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A writer’s holiday

Jump-start your writing career by attending a writers’ conference

Created date

October 25th, 2011

They say that everyone has at least one great story to tell, whether it s a memoir of your own life experience, an exciting thriller, or even a children s story. If you ve been toying with the idea of finally putting that great idea on paper, why not plan a trip to a writers conference? From Martha s Vineyard to Florence, Italy, both aspiring writers and seasoned pros can explore some of the world s most interesting cities while developing skills they can use long after they return home. Writers conferences come in all shapes, sizes, and specialties.

Whodunnit 101

Think you have a knock out idea that s sure to be the next bestselling thriller? Consider attending next year s Writers Police Academy (WPA) (writerspoliceacademy.com) in Jamestown, N.C. WPA is a one-of-a-kind event designed for anyone interested in writing accurately about law enforcement, forensics, and emergency medical procedures, says conference organizer and veteran police investigator Lee Lofland. WPA features top experts from across the U.S. who make sure everyone receives the hands-on training in police, fire, and emergency medicine that s needed to understand whatever story they want to tell. Attendees are schooled in subjects like bloodstain patterns, bioterrorism, and handcuffing and arresting techniques. I truly had a blast at the conference again this year, says author Melanie Atkins. I met people from all over the country and Canada. Can t wait for next year! The 2012 WPA is still in the planning stages, but organizers are excited that Lee Child, author of the bestselling Jack Reacher novels, will be their keynote speaker.

Literary pursuits

If your taste is more literary, check out the Key West Literary Seminar scheduled for January 5-8, 2012 (kwls.org). Celebrating its 30th year, expected panelists at the seminar include Margaret Atwood, Billy Collins, Michael Cunningham, and Joyce Carol Oates. Learning the craft of writing is one thing. Navigating the ever-changing world of publishers and agents is quite another. The San Francisco Writers Conference (sfwriters.org) scheduled for Feb. 16-20, 2012, is a nuts and bolts conference that gives attendees the tools they ll need to get their writing published. They even have a speed dating agents session where authors can pitch their ideas to literary agents. Magazines like Poets & Writers (pw.org) andThe Writer (writermag.com) list many more upcoming conferences. There s also an online site called Shaw s Guides (writing.shawguides.com) with information about upcoming writers conferences. Some people dream of becoming a famous actor or a champion athlete. Others dream of writing the great American novel or even the great American memoir. If you are one of the latter, think about treating yourself to a writers conference in 2012. michele.harris@erickson.com

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