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The Writing Excuses Conference 2019

Writing Excuses

Friday, September 13, 2019 at 2:00 PM - Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM (CDT)

The Writing Excuses Conference 2019

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Remaining Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Interior Cabin (double occupancy, price per person)
Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King and private bathroom. (150 sq. ft.) Also includes minibar, hair-dryer, TV, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers, and 110/220 electrical outlets. Some have Pullman beds and can accommodate 3-4 guests *This price is per person, double occupancy and includes NCCF, taxes and gratuities. See FAQ for private cabin rates.
30 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,775.00 $109.69
Promenade Cabin (double occupancy, price per person)   more info 14 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,825.00 $112.73
Oceanview Cabin (double occupancy, price per person)
Two twin beds that convert to Royal King and private bathroom. (159 sq. ft.) Also includes minibar, hair-dryer, TV, phone, computer jack, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers, and 110/220 electrical outlets. *This price is per person, double occupancy and includes NCCF, taxes and gratuities. See FAQ for private cabin rates.
15 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,900.00 $117.29
Balcony Cabin (double occupancy, price per person)
Two twin beds that convert to Royal King, sitting area, private balcony and private bathroom. (184 sq. ft. Balcony 46 to 66 sq. ft.) Also includes minibar, vanity area, hair-dryer, TV, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers and 110/220 electrical outlets. *This price is per person double occupancy and includes NCCF, taxes, and gratuities. See FAQ for private cabin rates.
27 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $2,000.00 $123.38
Family rate - Interior Cabin
Use this to include a family member in your interior stateroom. Since they aren't attending seminars, we can offer a discounted fare. (Note:children between the ages of 12-17, may attend classes with a responsible adult at the family fare rate) The rooms hold only two people. If you want to bring more than one family member, use the "Contact the Organizer" button in the right sidebar of this page.
10 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,275.00 $79.25
Family rate - Promenade cabin   more info 10 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,325.00 $82.29
Family rate - Oceanview Cabin
Use this to include a family member in your oceanview cabin. Since they aren't attending seminars, we can offer a discounted fare. (Note:children between the ages of 12-17, may attend classes with a responsible adult at the family fare rate) The rooms hold only two people. If you want to bring more than one family member, use the "Contact the Organizer" button in the right sidebar of this page.
10 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,400.00 $86.85
Family rate - Balcony Cabin
Use this to include a family member in your balcony cabin. Since they aren't attending seminars, we can offer a discounted fare. (Note:children between the ages of 12-17, may attend classes with a responsible adult at the family fare rate) The rooms hold only two people. If you want to bring more than one family member, use the "Contact the Organizer" button in the right sidebar of this page.
10 Tickets Aug 1, 2019 $1,600.00 $99.03

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Event Details

The 2019 Writing Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat will be held from September 13 through September 22nd on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas.

It's a cruise ship.

The base price covers a nine-day event, including intensive seminars, writing exercises, small group breakout sessions, and writing time, plus two nights at the hotel, double-occupancy lodging on the ship, meals aboard ship, and a cruise to three different Caribbean destinations. The conference begins on land in our hotel in Houston, TX before transferring to the cruise ship and continuing for a week at sea. Attendees will also be invited to attend live recordings of episodes of the Hugo award-winning podcast Writing Excuses, hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells.

Sea, Space, and Writing... what more do you want?

ITINERARY

  • September 13 - Houston, Texas - Registration and opening night welcome reception.
  • September 14 - Houston, Texas - Orientation and classes ashore
  • September 15 - Galveston, TX - Transfer to the ship, boarding, and classes.
  • September 16 - At Sea - Classes and writing time.
  • September 17 - Cozumel, Mexico
  • September 18 - Georgetown, Grand Cayman
  • September 19 - Falmouth, Jamaica
  • September 20 - At Sea - Classes and writing time.
  • September 21 - At Sea - Classes and writing time.
  • September 22 - Return to port in Galveston and transfer to Houston, TX.

SEMINARS

Each seminar is geared for working writers who are interested in leveling up their skill set. These will include writing exercises and Q&A time with the instructor.

Some topics from the 2018 workshop as a sample:

  • The Agent's Guide - a three-session masterclass
  • Characterization through Dialog
  • Diagnosing Story Problems
  • Poetry as a Tool for Fiction
  • Description, Language, and Writing Inclusive Fiction
  • Fine-tuning the Funny: a Toolbox for Writing Humor
  • Structuring Life to Support Creativity
  • View the full 2018 schedule as a sample.

