Mystery Writers Forum

The Business of Writing => Conferences/Groups/Conventions => Topic started by: LPOBryan on November 04, 2013, 04:30:42 AM

Title: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: LPOBryan on November 04, 2013, 04:30:42 AM
I found the previous post about the above conference while doing I search. I was shocked.

I attended Algonkian conferences in NYC and San Francisco in 2009 and 2010. They were among the best experiences in my writing life.

I met some of the most powerful people in the publishing industry, both major publishers and agents. I am not a friend or relative of anyone at Algonkian. I live in Ireland.

I was offered a publishing contract by Harper Collins UK soon after my last visit to an Algonkian conference. I am now translated into 10 languages. My last novel is doing well in the US Kindle charts too: The images at the back were taken on my trip to NYC.

I just want to set the record straight for anyone interested.
Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: MichaelNeff on November 10, 2013, 09:36:24 AM
Laurence, hi.

Thanks so much for adding your voice to the many who have posted here ( in support of Algonkian Writers Conference events and in contrast to critics who have never attended a single conference or workshop. Like you, I was shocked also. The "CourtneyLove" smear poster was a disgruntled and hostile applicant named Rachel who we rejected from the New York Pitch Conference for a number of reasons (and our decision was correct!). She assumed various pseudos and posted attacks around the Internet, at least four in one day beginning on the Algonkian Facebook page (http:// and spreading out from there. It was a futile waste of time for her, but such tantrum-like behavior can be embarrassing to everyone concerned. Anyone with any sense can see it's nonsense, but I can't be more grateful that you stopped by here to tell the truth.

Would love to visit you in Ireland, btw!

Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: MichaelNeff on November 10, 2013, 09:52:05 AM
And congrats on MANHATTAN PUZZLE. That's one helluva cover, sir.
Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: Keelykaplan on November 10, 2013, 08:47:29 PM
Any Algonkian alum would be head scratching at this point. It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad, but the world is filled with far great tragedies. As I said on another board ( where I chimed in with regards to some dialogue on the workshops, "Algonkian is not Squaw Valley. Algonkian is not like a Writer's Digest conference, or like any other big conference event. Algonkian is also not like Tin House or Bread Loaf or any of the feel good writer retreats."

The faculty taught me what I didn't know, and that was considerable. That includes you, Michael! You are intimidating at first, but that was a projection, I think. You're really a warm fuzzy bear. I know you and Caitlin and Shannon and all the others care about us.

Thanks to you guys I have six agents requesting fulls.

Love You,
Ms. K
Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: LoisG on November 11, 2013, 07:55:27 AM
I attended a conference near S.F. a couple of years ago, and came away disappointed because Michael Neff told me my ms would never see the light of day. Know what? He actually knows his stuff, and I came to see that he was right. But I also came away with a head full of knowledge and new skills that have made me a better writer, and only now am I ready to pitch my ms with any realistic expectation of being published.
Neff is a tough taskmaster, and the Algonkian approach is not for snowflakes; that is clearly stated on the website. If you can't take the heat...
Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: Keelykaplan on November 11, 2013, 09:50:44 AM
Amen! A bunch of people sitting around a room praising each other or making ignorant comments is a shameful waste of time. Algonkian was the first to give me the reality checks.
Title: Re: Algonkian Writers Conference
Post by: MichaelNeff on November 11, 2013, 03:01:02 PM
On a completely different and more productive note, I'm posting here the new coverage bullets we developed for Algonkian and Author Salon ms coverage. It was modified from the AEI Film and Books coverage model. This might be useful for the writers here. Of course, a couple of extra bullets relative to mystery/thriller genre would fit right in.

Another thing. We're looking for mystery/suspense/thriller readers who are willing to read manuscripts as agent interns.

As follows:


    Originality, freshness, high concept
    Clear target readership


    Act Zero backstory development
    Concise, effective setup with inciting incident
    Plot line arc, and subplots (if appropriate)
    Well designed reversals (major and minor)
    Pinch points (at least two)
    Catalytic situation driven
    Conflict, tension, rising action,
    Every scene relevant (i.e., to driving plot forward)
    Effective, believable climax


    Antagonistic force
    Consistent opposition
    Protagonistís goals
    Sympathetic protagonist
    Protagonistís arc
    Supporting characters


    Scene length and structure
    Effective transitions
    Clarity of spatial set
    Comprehensible prose narrative
    Tension on the page
    Dialogue mastery
    Exposition delivery
    Narrative composition (quality of set, tension, cinema, character interactions)
    Cinematic imagery (static and dynamic)
    Proper point-of-view
    Wise use of craft technique
    Interior Monologue and rumination


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