Summer in Words

Writing Conference

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Why Do I Write?

why do I write?
“To satisfy a basic, fundamental need. I think all people have this need. It’s why children like to draw pictures of houses, animals, and Mom; it’s an affirmation of their presence in the corporeal world.
You come into life, and life gives you everything your senses can bear: broad currents of animal feeling running alongside the particularity of thought. Sunlight, stars, colors, smells, sounds. Tender things, sweet, temperate things, harsh, freezing, hot, salty things. All the different expressions on people’s faces and in their voices.
For years, everything just pours into you, and all you can do is gurgle or scream until finally one day you can sit up and hold your crayon and draw your picture and thus shout back, Yes! I hear! I see! I feel! This is what it’s like! It’s dynamic creation and pure, delighted receptivity happening on the same field, a great call and response.”
– Mary Gaitskill

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The Summer in Words weekend was truly transformative for me.

I’ve been writing like crazy since.

This weekend was my introduction to the world of writing and writers. This world fills a void in me, and answers a need from my soul. I’ve been running away from really writing for a long time.

The very practical suggestions and “how to” knowledge shared was just what I needed to get into gear. I just really didn’t have any idea how to step forward out of journaling and technical writing into giving some form and shape to my words.

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Jennie Shortridge keynote speaker

Saturday, June 26,


Staying Afloat in a Turbulent Sea: Righting the Craft Lunch and keynote by Jennie Shortridge

In 21st century publishing, content is still king. Writing craft is and will always be crucial to your publishing career, as four-time bestselling novelist Jennie Shortridge can attest from both her own journey and experiences in the often confusing world of publishing. How do you “right” your craft? Jennie will provide insights and offer tips for constructing relevant, publishable writing.

Author Jennie Shortridge has published four bestselling novels: When She Flew, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven and Riding with the Queen. When not writing books, teaching writers workshops, or volunteering with kids, Jennie stays busy as a founding member of, a collective of Northwest authors devoted both to raising funds for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature. On occasion, Jennie and her husband Matt record music in their Seattle home studio.

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Summer In Words 2010

Friday, June 25

8:30-9 Registration /Continental breakfast9:00-10:15

Narrative Potency in Fiction and Nonfiction, Jessica Morrell

10:30-11:45 Finding Focus Polly Campbell

11:45-1 Free time

1:00-2:30 Compelling Details in Nonfiction Polly Campbell

2:45-5:00 Pacing Larry Brooks

6:30-9 Out Loud

Saturday, June 26

9:00-10:15 Nail the Ending Jessica Morrell

10:30-11:45 Dramatic Truth, Bill Johnson

12-1 Staying Afloat in a Turbulent Sea: Righting the Craft Lunch and keynote by Jennie Shortridge

1:15-3:00, Spirit of Storytelling Bill Johnson

3:30-5:00 The Art of Arc Jennie Shortridge

Saturday evening free time

Sunday, June 27

9:00-10: Building Your Skills in Writing Q & A Bill Johnson, Jennie Shortridge, Jessica Morrell

10:15-12:15 Finding Your Characters Through Dialogue, Marian Pierce

12:15 Closing remarks and Raffle