your preparation. Read all available information on the schedule, and the presenters, especially, of course, ones you might be pitching to. Plan ahead so you know the sessions you especially want to attend. Know your priorities, and mark them so you don’t miss them. There may be some blocks with multiple sessions you’d like to go to, and others that don’t have anything that seems to jump out at you. At many conferences, it’s okay to go to more than …

Thoughts From the Muse

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This weekend, I attended the Muse and the Marketplace conference, put on by Grub Street, a Boston-area hive for all things literary. I’ve never had the chance to go before (I’m usually at the New England SCBWI conference) so I was interested in checking it out. I didn’t do any of the Manuscript Mart sessions, where you pitch to an agent or editor. (That could be a whole post in itself.) For this conference, I just focused on the sessions and events. I was impressed by the sessions – both the variety and quality. They were a mix of craft …

How To Choose a Writer’s Conference, Part I

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This weekend, I’m attending the Grub St. Muse & the Marketplace conference in Boston. It will be my first time at this particular conference, and I’m eager to check it out and see what it’s like. I’ll have a full report on Monday. One of the best ways to gain motivation and inspiration for your work can be to attend a writer’s conference. But with the plethora of conferences out there, how do you determine the best one for you? It can be tempting to just go to the one closest to you, or the one with the biggest “name” …

Try This: Freewriting

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I also coach students in grant writing, and I sometimes think they must hate me because when I review their work, I correct everything, including spelling and punctuation. I’m looking with an editor’s eye, as well as a proofreader’s. If they could see my freewriting material, they’d laugh. If in pen, it’s a nearly-illegible scrawl, with spellings only I could untangle. If on the computer, it’s a sea of red and green underlining – Microsoft Word helpfully pointing out all the things I’ll have to go back and fix. But that’s okay. Freewriting is a time to let loose on …

Friday Favorite: Writing Down the Bones

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Each Friday, I’ll be writing about one of my favorite resources for writing or creativity. If you have any to share, feel free to email me at jana(dot)vanderveer(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment. Today’s pick is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, an inspirational classic. My copy is bound together with her next book, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life. The chapters of both books are short, and talk about the simple things: going deep, attending to detail, being honest. Sometimes there are stories of her life related to her practice of Zen Buddhism, and she …

Kicking Things Up a Notch

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I’ve been posting and Tweeting the idea of No Zero Days for a little while now, and in the spirit of that, and to kick up the activity at Set Your Muse on Fire a bit, I’m going to propose an increased weekly schedule that will help jump-start your inspiration (and mine). I’ll be posting roughly three times per week, on the following schedule: Monday – Writing Prompt of the Week: Something to get the creative juices flowing. Wednesday – Article of the week, on craft or creativity. Friday – Book, article or other “share” of the week. Feel free …