February 14, 2017

Classes

Here’s an updated class schedule (PDF), current as of 8:40 a.m. Friday, May 25.

 

Here’s the complete list of classes and workshops you’ll get to choose from at DFWCon this year!

 

A Few Good Pens: Crafting Realistic Courtroom Drama in Fiction

Jamie Olin & Sam Hawk

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

From John Grisham to Scott Turow to Shonda Rhimes, countless writers of books, films, and television use legal settings to create drama. When done well, these scenes add exciting momentum to the plot. When done badly, authors run the risk of taking the reader right out of the story and into a maze of unrealistic, often incoherent, legalese. This class (taught by two lawyers who are also fiction writers) will provide you with legal basics, give you some examples of what not to do, and show you best practices for incorporating legal settings (including courtrooms, law firms, and law schools) into your book.

 

Ask an Agent Anything Panel

A panel of agents

Everyone | Panel | Open Seating

Exactly what it sounds like – members of our stellar literary agent lineup are ready for you to ask whatever questions you want. It’s a great way to learn some useful tips and see what makes literary agents tick.

 

Audio Books: Bringing Your Book to Life

Kylie Stewart

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Bring your books to life by putting them into audio format! Demand for audio books is growing. In this class we will look at the options you will have as a rights holder, different platforms you can utilize as a rights holder, and how to choose the right voices for your books. We will also look at pricing, what to do if you want to read your own book, and a few audio engineering platforms you can use right now.

 

Audio Book Narrators: What We Do and How We Do It

Kylie Stewart

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

This class focuses on the art of audio book narration from a narrators perspective. As an author, learn what narrators are looking for while you are looking for your perfect narrator. Eros Audio will talk about the differences in solo, duet, dual, and multiple audio narrators on a project. They will also talk about the things that make a narrators job easier as well as the actual work that goes into learning the art of audio narration. If you are an author considering reading your own work, or someone who would love to read audio for a living, this panel will give you a look inside the process start to finish.

 

Build the Arc: Creating Character-Driven Stories

Margo Catts

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

The most compelling stories aren’t driven by action alone, but by action that propels the character forward. Learn to identify the qualities of your characters that will motivate them to move through conflict toward a goal, and that will make readers to want to go with them. In this class we will identify character traits, explore their narrative trajectories, consider what a character with those traits wants and needs, and together build an example story and character arc.

 

Building a YouTube Platform

Seth Skorkowsky

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, making it a fantastic resource to grow your reader fan-base. But how do you get started? Author Seth Skorkowsky discusses building a YouTube presence and what to expect and look out for when developing your channel.

 

Children’s Picture Book Dos and Don’ts

Kevin O’Connor

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

How many words in a picture book? How many pages? This primer will discuss how families use picture books, the publishers’ considerations, retail concerns and more. For new and seasoned writers, this session will help authors see the format from multiple points of view and get them on the road to create a stellar manuscript that no agent can resist.

 

Come a Little Closer… and Stop Using Distancing Words!

Dina Havranek

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

It’s a red flag for agents and editors: your novel suffers from distancing language. What is it, how does it kill a good story and what can you do to get rid of it? After having two industry professionals point out the distancing language in her own works, Dina Havranek learned how to identify and scrub it from her manuscripts. Now wiser (and agented) she’d like to share the process she used and ask you: are you distancing readers from your story by using distancing language? Participants are encouraged to bring in pages from their own manuscripts for distancing-language checks.

 

Compelling Characters; Or Why Should I Care?

Natascha Morris

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Let’s look at what makes for compelling characters. Everyone wants to write one, but what makes for a compelling character? Bring your pen and paper and join Natascha Morris as she breaks it down.

 

Contract Clauses and Considerations

Lucienne Diver

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Contracts are about more than advances and royalties. This talk will cover the meanings of contract clauses you’re likely to encounter and what to watch for when you review your legalese.

