Posts Tagged ‘PPWC 2019’

PPWC2019 – Reflections

Although PPWC2019 fell into the history books almost a month ago, the buzz is still electrifying. Here are just a few things people had to say:

“There’s a reason PPWC is one of the longest-standing and productive writing conferences in the country. The level of talent, professionalism, access to both industry leaders and Mother Nature create the ideal opportunity for writers at all levels to move ahead in craft and career.” ~~Susan Wiggs, New York Times best-selling author

What really stood out at PPWC was the clear affection that attendees felt for each other.  Clearly, many were experienced veterans of the conference, and they were so happy to see each other again.  And still, they were very inclusive of new people.  Plus, present company notwithstanding, I thought the programming and the level of instruction to be phenomenal. ~~John Gilstrap, New York Times bestselling author

I’ve attended the Southern California Writers Conference a couple of times, and while the workshops are on par with PPWC, they don’t include meals into the conference (except for the Saturday night banquet), so I’m very happy PPWC does that! It’s nice to be able to talk with authors and faculty there in an informal setting. They’re pretty normal, in a nerdy sort of way–like us! ~Margena Holmes, Author

PPWC has long been my favorite conference to attend. It was the first writers conference I ever went to–as an attendee in 2007–and it set the bar high for others. I’m always thrilled when I get to come back as faculty and reunite with so many familiar faces, be part of the top-notch presentations you offer (one of the many reasons I adore PPWC), and be around such an enthusiastic, supportive, focused group of writers. This past year, as I always do, I filled my days when I wasn’t presenting attending the presentations of others–I learn so much there every time. And I am inspired and charged up every time I come by the authors I get to work with in my workshops–everyone is so fully engaged, dedicated to their craft, and wonderfully interactive. It’s also one of my favorite places to lead workshops. Coming to PPWC is like coming home, every time. ~Tiffany Yates Martin, Editor/Owner, FoxPrint Editorial

PPWC 2019 was my first time teaching at a writers conference, a longtime goal of mine. I was a little nervous, until I realized just how friendly and enthusiastic all the attendees were. Everyone at PPWC came with an open mind, ready to learn new things and build their writing skills. I was so impressed by the knowledge and curiosity of everyone who attended my classes–I think I learned more from them than they learned from me! ~Rachel Craft, Author

As I sit at home, drinking a hot mug of coffee, I like to reflect on the things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve acquired. I try to process it all and allow it to motivate my writing. By the end of that first cup of Joe, I want to write all the things. I want to finish my manuscript, edit another and submit to every anthology. ~Jason Henry Evans, Author

I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and workshops I was able to attend; the faculty was top-notch. And who can leave out the networking benefits of Barcon?  But ultimately, the very best part of PPWC was the friendships I made.  Writing can be such a lonely thing, but I have now gathered my tribe!  ~Kate V. Conway, Author

PPWC2019 met all of my expectations. My favorite quote from the weekend came from John Gilstrap when he said, “Don’t write a book – tell a story.” My favorite class was…ALL of them. So much information filled my notebook with knowledge and my mind with ideas. My favorite thing to do? Volunteer. I have been on the Query team since my first conference in 2012. It is a great way to contribute to this amazing event. These reasons (and many more) are why I return year after year. ~K.J. Scrim, Editor PPW Blog and Author

For the six years I’ve been attending PPWC, I’ve heard how the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference is one of the best, friendliest, and most respected conferences in the country, and while I believed my astute fellow conference volunteers, I am bred from the school of trust but verify. So, this year, when I was approached by many editors/agents, as well as all of the keynotes, I requested details when they told me how happy they were to attend a PPW Conference.

In summary, this is what I was told:
–The variety of material, genre, and skill levels catered to by the workshops, invited guests, and keynotes. A little something for everyone.

–The amount of coordination and organization conducted prior to and during conference by the conference volunteers.  “I can’t believe this is all done by volunteers”.

–The overall vibe of the conference is positive and light. We are able to maintain a joviality throughout the days and nights, something that is rare as time presses on.
~Kameron Claire, PPW President and Author

Finding My Tribe – PPWC 2018

I was surprised and excited to be awarded a partial scholarship to PPWC 2018. Even though it was listed as a “half” scholarship, it included all of Thursdays prequel workshops, so it came out to a 75% scholarship. It was so awesome, I just had to come up with the remaining $200. I’ve been practicing the Law of Attraction and the $200 was provided right away.


The conference was so great – my very first class was on magic, taught by Johnny Worthen, an eccentric author who wears bright, original tie-dye t-shirts with shorts. It was like I was attending Hogwarts. I loved it.

I went on from there to attend and learn from so many types of classes and teachers, from the craft of writing to running my new career as a business. I learned about a website platform tailored to authors – PubSite – and am now building my own author platform using this easy website builder.

I knitted at the craft gathering on Thursday night and even got to run a future story by editor Deb Werksman.

