For several years now, James River Writers has been kicking off their conference with Pre-Conference Master Classes. These two-hour classes allow attendees to absorb the wisdom of the experts and gain hands-on experience, with offerings on the business of getting published and exploring the nuances of craft.
The Pre-Conference Master Classes take place on Friday, October 16, 2015, at the Virginia State Capitol, Capitol Sq., Richmond, from 9:00-11:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m.-1:15 a.m., and 2:00-4:00 p.m., with two options in each time slot. The Master Classes are open to the public and cost $45 for JRW members and $65 for non-members.
More information and registration can be found at www.jamesriverwriters.org.
9:00 – 11:00 AM
Nuts & Bolts: Editing your Work like a Pro with Kris Spisak
Maybe your story is brilliant, but even the best of tales can use some spit and polish to make it shine. What are common writing weaknesses that make publishers cringe? What are widespread word-usage or punctuation blunders that cause agents to say “thanks, but no thanks”? What can cause readers to stop reading before they’ve even really gotten started? There’s a difference in a first draft and a finely edited manuscript. Learn specific techniques and editing notes to apply to your writing from a professional editor whose clients have moved forward to acquire literary agents and hit Amazon best-seller lists.
SAY SOMETHING: Speaking Gigs, Book Signings, and Appearances for even the Most Introverted Writer, with Charles Long
You know you need to perfect that elevator pitch. Or maybe you’re starting to speak to schools and other organizations about your book. Except you can’t get past the sweaty palms and pounding heart. Your first book signing? What do you say to the audience? Let public speaking expert Charles Long coach you to find your brand and messaging, and to polish what to say about your writing. Introverted? So are many writers, and Charles Long can help you prepare so you can feel confident next time you have to talk about your writing to an audience, whether that’s to one agent, five people in a bookstore, or five hundred students!
11:15 AM – 1:15 PM
SURVIVING SELF-PUBLISHING: Patience and Perseverance
with Mary Chris Escobar and Alexis Anne
You wrote a novel. Had it edited. Polished it until it was shiny. Put a fabulous cover on it and hit publish. Then—nothing. Nada. Crickets. What?! Where are the readers? When will the money start rolling in? How will you ever get enough reviews to get through Book Bub’s screening algorithm? Two fabulous authors talk about managing your expectations and persevering to write the next book (and the next) when you don’t see success right away. They’ll share their strategies for staying positive and celebrating little wins in a self-publishing landscape where there is no magic formula for success. For anyone considering getting into the indie game to those already in it struggling to find their place in the increasingly crowded marketplace, this is a must-attend.
WELCOME TO THE JRW CRIME LAB: Learning the Ropes from Crime-Fighting Pros with Robert Toms
Join JRW member, retired Lieutenant in the Capital Police, and securities and investigations professional, Robert Toms, as this Master Class delves into all things crime-related. Along with Robert, we have assembled a group of fascinating speakers to lead you through an investigation from the first clues, through medical examination, and ultimately finding—and catching—the bad guy. This is a unique chance of a lifetime for anyone writing a mystery or thriller to be able to hear from the pros, with ample time for questions and answers to help make sure your whodunit is accurate. From serial killers to devious murderers to just how long a dead body can hang around before the smell alerts the neighbors, if you’re writing crime, this is the one Master Class you have to take.
2:00 – 4:00 PM
LIFE IN 10 MINUTES: Writing the Personal Essay with Valley Haggard
Acclaimed writing teacher Valley Haggard will lead participants through a master class on writing the personal essay. Based on her popular Life in 10 Minutes blog, Valley will encourage and help writers learn to create personal essays and narrative nonfiction pieces that will evoke strong emotions and powerful imagery with honesty and clarity. Whether you write personal essays or simply want to learn from a masterful writing teacher, you’ll find plenty to love in this nurturing environment.
THE ART OF SLAM: Adding Spoken Word to Your Performance Repertoire with Poet John S. Blake
Ever been curious about spoken word and how it differs from traditional poetry readings, or wanted to try your hand–er, voice–at a slam competition? Learn how poise, memorization, and dramatics can drastically improve your ability to share your soul with a listening audience, and take performance of your work to the next level. Taught by a powerful voice, a youth advocate, and a touring artist, this class with John S. Blake will inspire poets—and those curious about slam.
Additionally, registration is still open for the JRW Conference 2015, to be held October 17-18 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an agent until the schedule is filled.