Exclusive and valued, these Writers’ Institute extras will help your good writing take root and flourish
Advanced manuscript critique | Critique group | Written critiques | One-on-one instructor consultations
Success stories luncheon
You’ll have the opportunity to network and enjoy lunch while Writers’ Institute director Laurie Scheer celebrates the writers who have had success stories in the past year. Please note: There is a separate fee for this luncheon. You may attend the luncheon without partaking in the buffet. NO OUTSIDE FOOD IS ALLOWED AT THE CONCOURSE HOTEL. There will be seating available at the side of the room for those who wish to attend and not partake in the buffet.
Each session $15
The Writers’ Institute offers you direct access to accomplished literary agents who are looking for both fiction and non-fiction related materials. Pitch your ideas to these agents (and one editor) in eight-minute pitch sessions. You may sign up for two sessions before March 7. After March 7, if space is available, you may sign up for additional pitch sessions. Cost for each session is $15. Click for complete info»
Breaking News! Agent Marilyn Atlas, whose credits include "Real Women Have Curves" (HBO), will be taking pitches this year. She is a film and TV agent/expert looking for fresh new writers with storylines and manuscripts that can be sold to Hollywood.
Practice pitch sessions
General, Thursday evening, 5:30-7:30, FREE!
By overwhelming demand, we are bringing back the Thursday evening practice pitch session. This event is FREE (yes, free to all who sign up for all three days of the Writers' Institute) and will take place on the eve of the conference, Thursday, April 11 at 5:30 PM. Settle into Madison’s charm and join us at the Madison Concourse Hotel where Institute director Laurie Scheer and Continuing Studies colleagues will conduct a group practice pitch session. Receive feedback on your pitch (this is especially important for those of you who are pitching first thing Friday morning at the conference), gain confidence, and be ready to excel with your official agent pitches. This event is a good way to break the ice and move wholeheartedly into this year’s event. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to hone and define your perfect pitch!
Personal, Friday through Saturday afternoon, $10 each
We are also offering continuous opportunities for you to practice your pitch through individual practice pitch sessions. These very affordable sessions ($10, you sign up when you register—no limit to the amount of times you can sign up) will allow for 15 minutes of one-on-one meeting time with our experts. Deliver your pitch, receive feedback, continue to perfect your pitch, and then see your agent and/or editor and provide a stellar pitch. No need to be nervous—these pitch sessions will help put you at ease. To participate in a personal practice pitch session, see the registration form.
What are our criteria for a winning poem or page? Hook us! We're looking for the same thing agents and editors look for when you submit material to them—that instant good impression showing attention to craft. But any agent or editor is also looking for that “something extra” and so are we. It might be a wondrous word choice or line of words, a great “voice” on the page, a piece of action that’s riveting, a fact that wows the reader, a piece of imagery, or any number of things of your choosing. Give us something credible, yet original. Make us worry or wonder. Startle us.
Who may enter: Contest open ONLY to those attending the Writers’ Institute, April 12-14, 2013. You may enroll in only one day and still be eligible for the contest.
Entrants may submit in the following categories:
- Poetry—one poem, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier
- Mainstream/literary fiction
- Genre fiction (mystery, romance, horror, etc.)
- Young adult fiction
- Nonfiction books or articles
For categories 2-5, please submit the first page of your work. If you have a prologue, submit the prologue’s first page because that’s the first page of your work.
Format rules for fiction/nonfiction categories: Please use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman typeface, with one-inch margins on all four sides. Please double-space; 1.5 spacing will be disqualified. Please list your category on the entry, front, or back. Put your name and address on the back side of the page; do not put your name on the front. You may fill up the page, though please keep one-inch margins on all four sides.
Entry fee: $15 per entry, all categories. Please pay through our Registration Office, 608-262-7942.
Deadline and where to send entries: Entries must be postmarked by March 20, 2013. Send your entries labeled as POEM OR PAGE CONTEST ENTRY to Writers’ Institute Contest, 21 N Park St, Rm 7331, Madison, WI 53715. If you wish to be notified that we’ve received your entry, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or postcard.
Prizes: Enter as many categories and as many times as you wish. Prizes will be awarded. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the conference and may have their material displayed at the conference and online at the Continuing Studies writers’ website.
Advanced manuscript critique
One of our faculty, Christine DeSmet or Bridget Birdsall, will provide you with feedback for the first 10 pages of your fiction or nonfiction manuscript and meet with you at the Institute for 30 minutes one-on-one. Here's what you may send and the fee:
- The first 10 pages of a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier. $75 if submitted by March 20; $85 afterward.
- The first 10 pages of a screenplay in correct screenplay format. $75 if submitted by March 20; $85 afterward.
- A poem not over one page long. $15. No more than five poems per author ($60 total).
Send your material labelled ADVANCED MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE to Writers' Institute Critiques, 21 N Park St Room 7341, Madison, WI 53715. Or email it as a Word document for PC or a Rich Text File (RTF) to Laura Kahl at email@example.com. You may collect your material at the conference.
Fiction critique groups will be held on Friday evening with Christopher Mohar and Bridget Birdsall 6-8 PM. (Mohar's group, maximum eight attendees; Birdsall's group, maximum six attendees).
On Saturday 6-8 PM, Christopher Mohar will conduct another fiction critique group with a maximum of eight attendees.
Send the first 10 pages of your fiction manuscript, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier. $65 by March 7; $75 afterward. We cannot receive material later than March 31.
These critique groups are limited (so sign up soon).
Send your material labelled CRITIQUE GROUP SUBMISSION to Writers' Institute Critiques, 21 N Park St Room 7341, Madison, WI 53715. Or email it as a Word document for PC or a Rich Text File (RTF) to Laura Kahl at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may collect your material at the conference.
Conference instructors offer a confidential written critique on your pages or poems. Your material will be returned to you at the conference if we receive it by March 7. If we receive your material after March 7, the fees are higher: $50 before March 7; $55 afterward. For anything received past that date we will try our best to return it at the conference, but may need to mail it afterward.
Here’s what you may send and the fee:
- The first 10 pages of a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier. $50 by March 7; $55 afterward.
- The first 10 pages of a screenplay in correct screenplay format. $50 by March 7; $55 afterward.
- A poem not over one page long. $15 by March 7; $20 afterward; No more than five poems per author ($60 total).
Send your material labelled WRITTEN CRITIQUE to Writers’ Institute Critiques, 21 N Park St Room 7341, Madison, WI 53715. Or email it as a Word document for PC or a Rich Text File (RTF) to Laura Kahl at email@example.com. You may collect your material at the conference.
One-on-one instructor consultations
Get expert advice face-to-face, one-on-one. The topic is up to you. Whatever aspect of writing you want to know more about is fair game: craft, publishing, marketing, the industry, trends, and the like.
One-on-one meetings last 30 minutes. Fee is $60 by March 20, $70 afterward. One-on-one social media meetings with Kimberly Aime last 15 minutes. Fee is $15 before March 20, $25 afterward.
Instructors and areas of expertise (see detailed bios here)
- Heilsberg—feminine superheroes
- Sadler—children's/picture book
- Aime—social media