Saturday, February 24, 2007

Southern CA Writers' Conference*San Diego report...

From the Asian Journal newspaper:

21st Annual Southern California Writers Conference * San Diego
by Miles Beauchamp
Feb 24, 2007

San Diego’s premiere writer’s conference is now over but the afterglow remains. Every year at about this time, national and international writers and authors gather in San Diego to attend one of the nations more successful, more user- friendly, more forward-thinking conferences. The SCWC*SD is designed to help individuals become better writers, improved story tellers, and successful authors.

Held at the Red Lion Hanalei Hotel, scheduled speakers read like a who’s who of the writing profession and, among others, included:
Helen Atsma
Tom Basinski
Robert Gregory Browne
Mark Clements
Barry Eisler
Dale Fetherling
Jerry Hannah
William Hutchings
Jean Jenkins
Betty Abell Jurus
Gordon Kirkland
Ken Kuhlken
Bob Mayer
Jeffrey McGraw
Eric Olsen
Matthew J. Pallamary
Barbara Peters
Laura Preble
Frederick Ramsay
Jennifer Redmond
Judy Reeves
Alan Russell
Michele Scott
Julie Ann Shapiro
Mike Sirota
Susan Arnaut Smith
Alexandra Sokoloff
Raymond Strait
Laura Taylor
John Tefft
Amy Wallen
Maralys Wills

In addition to the workshops and speakers, there were agents and editors, readers, and more. What follows below are notes and thoughts from three attendees or presenters.

Jean Jenkins.

“Favorite entry to the 6 word writing contest: “Husband in shower. Flush toilet. Run!”
There were two winners of the Best Fiction Award this year, which is given for a body of work that is both good story and good writing and ready to go to an agent. One of the winners was George Berger, a local university professor, who received several requests from agents to read his manuscript. That was good news but apparently nothing compared to winning the Best Fiction Award after five or so years of attending to the conference. Berger strolled out of the banquet room with a big smile and eyes twinkling. One staff member looked at him and said, “So that’s what a man floating on air looks like.” And it was.

Jan Coleman
I attended this past weekend’s Southern California Writer’s Conference as an aspiring writer and first-time conferee with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Not knowing what to expect but eager to learn more about being a successful (i.e. published) writer I signed up for the conference hoping to gain insight from professionals in the business. After three days of intensive workshops I came away with more than a just a glimpse into the world of being a successful writer and no small amount of rewriting to do on my novel-in-progress. I’ve attended a number of conferences over the years and I must give kudos to Michael Steven Gregory, Wes Albers, Chrissie A. Barnett, Nancy Painter, Cricket Abbott and all the others for their extremely organized and well-run symposium. In each time-block there were several suitable choices of workshops to choose from such as “Pitching Your Book”, “Crafting Characters That Jump off the Page” and “Rewriting Your Novel”. A “Read and Critique” group was also available the entire weekend for those brave enough to read aloud an excerpt of their writing and listen (in silence!) to important feedback. I arrived at the conference hoping to gain a little knowledge and left with my brain quite full. Between the lectures, the open-ended discussions outside the classrooms and the writing guide books I bought I feel like I now know my destination, have a clear direction where I’m headed and a road map pointing the way. What a great weekend. I can’t wait for the fall conference in Palm Springs!

Betty Abell Jurus
There should be a warning on the conference brochure: “Attendees and staff will walk in, but ‘creature’ out" -exhausted. No matter. It’s worth it to hear the stories writers are working on. I love political thrillers, and had the pleasure of meeting and talking with a writer from Ohio who has the talent and background knowledge necessary to write his “real insider” novel based on the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections - a time-critical novel that needs to be out before the 2008 election. How to get that done is the question. That’s just one book. Considering that there were somewhere near 350 writers, speakers, agents, editors attending, the conference was replete with riches. They came from all over the nation and from places as diverse as Ireland, Australia, and Canada and Japan. Talk about possibilities! Talk about conversations! Talk about fascinating! Talk about fun! Talk about memories being made....”

The Southern California Writers’ Conference has facilitated over $3 million worth of first-time books and screenplays. In addition to the Southern California Writers Conference*San Diego, there are also conferences in Palm Springs and Los Angeles. More facts and reservation information can be located at: Some information for this column was obtained from the SCWC website and other SCWC publications


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