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Introducing Marlene Bagnull and CCWC
If you are new to the "conference scene", you might be asking what is the CCWC? Well it is the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and Marlene Bagnull is the Director!
I will be on faculty at CCWC this year as well as at Marlene's, Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. Marlene is a fabulous, hard-working woman, and she is going to tell you all about CCWC.
Take it away Marlene!
No one had to convince me of the “power of story” when I was growing up. From the time I was old enough to read, I’d sooner bury my nose in a book than do anything else. Whether it was a tale of knights and ladies in My Book House or the books I checked out of the library as soon as I had my very own card, books were my best friends. But never would I have believed that one day I would write and edit books, teach writing seminars, and direct two large Christian writers’ conferences.
God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8 KJV). Indeed, I’ve often said had I known His plans for me I would have run the other way. Despite my love of books, I hated English in high school, and I died a thousand deaths each time I had to give a speech in the public speaking class we were required to take. But I’m so glad I didn’t run, so glad that I said yes to doing things I didn’t feel qualified to do, and so glad I persevered when the first book I wrote was “returned” (I learned not to call them “rejections”) by forty-two publishers over a five-year period.
The very things I saw as liabilities God has used to strengthen my faith in Him, give me a heart for His writers, and the passion to help them get their work in print. And so, twenty-six years ago I founded the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship with a day-long seminar that has grown to a three-day conference, and thirteen years ago I said yes to directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.
God could have asked me to direct a second conference anywhere, but I never cease to be grateful that He chose Colorado. The YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, where the conference is held, borders Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out our Video, and yes, you will find elk roaming the conference grounds! The grandeur of the surrounding mountains reveals His glory and draws us into His presence. And that’s my first priority for each year’s conference. I ask Father to make CCWC a conference where His people will connect with Him more deeply, where those who are discouraged will be encouraged, and where faculty and conferees alike will find their vision for serving Him renewed.
Our May 13-16, 2009, conference will again focus on “write His answer” from Habakkuk 2:2. Considering the crisis our nation, and world, is facing, I cannot think of a more important assignment. Whether we write prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction, articles or books, we need to know His answer so it naturally flows through the words we write.
Seven continuing sessions are aimed at helping beginning as well as advanced writers to become more effective communicators. Virelle Kidder, who has been writing and speaking for over 25 years, will teach “Writing a Life-Changing Nonfiction Book.” Cindy Kenney, author of over 65 books, will teach “Make a Difference in the Life of a Child.” “Launching Your Freelance Writing Career” with Suzie Eller will help beginning writers get started on the right foot while literary agent, Chip MacGregor, will provide key steps every writer must make in order to move “From ‘wannabe’ to ‘published’ author.” Linda Evans Shepherd will focus on “Growing Your Women’s Ministry” and a team of teachers will present “The Adventure of Independent Publishing.”
As a large conference with over 50 on faculty, CCWC seeks to provide something for all writers at all levels, but fiction is always a major emphasis. James Scott Bell will teach the continuing session, “Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down.” In addition to six hour-long workshops in the fiction track and six in the genre track, CCWC offers the option of applying for two fiction clinics. Jeff Gerke, Publisher of Marcher Lord Press, is offering a Fiction Intensive limited to six students that are ready to get seriously better as a novelist in a very short time.
Susan Meissner, who just received ECPA’s Christian Book Award for fiction for The Shape of Mercy, is teaching the Contemporary Women’s Fiction Clinic that will focus on strengthening key elements in your work-in-progress:
* A fully fleshed-out female lead or supporting character
CCWC also offers a nonfiction book clinic with Craig Bubeck who will become Director of Publishing for Wesleyan Publishing House April 1. Teresa Evenson, a nationally known publicist who has booked authors on thousands of radio and TV shows, is leading the “How to Get the Attention of Publishers & the Media” clinic for fiction or nonfiction writers with a published or contracted book, a book nearing completion, or an agent. Finally, there’s “The Joy of Unblocked Creativity” clinic with Sue Cameron and Liz Babbs.
If you’re looking for something different than a clinic or a workshop in the fiction or genre track, five other tracks offer almost overwhelming choices. For those who are not in a clinic and who have completed a full length novel of over 70K there is also the option of applying for the Sharp Writer Boot Camp with Shannon [Hill] Marchese, Senior Editor of Fiction at The WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. This two hour workshop is for courageous fiction writers who have been writing for some time but are stuck in a writing stalemate. You must be willing to take an intensive look at what is working and what is not in your writing and to toughen up that thick skin. Topics include: tired ideas and how to wake them up, killing clichés, story versus meaning, how and what editors really think about POV, passive writing, show-versus-tell, and what readers crave.
Believing there is always more to be learned, CCWC brings in successful authors like Kristen Heitzmann, Robert Liparulo, Susan May Warren , and Wanda Dyson to teach workshops and provide one-on-one help through free 15-minute appointments and 30-minute paid critiques. Because six of my books sold as a result of meeting an editor at a conference, I recognize one of the most important reasons for attending a writers’ conference is the opportunity to meet face-to-face with editors and agents. This year CCWC has 7 agents on faculty and 16 book editors. The earlier you register the better opportunity you have of meeting with your top four choices. That’s a full hour of one-on-one time with those who can open doors for your work.
I could go on for double the word count I was given for I am truly excited about the Ephesians 3:20 things I see God do each year at both the Colorado and Greater Philly conference. But let me close with what Sharen Watson of Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild says: “CCWC is the best conference around as far as I'm concerned. The Lord blesses it, anoints it, uses it.” Amen. Do it again, Lord.
In addition to directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, Marlene Bagnull has served on the faculty of over 70 conferences and taught over 50 one and two-day writing seminars around the country. She is the compiler/editor of three books and author of five books including Write His Answer —A Bible Study for Christian Writers. She offers fiction and nonfiction At-Home Writing Workshops, a correspondence study program. Marlene also helps writers self-publish affordably yet professionally through Ampelos Press. Visit Write His Answer to learn more.