They came from far and wide, to learn to write, to present and to promote what they had written — and were rewarded with knowledge, personal contacts and inspiration! That’s what the nearly 200 participants reported about their classes, workshops and mentoring sessions at the aCape Cod Writers Center Conference August 6-9, 2015 at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis.
Here’s a small sample of comments from our participants:
All of the faculty that I had classes with were fantastic! They gave me so much to think about and work on. I’m going home with a new sense of excitement for my writing!
Every year the faculty is different and each brings their own expertise. Love it! Will definitely be there next year.
I enjoyed my experience and will take away so much from this weekend!
My first conference. Very satisfied!
The faculty were very interesting, informative, and most importantly generous with their time,ideas, and knowledge. They also gave great feedback and answered many questions.
I really like the format of taking one class over several days and the option of just paying for one course (vs. having to pay for full days).
If you live on Cape Cod, you may have read in the Cape Cod Times or the Barnstable Patriot that former CCWC President and best-selling author Kevin Symmons is having a book signing at Books by the Sea on Main Street in Osterville this Saturday, August 15th, between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. He’ll have signed copies of Out of the Storm, his top-ten Amazon bestseller that’s now part of Amazon’s elite Encore Program. Symmons will also have Chrysalis, his newest release that’s already receiving an enthusiastic reception. Both books are set on Cape Cod. Of course, he’ll have copies of his other novels as well: Rite of Passage, a 2013 RomCon Reader’s Crown finalist, and Solo, his tense and gritty story that follows the musical theater business in the 1980s. Come by, visit Kevin, and say hello!
As social media becomes the cornerstone of author platforms, it’s not surprising to see twitter pitch parties and agent/mentor contests emerging as a popular way to attract the attention of agents and editors. One such contest that has gained momentum over the last few years is Pitch Wars.
Organized by Brenda Drake, Pitch Wars is more than just a writing contest; it’s a chance to work closely with established authors-mentors for two months. Writers send an application consisting of a query and the first chapter of their manuscript to five mentors who they feel are the best fit for their work. The mentors comb through all their applications and choose ONE writer to work with. For the next two months, mentors get down and dirty with their chosen manuscripts, offering creative content suggestions, line edits, tightening plot points… essentially making sure the manuscript shines in anticipation of the agent round on November 3-5 when over 23 agents, representing everything from middle grade to adult, make requests.
But what makes Pitch Wars unique from other contests is the way it brings the author community together. From Google chats to twitter interactions, the writers who are involved in Pitch Wars, whether published authors or mentees submitting applications, stay engaged long after the contest is over. They offer support and encouragement in an industry where rejection and the perpetual “no” seem to reign supreme. Several Pitch Wars mentees go on to become Pitch Wars mentors themselves, giving back to a community that cheered, cried, and celebrated with them along their path to publication.
How competitive is Pitch Wars? Well, last year mentors saw in excess of 1200 applications with the majority falling into the young adult category. (Full stats can be found on Dan Koboldt’s blog) This year’s contest looks to be even bigger! Submission window opens August 17th and is only open for a short 24 hours. Submission details and the list of mentors can be found on Brenda Drakes Blog.
Happy writing, and may the power of the muse be with you!
Trisha Leaver is the Vice President of the CCWC and a Pitch Wars mentor. She writes young adult fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/ Llewellyn and Merit Press. Her YA contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, received starred reviews from both VOYA Magazine and School Library Journal and was named of Teen Vogue’s top ten summer reads. You can find out more about Trisha and her published works on her website: www.trishaleaver.com
Former CCWC President Kevin V. Symmons will be hosting a launch party for his latest novel, Chrysalis, a tense New Adult romantic thriller set in Mattapoisett during the summer of 9/11. The event will be held at Uno’s at the Hyannis Rotary at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22nd. There is no charge to attend. Pizza, wine, snacks and other tasty treats will be served. More details and directions on Kevin’s Author FB page.
