Friday, December 14

Home/Friday, December 14

Books will be sold today

8:00am: Breakfast

9:00: Graduate Lecture: Grace Jasmine (S)

Craft and the Bully in Teen Movies

Everyone has seen a teen movie. Everyone has been (or is) a teenager! The drama of teenage years is relatable to moviegoers, and full of emotions that make a good story—drama, excitement, stakes—both amazing highs and soul-crushing lows, discovery, and growth. Teen bully archetypes play an enormous role in the craft of a good teen movie and vary as much as movies do, from thugs to mean girls, from psychopaths to bullies who transform. Come learn about the 8 most prominent teen bully archetypes, how crafting your bully can impact the success of your story–and spend half an hour back in high school!

9:30-10:30 Sean Berard & Matt Groesch & Joshua Malkin (S)

The Screenwriting Unmentionables:  a forum about the things you’re too shy to ask.. and the things that you may not know to ask yet.  Salary ranges, what agents look for, what producers expect, the WGAs “No Writing Left Behind” Campaign, “spec” work… and whatever else you wanna know. Salon 5

9:30-10:30 Cynthia Romanowksi (All)

Writing for Advocacy & Political Organizing 

In this day and age, being able to turn your thoughts and opinions into advocacy are more important than ever. In this talk, we’ll dig into insights into partisan framing and how we form moral opinions, and how that ties into the importance of the personal story and “the ask” when it comes to mobilizing volunteers, community organizing, and changing minds.  Salon 6

9:30-10:30 Stephen Jay Schwartz (F)

Hollywood vs. The Author

So you’ve sold the screen rights for your novel to Hollywood –

Congratulations!  What the hell does that mean?  What even is Hollywood? And what will become of your special story now?  Stephen Jay Schwartz spent a number of years as the Director of Development for filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, Troy, In the Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm)  where, among other things, he acquired short stories and novels for  adaptation into feature films.  After leaving “the biz” he wrote novels and found himself pitching some of the very same development executives and producers he worked with in Hollywood.  From Faulkner and James M.

Cain to Michael Connelly and Megan Abbott, this lecture explores the clash between the author and the powers that be, layered with real world advice on how to manage your expectations while moving forward toward a  successful experience in Tinsel Town. Salon 3

10:30-12:00Max Gee (S)

Writing the Web Series 

Creating a show for YouTube takes an entirely different skill set…but don’t worry, you already have it. In this talk, we’ll go over the elements of a successful web series, how to write one, how to produce one, and how to get it up online in no time. Salon 5

10:30-12:00 Heather Partington (All)


Good literary criticism is engaging for both writer and reader. But summoning the confidence to write critical papers or book reviews can be difficult. Many of us just don’t know where to start. Who are you to have an opinion another author’s book? (Answer: a reader. That’s enough!) Writing criticism doesn’t have to be misery, and it can help you discover so much. In this lecture, we’ll examine several examples of reviews, and you’ll leave with lots of practical tips and resources. Bring your questions about critical papers or freelance reviewing. Salon 6

10:30-12:00 Mickey Birnbaum (PL)

Rewriting Drama So you have a beautiful mess of a first draft of a play or screenplay. Now what? This lecture will look at the particular demands of rewriting dramatic material, focusing on techniques to rewrite dialogue, identify and enhance dramatic structure, and address imagery, metaphor, and theme. Through draft examples and dramatic writers’ craft advice, we’ll explore the best strategies to get your work from first draft to done. Useful for playwrights and screenwriters alike. Salon 3


1:15-4:15 Main Genre Workshops

Crane/Essbaum: Begonia

Goldberg: Hibiscus

Malkin:  Lantana

McCann: Gardenia

Otis:  Larkspur

Rabkin & Schimmel:  Lavender

Roberge: Iris

Smith:  Primrose

Stillman/Ulin: Plumeria & Salon 8

(Deanne & David will meet separately with their students on Saturday and Sunday, together on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday)

Waters:  Jasmine

4:30 Graduate Lecture: Mark Johnson (F)

Evolution of the Legal Thriller: From Dickens to today.

What makes a good legal thriller? What works and what doesn’t? How can the author with no legal experience craft believable courtroom scenes?  This lecture answers those questions. We will study the history and development of this popular subgenre of fiction, to include the evolution of attorney protagonists from all white males to the current diverse group. We’ll also explore common elements of good legal thrillers, studying authors such as Earle Stanley Gardner, Harper Lee, Scott Turow and John Grisham.

5:15: Graduate Lecture: Matthew Johnson (F)

Defining Grimdark Fantasy. What is grimdark fantasy? This lecture will examine the aspects of what makes a fantasy story both grim and dark, from world building to what some claim are villainous characters. It will also deconstruct “Lord of the Rings,” providing a grimdark retelling of the well-known high fantasy tale.


The 10 Year Celebration on the roof of the Rancho Las Palmas with A VERY SPECIAL GUEST.

Doors open at 7pm, program begins at 8pm, the party goes all night long!