Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Register Now for Catholic Writers Conference Online

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help

World Wide Web--This year's Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 26-March 5, 2010, will focus on the practical things the writer needs to succeed.

The conference is held via chats and forums at Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register between October 1, 2009 and February 15, 2010.

"We've always concentrated on workshops and chats that teach the writer skills or provide information in the areas of crafting, publishing and marketing their works, but this year, we're adding critique workshops and some incredible opportunities to pitch to leading publishers," said organizer Karina Fabian.

This year, publishers hearing pitches include well known Catholic publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. Thus far, eleven pitch sessions are scheduled, running the gamut from Christian romance to Catholic theology.

In a new program, at least fifty attendees will have the opportunity to have pieces of their work critiqued by successful editors and writers. In addition, there will be forum-based workshops and chat room presentations covering topics from dialogue to freelancing to how Catholic fiction differs from Christian fiction.

"Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences," said Fabian, "but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."

Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. Non-Catholics may attend, as long as they respect Catholic beliefs and the conference's Catholic focus.

To register or for more information, go to

Friday, December 4, 2009

So You're Thinking of Writing a Vampire Novel....

If you've had the impulse to write a vampire novel, you want it to be better than those 'me, too' type of forgettable vampire romances. The key to that is building your vampire-world just as carefully as you would build an alien world for a science fiction novel.

Research and planning is the key. My best resource for vampiry research is The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead by J. Gordon Melton, which has vampire folklore from around the world, some cases of alleged real-world vampirism, and accounts of literary and film vampires.

Some points of interest I have discovered:
Nosferatu--- I had always assumed that German film director Murnau just made the word 'nosferatu' up in order to defraud the estate of Bram Stoker by filming 'Dracula' without mentioning Dracula by name.... But actually the term has history. It's derived from the Greek word 'nosophoros' which means 'plague-carrier'. So it relates to the illness model of vampirism, as in the New England vampire epidemic, caused by cases when a family died one by one from 'consumtion' (tuberculosis) and it was assumed that the earliest to die were preying on the others....

Undead--- I looked up the term 'undead' in the dictionary, and found that words like 'undeadly' and undeadliness' were obsolete terms for immortal and immortality.

I'm creating a vampire-world-creation checklist/form which will cover the various issues you as an author have to confront while building your vampire-containing fictional world.

Some sample questions: Can your vampires cross running water? Are your vampires able to be active in daylight? Do they need to return to their native soil, or their coffin, at night? Are your vampires demonic, or damned souls, or are they capable of being either good or evil? Do your vampires have to feed on blood, and what kind of blood does it have to be? What happens to them if they don't feed? Do they have to kill their victims or are they able to feed without harming anyone? How can vampires be killed? Which traditional anti-vampire methods (crucifix, holy water) work and which don't?

Eventually when I finish the checklist in its final form I will put up a copy on this blog. Do you have any ideas for further questions for the list? If you are working on vampire fiction (or might be) please leave a comment to tell me about it, make suggestions for the checklist, or to shamelessly promote your blog. ;) Or perhaps list the best vampire fiction you've read or your favorite vampire movies and TV shows.

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