Conference 2015-Style



Jim McFarlane


By Jim McFarlane
SCWW Treasurer

No five-minute walks on Myrtle Beach between conference classes in 2015. SCWW is rebuilding its finances after shedding (shredding?) the hotel contract.

This year, we’re doing something new—partnering with South Carolina Book Festival. SCBF is providing SCWW with the “Carolina A” lecture room at the Metropolitan Conference Center in Columbia on Sunday afternoon, May 17, and SCWW has contacted some of its members and/or former conference faculty to teach several introductory classes in the art of novel writing to the general public. And it’s all free for SCWW, its faculty, its members and the public. Because “free” fits our 2015 budget.

The Sunday presentations in the Carolina A room are:

12:30 pm – 1:20 pm How to Get Started by Kim Boykin and Brenda Remmes

1:40 pm – 2:30 pm Plot and Character Development within a Novel by Barbara Evers and  Kasie Whitener

2:50 pm – 3:40 pm Publishing Options by Susan M. Boyer,  David Burnsworth and  Mike Long

4:00 pm – 4:50 pm Slush Fest

The SCWW Board hopes this reaching out to the public will accomplish several good things for our organization:

  • Increase public awareness of South Carolina Writers Workshop and its mission
  • Recruit new members
  • Deliver a free mini-conference to our members

We hope you can join us in Columbia on Sunday, May 17, for an afternoon of education and camaraderie. I feel fairly certain this will become an annual event for us.

Speaking of conferences/seminars and considering the future…

At the wonderful (and inexpensive) Rock Hill Intensive seminar last week, people asked me if SCWW would have another Myrtle Beach Conference in October 2016. The answer is, I don’t know. But the question triggered more questions.

Is the main purpose to expose our members to New York agents and editors? That is a worthy goal but expensive because of airfare, hotel lodgings and food.

People suggested our former Myrtle Beach locales of Ocean Creek and the Landmark Hotel, which are certainly cheaper for both food and rooms. We outgrew those facilities years ago but maybe we have shrunk enough to fit again.

Someone else suggested the lovely, rural Palm Key, advertised as Nature’s Paradise in the South Carolina Lowcountry (about five miles from Exit #28 on I-95 and free of distracting televisions and phones), which can accommodate about 150 people.

Do we repeat the one-day Columbia convention of 2014? It was successful and made a little money.

Is Myrtle Beach an attraction or a hindrance because of its non-central location?

Does an expensive hotel price out many of our members?

Do we focus on agents/editors, writing craft or both?

Can we afford classes on poetry and screen-writing, both of which have low attendance? Should we have a separate, smaller conference for them?

Instead of a big conference, should we have mini-conferences scattered around the state, such as Rock Hill’s?

Like most of life—many questions and opportunities with few clear answers.


Jim McFarlane, father of four grown-up and dispersed children, lives in Greer with his wife and Jack Russell terrier in the house he mostly built himself after retirement. His hobbies include genealogy, writing novels about interesting ancestors, and taming his acre of wilderness.

2 Responses

  1. Kim Blum-Hyclak
    May 3, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Also much like life – growing, changing and always becoming something new. Excited to see what the future holds for SCWW. Great post Jim.

  2. Steve Gordy
    May 3, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I personally find the exposure to the wider world of publishing beneficial, but the expense is too much for a lot of people. The association with the SC Book Festival will be very helpful; it’s something I would like to see continue.

Leave a Reply