FAMILY SEMINARS

Because balancing family and fiction is often difficult, we are including a number of classes specifically for family members.

Topics include:

  • So, you have a writer in the family
  • How to critique your writer without breaking them.
  • Finances of freelance writers

ADDITIONAL BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Participants will also be able to sign up for a limited number of additional breakout sessions or one-on-one sessions with individual instructors. There is no additional charge for these, but because of the size of the event we may not be able to accommodate everyone with their first choice.

These breakout sessions include:
6-member novel critique groups: Members will submit excerpts up to 3000 words for critique by the group as well as one of the podcasters. (Please note that this means you are committing to critique the stories of the other group members.)

6-member short story critique groups: Members will submit short stories up to 3000 words for critique by the group as well as one of the podcasters. (Please note that this means you are committing to critique the stories of the other group members.)

One-on-one Q&As: This is a 25-minute one-on-one session with one of the hosts, and you decide how that time will be spent. We can critique the first five pages of a manuscript, practice making a pitch, drill down on a worldbuilding conundrum, answer specific questions, or offer general advice.

"Office Hours": Each morning, instructors are available for individual drop-in sessions to cover those questions that come up mid-cruise.

INSTRUCTORS

Our instructors cover a range of genres and experiences. In addition to lectures, each instructor will also participate in critique sessions, one-on-one discussions, and social time with the participants.

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. By junior high he had lost interest in the novels suggested to him, and he never cracked a book if he could help it. Then an eighth-grade teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was finishing his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. In 2005 Brandon held his first published novel, Elantris, in his hands. Tor also published six books in Brandon’s Mistborn series, along with Warbreaker and then The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first two in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series are being released by Starscape (Tor). Brandon was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; the final book, A Memory of Light, was released in 2013. That year also marked the releases of YA novels The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.

mystery guestOur first Mystery Guest is an award-winning author whose career is made of awesome.

This guest has experience with both fiction and non-fiction and is widely regarded as a warm and generous instructor. They are best known for [redacted] and [redacted]. You can find more about this instructor when we reveal their name on January 1st.


 

 

 

 

 

Dan Wells and his hatDan Wells, a New York Times bestselling author best known for his horror series I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, of which the first book is now an award-winning movie through IFC Midnight. His other novels include THE HOLLOW CITY, a supernatural thriller about schizophrenia, EXTREME MAKEOVER, in which a beauty company destroys the world, and two young adult science fiction series: the post-apocalypse PARTIALS and the cyberpunk MIRADOR. He has written for television on the upcoming science fiction series EXTINCT, and wrote and produced the horror comedy stage play A NIGHT OF BLACKER DARKNESS. He cohosts the Hugo-winning podcast for aspiring writers called Writing Excuses, which has expanded to include its own writing conference. He also writes short fiction and game fiction, and he edited the anthology ALTERED PERCEPTIONS to help raise funds for and awareness of mental illness. He lives in northern Utah with his wife, six children, and more than 400 boardgames.


DongWon SongDongWon Song is an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adult, and middle grade readers as well as select non-fiction. He was formerly an editor at Orbit and a product manager for the ebook startup, Zola Books and has taught as an adjunct instructor in the publishing program at Portland State University.

 






Howard Tayler

Howard Tayler is the writer and illustrator behind Schlock Mercenary, the Hugo-nominated science fiction comic strip. He has written SF horror for the Space Eldritch anthologies and Shadows Beneath, and full-metal fantasy tie-in fiction for Privateer Press. With Alan Bahr and Sandra Tayler, Howard created The Planet Mercenary Role Playing Game, which included well over 100,000 words of world building. Howard is a student of humor, and believes that “funny” is a thing which absolutely can be learned and improved upon. He’s an advocate of focused practice, and praises artists’ skills, rather than saying “you’re so talented,” because he knows that their years of study and refinement are what we see on the pages they create. Howard lives in Orem, Utah with his wife Sandra, their children, and one ungrateful, archetypally imperious cat.

K Tempest Bradford

K Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction writer by night, a media critic and writing instructor by day, and a podcaster in the interstices. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines including Strange Horizons, Electric Velocipede, Diverse Energies, In the Shadow of the Towers, and many more. She's the host of ORIGINality, a podcast about the roots of creative genius, and contributes to several more. Her media criticism and reviews can be found on NPR, io9, and in books about Time Lords. When not writing, she teaches classes on writing inclusive fiction through LitReactor and WritingtheOther.com. Visit her blog at KtempestBradford.com and her Patreon patreon.com/ktempestbradford.

