It’s time for some Q&A.
Do aspiring children and YA writers come to the Big Sur Writing Workshop — the next one is March 1-3, 2013; taking registrations HERE – and, say, hone and sharpen their manuscripts under the tuo of our world-class faculty? Yes.
Do they walk away from the workshop satisfied, so much so that they write us gushing, mind-blowing testimonials about how amazing it was? Yes – and you can read some of them here.
Lastly, do some bring their manuscript, catch the eye of an attending Andrea Brown agent, and poof! get a publishing deal? Oh yes. Quite often, in fact – you can read some of them here, AND, keep reading because this next one’s a doozy.
The YA author Chris Howard attended a past Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop and, well, take it away Publisher’s Weekly:
His unpublished first novel had caught the attention of an agent, Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, whom Howard had met at writing workshops in Denver and Big Sur, Calif., and then signed with in 2010. It was Rennert’s rejection of his first novel that gave him “the encouragement and confidence to tackle a new story.”
Howard’s future editor, Mallory Kass, was also at the Big Sur Writing Workshop, as faculty. Kass bought Rootless in mid-2011, and Howard has been gratified by the input he’s received from both agent and editor. “One of the greatest things Mallory said to me was that it’s her job to make sure readers got to experience my vision of the novel as clearly as possible. She was never trying to put ideas in my head or change the story,” he says.
Read the whole thing here.
The aforementioned story is elegant in its simplicity – aspiring writer comes to workshop, meets agent, gets publishing deal (it’s not very often when real-life is this orderly and sublime, no?) – but it’s also quite common.
There are dozens of Chris Howards out there – again, read about them all here – and odds are, there’s a few of you out there, just waiting to be discovered. You can’t hide from us forever!
But Andrea Brown’s agents won’t come knocking at your door. That’d be creepy. You gotta sign up, so do so now and here before it sells out like it always does.
And congrats Chris!
The Big Sur Screenwriting Workshop is live, it’s accelerating, and it’s acting all juggernaut-like!><br
And exhibit B: it looks as if a kind benefactor or two may be offering to provide a scholarship to cover the tuition for a lucky applicant. This isn’t in stone yet, but we’re working hard behind the scenes to make it happen.
Of course, scholarship or not, the submission fee (different than the tuition, naturally) is a mere $25, and of course, it goes to a good cause, namely the Henry Miller Library, the non-profit art center mother ship that is making this all possible.
You know, sometimes words can fail us and we lack the language and grammatical acumen to truly express our unsolicited advice to all those aspiring screenwriters out there.
And it’s in times like these that we turn to the timeless wisdom of Bread (namely David Gates.)
The Henry Miller Memorial Library is proud to announce the 2013 Big Sur Screenwriting Workshop, the most exciting and rewarding screenwriting workshop in the known universe!
The workshop, which will be held April 12-14 at the Lodge in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will focus on works-in-progress. The workshop offers participants:
*A world-class faculty that includes Tom Abrams, the Academy Award-winning writer of “Rugrats;” Michael Polish, independent American filmmaker and screenwriter; Deborah Baron, (“Major Dad” and “Cagney and Lacy”), Michael Taylor, the Chair of Film and Television Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and more. Click here for the full faculty list.
* Hands-on instruction in intimate groups of 5-6 and in one-on-one sessions with aforementioned faculty.
* A presentation by Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”)
* Meals, lodging, a cocktail party, and invaluable networking opportunities with fellow screenwriters and industry professionals.
* The most beautiful and inspiring scenery in the world (that’d be Big Sur in the springtime).
For more information and to register, please visit www.bigsurscreenwriting.com!
And visit us on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/BigSurScreenwritingWorkshops?ref=hl
Please consider joining us in March. Go here!
Yes! We still have some room for more writers.
Dwayne made the trek all the way from Alabama for the March 2012 workshop, and fortunately for everyone, he was not disappointed.
The professional for my first and third sessions was Eric Elfman (left). It would have been worth the cost of the trip and the workshop just for those two sessions alone. Eric demonstrated an amazing ability to zero in on a problem. But he went beyond just pointing out difficult areas, he also offered extremely helpful suggestions about how to address the specific problem and the underlying weakness in the future.
