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2018 MCWC FACULTY HIGHLIGHT

JULY 22nd to the 27th 

INTRODUCING LISA CRAYTON!

 

Starting this week until the Montrose Christian Writers Conference (July 22nd to the 27th), a member of our fantastic faculty will be featured once a week. If you have any desire to write (in any genre), consider attending this conference. You’ll go home with tons of information and the inspiration to keep on writing until you get published. You might even connect with an agent or editor who’ll possibly be interested in your work!

LISA CRAYTON’S WORKSHOPS:

Tips & Tools for Effective Research

Research is a building block for effective fiction and nonfiction projects. Discover keys to effective research, including where to find relevant source material, and how to sidestep plagiarism and other thorny research-related minefields.

Right to Heal/Write to Heal

Inner healing is possible through Jesus Christ. Writing offers a pathway to healing while also providing a means to help others (children or adults) recover from brokenness. Offers tips, inspiration, writing prompts, and more for writers seeking to move beyond pain to purpose.

Successfully Selling to Mainstream (“Secular”) Markets

Mainstream markets seek articles, columns, essays, fillers, and books. Learn how to write for (and market) to local, regional, national, and international markets.

Writing for Women

Women are hungry for content that addresses their unique needs. Discover nonfiction and fiction needs, market opportunities, and more.

WHO IS LISA CRAYTON?

Lisa A. Crayton, a former corporate editor & writer for multi-million-dollar corporations, is a creative, versatile nonfiction writer with more than 30 years’ experience. She’s an author & award-winning freelance writer who writes for general and Christian markets.  She’s the author of I Want to Talk with My Teen About Money Management. Moreover, she has served as a contributing author for several nonfiction books & her work has appeared in regional, national, & international publications. Among other things, she has written articles, columns, essays, devotionals, fillers, Bible study guides, & book chapters.

CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR.  Crayton is the author of 10 nonfiction children’s books, all traditionally published. Five releases in 2018:  Freedom Riders (library bound & Interactive e-book), Teens Talk About Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence, Everything You Need to Know About Racism, and Everything You Need to Know About Cultural Appropriation.  She’s also the co-author of a six-book series on financial literacy topics

LITERARY JUDGE. Crayton has served as a judge for the Christian Book Awards (fiction, nonfiction, & Kids NF categories), Christy Awards (Kids Lit), & other contests. 

MENTOR. For more than 10 years, she mentored new & intermediate writers enrolled in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.  

MEMBERSHIP. She’s a member of: Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, American Society of Journalists & Authors, Evangelical Press Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, & Advanced Writers & Speakers.

EDUCATION. Crayton earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University (2012). She earned a Bachelor of Arts, dual degree, cum laude, in Public Relations & Journalism from Utica College (1985). She also earned a Certificate in Digital Media from Regents University (2014).

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Please check all the details of the conference at http://bit.ly/2pdcYQC 

Hope to see you there!

 

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February 9, 2015

Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

But I Already Know All That!

 Cec.Murphy.MM.Class.7.22.14

Cec Murphey Teaching a Class

This is the fourth post in a short series about writers conferences and why it’s so important for writers, both newbies and experienced, to attend. This time we’ll discuss why it’s absolutely necessary for you as a conferee to choose the correct workshops and learn the essentials of becoming a better writer, no matter what genre interests you.

The best conferences will offer a variety of excellent workshops covering numerous topics to whet any writer’s appetite. But which ones should you choose? How do you decide?

Using a past brochure from the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I’ve listed just a few of the 50+ workshops the conference had offered from Monday morning until late Thursday afternoon:

STEPS TO SUCCESS

THE POWER OF STORY

NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL

CREATING A PAGE TURNER

WRITING FOR THE YOUTH MARKET

MINISTERING THROUGH BLOG WRITING

TOUCHING HEARTS WITH WORDS

WHY YOU NEED AN AGENT

SO THERE’S A POET INSIDE

CATCH THAT EDITOR’S ATTENTION

UNDERSTANDING RETAILERS

10 MISTAKES SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS MAKE

WHO NEEDS A CRITIQUE GROUP ANYWAY?

