Willamette Writers Conference 2016 logo Jenny Schrader and Teresa Bergen

Willamette Writers Conference 2016

Registration for the Willamette Writers Conference 2016 is now open!

And I want to tell you that this is the best conference ever. I know I say that every year, but, honestly, every year gets better, so I feel like I’m not lying.

I also know that as current president of Willamette Writers, I’m biased, but really. It’s one of the best and biggest writing conferences around. It’s completely worth your time and effort if you want to find inspiration, motivation, and publication for your writing.
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Willamette Writers Conference 2014 Registration Open!

Willamette Writers Conference LogoJust so you know, registration for the Willamette Writers Conference 2014 (AKA, the best writers conference west of the Mississippi) is open!

And I don’t know if it’s the best west-of-the-Mississippi writers conference for sure or not. It just sounds good. But it’s definitely the best first-weekend-of-August-west-of-the-Mississippi writers conference.

I can’t begin to say how much I love this conference.

Granted, as current president of Willamette Writers, I’m definitely biased. However, I also think of this conference as one of the happiest places on earth, and I thought that years ago.

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Cynthia Whitcomb House Location for FiLMLaB Script to Screen Competition

Alis Volat Propriis poster Script to Screen Competition winning scriptThere’s a twist to the Willamette Writers’ 2014 FiLMLaB Script to Screen Competition this year: the Cynthia Whitcomb House for Writers is the filming location.

That’s right. Previously scripts had to follow a theme – Wild West, which was the 2012 Conference theme, and Fresh Brewed, which was the 2013 Conference theme. But there’s no theme this year. Only location, location, location.

This is good. Really good.

Why is a set location good for the FiLMLaB Script to Screen Competition?

Having a set location is a huge advantage for our script writers and for Willamette Writers. It gives our production team at Ampersand a better idea of both filming restrictions and possibilities. It’s a known quantity. They don’t have to stress about finding the perfect location for the alien abduction scene because they know exactly where the author envisioned that abduction scene should be. There’s low potential for scheduling snafus, and if a scene doesn’t take, the chances of being able to reshoot it at a later time, while recreating the exact time of day and ambiance, are much better.
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Willamette Writers Conference 2013 Review

Willamette Writers Conference 2013 logo

Brew it up!

Having been to a total of four Willamette Writers Conferences now, I feel I have a little more insight into how this year’s conference played out. Granted, I didn’t have the benefit of being on the conference committee this year, so I didn’t stay at the hotel (which was more of a bummer than you might think); and I had other events going on that weekend and wasn’t able to attend every day, all day long… But I’m going to say it was a win.

From what I’ve heard from other attendees, the energy was even more positive than it’s been in previous years. From what one volunteer said, it’s as if the other years gave her tools and skills to develop her writing, while this year showed her how to exploit and use those skills.

And the reasons why the Willamette Writers Conference 2013 worked so well?

This is due mostly, I think, to John Ellis’ Web Warrior series, which drills the knowledge that the “web was made for writers” into our heads. It’s a brave new world for writers out there. We can’t be introverted and hide in front of our computers anymore, because our computers are now where all the action is. And I know, because it’s so painful for me, too. I don’t want to spend all morning on the web talking with people. I want my tea, my dog, maybe a little research for a new novel thrown in there, and a blinking cursor on a Word document. Not possible now. Repeat after me: Must join Google+

Danny Manus‘ September newsletter praised the conference not only for its impressive attendees and their fantastic ideas, but also as a way for him to network and get to know others in the industry. This, I think, is the most important aspect of the conference. It’s not just for attendees and what they can get out of the editors, agents, and film producers and managers, but the positive exchange of information for everyone. The literary people love to talk with the film producers about their new projects, and the film people enjoy chatting with agents and editors to find that next big idea. With all of the changes in publishing, this is a crazy important aspect for writers. Even last week’s Willamette Writers member meeting had Johnny Shaw talking about the similarities and differences between writing a script and writing a novel, and how both can be exploited to “make” your novel movie-ready.

Add in the awesomeness that was FiLMLaB, the Welcome Reception on Friday night, all of the fantastic winners of Kay Snow Awards and Kate Herzog Scholarships and the amazing Kelly Williams Brown and her keynote speech at Saturday night’s banquet, and the conference committee definitely brewed up an amazing event. Get it? Brewed? Because of the theme, right? Tee hee…

So how was your Willamette Writers Conference 2013? A win or a bust for you?