Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I register for the conference without applying to a workshop?

No and yes. At the heart of the Writers in Paradise conference is the intense week-long workshops with distinguished authors. Most writers who attend the conference do so hoping to workshop their writing. Workshop participants are selected based on the strength and potential of a writing sample, which we collect during the online application process.
Though we encourage writers to apply to workshops, we understand that some may prefer to attend the conference without applying or as an option if not accepted into workshop.  Attending the conference without attending workshop is what we call auditing.  Auditing the conference means you pay a flat fee and get to attend all conference activities except workshops.  Please contact the Conference Coordinator for more details about auditing at prunami@eckerd.edu.

  • Can I apply to more than one workshop?

Absolutely. You may apply to as many workshops as you like. Just keep in mind that there’s a non-refundable application fee of $25 for each workshop you apply to, AND if you are accepted into a workshop, you’ll be accepted into that ONE workshop only (which will last the entire week). Only the application fee for that ONE workshop will count toward tuition.

  • What kind of writing should I submit in my application?

We accept applicants based on the strength and/or potential of a writing sample. You may submit your best work, published or unpublished, or you may submit a work in progress that you plan to have workshopped if accepted. It’s up to you. In the application, you will have a chance to tell us what kind of writing you’ve submitted and why. For formatting guidelines, please see our applications page starting August 1st.

  • Is the manuscript submitted with the application the same one that will be used in workshop?

Not necessarily. After acceptance, you will have a chance to submit a “final” manuscript for workshop. You may choose to call your submission manuscript the final manuscript or submit something different as your final. Either one is fine as long as the original guidelines are still respected (ms length, etc.). Tip: If you chose to submit your best work or published work during the application process, chances are you’re unlikely to want to open that up to critique and/or revision. So, our suggestion is to keep in mind that you are submitting to a conference for workshop, not publication. Be brave and open to submitting as your final manuscript work that you really want feedback on.

  • Can I attend more than one workshop if I’m accepted to the conference?

No, and here’s why.  Our conference is designed to give participants a full week of intense workshopping and mentoring. This means that, if you are accepted into a workshop, you’ll be in that one workshop for the entire week along with up to 11 other participants and your faculty leader. There is no hopping around to other workshops.  This also means that your workshop will be closed to all other participants. Keeping workshops closed to all but those accepted into said workshop fosters community, honesty, and focus. We know from past experience that the relationships built in our workshops can and will outlast the week. In most cases, you will find good readers of your work, receive critical and constructive feedback on your piece(s), learn about craft and publishing, and make a solid connection with your faculty leader.

  • What if I need financial help to attend the conference?

When you start your application, you’ll have a chance to tell us if you’d like to be considered for financial assistance in the form of a fellowship, a scholarship, general funds, or all three. You will also be asked to tell us in 500 words or less why you should be considered. You do not need to fill out any additional documentation. Everything is contained in the one application.

We do not typically offer financial assistance to those auditing. However, if you find yourself under special circumstances and would like to discuss financial aid, please do reach out to the Conference Coordinator at prunami@eckerd.edu.

  • Why isn’t there housing on campus?

Eckerd College is a small private college. Though it does provide housing for its students, the housing facilities are very limited and thus not available to visitors. For this reason, we invite attendees of Writers in Paradise to stay at one of our partner hotels or find accommodations on their own from any of the hotels and b&b’s in the St. Petersburg area.

  • What airport should I use if I’m flying in to the conference?

Please use the Tampa International Airport (TPA) as your first choice. TPA is roughly 30-45 minutes away from Eckerd College and the Magnuson Cove Resort and Avalon Hotel. The Magnuson does not offer shuttle service from the airport, but you may Uber for approximately $20-30.   TPA to Avalon Uber will run approximately $2025.

If staying elsewhere, please check with your hotel or b&b to see if they offer shuttle service from the airport as many of them do. If seeking shuttle service, we recommend Skyway Historical Shuttles, the company we use for hotel-campus-hotel transportation. Please call or email William at 855-759-9298 or info@stpetetour.com.

  • I have a car. Is there parking on campus?

Yes. Eckerd College has plenty of guest parking on campus. Please see the teal and purple sections on the map.

  • I don’t have a car. How can I get to campus for the conference?

Writers in Paradise provides free daily shuttle service to and from our partner hotels (Magnuson Cove and Avalon only) and campus. Trips are scheduled in accordance with conference activities and run on a specific schedule. If you plan to stay at a different hotel or b&b, you will have to arrange your own transportation to/from campus. Our shuttle schedule will be made available after the application period has closed and acceptances have been made.

  • Will I need to print while I’m at the conference? Where would I do that?

Though our workshops are geared toward critiquing the work that you’ve submitted, some faculty leaders may include generative exercises in class in an effort to stimulate further writing or as a means to deepen craft. Eckerd College has several options for printing, which will be provided to you after acceptances to the conference are completed. Printing on campus can be done at the Armacost Library using the Papercut system, at the Copy Center in Edmundson Hall, or at any FedEx/Kinko’s location close by.

  • What is Writer Idol?

Writer Idol is an afternoon panel modeled after the tv show, American Idol. How it works is, in preparation for this panel, we ask participants who’d like to be a part of the panel to turn in the first page of a story they are working on. The page must be the first page only and the page must not contain the author’s name. When the session begins, three faculty leaders sit as judges at a table in the front of the room while a 4th person reads from the stack of submitted first pages. The judges listen to what’s being read, and if at any point they hear something that turns them off in any way, they raise a hand. Once two judges raise their hands, the reading stops, and the judges have a chance to say why s/he raised a hand. If the page is read all the way through, it is considered a successful beginning and the judges usually say why they stuck with it.

The goal behind Writer Idol is to give participants a seat at an editor or agent’s table at a journal or publisher via the cold read. And because the page read has been submitted without the author’s name, the author/participant can sit silently and listen to raw and honest critique from professional writers without anyone in the room knowing. That said, it’s important to remember that Writer Idol is always conducted in the spirit of constructive criticism.

Things to know for Writer Idol:

1. The Conference Coordinator collects these pages in person from the start of the conference up to five minutes before the start of the panel. No emailed pages will be accepted.

2. You may submit any first page of a story. It does NOT have to be the story you are workshopping at the conference.

3. Fiction and nonfiction are both accepted as a gripping start is important in any narrative.

4. It helps to know who’s judging the panel (names will be available on the schedule before the start of the conference). If one of the judges on the panel is already your workshop leader, you’ll want to turn in a page that s/he hasn’t already seen. Otherwise, you’ll get 2 fresh readers instead of 3.

5. Standard formatting of the page is expected: 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins.

6. You may include the title if you like, but it’s not mandatory.

7. Your name cannot appear on the page.