Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’


Writer Replay 6: Agent Walks Into A Bar

August 4, 2010



Quick Query Critiques 6 & 7

June 24, 2010

Author/editor Marla Miller troubleshoots what we’ll call one writer’s query “the penis” letter, both as initially written (#6), then after a rewrite (#7).  Pretty fascinating.

Watch QQC 6

Watch QQC 7



Redneck noir is a pain in the…

September 13, 2009

According to Detroit’s “Action News“:

DEXTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) – An author from Whitmore Lake is facing charges that she shot her father in the rear end and leg.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputies say Lisa Reardon drove to her parents home on Brand Road Friday. Once there, deputies say Reardon, whose website describes her as the queen of redneck noir, got into a fight with her father. Following the fight, investigators say Reardon shot her father. He is currently in stable condition.

Reardon was arrested a short time later, with the help of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department. According to her website, Reardon is the author of several plays and novels, including “The Mercy Killers.”

Police are not commenting on a possible motive. Reardon has been charged with assault with intent to murder, using a firearm to commit a felony and a motor vehicle violation. She was ordered held without bond.



Fiction, Fact, and Faked Memoirs

July 3, 2009

Periodic SCWC staffer and prolific features contributor to the San Diego Reader, Thomas Larson (The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reader and Writing Personal Narrative), addresses the state of faked memoirs (post-James Frey) and its impact on writers, readers and the publishing world as a whole in this essay for the New English Review:

Fiction, Fact, and Faked Memoirs
by Thomas Larson

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story is the claim every storyteller is admonished to believe. What our ten-thousand-year-old tale-telling tradition (most of it oral) instructs us to do is to be good dramatists and let the story have its sway. This law of the tale, and our drama-loving DNA, is why the Bible has survived so long: its well-told stories were the means by which its morally sound messages were delivered and, tellers and scribes hoped, stuck. When disputes about a story’s authenticity arose, the Bible authors were less keen to preserve history or embrace veracity than to make the drama central, via legend, fantasy, parable, and the fictionalized life, based on Egyptian mythology, reified as well as purified, of Jesus Christ. The Bible is a work of narrative literature and a work of fiction. But, the problem is, its fiction has almost always been thought of as fact.

Against the tradition of fictionalizing fact is a counter-tradition: those who disbelieve the Bible’s authenticity, those who question the moral claims of mythic and fictional literature, those who find truth only in existential doubt. Dethroning literature of its moral supremacy—that Bible stories and other mythic dramas, whether in epic poem or realistic novel, illustrate what’s true—is giving way to a more adaptive literature, one where claims of mythic and dramatic truth are questioned, attacked, dismantled. Its form today is the memoir, which in storming the Babel of literature has knocked the good-story notion on its head. Trumpets raised, the memoir heralds that the truth should get in the way of a good story. That truth can only be deceived by drama and, thus, become its victim. We need look no further for evidence that the memoir is dethroning fiction’s reign than to look at the surprising celebrity accrued by the faked memoir.

>>Read entire article



Marketing the Muse: The Query Letter

February 3, 2009

Author/editor Marla Miller returns to the San Diego conference with her popular query letter troubleshooting workshop, “Pitch it to Me: Let’s Fix Your Book Pitch.” To give you a taste, see her in action in the above video we shot at last year’s event in Irvine.



KYSL SD23: Karen Ronney

January 29, 2009

Know Your Session Leaders …

Karen Ronney recently received top honors at the Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards, taking home five nods for her book Proud Parents’ Guide to Raising Athletic, Balanced, and Coordinated Kids.

Karen has been a professional tennis player, and works as a tennis coach for Patrick Henry High School. Her student-athletes clinched the Eastern League last month, and saw a school record for players awarded all-league honors. Congratulations, Lady Pats, and if anyone needs a testament to her expertise on this count, well, I’d say it’s right there for you. What’s that? You need more? What’s the matter with you? Fine, fine. How about being an expert invited to give her perspective for FOX News?

Adding to her credentials is her work as an award=winning journalist, including time with the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, San Diego Union, and Chicago Tribune.