PUTTING CHARACTERS IN PLACE

As you can see, this conference, as most others, offered classes and sessions from fiction to nonfiction to marketing to poetry to social media, and much more. The key to getting the most out of any conference is analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, your knowledge of the writing/publishing world or lack thereof, and the genres of writing you’ve attempted. Then, a wise conferee will plan ahead to attend classes all day long and take notes. Also, most conferences offer CDs of the workshops presented, so any conferee can go home with a wealth of information packed in his/her suitcase.

With 60+ conferences under my belt, the only words of warning I have to offer is mainly to the newbie or the writer who’s not sure he/she really wants to write at all, so here goes.

Chapel.gathering.7.20.14My Advice to Newbies: If you plan to spend hundreds of dollars on conference registrations and room/board or, at least, your valuable time and the expense of traveling to and from a conference, then go with the goal of learning. If you’re just starting, you need to evaluate what workshops will be most valuable to you. I can’t emphasize enough the value of attending any beginners’ workshops offered.

“But I’ve been writing for two years, and I want to know how to write fiction better!” you might say. Or maybe you’d say, “I know all that stuff about margins and fonts and what kind of paper to use for submissions. I want to know how to get my poetry published.”

My best advice to any newbie or anyone who’s not yet decided what to write is to go to the beginners’ class. There, the instructor will share information essential for the conferee to become a better writer, no matter what genre you write. It will involve much more than margins and letter fonts.

I’ve been constantly surprised with submissions I’ve received, some from folks whom I assume have attended writers conferences for years, but their quality of writing has much to be desired. I’ve received some manuscripts that had the wrong size font and the spacing was single spaced. Others had no contact information included at the top of the first page, and the writing was so immature, it couldn’t have passed a high school sophomore’s term paper test. I can only scratch my head and wonder if these folks EVER attended any conferences, and, if they did, if they went to the right classes to help them improve their writing.Marshas.Class.Wk.in.Progress.2013

If you’re just starting to write, please don’t be embarrassed to admit your newbie status, and get to those beginners’ classes to learn the vital facts so important to improve. After you have a few of those classes under your belt, then launch out into specific genre workshops and commit to having your work critiqued by a faculty member.

All these opportunities are there to help you become that best-selling author you dream to be. So, decide to attend writers conferences as often as you can, and when you get there, go to those classes that are designed just for you. You’ll come home with a wealth of new information that you can find no place else. Apply what you’ve learned, and that publishing contract will be right around the corner.

Don't.Stop.Believing

Next time, we’ll look at the different ways you can have your work critiqued at writers conferences.

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Carol.Connie.Tracy.other.conferee.in.D.Rm.January 26, 2015

Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

Conferees.Anniv.Celebration.No.1

I suppose by now if you’ve followed any of my blog posts, you know I’m an ardent proponent of writers conferences. My personal preference is Christian writers conferences, but you can glean expertise from secular conferences as well. So, what can you do to get the most out of any writers conference you attend? Let’s look at a few key reasons why you should attend writers conferences:

  1. The first and most obvious reason is to attend conferences that best meet your needs to help you IMPROVE your writing. Other than joining a local critique group, attending writers conferences is going to provide you with the most excellent training you can receive. Do an online search and find those conferences that offer workshops focusing on your genres of interest. If you’re writing children’s picture books, why would you want to attend an adult fiction and romance conference?

Marshas.Class.Wk.in.Progress.2013Well, you say, conferences are expensive. That’s true, but they’re worth every penny you spend to learn your craft better and possibly land you a book contract or a sale. If you apply what you learn at conferences, you WILL eventually be published.

I’ll never forget the first conference I attended about 20 years ago. It was a Saturday conference on the PA/MD border. My hubby drove me there, and while I went to the workshops, he read books and newspapers and took a nap in the car. (God love his little pea-picking heart.) When I arrived at this conference, I thought I understood a little about writing. Well, I did understand A LITTLE about writing. I came home vowing to get to as many writers conferences as I could from that moment on because I admitted that I knew practically nothing about writing and publishing. It was an alarming day of revelation that I’ll never forget.

