One year, 800 writers gathered under one roof, so it’s a unique combination of professional development, writing immersion, and super-schmooze.
For those of you who’ve never been, here are a few other highlights. The workshops schedule for this year is at the end.
Writing workshops - 68 different workshops this year! Workshops are 1½ hours. So you can do 4 workshops a day.
SIWC Idol - this occurs on the Saturday evening (each night there are events that go to 9-10pm). The IDOL is special because you can take 3 pages of your work and put it in anonymously and if it’s drawn, Jack Whyte of the golden Shakespearean actor voice, reads it out to the audience AND to a panel of 5 or 6 agents and editors. Jack keeps reading until the panel puts up their hands to say stop. If he keeps going, then frequently one of the panel will ask the author to go and find them after the Idol is finished – to talk further about submissions. So it’s a chance to get “discovered.” And the best part is, if it gets panned, nobody knows it’s yours. The editor/agents tell you what makes them stop reading each entry – and you learn a lot from that as well.
Blue Pencil sessions - with a registration you get a Blue Pencil and a Pitch session. You can read about how many and such. The BP sessions put you in front of well-known working editors or published authors: you give them 3 pages of your work and they give you personal feedback.
Pitch sessions - you get these with registration and with these you get 10 mins to pitch your project to (often a NYC) agent; or editor or producer. If they like your work, they’ll usually ask you to send 50 pages and your query letter and bio. So it’s a chance to cut through all the red tape and get yourself in front of an agent, and possibly get representation.
Famous writers attending - Anne Perry the mystery writer; Diana Gabaldon, Jack Whyte and Robert Dugoni will all be there this year. And more.
Trade show – best selection ever of books on writing. And also editing services, publishers, writing organizations and so forth.
Evenings - have the Owl events going on to 9 or 10 pm – often something like a Mystery Threatre with Jack, Diana, and Anne acting out some drama. And there are Master Classes on the Thursday evening before the conference starts: http://www.siwc.ca/schedule/masterclass. The RWA (Romance Writers’ of America usually has a no-host bar drinks party.
Meals and Keynotes - Each meal has a keynote address by a well-known author or literary personage. At one lunch the Writing Contest awards are given out. At another they usually have genre-themed tables (‘mystery’ – ‘thrillers’ - ‘romance’ – ‘nonfiction’ – ‘travel’) so you can schmooze and meet others who write in your genre(s).
Volunteering - if registration is beyond your budget, you can volunteer at the conference. You get to attend some workshops in exchange for what you do. Great jobs are (1) workshop introducer (you read a pre-written 30 second intro, and that’s it); and (2) Workshop Monitor (you keep the doors from clanking as people come & and go). But there are many more jobs. Info on the website.
Staying at the conference hotel – as I said, events continue to 9 or 10 pm each night so some people choose to stay at the hotel and make it a little holiday weekend as well. The hotel offers special rates which are quite reasonable if you share – and the conference sometimes has a provide-roommate function if you get in touch early enough. Warning: the special-price bloc of rooms goes very fast.
Clicking on the link will give you some details – and once there you can click on the presenter’s name and find out what their experience and background is.
24. Cliches in YA
25. Sleight of Hand
39. Words to Screen
40. Hero's Journey
41. SiWC Idol
54. Writing Heroines
55. Rock That Boat!
58. Writing Hot
ALL OTHER INFO AT: www.siwc.ca