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Most writers will attend the NCWN Writingest State Online Conference, November 10-14, 2020, to learn to improve their craft. But most writers also want to be read some day. Which is why NCWN offers programs and sessions focused the business of books.

Registration is open, and remember: one need not register for the full conference. Half-conference and even à la carte selections are available. So, what's on the menu?

"The Agents & Editors Panel Discussion" with Erin Hosier, Emmanuelle Morgen, and Betsy Thorpe happens Saturday, November 14, at 9:00 am.

You have questions about the book business? Don’t we all, these days! This will be your chance to ask those questions to industry professionals. WSOC registrants will receive a link and instructions on submitting their Agents & Editors questions just prior to the conference.

Erin Hosier has been a literary agent since 2001, currently with Dunow Carlson & Lerner, and is the author of the memoir Don't Let Me Down (now in paperback), and the coauthor of Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel (2017). She is the co-creator of the podcast Tell Me About Your Father, and was an original co-host of the Literary Death Match. As an agent, she primarily works with authors of nonfiction and has a special interest in popular culture, music biography, humor, women's history, and untold stories of all kinds. In general, novels with happy endings put her in a bad mood.

Emmanuelle Morgen represents children’s books for all ages, from picture book to YA, as well as adult commercial fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she particularly enjoys science fiction and fantasy, women’s fiction and romance, historical fiction, and novels that give voice to the experiences of marginalized voices. She has a soft spot for journey stories and well-developed villains. In nonfiction, she works with psychology, sociology, self-help, and memoir. Emmanuelle has worked in book publishing her entire career, beginning at Fodor’s, the travel division of Random House, in 1999. In 2006, she joined Wendy Sherman Associates as an agent, and in 2011 she moved to Stonesong. Prior to starting a career in book publishing, she worked briefly as a teacher, baker, server, and library shelver.

Betsy Thorpe has been in the book publishing business since graduating from college. She has worked as an editor at Atheneum Publishers (Simon & Schuster), HarperCollins, Broadway Books (Random House), and John Wiley & Sons. She opened up her own literary services company in 2000, where she has guided many authors to publication, and ghost-written many books, some of which have appeared on Oprah, People magazine, and The New York Times. Betsy lives in Charlotte with her two daughters and rescue dog, Charlie.

Betsy also will lead the session "The Importance of Understanding the Book Publishing Business" on Saturday, November 14, at 2:30 pm.

Whether you are just starting your manuscript or about ready to publish, it’s imperative to know how the publishing business works. Where will your book fit in that world? Should you go to literary agents and traditional publishers, smaller presses, hybrid presses, or self-publish? What are the ins-and-outs of each model? What are the requirements for each? A veteran of traditional, indie, and self-publishing will explore these and other questions about the book business.

Since the start of the pandemic, authors have been challenged to come up with new and cost-effective ways to promote their books. Enter Lyndsay Hall, who will offer "Touring and Promoting Your Book on a Budget" on Saturday, November 14, at 11:00 am.

In this class, we will talk about conventional and unconventional forms of book promotion and ways to spread the word about your book far and wide. For many indie-published and self-published works, the marketing budget is tight and authors are left to get creative with their promo. We'll talk about how to foster community and grow natural support for your work, ways tech can be advantageous to your promotion, and how to land readings and events at your favorite spots. Authors will leave this class with actionable steps to begin touring!

Lyndsay Hall is the founder and director of Sevilla Writers House, a Los Angeles-based literary events and editing agency, where she organizes book tours and other events for authors. She has taught creative writing to adults and children through Sevilla and a national nonprofit, Writopia Lab, for six years. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles; while there, she served as managing editor for the program’s literary journal, Lunch Ticket. Lyndsay has been the first reader of submissions for Slice, Antioch University’s Lunch Ticket Special, and Union Literary, an agency. Her essay, “A Saline Solution,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in Hobart Pulp, Little Fiction | Big Truths, juked, xoJane, The Avalon Literary Review, and Lunch Ticket, among others.

Finally, although geared toward fiction writers, Mathieu Cailler's "Fiction: From Concept to Publication" will help authors of any genre.

All writers are familiar with that quick strike of an idea that arrives in strange ways—from quiet moments while driving or a late-night walk with the dog—but what then? How does one take an idea and flesh it out into a story? And after a story is written, revised, and ultimately completed… then what to do? How does one find a suitable market? How does one submit a story and get it published? Cailler will address the essential elements of fiction that make stories succeed: outlining, mapping, character, plot, change, and even point out the usual mistakes writers make that can cause a story to fall flat. What qualifies as a story? How does one create stories in which characters act and are not simply acted upon? How does a writer take what she or he has and make it better? In addition to this, he will show participants the best resources for finding suitable and reputable publishers… and ultimately getting their world out into the world. Writers will leave this workshop with a renewed sense of passion, purpose, and direction. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels and backgrounds.

Mathieu Cailler’s first book, a collection of short stories, Loss Angeles (Short Story America), was honored by the Hollywood, New York, London, Paris, Best Book, and International Book Awards. Since that time, he has published five more books: the poetry collection, May I Have This Dance? (About Editions), winner of the 2017 New England Book Festival Poetry Prize; the children's book, The (Underappreciated) Life of Humphrey Hawley (About Editions), a Caldecott Medal and Newbery Award nominee; the poetry collection, Catacombs of the Heart (Luchador Press); and Hi, I'm Night (Olympia), a children's picture book. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in over seventy publications, most notably in The Saturday Evening Post and The Los Angeles Times. He is the recipient of a Shakespeare Award and Short Story America Prize.