Law of Attraction

Using the Law of Attraction I was able to pitch to all three agents I wanted to – PPWC had extra Query 1-on-1 spots to fill and one of the pitches just happened naturally. They were all busts though the feedback I got on my query letter was awesome. I had good success when a friend connected me to a literary director and I got to pitch to her, too.

First Page

I really enjoyed the First Page critique – I connected with Steve Staffel there, who took the whole class out to some couches for a continued discussion after our workshop was over – that was unexpected and special. He gave me wonderful feedback and I reworked my whole first page. For the rest of the weekend, both Steve and Deb spoke to me as we ran into each other – what great connections!

Finding My Tribe

At the end of the conference Deb asked me what was my biggest highlight? “I’ve found my tribe,” I told her. Right from the beginning I was connecting and conversing with authors and writers and editors and we all share this incredible weirdness and creativity – we speak the same language. We dive deep into our own inner worlds and bravely share these crazy experiences with the world. Though we come from all types of backgrounds and viewpoints, there was no judgment from anyone – I felt completely safe being my weird self with all these folks.

I loved connecting with all the writers in all various stages of writing, both published and unpublished, it was a treasure.
I wish we could all get together again before next April. I can’t wait to attend in 2019!

PPWC 2019

Applications are still being accepted for PPWC 2019, “It Takes a Tribe”. You will find more information on the scholarship page of PPW’s website. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 11, 2019. Registration is now open for all who will be attending. Find your tribe in 2019!


Jerilyn WinsteadIn her 20’s, Jerilyn Winstead was active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), then recently got into LARPing (Live Action Role Play). Costumes + adventure! She participates in both Middle Earth-style (elves, hobbits, dwarves, etc.) and in post-apocalyptic (zombies!). One day she dreams of attending the Hogwarts-inspired LARPs. Until  then, follow her adventures on her website.

Notes from PPWC 2018

The first Pikes Peak Writers Conference I attended was in 2012, and I remember feeling very intimidated and out of place that first morning of the conference. Almost everyone I talked to had already reached a major milestone on the road to becoming a professional writer, like completing their book, or finding an agent or a publisher, or discovering how to self-publish. Meanwhile, I still did not know how to respond when people asked me what genre I wrote in. I didn’t know the difference between literary and genre fiction, or what YA stood for.


I was quickly set at ease though by the wonderful, supportive spirit of the conference. The other writers at the conference were all very encouraging of each other, and they sincerely enjoyed watching each other succeed. I was also very impressed with all of the agents and editors, who were extremely open and honest in their feedback in the Read and Critique sessions. This year was my third time attending the conference, and I was very glad to find all of these elements still unchanged. I left the conference this year feeling once again completely invigorated and inspired to keep going. This year, I was also fortunate enough to attend the conference on a full scholarship, which was very exciting.


I took down a lot of notes during the lectures, and here are a few of my favorite pieces of advice from the speakers:

  1.  On character driven stories: Character driven story begins with the main character having some problem of aspect of self. There must be something in the character, two conflicting desires, that they are unable at the start of the story to reconcile or perhaps even acknowledge. They must be somehow incomplete. In addition, character driven stories prevent characters from becoming comfortable with some aspect of themselves—at least not until the end. The climax of the story usually involves the character being forced to finally acknowledge this internal dilemma.
  2.  On structuring a story: In her session “Short Stories: Pacing,” Mary Robinette Kowal talked about the important of “putting things back in sequence” for the sake of coherent, smooth structuring. For example, if the first thing that you introduce in your story is the milieu, end with the milieu as well. End the story with what you began it with, whether it be milieu, character, event, or inquiry.
  3.  On character passivity: Characters, especially your main character needs to be acting, not just reacting. The main character needs to be making choices that move the story along. If you find in looking back at your story, that your character is mainly just reacting, they are probably not a very compelling character.
  4.  On humor: In his session “Using Humor in Fiction,” Rod Miller discussed the different ways to incorporate humor into writing fiction. He explained how metaphor, juxtaposition, exaggeration, and understatement were all very useful tools. In narration, misunderstanding, tension, pay-off, surprise, redundant lists, and repetitive sound can also be very effective.

I am mainly interested in YA fiction, character development, and writing to theme, and I was happy to find many relevant lectures on those topics. There were also lectures on topics such as writers block and creative nonfiction and the depiction of women in the fantasy genre. There is truly something for everyone at this conference!

PPWC 2019

Applications are still being accepted for PPWC 2019, “It Takes a Tribe”. You will find more information on the scholarship page of PPW’s website. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 11, 2019. Registration is now open for all who will be attending. Find your tribe in 2019!

Mary Carmack

Mary Carmack is a teacher living in Colorado Springs, currently working on a literary young adult novel.

So Many Choices at PPWC 2018!

Scholarship recipient, Alice Andersen, shares her experiences from 2018 PPWC, Don’t Quit!

