Wanda Dyson's been called a "natural" and a "master of pacing," but her fans know that whether it's police thrillers, suspense, or bringing a true story to life, Wanda knows how to take them on a journey they'll never forget. Wanda is a multipublished suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one attempt at a nonfiction book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah. Wanda lives in Western Maryland on a 125 acre farm with a menagerie of animals and when she's not writing critically acclaimed suspense, or away at conferences, you can find her zipping across the fields on a 4-wheeler with Maya, her German Shepherd, or plodding along at a more leisurely pace on her horse, Nanza. With the release of her newest hit, Judgment Day, Wanda is heading back to the keyboard to start on her next high-octane thriller, The Vigilante. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment coordinator for the CCWC and Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conferences. Visit her Website at www.WandaDyson.com.
February Conference Corner
Let’s talk about one of the most beneficial aspects of many writer’s conferences, aside from appointments with editors and agents: the opportunity to have a few pages of your work evaluated by a professional writer, editor, or agent. If you’re not sure of your strengths, weaknesses, or overall voice, these evaluations and critiques can be extremely helpful.
The first is a Paid Critique: Usually critiques cost an additional fee on top of your conference fee. This could be anywhere from $20 to $50 for ten to twenty pages. A critique team or faculty members do the critiques. Most of the time, your pages must be sent in ahead of the conference, and then at the conference, you will sit down with your critic for anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes, and he or she will give you feedback and answer any questions you may have. Other times, you will be asked to turn in your work at the conference itself.
Critiques can be very useful, but keep in mind that these critiques will not be as in-depth as if you hired a freelance editor. But for many writers, they aren’t ready to spend that kind of money, and these critiques can be all they need for now.
The second are Writing Contests: Some conferences hold writing contests in prose, poetry, and short stories with both published and unpublished categories. Awards can include cash prizes as well as a discount on next year’s conference. Just as with a paid critique, there is usually (but not always) a separate entry fee of about $20 to $25, and the excerpt you submit may be a first chapter of a longer work, a short story, an article, or a poem. Depending on how the contest is set up, you may have the opportunity to have several professionals judge your work.
The third are Clinics. A few conferences offer unique, hands-on clinics in which you spend part or all of the workshop time in an intensive critique group. These sort of clinics usually require a separate application and advance submission of a manuscript excerpt or short work after you’ve registered for the conference. They often limit the number of participants and may require a certain level of writing experience to qualify for the clinic. Unless the clinic is an early bird session, there usually is not a separate fee. The clinic is normally run by a published author, or may involve a team of professionals. Many writers find clinics to be an invaluable source of personalized help they can’t get anywhere else.
And don’t forget, if you decide to take advantage of any manuscript evaluation service offered by your conference, you’ll want to spend extra time getting it ready. One of the most important things to get right is to follow the submission guidelines provided by the conference.
See you somewhere this year!
March 3-6; FLORIDA CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE; Leesburg, FL; www.flwriters.org
March 18-19, 2011; CAROLINA CHRISTIAN WRITERS’ WORKSHOP; Anderson, SC; Fee- $125, early bird $99; discount for ministers and students; speakers include Dr Dennis Hensley, Agent Tamela Hancock Murray, Editor Rick Steele, more info at www.upstateSCchristianwriters.com
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
April 15–19: MT. HERMON CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE 37 Conference Drive, Mount Hermon, CA 95041 450 expected to attend email@example.com http://mounthermon.org/adult/professionals/writers-conference
May 9-13; BLUE RIDGE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE; near Ashville, NC; www.brmcwc.com
May 20-21; ANTELOPE VALLEY CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE; Lancaster, CA; firstname.lastname@example.org; 661-722-4896
June 21-25; ST DAVIDS CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE; Grove City College, Grove City, PA; http://stdavidswriters.com
June 24-25; KENTUCKY CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE; featuring Cecil Murphey; College Heights United Methodist Church, Elizabethtown, KY;
August 6-11, 2011: GIDEON MEDIA ARTS CONFERENCE, Ridgecrest NC, www.gideonfilmfestival.com