Located on the beautiful waterfront campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, this writers’ conference features professional writers at the top of their form spending quality time with motivated and talented participants seeking an intimate, unhurried climate for learning…in paradise.
For workshops, our submission period will open August 1 and close November 1 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time). Apply starting August 1.
In an effort to better serve potential applicants, we are sharing a general schedule of our 2019 conference. See our general schedule for 2019. A detailed schedule will be distributed to accepted participants closer to the start of the conference.
Full manuscript guidelines for submissions will be available on our applications page via Submittable starting August 1.
Are there really “rules” for crime-writing? Only one: Keep the reader turning pages. Students interested in crime fiction will learn about the specialized challenges of pacing their stories, playing fair with readers and why less is often more when it comes to mysteries.
In this workshop we will read and discuss published essays every day to examine what makes a good piece of memoir writing. We will then critique pages from your own memoirs and essays with an eye toward revision.
Whether you are working on a personal story, an historical account, a biography, or some combination, your prose is going to need a narrative arc, which can be especially challenging in nonfiction. Our group will work on ways to create an engine for your prose—-on how to turn a situation into a story. Keep in mind that every piece of writing is a journey, and if the journey motif was good enough for Homer….
Your 25 pages can be the opening chapter of a longer work (plus a 1-pg synopsis of the rest of the book) or a self-contained article-sized piece of 25 pages or less.
The class will be primarily a workshop. Students will read one another’s novel excerpts, interrogating character, action, language, ideas and setting with an eye toward revision.
If I teach nothing in my writing classes, I teach this: do not outline your novel or novella or short story or essay. Do not think out the plot, the narrative arc, the protagonist’s journey, whatever you want to call it. Instead, try to find the story through an honest excavation of the characters’ total experience of the situation in which they find themselves. Do that, and I promise the story will begin to write itself, with little need for the controlling hand of the godly, intelligent, well-read, and ambitious author. But how, precisely, does one go about this “excavation”? And how, technically speaking, can we ignite a story into“writing itself”? Come to this workshop, and I will seek to demystify those writerly tools and skills that time and time again, if they are sharp enough, and if the writer can summon enough daily faith and nerve, can penetrate the mystery of story itself.
Set aside narrow definitions of historical fiction: your story needn’t be a “bodiceripper” or set in ancient times. It needn’t feature real historical characters or events. For our purposes, historical fiction includes any fictional story set in a past that is recognizably and significantly not the same as our present. So, for instance, a story set in San Francisco in 1975—before Harvey Milk and before AIDS—could be historical fiction, as could a story set in the Miami of the 1980s, the era of the drug wars. You may submit either a chapter of a novel or a short story.
Our time will be divided between reading and discussing excerpts of published fiction, doing some in-class writing, and workshopping student manuscripts, with the bulk devoted to the last.
Some of the topics we’ll address include:
Making stories set in the past feel as vivid as our “now.”
How to research and then how to keep that research from taking over the story.
Finding voices that sound authentic to the period but also appeal to modern readers.
Writing Backwards: Starting at the Ending.
Writing seems like one of the most linear of art forms. It certainly feels that way for most readers, who begin with the first word and proceed, in orderly fashion, to the last. But for the writer, a short story may first take shape with an idea of an ending: an image, a sound, a moment towards which the narrative will eventually drive (even if, as E.L. Doctorow famously suggested, for most of that journey the writer will only see as far as the headlights). In addition to manuscript critique, we’ll take a light historical trip of our own through various fad-endings, including epiphanies, twists and resolutions. And we’ll study some of the most compelling examples of the form before diving into a short-story workshop that will concentrate on what reporters call “the kicker”: writing an ending that will resonate long after the story’s close.
In addition to manuscript discussion and critique, in this generative workshop, composed of in-class writing exercises and close readings of poems that model risk-taking, we will write exploratory drafts that push us towards next-level thinking and emotional breakthroughs. Students will enter a community of writers whose collective aim is to forward our growth as writers by crafting both our feelings and our language.
This workshop will focus on the overall conception and structure of book-length projects, whether completed or in progress. Applicants should include a 250-word synopsis of the whole, along with the opening chapter or chapters (limitof 25 pages). Discussion will center on the clarity and substance of the project and the efficacy of the opening, given the stated intention.
In addition to Writer Idol and by popular demand, this year, we introduce Pitch Idol.
Co-founded by Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson, and co-directed by Les Standiford, Writers in Paradise offers an intensive eight-day experience of workshop classes, roundtables, panel discussions, Q&As, readings, book signings, and receptions with our award winning-faculty and guest speakers.
The tranquil seaside landscape sets the tone for this informal gathering of writers, teachers, editors, and literary agents. The size and secluded location of the Eckerd College Writers’ Conference allows you the time and opportunity to share your manuscripts, critique one another’s work, and discuss the craft of writing with experts and peers who can help guide you to the next level.
After eight days of workshopping and engagement with peers and professionals in your field, you will leave with a refreshed understanding of your craft and solid ideas about how to find an agent and get published. At the heart of the conference are six days of workshops led by master faculty in various genres where techniques are discussed and participant manuscripts are closely examined.
Announcing 2019 Faculty & Guests.
Writers in Paradise offers a wide array of Fellowships and Scholarships.
The 15th edition of Writers in Paradise will take place from January 19 through January 26, 2019. Esteemed faculty and selected participants (limited to 12 each [except 3-day workshops – limited to 6]) workshop for three hours in the morning, attend panels and craft talks in the afternoon, and attend evening readings and events. Participants are actively engaged with our faculty and guests from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.