  1. 2. Secondly, and this is a no-brainer, attend as many conferences as possible, whether it be for one day or a week. And when you get there, go to as many classes as you can. Conference directors spend untold hours planning a schedule that gives the conferees invaluable information in the workshops. If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure which direction your writing is taking you, then go to a variety of different genre workshops and see if any of them challenge you to start a new project in a brand new genre. Who knows? That might be just the place your writing skills will jive and you’ll create a winner!The Porch

3. At the conference, plan to meet with editors and/or agents to have them review your work. Many conferences provide the opportunity for you to do this one-on-one (sometimes for a fee or many times as a perk). It’s a golden opportunity to possibly snatch a contract from a publishing house or pick up an agent who would represent you. Four of the book contracts I’ve had over the years resulted from meeting the editors at writers conferences. The least that might happen, which is still important, is for the editors/agents to suggest revisions that might make your manuscript publishable down the road.

4. Enjoy the fellowship of other writers. This is one of the best perks you’ll receive when you attend writers conferences. You’ll get to meet other people who are as “strange” as you are. Let’s face it. Writers are odd ducks, and, if you’re like the rest of us, your family and friends probably try to encourage you, but they really don’t understand you nor your passion to sit in front of a computer screen, possibly for six months to a year, writing a manuscript that might never see itself on a book store shelf or on Amazon. Only other writers understand the burning desire deep in your soul to get that story out before you burst. The writer friends you make at writers conferences will become life-long friends who will be there for you to Plastic.Ducks.on.Papercongratulate you in your successes and cry with you in your failures. The Internet has made the world so much smaller, which places these new friends only an e-mail or Facebook message away.

So there are four main reasons why you should consider attending writers conferences. I guarantee if you do make a habit to do so, you’ll come home a different person every time, determined more than ever to become a successful, published author.

Believe me, I know.

Don't.Stop.Believing

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January 19, 2015

Who Needs Writers Conferences Anyway?

 MCWC.Duck.Welcome.Sign.on.Porch.7.22.14

Since I’ve assumed the directorship of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, Pennsylvania (held this year from July 19th to the 24th), I guess there’s no better time to share my feelings about the importance of writers conference than now.

I think I attended my first writers conference in the late 90s and had an earth-shaking, eye-opening experience that changed my writing life. Since I had published a few poems, letters to the editor in the newspaper, and an article or two in some magazines, I thought I knew something and had a handle on writing when I went to the first conference, which was a one-Carol.Connie.Tracy.other.conferee.in.D.Rm.day event on the border of PA and MD. I sat there all day with my mouth hanging open in a variety of workshops , realizing I knew NOTHING about the writing/publishing world. From that moment on, I decided to attend as many Christian writers conferences as possible. From 1999, I’ve attended the Montrose Christian Writers Conference every year, and that conference has helped me become the writer I am today.

The best training you’ll ever receive is that which you’ll get by attending writers conferences. Next to your local critique group, writers workshops and conferences will give you the knowledge you need to become a better writer. The various workshops usually take you from A to Z concerning the writing/publishing business with fresh ideas for you to try. Do you have any idea at all how to market your book or start a blog? You’ll find out at most writers conferences PLUS a lot more.

You make new long-lasting writer friends, kindred spirits who think just like you do. (They don’t call us “Odd Ducks” for nothing.) When you’re writing in your home for months on end and no one in your family and your friends understand, it’s nice to have a list of writer friends to e-mail or call, just for encouragement. Where better to meet those folks than at writers Walk.w.Joan.and.Faith.at.Montroseconferences!

Writers conferences also offer you the opportunity to present your work face to face to agents and editors of publishing companies. I’ve acquired four of my book contracts by meeting editors or agents at Montrose. Most writers conferences attempt to have a faculty line-up, (including editors and agents) who represents various genres in the business:

Magazine articles and non-fiction books

Devotionals

Kids fiction and short stories

Humorous articles for newspapers and magazines

Poetry and screenwriting

Fiction (with numerous subgenres like fantasy, romance, Amish, etc.)

There’s always something at writers conferences for every writer of every genre. So if you’ve never been to a writers conference, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you’re dead serious about being a published author, then please plan to attend writers conferences. I can’t think of a better place to start than at Montrose this coming July! I’d love to see you there! (Visit the MCWC website http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx and review last year’s schedule. We’re working on this year’s faculty and will post new information as soon as possible.)

MLH.MCWC

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