Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fast Track to Success?

As you might have guessed by the title—the question mark is the clue—there's no real fast track to writing success. That's why Ray Bradbury said the first million words don't count. But you may jump ahead by attending workshops and writers conferences. And we have a pair of excellent ones coming up shortly.

The Florida Heritage Book Festival Writers Conference, September 13 & 14 at the St. Johns County Convention Center at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort offers a day and a half of outstanding workshops by the pros. Learn how to be a better public speaker, how to craft tighter, more effective stories, how to jumpstart a freelance career, and much more. Register before September 7 to take advantage of lower fees, which include lunches and Thursday night's keynote talk by "Dexter" author Jeff Lindsay. Pulitzer Prize-winning crime author Edna Buchanan will be honored at Friday night's Literary Legends Award Banquet, with Ms. Buchanan making a rare public appearance to accept her award. And, of course, you might want to hob nob with the authors at Saturday's free Book Festival at Flagler College, Ringhaver Student Center. If you attend the Saturday Festival, you can ask Jeff Ashton, the lead prosecutor in the Casey Anthony case, "What happened?" Or hear Ernest Hemingway's niece, Hilary Hemingway, talk about her famous uncle. Or speak with Sen. Bob Graham about his suspense novel, Keys to the Kingdom, which draws on his background in government and intelligence.
The Festival is looking for a few good volunteers for Saturday. If you're interested, contact Nancy Huppert at

Of course, the other outstanding conference is FWA's 11th Annual Conference, The Magic of the Pen. Running from October 19 to 21 at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, the conference offers opportunities to pitch agents and publishers, hear the latest in the industry, sharpen your skills and be part of the largest, most comprehensive writers conference in the state. Note, you have to be a member of FWA to attend, or pay an additional $45 which happens to be the membership fee. Tricky, yes? The Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet is a high point of the conference each year. Here you can learn who won the coveted Book of the Year, or if you were one of the winners.
Additionally, you might want to attend the full day crime writing workshop by international crime writer, R.J. Ellery. "Writing Wrongs: A Workshop on Crime Fiction and Thrillers," takes place the day before the conference, Thursday, October 18, also at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. Proceeds from the workshop benefits the Florida Writers Foundation, which promotes literacy projects on behalf of FWA.

FWA's local writers groups offer you more opportunities to fast track your writing success. Here's what's coming in September:

  • River City Writers chapter meets on the second Tuesday of the month, September 11, at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd. Group leader Gregg Golson has the details. 
  • Ancient City Writers, Saturday, September 15, 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine's Main Library, will hear from Rik Feeney, covering the topic, "Writing Books for Fun, Fame & Fortune."
  • The Amelia Island Writers chapter meets Tuesday, September 18 at 6:15 p.m. at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. Want more information? Call group leader Maggie de Vries at 904-321-6180.
  • Maureen Jung, leader of the Clay County Writers group has a fine meeting planned for Wednesday, September 19 at 6:25 p.m. at the Fleming Island Library. Martin Conroy has over 30 years sales and marketing experience with three of the major New York publishers. Conroy promises to tell all in his presentation, "The Realities of Publishing Today: The Truth." Sounds like a good one.
  • The ubiquitous Rik Feeney pays a visit to the Ponte Vedra Writers on Saturday, September 22. 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. This time Rik will talk about "Editing Basics for Authors & Self-Publishers." 
  • FWA's affiliate, First Coast Christian Writers, meets each Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. at the West Regional Library. Contact Lynn Rix for details.
More for writers:
  • There's a newly formed group for science fiction and fantasy writers. Its first meeting is Tuesday, September 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Argyle Library. SF author Tim Robinson is the contact for more information. 
  • Kimberly Smith has volunteered to form an FWA Youth Writers Group here in NE Florida. Kim is a former writing and drama teacher, a former bookstore owner, and currently writes YA and does freelance editing. She has a great vision for the group and will be announcing the meeting schedule soon. BTW, Kim will join us at my September 22 Ponte Vedra Writers meeting to tell us more about the proposed Youth Writers Group. If you know a young writer who might be interested in participating, you may contact Kim here
  • WAG, the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, is presenting Vic DiGenti's Novel in A Day workshop, Saturday, October 13 at Gainesville's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The full day workshop covers the essential elements for crafting a successful novel in a fast-paced and interactive setting. A portion of the proceeds benefits WAG. For more information contact WAG President Wendy Thornton or Vic DiGenti.
  • Lynn Harlin announces more of her prize-winning classes known as the Shanty Boat Workshops, September 19 - October 24. For both beginning and more seasoned writers, Lynn promises to help whip your words into shape. Click here to email Lynn for more information.
  • Author John Dufresne returns to Flagler College on Saturday, October 6 for a reprise of his workshop, "How to write Your Novel in Six Months." It's open to writers of all skill levels. Click here for cost and registration information.
  • Those infamous Rogues, aka Bridget Callaghan, Jeff Swesky, Michael Ray King and Nancy Quatrano, are having a book launch weekend to celebrate the release of The Method Writers. Join them Friday, September 7 at the St. Francis Inn courtyard, Saturday at Hooligans in Ormond Beach, or Sunday at a Taste of Portugal in Palm Coast. Nancy has all the details. 
  • Ron Whittington announces the release of Doppelganged, a Parker Glynn thriller. Ron has signings set at Monkey's Uncle Tavern in Jacksonville, Beach, American Legion Post 129, and Chamblain's Uptown Cafe & Book Store. Write Ron with congratulations and for details of his signings.
  • Congratulations to Jacksonville author Kathryn J. Bain for the release of he inspirational romantic suspense novel, Catch Your Breath, the sequel to the award-winning Breathless.
We lost another great American writer in August. Gore Vidal was often referred to as an elegant writer, but he was so much more. He was an essayist, a playwright, a sometime actor, and political gadfly. His historical novels were acclaimed for their historical accuracy and witty writing. Novels like Julian, 1876, Lincoln and Washington, D.C. were huge sellers, as was his black comedy, Myra Breckenridge. But one of my favorites was a one-liner, "Write something every day, even if it's a suicide note."
Here's a fine New York Times article on Vidal.

Until next time, stay on the fast track and keep writing,

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

1 comment:

RPWhittington said...

Thanks for the mention, Vic. Look forward to seeing you soon...I believe in Fernandina this weekend, correct?