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CHARLOTTE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3. Held at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel, November 21-23, Fall Conference offers workshop tracks in several genres and featured guests Allan Gurganus, Joseph Bathanti, and Wilton Barnhardt.

Programming is made possible in part by our sponsors.

John F. Blair, Publisher, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. The Winston-Salem based press published its first book, Whispering Pines, a volume of poetry by Salem native John Henry Boner, in 1954. Since that first book, John F. Blair, Publisher, has published several hundred other titles and started distribution of other publisher's titles, including books by Down Home Press, Banks Channel Books, Bandit Books, and Novello Festival Press. Blair titles won two gold IPPY awards this year, and one bronze. Recent books include Jeremy B. Jones' Bearwallow and Robert Inman's The Governor's Lady. John F. Blair, Publisher, will sponsor the Welcome Reception on Friday night.

The Arts & Science Council was founded in 1958. Its work as a local arts agency includes grant making, managing the public art program for the City and the County, developing cultural action plans to address issues from facility development and arts education to access and providing services to support artists and organizations. Throughout its fifty-plus-year history, and through public and private partnerships, ASC has led the growth of arts and culture in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area helping it become a vibrant community that enhances the quality of life for residents, attracts businesses, and fuels economic development. The Arts & Science Council will sponsor Saturday's Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion, "Words In Civic Life," with Amy Bagwell, Robert Inman, Dannye Romine Powell, and Ed Williams.

Produced by some of the city’s best magazine editors and writers, Charlotte Magazine is the definitive voice on top dining, entertainment, shopping, and real estate in the region. Each issue is a celebration—in photography, design, and story—of the people, places, events, and activities that define this city. Charlottemagazine.com, the online edition of Charlotte Magazine, is your essential guide to the greater Charlotte area—from Lake Norman to Center City to Waxhaw. You’ll find the latest information on dining, nightlife, culture, news, politics, communities, and trends in Charlotte—everything to help you make the most out of living in and around the city. Charlotte Magazine will sponsor the Faculty Readings on Saturday afternoon.

Alice Osborn (www.aliceosborn.com) is an experienced editor-for-hire and published author who will help you achieve writing confidence and publication success. If you need one-on-one coaching, she offers mentoring that can turn you from a writer into an author. She is the expert you can trust and who will be honest and fair with you. And most of all she strives to create longterm relationships with her clients so she can be your go-to person on your writing and publication journey. A member of the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees, Alice has published two poetry collections with Main Street Rag, Unfinished Projects (2010) and After the Steaming Stops (2012), with a third, Heroes without Capes, forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She is the editor of Tattoos: a Short Fiction Anthology, and her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. Alice will sponsor the Happy Hour on Saturday evening.

Al Manning is known as The Resident Curmudgeon. A member of the NCWN Board of Trustees, he also is the Chatham and Lee County Regional Rep, where he leads the monthly meeting of Writers' Morning Out, in Pittsboro. This group meets on the Second Saturday of the month, at 1:00 pm at Pittsboro Roadhouse. All writers, any genre are invited. Al is the author of The Curmudgeon's Book of Nursery Rhymes. He will sponsor the Open Mic readings on Saturday night.

The North Carolina Arts Council was created in 1964 by executive order of governor Terry Sanford to strengthen North Carolina's creativity, invention, and prosperity. Their mission? To utilize the arts for the benefit of North Carolina citizens and communities. The NC Arts Council seeks to create a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; plan and implement economic development initiatives using the arts; utilize the arts as an effective way to teach the public school curriculum, preserve our state's heritage, and provide arts experiences to youth; and provide data models and conduct research that documents the impact of the state's arts industry on North Carolina's economy.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3. Register online at www.ncwriters.org.

 

by Julie Martin*

When I registered for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference in Wrightsville Beach, I had the product of a life-changing, three-year journey in my laptop: a completed novel. I hoped the conference would provide some insight into how to get my work published. I knew that meant attending the workshops, meeting people, talking about our art.

But I was basically an introvert who loved writing and reading. That’s when I energized. I plunged in anyway, relieved on Friday night to see someone I knew right off the bat: writer and editor Elizabeth Humphrey. She introduced me to Emily Louise Smith of Lookout Books, then Clyde Edgerton, Friday night’s keynote speaker.

I joined the audience, hoping Edgerton would be entertaining, and he was. He played his mandolin, told the stories that inspired his books, tossed pearls our way. “Embrace uncertainty,” he said. I pondered that as I thought about how I could grow as a writer, reaching in so I could reach out.

On Saturday and Sunday, I pretty much ignored the workshop topics and instead went for the instructors from whom I wanted to learn, no matter what they were teaching. Edgerton’s fiction writing session was funny and informative. “Focus on human relationships,” he advised. “Uncover characters’ pain. Their sorrow. Regret.” I left the workshop with lots of notes and a handy story topology grid to help with sorting out point of view, time, voice, and so forth.

 

Emily Colin’s terrific workshop “How Not to Win the 'Bad Sex Award'” focused on what worked in sex scenes, using examples from class participants and other writers. I was given useful feedback on a scene from my book: where to prune, where to embellish. In “Editing Your Own Work: Much More than Grammar and Punctuation,” Elizabeth Humphrey and Addy Robinson McCulloch led a discussion of editing strategies and provided a nifty checklist. In Susan Steadman’s hands-on workshop, we created our own compelling characters, a nice break at the end of the conference.

During a “Manuscript Mart” session with Emily Louise Smith, I received what I’d been after: lots of detailed, candid advice from a pro about how to improve my novel and how to present it to an agent. I also met briefly with Michelle Brower, an agent who recently had turned down my manuscript. We discussed options for revision.

Finally, I went shopping, one of the big bonuses of attending a conference. I picked up Emily Colin’s Memory Thief from Pomegranate Books as a Christmas gift for my mother, along with two copies of Edgerton’s Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers for my nephews (both expecting babies). I also bought a subscription to Ecotone for our household and a couple of copies of Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision from Lookout Books.

Armed and energized, I am undertaking the revisions on my novel and will soon submit to a new batch of agents.

***

Julie Martin lives in a magical parallel universe, otherwise known as Wilmington. She is seeking an agent for her novel, Maiden, and is deep into a book of short stories, The Hotel Esmeralda. An award-winning newspaper reporter and editor for twenty-three years, she now works as a proposal manager for PPD. She and her husband, Steve, have two grown children and two grandsons. 

*This article first appeared in Writers' Network News: Spring, 2014.

 

CHARLOTTE, NC—The 2014 Fall Conference of the North Carolina Writers' Network will be November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel.

Full details and online registration will be available on this site after Labor Day. Registration by mail or phone will open then, as well.

This year's Fall Conference will feature a keynote address by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Allan Gurganus; talks by Joseph Bathanti and Wilton Barnhardt; Master Classes led by Morri Creech (poetry), Aaron Gwyn (fiction), and Cynthia Lewis (creative nonfiction); a full schedule of workshops and panel discussions; and the Manuscript Mart and Critique Service with agents and editors.

Instructors will include Anthony S. Abbott, Chantel Acevedo, Kim Boykin, Moira Crone, Julie Funderburk, Priscilla Goudreau-Santos, A. J. Hartley, Zelda Lockhart, Rebecca McClanahan, Alan Michael Parker, Amy Rogers, Carin Siegfried, Betsy Thorpe, Cedric Tillman, Kim Wright, and many more.

Check out last year's conference offerings here, and keep an eye on this website for more details coming soon!

 

 
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