The Fictorians

Posts Tagged ‘Eric Flint’

Forming the Fictorians

2 July 2014 | 1 Comment » | clancy
The first Superstars of Writing Seminar

The first Superstars of Writing Seminar

When I went to the first Superstars Writing Seminar in Pasadena back in March of 2010, I thought I was going to get some sound business advice from successful writers – and I did. In spades. I had many expectations which were all exceeded by lengths of football fields. I also thought I’d meet people and make some nice acquaintances – wrong. So very wrong. I made friends. Lifelong friends and writing peers and a writing family we now call The Fictorians.

I remember clearly one night in Pasadena, we were walking back to the hotel after a night of food and beer at a local pub. I was talking with Kevin J. Anderson and I was saying that the group of him, Rebecca Moesta, Dave Farland/Wolverton, Brandon Sanderson and Eric Flint reminded me of the Oxford group that met regularly to talk writing which included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I asked how a group like that formed because it seemed to enhance everyone’s writing and careers.

Kevin said, “Look around.”

I did and what I saw were all the people who I’d been hanging with at every break and meal. The ones who’d gravitated together and felt a connection. I saw people I liked, respected and thought had awesome ideas they were working on in their writing. I saw people like me. People who wanted to be writers, took their writing seriously and were taking steps to succeed in this cool and difficult profession.

When I looked back at him, he said (and I paraphrase), “You’re doing it. Right now. With these people. This is how groups like that are formed.”

We left that seminar, with emails in hand and a goal to stay connected. We live all over the world. We write in different genres. Some of us have met in person again in Las Vegas for one of ours to renew her vows to her lovely husband. We’ve seen each other at other Superstar Seminars since the first one. We have conference calls and stay connected via email and social media. We have areas of expertise that the others can tap into with a simple request. We’re friends and peers.

I have one other writing group that I feel this way about, and I value those friends as well.

So, when someone asks me what is a moment that makes me love being a writer, I think of my friends and fellow writers. The people who support me and keep me motivated. Who inspire me. Who share a dream with me. These are people who keep me going when times are hard.

Because I’m a romance writer, I use the ‘L’ word a lot and I’m going to use it now. These are people I love for all they give me and pull out of me and share with me.

It’s four years later, and Kevin was right. We’ve become one of those groups. We’ve been through bumps and growing pains. People leave the core but remain on the peripheral, some return, some never left, but we’re still together, doing what we love and supporting each other. We are the Fictorians. And I think we’re Fictorious!

Superstars Writing Seminar – worth attending again

29 January 2014 | 1 Comment » | frank

SuperstarsSuperstars Writing Seminar will be held February 6–8 in Colorado Springs, CO. It is the premier seminar on the business of writing, period. I attended the first seminar, held in 2010 in Pasadena, CA, and I’m eagerly anticipating attending again this year.

I’m not the only alumni of the seminar to sign up for another year, and honestly I would have loved to have gone last year. This Fictorians group was formed from alumni of the Superstars seminar, and members have begun publishing and making their mark as writers. In the near future, we’ll only see that trend increasing, thanks in part to knowledge gained through Superstars.

You may ask yourself why we’re so eager to spend the hundreds of dollars required to invest in another seminar when we learned so much the last time we went.

It’s precisely because we learned so much last time.

This seminar is different than any other writer’s seminar I know of. It’s taught by bestselling authors, top editors, and publishers, but more than that what makes this seminar stand apart is the content. This is a crash course in the business of writing, where successful writing professionals share what they do and how they manage their career. For writers who are serious about their writing career, be they newbie authors who have yet to complete their first novel, or published writers looking to reach the next level, this seminar imparts a wealth of information that I have not found anywhere else.

You can view a high level description of the curriculum here which includes contracts, agents, indie publishing, traditional publishing, intellectual properties, and much more.

The seminar in 2010 was a career-changing experience for me. I arrived as an eager, wannabe writer with lots of enthusiasm and one manuscript completed. I left even more energized and armed with the knowledge I needed to move into the next stage of my career as a writer. Given the constantly moving target which is publishing these days, the specifics of what is taught each year is adjusted accordingly, so I expect this year’s content to be different from what I saw just four years ago.

What I learned four years ago is still fresh in my mind. Some favorite memories include Brandon Sanderson relating how he landed his first agent; Kevin J. Anderson’s popcorn theory; Eric Flint’s detailed discussion of contracts; and the discussion of how prolific an author really needs to be to succeed.

On top of the top-rate content, this seminar provides other fantastic benefits. Not only did we form the Fictorians from alumni of the seminars, but the instructors have remained available and engaged with the group. We have a private Facebook group where we can all post questions and comments and get advice or feedback from each other and from the instructors. The networking benefits of the seminar are proving an invaluable long-term benefit.

This year I approach the seminar from a slightly different point. I have four novels completed, with four more in various stages of outlining, one novel e-published and an agent working on deals with others. This time I have different needs, and I fully expect to gain the knowledge I need to make even greater strides forward in my career.

So is Superstars worth attending again?

Absolutely.

If you’ve never heard of Superstars, check it out. I guarantee it’s worth the investment.

 

Everything I learned about the business of being a writer I learned at Superstars Writing Seminar . . .

25 April 2013 | Comments Off | Nancy

supserstars button

Three years ago my life changed.

Before dismissing that statement as being melodramatic, just hear me out.

