Bill has been called the “master of the courtroom drama” by Library Journal; and his 23 books, including most recently the New York Times bestseller Capitol Conspiracy, have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. He is also the author of The Code of Buddyhood, a coming-of-age novel described by The West Coast Review of Books as “a powerful and sophisticated novel about the nature of friendship,” and a biography for young adults, Equal Justice: The Courage of Ada. William Bernhardt’s bestselling novels, featuring Oklahoma defense attorney Ben Kincaid, capture the bare-knuckles reality of high-stakes criminal defense, as lofty ideals of justice clash with power, corruption, and wealth. With 17 titles in the series to date and millions of copies sold, William Bernhardt’s Ben Kincaid series has become a collection staple.
In addition to the hands-on instruction, editing, and advice regarding your work-in-progress, Bernhardt will guide you in composing a first-rate query letter, synopsis, and outline–the building blocks for selling and publishing your work. You will also gain experience pitching your work for publication. Topics discussed include premise, structure, character, and plotting. Before the seminar begins and each night during, Bernhardt will edit portions of your work and return it to you, so that by the end of the week, you should see your work improving as a result of the constant feedback.
Thomas H. Cook is the author of 18 books, including two works of true crime. His novels have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity Award and the Dashiell Hammett Prize. The Chatham School Affair won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel in 1996. His true crime book, Blood Echoes, was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1992, and his story “Fatherhood” won the Herodotus Prize in 1998 and was included in Best Mystery Stories of 1998, edited by Otto Penzler and Ed McBain. His works have been translated into 15 languages. Thomas is the award-winning author of literary mysteries including Breakheart Hill, The Chatham School Affair, Red Leaves, and Master of the Delta. Cook’s novels explore the theme of evil in all of its aspects, especially the kind that dwells in the soul of a person faced with an unusual dilemma in his life. Most of his body of work presents a psychological story with a literary-quality theme. In places, his prose reads like poetry. His stories, many told in retrospect, often end with some stark and insightful revelation about human nature.
Diane Lake has been a working screenwriter since 1993 when she sold her first story idea. Since then she has been commissioned to write films for Columbia, Disney, Miramax and Paramount. In addition, she has written a mini-series for NBC and created a half-hour series for CBS. She has also written work for numerous independent producers as well as actors like Dustin Hoffman and directors like Harold Becker.
Diane currently has the following projects under option and in active development:
Hemingway In Paris, which has just been optioned by European producer Fairlink International, and ADA, the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter. Ada is currently under option by producer Jeff Apple [In the Line of Fire, The Recruit] of Apple Space & Time LLC. Diane’s film, Frida, opened the Venice Film Festival in 2002, and was named one of the 10 Best Films of 2002 by numerous top 10 lists, including the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. Frida was also nominated for six Academy Awards in 2003.
“Screenwriting is all about answering questions. These are some of the questions Diane will cover at the Retreat:
- How do you know a good script idea when you have one?
- And once you have your idea, how can you best flesh it out to make the most engaging film possible? What’s the process?
- What kind[s] of outlines could work best for you? Or should you outline at all?
- What sort of structure works best for your idea? Is your script more independent or is it mainstream Hollywood? Are you going for nonlinear or traditional 3-act structure?
- How can you create truly compelling characters? How can you make them leap off the page to that agent/producer who will be reading your script?
- How do you write dialogue that sparkles–that seems natural and real?
- Once you have a first draft, how do you go about rewriting so that you have the best script possible to show to people in the business?
- How can you use feedback from readers to help you write a better script?
- What are the legitimate screenplay contests/conferences out there that can be valuable to you and your kind of script?
- How do you navigate the tricky waters of finding an agent or manager who will respond to your work?
- What can you do to market yourself as a writer in this digital age?
Those are some of the questions you will work on at the Retreat. In addition, your personal trajectory will be YOURS. If you’ve finished a script, you’ll work with Diane and your group on making that script the best it can be. If you haven’t written a word yet, she’ll get you off to a good start…thus the retreat will be tailored to your individual goals and Diane will facilitate ‘pods’ for those who want to work on rewriting a script, those who are in the middle of a script and have specific concerns, and those who are just starting or flirting with just starting a script. The goal of the screenwriting section is to help you get out of it what YOU need, so you’ll be contacted in advance of the retreat to discuss your personal wants/needs so that they can be incorporated into the plan for the Retreat.
In his boyhood, William Martin loved what he later called “big stories on broad canvases.” He read the novels of C.S. Forester, Dickens, and western author Will Henry. He sat transfixed by the big movies of the early 60′s. So after graduating from Harvard, he went to Hollywood to try his hand at screenwriting but quickly found that his instincts were better suited to novels. His first, Back Bay, introduced treasure hunter Peter Fallon in a new kind of adventure that joined the contemporary mystery-thriller to the historical novel. In his nine novels (including four bestselling Peter Fallon adventures), Martin has tracked national treasures across the landscape of the American imagination, chronicled the lives of the great and the anonymous in American history, and brought to life legendary American locations, from “Cape Cod” to “Annapolis” to the “City of Dreams.” He has also written an award-winning PBS documentary on the life of Washington and a cult-classic horror movie, has contributed book reviews to the Boston Globe, and has taught writing across the country, from the Harvard Extension School to the famous Maui Writers Conference. His work has established him as a “storyteller whose smoothness matches his ambition”(Publisher’s Weekly). And he was the recipient of the 2005 New England Book Award, given to “an author whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region.”
Jackie is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling novel, The Deep End of the Ocean – chosen as the first book for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, and named by USA Today as the second most influential book of the past 25 years. She has subsequently written seven other bestselling novels, including The Most Wanted, A Theory of Relativity, Cage of Stars, and Still Summer. She has written three Young Adult books, as well as four children’s books. Her essays on family, ethics and modern life have been widely anthologized. Jacquelyn was a member of the 2002 Fiction Jury for The National Book Awards.
Jackie’s workshop will focus on: “Four Things About Writing the Novel (That You only THINK You Know).” Those would be how to structure, how to write great dialogue, how to stay in point of view and how to murder clichés. In the past, a number of Jackie’s workshop attendees have gone on to publish their work.