Weekend Schedule

Silent Auction, Member Book Sale & The Petigru Review (TPR) Sales will be available from 8:00 am to 4:10 pm Saturday and 7:30-8:00 am for last minute bidding or purchases of TPR on Sunday so feel free to stop in & shop any time during these hours.


4:00 – 6:00  Check-In

4:30 – 5:45  Author Synopsis Critique Sessionsa special ADD ON package. See details here.

Jessica Handler, Nonfiction & Fiction
Emily Lavin Leverett, Fiction
Luke Whisnant, Fiction

6:30-8:30  Welcome Reception Dinner featuring our Keynote Speaker, The Petigru Review Launch Party & Announcements of Pushcart Prize Nominees (Cash Bar)


We’ve designed the workshops to fit as much as possible into the day. Feel free to ask questions of your instructor and solicit feedback. But please allow others to speak and keep any lengthy questions for after the class so that instructors have the time to teach us, and everyone has a chance to learn.

9:00 – 9:45  I. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3)

The First Impression: How to Attract Agents With Your Query.
Agent, Annie Hwang. A query is an agent’s first impression of you and your project. Find out how to make sure your query is as strong as it can be. We’ll be covering everything from the anatomy of a query to query etiquette. You’ll learn exactly what agents look for in a query and how to make sure your query stands a cut above the rest.

Research Materials You Didn’t Know You Had.
Author, Jessica Handler. 
Some of the most powerful, effective research tools for fiction and nonfiction aren’t found in libraries, historical societies, or on the Web, but in our daily lives. This session will lead writers of all levels and genres through techniques for building scene and characters using informal research material we can find in our attics and junk drawers, including yearbooks, family recipes, and casual hometown field trips. We will read examples from prominent memoirs, and lead a discussion about methods for organizing, understanding, and examining research you can easily find in your own lives.

Write Like a Child.
Editor, Timothy Green. 
“What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.”—Zen in the Art of Archery. This poetry workshop brings Zen concepts to the art of writing, using children’s poems as examples to help writers of all levels become more fresh and original. It is only through self-consciousness that we learn to be cliché; this class restores a sense of childlike spontaneity to writing, and concludes with approaches for creating art without waiting for ideas or inspiration, or being stifled by too much ‘willful will.’”

9:50 – 10:35  II. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3)

Take a Walk through Publication.
Agent, Kerry D’Agostino.
 a discussion that will take the audience through the steps of first book publication, from signing with an agent to publication day.

How to Build a Scene.
Author, Kathryn Rhett. 
Scenes work with three fundamental elements: physical description or action, dialogue, and narrator interior.  We’ll look at text models to examine these elements, and then construct scenes of our own, using one, two, and then all three.

Fiction Slush Fest Panel.
Agent, Peter Steinberg. Editor, Kate Gale. Author, Emily Lavin Leverett. 
Bring two (2) stapled, double-spaced pages of your fiction manuscripts and our Agent/Editor/Author panel will listen as a conference staff member reads it, holding up their hand when they notice something that doesn’t work. After three (3) raised hands the reader will stop and the panel member(s) who raised their hand will comment on the reason for the raised hand. They will also note what worked. (To be fair your pages must be double-spaced. Pages will be turned upside down and shuffled at the start of class then randomly chosen for as long as time permits. Note: Pages are not required for attendance. Feel free to come, listen and learn.)

10:40 – 11:25  III. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3)

Promoting Your Nonfiction Book.
Author, Jessica Handler. This class will focus on the book proposal, social marketing and promotion of the book before and after publication.

Read Like an Editor.
Editor, Timothy Green. 
This poetry workshop teaches self-editing with the aim of getting out of the slush pile and into publication. Bring a one-page sample of your own writing and learn to read it with an objective editor’s eye. Find out what a screener sees when they screen your work, and how to revise toward making the best impression. (All attendees are welcome to bring samples and we will discuss as many as time permits.)

Fishing for Success; How to Hook & Keep Readers.
Agent, Peter Steinberg. 
How to write the first sentence/paragraph to hook your audience, and how to keep them interested.

11:25 – 1:00  Buffet Lunch in the Webster’s Dining Hall  with plenty of free time to shop in our Book Sale and purchase Silent Auction tickets.

1:00 – 1:45  IV. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3)

How to Find the Right Publisher.
Editor, Dr. Kate Gale. 
Identify your genre, your market, your reader, and whether or not to submit your manuscript to an agent.

Common Mistakes & How to Revise Them.
Agent, Peter Steinberg. 
An examination of common manuscript mistakes and how to avoid and correct them to get the attention you want, and need, from agents, editors and readers.

