I just got back from Los Angeles Tuesday night, towing a new piece of luggage with a trophy, some original art for “Moonlight One” and 12 writers’ copies of the anthology.
They paid me twice, too. If you look at the Writers of the Future website, they mention prize money ($500 for a third place). They also pay you a by-word rate after the publication, though, so I deposited another check for $589.60 when I got home.
That ain’t bad, but if I had to choose between the money and the workshop, I’d have taken the workshop.
The hours each day were long, running from 9am to about 5pm, then more stuff like photos, interviews, etc. after dinner until 8-9pm each night. Throw in some socializing and networking, and you get to bed about 11pm.
The content was worth every second, though. We learned primarily from Dave Wolverton (Dave Farland is a pen name) and Tim Powers, both of whom are accomplished SF/Fantasy writers. Dave had a student named Stephenie Meyer once upon a time–you may know her as the author of the Twilight books. He also worked at Scholastic in the marketing department, and made a decision that among many books to push, the unknown “Harry Potter” would probably do well.
They taught us better story structure and research techniques, and had us write a story in 24 hours.
We critiqued 3 of the group’s stories, and learned from other accomplished writers like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Doug Beason, as well as some up-and-coming past-winner, neo-pro writers like Megan O’Keefe, Laurie Tom, Ron Collins, Kary English, and Martin Shoemaker.
We learned personal branding, book marketing, and when you need/don’t need an agent.
Basically, it was the best crash-course in professional writer-ism I can imagine.
The awards show they put together put this year’s Oscars to shame. Seriously. You can watch it here. I’m on at about the one hour mark. Don’t miss the insane performance art they put on just before my award speech, though. It starts at about 58:35.
Our anthology, which features writers from Finland, England, Nigeria, and across the US, is out on Amazon, and in Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million now. It has full-color illustrations of each story by illustrator contest winners from Poland, Kazakhstan, and many other places. The stories hold some of the best suspense and human relationship I’ve seen in print. I’m proud to call these writers my peers, though I think I’m getting the good end of the deal.