Loading…

Log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Block 9 [clear filter]
Sunday, April 5
 

10:15am EDT

9A: What Booksellers Want Writers to Know
Limited Capacity filling up

It’s happened to every author at some point: the bookstore event with the stack of your books and one person in the audience. While there are no guaranteed formulas, there are sound ways to build relationships with bookstores! Booksellers are an author's front-line sales team who know their customers and hand-sell books they love. We’ll cover ways to connect with, and support, indie bookstores to help them help you!

Get insider tips on how stores choose and market the books they shelve while working with authors and publishers to promote new titles. Gearing up for a bookstore event? Learn what to expect before, during, and after your event and how to make your events part of the narrative of your writing identity.

Whether you’re pre-published or an established author, you'll learn marketing strategies to increase your audience and partner with your local indies to up your odds of success.

Speakers
avatar for Allison Pottern Hoch

Allison Pottern Hoch

Fiction Writer
Allison Pottern Hoch is a writer and marketing coach with over a decade of experience in marketing, publicity, sales, and event planning. She spent four years promoting academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a bookseller and event coordinator... Read More →
avatar for Leah DeCesare

Leah DeCesare

Author, FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS
Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of Forks, Knives, and Spoons. Her writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, Eligible Magazine, Simply Woman, The International Doula, and The Key, among others. Leah is the cofounder of the nonprofit, Doulas of Rhode Island, and she... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Cambridge Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9B: Query Letter Skills
Limited Capacity filling up

Description coming soon!

Speakers
avatar for Christina Morgan

Christina Morgan

Literary Agent, Serendipity Literary Agency
Christina Morgan has over ten years experience in the book publishing industry. She worked as an agency assistant at Curtis brown Ltd. and at Harpercollins and HMH. She specializes in adult literary fiction and nonfiction and some young readers projects. She also loves a good mystery... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9C: Dramatis Personae, or, What Are All These Characters Doing in Your Story?
Limited Capacity filling up

Whether two characters spend five pages in a bar or a cast of hundreds fills your trilogy: who are they and why are they in your story? How can the reader tell them apart, remember them, grasp their relationships to each other, and understand the parts they play in forming a coherent tale? Do you need them all? Who can be combined or lopped? What helps make them distinct? Whose history matters? In this workshop we’ll look at techniques to help you assess and articulate your characters, looking at order of appearance, entrances and exits, major and minor characters, roles they play, definition of characters in relation to and contrast with each other, and ways of articulating the shifting alliances and tensions between them. Above all, we’ll look at what they do, as the web of their actions and reactions build a strong, memorable story.

Speakers
avatar for Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett

Editor, MAKING GOOD TIME
Lynne Barrett's latest book is the new nonfiction anthology Making Good Time: True Stories of How We Do (and Don’t) Get Around in South Florida. Her story collection Magpies received the Florida Book Awards fiction gold medal, and her handbook What Editors Want guides writers... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Tremont Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9D: Hero of Another Story: the Antagonist that Drives the Story Forward
Limited Capacity seats available

The best stories have antagonists who, in another book, are the heroes of their own story. While your main character should be the only one to whom the story can happen, a multi-faceted person blocking your protagonist from their goals drives the plot forward and creates compelling, gripping fiction. With exercises and discussion, this workshop will help you get to know your antagonist, how they oppose your protagonist, and how to be as invested in them as you are in your main character.  

Speakers
avatar for Anne Gaughen

Anne Gaughen

Author, REIGN THE EARTH
A. C. Gaughen is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart) and the Elementae series (Reign the Earth, Imprison the Sky). She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

9E: Scene CPR
Limited Capacity seats available

The writer Sandra Scofield describes a “pulse” – that spark that makes the story come alive – as a vital element to all scenes. But what is a “pulse,” and how can a writer ensure each scene has one? How can we write in such a way that our characters come to life, that a scene breathes emotion and urgency, while moving the plot forward and keeping tension taut?

Using published examples and exercises, we will look at the scene both as a discrete unit with its own internal dynamics, and in terms of its function in the plot of a novel or memoir. You will come away from this class with a checklist to help you determine whether a given scene in your manuscript passes the pulse test – and if not, how to bring it to life.

Speakers
avatar for Lisa Borders

Lisa Borders

Author, THE FIFTY-FIRST STATE
Lisa Borders’ second novel, The Fifty-First State, was published by Engine Books in 2013. Her first novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award, and received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9F: Character-Driven Plot
Limited Capacity seats available

Students often express the concern that overemphasizing plot will rob their work of literary merit and focusing too much on character will make their story boring—but writers who take this seminar will find that there are many ways to balance plot and characterization.