Writers of nonfiction will find her knowledge and wisdom essential in her workshop “Selling Practical Nonfiction: The Package, The Pitch“.



The critics’ picks: NYT on 2008’s best

December 2, 2008

The New York Times has published its annual list of “100 Notable Books” from the past year. Anyone looking to give a good book as a gift will find it useful, I suppose. Or writers hoping to learn more about what passes for quality in literature. Or anyone looking to pick on book critics. See? It’s such a useful article.

And no, I haven’t sifted all the way through the alphabetized list.



San Diego 23 major update

October 20, 2008

On the author front, ten of whom have new books out or coming out by conference time: Richard Craig Anderson (Rivers of Belief), Tom Basinski (The Cross-Country Rapist), Laurel Corona (The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice), Mark Clements, Edwin Decker, Phyllis Gebauer (Hot Widow), Troy Johnson (Family Outing: What Happened When I Found Out My Mother Was Gay), Gordon Kirkland, Bob Mayer (Agnes and the Hitman, co-written with Jennifer Crusie), Matthew J. Pallamary, Frederick Ramsay (Stranger Room), Midge Raymond (Forgetting English), Judy Reeves, Caitlin Rother (Twisted Triangle and Body Parts), Michele Scott (Tacked to Death and Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge) and Michael Thompkins are aboard.

Agents and editors wise, so far we’ve got Michelle Brower, Claire Gerus, Kathleen Gilligan, Jean Jenkins, Jeffrey Moores, Lynn Price, Jennifer Redmond, Adrienne Rosado, Mike Sirota, Sally van Haitsma, Natanya Wheeler and Laura Taylor.

Still a few more folk to add, as well as specific workshops and guest speakers to be announced, but rest assured our next Presidents’ Day Weekend event will again prove itself the spirited, inclusive, informative & encouraging writers’ conference unlike any other.

Remember there’s a $75 discount off Full Conference registration for those who do so by Nov. 1. Get all the details at



Hedge your bets and Beat the Book!

September 16, 2008

Wes and I have long sought to provide a conference rotation schedule that would enable writers to attend one SCWC with only an idea or raw draft, then, over the course of a year, by tapping into subsequent SCWC events — utilizing the workshop leaders, read & critique troubleshooting, etc. — yield a firmly polished manuscript in 12 months. Whether starting with the San Diego, L.A. or Palm Springs conferences, the routinely available touchstone to the community would be in place to expedite completion of a commercially viable book.

Managing three quality conferences a year in effort to achieve that aim, however, is tough. Takes a lot of time to put on a good conference, let alone three. But I think we’ve come up with a solution that we’ll be debuting in a couple weeks in Irvine. It’s called Beat the Book, a private year-long “workshop” brought to us by one of our favorite workshop leaders, Marla Miller, and her colleague and friend of the conference, Lynn Vannucci.

Get the Beat the Book skinny here and let us know what you think.



Tales From the Fire

December 12, 2007

Does it sound scary? Well, it need not be. The Southern California Writers’ Conference slated for Presidents’ Day weekend in San Diego includes a special writing contest this year: Tales From the Fire. Contestants will write their best nonfiction accounts of the recent wildfires in southern California:

Entries will be judged by a five-member panel. A first place winner and two honorable mentions will be awarded by the judges. The first place winner will receive a complete SCWC package (lodging not included) to either our 6th Annual Los Angeles or 23rd Annual San Diego event. The winners will be announced Sunday evening at the conference.

Content Rules:

  1. Composition must relate to the events surrounding what are known as the San Diego wildfires of 2007.
  2. One entry per registered conferee.
  3. Entry must not exceed twenty pages, double-space 12 pt.
  4. Entry must be received by the SCWC no later than February 1, 2008.
  5. Mail five hardcopies of entry in one envelope to: SCWC, 1010 University Ave., #54, San Diego, CA 92103.

By submitting an entry into the contest, you agree to allow the SCWC the non-exclusive option to publish your entry on its website, or in a possible conference anthology at a later date.

Please note that the contest deadline is entirely its own. Regular advance submissions for professional readers at the conference must be received by SCWC no later than January 12, 2008.