This is an entirely subjective selection of classes taught either by me or by writers and teachers I respect. I also include writing conferences that I am participating in, or that I think are well worth your time and money. All are listed (more or less) in chronological order, unless one item is especially newsy.
***SAVE THE DATE: Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat to be held May 4 – 9, 2014.
Details coming soon.***
The Book Biz, from A to Z
At the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
Tuesday evenings ~ Jan. 21 to Feb. 25, 2014
6:30 to 9 pm
This six-week class provides a complete overview of the book business from inside and out: what it takes imagine and pull-off a long-form literary project—but also what it takes to land an agent, work with an editor, and let the world know about the finished book. The idea is to allow each participant to take a book idea to the next level, and you will get feedback on a personal project—whether exploring possibilities, testing an idea, crafting an irresistible proposal, or writing a killer chapter. In each class, a different member of the Grotto (including authors Ethan Watters and Caroline Paul, agent Danielle Svetcov, editors Laura Fraser and John Gravois, and publicity guru Lee Kravetz), will share experience and expertise. Some of the topics we’ll cover:
- Talking the talk: defining “copyright,” “advances,” “bestseller,” and “platform.”
- The reality of royalties.
- What makes a magazine story, what makes a book?
- E-book, she-book, or good old clothbound?
- Dancing with agents.
- The key to contracts (and why you want to dance with that agent.)
- The long hard slog: writing the manuscript.
- Everything you need to know about editors but were afraid to ask.
- The morning after: revisions, copy edits, page proofs, and galleys.
- Working the platform: publicity, social media, and other ways to reach an audience.
The workshop is open to writers at different levels and working in different genres. Class size is limited to 18.
For info: Contact kailani2123 [at] gmail [dot] com.
To register: Send a check to Constance Hale, SF Writers’ Grotto, 490 Second Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94107. Please include your email address!
San Francisco Writers Conference
February 13th – 16th, 2014
Mark Hopkins Hotel, Mason & California
Its organizers call The San Francisco Writer’s Conference “a celebration of craft, commerce, and community.” That tagline is pithy—the conference is fun and collects a vibrant literary community. But attendees should not ignore the commerce part of the equation. The three-day affair is designed to help writers master the nuts and bolts of the writing business, and to help them blossom into published authors. More than 100 authors, agents, editors, publishers, and book-marketing experts hold information sessions; the conference offers enough workshops, keynote speakers, and presentations to write a book about. But it also leaves room for personal attention. The guest-list is maxed out at 325, and social and mingling events—agent speed dating is one—are scheduled. There are also opportunities for writers to seek out personal feedback on their work. Chitra Divakaruni headlines this year’s conference, but there are many, many writers worth paying attention to. (If you plan to go, look for my talk and make sure to come say hello!)
Online registration and event details are available at: www.SFWriters.org.
Fundamentals of Freelancing
UC Berkeley Extension
April 5 ~ 10 am to 6 pm
San Francisco, California
Are you interested in learning about a freelance writing and editing career? Constance Hale leads this one-day seminar to help you examine the changing media landscape and develop strategies to survive and thrive. Deepen your understanding of what magazines, newspapers, books and websites look for, and discuss how social media and blogging fit in. You will also consider how to support dream projects with good work that pays the bills—whether it’s tech writing, teaching, ghostwriting or corporate editing. Guests share their unvarnished experiences, and innovative course materials help you define your goals, sharpen your skills and develop a personal strategy. The presentations are rich in wisdom, the exercises rigorous but fun. $275. Go here for information and registration.
Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat:
Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu
(Places That Inspire Us)
May 4 – 9, 2014
On Oahu’s North Shore
After its first successful writers retreat in April 2013, Camp Mokule‘ia will host another gathering of artists interested in exploring the notion of place in their work. Directed by Constance Hale, the 2014 will include top writers from the islands and the mainland, as well as Hawaiian musicians and cultural icons. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir to are invited to spend five amazing days and nights on O‘ahu’s North Shore.
With the mountains at our back and the open ocean at our front, we will learn from the masters, write in the shade of ironwoods, wander along the beach, salute the sun in morning yoga, and come to understand the essence of Hawaii through evening programs led by island composers, dancers, and musicians. The program includes daily workshops, private writing time, and one-on-one meetings with faculty. Optional activities—available to family and companions staying at the camp—include yoga, snorkeling, kayaking, and beachcombing. Other highlights are hike to sacred spots in this remote part of the islands .
Information and updates posted here.
May 15 – 18, 2014
Mayacamas Ranch ~ Calistoga, CA
The San Francisco Bay Area’s first juried writers’ conference, Lit Camp is a joint venture between two respected literary organizations – Litquake and the SF Writers’ Grotto. It features representatives from San Francisco’s best magazines and sites, as well as editors and agents from top publishers.
The camp is held at Mayacamas Ranch, in Napa Valley, a secluded retreat center set atop rolling hills. Accommodations are rustic wooden cabins outfitted with organic linens. Mayacamas has a salt-water pool, a jacuzzi, a spring-fed pond, an organic garden, hiking trails, and a yoga room. (You won’t want to miss Yoga for Writers).
More online at litcampwriters.org.
Greensboro Writers Retreat
First-Person Plural: Crafting stories from our lives
A writing workshop with Zoe Carter and Connie Hale
Early fall, 2014 (Dates TBA)
Greensboro and Hardwick, Vermont
And intimate and unusual workshop, with Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale, who have published memoirs and essays in books and in Vogue, Health, Honolulu, The Atlantic, and O. The workshop begins Friday night, at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, with a reading and a conversation about memoir. Saturday and Sunday mix guided writing, critique sessions, coaching, and private writing time. Late Sunday afternoon, all participants will have the opportunity to read at the Galaxy; followed by a special farm-to-table dinner. The workshop is open to writers of all levels and genres.
Here’s a recap of the Fall 2013 workshop:
What happens when you gather a dozen professional writers, install them next to a Vermont lake, and encourage them to take in the natural wonders, sit by the fire, and dig deep into memories, dreams, and fears? This is the annual experiment conducted by Connie Hale and Zoe FitzGerald Carter. This year, out came poems about love at 80 and violence in Sri Lanka, as well as essays about walking daughters to school, easing the loss of a mother by eating popcorn, and facing down the ultimate alpha male—a sea lion ready to rumble. Grotto chef Stephanie Rosenbaum plied us with farm chickens, fat apples, and warm maple syrup, all the while sharing insights about how to write about food in a way that is fresh and bracing. The retreat concluded with participants reading at Connie’s cousin’s bookshop and chowing down at the restaurant next door. If you long for a little leaf peeping in 2014, drop a line to zoe (at) mac (dot) com.