Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beach House Writing Salon III

It's Time For Another Beach House Writing Salon!

Please join us on Saturday, April 30, 2016, for Beach House Writing Salon III, an intimate and intensive day of writing tips and advice for aspiring authors from three established authors with multiple books, both fiction and non-fiction, under their belts and a three-time Pulitzer-winning editor. Steve Jackson, Susan Carol McCarthy, Caitlin Rother and Susan White will conduct workshops, one-on-one critiques, and a panel discussion. We will finish the day with a cocktail party, featuring scintillating literary conversation, live music, adult beverages, and a beautiful view.

Here are the workshop sessions:
Great Characters Make Great Stories (not the other way around): Are great characters built block-by-block like houses? Or do they arrive on the scene so fully formed that an agent/editor/reader has no choice but to fall in love with them and follow them anywhere? Award-winning historical novelist Susan Carol McCarthy reveals her process for creating fascinating characters for fiction and nonfiction, whose very human desires, needs, and motivations breathe life into story and elicit interest in your reader. She’ll discuss the use of markers, to whittle down unnecessary description, as well as five other types of “characterization” to show, without telling, each character’s unique personality, disposition, temperament, eccentricities, and, most importantly, voice.     

Building A Better Book: The Nuts and Bolts Of Powerful Writing and Narrative Structure: Steve Jackson will present an overview of how to build a book from the ground up from formulating and focusing the idea, creating the blueprint, setting scene, developing characters, and putting these concepts into action. He also will discuss his very own “wave technique” of building towards the climatic moment and resolution of your book that will hook readers at the beginning and keep them reading to the end. Even writers who have completed a manuscript will learn techniques to improve, revise and refine their work. Caitlin Rother will follow up with her system for identifying the “key moments” of a story, deciding which will be threads, themes or subplots, then building scenes, chapters and story arc for the full book.

The Art of Interviewing and Tricks to Uncover Hidden Research Gems: Steve Jackson will discuss his techniques for getting the most out of interviewing subjects for any book, non-fiction or fiction. He’ll review the importance of preparation, the nuances of interview technique (did you know that the seating arrangement can make all the difference?), the differences between soft and hard questions (and when to employ either), and how to get the answers needed to make your work a cut above other writers. Caitlin Rother will talk about other enterprising research techniques, including how and where to identify original sources materials, how to obtain and then cull through them to find those nuggets that keep the reader turning pages.

How to Edit Yourself Like a Pro: In an era when some authors get little or no editing from their publishers, or choose to go the self-publishing route, it pays to become your own best editor. Susan White will describe how to smooth pitches and polish manuscripts to make readers eager to see what’s coming next. She and Caitlin Rother will do a short exercise to demonstrate how up-front editing and/or brainstorming ideas with a trusted colleague can help shape a story. Then Susan will discuss three tricks that the best editors use to make copy sing and reach that important end game: how to think like a reader, how to listen for the rhythm of words and how to hack away at the deadwood that can dull the greatest plot. It’s a new way of thinking—and it’s fun!

Faculty Bios: 
Steve Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of true crime, crime fiction, history and biography. During a more than two-decade career as a newspaper journalist, he won numerous national and regional awards for writing, explanatory journalism and investigative journalism, and was particularly known for his interviewing technique and narrative style. His writing mentor was Jon Franklin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of Writing For Story, which is the basis for Steve’s Building A Better Book discussion with his own personal additions. He has written two dozen books, including a long-running thriller series under the name Robert K. Tanenbaum, as well as true crime bestsellers MONSTER, NO STONE UNTURNED and BOGEYMAN. He is also co-owner of indie publishing company WildBlue Press.

Susan Carol McCarthy is the award-winning author of three works of literary fiction, LAY THAT TRUMPET IN OUR HANDS, TRUE FIRES, and A PLACE WE KNEW WELL (Random House, October 2015) plus the non-fiction BOOMERS 101: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION. Her books have been widely selected by libraries and universities for their One Book, One Community and Freshman Year Read programs, and incorporated into school curriculums in 29 states and six countries. Although each of her novels was inspired by true historical events—a series of shocking race crimes, notoriously corrupt small-town politics, a week of military-imposed terror—McCarthy is best known for creating muscle-and-blood characters for whom the larger political becomes intensely personal, and for her original blend of “fact, memory, imagination, and truth with admirable grace.” (The  Washington  Post). 

New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 10 books, drawing from decades of newspaper experience covering topics ranging from criminal justice, suicide, addiction, mental illness and murder to corruption, incompetence, and waste at City Hall and in Congress. Caitlin, whose books range from narrative non-fiction crime to memoir and crime fiction, has done more than 100 TV and radio appearances. Her latest book, THEN NO ONE CAN HAVE HER, and her Kindle shorts, A Complicated Woman and The Fugitive With One Shoe, were published in 2015 and 2016. She is currently writing another short, Overkill, and a political crime book, HONEST SERVICES?: CORRUPTION, DISORDER AND CRIMINAL INJUSTICE. Caitlin also works as a book doctor, writing-research-promotions coach and consultant, and teaches narrative non-fiction at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink. 

As the editor of three Pulitzer Prize-winning news projects, Susan White is a master craftsperson of narrative nonfiction. After working at the Lexington Herald-Leader as an education reporter and television critic, Susan rose through the ranks of the The San Diego Union-Tribune, from reporter to writing coach, U.S.-Mexico border editor and then enterprise editor. Combining her fictional storytelling and investigative journalism skills to help reporters tell complex stories through narrative, she helped edit her first Pulitzer winning series at the U-T in 2006. She became the first assigning editor at the nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica in 2008, where she edited her second winner in 2010. She then became executive editor ofInsideClimate News, where her third project won in 2013. Today she is working with a group of prominent journalists to launch InquireFirst, an investigative reporting non-profit whose goal is to expand the boundaries of traditional journalism.

Logistical details:
--The salon will be at a house in Cardiff by the Sea. 
--Check-in and one-on-one critiques begin at 9 a.m., workshops at 9:30, 1-hour lunch break at 12:30, followed by more workshops, panel discussion at 4:45 p.m., and party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Attendees will have an hour for lunch on their own; bag lunch recommended.)
--Free parking is available in the surrounding residential neighborhood.

--Sign up until March 30 for just $165, until April 28 for $180, and $200 for late registration and walk-ins. This price includes entry to workshops, panel discussion, beach party (we will supply hors d’oeuvres, but attendees need to BYOB whatever alcohol they want to drink) and book signing.
--For an extra bonus, we are offering one-on-one critiques: a 15-minute session, with your author of choice, to discuss 10 typed double-spaced pages, submitted by April 23, for $50; or to get feedback on a verbal book idea pitch for $40. Critique appointments will be made with specific authors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Incentive sign-up bonusThe first five attendees to sign up for the salon AND a critique will receive a set of free books from the authors.
To sign up: Please contact Caitlin Rother, to sign up, arrange a payment, or ask about registration and critiques. Attendance will be limited. Payment must be received to reserve a seat.