Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing Your Application

1. I'm not sure what to write in the statement regarding Writing Background. Any advice?
If you have a background in writing, let us know where you studied. If you have any publications, have won any awards, attended any other conferences, etc., let us know. If you are relatively new to writing, then please tell us what you hope to achieve by participating in the conference.

2. I'm working on a novel, and I have a prologue, dedication, and epigraph. Do these count toward my 25 pages?
Yes, so the best thing to do is get to the beginning of your story asap. If you are having trouble with this due to formatting, etc., please contact the coordinator for assistance.

3. I'd like to apply for one of the novel workshops. Can I submit a previously published short story as my writing sample (I think it's my most polished work)?
No. We can only consider applicants who submit a writing sample in the genre of the workshop to which they are applying. For a novel workshop, novel excerpts only. For a short story workshop, short story manuscripts only. No exceptions.

4. I'm torn between applying for the nonfiction workshop and the novel workshops. Or, I can't decide if I want to apply for short story or nonfiction. Can I ask to be considered for multiple workshops?
Yes. Indicate on the online application the workshops you want to be considered for and submit the appropriate writing samples in each genre. For example, if you want to be considered for short story and nonfiction, submit a short story AND a nonfiction writing sample. You will only be allowed to attend ONE workshop.

5. I'm submitting the opening chapters of my novel-in-progress for the novel workshops.  I plan to revise between when I submit my application and when the manuscripts are due via email. Is this okay?
Yes. You will have the opportunity to submit a revised/edited manuscript in mid-December.

6. I'm not changing the manuscript I submitted with my application. Why do I have to re-email the manuscript?
This will allow you to review your manuscript one last time. We will then distribute the manuscripts to your fellow workshop members via email.

7.  I’d like to apply for scholarship funds. How do I do this? How do scholarship funds work?

Under our Registration & Fees page, you will find a section regarding scholarships. Several named scholarship are awarded each year. Please review the criteria listed for the scholarships, indicate which scholarships you would like to be considered for, and provide a brief paragraph about what makes you an ideal candidate. We also offer general scholarship funds awarded in $100 increments based on need and merit, as determined by the director. There will be an opportunity to select General Scholarship funds on the application and a space to provide a brief paragraph regarding financial need.

We are able to offer scholarships to non-credit conference attendees only.

You will be notified of your scholarship award at the same time you are notified of your acceptance and workshop placement. The scholarship will be applied directly to your conference fee, and you will simply pay the remainder of the balance.

8. I have submitted my application online. Now what?
You will receive an automatic response email with a copy of your application (your writing samples will not be attached in this automated response due to spam filters). You will receive a separate email from the conference coordinator confirming receipt of your application and letting you know if your application is complete or if there is anything missing. You will need to submit the missing information before the application can be reviewed by the director.

If you do not receive an email from the coordinator confirming receipt of your application, but you have received the automated response email, please forward this document to the coordinator. An error in the system may have occurred.

If you complete the application and do not receive an automated response with your application details, or a response from the coordinator, please email the coordinator and explain the problem you are having.

9. I have received my notification email, but I wasn’t accepted or rejected. I was waitlisted. What does this mean?

Every year there are more qualified applicants than spaces available for the conference. Every year some accepted applicants are not able to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. If an accepted participant withdraws, his/her spot may be filled by a qualified applicant from the waitlist. The coordinator will work directly with applicants withdrawing and applicants on the waiting list to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.

Once You Have Been Accepted

1. Where is Eckerd College?
Driving Directions:
From East and North: Take I-4 West or I-75 and I-275 South to Tampa. Continue on I-275 across Tampa Bay via the Howard Frankland Bridge to St. Petersburg. Continue south on I-275 past the downtown St. Petersburg exits, all the way to Eckerd College at Exit No. 17 (Pinellas Bayway/St. Petersburg Beach) bearing right as the exit splits. The College entrance is 1/4 mile on the left before the tollbooth.
From the South: Take I-75 North to I-275 and the Sunshine Skyway. After you cross the bridge, exit left on Exit No. 17 (Pinellas Bayway/St. Petersburg Beach). Turn left at the traffic light onto 54th Avenue South. Proceed 1/2 mile and turn left into the Eckerd College entrance.
From Tampa International Airport: As you leave the airport, follow the signs to I-275 South and St. Petersburg. Follow directions above from the North. Car rental, taxi, and limo services to campus are available at the airport.
From St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport: Exit the airport and turn left onto Roosevelt Boulevard (686). Continue onto the overpass, which immediately merges with Ulmerton Road (688). Continue on Roosevelt to the I-275 interchange, and then bear right onto I-275 South to St. Petersburg. Then, follow directions above from the North. Car rental and transportation services to campus are available at the airport.

