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Writers, agents, contest, and more offered at annual workshop

Enter a 3,000-word manuscript into contest by midnight July 15, 2017

UTPB retiree Dr. Tom Parks has made his mark in writing books as well as in stage, screen and film. He will be one of the experts presenting at the Permian Basin Writers Workshop in September.  He will present

Photo courtesy of the Permian Basin Writers Workshop.

UTPB retiree Dr. Tom Parks has made his mark in writing books as well as in stage, screen and film. He will be one of the experts presenting at the Permian Basin Writers Workshop in September. He will present "Writing the Play" as he has had some plays produced Off-Broadway.

Kelsie Clifton, Features Writer and Columnist

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UTPB graduate and award-winning writer Sara Barnard will speak on romance writing, Young Adult novels, and children’s books.

On September 15 – 17, 2017, there will be a Permian Basin Writers Workshop (PBWW) held at Midland College. The workshop is administered under the Permian Basin Bookies which is a nonprofit organization of West Texas writers who seek to spotlight and bring national recognition to local talent in the area. The workshop was originally founded by the Midland County Library.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring teachers of writing and writers together for a workshop with authors in diverse genres and levels of the writing craft. All writers are encouraged and welcomed to submit an entry whether you are non-published, self-published, traditionally published or just beginning your writing journey.

The actual contest is open now and ends at midnight July 15, 2017. Those who want to enter will need to submit the first 3,000 words of their unpublished manuscript. It does not matter if it is a completed work or a work in progress. You will also be required to submit a 500-word synopsis. Each submission that is accepted will receive feedback in the form of critiques from the authors. The cost for each submission is $30 and those entering will be allowed a total of three unique submissions. Submit here.

The winners will be announced at the PBWW on September 15 – 17. Winners from each category will additionally receive reviews that can be used on social media and book outlets and a personal interview with a Literary Agent.

The genres to choose from are:

Middle Grade/Young Adult (YA)

Romance

Suspense/Thriller/Mystery

Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror

General Fiction/Literary Fiction

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Christian/Spiritual works.

Cost to enter a submission is $30 and up to three submissions per person is permitted. Submit here.

Recent retiree, Dr. Tom Parks, former director of the John Ben Shepperd Institute and former Dean of the College of Education, will be one of the presenters at the workshop. Along with him, is romance writer and UTPB alumina, Sara Barnard, will also be presenting as well.

Parks presentation will focus on the differences between writing for the movies or stage plays and writing the narrative.

“In so many ways, these different approaches tap the same source but in so many ways they are different.  I am lucky to be on a panel with James Fite, an award-winning movie director and David Bryant Perkins, who is here scouting locations for his award-winning screenplay,” Parks said.

Barnard attended the first PBWW and said she received a lot of good feedback from agents as a participant. She will be presenting on writing Romance and YA and is excited to get this opportunity.

“I have attended several conferences, but this is the second time this had been put on here in the Permian Basin and I’m honored to be speaking,” she informed.

Parks has written, edited or published twelve books, including a best-selling guide on language usage and grammar, a children’s novel, short stories, literary anthologies, and over 200 essays, articles, and features.

Over the past two years, Park’s plays have been produced in Chicago, Off-Broadway in New York City, Odessa, have won awards in Washington DC and Virginia and two of his short plays were made into movies earlier this year. He explained that he has always loved language and writing comes easily to him sustaining him better than almost anything in life.

“I think if you really love what you’re writing about, writing is a natural for you, whether fiction, poetry, or non-fiction.  My books vary in subject, tone and purpose – from a children’s novel to a popular paperback on language usage to short stories, plays and movies. In every case, I had an over-arching sense that I needed to share, whether it was a different character, a plot full of surprising twists, a mystery, adventure –  the works. And writing is how I share my life with others,” Parks stated.

Parks believes that this event is important because writing of any kind can be a lonely business.

“As a writer, you sit there, nursing some overwhelming urge to share some particular insight or story, and the only way for that to become part of the physical world is for you to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.  Good writing doesn’t come from committees. You’re it, and sometimes it is extremely valuable to share that motivation with others who are going through the same grueling process,” he said.

Barnard began writing in the third grade after winning first place for an essay contest over the subject of animals where she wrote about the life and ultimately death of her beloved tomcat. Barnard’s award-winning publication list has expanded to include Civil War Historical Romance, Amish Romance, Amish Adventure, Christian Western, Time-Travel YA, Light Horror, Native American Middle-Grade fiction, Children’s Nonfiction, anthology pieces, and picture books.

She believes that this workshop brings a different level of depth to the Permian Basin and gives everyone a chance to learn from others who have done it and been in their shoes.

“We didn’t have any of this around when I was stuck at home, behind a computer, working on a book, and not knowing if I was doing it right, wrong or ugly. I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I think events like this gets us, the literary community, out from behind the computers, out of the house, and it helps us learn from each other because everyone is going to struggle and have pitfalls and then comes the successes,” Barnard said.

Parks counts himself fortunate to be identified as someone who can share some of his successes and failures in writing that will help others with the same commitment and dedication to the written word. The advice that he would give to student writers who would like to enter is to go to the event, take their best work, and be glad to share it.

You can be a spring whirlwind, circling on yourself until you play out, or you can be a tornado, with currents so strong that you make a mark in people’s lives who come in contact with you – a force to be reckoned with”

— Dr. Tom Parks

. Join the world of the writer and be glad for the opportunity to live in this rarefied atmosphere,” Parks stated. “In practically every single person alive, there is a writer waiting to appear to the world, and workshops like this one help mightily for that to happen.”

Barnard encourages student writers who may be hesitant of their work to not stop writing no matter what.

“Do not stop writing. It doesn’t matter what you write. If you want to sit down and turn your grocery list into a poem, if you want to turn your walk in the morning into a haiku, just keep those words flowing because you never know where the diamond in the rough is going to be,” she stated. “When I was writing, a Heart on Hold, I would have writer’s block quite often. While navigating those waters, I started writing children’s nonfiction which was a children’s plant book designed to get kids outside. It was completely opposite. The door of creativity would slam shut and this offered a door to let the breeze in.”

For more information, and to view the presenters, click here.

Students attending the three-day workshop only pay $25 at the door. Scholarships are available. Fill out a contact form for a scholarship here.

 

For more on Parks’ success see the Midland Reporter-Telegram feature.

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Writers, agents, contest, and more offered at annual workshop