The professional for my second and fourth sessions was Laura Rennert, a senior agent with Andrew Brown Literary Agency. Her insight matched Eric’s in every way. She had a nurturing way of easing you through the recognition of a problem and suggesting answers. I found myself listening carefully to every observation she made, trying to understand so I could apply that same insight to my own writing in the future.
I’ll write more in the days ahead about what I learned, who I met, and where to go next.
And that can only mean one thing: testimonials!
If you ever find yourself, in the not-too-distant future, considering signing up for this December’s workshop, but are on the fence, read this blog by Becky Allen, via Becky Allen’s Sporadic blog. It’s honest, in-depth, and captures the essence of the workshop’s magic.
The coolest part is where she asks, “What did I get out of it?” A great question, naturally. And we’re tried to synthesize some of her key takeaways, which again, should resonate with any aspiring children or young adult fiction writer:
Reality-Checkin’ – “After a weekend spent letting strangers read my stuff for basically the first time ever, I feel like I’ve got a bit more of a grip on things and a more realistic sense of where I am, writing-wise.”
No YA Writer is an Island (eg, networking): “I got to meet awesome people. I am not exactly known for my excellent social skills when dealing with crowds of strangers, but it turns out talking to other writers is easy.”
Industry-Types are People Too: “I got a solid reminder that this is an industry, and that people who write books are not some kind of magic fantasy species, and the people who work in publishing are, in fact, actual human beings. In fact, they seem to be generally nice, passionate, awesome ones.”
Looking at Your Novel from a New Perspective: “It was enough to make me look at my own novel in a whole different way. The “But why?”s and “I don’t quite get it”s were intimidating, but but also answered a whole lot of questions I never thought to ask. And it wasn’t just a matter of sorting out what’s on the page from what’s in my head: it was about figuring out why what’s on the page was there. Figuring out how to make people connect with it in new ways. Figuring out which pieces work and which don’t. And by thinking about those things in the first two chapters, I also ended up with a bunch of revelations about the novel as a whole. That, of course, is the good news.”
So there you have it. But again, as they say in Hollywood, read the whole thing!
First off, forgive us for the crass Occupy-related blog title. But sometimes the stuff just writes itself.
After all, it is true: the Henry Miller Library – the brains behind the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop – is packing up its stuff, driving north, and setting up shop at the Independent Marketplace, a new and cool art space in Sand City, CA, on April 5th. It’s located at 600 Ortiz Ave. Sand City, CA.
We’ll be there from 4-10 pm, doing what we do best, namely, showing some of the best movies from our Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series, starting at 8pm! In addition, we’ll bring some books, eat, drink, and hang out. But wait, there’s more!!
- * Grab dinner from hot food vendors like Babaloo Cuban Food truck and Aqua Terra, buy produce from artesian farmers like Serendipity Farms, enjoy fresh bread from Big Sur Bakery and confections from Sweet Elena’s and other wonderful treats catered to the entire family.
- * Enjoy organic biodynamic wines being presented by Monterey’s up and coming winemakers or beer selections presented by Post No Bills Craft Beer House.
- * Check out handmade art and artifacts from Big Sur Artists while listening to our live music and DJ sets Big Sur Spirit Garden’s Jayson Fann.
It all kinda reminds me of Lollapoolza, circa 1994. Minus a fierce performance by Ministry.
Bottom line: Come see us on April 5th in Sand City. (Even more information here.)
The Big Sur Writing Workshop from children’s to young adult fiction, just wrapped up this weekend, and that can only mean one thing: more success stories.
Indeed – in preparation for the next workshop, to be held in early December in Big Sur, we’ll be posting the happy testimonials from alumni who had a wonderful time, and, if your thing, secured a publishing deal with the attendant agents from the esteemed Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
I attended the Big Sur Writing Workshop in December of 2010. I was so nervous the day I read my opening pages out loud. I’d never read my work to anyone (except my mother) and I had no idea what to expect.
I had the rare and wonderful privilege to work with Sarah Zarr on my opening chapters, and Jen Rofe helped me polish my sample query. I came away from the weekend with constructive feedback, a sense of direction, supportive and talented critique partners, and so many new friends.
Two months later, I began querying my book, and signed with one of the industry’s top literary agents. My first novel, DEAD BLUE, recently sold in a two book, six figure pre-empt to Kathy Dawson of Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers. I couldn’t be happier!
My heartfelt thanks to you and all the staff who made the Big Sur Writers Workshop such a special experience.