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2020 02 25 Mastering Book Description

I have observed on writing forums that many authors struggle with the description of their book. The descriptions usually contain too much information or not enough of the necessary information. Just as plotting requires you to know what kind of story skeleton you wish to utilize, the description requires you to know the story promise you wish to make.

A basic description is made up of several key elements:  genre, setting, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, goal, and stakes.

In (setting) protagonist is confronted by (inciting event) which leads to a (problem) and must (goal) to achieve/prevent (stakes). 

You can add the antagonist if needed.

Standing in his/her way is (antagonist) who wants X (usually the opposite of the protagonist's goal).

You can add the love interest in a Romance.

Love interest is X who wants Y and does Z.

1. Genre and Tone

Genre is the promise you make to your reader about the kind of story you are going to tell. Readers don't like to be misled. The most egregious sin, in my opinion, is to bait and switch, i.e. changing tone or genre midway through a book. It is promising one kind of story and providing a substantially different one. That is not the same as having twists and turns and a killer surprise ending. It is promising a horror story or a lighthearted comedy family story and turning it into a graphic story about child abuse. I have read both and the books go on the fire kindling pile, not my Kindle Fire. I will never read that author again because I don't trust them.

Is it a murder mystery, romance, science fiction space opera, literary drama, or suspense thriller? Mystery lovers are looking for a crime solver. Thriller lovers are looking for danger. Romance lovers are looking for passionate courting. Horror lovers look for scares. Fantasy lovers want to know if the book is gritty urban fantasy, modern vampires, or medieval fare with dragons. Historical novel readers want to know the era and location.

A writer establishes and maintains tone throughout the entire novel based on how they treat the topics and themes presented. It is expressed through the point of view character(s) thoughts and feelings, the descriptions, actions, reactions, and dialogue.Tone can be uplifting, serious, hilarious, haunting, moving, or thought provoking.

You convey genre and tone with keywords like: romantic, thrilling, epic, suspenseful, haunting, heart-wrenching, uplifting, inspiring, hilarious, terrifying, lyrical, comical, futuristic, historical, etc. 

2. Clarity

Vagueness won't sell your book nor will information dumps. The reader doesn't need the entire plot up front. Many descriptions have too much unnecessary information.

"But I want them to know all of the cool plot ideas so they will read it!"

Nope. They will never read your book if your description doesn't give them an intriguing question they want answered (referencethe central question). You shouldn't bog down your description with backstory the same way you shouldn't start your book with a too much backstory or the history of the entire story world. setting. Stick with the overall throughline. Do not include the subplots and secondary characters, no matter how interesting you think they are.

If your description is confusing, most readers won't bother opening the book.

3. Setting

Time period ties into genre. Readers have very distinct preferences about time and place. 

A reader may favor ancient civilizations, prairie westerns, futuristic or intergalactic worlds, or romances set in the past. They may prefer contemporary or historical. Some love World War I and II stories. Others find war triggering or just too depressing.

You can successfully orient the reader to the setting with a few simple words:

In 1960s Los Angeles

In the ancient realm of

In the year 2050, on Venus colony X

In the court of King Henry VIII 

Is there a past and present story woven together? 

In 2021 New York, Character 1 (inciting event, goal, stakes). 

In 1821 Scotland, Character 2 (inciting event, goal, stakes). 

Does your story jump around in time? Some readers will go there with you. Others absolutely hate it. Warn them.

"In this time-hopping thriller ..."

Is your story told in reverse? Is it a time slip novel? Mention that too.

Make sure your description clearly conveys where and when your story takes place.

4. Protagonist

The age of your protagonist can dictate your targeted audience. A large number of YA fans are middle-aged adults. Children and teens read up. Middle and junior school fans dream about high school. High school teens dream about college and starting out in the world. College kids read adult novels. I read adult novels as a child because we didn't have YA or children targeted fiction, but now there are specific marketing categories. Anything you can do to increase the marketability of your book is key if you self-publish. A traditional publisher may even change your story to match a market. It has happened.

