Midwest Writers Workshop

Barbara Vey -- August 6th, 2010
Cathy Shouse

Cathy Shouse

Here today as Cub Reporter is Cathy Shouse who has published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and is a reviewer for BookPages. She’s on the Midwest Writers Workshop planning committee. Her debut book, “Images of America: Fairmount” just released and includes a chapter of young James Dean photos. She’s writing a novel.  Cathy is here today to tell us about the Midwest Writers Workshop she recently attended.

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Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap

Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap

At the 37th annual Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana, I didn’t want to “be like Mike” but I did want to “be like Marc,” meaning thriller writer Marcus Sakey, whose latest book, “The Amateurs” was a nailbiting read.  In Sakey’s 6-hour Thursday session to about 40 writers, he advised 1) never talk down to their audience, 2) follow a loose, 3-act structure and 3) write about somebody at the end of his rope, then make it worse.
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Jane Friedman of Writers Digest talks about social networking.

Jane Friedman of Writers Digest talks about social networking.

Sakey’s joint session with NYT thriller writer John Gilstrap, “Secrets to Getting Published,” was the highlight of the conference, confirmed by veteran editor and media visionary Jane Friedman of Writers Digest. Gilstrap and Sakey, the interchange of comments was electric between Gilstrap and Sakey, who are friends. Their discussion on the perils of getting a big advance that didn’t pay out (meaning the royalties don’t equal the advance) was eye-opening.

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Friedman gave up-to-the-minute insights on e-publishing–not a major player yet but it could be– and traditional publishers–they’re all “scared.”

Shirley Jump

Shirley Jump

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Award-winning children’s author Candace Fleming was my “sleeper” favorite and I don’t even write in her genre. Intelligent and savvy, she said children’s editors are looking for nonficton and still read unagented manuscripts.
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If the conference had to end, Shirley Jump’s send-off speech energized the audience and went beyond saying writing is a business and rejection isn’t personal, which we’ve heard. “Writing is a ‘product,’” Shirley said. “If an agent or editor doesn’t buy our product, it means we have to create a better product.”

Bottom Line: Today is National Fresh Breath (Halitosis) Day…Tic Tac anyone?

8 thoughts on “Midwest Writers Workshop

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