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Addy Robinson McCullochAddy Robinson McCulloch is a freelance writer and editor whose clients include Pearson Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her work has appeared in publications such as Redheaded Stepchild, 234journal, the Iodine Review, and Get Out of My Crotch: 21 Writers Respond to America’s War on Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health. A graduate of Duke University, Addy lives in southeastern NC.

Addy will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference with Elizabeth King Humphreys titled "Editing Your Own Work: Much More than Grammar and Punctuation." Two professional editors will introduce the different levels of editing and discuss common weaknesses in manuscripts, including problems with voice, characterization, and writing style. Participants will walk away with a better idea of what to look for when editing their own work, including a self-editing “checklist” and information about affordable, reliable resources.

 

What are you reading right now?
Feminist blogs, contemporary poetry.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Sirius Black.

What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
The hook. It’s true for all types of writing—the hook is the invitation to the reader to “come in and sit a spell.”

Any memorable rejections?
Not recently, but I’m expecting one any day.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
Yes, but I find little to recommend them other than the ability to increase the font size.

What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
Doubling up on of prepositions. I’ve noticed a lot of that recently.

Do you steal pens from hotels?
Not anymore.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
As long as it’s only for a day, I’d like to be either Agatha Christie or T. S. Eliot.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I write to communicate.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
To Kill a Mockingbird; close second, Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet version).

What was the worst?
There are so many….

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Not sure. I know the best piece of advice I received was to “Read more.”

Please fill in the blank:
I have read ALL of the Harry Potter books.

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Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Ssuan SteadmanSusan Steadman has written for and about the stage throughout several decades as a professional theatre practitioner. Her wide-ranging plays include The Cinderella Chronicles (YouthPLAYS, 2012), performed in five countries, and The Thing with Feathers, which recently appeared in the South Florida Arts Journal and was presented at a national theatre convention. Susan’s competition-winning dark comedies, such as Filling Spaces and Tuesdays We Go to Playgroup, have delighted audiences from New Jersey to Texas. Her publications include Dramatic Re-Visions (ALA), a critically lauded reference work; magazine and journal articles; and contributions to books including Notable Women in the American Theatre. With a Ph.D. in Theatre from LSU, she has taught at universities, schools, camps, and conferences. Along the way, she has staged nearly seventy productions and served as artistic director of a professional theatre for sixteen years. A Dramatists Guild member, she resides in Wilmington, where she launched the Port City Playwrights’ Project.

Susan will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Creating Compelling Characters: What Playwrights Can Learn from Actors." Many approaches to acting also provide valuable tools for the playwright. This workshop will focus on motivation, subtext, choices and economy. Guidelines to improvisation, such as “show, don’t tell,” will also be explored. Through the analysis of short scripts and in-session writing exercises, participants will gain insight into the development of unique characters.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Little Women.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Photographer.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
You need to be tough.

Any memorable rejections?
To paraphrase Tolstoy: All acceptances are similar. Each rejection is memorable in its own way.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Slouched back in my desk chair, legs sprawling, when thinking. Hunched over my keyboard when actually writing.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
For the most part, as we all know, a film can’t compare to a book. I’m drawing a blank here.

What was the worst?
I don’t know where to start! Memoirs of a Geisha made a fascinating book into a boring film I couldn’t continue watching—but that’s just one of many.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writers need to discover and recharge, and the conference offers a number of opportunities: meeting other writers and engaging in informal conversation that may be dotted with “aha” moments; attending specific workshops and discovering an approach or tool you can adapt to/use in your own work; getting away from your office (or alcove or kitchen table) and, especially for those with families, enjoying “me” time.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
As a reader, I have no tolerance for grammatical errors. Reading local newspapers, for example, has become painful. As a writer of stage plays, my pet peeve is productions which ignore my instructions.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Yes and yes (sorry). I usually write from mid-morning until 2:00 or so, when I break for exercise, snack, or both. On the other hand, inspiration may hurl me into my office at any time of day or night. I’ve also known productive bouts writing on a legal pad at the hairdresser’s or while a passenger on a long car trip.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I start in discovery mode—“What might happen if?”—then move to an outline (or at least a list of plot points and character traits). All too soon, the characters take on a life of their own, and I can be heard yelling at the screen: “No, I didn’t want you to do that!”

What was the first thing you ever published?
Feature articles in the newspaper of the town in which I attended college.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
As a relative newcomer, I’m still working on this one. North Carolina is home to an incredible number of talented writers.

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Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Philip Gerard is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including Down the Wild Cape Fear (2013) and The Patron Saint of Dreams, the winner of 2012 Gold Medal for Essay/Creative Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher. He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Gerard will lead the Creative Nonfiction Master Class at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference. One of the hardest things for a nonfiction writer to do is to write a detailed, dramatic, factual scene of an event that actually happened, but that he or she was not present to witness. In this workshop, participants will address practical tools of the craft that can be applied to creating such vivid scenes—incorporating a method Gerard calls “triangulation” that uses corroborating, disparate sources to stage a moment of drama acted out by real people in a real place, while remaining loyal to the truthfulness of events. This workshop will look at how this technique can apply also to memoir, to scenes in which we as authors participated, bringing them to a heightened level of suspense and emotional engagement for the reader. In the end, the practical application of craft can lead to an artistic result.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
It was and remains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
I'd be on Willie Nelson's bus playing side-man.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Be active and tuned in to your publisher—selling the book is the beginning, not the end, of the process.

Any memorable rejections?
A publisher once wrote of a novel: "I loved this book. It's the book I would want to get under the Christmas tree and would buy copies of for all my friends. Unfortunately, it's not right for us."

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Sitting in my writing study.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
Deliverance—but it wasn't made here.The director of photography managed to capture the poetry of the country as Dickey wrote it.

What was the worst?
The Prince of Tides: they left out the Prince of Tides.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writing is solitary. It' s nice to get some encouragement from fellow travelers.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
Bad punctuation, sloppy word choice, figurative language that seems contrived.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
You have to write like you practice a musical instrument—every day for a period of time.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Both. An outline is just a treasure map, and not necessarily an accurate one.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A short story called "The Hunters" in the University of Delaware literary magazine. I learned later that it was read out loud by summer campers on the Chesapeake Bay each session at the final campfire—the best audience I never knew.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Ron Rash—for his lyrical intensity and respect for the craft and just plain great writing.

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Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 
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