Is your main character male or female, straight or LGBTQ? Does your story explore other cultures? I would like to say sexuality, race, and ethnicity don't matter. They shouldn't, but they do. I hope one day that will change, but it isn't today. Some readers prefer female protagonists, others male. Book omnivores will consume them all, but you need to know how these decisions affect your targeted market. For YA, the age is often mentioned.

Sixteen year-old Mara

Octogenarian sleuth

Middle-aged mother of four

Use a few key words to offer the briefest sketch of your protagonist.

Are there books with more than one protagonist? Sometimes.

George R. R. Martin wrote a Gordian knot titled Game of Thrones. The description of the first book in the series is surprisingly condensed. If your book is complex, I suggesting reading the description of the TheSong of Fire and Ice.

For the record, many readers were turned off by George R. R. Martin's immense cast.

Most books have one protagonist, even in an ensemble cast, and an antagonist. The other characters fall into friends and foes, support cast, and walk-ons. In Romances, the love interest can be a sort of co-protagonist. They may have friends that fall for one another too, but they aren't the stars of the show.

In epic Fantasy tales or in past story/present story weaves, you could have two "main characters." Even then, one of the characters is usually the protagonist, most often the character in the present time frame. You can have serial protagonists in a multi-generational family saga, but you don't need to mention them all. Do not present a genealogy chart for the blurb. Presenting a list of people can be an immediate turn off.

Spanning half a century, this sweeping tale takes you  

In this multi-generational saga, 
Character A ...
Character B ...
Character C ...

5. Inciting Event, Goal, and Stakes

Something happens to start the story ball rolling. This creates the need for the characters to face a situation. This isn't the time to be coy. The plot may be full of twists, turns, reversals, and stunning revelations. However, at the onset of the tale, the character faces a choice, an action, a plan, or a journey. Something makes the plot wheels turn.

This inciting event leads to an initial goal or strategy. The tactics might change along the way. They might find the challenge is different at a turning point. Secrets may be revealed and battle sites shifted, but the reader doesn't need that information yet. They need to know what happens to start the ball rolling, which leads to stakes.

A story without stakes is like a car ride with no destination. You can get away with that in Literary drama stories. However, most genres require a consequence if the protagonist doesn't take care of that goal. Something hangs in the balance. It can be their daily life, job, relationship, fate of the planet, safety of one person or many. The perceived consequences need to offer sufficient motivation. The consequences can be personal stakes or intergalactic stakes (better if there is both). The stakes can shift or expand as the story evolves.

Without something to make the character turn and face the situation, they could just stay home and endlessly stream Netflix. Make sure you tell the reader that if the character doesn't do something about the problem, bad stuff will happen or if they don't achieve the goal, they will be denied their heart's desire.

6. Heat level and trigger warnings

It is crucial to let your audience know if this is a sweet, innocent tale or gritty erotic one. It is best to mention if it contains explicit sex, graphic violence, torture, war, murder, rape, incest, child abuse, sexual abuse, gruesome horror, or focuses on the twisted mind of serial killers. Every reader has content they don't enjoy and images they don't want in their head. For some, content can be seriously triggering. For others, it is merely a huge turn off.

In this violent thriller
hunting a sadistic serial killer (rapist)
In this harrowing tale of a child abuse survivor

Tell your reader your story is a terrifying ghost story then switch tone and tangent midway to be about remembering child abuse and you will deserve the scathing reviews. This comes back to your promise. Make it. Keep it.

You can't please every reader and shouldn't try. Your description attracts your tribe. Clarity helps you avoid bad reviews.

For further reading:

Keeping your Promise

The Central Question for Each Genre

What is Tone

Examples of Tone

Mastering Setting

Protagonist and Antagonist 

No Stakes, No Tension

Story and Scene Goals

 

Finding Your Tribe: The Importance of Networking

Writing is a lonely endeavor. Few jobs require one to sit for hours on end thinking, writing or typing, ripping up work, and starting over. Solitude is necessary to disappear into fictional worlds. 