2. Which airport is best?
Most major airlines serve Tampa International Airport, easily accessible by highway
(I-275) and about 25 miles from the campus. The St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is about 20 minutes from campus, but doesn't have a large selection of airlines. Transportation is easy from both, but we recommend Tampa International Airport.

3. I've never been on the Eckerd College campus. Where do I register on January 17?
Here is a map of the campus
You will enter the campus from 54th Avenue South. A security guard will be on duty in the welcome station at the main entrance to the College. If you are stopped, please let the guard know that you are with the Eckerd College Writers' Conference: Writers in Paradise. Proceed to the first rotary, head left toward Avenue of States, and enter the first PARKING area on your left, next to the Continuing Education Center. The Flamingo Room, where Registration will be held, is located through Entrance B of the Continuing Education Center.

After Registration, there will be a campus tour for those interested in learning the location of the buildings where workshops will meet, the library, cafeteria, Triton's Pub, the Miller Auditorium (where the evening readings will take place), and more.

4. What will the weather be like?
The best thing to do is to check out the ten-day forecast!

5. What should I wear?
Dress comfortably: casual to business casual. Most people will wear jeans, shorts, casual shirts. No cocktail attire necessary. Some buildings are cooler than others, so it's a good idea to bring a sweater or sweatshirt, just in case.

6. What if I can't make the registration on Saturday, January 17?
That is not a problem. You can pick up your registration packet on Sunday morning before the first morning session.

7. If I miss the registration on Saturday, can I still go to the Saturday, January 17, reading and attend the welcome reception which follows?
Of course! The reading will start at 8:00 pm in Miller Auditorium and the guard at the Welcome Center will happily provide directions if you are unfamiliar with the campus. The Evening Reading Series is free and open to the public, so we recommend that you arrive a few minutes early.  Seating is first come-first served.

8. What is in the registration packet?
The final conference schedule, hours of operation for the library, CEC Café, Main Cafeteria, and Triton's Pub, important campus phone numbers, a campus map highlighting the rooms where your workshops will take place, a participant email lis, a Guide to Downtown St. Petersburg, and a very important letter from the co-founders.

9. Should I bring my laptop?
Most people do not bring laptops into the craft lectures or workshops. Some faculty prefer that students not use laptops in workshops. Many people will find themselves inspired to work on revising or writing new material throughout the week, so having your laptop handy back at the hotel is a good idea.

10. I need to be able to check in with work and handle some emails between sessions. Is there a place I can do this?
The Flamingo Room will be available to participants between the craft lectures and workshops. Free wi-fi is available throughout the building. Participants are also welcome to use the space to read and prepare for the workshops. The Armacost Library also has computers available for your use.

11. I've just printed the manuscripts for the participants in my workshop and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. What should I do with them between now and the conference?
If you have not been to our conference before and are looking at the stack of manuscripts you have just printed, wondering, "Now what am I supposed to do?" we recommend that you read and critique each individual's work with the time, energy, and care that you would expect a classmate to apply to your work. Read a piece for the first time without a pen in your hand. The second time you read it, make notes in the margins; and on a separate piece of paper type  an end note (usually one, single-spaced page) to the author that covers any thoughts, concerns, or suggestions that can't be addressed in the margins of a piece.  Put your name on the manuscripts you critique and end notes you write. Print two copies of this end note. Give one to the author and the other to your faculty member.

Be sure to read the co-founders’ letter in your packet.  It includes advice about how to respond to the work of fellow writers.

Some workshop faculty will ask you to do more in the way of critique and preparation. If so, they will contact you in advance with instructions regarding their approaches to guiding a workshop. We anticipate that you will follow their recommendations as well as those in the co-founders' letter.

12. What day will my manuscript be critiqued?
Some faculty members will tell the coordinator the "order" of manuscripts to be workshopped in advance. Such a message will be forwarded to you and the other writers in your workshop as soon as possible. Some faculty will wait until the first day of workshops to announce an order. It is best to be prepared to discuss any manuscript on the first day.

13. Speaking of those manuscripts . . . they are heavy and not easy to cart around! When will I need them?
You will not need the manuscripts until 1:30 pm on Sunday, January 18, the first scheduled workshop.

14. Can I record sessions?

Plenary sessions and workshops are not recorded (audio or visual). We ask that you refrain from recording any plenary sessions. Some workshop leaders will allow an individual to record his/her critique in workshop. This is up to the discretion of the workshop leader and an individual must have the approval of all his/her fellow workshop participants prior to recording.