When I attended PPWC 2018, it was my second writing conference experience. For me, the conference was like entering a candy store. Each session offered tempting choices between craft, publishing, marketing, roundtables, and panel discussions. Sadly, it was impossible to have it all. Yikes! How could I choose one over another when I had so much to learn?

Because I had a complete but unpublished manuscript, my focus was not only on the craft sessions, but on that dreaded thing called networking. For me, Networking could be the title of a Stephen King horror film. I did my best though and found that among writers, conversations practically start themselves. I came away with several entertaining stories and a stack of business cards for keeping in touch. Not bad for an introvert.

And to my delight, I found that when I skipped a session to work as a volunteer, there were even more chances to speak with writers and compare notes. In addition, the keynote speakers, Laurell K Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jonathan Mayberry, and Bob Mayer, shared enough of themselves to not only provide inspiration, but add to a sense of community and belonging.

Read & Critique

The Read & Critique was new to me. What a nerve-wracking opportunity, to read a page of my writing to a room full of people. I was unhappy with the first page of my finished manuscript and debated whether or not to read something less than my best. The answer was easy. Not a chance! I read my favorite opening from an unfinished work instead. I have to say the agent in charge, Gabrielle Piraino, was harsh and honest and filled with great ideas on ways to improve the page. I gave her my best and she told me how to make it better. Yes, it was painful to have my work shredded, but her ideas made for a better opening and I needed to hear them.

Query Day

Saturday was query day and a chance to share good, bad, and ugly ideas with an agent. Suffice it to say, I had all three. Query appointments should include a lie detector test so we know what those agents really think. If not a lie detector, maybe a choice of two buttons for them to push; one that emits diabolical laughter and another that shoots out confetti.

And not to deflect, but was that an over-used semi-colon in the above paragraph? After meeting a few editors at the conference, I know just who to ask.

Layering and Editing

My surprising top take-away came from the final two sessions on Sunday. Faced with info overload, I expected to be a little tuned out on that last day. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed a session on layering. Callie Stoker’s presentation, along with her colorful method and hands on demonstration about editing, was just what I needed to make my own work shine.

With so many useful presentations at PPWC, I’ll be studying my notes for weeks to come. The awesome presenters, the hard-working volunteers, and the keynote speakers all gave me the knowledge and the inspiration I need to keep on writing. For now though, I have to visit Amazon. There are books to buy, authors I’m hyped to read, and many more choices and ideas brought home from the conference to focus on. Thanks to the PPWC crew for a great conference experience!

If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for one of PPW’s scholarships please start here to learn more and to fill out your application. Deadline to apply is January 11, 2019.

Alice AndersenAlice Andersen discovered a renewed love for writing after moving to the Western Slope of Colorado. She returned to school to earn a literature degree from Colorado Mesa University, after which she completed her first detective novel. She is currently at work on the second. She dabbles in speculative fiction and fantasy, and has several short stories published. As a military spouse, Alice has lived in numerous locations but she grew up on the Gulf Coast and remains a Texan at heart.

Join her on Twitter @AliceAndersen4

We Want Your Workshops!

by: M.B. Partlow

Pikes Peak Writers just unveiled their brand new workshop proposal portal, and we are open for business, looking for your proposals!

What are we looking for? One-hour workshops for our annual Conference, two-hour proposals for our monthly Write Brains, and half-day workshop proposals for the occasional longer events we do.

PPWC Portal

On what topics?

Anything that will help writers improve their craft, from writing better dialogue to thickening the plot. The business of writing, including (shiver) marketing, the bane of our existance, and info from proven successes in the world of independent publishing. We also welcome genre-specific proposals, and love workshops that take the tenets of one genre to make another genre really pop. We like Reality Track/How To topics, which are real life experiences of interest to writers. (In the past, we’ve had a SWAT team, a food writer, a firefighter, a coroner, numerous law enforcement from local to national, and more.) Then there’s the Writer’s Life, which could include time management, motivation, and inspiration to keep on writing when life throws the inevitable roadblock in your way.

Here’s a tip:

It’s better to propose a few workshops for us to choose from than just one lonely proposal. It gives us a better idea of the range of your mad skills, and makes you a more attractive candidate. Want more insider tips? We’ve got a great FAQ on our website. And if you don’t want to present a workshop, but would like to request that a particular topic be covered? We’ve got you covered! Just click here.

Our new portal is based in Submittable, so you will have to make a Submittable account when you begin, It’s quick, painless and free!

We accept Write Brain proposals all year long. But if you want to be considered for the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, you must submit your workshop proposals by September 30, 2018.

Propose early and propose often!


MB Partlow is a long-time volunteer with Pikes Peak Writers, who has worked extensively on the annual conference and on the board. She writes in the spec fic world, reads voraciously across genres, and is only fully happy when she’s made someone laugh or is laughing herself.