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CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Erika Marks will lead the session "The Perfect Pitch" alongside fellow novelists Kim Boykin and Kim Wright.

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is open through October 26.

Erika Marks is the author of five women’s fiction novels for Penguin’s NAL imprint: Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector, The Guest House, It Comes in Waves, and The Last Treasure—as well as several romance novellas for Tule Publishing. Having written and submitted over a dozen manuscripts before receiving her first contract, she knows that the road to publication can be both challenging and deeply rewarding. She has led workshops for writers on all aspects of the publication process, as well presented on topics of craft. Originally from New England, she spent nearly the last decade in beautiful North Carolina and has recently moved to Maryland.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Erika to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Erika said:

"When I'm asked what books formed my early understanding of the craft of storytelling, I always answer—brace yourselves!—comic books. I was a card-carrying, comic book junkie, devouring them and the escape they offered on their wonderfully fragrant and flimsy newsprint pages.

"Now my daughters are growing up with an ever-growing collection of graphic novels, and if I weren't constantly digging into their stash, I would surely be bitter at their generation's good fortune. I am blown away by the diversity and ingenuity and all-around-brilliance of today's graphic novelists—the writers and illustrators who are expanding and reinventing the craft of story in ways that inspire me as a writer, and certainly as a reader.

"Which is why, with my windfall, I'd choose to open a publishing house for graphic novels, and continue to support this exciting and ever-changing genre."

It’s one thing to write a book—but it takes a whole other skill set to describe it, especially if you only have a single page to intrigue an agent or editor. Even if writers aren’t pitching this go-round, at some point everyone needs to ask themselves “What’s the major premise of my book?”

In The Perfect Pitch, novelists Kim Boykin, Kim Wright, and Erika Marks—who have collectively published twelve books with Big Five publishers—will give you tips on what makes an effective pitch and how to break your big idea down into a few potent paragraphs. Then we’ll divide into small groups to tweak and practice pitches. By the end of this session you’ll be able to describe your latest work in a concise and compelling way so that when it’s your turn at the Manuscript Mart or the elevator stalls, you’ll be ready!

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—For the first time ever, the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference will offer programming for writers of the stage and screen. As part of this effort to serve more writers, screenwriter Paula Martinac will lead the session "Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, and Screen."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Pre-registration is open through October 26.

Paula Martinac is a fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter. Her recent novel, The Ada Decades, was a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and her fiction debut, Out of Time, won a Lambda Literary Award. A fifth novel, Clio Rising, will be published by Bywater Books in May, 2019. Her short stories have appeared in Raleigh Review, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere, and her plays have been produced at festivals in Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington, DC. Her full-length screenplay, Foreign Affairs, placed second in the 2003 POWER UP Screenplay Award. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates at UNC Charlotte and is a writing coach with Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Paula to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Paula said:

"With my windfall, I’d start a publishing house devoted to fiction that’s both bite-sized—micro novels, flash novellas, tiny triptychs of stories—and pocket-sized. My inspiration comes from a friend who founded an indie press that publishes books of poetry so small you can slip them into your pocket or handbag. I absolutely love the size of them, the way they feel in your hands, how they look laid out next to each other in a book exhibit—inviting readers not just to buy one, but to 'take two, they’re small.' The press would also spotlight authors writing at the margins, exploring race, gender, class, or sexual identity in their prose. And then my first act would be to hire enough staff to carry out the vision, ensuring I’d have plenty of time to write!"

What issues and problems arise when playwrights, screenwriters, and fiction writers create characters whose race, sexual orientation, class, or gender differs from their own? Maybe you’ve been nervous about writing characters who represent the broad spectrum of society, or maybe your early attempts tripped you up. Research, imagination, and empathy go a long way toward making characters dynamic and authentic. In her workshop, Paula will discuss the possible pitfalls of writing diverse characters, explore tips for success, and try out writing exercises to help the process.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Paul Reali will lead the session "Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is open through October 26.

Paul Reali is a co-founder of Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc. (Charlotte Lit), a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the literary arts in the Charlotte area. He is the co-author of Creativity Rising, a why-to and how-to guide to finding creative solutions, with more than 10,000 copies in print; and is the co-editor of three volumes in the Big Questions in Creativity series from ICSC Press. His articles and essays have been published in more than a dozen publications, including the Winston-Salem Journal, InSpine Magazine, Lawyers Weekly, NC Entrepreneur, and Office Solutions. Among other honors, Paul was awarded First Place in the Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest and the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Short Fiction Contest. Paul has an MS in Creativity from SUNY Buffalo State. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Paul to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Paul said:

"With my fortune, I’d create 'Blinding Brilliance Books,' exclusively for works that are magnificent but for some reason—out of the mainstream, too complex too synopsize, not grabby enough in the first 100 words—agents and publishers are blinded to their merits. The work should be submitted with evidence of 100 industry rejections, along with three letters of praise from knowledgable beta readers who actually read and actually loved the work. "

Technology giveth and technology taketh away. When trying to find the right tools to support our writing, it seems we spend so much time choosing and learning—then changing and re-learning—that we can’t tell if we’re saving time or wasting it. You don’t have to suffer for your art, at least not where technology is concerned. In his session, "Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers," Paul will highlight the tools in his tech toolkit that, through extensive trial and error, he has found most useful. Among the topics: Scrivener vs. Microsoft Word (and the seven things that will make you go to Scrivener and never come back); online grammar and proofreading tools; how to back up and never lose your work (external drives, Dropbox, backup services, etc.); and other tools for the tool kit, such as dictation software, timers, and note-takers.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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