2015 Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition
March 21, 2015 8:30am to 6pm
The Turnage Theatre
150 W. Main Street, Washington, NC 27889
Theatre Director, Set Designer & Author
Doris Schneider is a passionate member of the Pamlico Writers Conference steering committee. Planning her new blog site, she’s using her years of theater to aid others in writing. As a retired Professor of Theatrical Arts she will use skills learned in the theater to teach writing students how to map out crowd and fight scenes in her workshop titled, “Mapping the Movement of Characters: Planning Action & Crowd Scenes.” Sign up soon or you might miss it.
Q. Who was the greatest influence on your writing?
A. If you mean which writer influenced me, I don’t have an answer for that. There are so many. If you mean, which person, I would say Rachel Victoria Mills. She was my journaling teacher in Washington.
Q. While writing, do you listen to music or have an object or picture around to help inspire or influence your writing?
A. I write in the early morning before my husband or our dogs are up and in need of my attention. I require absolute focus to write creatively, no music or conversation. Rewrites are easier, even though they can be just as creative, introducing entirely new material.
Q. You are very artistic in other ways: theatre, jewelry and painting. Do you think one art leads to another?
A. I taught theatre and humanities classes. The first thing I taught in many of my classes were the elements and principles of design. They are the same for every art form, from visual, to literature, to acting, music, and dance. And, of course, theatre embraces all of the arts. So, no, one doesn’t lead to another. They are each unique, but all result in creative composition when the elements and principles of design are applied, either instinctively or by artistic choice.
Q. Where is your book available, and where have you sold the most books?
A. My book is available as an e-book on Smashwords and Amazon. It is also available as a print book on Amazon and in several North Carolina art galleries. Larger sales have been with e-books, as they are less expensive. I haven’t really made an effort at marketing this book. I’m trying to finish the companion novel, By Way of Water, and will then take a year to do a real marketing thrust for both of them. Unfortunately, today’s author is expected to do the bulk of marketing a book, a job few writers relish.
Q. Did you use an agent with Borrowed Things? Will you use one with the next book?
A. No. For the next book, maybe.
Q. What inspiration can you give to those who are working constantly to get something out there, but keep getting rejected?
A. Rejection is the norm if you are trying to get an agent and/or publisher. It is a very difficult time in the publishing field due to the e-book and online ordering of print books. We’ve all seen the closing of both large and small book stores.
My advice is to attend writers’ conferences that have programs addressing your concerns. They are important for several reasons. You can gain contacts in the profession and meet other writers who can share their experiences. From the sessions, you can improve your writing skills, learn how to navigate the publishing process, and get tips on marketing your book and yourself.
Q. You’ll be teaching one of the sessions at the 2015 Pamlico Writers Conference. What do you think this session will offer someone that they can’t get anywhere else?
A. Years ago, I wrote a textbook for theatre students called The Art and Craft of Stage Management, published by Harcourt Brace, Inc. The book includes an original notation system for blocking the movement of actors onstage. When a fellow writer complained about having trouble visualizing an action scene with multiple characters, I demonstrated some of the notation system. It helped her, and I realized it could be valuable to every writer.
The session will focus on simple techniques for charting character positions and movements, particularly useful for planning and visualizing crowd or fight scenes. I will also show how to track pacing and intensity within a chapter or scene, more useful in rewrites.
Q. Why are you so passionate about the Pamlico Writers Conference?
A. Soon after moving to Washington, I submitted a short story to the New Bern Literary Symposium and won first place in the fiction category. That did so much to bolster my confidence and enthusiasm. When New Bern stopped this annual event, I went to Joey Toler, Director of the Beaufort County Arts Council, and suggested that we, “the Arts Council and the Pamlico Writers Group” host a conference in Washington. Jim Keen had much experience in overseeing writing competitions. Rachel Mills had many contacts with professional writers and educators. The two of them, Marni Graff, Angela Silverthorne, Eloise Currie, Joey, and I rounded out the Steering Committee for the first annual Pamlico Writers Conference in 2013.
I have always loved the production process in theatre, from concept to opening night, as well as all the hard work in-between. I get the same reward with the Pamlico Writers Conference, from choosing a theme to giving out awards at the end of the conference, and all the hard work in-between.
During this transition period in the history of writing and publishing, I believe writers groups and writers conferences are of great importance in serving our community of artists. I have met so many generous authors willing to serve as presenters or jurors, and so many new and developing writers willing to sharing in the effort of making our conference a success. I am passionate because it feeds so many, including me.
Sherri L Hollister
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