Of Conferences and Fellowships

Despite everything going on in my life at the moment, I decided I need to do some proactive things related to conferences and fellowships that will take place later this year. After all, deadlines are approaching quickly for two particular writing-related things, and while they won’t take place until the second-half of the year, I can’t wait until then to apply.

What am I talking about? One is the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, which is held in Middlebury, VT each August. I’ve been wanting to apply for a couple of years but keep chickening out. But not this year. This year I’m applying. In fact, I’ve been spending the afternoon working on my application materials (an excerpt from one of my novels, plus a synopsis and short essay for the application). I hope to have it submitted by the end of the day tomorrow. The synopsis is the hardest part for me, because I absolutely hate doing them. If I wanted to tell the entire story in a single page, I would have only written a single page. Condensing 65k words into 500 words isn’t easy…

The other is the Nicholl Fellowship, a screenwriting fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (yes, that Academy, the one that does the Oscars). I’ve got a script that’s about 60% finished that I hope to finish up in time for the early entry deadline of March 15th. This is actually the fourth or fifth draft of this script, and it’s already been looked over by some professional eyes, and is now being tweaked for a (hopefully) final time.

This is actually the script I plan to produce myself. I had been hoping to do that this year, but it’ll probably be pushed off until next year sometime, since I’m just not feeling up to taking on that kind of project (though if I could find a producer who wanted to take over much of the financial/business end of things and just let me write and direct, I’d be more than happy to do it whenever they wanted…).

But the Nicholl can open a lot of doors in Hollywood, even if you only end up a quarter-finalist. Early entry costs $35, which I can manage to part with for something like this (especially since if you’re one of the lucky five who win, you get $35,000 over the course of a year). Luckily, Breadloaf is free to apply to (though if you’re accepted it’s over $2700 including room and board).

So that’s what I’m up to at the moment. I’m hoping to start edits on the final books of the Steam and Steel Chronicles this week, and hoping they won’t need to be too extensively edited. Only time will tell!

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One thought on “Of Conferences and Fellowships

  1. Best of luck in both endeavors! I am both a fiction writer and a screenwriter, and understand the difficulty of writing in both forms. Where the two meet, it seems, is that it is equally difficult to convince one’s self and other people that you are a worthy writer of either.

    I’ll be applying to Nicholl Fellowship (for the first time, after years of chickening out) this year. Get that script out there, even if you can’t make the early deadline.

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