Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oregon Christian Writers Conference

The Oregon Christian Writers Conference

Today, Tamela is thrilled to share information about the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference in Canby, Oregon. This year the conference will take place from August 2 - 5, 2010, at the Canby Grove Conference Center.

Tamela's writers Miralee Ferrell and Ann Shorey have both attended this conference. Ann is the author of the Beldon Grove series, including THE EDGE OF LIGHT, for Revell. Miralee's titles include LOVE FINDS YOU IN BRIDAL VEIL, OREGON for Summerside Press. Both authors' stories have been well received by readers and industry professionals.

Tamela has asked them about their experience with the Oregon conference:

1.) Aside from its location, what makes this conference unique?

Miralee: I think for me it's the casual atmosphere. I love that even the agents and editors often wear jeans or shorts, and very few conference attendees dress up. It's relaxed, friendly, and as a result, really cuts down on the amount of stress for new people trying to fit in. They don't feel they have to perform or be someone they aren't. I've met so many wonderful people at this conference who are 'down-home friendly'.

2.) With most conferences, faculty members change from year to year. However, could you offer guidance about what type of writer -- novelist vs. nonfiction -- genre vs. trade -- benefits most from this particular conference based on the type of agents and editors who normally attend?

Miralee: The past couple of years I'd have to say it's tipped in favor of non-fiction writers. There's a pretty good mix, though, along with magazine editors, children's books, poetry.it's nice for those who are trying to get their feet wet and not sure where they're headed. But for the more serious writer who knows where they fit, the conference always offers a number of agents as well as editors from well-known houses. I'd also say that the majority of the agents represent both fiction and non, and last year we had a marvelous group of agents to choose from.

3.) Does this conference favor new writers, or is it geared more to established writers?

Ann: To me it seems like a 50-50 mix. New writers are helped by the workshops and encouraged by mentoring from more established professionals. It's a conference a new writer shouldn't hesitate to attend because of the fear that "everyone but me" is published! A benefit of this conference for "newbies" is that all types of writing are emphasized--fiction in all genres found in the Christian market, nonfiction, magazine articles, poetry and screenwriting.

4.) What was one of your favorite workshops you took at this conference, if applicable?

Ann: I always enjoy Harvest House editor Nick Harrison's workshops. My favorite was "Literary vs. Commercial Fiction." Good content, and it sparked a lively debate. Also, this coming year I've been asked to teach a workshop I'm calling "How to Cut Without Leaving a Scar." I'm thrilled at the opportunity to share what I've learned about making seamless cuts in a too-long manuscript.

5.) Although you both have an agent, writers do benefit from meeting editors in person at conferences. Do you think making personal connections at this particular conference helped you make a sale?

Ann: I definitely do believe personal contacts at this conference led to my first sale. I didn't meet my particular editor at this conference (although I did meet her at another conference), but one editor took the time to thoughtfully read my work and make concrete suggestions. I firmly believe his input improved the story to the point where it sold.

Miralee: I'd like to answer this one too. I made a contact at my first OCW conference with an editor from Kregel. She loved the story idea I pitched and not only asked that I send in a full MS, she went straight to the phone and called the head editor, letting him know it was coming. That led to my contract for The Other Daughter, my debut novel. I've also made wonderful contacts with editors since then and have even seen personal relationships develop as a result.

6.) Not considering travel since driving is usually less expensive than flying, what should a writer budget to attend this conference?

Miralee: I think this year it's going to be around $550 for the conference, lodging and meals, but I'm not positive, as the details haven't been released yet. I typically stay off campus at a local hotel, since many of the rooms at the conference center are cabins and don't have A/C. I do know that anyone interested can find the cost at the conference web site soon www.oregonchristianwriters.org , as well as a listing of the workshops and listing of the agents, editors and keynote speaker.

7.) Could you tell us about what a writer can expect in way of:

Lodging: Canby Grove Conference Center has several levels of accomodations from the air-conditioned Riverside Lodge to rustic cabins scattered among the trees in their beautiful setting. Wilsonville, Oregon, is nearby. Wilsonville offers several choices of top motel chains. The commute from Wilsonville to Canby Grove takes about 10 minutes.
Food: The food is served buffet style. Several options are offered with each meal, and special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice upon registration.
Weather: Oregon weather varies quite a bit. Mornings can be cool, with afternoons warming into the 80's. Last year it "warmed" into the low 100's, which was a record-breaker! Dressing in layers is recommended.
Amount of time walking outdoors: Since classrooms are spread throughout the Conference Center, conferees will need to walk from one session to another. The dining hall is located in the center of the campus, necessitating another walk. However, distances are not great, and handicap pathways exist for wheelchairs.
Conference web site: http://www.oregonchristianwriters.org. Click on the "Summer Conference 2010" link.

8.) Please share anything else that could be helpful to writers considering this particular conference.

Miralee: It's a lot of fun! With the beautiful woodsy setting and the creek running through the conference grounds, there's opportunity for leisure activities/walks in the area, or just lying in a lawn chair (should you choose to bring one) with a good book under the shade of a towering cedar tree. I love the chance to connect with other authors I've met online, or sitting with someone who needs a bit of mentoring and encouragement. The pace isn't rushed, you can steal away and skip a class if you need to, and sit outside at a table next to the little bistro. I'd highly recommend this conference to anyone wanting both a four day get away, and a chance to improve your craft.

Miralee and Ann, thank you for being my guests today, and for helping writers in this way.

Learn about Miralee at: www.miraleeferrell.com and Ann at www.annshorey.com.

Until next time,


Terry Burns said...

Great conference!

I'm looking forward to working it.

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