We’re offering intimate breakaway sessions all weekend where writers can sit down with agents, authors, and editors to discuss everything from pitching to craft. Advanced registration is required for all sessions, with applicable prices listed below.
These sessions are for writers who are working on honing their “pitch” but don’t feel ready to officially pitch an agent at a one-on-one meeting. Two literary agents will guide each round table conversation with space for up to six writers to participate. Each writer will have a chance to “practice their pitch” in a supportive environment and receive real-time feedback from the agents. Writers will also benefit from hearing the agents’ feedback on their peers’ pitches and engage in a group discussion about their work.
Please note these key differences between a one-on-one agent meeting and a Practice Your Pitch workshop:
— The agents will not read a sample of your work in advance.
— These sessions are not the appropriate forum to ask whether an agent would like to consider your work for representation. The goal is to receive feedback on your work in progress in a supportive group environment.
— Depending on the workshop size, each writer will have approximately 5 minutes to present their project. The rest of the hour-long session will be dedicated to agent feedback and group discussion.
Advanced registration is required to participate in a session. Please sign up below.
Practice Your Pitch: Commercial Fiction
Saturday, September 8, 10:00am to 11:10am
Practice Your Pitch: Nonfiction
Saturday, September 8, 10:00am to 11:10am
Practice Your Pitch: Genre/Crossover Fiction
Saturday, September 8, 11:30am to 12:40pm
Practice Your Pitch: Literary Fiction
Saturday, September 8, 4:30pm to 5:40pm
Active Storytelling: How to Focus Your Story, with Judy Sternlight
Sunday, September 9, 10:00am to 11:10am
To bring a story into focus, a writer has numerous creative options to explore, including points-of-view, character objectives, narrative structures, and endings that resonate. Through a mix of creative brainstorming, role-playing, and craft talk, we’ll explore these Eight Essential Narrative Elements: Story Anchors, POV, Character Objectives/Intentions, Central Storyline (and subplots), Stakes (tension), Sensory Work, Timespan, Endings.
Judy Sternlight was an editor at Random House, Ballantine, and Modern Library. She’s the founder of Judy Sternlight Literary Services and co-founder of 5E, the independent editors’ group. Judy has edited acclaimed writers including Elliot Ackerman, Marie-Helene Bertino, Rita Mae Brown, Gwen Florio, Bret Anthony Johnston, Lisa Ko, Peter Matthiessen, Daniel Menaker, and Melodie Winawer. Prior to publishing, she performed and taught improvisational theater with Some Assembly Required in NYC, touring to numerous theaters, colleges, and clubs. She has taught Active Storytelling at the Center for Fiction in NYC, using literary and theatrical techniques to give writers new tools to strengthen their craft. She has also taught forms of “The Art of Revision” and “The Business of Publishing” at The Miami Writers Institute, Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Grub Street, AWP, Pen + Brush, Paragraph, and The Historical Novel Society.
Novel Structure, or How to Find Your Book’s Inherent Shape, with Ted Thompson
Sunday, September 9, 3:00pm to 4:10pm
Anyone who has taken a writing workshop while working on a novel knows that while they can be helpful on a single chapter, the format isn’t suited to address many of the larger issues at play in a novel. I’ve found, in reading early novel drafts, that those issues are almost always structural, and that many of them could be considerably improved if the writer were aware of some basic principles. This class is a chance to discuss those, addressing not only what gives a long narrative movement but also ways to locate and honor each project’s individual shape. No two novels can be built exactly the same, which is what makes them so difficult, but they do function with the same physics, so to speak. We’ll try to get to the bottom of what exactly those forces are, then talk about the ways to apply them to our current projects.
Ted Thompson’s novel The Land of Steady Habits was published in 2014 by Little, Brown. It was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, an Amazon Debut of the Year, and a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. It has been adapted by Nicole Holofcener into a feature film for Netflix, which will be released in late 2018. His stories have appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, One Teen Story, and Best New American Voices. He has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Writers Omi at Ledig House, the Truman Capote Trust, and the Bread Loaf Writers’Conference. He teaches for Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and in the Brooklyn College MFA program. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Break Out of Your Writing Slump: How We Clear the Cobwebs and Get Back to Being Happy About Our Work
Saturday, September 8, 3:00pm to 4:10pm. Sign up here to participate.
Staying on Track: How to Connect with Peers Who Will Help You Revise & Finish Your Manuscript
Sunday, September 9, 11:30am to 12:40pm. Sign up here to participate.
Let’s Talk: Tips & Techniques for Writing Great Dialogue
Sunday, September 9, 4:30pm to 5:40pm. Sign up here to participate.