The Burlington Writer’s Workshop gets a new location

The Burlington Writer’s Workshop will be moving: they’ve secured a new spot in the Queen City. Formerly located at Studio 266 in Burlington’s South End, they will soon be found at 22 Church Street in Burlington. Here’s a blurb from their announcement:

This morning, Danielle and I signed a lease for the BWW on 22 Church Street. It’s a beautiful space with wood floors, enormous windows facing Church Street, a kitchenette, and (unlike our current space) walls up to the ceiling. We’ll be on the third floor. We took some photos this morning, so take a look!

We wanted a place that would inspire you and attract new writers. One of our missions is to bring attention to the writers who publish in THE BEST OF THE BURLINGTON WRITERS WORKSHOP, and a place on Church Street is perhaps the best possible choice if we want to build awareness of who we are and what we do.

We want to maintain accessibility for all people of all physical abilities, so it’s likely that we’ll hold regular workshops at other locations, too. We’ll be developing a system for when/where we’ll have these in the coming months.

This is pretty exciting news: the old location was nice, but hard to find and far from the downtown core. This new location is easily accessible and near everything else in Burlington, although parking will be more of a pain.

We’re pretty excited to see them move up, and we’d recommend helping the group pay for the space by donating, which you can do here.

Storytelling at a Comic-Con

We tried a comic-con experiment this last weekend.

I say we, because while it started out as my crazy idea, I managed to convince several people to join in, most notably my writing partner and co-author, Annalisa Parent. Here’s the idea: let’s a write a custom story for a specific comic-con, the North East Comic Con in Wilmington, MA. More than that, let’s play it out as a live, interactive story at the con, costumes and all, and see how people react.

The story was about super heroes as told from the perspective of a sidekick, well, a woman that works for an agency that outsources sidekick services to super heroes. The agency is called No.2 Inc. Kate Taylor, the “protagonist assistant,” was sent to retrieve a laptop containing sensitive data that was then stolen and later reappeared at the con. When she arrived to reclaim it, she discovered the situation was far more complex than she assumed and she needed more information to get her laptop back without getting caught.

In order to get that info, she enslists the help of conference attendees with smartphones via Twitter. Here’s the interactive part of the story. Attendees are encouraged to take pictures, meet with vendors, and pass all the information back to Kate before the con ends.

We also had an antagonist, the mysterious Carle Group, voiced (Tweeted) expertly by Jon van Luling, interferring, harassing, and generally trolling Kate while she attempted to pull off her reverse heist.

Then, for those who wanted to know more about the story and Kate, we wrote an ebook version of the mission with all the behind the scenes details. By the way, you can find where to get the ebook and pictures from the con at http://apologue.co/no2inc

So was it successful? Depends on what you mean by success.

People loved the idea. From vendors, to actors, to attendees, I was told over and over this was the coolest idea to hit a con in a long time. But there were a number of problems that prevented us from making a truly cool experience.

The first, and biggest, was that the network was absolutely awful at the con. Moreover, the promised public WiFi didn’t exist, which made it difficult to run this thing, let alone participate.

The second problem was that not everyone was using, or even liked using, Twitter. But then, no one could agree on their favorite social media platform either. That was a definite facepalm moment for me. You know that moment when an assumption catches up to you and boots you in the butt? This was mine. We rallied quickly and added Instagram and Facebook to the mix but by then half the con had gone by.

The third problem was what really got me. This is one of those problems that I didn’t really anticipate because it never occurred to me until I was standing on the con floor. Turnover. For those who enjoy the chaotic math surrounding crowd dynamics, this was fascinating. I don’t like that math. I just found it frustrating.

Turnover: meaning, how soon before someone gets their fill of the con and leaves. The answer is not simple. For example, if a con is small, you don’t spend as much time there. Also, if a con doesn’t have a lot happening other than vendor tables, you don’t spend much time there. If a con is small but there’s a ton of people there, you spend more time there because there’s more to see: namely cosplayers and friends. If a con is small and there’s too many people there, you get overwhelmed and get something to eat while things die down a bit.

The bigger a con gets, the messier the mechanics. Who are the celebrities attending? How many panel discussions are happening? Are there any sneak previews of upcoming projects? Here’s the thing I find funny about this. Messier is generally better. At the popular cons, when the numbers get larger, the turnover stabilizes. People may be leaving at the same rate, for any number of specific reasons, but you have enough other people replacing them, that the population doesn’t spike as often.

