By Corey Campbell

More than 1000 people turned out to an event that’s been described as a “pep rally” for writers on a recent Sunday in September: the Writers Faire, our annual celebration of the writing life.

The festive event featured 24 mini-panels and lectures running in six different classrooms, so attendees had many opportunities to get first-hand advice from professional writers and see their favorite instructors in action.

This year, more than 75 Writers’ Program instructors spoke with each other at length on different aspects of writing and the writing life. Topics included: the one-hour drama series, writing the memoir, screenplay structure, short fiction, finding the right voice for your work, publishing your nonfiction book, crafting compelling characters…. and more.

The Writers Faire also featured a handful of select Los Angeles-area graduate writing programs and more than 15 writing-related professional and community organizations and businesses. This year’s lineup included PEN USA, WriteGirl, Final Draft, West Hollywood Book Fair, Organization of Black Screenwriters, and Independent Writers of Southern California, among others.

How do Writers’ Program teachers describe the experience?

Screenwriting instructor Beverly Gray said, “The Faire provides a wonderful sense of community. It’s exhilarating to see so many writers in one place, both the seasoned professionals and those who aspire to join their ranks. I also love the fact that screenwriters can rub shoulders with writers of poetry, plays, and prose fiction, and that there’s so much opportunity to share writing tips, gossip, and good advice.”

Novel writing instructor Leslie Lehr said, “It’s unusual to find so many writers of varying experience in one place with the same goal in mind. There’s no competition or feeling of anyone being better than anyone else. You really get a sense of how important it is to have a voice and how we are all in this, as writers, together.”

“It’s like going to a pep rally before the start of a big game,” screenwriting instructor Will Hasley said. “You leave determined more than anything that you are going to write that idea that is burning inside of you no matter what. It’s a great way to get your creative juices motivated.”

In other words, this event gives a large community of writers a gathering place. Join us next year! Mark your calendars now for Writers Faire 2008: Sunday, September 7, 2008. See you there!

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