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Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 04 Nov 2013, 19:44
by WritersBlock
What Makes the Algonkian Writers Conference Approach Unique?

Algonkian emphasizes that you, the aspiring author, must understand and master three major areas pertaining to novel writing before you can hope to realistically compete in today's market. First, the art of the drama as it applies to structural technique, i.e., plotting and complicating the story. Writers in Algonkian Writers Conference events are provided with study guides and assignments that provide background and practice in the art of creating strong story lines and fully engaged characters. Without a moral dilemma, or an antagonistic force, minus real stakes or a core source of dramatic tension to resolve, you have a flat and quiet tale, as well as non-sympathetic characters. An understanding and application of dramatic technique not only cajoles you into facing these primary issues, it provides you with a map for evolving tense plot lines, regardless of genre.

Secondly, Algonkian employs a pedagogical method we refer to as the model-and-context approach, to teach the art of fiction writing. Models of craft and style, voice and prose (gained from known authors, playwrights, and fiction writers) are presented, practiced and reviewed, thus enabling you to productively use this craft knowledge in the context of improving or editing the narrative that composes your work-in-progress.

Finally, Algonkian stresses market knowledge and high-concept premise. Genre writers, and even literary or upscale writers, are strongly encouraged to create a premise, or story concept, that sounds sufficiently unique and commercially viable. Algonkian understands that in order to be as competitive as possible in the agent-seeking environment while creating a suitable marketing hook for publishers, you need to have a story that stands out from the crowd. Just know that if you're going to pitch a story to an agent or editor that sounds like a Junot Diaz, Janet Evanovich, or Dan Brown clone, you will lose them in twenty seconds. They've heard it a thousand times before.

Comments and Contracts

Rather than treating the writing and selling of fiction as two unrelated functions, Algonkian regards them as intrinsically linked. The workshops and reviews took blinders off and made me see, for instance, that the pitch is not an artificial construct to be reluctantly imposed upon your polished manuscript. It is instead a tool, with heft, that you must wield from the start. The writing business has no guarantees, but Algonkian conferences are uniquely suited to crafting work that can persuade a cynical agent to say the sweetest of words: "Yes!"

- Best Selling Author Carla Norton

Algonkian Writers Conference events prepare serious writers for the realities of the publishing world. It's not enough to write a good manuscript. You need a strong query and succinct pitch to convince agents you're the real deal. They teach you what published authors already know, that preparing a manuscript for the marketplace is not for the faint of heart. This is the conference that separates the determined professional from the wishful hobbyist. Trust me, when it's over, you'll know who you are.

- Michael Hagan, Signed by Frances Goldin Literary Agency

This isn't a craft workshop, nor is it a giant mix and mingle conference. The focus is sharp. The critique isn't for the faint of heart, but is for those who truly want to hear where they need to work on their novel, how commercial their ideas are, and about the effectiveness of their pitch—which then translates into one's query letter. This isn't to say that one is discouraged, it's simply tough love. Selling a novel isn't like writing a novel. You have to leave the creative bubble.

- Randy Susan Meyers

Algonkian offered me the opportunity to be part of a real writers group where my ideas and evolving characters were first introduced to other writer and potential readers. That critique allowed me to tweak my characters and storyline to perfection. Algonkian's approach in fine tuning my pitch helped me to tighten my manuscript as well. As a result, my manuscript sold to the very first publisher who saw it!

- Roberta Gately, author of "Lipstick in Afghanistan"

The conference helps a writer turn a good premise into an excellent premise, and then translate that premise into a viable commercial manuscript. By helping to refine a novel's pitch, while also addressing the elements of fiction as they apply to the current market, it can be an invaluable resource to writers who wish to breathe new life into a manuscript. In addition, the faculty was unending generous with their time and guidance, pointing writers of every style and genre towards their own empowerment by offering clear, useful suggestions at every turn.

- Sara Beth Jonassen

I had already sent my novel to an agent from Prospect Agency, telling her I was accepted into an Algonkian Writers Conference and this was the ms I was pitching. When I returned, I was able to tell her I knew the novel needed a re-write (thanks to you) and that three publishing house editors were interested in seeing it when it's ready (also thanks to you). So she offered me representation!

She's going to work with me on it over the next few months, and when she thinks it's ready, send it off.

