Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Wordcraft – Young writers wanted, and Houston’s calling

For everybody (like me!) worried that this year’s North Texas Teen Book Festival April 23 would conflict with the DFW Writers Conference April 23-24, DFW announces a new conference track for teens, Teen Track! on April 24 only. Plus, the DFWCon has its own writing contest for teens ages 13-17. But contest entries are due March 31, so better use some of this month’s spring break to get a write on.

There’s no fee for contest entries, which include what DFWCon describes as 500-1500-word written creative expressions such as essays, short stories, flash fiction, poems, manga, religious/inspirational content, novel first chapters or – whatever young creative minds can come up with. All the convention asks is that the writing should touch on the theme of “writing for a better world,” and be submitted with an entry form available here by 5 p.m. CDT March 31, 2016.

The work of the contest’s first three winning entries will be featured in a published anthology, and young writers and their sponsoring teachers will be recognized at the conference.

The Teen Track! conference includes speakers Christopher Golden, Lindsay Cummings, JC Davis, Dark Comics head writer David Doub (who conducts a Comic Writing Boot Camp) and poets Joaquin Zihuatanejo and Michael Guinn.

The cost of Teen Track! is $90 for each teen. Add an optional adult tagalong for $15. Tickets are on sale through April 17.


Now that your schedule is cleared for Teen Track! don’t forget to check out the free North Texas Teen Book Festival April 23 in the Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd, in Irving. It features 75 panels with middle grade and young adult authors plus of course a major book shopping opportunity. Check here for lists of authors (so far), volunteer opportunities, and more.


Meanwhile, the Houston Writers Guild prepares for its own writing conference with a pre-conference workshop on presenting ourselves to agents and publishers March 19.

In the morning session, writing coach Roger Leslie discusses putting cover letters and presentation packets together. The afternoon session features agent Johnnie Bernhard of North Texas’ own Loiacono Literary Agency discussing query letters and how to work with an agent.

The sessions will take place at the McGovern-Stella Link Community Center, 7405 Stella Link, in Houston. Cost for both sessions is $45 for HWG members, $55 for nonmembers.

The information should stand writers in good stead for the DFW Writers Conference as well as HWG’s own annual conference, April 29-May 1, at Marriott Houston Westchase, 2900 Briarpark Drive in Houston. The conference includes speakers, breakout sessions, and opportunities to, yes, pitch to agents and editors. The cost of the main event (April 30), with guest speaker Jamie Ford, and 12 workshops (choice of four) is $115 for HWG members, $130 for nonmembers. Add 10-minute pitch sessions with literary agents Amy Boggs, Michelle Richter or Peter Knapp for an additional $20 per session. Add on, as you wish, April 29 and May 1 speakers and followups. See the HWG site for details.

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