Complicated, right? How this affected me was that if people stayed longer, I had more people involved in the story. If the crowd was thin, less people. If you had a day like I did on Sunday, where there little attendance except for two decent spikes, it’s hell to keep story momentum moving. In the beginning, people leave faster. In the middle, people want the whole story to play out immediately, until it gets too crowded, and then they leave.

What I can say is that I know a lot whole lot more about how to write an interactive story for a con than I did before attending this con. Will Kate have more missions? Absolutely. She one of the more interesting characters I’ve written. I’m not giving up on her yet. And the whole interactive part? We’ll work it out. Because, as I said, people really really liked it.

I hope you like it too. As I mentioned you can find more about this story at http://apologue.co (the “imprint” I created for this project). Go there and start clicking on things.

Digital Storytelling Workshop with Nate Herzog

Nate Herzog of #Storyhack fame will be holding a digital storytelling workshop with the Burlington Writer’s Workshop on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM!

If you have a digital story you’d like us to take a look at, great! Let us know in advance. Otherwise, we’ll learn more about digital storytelling and get a sense of some of the platforms we can use.

Take a look at the notes from a few previous meetings. This PDF serves as a primer for digital storytelling.

Learn more about how we operate.

This workshop is made possible by the generous support of the Vermont Community Foundation.

The event will be located at Studio 266 at 266 South Champlain Street, Burlington. Sign up here!

Writers Meet Agents July 19 in Burlington

Angela Palm has a really intriguing post up on her website: There will be a ‘Meet the Agents’ day in Burlington on July 19th. Hosted by the Vermont League of Writers, the event is designed to steer authors to agents, the first step in the publication process:

On Saturday, July 19, seven agents from New York, Boston, and other cities will be at the Hampton Inn Burlington, ready to meet with writers that want to pitch their books or get advice on works-in-progress. These agents represent a broad range of interests. They’re looking for everything from mainstream fiction, self-help, and parenting books to sci-fi and romance novels.

Here’s the agents who’ll be showing up, thanks to the VLW page:

Maria Ribas: the Howard Morheim Literary Agency
Maria graduated with English Honors from the University of Richmond and began her career at Atria with Simon and Schuster, moving to Harlequin Nonfiction and Adams Media, before joining the Morheim Agency.

She specializes in practical non-fiction and has a firm grasp of how to assess and build an author’s platform. She’s interested in cookbooks, self-help, health, diet, home, parenting, humor, from authors with a strong platform.

She’s also interested in some narrative non-fiction, but she’s very selective.

Visit the Morheim Literary Agency’s web site for more: http://www.morhaimliterary.com/agents.html

Eric W. Ruben: Literary Agent, Attorney at Law
Eric is a graduate of New York’s Cardozo School of Law and a veteran entertainment professional with more than twenty-five years experience as an attorney, literary agent, talent manager, and professional performer.

His interests include YA, all romance, erotica, LGBT, mystery, and more. Check out his submissions guidelines (very specific!) on his web site: http://www.rubenlaw.org/contact/

Katharine Sands: Sarah Jane Freymann Agency
Katharine Sands, a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency in New York City, is the author and “agent provocateur” of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye. She has been a guest speaker on writing and publishing topics for the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the New York State Council on the Arts, and was a faculty member at the 2006 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. This is her third event with the League of Vermont Writers.

Katharine is interested in a broad range of categories: from commercial fiction and nonfiction, including popular culture, personal growth, leisure activities, lifestyle, wisdom, relationships, parenting, home arts, entertainment, and cookbooks to serious nonfiction, including psychology, social thought, history, health to the more eclectic popular reference, travel, spirituality.For memoir and femoir, she looks for a world rarely or newly observed. Visit the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency at Sarahjanefreymann.com.

Beth Campbell: BookEnds, LLC
Beth Campbell is an agent with BookEnds, LLC, an innovative and energetic literary agency. They represent a diversity of authors, from true crime, self-help, and business writers to mystery, romance, and women’s fiction novelists. BookEnds works with authors and publishers to produce the books they all want to see on their own shelves.

Beth Campbell’s interests include fantasy, YA, and sci-fi novels and also romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and cozy mysteries. She also works on some non-fiction titles.

Visit the web site to view an extensive list of fiction and non-fiction topics represented at BookEnds, LLC: http://www.bookends-inc.com/

Kaylee Davis: Dee Mura Literary
Kaylee Davis received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College.

As associate literary agent, her special interests include sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, young adult, new adult, steampunk, urban fantasy, social commentary, and counter-culture.

Visit the agency web site to see current titles at Dee Mura Literary: http://www.deemuraliterary.com/

Kimiko Nakamura: Dee Mura Literary
Kimiko Nakamura works with new and emerging writers. She looks for page-turning fiction and non-fiction that leaves people inspired and offers readers a full range of emotions.

