The registration for the SCWW 2011 conference is just around the corner. We’ll be posting links (one for those who pay via check and one for those who pay via credit card) on the SCWW website shortly. Also, in the coming days we’ll be adding more faculty bios and other tidbits you’ll want to read about how to make the most of your annual conference experience.

In the meantime, here’s a crash course to make your critique materials submissions go as smoothly as possible.

1. Please make sure you send an email copy to, as well as mailing TWO physical copies to:
Carrie McCullough
2240 Cadden Road
Augusta, GA 30906
You’ll receive a confirmation, via email, when we receive each piece. As a new feature this year, you’ll receive the name of the faculty member doing your critique and your appointment time before the conference. For more information on this, be sure to visit the website.

2. Please, do not send your physical copies with a request for signature/delivery confirmation, etc. As the planners of this conference are volunteers with traditional jobs, we are not always available to sign for deliveries. Sending your materials with these requirements might result in the packages being returned to you by the post office. Again, we promise to send you an email confirming that we received your package.

3. Please be sure to follow standard formatting for your critique materials. Do not alter your margins to get more of your writing in for the critique. Do not alter from the standard paragraphing/spacing, etc. The faculty members will be reading a lot of work and we want everything to presented in the most professional manner possible.

4. Please mark your genre during the registration process. If you aren’t sure, get in touch with a member of the Board, who should be able to help.

5. If you do not pay for a critique during the registration process, you will not be given an appointment time. In the past, there has been some confusion about registering for appointments (critiques, pitches and queries). The portion to register for the payment part of an appointment is in the first section of the registration process. The selection of your genre and faculty preferences will appear later in the process. To get a critique appointment, you’ll need to fill both sections out properly. Should you select faculty members and not select a critique line item ($50 for standard and $100 for extended), someone will contact you. If you select a critique line item and not include faculty preferences, we’ll also contact you.

6. We cannot confirm your faculty member until we receive your materials. This is just to make sure the faculty member you requested accepts the genre you’ve submitted.

7. Appointment times are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. This means you’ll want to register for the conference early to get your first preferences.

8. Critiques are non-fundable once we receive your materials.

9. No changes to faculty appointments may be made after we receive your materials.

10. Critique appointments will be Friday. This will allow the faculty to provide the one-on-one appointment times, while still being able to teach sessions Saturday and Sunday and accommodate pitch and real-time query appointments.

If you have any questions, please check the Critiques page on the SCWW conference site, or contact Carrie McCullough at 706-564-7998 or

Conference Volunteers

By Kia Goins

Thank you to everyone who offered to volunteer at this year’s conference. We had a great number of people to select from and it was a difficult choice. If you weren’t selected this year, I hope you will offer again next year, we can’t do it without you.
Our volunteers come from South Carolina, North Carolina and beyond. We are indeed a national organization.
The volunteers are:

J. Michael Robertson - Mt. Pleasant
Joann Kelley - Greenville
Christina Ruotolo, Greenville
Jayne Bowers - Camden
Kathryn Lovatt - Camden
Shelby Adams Lloyd - Southport, NC
Stephanie E. Reed - Moncks Corner
Beth Browne
Teresa Burgher - Mexico, Missouri
Susan Jeffers
Brooke Buffington - Anderson
Shane Stewart - Myrtle Beach
Lauren Allen - Lugoff

Thank you again to all who offered to help, I hope to see you in Myrtle Beach this October!

What's in a chapter name?

Membership in a voluntary association, unlike a marriage, requires no vow of fidelity "for better, for worse." If SCWW is to thrive, it must strive to earn the loyalty of its members against the clamor from other organizations and causes that contend for our time and attention.

Having strong local groups is one of the ties that bind us. Not all our members belong to a chapter. Many of our "unaffiliated" members reside outside South Carolina, but there are some within this state. Perhaps we should look at why we have chapters and what we expect from them.

It seems reasonable to expect three primary things from the state-chapter relationship. First, a local chapter should provide a safe environment in which to meet with fellow writers to share experiences and learning. Second, a local chapter should endeavor to advance the craft of writing in their communities. Third, a local chapter should seek out ways to improve our organization at the state level; conversely, the state should do the same for local chapters. In other words, a strong state association and strong local groups should operate by Covey's ryke if "Win-win or no deal." This brings three questions to mind.

My first question to our membership is: What should SCWW do to help our local chapters function effectively? If we have members who don't feel at home in any local chapter, why do they feel this way?

Second question: Are there ways in which we can extend the best parts of the "chapter experience" to those who live outside South Carolina?

Third, do we have the right kind of chapters? Presently, all our chapters are geographically based. Is our present chapter structure the right one for our membership? Do we need to create virtual groups or interest groups for those who write in genres such as steam punk, sci-fi, and historical fiction, which may have not have much interest at the local level?

I'd be interested in knowing how our members would answer these questions. If you think there's something we can do to strengthen both our chapters and the state organization, please get in touch with me.

Steve Gordy
Chapter Liaison

The Company We Keep

I imagine my life is like many writers'. My family and friends think it's great that I write - but ask if I've 'hired an agent yet.' As much as I try to protect my writing space, my writing time gets chopped by phone calls, appointments, and other interruptions since I 'don't have a job and I'm home all day anyway.'