 

Cover to Cover

Russell C. Connor

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

Tired of people running from your book covers in terror? Horror author Russell C. Connor will take you on his personal journey from self-published schlub to producer of award-winning novels. Learn from his many, many mistakes and take the shortcuts to attracting eyeballs to your book covers. But prepare yourself; in this class, you’ll also get to see the WORST BOOK COVER…IN THE WORLD! Not for the queasy or faint of heart.

 

Cutting a Vein with Sanderia Faye

Sanderia Faye

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

“It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.” – Paul Gallico.

Have you ever wondered why there are published authors and why other writers still have that one hundred and twenty page manuscript locked in a desk drawer somewhere? If writing were easy, we would all be Pulitzer Prize winners. In this class, Sanderia will share with you tips to overcome the hurdles of writing a novel and getting it published.

 

Don’t Be Bamboozled by a Bad Book Editor

Shayla Raquel

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

When it’s time to hand your beautiful creation to an editor, how will you know it’ll be in the hands of someone who will love, nurture, and care for your words as much as you do? In this session, self-publishing authors will learn about the various types of editing available and how to know what kind of editing best suits their goals. The qualifications they should look for in an editor, what should be included in an editor’s contract, and how to budget for editing will be reviewed. Attendees will receive an infographic and will be invited to ask everything they’ve ever wanted to know about editing.

 

Easy Peasy Character Profiles

Amanda Arista

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Why spend months developing a character only to find that its the wrong character for the story you want to tell? Using this boiled-down amalgamation of three top screenwriting teachers, Amanda Arista will show you how to create a character that will leap off the page with their own backstory, voice, and deep connection to the story you want to tell.

 

Editing: Leave to Professionals

Susan K. Stewart

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Of all the mistakes that can cause a book not to succeed, lack of professional editing is the most visible to publishers and readers. According to Bookbaby’s 2017 survey, 74% of authors who earned more than $5,000 in sales paid for professional editing. First-time authors, indie-published authors, and even multi-published authors can miss some essential steps of editing. Susan K. Stewart, a professional editor with more than fifteen years of experience and who hires a professional editor for her books, will take you from self-editing to the final proofreading, and how to find an editor who is a perfect for you and your project.

 

Fight or Flight: Enrich your Characters by Finding and Feeding on their Fears

Margo Catts

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

When you describe your characters’ motivations, you probably list their desires—love, wealth, success, power. But under all that is something more primal: fear. Learn how to identify and mine your characters’ fears for richer, more complex character development, and plot turns that may surprise you. Bring your characters with you and we’ll put them to work, seeing how to respond to different stimuli, then discovering and fleshing out the reasons why.

 

Fighting Demons: Internal Versus External Conflict

Jaye Wells

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

All good stories require conflict, but the best stories utilize both internal and external conflicts.In this talk, USA Today-bestselling author Jaye Wells explains the distinctions between the two. She will also explain how to properly weave them together to create riveting fiction.

 

Finding Your Writing Voices

Patricia Burroughs

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

What is this nebulous concept of ‘voice’ we hear so much about? Voice is the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing, which can be based on your character as shaped by you or is your own way of expressing thoughts for publication. The best voice flows so naturally it seems effortless, even though you may have worked hard to develop it and tweak it and fine-tune it before publication. But engaging and impactful writers discover they have more than one voice, sometimes many voices. Join us in this workshop to define and expand your understanding of voice

 

Formatting E-Books for Writers

Susan K. Stewart

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup required

You’ve decided that you are going to produce an e-book. Whether you are publishing through traditional companies or self-publishing, you may need to create your e-product. Or you want to know the process of creating an ebook to have more knowledge about how your product should look. This session will cover basics of formatting, file conversion, various publishing options, and more details of creating and selling your e-product. Attendees will go through the steps necessary to convert their manuscript to a Kindle product. After completing this session, you will be ready to upload your e-book for sale.

 

Freelancing Opportunities in the Christian Niche

Melanie Stiles

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Perhaps you only write for secular publications. Or maybe you simply know you need to expand your freelance base. If so, the Christian market may be just what you are looking for. There are hundreds of Christian based publishers who need copy for magazines and blogs in both print and digital formats. And that doesn’t count Christian book sales! Melanie has been publishing in the Christian niche for over a decade. Allow her to show you the various types of writing needed by the industry, where to submit your work and also to supply you with a few tips to get you started on your own freelance journey in the Christian niche.