Her special interests are contemporary fiction, young adult, new adult, women’s lit, romance, upmarket literary, mystery, urban fantasy, satire, memoir, narrative nonfiction, mind and body, cookbooks, spirituality, and health.

Visit the agency web site to see current titles at Dee Mura Literary: http://www.deemuraliterary.com

Emily Mitchell: Wernick & Pratt Agency
Emily Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard, a master’s in secondary English education from Syracuse, and an MBA from Babson. She lives outside Boston with her husband, daughter, and son.

Emily is accepting new clients in all genres for children.

Visit the Wernick & Pratt Agency web site to see current titles: http://www.wernickpratt.com/

It’s an impressive list, and it looks like it’ll be a really productive day for everyone.

Fees:

  • Standard Registration [March 21 – July 7]: LVW Members – $125; Non-members – $140, open thru June 30.
  • Late Registration [July 8 – July 15]: LVW Members – $140; Non-members – $160
  • Pitch Sessions: $25 each, first come, first served. Registration for Pitches Open: use credit card or mail-in form.

Space for this conference is limited, and to schedule a pitch session with the agent of your choice, be sure to register early!

Sign up here.

Via Ang Palm

BTV Write Club

It looks like there’s going to be a new writer’s group standing up in Burlington later this month. The BTV Write Club

Here’s their blurb:

The first rule of Write Club…just kidding. Write Club is for people who want to explore creative writing without all the fuss of the “workshop” format. No formal critiques or working drafts allowed. At Write Club, we’ll spend 10-15 minutes spilling out free-form pieces inspired by writing prompts and take turns sharing our work. That’s all. A little bit of peer accountability in an otherwise low-pressure environment where all writers, especially beginners, are welcome. Let’s make writing fun!

The first meeting is on June 24th at 6:30pm at Oakledge Park in Burlington.

Look interesting? Head over to Meetup to sign up.

Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference

Middlebury College is hosting it’s first annual environmental writer’s conference, which will focus on all things writing and the environment:

The Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference is an annual, week-long writers’ conference, based on the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference model, that’s designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world. The conference is co-sponsored by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Orion magazine, and Middlebury College’s Environmental Studies Program.

While there’s not time to apply for the program, there are a number of public events scheduled. Here’s what you can attend this week:

June 9th:

  • 8:00pm, Opening Event

June 10th:

  • 9:00 am, Lecture by Alan Weisman, “Where Environmentalists Fear to Tread”
  • 3:30 pm, Publishing panel with Jennifer Sahn of Orion magazine, Deanne Urmy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Joan Wyckoff of Carol Mann Agency, and moderator H. Emerson Blake.
  • 8:00 pm, Reading by Camille Dungy.

June 11th:

  • 9:00 am, Lecture by Maurice Manning, “How Landscape Went From Being the Setting of a Poem to Being the Subject of the Poem.”
  • 8:00 pm, Reading by Alison Hawthorne Deming.

June 12th:

  • 9:00 am, Lecture by Rick Bass
  • 8:00 pm, Reading by Maurice Manning

June 13th:

  • 9:00 am, Lecture by Alison Hawthorne Deming, “To See Beyond Earth’s Noise: New Relationships Between Art and Science.”
  • 8:00 pm, Reading by Jane Brox.

June 14th,

  • 9:00 am, Lecture by Camille Dungy, “Like Taming Something Wild: Why Setting, Smile, and Metaphor Make Sense.”
  • 8:00 pm, Reading by Alan Weisman.

Full details are here.

RWC/Burlington Book Fest Writing Contest

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The Renegade Writer’s Collective will be running a short work writing contest to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Burlington Book Festival. Submissions of up to 750 words will be collected between now and August 1st. Here the details:

  • One winner in each genre will have the opportunity to share their work at a special reading during the festival.
  • Winners will have their pieces published in Green Mountains Review Online.
  • Phoenix Books in Burlington is offering a $100 honorarium to the winner in each genre.
  • Send submissions to renegadewritersvt@gmail.com with the subject heading “Writing contest submission.” Include a brief bio and the genre in which you are submitting. The contest is open to all writers, but submitters should plan to attend the festival for the reading, should they be selected as the winner in their genre.

Guest Judges

  • Fiction: Kim Addonizio
  • Nonfiction: Leslie Jamison
  • Poetry: Elizabeth Powell

We’re guessing that Genre here refers to the Fiction/Non-fiction/Poetry categories, rather than Romance/SF/Fantasy, etc.

Go, submit!