Kevin will also be at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library at 19 Sandwich Road in Bourne on Tuesday, July 28th at 7 p.m. for a talk on his novels and his use of dynamic heroines in his Amazon best-sellers. He will be featuring Out of the Storm. A contemporary thriller set on the Bass River, this novel features a cast of unforgettable characters and non-stop action. Out of the Storm was an Amazon top-ten best-seller. No one and nothing are what they seem! Come join him for a lively and interactive presentation!
By C. E. Lawrence
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series
Fantasy writing isn’t that different from other kinds of writing – except when it is. So here are a few tips and tricks to whet your whistle for the journey!
— Ideally, stories advance only through conflict, large or small.
Example: Harry Potter doesn’t know he’s a wizard, but his evil aunt and uncle know he might be and are terrified of magic
So what happens? As he discovers his powers, he must hide them from aunt and uncle. Conflict! The story advances as his powers become clearer, he learns who he is, etc., but because he must hide this knowledge, there is inherent tension in the story.
Tricks and Techniques:
A tried and true way to reveal key information is to have an uninitiated character who doesn’t know things that must be imparted to the reader. As he/she learns these backstory and plot elements, the reader does too. Warning: you still must avoid info-chunks and long monologues of “telling” – you must follow the Rule of Conflict.
Harry Potter takes place largely at a school, which is a perfect place not only to teach the young wizards, but also the reader. However, notice how even the classroom scenes are filled with conflict (will Snape go after Harry, will Miss freak out, will Moody do something violent, will Drago and his thugs attack Harry and his friends?) As the reader worries about the potential conflict, the information is imparted seamlessly (and since it’s magic, there’s a lot of potential for fun) – which brings me to my next trick:
“Telling” is the lazy man’s way out.
When in doubt, write it out.
There’s nothing more fun than seeing magic at work – not only Harry Potter style magic, but the kind of “magic” that turns up in any fantasy genre (cf. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.) Don’t tell us what super powers your characters or monsters have, show them (like the song in My Fair Lady, “Show Me”).
By having Harry start out as the “Innocent,” and by setting the story in a school (very clever choice!), Rowling sets up a situation in which showing is not only natural, it’s expected. So we get to see all kinds of magic in the works, all the while absorbing the “rules” of how the magic works in her story effortlessly – it never feels like the Dreaded Exposition Dump, because she does it by demonstrating in scene loaded with conflict.
Want to learn more? Come to the Fantasy Writing class in Cape Cod this year – see you there!
C. E. Lawrence is the author of nine published novels, award-winning plays, musicals, poetry and short fiction often based upon historical research. Her most recent Lee Campbell thrillers are Silent Slaughter and Silent Stalker. Her Sherlock Holmes novels, The Star of India and The Haunting of Torre Abbey, have recently been reissued, along with her Claire Rawlings mystery series. CELawrence.com
On Wednesday, July 22nd, former CCWC President Kevin Symmons is hosting a launch party for his new novel, Chrysalis. This event, similar to WritersNights Out, will be held at Uno’s at the Hyannis Rotary (Rte. 132). Again like WNO, it begins at 5:30, but this event is free. There will be pizza, munchies, wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, and dessert. The purpose is of course to introduce Chrysalis, his latest romantic thriller that is set during the summer leading up to 9/11. It’s already garnering some great early reviews (see one below). But make no mistake, Kevin is putting on this modest event to thank all his friends on Cape Cod and the CCWC members who have been so critical to his success as an author.
“Kevin Symmons weaves a gripping summer read with Chrysalis. Summer. Cape Cod. Horses. First love. It doesn’t get much better than that…and yet it does. An element of danger lends a sense of urgency to the story as a maniacal villain plots his revenge with our young lovers in the crosshairs. Added to this is the date— 2001. As the villain draws near, the calendar turns ever closer to that fated September day, leaving the reader to frantically turn pages, wondering whether villain, terrorists or both will destroy the tender new romance. But just when you think you know where the story is headed and how it will play out, another twist takes you by surprise.”