No matter how much they love you, other people can't truly appreciate the effort it takes to give birth to a book. That is why spending time with other writers and having your own writing tribe, virtual or in person, is a lifeline. Here are some tips on networking and how to find your tribe.

Ten tips for Finding Your Tribe

The Benefits of Genre Associations

Five types of Critique Groups

Ten Tips for a Successful Critique Group

What Kind of Writer Are You Part 1

What Kind of Writer Are You Part 2

What Kind of Writer Are You Part 3

Cool Tools For Writers

Grateful for Great Courses

Great Courses

Writing Master Classes by Famous Writers

Online College Courses Many courses have mentoring and connect you with other writers.

Facebook  You can find many writing groups on Facebook to connect with. Here is a list of Facebook groups to join: https://thewritelife.com/facebook-groups-for-writers/

NANOWRIMO Every November, there is a national writing event where you can connect with other writers. Writers sometimes find life long friends there.

Critique Circle is another site to meet up with other writers and receive feedback.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Forums offers a multitude of resources including a critique forum.

Insecure Writers Support Group offers a wealth of resources for writers at every stage of the journey.

The Next Big Writer links you to groups with a specific genre.

Reddit has a "sub" reddit for every topic imaginable and is the wild wild west of forums. Here are some "sub reddits" that relate to writing:

r/characterforge 





Scribophile  has resources and offers critiques.

She Writes has hundreds of groups to choose from.

Talentville is specifically for screenwriters.

Underlined is a unique group which offers excerpts for you to read.

Writers Helping Writers offers resources and coaches.

Don't forget to check out writing workshops and conferences. Many are being held virtually at the moment due to the pandemic, which makes it easier for long distance writers to attend. I met my critique group that way and made many writing friends. Follow my Story Building Blocks Facebook page for updates and upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/storybuildingblocks

You can ask me specific question on my Facebook forum for Story Building Blocks:

Marketing Tips

Writing a book, getting published independently or through traditional channels is hard enough, but today's authors are required to promote and market their products. This skill set does not come naturally to many of us. It is said a good product sells itself, but in today's flooded market, your book has to be found first. Here are a few tips.


Free Stuff

Marketing Character Cards

Marketing with Bookmarks

Crafting Bookmarks and Cards

Short Stories, Serials, and Novellas

Animated Book Cover GIFs

Holiday Tie Ins

Five Unique Marketing Opportunities

Facebook

This master list will be updated as I share further articles on marketing.

Writers Workshops and Conferences April to June 2021

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members.

Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires.

Unfortunately with the pandemic, many in-person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or online classes and lectures.

Virtual events allow for a wider audience and lower costs since attendance does not require travel and lodging.

April 8 - 11, 2021 Book Lovers Convention, Nashville, Tennessee visit their site for updates and the status. https://www.bookloverscon.com/

April 9 - 10, 2021 24TH Annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia. https://www.blueridgewritersconference.com/

April 10, 2021 Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference at the Holiday Inn in Clark, NJ http://www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com/conference/

April 12 - 18, 2021 Breakout Novel Intensive in Hood River Oregon. https://www.free-expressions.com/breakout-novel-intensive-hood-river-or

April 13 - 29, 2021The American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference (ASJA), New York Marriott Downtown, New York City, New York, Conference will be hosted virtually April 13-29 and will span three tracks: Journalism (April 13-15), Books (April 20-23), Content Marketing (April 27-29). https://na.eventscloud.com/website/20696/

April 16 - 19, 2021 Colrain Poetry Classic will be held via Zoom this year. http://www.colrainpoetry.com/wp/?page_id=2871

April 17, 2021 A Rally For Writers Conference in Lansing, Michigan. The 2020 conference was cancelled. Check site for updates relating to the 2021 event. https://arallyofwriters.wordpress.com/

April 21 - 25, 2021 The Muse and the Marketplace, GrubStreet’s National Conference for Writers in Boston, Massachusetts will be virtual this year. http://museandthemarketplace.com/

