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Inspiring Young Writers

By Ethan Carroll

Everyone has a story to tell. It may be your personal story or a story you’ve been thinking about. But it’s all there in your head. How do you start? Where do you begin? Most of us are intimidated by the sight of that blank page or screen (if you’re working at your laptop). Do you begin with some interesting dialog? How do you hook your readers?

The Cuesta College Writers’ Conference (CCWC) from September 29-October 1, 2017 answers all these questions and much more. The Conference attracts attendees from all over the country and overseas. Indeed, the guest speaker last year was Anne Perry, an international best selling author from the UK. With over 80 workshops to choose from, there is something for everyone.

Perhaps you think that you’re not that great a writer. But consider this: Steinbeck’s critics were ruthless with his writing. Hemingway’s writing turned a lot of people off. Today, they are considered some of America’s finest writers! What is really neat about the CCWC is that there is a special teen section at the Conference. These hands-on workshops introduce teens to the art of creating short stories, interesting characters, historical anecdotes, and poetry styles all done in an entertaining and fun way. No school grades, no homework. Just have fun writing.

The teen section is generously sponsored by PG&E who offer 25 scholarships to middle school and high school teenagers in the San Luis Obispo County area. This includes your choice of Saturday workshops (Friday dinner and Saturday’s lunch is included). This year’s Conference is scheduled to feature many Hollywood scriptwriters and authors including:

*Peter Dunne - writer, Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer whose credits include the TV dramas “CSI,” “JAG,” and “Dallas.”

*Rob Edwards - scriptwriter and scriptwriting instructor, known for his work on “The Princess and the Frog,” “Treasure Planet,” and “Frozen.”

*Nancy Holder - New York Times bestselling author and writer for film and TV shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Teen Wolf,” “Hellboy,” “The X Files,” Saving Grace,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Holder is also the author of the official movie novelization for the “Ghostbusters” movie starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

*Jonathan Maberry - New York Times bestselling author, named one of the today’s Top Ten Horror Writers.

*Anthony Peckham - writer, credits include “Don’t Say a Word,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and the Academy Award-nominated “Invictus.”

*Gene Perret - the original comedy writer and producer for “The Carol Burnett Show” and “The Bob Hope Show,” author of 40 comedy writing books and a three-time Emmy award winner.

*Doug Richardson - author and scriptwriter for the “Die Hard” and “Bad Boy” franchises.

*Wendelin Van Draanen - author of more than 30 novels for young readers and teens, including the 18-book Edgar-winning “Sammy Keyes” series.

I encourage teens to give it a try this fall. The knowledge you will gain is priceless, the people you meet unforgettable, and most importantly its because you have a story to tell.

Registration for teens begins in August. If you would like to learn more about how you can participate in the workshops this year, check out