Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 10, 2017

Philadelphia Writers’ Conference – Day Two

Another sunny day on Philly greeting conference attendees. Coffee flowed and we began stuffing our minds with more information–as if we weren’t already on overload from yesterday!

My 9:30 class was Sheree Bykofsky‘s The Six Characteristics of Successfully Published Authors. It boiled down to be professional and persistent–and don’t make moose calls at agents (you’d understand if you’d been there).

Denise Camacho’s class How to Get Published delved into the things you can and can’t control, then moved on to loglines, taglines, and pitching, oh my! I’m decent at creating loglines and pitches, but I’m not so good with the catchy tagline. Always some new skill to master!

I snuck away for another quiet lunch, then met with two if my workshop leaders for critiques. My short story was well-written but a too wordy (there’s a reason I write novels), and my sci-fi YA had only minor suggested changes. So good news overall!

After lunch, I attended the continuation of Tempest in a Teacup: Writing the Short Short Story with Diane Arrelle. We talked about the many different types of short fiction, including all the various subcategories of flash fiction (I had no idea flash fiction had subcategories). Diane also noted that writing should be a joy, and if it isn’t for you, perhaps you aren’t writing what you should be writing.

Then I hopped next door to The Fundamentals of Writing KidLit with Erin Entrada Kelly. While the topic was mostly about techniques to use in KidLit, the thing she said that struck the biggest chord with me was that we as writers typically devalue our own experiences. She said that we all have a story that only we can tell, and that we may not know what story we are meant to tell until we write it. A lot of thinking to do about what you want to say as a writer and why you want to say it.

I finished out the day with Grants & Other Opportunities with Sally Grotta. We discussed some of the particulars about applying for grants. The most important thing to remember is that a grant application is a business plan. The other helpful thing about grant applications is that doing them will help you really understand what your book or project is about. They ask many searching questions, including why is this project meaningful to you?

The theme I sensed today was the need to understand why you write what you write. Why we are all compelled to write at all is somewhat of a mystery, but what draws us to the themes and messages we convey in our stories? Why is it important to us to share those with other people? What about writing brings us joy, and if there is no joy, why are we writing? Figuring out what makes writing the particular things we write meaningful to us is a soul-searching question, but one well worth asking.

I will miss tomorrow’s conference, but I will post Sunday’s intended class topics, the full schedule, and hopefully the link to the Award Winners tomorrow.


9 AM

MASTER CLASS – Flash Fiction Fabulous – Cathy Colborn

MASTER CLASS – Adapting the Thriller – From Novel to Movie – Robert Blake Whitehill

9:30 AM

The Six Secrets of Published Authors – Sheree Bykofsky

To Reveal or Conceal – Day 1 – Therese Halshceid

Three Day Workshops

11 AM

Creating Characters Readers will Love – Austin Camacho

Breaking through the Abstract – Peter Murphy

How to get Published – Denise Camacho

Storytelling Craft for Journalists, Memoirists & Other Non-fiction Writers – Sally Grotta

1:30 PM

Thrilled to Death – Jon McGoran

The Good, the Bad, and the Truth of Writing and Selling Memoir – Doreen McGettigan

Tempest in a Teacup: Writing the Short Short Story – Diane Arrelle

Screenwriting: Challenging the Odds – James Breckenridge

3:00 PM

Using Fiction to Capture Truth – Harriet Millan

The Fundamentals of Writing KidLit – Erin Entrada Kelly

Non-Fiction: The Newspaper Column as Magical Mystery Tour – Thom Nickels

Turn Toward Me: Writing Social Commentary in Poetry – Chrys Tobey

Single Day Workshops

4:15 PM

Grants & Other Opportunities- day 2 – Sally Grotta

Selling & Writing the Non-Fiction Book – Catherine DePino

MASTER CLASS – Mood Indigo: Writing Blue(s) Poems – Yolanda Wisher

6:00 PM – Banquet/Keynote – Speaker: J. H. Sullivan







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