April 21 – 25, 2021 Chanticleer Authors Conference, Bellingham, Washington. Hotel Bellwether will be virtual this year. https://www.chantireviews.com/chanticleer-conference/

April 22 - 25, 2021 The St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop in St. Augustine, Florida https://algonkianconferences.com/conferences.html

April 23 - 25, 2021 Pikes Peak Writers Conference has decided to host a virtual conference in 2021 with the plan to come back as a hybrid conference in 2022.  More to come about registration which will open January 15, 2021. Check site for updates in the upcoming days/weeks. https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc

April 24 - May 1, 2021 Ravencon Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention will take place in Richmond, Virginia. http://www.ravencon.com/

April 24 - May 2, 2021 Northern Colorado Writers Conference will be a virtual conference this year. Registration Begins December 2020. http://www.northerncoloradowriters.com/

April 30 - May 2, 2021 Malice Domestic Convention, Bethesda, MD. Malice Domestic is extending the Agatha Registration Deadline until January 31, 2021. While we continue to evaluate options and plan for the best possible Malice 32/33, we feel this deadline extension is necessary. Everyone who is registered or becomes a Friend of Malice by January 31, 2021, will receive an Agatha Nomination Ballot in early February. http://malicedomestic.org/

May 7 - 9, 2021 Atlanta Writers Conference, Our 24th conference offers virtual agent/editor meetings and an online workshop doubleheader featuring NYT bestseller Lisa Gardner. https://atlantawritersconference.com/

May 10 - 17, 2021 Longleaf Writers' Conference, Seaside, Florida. Tentative plans are for an in person event but is subject to change. www.longleafwritersconference.com

May 13 - 15, 2021 Storymakers 2021 Conference registration will open February 9th, 2021 at 6 AM MST. It is tentative set for an in-person event but may change to virtual. Check their site for updates. https://ldstorymakersconference.com/

May 15 - 18, 2021 Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference in Alaska, will be a virtual event. Early-bird Registration is November 23, 2020 – February 28, 2021. Public Registration is March 1 - May 7, 2021. http://writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu/

May 20 - 23, 2021 Stokercon Horror Conference, the Royal and Grand Hotels, Scarborough, United Kingdom. Pandemic travel restrictions apply. http://stokercon2021.org/

May 24 - 28, 2021 Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers, University of Houston, Texas will be virtual this year. http://boldfaceconference.com/

May 26 - 29, 2021 North Words Writers Symposium, Skagway, Alaska. http://nwwriterss.com/

May 30 -June 2, 2021 Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference, Asheville, NC
https://www.blueridgeconference.com/

June 3 - 4, 2021 Clarksville Writers Conference in Clarksville, Tennessee. Visit site for updates. http://www.artsandheritage.us/writers/descript.html

June 3 - 6, 2021 Indiana University Writers' Conference, Bloomington, Indiana will be virtual this year. https://iuwc.indiana.edu/

June 7 - 13, 2021 VCFA Novel Retreat, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont. In a state of cautious optimism, we are planning for an on-campus retreat. However, if pandemic conditions warrant, we will again hold the retreat remotely via Zoom. https://vcfa.edu/novel-retreat/

June 11, 2021 Annual West of the Moon Writer’s Retreat, New Harmony, Indiana has plans to be in person. Visit site for updates and plans for 2021. http://westofthemoonretreat.com/the-retreat/

June 12 - 13, 2021 DFW Writers Conference (DFWCon), Dallas- Fort Worth Texas. Check site for status of the workshop in 2021. https://dfwcon.org/

June 12-13, 2021 California Crime Writers Conference Culver City, California, https://ccwconference.org/

June 13 - 17, 2021 Tinker Mountain Writers, Hollins University, Virginia will be virtual this year. https://www.hollins.edu/academics/workshops-online-writing-courses/tinker-mountain-writers-workshop-residential/

June 17 - 27, 2021 Fine Arts Residency Conference Pacific University campus, Forest Grove, Oregon. https://www.pacificu.edu/masters-fine-arts-writing/residency-writers-conference