Kathy ChungKathy Chung writes women’s fiction as Kathy Kenzie. Her love for books and writing is driven by her fascination with people, the choices they make, and the relationships that are important to them, romantic and otherwise. She is a sucker for happy endings that make her cry. She is represented by the most excellent Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency. By day, as her alternate self, Kathy Chung, she is the conference coordinator for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. www.siwc.ca, and she researches genealogy, focusing especially on Scottish, English, Welsh, and North American families. When she isn’t working, she goes to great lengths to avoid housework by reading, spending time with family and friends, and quietly adding books to her ever-growing TBR pile. She is a fountain pen addict and may have a tiny problem with chocolate, too.

Mary Robinette Kowal Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: The Glamourist Histories series and Ghost Talkers. She has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. Mary has been a member of the Writing Excuses cast since 2011. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit maryrobinettekowal.com




Piper J. DrakePiper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. Wherever she goes, she enjoys tasting the world and embarking on foodie adventures. Dogs—and horses—have been known to spontaneously join her for a stroll and she enjoys pausing for a nice chat with cats of all sizes, from domestic to tiger size and beyond. Piper aspires to give her readers stories with a taste of the hard challenges in life, a breath of laughter, a broad range of strengths and weaknesses, the sweet taste of kisses, and the heat of excitement across multiple genres.


 

 

Sandra TaylerSandra Tayler is a writer of essays, picture books, speculative fiction, and blog entries. Her day job is being the editor, publisher, and business manager for the Schlock Mercenary comic strip. Her most recent projects have been a short graphic story and the Planet Mercenary RPG book. Sandra can be found online at onecobble.com or on twitter @SandraTayler. When she is not working, Sandra spends time with her house, her four kids, and her cartoonist husband, Howard Tayler.

 

 

 

HARASSMENT POLICY

Writing Excuses is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Instructors, staff, volunteers, and family members are also subject to the anti-harassment policy.
If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact Kathy Chung, or any member of conference staff immediately.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact ship security, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues and conference-related social events.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS

All Writing Excuses seminar attendees must be 18 years of age or older. Children from the ages of 12 to 17 may attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Children aged 11 and under are welcome aboard ship, but cannot attend the Writing Excuses seminars. Child care and age-appropriate curriculum is available through Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean® youth program.

All attendees, attendee guests, and accompanied minors must have a valid passport. Getting onto the ship? You need a passport!

FAMILY RATES

There are plenty of things to do on the cruise ship besides attend the Writing Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat. If you'd like to bring a significant other or family member of any age, it's between $1275 and $1600, depending on cabin type. And if the family member is between the ages of 12 and 17, and has an interest in writing, they can pay that reduced price and still attend the seminars with you. If you want to bring more than three family members, we'll put you in touch with Lisa Harding, our cruise manager, who can help you with pricing and any other arrangements.

A quick note: If you are registering for yourself and a non-writer family member, that is two separate tickets. Your ticket should be the normal cost, and your family member should get the matching "Family Rate" berth. For example, I am bringing my husband, so I've registered for one "Balcony Cabin (double occupancy)" and one "Family rate - Balcony Cabin".

ACCESSIBILITY

The access policy of Writing Excuses follows the Social Model of Disability. This regards barriers to the full participation of disabled people as the fault of society (and more immediately we as the organizers), not the 'fault' of the person with a disability. We further reject any negative value placed on a person because of their disability, or indeed on their disability. Disability isn't good or bad, it just is. Please respect our disabled members by engaging in neither negative stereotyping (eg 'If I was you I'd kill myself' or 'I'd rather be dead than in a wheelchair) nor false pity ("I'll pray for you to be cured') - many disabled people do not want to be cured and regard their disability is a fundamental part of their identity.

Additionally, please note that person first language ("person with disability") is not the universally preferred form of address for disabled people. Many prefer the Social Model and 'disabled person'. Please treat the appropriate form of address for disabled people as you would treat preferred pronoun usage, by asking for their preferred form of address and using it.

We picked Royal Caribbean because their ships are designed to accommodate all of our guests, including people with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities. Read more about the accommodations that are available on Royal Caribbean. In addition, when you fill out the registration form, please let the WX staff know about any accommodations you require. 

