Embassy Suites PDX Airport Hotel, 452-1592, August 5-7, all day; prices vary, see www.willamettewriters.com
Listen up, aspiring writers! This year, the organizers of the Willamette Writers Workshop have made a very smart move: They've planned a "Pre-registration" the night before the main event, a three-hour time block that gives all you procrastinators one last chance to sign the hell up for one of Portland's most comprehensive writing resources. Afterwards you'll still be able to register for individual days, but you'll start missing stuff, and missing it fast. During no other weekend this year will so many invaluable opportunities to learn about so many different kinds of writing be readily available in one place, at one time. Over 90 workshops encompass the three-day workshop, covering every genre and style of writing imaginable.
Is screenwriting your bag? Well, then you won't want to miss the weekend's keynote speaker (Sat 6:30 pm), screenwriter Adam Brooks of Wimbledon, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and other notably shitty films that surely provided him with a huge paycheck. Also be sure to catch Thursday's Film & Fiction Pitch Practice (7-9 pm), and Saturday's lesson in "Navigating the Studio System" (10:30 am).
Or perhaps you yearn to be the next Saul Bellow. The Writers Workshop holds an avalanche of fiction opportunities for you, from the obvious ("Write a Page Turner: How to Keep a Readers Up All Night," Fri 1:15 pm), to the obscure ("Love and War," Sat 1:15 pm), to the creepy ("Murder Really Bugs Me," Sun 10:30 am). Nonfictionists have a cornucopia to choose from as well ("Freelancing For Newspapers," Fri 3:30 pm; "Establish Yourself As an Expert," Sat 8:15 am, etc.), and there're classes for children's book writers, playwrights, and even humor writers.
Want good teachers? Try gay novelist Marc Acito (How I Paid for College, now in paperback), or novelist Larry Brooks (Bait and Switch), or bigwig producer Michel Shane (anyone heard of Catch Me If You Can or I, Robot?). Joining them are successful agents, editors from major publishing houses, and even cookbook writers. If there isn't something for you at this thing, chances are you aren't a writer.