June 17 - 19, 2021 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Updates to the website with plans for 2021 will be posted as soon as details are finalized. http://www.kychristianwriters.com/

June 20 - 26, 2021  Kenyon Review Fiction Workshop, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio is excited to offer a new suite of online programs for summer 2021. https://kenyonreview.org/writers/fiction/

June 20 - 26, 2021 Chesapeake Writers’ Conference at the St. Mary's College of Maryland hopes to offer an in person event this year. Check site for updates. https://www.smcm.edu/events/chesapeake-writers-conference/

June 21 - 26, 2021 Minnesota Northwoods Writers ConferenceBemidji State University, Minnesota. Conference will be online.  http://www.northwoodswriters.org

June 22 - 26, 2022 Wesleyan Writers Conference, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. The 2021 conference has been cancelled. Check site for plans for 2022. http://www.wesleyan.edu/writing/conference/

June 23rd – 27th, 2021 The 30TH Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference registration begins January 2nd. A 100% virtual event with post-conference access to material. http://jacksonholewritersconference.com

June 24 - 26, 2021 Historical Novel Society Conference will be virtual for 2021. Registration opens February 15, 2021. http://hns-conference.org

June 25 - 26, 2021 Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham, WA, will announce the full details in the fall. Check site for updates. https://www.whatcom.edu/academics/community-continuing-education/chuckanut-writers-conference

To Write or Not To Write?

To write or not to write, that is the question. 

My answer is write if it feeds your soul. We all choose how to spend our time between activities of daily living, jobs, and family demands. Some people love video games, music, art, crafts, boating, rafting, flying planes, reading books, or travel.

Writing is solitary and is more aligned with introversion but holds allure for some extroverts. Extroverts are often thrilled to do the networking and promotion once the book is finished.

I would not encourage anyone to quit their day job, at least not initially. There are success stories in writing just as there are superstars in film and sports. Alas, high income is not the lot of most writers, particularly in the current climate where readers want free entertainment. There are writers who know how to game the current system. For instance the erotica market is flooded with barely patched together novellas that sell like hotcakes. I'm not disparaging those authors. They figured out how to play the game and get rewarded financially for it. They earn their money. But for the most part, writing does not pay well. Even in the golden age of traditional publishing, most books never earned back their advances and I've read that most books rarely sold over 400 copies.


With so many self-publishing options, writers no longer have to wait for the golden ticket. They can, with a lot of hard work, build a following and make a little money along the way. They might even strike the mother lode and make a killing. Christopher Paolini and Amanda Hocking managed to do so.

As with any offering to the public you have to be prepared for trolls and critics. You need a thick skin. That is why I highly advise having a tribe. Having people who share your dream and support your goals is priceless.

My advice is to write to feed your soul, because you are driven by love of story, not because you are in a bind and need immediate cash. If success follows, that is a bonus.

For Love or Money?

Books Saved Me

Why Do I Write?

Should You Write A Book

The 3 C's of Successful Authors

Ten Ways Writing is Like Painting

Publishing's Dirty Little Secret

Trolls and the NYT Best Seller List

Offensive Books and the Bully Pulpit

Overcoming Writer's Block

Gifts For Writers

Writing Events with Dates and Status TBA

Whether a one day session, one week conference, or a month-long writing workshop, writing related events are a good way to commune with other writers. They are opportunities to network and get your name out there. In some instances, you can meet and mingle with editors and agents. Some offer critiques or pitching sessions. Nowhere will you find a higher concentration of introverts enjoying each other's company. Local conferences are a good place to meet potential critique groups or recruit members.

Some are free. Some require a fee. Some are more social than others. Many are for new writers, but a few dig deep into craft. You should choose an event that speaks to your needs and desires.

Unfortunately with the pandemic, many in person events have been cancelled. Some have been replaced with virtual events, podcasts, or online classes and lectures.

Virtual events allow for a wider audience and lower costs since attendance does not require travel and lodging. The following list is of conferences with their status to be determined.

