Sunday, November 13, 2011

SCWW, 2011


I went to the 2011 SC Writers Conference at Myrtle Beach, SC a couple of weeks ago. The faculty I met this year was more accommodating than last year's. For one thing, they talked to us rather than down to us. There were so many sessions on so many topics that almost any writer of any genre could find something of interest.

I especially liked presentations by Matthew Frederick, Lisa Tucker, and David Coe. Though these writers don't have experience with historical fiction, they provided suggestions I could apply to my work. 

A glaring omission with respect to topics was that of POD publishing, or self publishing. I was told that Chuck Sambuchino actually said that an author who self publishes “shoots himself in the foot.” But who can blame agents and publishers for snubbing changes that are going to virtually eliminate their careers over time. 

Gems I took from the conference: 
* Don’t use the word then (then she realized…). 
* Don’t use …he thought (instead, simply write the thought). 
* Use the word remember only if a memory changes the character. 
* Serial vs. Extended story line. Serial—each segment has a story line with an ending. Extended Story Line—several books with one story line. Characters overlap in both serials and extended story lines. 
* Books are getting shorter (100,000 - 120,000 words) 

I didn’t sign up for a critique or a pitch this year. I found out from literary agents what I needed to know at the 2010 SC Writers Workshop Conference. At the time I was too angry to realize an agent had done me a big favor. Suffice it to say, she told me that she couldn’t sell my manuscript in New York for a reason unrelated to the quality of writing. 

I began to think about self publishing and pursued that avenue. I’ve just published Kedzie, Saint Helena Island Slave, available on

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