It was 2010 and I was thinking that I might actually be interested in maybe someday pursuing a writing career. I was receiving Dave Farland’s Daily Kicks, and he mentioned he was putting together this seminar-thing (okay, he was far more eloquent than that) with a bunch of other top-notched and top-selling fantasy writers about everything you needed to know about the publishing industry, but no one was willing to tell you. The other instructors–Kevin J. Anderson, Eric Flint, Rebecca Moesta and James Owen–all have equally impressive resumes. The seminar-thingy was the Superstars Writing Seminar. I figured what the heck, I’d been going to “skills” seminars for about five years now, maybe it was time to get an insider’s look at the industry I wanted to be part of.

Best (professional) decision of my life.

Why?

The information and insight into the publishing market, including the self-publishing v. traditional publishing debate, was invaluable. Knowing the risks inherent for a publisher in taking on a new writer, I understood (and could work to circumvent) the barriers to publishing.

The time with the instructors was unprecedented. Remember that I said I’d been attending seminars for five years. Even with instructor-intense workshops, there wasn’t a whole lot of out-of-class time with the instructors. Superstars blew that distance out of the water. We went to lunch with the instructors. We went out drinking with Kevin Anderson. If you wanted a few minutes of their time, all of them where happy to oblige.

The instructor time ties in with a very important point. They are some of the nicest and most open people you could ever want to meet. They genuinely want to help other writers succeed. They are James Owen and Iinvested in helping them do so. They have a wealth of information on many disparate topics and are more than happy to share that knowledge, whether it’s publishing, queries, hiking, micro-brew beers, mafia, European history or whatever. For the price of asking, they gave us hours of their time to help us Superstars attendees move forward in our careers. And the guest speakers are just as open and wonderful as the regular instructors.

Then, of course, there’s the connections you form with the other attendees. The Superstars attendees are as amazing as the instructors. A group of the 2010 Superstars alums formed the writing group that grew into Fictorians. The picture to the right is of some of us at World Fantasy 2012. In addition to Fictorians, Superstars alums have an active Facebook group. We encourage and commiserate with each other. We are our own best cheerleaders. That network of people going through exactly what you are going through is invaluable. It’s also how I found my publisher.

Most of all, what Superstars did for me was give me the confidence to say, “I am going to be a professional writer.” It’s not a crazy dream. It’s a goal. Superstars gave me an understanding of the business side of the industry that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Seriously folks, if you are interested in a writing career or maybe you’re already pursuing one, you are doing yourself a disservice by not attending Superstars. I highly recommend you attend Superstars Writing Seminar, which will be held May 14-16, 2014 in Colorado Springs, Colorado this year. Prices go up on May 1, 2013, so sign up now.

I hope to see you there.

If you’re still on the fence, check out another great posts on this site about the Superstars Experience:

Q&A with the Superstars: Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sail To Success – a unique Writing Workshop

25 January 2013 | 2 Comments » | frank

Any of you trying to decide whether to take that cruise to the Bahamas or attend a writing workshop? Well, now you can do both! The Sail to Success writing workshop combines the awesome vacation experience of a Bahamas cruise with a professional level writing workshop.

I attended this year’s first-ever workshop, and it was well worth the cost, which was higher than some other venues, given that we combined a vacation with a small group workshop with top talent.

When I heard about the Sail to Success writing workshop, I had to go. Not only was the venue uniquely enticing (I’d never cruised before), but the line-up of faculty presenting to the small group was outstanding. Presenters included:

Wow. And the reality lived up to the expectation.

The workshop proved extremely productive, although being on a cruise ship proved to be a challenge as well as a great benefit. It was a little difficult to focus on class time while the ship was docked in Freeport or Nassau.

The class schedule was intensive: from 8 AM to noon, and from 6 PM to midnight most nights. We managed to slip ashore in the afternoons, but lacked the time for extensive excursions like scuba diving (we had to return to the ship by 4:30). Luckily, my wife came along since the purchase included cruise for two, and she vacationed for both of us while I sat in class.

I didn’t mind. The classes were excellent. Not only did we receive excellent instruction on craft from Nancy Kress, but we learned from these long-time, successful professionals about the nuts and bolts of the publishing business.

The highlights of the class were the critique sessions from Nancy Kress and Toni Weiskopf. Nancy reviewed samples of our writing from an editor’s perspective, and provided wonderful feedback. Toni reviewed other samples from her perspective as a purchasing editor. What a rare opportunity to sit with a publisher and see exactly how they look at your work. It proved enlightening, and a little scary.

Toni receives over a thousand manuscript submissions per month. When she considers those submissions, she’s not looking for reasons to like a manuscript. She’s looking for any excuse to stop reading, and to give that submission the dreaded “red mark of doom’. It might come in the first paragraph if she sees it’s not the type of story they’re looking for, or it might come on page two when she finds herself confused, or sees too many grammatical mistakes. If she can’t find a reason to throw the manuscript away quickly, then it just might be a work she’d consider reading further. Of the fifteen students in the class, only three of us earned that distinction, which was a rare moment of validation.

The only complaint about those critique sessions was the lack of time. Given the time constraints, feedback was limited to 7-10 minutes per manuscript. It just wasn’t enough time. However, in 2013 the program will be structured slightly different. Each student will select if they want a critique from Nancy or from Toni, not both, although all students will get to sit in on both critique sessions and hear the reviews of all of the submitted works. That should allow for more time per submitted work.

So overall, this workshop proved well worth the investment in time and money, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s a serious aspiring writer.

 

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