I crave the company of those who understand that it's ok to spend more than eight hours crafting a poem. That deleting a whole chapter is not a waste of time or words but a way to tighten the story. That pulling at my hair when just the right word eludes me is not crazy behavior - and neither is conversing with my characters to make sure I'm getting the dialogue right.

So I'm a member of several critique groups, I attend author and poet readings, and I slip away to workshops and conferences every chance I get.

The upcoming SCBookFest is another chance. The SCBookFest is not a workshop or conference on craft, but a two-day celebration of books and authors held at the Columbia Convention Center. It's this weekend, the 14th and 15th, and if you enjoy books and/or writing this is a great place to spend some time. And it's free!

Throughout each day you can hear author panels discuss their books and genre and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions about their work. Here's a spattering if this year's topics:
Judging a Book by it's Cover
Southern Women Writers:Heartfelt and Humorous
Modern Technology and the Future of the Book
Exploring Historical Fiction: Conflicts and Perspectives
Writing with Faith: Christian Writers
An Unfinished Conversation: Connecting with Readers through Social Media

Keynote presenters expected are Steve and Cokie Roberts, Roy Blount, Jr., Mary Alice Monroe,
Nikky Finney, C.J. Box, Susan Vreeland, and Marshall Chapman.

There will be readings by authors and poets.

In addition to the speakers, the exhibit hall will be filled with small press representatives, authors, book collectors and appraisers, the book store and much more.

And of course the SCWW will be there. Volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions about the organization and tell you the latest goings-on, especially about the annual conference that is shaping up. Past issues of our literary journal, The Petigru Review, will be available for purchase so you can read a sampling of our members' writing.

So come to the SCBookFest,, and stop by and see us. You'll be in good company.

Let's Bake Writers

Creating is a solitary pursuit. All artists and artisans—whatever their medium—create in a vacuum. Unless you believe in the cosmic consciousness and everything we can create is out there somewhere waiting to be snagged.

(Don't envision a large factory, please.) Think of a baker who makes a loaf of bread. Ditch the image of an electric bread maker. I mean the real, made-from-scratch kind with nothing artificial. The kind of bread that tastes heavenly warm from the oven and slathered with butter.

When the baker mixes and kneads the dough, she hopes the outcome will taste good. The only feedback she gets is when someone eats a slice of her bread. The best feedback is when someone eats the whole loaf in one sitting.

Our warm bread—whether by profession or hobby—is our writing. (No real butter, please. Just pretend the heart healthy spread is the real thing.) If we are passionate about the craft of writing we want to share what we've written. Most of us belong to critique groups of some sort. While we often reject negative comments as if they were overdone bread crusts, we willingly subject ourselves to the experience of being critiqued so we can improve our craft.

Then, when the final draft is finished and polished, like a loaf of bread that's put in the oven, we send our creations to the world. We submit. Some writers try small markets, some try large ones. Even a rejection is validation. Rejections mean we have tried.

Only a writer knows what it feels like to receive four rejections in a single day. Tip: If you do get more than on response—snail mail or email—from a publisher, don't open them all at once. Savor them. Open one a day. At least spread the news—whether bad or good—over a few hours.

We all want that response or phone call to be “Congratulations, we are publishing your (poem, story, book).” Caveat: could it be the cosmic consciousness or karma that the publications that published several of my poems and a short story are no longer with us? But that's another story.

We write because we have stories to tell. We may want to leave our memoirs as a family legacy. Some of us have a burning desire to become published authors/poets. The stories that rattle around our minds begging for release on the page/monitor (I still compose poems on paper first) should be read by others. Perhaps our families. If we aim for publication we must go beyond our critique groups. We must submit. In our quest to become published authors we keep writing and submitting to as many markets as we can find.

As the editor of The Petigru Review, the annual anthology of SCWW, I want your submissions. TPR exists because of our SCWW members. We haven't received nearly as many manuscripts as last year. The deadline for entering was April 30. I will make a decision by Wednesday if the deadline will be extended.

TPR receives submissions from well-published writers to newbies. We hope to see emerging authors as well as professionals on our pages. We aspire to Pushcart Prize winners.

Writers become published authors only if they bake the bread (submit). Editors exist to taste (publish). As the editor of The Petigru Review, I hope to see all of you in print so that many others can enjoy our stories. I hope for Pushcart Prizes.

We check recipes to be sure we haven't missed an ingredient. Before you submit anywhere, pay homage to Grammaticus, the little-known god of punctuation, and labor over the final draft. Proofread. Check every apostrophe, quotation mark, period and comma. I'm not much of a fan of semicolons or exclamation points, but if you use them, make sure they're used correctly.

I leave you with this little fable:

A panda walks into a restaurant and orders a sandwich. After he eats it, he pulls out a pistol, fires it into the air, and moves to walk out the door without paying his bill.
The waiter exclaims, "Hey Panda! What the heck was that all about?"
The panda tosses him a dictionary, and says, "Look me up."
The waiter flips through the dictionary and finds the word Panda:

“Panda: furry mammal who eats, shoots and leaves.”

Check out Lynn Truss's book: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

Ah, the power of creating. And misplacing one lousy comma. The title should read: Let's Bake, Writers.