Speakers
avatar for Lauren Wilkinson

Lauren Wilkinson

Author, AMERICAN SPY
Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and has received support from both the MacDowell Colony... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Stuart Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9G: Writing Transgender Characters
Limited Capacity seats available

With demand for transgender and non-binary narratives on the rise, more cisgender (non-trans/NB) people are adding trans and NB characters to their stories. But what can you do to make sure you’re providing accurate representation? In this session, we will explore the "Three E’s" of wanting to write a trans/NB character (empathy, education, and empowerment), the best craft approaches for each, and their potential pitfalls. We’ll also go over inappropriate reasons to write a trans/NB narrative, general do’s and don’ts, and an overview of the experiences most often used incorrectly in stories.

Speakers
avatar for Milo Todd

Milo Todd

Fiction Writer
Milo Todd writes trans historical fiction based on people and events that have often been distorted, erased, or cis-washed. He’s presented at Muse and the Marketplace and the Boston Book Festival, is an instructor at GrubStreet, and an alum of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator Program... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9H: Don't Just Try to Please Me: On Incorporating Editorial Feedback (Or Not)
Limited Capacity seats available

After months (and often years) of toil, blood and tears, the writer finally shares the work. This triumphant moment inevitably tilts toward anxiety. What has been an intimate conversation between the mind and the computer screen is now opened up to others: a professional editor, literary agent, or perhaps fellow writers in a writing group. The vulnerability often causes authors to surrender to the (over)eagerness to please those responding to their work. This might result in writer's block/paralysis, finished work that feels choppy, or a manuscript that is disconnected from the writer's original imagination.

This discussion will offer the best practices for a writer on how to thoughtfully incorporate suggestions from others, effectively push back on feedback that is off base, and distinguish between a resistant ego and a true creative impulse.

Speakers
avatar for Cherise Fisher

Cherise Fisher

Literary Agent, Wendy Sherman Associates
Cherise Fisher began her career in publishing as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Dell Publishing a month after graduating from Yale University. Over the course of her twenty-five year career as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and the Editor in Chief of Plume (an imprint... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Franklin Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9I: Essentials of Voice
Limited Capacity seats available

Voice is arguably the storyteller’s most powerful tool. Voice, after all, is what tells the story. Voice is integrally tied to atmosphere, tension, mood. Voice helps make characters come to life and off the page.

This workshop will help us develop this most essential device for characterization and plot. Combining close readings with writing prompts, we’ll identify and try out various techniques for how to listen for and develop voice in order to help us create authentic characters and stories that speak to us and through us to the reader. Get ready to start creating interesting, distinctive voices.

Speakers
avatar for Mona Awad

Mona Awad

Author, BUNNY
Mona Awad was born in Montreal and has lived in the US since 2009. Her debut novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Penguin), won the Amazon Best First Novel Award, the Colorado Book Award and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Arab American Book Award. It was also long-listed... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Whittier Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9J: Yes, You Can Write That in Your Memoir: On Line-Crossing, Competing Memories, and Giving Yourself Permission
Limited Capacity filling up

Who has agency over our memories? When do we withhold writing our stories to satisfy and preserve our relationships? What about fact-checking, libel, and other legal tangles? These are thorny questions that the memoirist struggles with from the moment we begin to compose our stories. Even with the mildest of secrets, or living in this golden age of personal disclosure, we still contend with cultural contexts, honoring or ignoring the dead, family loyalty, and geographical considerations.

In this workshop, we will learn how other writers approached ‘telling’ on and about their families. We will talk through strategies that can work in your writing, so you leave with ideas to enrich your story without sacrificing your ownership of it.

Speakers
avatar for Daphne  Santana-Strassmann

Daphne Santana-Strassmann

Memoir Writer
Daphne Santana Strassmann is a memoirist. Her work has appeared in Creative NonFiction, GrubWrites, Tex{t}Mex, and textbooks. She is a recent member of the Macondo Foundation.She writes about the intangible spaces between her Latino heritage and her American life. She focuses on personal... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Newbury Room - 4th Floor
  Block 9

10:15am EDT

9K: Literary Idol: Nonfiction Focus
Limited Capacity seats available

Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session if you wish to have your work read aloud.

In this freewheeling session, a trained actor will perform the first page of YOUR unpublished manuscript -- in this case, a work of non-fiction, including memoir and personal essay -- for the audience and a panel of three judges. The judges are agents and editors with years of experience reading unsolicited submissions. When one of the judges hears a line that would make her stop reading, she will raise her hand. The actor will keep reading until a second judge raises his hand. The judges will then discuss WHY they would stop reading, and offer concrete (if subjective) suggestions to the anonymous author. If no agent raises his/her hand, the judges will discuss what made the excerpt work so well. All excerpts will be evaluated anonymously, though, at the end of the session, a winner will be chosen from the group of excerpts that did not elicit any raised hands, and that winner will receive a free Grub Street membership. Please bring THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript, double-spaced, to the session, TITLED, with its GENRE marked clearly at the top. You will leave it in a box at the front of the room, and the manuscript will be chosen randomly by the reader. (Unfortunately, given the volume of submissions, we can not guarantee that yours will be read aloud).