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival for writers featuring classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference is open.

 

The NCWN Writingest State Online Conference 2020, November 10-14, offers an abundance of classes and programs for fiction writers. Attendees can register for the full conference; half a conference; or just one single class! You don't even have to be a member of NCWN, although we hope you'll consider it.

Registration is open; what's on tap for our spinners of yarns and tellers of tales? 

Matt Gallagher will lead the session "Imagination and History," meant for all writers but of particular value to fiction writers.

“The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.” Putting E.L. Doctorow's famous words to practice, this course will examine how creative work interacts with historical moments, large and small, and how that work can augment or even subvert the hard, factual record. Through a mixture of fiction and creative nonfiction, students will examine a variety of works set in the midst of change, progress and upheaval, with a mixture of works written in those moments and of works written long after. How does time and perspective influence this literature? What makes certain works stand that test of time, while others fail it? How do writers place the interiority of individual experience within societal and cultural history? This course will explore those questions and more, with a focus on storytelling.

Matt Gallagher is the author of the novels Empire City and Youngblood, a finalist for the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His work has appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and Wired, among other places. He’s also the author of the Iraq war memoir Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War and lives in New York with his wife and son.

Leah Hampton will lead the session "Magical Objects."

So much depends upon what we carry, what we lose and find. This course focuses on the power of everyday, concrete objects and how they enrich plot and character. We will avoid interior monologues, figurative language, and other abstract craft elements and instead dig up bones, change clothes, and pull the literal plug. We will practice using tangible objects and hard details to convey tension, emotion, metaphor, and so forth. Writers of all genres and skill levels welcome. Bring a work in progress to enrich with random thingamabobs, or start a story from scratch with something you find in class.

Leah Hampton is the author of F*ckface and Other Stories (Henry Holt, 2020), a longtime NCWN member, and the 2012 winner of the Network’s Doris Betts Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, McSweeneys, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, and she lives in and writes about the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Prose writers—fiction and nonfiction alike—will benefit from Art Taylor's session, "Wait, Wait… Do Tell Me!"

Suspense writers have mastered a skill that all storytellers—genre and literary writers both—might profit from: keeping readers in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Two competing narrative strategies work together here, both a swift movement forward and a steady forestalling of information about what’s ahead. This craft talk will look at tactics to implement this plan: hooking readers quickly and earning their investment in characters or situations; raising questions to pique their interest; parceling out enough information to keep them engaged but withholding enough to keep them turning those pages; and navigating either suspense or the path toward surprise—not the same journey. Passages from writers including Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, Margaret Millar, Cormac McCarthy, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, and others will illustrate various techniques for incorporating suspense into your own work.

Art Taylor is the author of The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense and On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story and has also won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, three Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University.

Last but not least—in fact, first!—novelists Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Therese Anne Fowler will engage in an "Opening Conversation" on the topic of "The Place & The Past."

They will discuss how in almost all creative writing—whether poetry, drama, fiction, or creative nonfiction—the setting where the story happens and the history out of which the story begins are as important as the voice, the plot, and the characters. Two North Carolina novelists will open the Writingest State Online Conference officially with this conversation on the place, the past, and the stories we’re trying to tell.

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resides in Qualla and teaches at Swain County High School. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe (The University Press of Kentucky), was published in September.

Therese Anne Fowler is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Week, Harper’s Bazaar, the Telegraph, and more, and her books are sold in translation worldwide. A Good Neighborhood, her most recent work, debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and was the Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for March 2020. Her 2018 novel A Well-Behaved Woman was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her 2013 novel Z has been adapted as an original television series for Amazon Studios, starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald. Therese earned a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from NC State University. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she lives in Raleigh with her husband, author John Kessel.

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival for writers featuring classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference is open.

 

The Writingest State Online Conference will open Wednesday, November 11, with an "Opening Conversation" between two novelists, both with books out this year: Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Therese Anne Fowler.

The NCWN Writingest State Online Conference 2020 runs November 10-14; registration is open.

The Opening Conversation, "The Place & The Past," will discuss how in almost all creative writing—whether poetry, drama, fiction, or creative nonfiction—the setting where the story happens and the history out of which the story begins are as important as the voice, the plot, and the characters. Two North Carolina novelists will open the Writingest State Online Conference officially with this conversation on the place, the past, and the stories we’re trying to tell.

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resides in Qualla and teaches at Swain County High School. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe (The University Press of Kentucky), was published in September.

Therese Anne Fowler is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Week, Harper’s Bazaar, the Telegraph, and more, and her books are sold in translation worldwide. A Good Neighborhood, her most recent work, debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and was the Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for March 2020. Her 2018 novel A Well-Behaved Woman was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her 2013 novel Z has been adapted as an original television series for Amazon Studios, starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald. Therese earned a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from NC State University. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she lives in Raleigh with her husband, author John Kessel.

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival for writers featuring classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

One does not need to be a member of the NC Writers' Network to register. Many registration options are available, including "Full" and "Half" conference options or the option to register for a single class (or two!). Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference is open. Space is limited.

“This will be the first year since 1985 that the North Carolina Writers’ Network has not offered its Fall Conference, and we hope it will be the last,” NCWN executive director Ed Southern said. “We’re very excited to offer the Writingest State Online Conference, though, and suspect this will not be its last year. We prefer, though, that in years to come we offer an online conference in addition to the Fall Conference, not in place of it.”

Instructors include poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, mystery writer Art Taylor, editors Lyndsay Hall and Betsy Thorpe, multi-genre author Mathieu Cailler, and debut author Leah Hampton, a past winner of the NCWN’s Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

 

 
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