Please join Kevin and his writing friends for the fun!
Take a look at our members’ writing news for this month:
Travel writer Ray Bartlett’s debut novel, Sunsets of Tulum, is coming out in October. Sign up at www.SunsetsOfTulum.com/elist/dada/mail.cgi for updates and release notes. If you are a published author and want a review copy to blurb, please let him know.
Anita A. Caruso and Barbara Eppich Struna will be signing and selling their books at The 26th Lions Arts and Crafts Fair, Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th at the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School, 901 Route 134, South Dennis, Ma. from 10AM-4PM. Anita will have her memoir available, As Ever, Pudd- A Love Story That Never Ends Told in Letters and her children’s book, Brayden’s Magical Jungle. Barbara will be selling her two historical novels, The Old Cape House and The Old Cape Teapot.
Both will also be selling their books on Wednesday, July 29th, at the New England Book Expo at Danversport Yacht Club, Danvers, Ma. from 4-9PM.
Dean Coe will be having story time at the Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth on Tuesday, July 7th at 10:30 a.m. He will be reading his book Chesterton Saves the Whale.
Jim Coogan and Jack Sheedy, partners in Harvest Home Books, were the principal writers for this year’s Summerscape, the historical magazine that is published annually by the Barnstable Patriot weekly newspaper and distributed by the Cape Cod Times. The 40 page collection of Cape Cod stories is the 21st Summerscape collaboration between the two writers. Over that time period the magazine has won five first place awards for editorial excellence from the New England Newspaper & Press Association.
The Running of the Bulls (El encierro), a bilingual book by Joyce Prince, has recently been published.
Kathy Salzberg’s humor book, Confessions of a Mad Dog Groomer, is now on sale at the following Cape Cod bookstores: Titcomb’s Book Store in Sandwich, the Yellow Umbrella in Chatham, the Brewster Book Store in Brewster, and Music Smith Book Smith in Orleans, as well as her family business, The Village Groomer and Pet Supply in Walpole, MA, and the online store of her publisher, www.Barkleigh.com. Additional contact info at www.kathysalzberg.com.
Husband and wife poets Thomas Slayter and Judith Partelow will be featured on July 25th at 7 pm at The Teichman Gallery in Brewster.
Current CCWC members are invited to submit their news to the next Member News Roundup, which will be posted to our blog and Facebook page on the first Monday in August. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, July 31st. Write “Member News” in the subject line, and be sure the announcement includes your name exactly as you would like it to appear. We do not have room for longer articles or reviews, but you may include an email or website link so readers may contact you or find further information. If you have multiple events, signings, etc. coming up, the best way to publicize these is with a link to a calendar on your own blog or website. (Please note that we reserve the right to edit any announcement for length or for potentially offensive or controversial content.)
by Deb Kurilecz
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series
Just recently a writer friend of mine said, “We always worry if our characters come alive on the page.” What a great discussion point for my course at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em: Create Great Characters. Of course by great, I mean unforgettable characters such as Scarlett O’Hara or Hannibal Lecter. I’ll bring lots of examples from literature but we’ll also examine your characters and provide tips for making them memorable. Writers of all levels are welcome and will benefit from my many tips and techniques.
At last year’s conference, my class was fun and lively and I am so excited to be asked back and to be teaching one of my favorite topics. I’m also teaching how to add the WOW factor to your writing. Sign up for both classes.
Have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you at the conference.
Deb Kurilecz is an international award-winning writer who teaches creative writing and is a book and story project consultant. Her fiction, memoirand poetry have been published in numerous literary journals, most recently Eleven Eleven, Willow Review, The MacGuffin, American Letters & Commentary, Blue Earth Review, Oyez Review, The Jabberwock Review, and North Atlantic Review.