This is a fun event that aims to be respectful of your work and illuminate the process an agent/editor goes through when she receives a new piece of fiction. The point is not to get through as many writers as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate the work at hand and offer concrete suggestions from which all could benefit. Please be aware that some lines may cause laughter or scorn; in other words, this session is not for the thin-skinned!

Speakers
avatar for Lauren Scovel

Lauren Scovel

Literary Agent, Laura Gross Literary Agency
Lauren grew up outside of Seattle and graduated summa cum laude from Emerson College with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing as well as Theatre Studies. She began her publishing career as an editorial intern at Aevitas Creative Management (formerly Zachary Shuster Harmsworth... Read More →
avatar for E. Dolores Johnson

E. Dolores Johnson

Author, SAY I'M DEAD
E. Dolores Johnson’s writing on race has appeared in Narratively, the Buffalo News, the Writers of Color Anthology, Lunch Ticket and Pangyrus. Her multi-generational memoir in progress on mixed race life (Say I’m Dead) is looking for its publisher. She has done readings at Boston’s... Read More →
avatar for Helene Atwan

Helene Atwan

Director, Beacon Press
Helene Atwan is the Director of Beacon Press, an independent non-profit book publisher founded in 1854. She began her publishing career in 1976 at Random House in New York as an assistant editor in their College Division, before moving to Alfred A. Knopf in 1977 as a publicity associate... Read More →
avatar for Sonali Chanchani

Sonali Chanchani

Literary Agent, Folio Literary Management
Sonali Chanchani is an associate agent at Folio Literary Management, where she represents character-driven upmarket and literary fiction with a strong, distinctive voice. In particular, she’s drawn to smart women’s fiction; quirky, heartfelt family stories; nuanced psychological... Read More →
avatar for Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Literary Agent, Waxman Literary Agency
Ashley Lopez joined the Waxman Literary Agency in 2015. She received her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and is a founder and the Managing Editor of Pigeon Pages Literary Journal. Ashley is looking for literary and young adult fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

9L: Workshopping the First Page
Limited Capacity seats available

There may be no more important page than the first. It’s where your relationship with the reader begins, establishing tone, character, setting, and more. In this session, we’ll look at a few examples and discuss what ideally happens on a first page. We'll then break into small groups to workshop what attendees bring to class. This is a practical, hands-on session with the goal of crafting a first page that draws readers into your novel/story. Please bring the first 1-3 pages of a manuscript you're working on.

Speakers
avatar for Anthony Marra

Anthony Marra

Author, THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO
Anthony Marra is the author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013), which won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and appeared on over twenty year-end lists. Marra’s... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
St. James Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

9M: Working Backwards: Understanding & Leveraging How Readers Think
Limited Capacity seats available

To write is to create a spell that moves an imagined world from one mind to another. Giving form to the intangible is a solitary and exacting task; it is easy get lost in the intricacies of craft, and forget that however beautiful or potent our words may be, it is only when a reader utters them that the spell is cast. 


This session examines the reader’s role in summoning these visions. Using insights from cognitive neuroscience, and a close examination of our own responses as readers, we will focus on how the brain perceives and processes text, how it constructs an entire world from ink marks on paper. We will notice that the same words can conjure up quite different images for different people, and attempt to understand why that is so. We will talk about how certain details are experienced viscerally, and why some are more vivid and memorable than others. We will also look at larger, overarching questions like how narrative structure shapes a reader’s experience, or the reason conflict is considered so crucial to a story, and whether there are other ways of achieving similar effects.


You will come away from this discussion with a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the readers’ perspective, which will help you appreciate the impact of the words you put down, and evaluate the consequences of your creative choices. This session is appropriate for writers of all levels, at all stages of their work. The insights gained here can be applied while writing a first draft, during editing or even revision. 

Speakers
avatar for Tasneem Z. Husain

Tasneem Z. Husain

Author, ONLY THE LONGEST THREADS
Tasneem Zehra Husain is a theoretical physicist and a writer. Her work has appeared in Nautilus, as well as various anthologies of science writing for both adults and children. She is a columnist for 3quarksdaily.com, and the author of the popular science novel Only The Longest Threads... Read More →


Sunday April 5, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Cabot Room - 4th Floor