REFUND POLICY

  • Full refund minus $250 for fees until June 11th
  • 50% refund until July 15th
  • 25% refund until August 11th
  • No refunds after August 30th

FAQ

Q: What does "double-occupancy" mean?
A: It means that the price is for half of a room. You'll have a roommate. This can be a friend that you arrange to room with ahead of time, it can be a family member, or it can be another Writing Excuses attendee. If you don't have a roommate, we will have an opportunity to match together before the cruise.

Q: Can I get a private room?
A: Yes, but it will cost more. When you register, at the bottom of the form select "Single Occupancy" from the "Additional items.

  • Private Interior cabin: $1300.00 + $600.00 = $1900.00
  • Private Oceanview cabin: $1500.00 +$700.00 = $2200.00
  • Private Balcony cabin: $1700.00 +$1000.00 = $2700.00

Q. What if I don't have a passport yet?

A. All guests must have a valid passport to cruise. If you do not have one yet but are ordering one, you may put "Passport on order" in the passport field. By doing so, you acknowledge that it is your responsibility to acquire a passport before cruising and that you cannot board the ship without one. Writing Excuses is in no way responsible if your passport does not arrive before cruise time.

Q. Which airport should I fly into?
A. Houston Hobby Airport is the closest to our hotel. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is a 30-40 min cab ride away. Please keep that in mind as you book your flights.

Q. When I'm booking my flight, when should I arrive and depart? 
A. Arrive in Houston prior to 7:00 PM on September 13th. On the day of departure, September 22nd, your flight cannot leave before 12:30 PM. Once you have your flight information, please send it to Lisa Harding, our cruise director: 

Q: Can young children attend?
A: Children aged 11 and younger are welcome aboard the ship, but cannot attend the Writing Excuses seminars. Royal Caribbean has an excellent youth program which includes child care. Follow this link for more details about Adventure Ocean®.

Q: What level of writing expertise should I have attained prior to attending?
A: "Level of expertise" is far less important than your desire to improve. The workshop is structured to be accessible and useful for new writers with a passion for learning, and to be challenging and rewarding for seasoned professionals looking for refinement, or additional perspectives. Different classes will be designed for different levels of experience.

Q. Will you have a scholarship again this year? 
A. Yes! We are offering four scholarships. For full details on the scholarships, please visit the Writing Excuses website.

Q: How big is the ship?
A: The Liberty of the Seas holds 3634 guests, of which we'll be a small percentage. The Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat has its own dedicated spaces, ours alone 24 hours a day, for classes, writing time, impromptu discussions, or other activities (like, say, games with Dan). We'll also have our own area of the dining room, and the guests will rotate tables each night to sit with different instructors. While the ship is large, it will be similar to being at a convention in a very nice hotel. You'll know your tribe, you'll know where to find them, and you'll have places to hide from all the scary non-writer people.

Q: How big is the event?
A: There are usually about 200 of us. As mentioned above, the instructors will be hosting different attendees at dinner each night and participating in other activities in order to make ourselves accessible to each and every one of the attendees.

Q. Are there any additional fees?
A: The price of your cruise includes:

  • The Writing Excuses workshops and seminars (for workshop attendees)
  • WiFi
  • Ship accommodations
  • Transfer from the WX Hotel in Houston to the ship and back to Houston again.
  • Ocean transportation
  • Gratuities
  • Most meals onboard (To be clear, it is possible to have all of your meals in venues that are covered.)
  • Some beverages onboard
  • Most entertainment onboard

The following services are not included in the cruise price:

  • Dining in Specialty Restaurants such as Portofino
  • Dining in Johnny Rockets (Where applicable)
  • Spa and Salon services
  • Golf Simulator
  • Gambling (Including Bingo)
  • Art Auction
  • Any purchases made in the gift shops onboard
  • Shore excursions
  • Photographs
  • Video Arcade
  • Medical Services
  • Transfers (Unless guest has purchased an air/sea package)
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services
  • Ship to Shore Telephone calls
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages (excluding water, lemonade and iced tea)
Have questions about The Writing Excuses Conference 2019? Contact Writing Excuses

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When & Where


Liberty of the Seas
Houston Marriott South
9100 Gulf Fwy
Houston, TX 77017

Friday, September 13, 2019 at 2:00 PM - Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM (CDT)


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