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24 July 2013 @ 10:07 pm
Writers of my acquaintance! I'm running a writing seminar next year and I need to put the topic/program together; I could use some crowdsourced advice.

If you had the opportunity (at a writing workshop, a con, etc) to hear a panel of successful writers talk about writing, what are the sorts of things you would find most interesting/useful to hear about? Publishing? Writing logistics? Writing craft? Pep talks?

Please feel free to be more specific than I'm being about what works well for you; your specificity will help my planning.
SarahMichigansarahmichigan on July 25th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
I think it really depends on your attendees. Newbs? Old timers who need some inspiration?

I like to hear about process and where people get their ideas.

I like to hear wacky theories about plotting, outlining, etc.

A lot of writers will want to hear about markets and how to get published.
life in the slow lanecobalt_00 on July 25th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
What kind of writing? Who are your panelists going to be?

For me, the last tempting course I've heard about was one on how to market short fiction. Part of it involved writing assignments, and part was specifics about the market for that kind of work. The writing part was prompts and some craft, with feedback, and then you were given pointers on publishing what you'd produced. It was the pairing that I found most intriguing. The idea of a panel is less tempting because it means I'll sit there and get talked at, and people will ask questions a la http://scottlynch.us/blog/2013/06/14/being-good-can-be-a-shortcut-there-is-no-shortcut-to-being-good/
E-pub/self-pub seems to be a big thing these days though it mostly leaves me cold.

Otherwise, a lot of what draws (or doesn't) for me is who will be speaking - and about what. For example: Jen Violi wrote one of the best YA novels I have ever read. She has published precisely one novel. Would I go see her talk about how to get published? No. Would I go see her about craft in YA lit? Yes. Craft in SF? No.
Liz A. Vogel: Good Badlizvogel on September 14th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
Hi there! Just happened across this; hope you don't mind a belated comment.

Two suggestions based off of this past 4th Street's seminar:

1) Be clear about your intended audience, both in planning and in advertising. Novices? Intermediate writers? What's wonderful for a raw beginner will likely be less rewarding to somebody who's been at this for a while.

2) Try to get a mix of different "types" of writers on the panel: outliners and "pantsers", muse-followers and cold-hard-crafters, analytics and intuitives. All the self-identified writers at this past seminar were much in the same mold, and while they were very nice about it, there was a definite vibe that of course everybody works this way; as someone whose process is very different, I was starting to feel a bit invisible by the end of the session.

As for things I'd like to see:

- A practical workshop on query letters & synopses. Bring what you've got, have it ripped up by people who know what they're doing, re-work it until you've got something that might actually get someone to read your manuscript.

- Something addressing the needs of intermediate writers. There's plenty of resources out there for beginners (pretty much every convention writing panel ever, most online forums, every open-to-the-public writing group I've ever seen), and I hear about a lot of networks for folks who've had their first novel published. But there seems to be a real dearth for the intermediate-level writers, those who've got a handle on the basics but don't yet have that publication street-cred.

- A sort of networking party (ghah, business-speak, but I don't have a better term) for forming critique groups. With some kind of directed info-exchange to help match folks with similar interests, skill levels, and critique needs.

Obviously these are all catering to my specific situation. ;-) But the intermediate writer thing seems to plague a lot of people; at least, I've come across a number of folks feeling similarly lost in the gap.