Flash 101: Misconceptions, History, Strategies & Prompts.
Author, Luke Whisnant. 
Flash is the genre for fast times, with hundreds of journals and websites publishing shorter and shorter work. In this lecture we’ll take a look at some common misconceptions about flash (what it is, what it’s not); delve briefly into the history of short-form prose, including prose poetry and micro-essays; introduce six strategies for crafting short fictions; and end with a couple of prompts. Prose poets and concise nonfiction writers welcome.

1:50 – 2:35  V. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3) 

Knowing Your Rights.
Agent, Kerry D’Agostino. 
After handling film,television and audio rights for several years at full-service literary agency Curtis Brown, Ltd., Kerry D’Agostino has become somewhat of an expert in subsidiary rights. Come and learn what you need to know before signing your name on the dotted line.

A Novel Approach to Structure: How to Structure your Novel and Why it Works. 
Author,  Emily Lavin Leverett. Delve into the difference between “plotters” and “pantsers” (or whatever the kids are calling it these days!) Some people are resistant to plotting because they feel like it kills the spontaneity of the piece. But that’s not generally true AND here is how you can plot while still “pantsing” a lot. (Works for short stories too.)

Prose Slush Fest—Anonymous First Page Critique.
Author, Kathryn Rhett.
Bring the first page of your manuscript and Kathryn will comment on it aloud revealing what’s working and what’s not. (Pages will be turned upside down and shuffled at the start of class then randomly chosen for the workshop for as long as time permits. Note: Pages are not required for attendance—feel free to simply listen and learn.)

2:40 – 3:25  VI. Breakout Sessions—choose one (1) of three (3)

Self-Publishing Workshop: Self-Publish Like A Pro.
Agent, Annie Hwang. 
If you’re even considering going the self-publishing route, this class is for you. You’ll learn the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing. We’ll be covering everything from metadata hacks to targeted marketing strategies. With nearly five million eBooks out there in the world, getting your self-published title to stand out is harder than ever. Come learn tips and tricks to make sure that your book is not only available, but highly discoverable!

Edit Like an Editor.
Editor, Dr. Kate Gale. 
Sit in the editor’s chair and take a journey through the editing process from the point of the slush pile to the printed page.

Fiction: Finding Your Lyrical Voice.
Author, Luke Whisnant. How do writers achieve a distinctive voice, a personality on the page? In this session we’ll examine lyrical passages by Ernest Hemingway, Grace Paley, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Cade Bambara, Miranda July, and Vladimir Nabokov. We’ll look at what makes each writer’s voice compelling and distinct, and we’ll learn how to apply their techniques to your fiction.

3:25 – 7:30  Free Time shop your SCWA conference bookstore and browse and bid on Silent Auction items—book store hours TBA. Read. Write. Relax. Dinner on your own.

3:40 – 5:05  Agent/Editor Synopsis Critiques & Pitch Sessions—a special ADD ON package. See details here.

Agent, Kerry D’Agostino
Editor, Timothy Green
Agent, Peter Steinberg 

5:10 –6:25 Agent/Editor Synopsis Critique & Pitch Sessiona special ADD ON package. See details here.

Agent, Michelle Johnson
Agent, Annie Hwang
Editor, Dr. Kate Gale

 7:30 – 9:00  Open Mic Held on the deck outside of Webster’s Restaurant & open to all interested attendees.


7:30-8:00 Silent Auction & TPR Sale This is your LAST CHANCE to shop!

7:30-8:45 Continental Breakfast

8:00-8:45 Annual Member Meeting Open to all SCWA members and conference participants.

8:50-9:35  Panel Discussion “What Agents Want in Your Manuscripts and in You” (Complete with war stories) Agents: Kerry D’Agostino, Annie Hwang, Michelle Johnson & Peter Steinberg. Editor: Dr. Kate Gale.

9:40 – 10:30  Panel Discussion “Traditional vs. Self/Indie or e-Publishing” Agent: Kerry D’Agostino. Editor: Timothy Green. Authors: Jessica Handler, Emily Lavin Leverett & Luke Whisnant.

10:30-10:50   Announcement of Door Prizes & Silent Auction Winners

11:00  Check Out


2016 Panel Discussion 'How to Get Published with Q & A' L to R: Heather Marshall, Scott Gould, Michelle Buckman, Morri Creech *

                                        2016 Panel Discussion ‘How to Get Published with Q & A’                                              L to R: Heather Marshall, Scott Gould, Michelle Buckman, Morri Creech *