- Jane Ann McLachlan, Signed by the Prospect Agency

Perhaps coincidentally, I found doing the New York Pitch Conference and then following up with an Algonkian conference most effective. In any case, it is what I did. The pitch shop highlighted problems while the follow up looked into solutions. It's pretty hard to point to any single thing that helped the most since all parts of a novel are critical simultaneously. You must have plot but not at the expense of character but neither really work without paying attention to creating interest and tension throughout the writing. Maybe that's your answer: a more sophisticated view of the entire book.

- Author Alex Keto

I wanted to pass along the good news that I signed with Writers House this week, and they'll be representing my novel Tiny Dancer. I'm certain that I would not have gained their attention were it not for the vastly improved pitch I crafted at Algonkian's NY conference in June. Susan, I remembered that you are with Writers House as well, so I was especially excited to tell you.

Thank you both so much for all of your help and invaluable advice! I couldn't be happier with the results thus far!

- Kelley McNeil, signed by Writers House

The Algonkian Writers Conference was pivotal in moving my career forward. While I went there thinking it was just a really cool way to meet publishing editors, it turned out to be a portal into so many other avenues of the publishing business. Because of the conference, I've signed with the agent of my dreams!

- Dave McMenamin, Signed by Talcott Notch Literary Agency

I've yet to leave without requesting manuscript pages from participants. What's more, the manuscripts deliver. I recently signed and sold Gina Damico's YA fantasy in a two book deal to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt after hearing her project pitched at the conference. Serving on the Algonkian Writers Conference faculty has also been tremendously gratifying. Not only does the conference attract a wide variety of writers working in many different genres, it also has a great vibe--supportive, friendly, fun. I highly recommend it.

- Tina Wexler, agent at ICM


Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 22 Nov 2013, 02:39
by richardhacker
Attending an Algonkian Novel Workshop, I found a community of writers committed to mastery, an unyielding belief in giving accurate, grounded critique, and a commercial focus providing a path to what any novelist wants in abundance -- readers. I’d take those three gifts any day of the week.

Richard Hacker

Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 23 Nov 2013, 23:39
by RLmacallister
I heartily agree, good sir!

Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 24 Nov 2013, 01:07
by MarleneNolan
This just came over the wires on Author Salon and it's on the Algonkian Writers Conference blog also. This makes two big mystery/suspense books courtesy of Algonkian/AuthorSalon in the past few months, the other one being Carla Norton's EDGE OF NORMAL. When will it happen to me??? Wahhhhhh!

Wendy Eckel's KILLER ON THE WALL to Thomas Dunne Books
Posted on 11/18/2013

Author Wendy Eckel, a veteran of Algonkian Writer Conferences, joined Author Salon in October, 2011, and worked closely with AS editors, including advisory editors Michael Neff, Penny Warner, and Ken Atchity, to hone her "social media cozy" novel, KILLER ON THE WALL, into a competitive manuscript that was signed by AEI FILMS AND BOOKS in Los Angeles in 2012, and sold to Thomas Dunne Books in 2013.


Wendy Eckel's KILLER ON THE WALL, in which a woman sets out to solve a murder, and with the help of a Facebook group composed of amateur sleuths known as "The What Ifs," she begins the search for evidence and clues; after friending suspects on Facebook and working with a nervous programmer living in mortal fear of Mark Zuckerberg, she hacks into the dead girl's Facebook account and assumes her identity, only to discover a dark underbelly to what had originally seemed a charmed and effortless life, and THE DAY LILY CAFE, to Anne Brewer at Thomas Dunne Books, in a nice deal, for publication in 2015, by Ken Atchity and Michael Neff at Story Merchant (World Rights).

Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 25 Nov 2013, 00:36
by Somberwoman
Lois Gordon's DEATH AT IRON HOUSE is up next in the mystery genre. I read her sell sheet on Author Salon. Fantastic! She's an Algonkian vet who helped Michael and Gail run the Niagara writers conference.

Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 27 Nov 2013, 11:01
by ASuserChar
I agree, Marlene.

Time for another Algonkian workshop to hone the latest ms? Why don't we sign up for March?

Re: Algonkian Writers Conference - Contracts and Comments

Posted: 28 Nov 2013, 05:28
by RLmacallister
We must invite the author of Space Baby! See the other thread. Gadzooks redux! The man is a god.