Monday, April 27, 2009

RWA Schedule & Workshops

RWA 2009RWA has announced the schedule and workshop line-up for its 2009 conference.

The schedule is unchanged from 2008 as are the workshop tracks.

The special guest speakers this year are Donald Maas and Nora Roberts. In The Fire in Fiction, Maas'll talk about the techniques of master contemporary novelists. "Some authors write powerhouse novels every time. What are they doing differently on the page? This workshop will show you how." I always attend the Chat with Nora. Conference doesn't feel real unless I get a pep talk from her and a hug. It's my annual pilgrimage and blessing. Note: Get there early if you want a spot on the floor to rest your backside upon, otherwise expect to not even find a space to lean your back upon as you stand.

Here are a few other workshops that caught my eye...


  • 15-Minute Synopsis: Jessica Faust and Sharon Page reveal the techniques to quickly build a synopsis that will catch an agent's or editor's eye and sell your book.
  • Do You Really Know What a Bigger Book Is?: Mary Buckham, Dianna Love, and Lauren McKenna share the nuances of the bigger book. Bring your questions and come prepared for a high-energy workshop on how to expand a good story into a much larger one.
  • Don't Let The Plot Get In The Way Of Your Story: HMB editors Joanna Grant and Kimberley Young discuss characters, clich├ęs, and cliffhangers, and offer advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of plotting a romance novel.
  • The EDITS System: Margie Lawson teaches how to dig deep into analyzing passages. This is absolutely a not-to-be-missed workshop. I've attended Margie's online blog-shops, and they've all been winners.
  • Emotion: The Heart of the Novel: Join Brenda Novak for an in-depth examination of how every aspect of writing relates to heightening reader emotion.
  • Got High Concept?: Lori Wilde will lead you through the steps to create a high-concept story that will razzle-dazzle publishing insiders.
  • How to Make the Perfect Pitch (without striking out): Make sure you’re pitching to the right agent/editor, learn to condense your novel down to its essence, understand how to take cues from the agent/editor on whether your approach is working, and survive it all without a major meltdown.
  • Turning Points: Jennifer Cruise explains how turning points and beats are the key to pacing and plot development. Explore ways to use them to tighten and focus plots and scenes.
  • Using GMC for Pitches, Query Letter, and Scenes

  • 21 Years and Counting: This is of interest to me because Jo Beverley is my personal god.
  • A Look Inside the Editor's Mind: Harlequin Editor-at-Large Leslie Wainger will cold-read up to 25 synopses and analyze their strengths, weaknesses, chances of being requested, and more.
  • How to Sell to Harlequin's London Office: Keep up with the beat on Modern Heat, Harlequin Presents, Romance, Historical, Undone (short, sexy historical e-books), and Medical Romance.
  • It's Not the Hottest Genre, So How Do Debut Historical Romance Authors Get Six-Figure Deals?: I'd attend any seminar by Courtney Milan and Tessa Dare.

  • The Billionaire Tycoon's Secret Promotional Baby: With three authors, Smart Bitch Sarah and Dear Author Jane to talk about online promotions. It'll be factual, informational, and wildly entertaining.
  • Honing Your Pitch: Winnie Griggs, Wanda Ottwell, Michelle Grajkowski
  • On Professionalism and Choosing your own Business Reputation: Laura Bradford and Jennifer Schober offer a commonsense guide on how to publicly comport yourself as a professional author. Come hear their suggestions as to what to do, what not to do, and the career benefits that come from being the kind of author people want to work with.
  • What Agents Really Want from an Unpublished Writer: How do you capture an agent’s attention, make your query stand out, and entice one to say yes? Literary agent Laurie McLean unveils ancient agent mysteries and tells you how to give these elusive creatures exactly what they want.

    Writer's Life
  • 12 Stages of the Writer's Adventure: Creativity coach and author Beth Barany examines ways to increase self-knowledge and write better by learning from the 12 stages of the hero’s journey.
  • Breathe, Focus, Achive: Stacia D. Kelly, a doctor of holistic health, discusses relaxation techniques and hypnotic suggestions, which will help participants to move past fears and frustrations to connect to their creative muse.
  • Prioritizing Life, Setting Goals and Time Management: This hands-on workshop by Robert Perini, looks at practical steps to regaining control of your life, tips and techniques for setting priorities, methods for establishing long-and short-range goals, and approaches to managing time.

  • How to Live in Another Century of Just Sound Like You Did: Lauren Willig offers strategies for acquainting yourself with another century’s sights, people, and politics, and how to create the illusion of a specific time period, while maintaining the balance between historical accuracy and demands of the narrative.

    Romanistas, which workshops are you looking forward to attending? Or does your ambition go only as far as the lobby bar?


    Diane Gaston said...

    I hope to get to some of these, Keira! I usually spend my time rushing from one thing to another or wandering around totally lost!

    Keira Soleore said...

    I know you're always so busy, so many people to meet, so many events to attend. That's why I'm so glad we're going to W'burg on Sunday with Ammanda. Gives us time to catch up and relax.

    Cara King said...

    Does sound like so many great workshops! Too bad I won't be there... :-(


    Keira Soleore said...

    Oh no! I was so hoping you'd be at the conference since I miss seeing you online.

    Beth Barany said...

    Keira, Thanks for synopsizing and highlighting these workshops. You know, I've always been intimidated to hear Nora speak. This year, if my schedule allows, (hopefully I'm not presenting when she is), I'll buck up the courage and go see her.

    Keira Soleore said...

    Beth, thanks for visiting. My hand was shaking when I raised it to ask Nora a question at my first conference. But she was so cool! She answered it graciously and at length. Then at the end, when I approached her for a photograph, she asked her assistant to take a picture of the two of us together, and while she had me there, she really, really encouraged me to believe that I was a writer and I could do it. Since then, I never miss her talk. Conference wouldn't be the same without it.