David R. Collins Writers’ Conference: Last Day for Early Bird Registration is June 15th

David R. Collins Writers’ Conference: Last Day for Early Bird Registration is June 15th

Today, June 15, is the last day to get the early bird discount on registration for the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference.You can register online by visiting our website, or give us at call at (563) 324-1410. Below you will find complete information about workshops, other opportunities, and free events during the Conference. Sign up today to get the best deal!

(All workshops held at McCarthy Hall, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA)

Writing the Great Mystery with C. Hope Clark Writing the Great Mystery – Genre novels equate to commercial writing, or writing what the public is willing to buy. Mystery author C. Hope Clark, author of two mystery series under the Bell Bridge Books umbrella, teaches what makes for a mystery that keeps readers turning pages and buying sequels. What type of story makes the average reader enthusiastic and how can an author tap into that skill set?
Offered 8:45-10:15 a.m. | June 23, 24, 25

Monetize Your Writing with C. Hope Clark Sometimes money comes first to a writer, regardless of the Great American Novel dream which take years to blossom. In the interim, however, you have to become known as a writer and earn money to keep the bills paid. In this course, you receive practical guidance on using all aspects of the writing arena to make money while you’re trying to make your dream come true.
Offered 10:30 a.m. – Noon | June 23, 24, 25

A Flash in the Pan: Getting Started on Short Short Fiction and Nonfiction with Kathleen Rooney  The flash fiction, the short short story, the micro-tale, the mini-essay: whatever you call them, it is in these tightly compressed forms that the techniques of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction meet and merge to create exciting new modes of expression. Through brief (under 1,000 words, and in many cases under 500) readings by historical and contemporary writers, students will see how such tiny stories can pack a huge punch, and will explore what these “smokelong” tales can teach us about longer forms.  Students will have the chance to do in-class exercises, and will walk out with rough drafts of a few very short stories that they can continue to hone, as well as with a new sense of how to bring economy to their sentences in writing of all lengths and genres. Prose writers of both fiction and nonfiction seeking to jump-start their imaginations and experiment with shorter forms will find this class beneficial, as will busy writers who don’t have the time right now to spend on the Great American novel, but who want to keep their writing skills fresh.
Offered 10:30 a.m. – Noon | June 23, 24, 25

Obstructionism: Finding Freedom in Poetic Restraint with Kathleen Rooney Poet Marvin Bell has remarked that “The plain truth is that, except for mistakes that can be checked in the dictionary, almost nothing is right or wrong. Writing poems out of the desire to find a way to be right or wrong is the garden path to dullness.” Through close attention to form, detail, and constraint, this workshop will do its best to keep your poems from ever being dull. In order to achieve that end, this class will interfere with and re-direct your poetic intentions and drafts. This obstructionist approach—predicated on the idea that a poet can often find the greatest freedom of expression within the strictest of restraints—might, at times, be frustrating. But if you participate with an open mind and strive to cultivate an attitude of flexibility and fun, your willingness to embrace these obstructions will lead you to discoveries—about structure, about content, and about your processes and preoccupations as a reader and writer of poetry.
Offered 1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | June 23, 24, 25

Advanced Fiction Writing with Felicia Schneiderhan Also known as “gymnastics for writers,” this class is for people who have some experience writing fiction and would like to shake up their process in a workshop setting. Novel and short story writers are welcome. Topics include point-of-view, form, and rewriting. Participants should come ready to do some literary stretching and practice new moves on the page.
Offered 1:45 – 3:15 p.m. | June 23, 24, 25 

Creative Nonfiction with Felicia Schneiderhan This workshop gives an overview of creative nonfiction and the many possibilities it opens for a writer. Using published work and in-class writing activities, we’ll cover a variety of literary forms. Participants will also develop research techniques applicable to many types of essay styles.
Offered 3:30 – 5 p.m. | June 23, 24, 25

The World at Stake: Writing (and Revising) the First Chapter of Your YA Novel with Brittany Cavallaro
In this workshop, we’ll discuss what features and strategies young adult writers can use to write a strong first chapter of a novel in any genre, from science fiction to contemporary realism. What’s the best way to invite readers into your world while also hinting at its complexities? What are good strategies for introducing your characters and their wants and needs? How do you plant the thematic seeds that will grow into a strong story? Writers will complete in-class exercises and begin (or continue) brainstorming and worldbuilding in this workshop. We’ll begin with the creation of a ‘world package’ that will serve as a template for the world of your novel, and we’ll end by discussing a draft of your first chapter.
Offered 3:30 – 5 p.m. | June 23, 24, 25

Other Opportunities

Author Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Felicia Schneiderhan on Friday, June 24, noon-1:30 p.m., Rogalski Center, St. Ambrose University:
“The Writing Life: Bearing Witness to the Power of Imagination”

Concluding Luncheon on Saturday, June 25, noon-1:30 p.m., Rogalski Center, St. Ambrose University:
Workshop instructors will talk about their experiences with their classes during the Conference. Cost of attending Concluding Luncheon is included in registration fee.

Book Pitches: Ten minutes to pitch your book to Steve Semken of Ice Cube Press or to MWC Press on Saturday, June 25. Cost is $25 and you must pre-register.
     Saturday, June 25: Steve Semken -Owner/publisher of Ice Cube Press Steve Semken will hear book pitches on Saturday, June 25 before the Closing Luncheon. There is no limit on the number of pitches he will hear. For the pitches, Steve is looking for “writing that better explains how we can best live in the Midwest. I have no preference for genre. I’m not looking for fantasy, or science-fiction.”
Saturday, June 25: 918
studio Press
 A panel of representatives from 918studio Press will hear pitches during the Conference—specific dates and times TBD, and will be scheduled at the start of the Conference. More info from 918studio Press TBA.

Manuscript Critiques: You may submit up to 10 pages of a manuscript by June 17th to be critiqued by a faculty member of your choice. This includes a 30 minute meeting with the faculty member. The time will be mutually agreed upon during the conference. Critique appointments are limited so be sure to sign up early!
C. Hope Clark – 8
Brittany Cavallaro (poetry or YA fiction) – 4
Ryan Collins (poetry) – 8
Steve Semken – 1

Free Events

Conference Social Mixer, Thursday, June 23, 5:30-7 p.m. at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL 61201) Join other conference attendees, local writers, and some conference faculty to enjoy a drink and talk about the conference or writing in general. Attendance to this event is free; drinks are available for purchase.

Faculty Reading and Participant Open Mic, Thursday June 23, 7-9 p.m. at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL 61201) Listen to conference faculty reading their work and then, the mic will be opened up for reading by conference participants. Free and open to the public.

Many Ways to Cross the River: A Discussion on Publishing & Getting Published with Steve Semken, Kathleen Rooney, and Brittany Cavallaro. OfferedFriday, June 24 from 7-8 p.m. at MWC Author and owner/publisher of Ice Cube Press Steve Semken, author and founding editor of Rose Metal Press Kathleen Rooney, and poet/YA author/editor Brittany Cavallaro will discuss their experiences navigating the various world of publishing as authors, editors, and publishers.