The Agile Writer Conference, Richmond, Virginia. The 2020 event was virtual. Check site for updates regarding 2021. https://naiwe.com/

Alaska Writers Guild Conference. Check site for updated information on the 2021 event. https://www.alaskawritersguild.com/

Annual Digital Author and Indie Publishing Writers Conference in Van Nuys, CA check site for plans for 2021. http://wcwriters.com/da/

Bear River Writers' Conference, Boyne City, Michigan. Postponed the 2020 conference until 2021. Visit site for updates. https://lsa.umich.edu/bearriver

BookCon in Midtown Manhattan, check their site for updates regarding the 2021 events. http://www.thebookcon.com/

7th Annual Broadleaf Writers Conference visit site for updates on future conferences. http://broadleafwriters.com/

Castle Rock Writers' Conference, Castle Rock, Colorado.  The 2020 event was a one day virtual conference. Visit site for updates about 2021. http://castlerockwriters.com/

Central Coast Writers Conference, San Luis Obispo, California check site for plans for a virtual 2021 conference. https://www.cuesta.edu/communityprograms/writers-conference/

Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference. Visit their website for dates and status for 2021. http://chicagospringfling.com/

Columbus State Community College Writers Conference in Columbus, Ohio was cancelled in 2020. Check site for updates regarding 2021. https://www.cscc.edu/academics/departments/english/writers-conference/index.html

Clockwork Alchemy Steampunk Conference, Hyatt Regency SFO, Burlingame, CA Dates and status to be announced. http://www.clockworkalchemy.com/#/about

Deadly Ink in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey was cancelled for 2020. Visit the site for updates about 2021. https://deadly-ink.com

Erma Bombeck Writers' WorkshopUniversity of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio Recordings (and bonus Q&A sessions with keynoters) from the 2020 virtual workshop will be available through the end of 2021. http://humorwriters.org/

Fishtrap Summer Weekend, Wallowa Lake Lodge, Joseph, Oregon. The 2020 conference was virtual. Check site for plans for 2021. https://fishtrap.org/summer-fishtrap-2020-workshops-2/

February, March, and April 2021 Fishtrap Writing Workshops at the Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon will be held online via Zoom. Recordings of workshops may be made available to registered students. https://fishtrap.org/writing-workshops/

Get Away to Write Retreat, New Smyrna Beach, FL Dates have not yet been released. https://murphywriting.com/workshops/get-away-to-write-florida-writing-retreat/

Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, Los Angeles, California. The 2020 conference was virtual. Check site for plans for the 2021 conference. 
http://www.wcwriters.com/aglawc/index.html

Hampton Roads Writers holds events throughout the year. Check their site for schedule and details. http://hamptonroadswriters.org/tps2021.php

Highlights Foundation holds classes and virtual workshops. Visit their site for details. https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/upcoming-workshops/

History Writers of America Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, VA has not yet announced plans for the 2021 event. https://hwa.clubexpress.com/

INd'Scribe Con and Book Festival, Peoria, Illinois. The 2020 conference was virtual. Check the site for plans for 2021. https://www.indscribe.com/

Juniper Institute for Young Writers, Amherst, Massachusetts. Event is for high school students finishing grades 9, 10, or 11. 2020's virtual conference was held in December. Plans for 2021 are for a virtual conference with dates to be announced. https://www.umass.edu/juniperyoungwriters

Kenyon Review Young Writers WorkshopKenyon College, Gambier, Ohio Visit the site for online reservations for events. https://www.kenyonreview.org/workshops/young-writers/

The National Black Writers Conference Biennial Symposium, New York. Check site for dates and status for 2021. https://centerforblackliterature.com/nbwc/

Midwest Writers Workshop, Muncie, Indiana. Check site for updates about the 2021 event. https://www.midwestwriters.org/

Mississippi Writers Conference was cancelled for 2020. Check site for updates for 2021. http://www.mississippiwritersguild.com/

New York State Summer Writers Institute, Skidmore College, New York Applications for New York State Summer Writers Institute will become available in early 2021. We expect to announce more details about the program at that time. Until then, we will continue to plan with the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff as our top priority. 
https://www.skidmore.edu/summerwriters/

North Carolina Writers Conference holds multiple events each year. Check site for dates and status for 2021. https://www.ncwriters.org/programs-and-services/conferences

North Coast Redwoods Writers' Conference in Crescent City, CA. Check site for dates and status for 2021. http://www.ncrwc.org/

Northern Woodlands Conference in Corinth, Vermont. Check the site for status and updates for 2021. https://northernwoodlands.org/conference

Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, New Hampshire. The 2020 workshop was online. No mention of plans for 2021 yet. Odyssey offers other online resources such as classes, webinars, critiques, podcasts, etc. 
http://www.odysseyworkshop.org/
 
33rd Annual Pennwriters Conference, Lancaster, PA dates and status to be announced. https://pennwriters.org/

PNWA Annual Writer's Conference was held virtually in 2020. Check the site for status and updates for 2021. https://www.pnwa.org/page/conference

Pittsburgh Writing Workshop, in Pittsburgh, PA. Check site for updates and status for 2021. https://pittsburghwritingworkshop.com/

Ridgefield Writers Conference was virtual in 2020. Check their site for updates and status for 2021. http://ridgefieldwritersconference.blogspot.com/

Rochester Writers Conference was virtual in 2020. Check their site for updates and status for 2021. https://rochesterwriters.com/

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Workshop, Denver, Colorado Plans for 2021 to be announced. http://rmfw.org/conference/

Romance Writers of America, San Francisco, California. Check site for plans for the summer 2021 event. https://www.rwa.org/Online/Events/Conferences.aspx

Sanibel Writers Conference was held virtually for 2020. Check site for plans for 2021. https://www.fgcu.edu/siwc/index.aspx

Santa Barbara Writers ConferenceSanta Barbara, California was cancelled in 2020. Check site for updates for the status of 2021.http://www.sbwriters.com/

Sewanee Writers’ ConferenceUniversity of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. The 2020 conference was replaced with online opportunities. Check site for plans for 2021. http://www.sewaneewriters.org/

Sirenland Writer's Conference. Check site for updates and status. https://sirenland.net/application/

Slice Literary Writers Conference is a virtual event tentatively scheduled for September 2021. Check site for status and updates. https://slicelitcon.org/

Stonecrest Writers Conference at the University of Southern Maine has not announced plans for an event in 2021 yet. Check site for updates and status. https://usm.maine.edu/stonecoastmfa/stonecoast-summer-writers-conference-application

Summer Writing Program at The Capitalocene Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado has not finalized plans for 2021. Check their site for updates. http://www.naropa.edu/academics/swp/index.php

Tennessee Mountain Writers annual conference in Oakridge, Tennessee to be determined for 2021. https://tmwi.org/

The Writer’s Digest Annual ConferenceNew York, NY. The 2020 conference was virtual in November 2020. Check site for plans for the 2021 conference. http://writersdigestconference.com/

Writers Police Academy, Murdercon, Raleigh, N.C. The 2020 conference went virtual. Check site for plans for 2021. https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/

RETURNING IN 2022/2023

April 7 - 10, 2022 Left Coast Crime, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

2022 San Francisco Writers Conference in San Francisco, California will return in 2022. Check their site for online classes and podcasts. https://sfwriters.org/

2022 Murder in the Magic City, Homewood Library, Birmingham, Alabama is cancelled for 2021 and hopes to resume in 2022. http://www.mmcmysteryconference.com/

May 6 - 7, 2022, Lakefly Writing Contests and Conference at he Oshkosh Convention Center in Wisconsin is tentatively scheduled for 2022. Check site for updates. https://lakeflywriters.org/

2022 Historical Romance Retreat, Riverside, California. Plans are to resume the conference in 2022. https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com/

2023 Highlights Writing Making Magic Writing and Refining Fantastical and Otherworldly Stories Milanville, PA Registration is full for 2022. Check with the site for 2023. https://highlightsfoundation.secure.retreat.guru/program/making-magic-writing-and-refining-fantastical-and-otherworld-stories-2020