 

From the Elevator Pitch to the Novel Synopsis: Tips and Tricks for Summarizing Your Novel

Jamie Olin

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Do you flinch whenever someone asks, “So, what is your book about, anyway?” Do you panic when you have to write a synopsis of your novel as part of your submission package? After you’ve spent months drafting and perfecting your novel and query letter, the last thing you feel like writing is a an elevator pitch or a synopsis of your plot. Yet more and more agents and editors are asking for these summaries, and there is an art to writing them well. This class will focus on pointers and pitfalls of writing pitches and synopses, and participants can submit their own pitches for in-class critique.

 

Going Public – Designing Literary Events to Suit Your Style

Greta Boris

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

What’s better than an author book signing event in a bookstore? An author whose book features a wine enthusiast signing books under the oaks at winery while people taste and listen to live music. Stepping out of the safety of literary establishments can help you find new fans for your fiction.

 

Good to Great: “Critique Hacks” to Take Any Writer to the Next Level

Rosemary Clement-Moore and Sally Hamilton

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

Every writer is a special snowflake. We know that. But we also know that we may give the same critique to a best-seller that we do a beginner—it’s all a matter of degrees. So, drawing on thousands and thousands of hours of critique sessions, we’ve collected a list of Things We’ve Literally Told Every Writer Who Ever Wanted to Improve Their Writing. Between them, Rosemary and Sally have almost 3,500 hours of critique experience, not counting beta reads, freelance editing, and writing their own books, and they still catch each other doing these same things.

 

How Authors Get on TV

Dina Havranek

Advanced  | Lecture | Open Seating

Want to promote your novel on television? Learn what TV news producers look for when choosing local authors for guest interviews as well as easy tips to make those interviews fun and engaging.

 

How to do Historical Research

Richard J. Gonzales

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Writers can bring the past to vibrant life with authentic renditions of characters, settings, dress, culture and manner of speech. Readers revel in the excitement of traveling to an earlier period to immerse themselves in the thoughts and actions of people from the past. This class offers examples of well-written historical novels and the specific techniques writers can use to make the past vivid. Participants will learn practical steps to research, note-taking, references, and balancing fact and fiction.

 

How to Land a Literary Agent

Malaga Baldi

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Nuts & bolts discussion about securing a literary agent. What does a literary agent do (for you)? Why is a literary agent valuable? Should you go with a small agency or a large agency? How do you work with an agent? Is your new agent your new best friend? Bring all the questions you’ve got.
 

I Believe in Ghosts!

Melanie Stiles

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Do you believe in ghosts? No, not that kind! We’re talking about the kind who writes material for someone else, while remaining completely invisible. Join Melanie Stiles, a “ghost” for over fifteen years, to explore the world of ghostwriting. This workshop defines the inner personality traits needed to be a ghostwriter, the process for working with client materials, finding your client’s voice, developing quotes and pricing for ghosting jobs, deciding which jobs to accept and which to reject and more.

Intro to Graphic Design for Writers

Sally Hamilton

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

This class will teach you how to produce well-designed promotional material through the rudimentary elements of design anyone can understand. From bookmarks to book covers and the difference between leading and kerning (all will be explained), everyone can learn the basics of good design. Good design (and a great business card) can make all the difference in the world.

 

Kids’ Book Formats from Boardbook through Middle Grade

Kevin O’Connor

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Former head of BN’s publisher relations for kids’ digital books Kevin O’Connor takes you through various kids’ book formats from boardbooks to YA, the formal parameters for each format and how they address kids’ developmental needs. Get insight into how to see a how a bookstore is organized to know exactly how & where your book will be and how it will stock up against the competition.

 

Listen to Me: Understanding the Braided Voice of Memoir

Lisa Dale Norton

Advanced  | Limited Seating Workshop | Advance Signup Required

In this workshop, you learn and practice the two voices essential to memoir. While your memoir must tell a story, but it must also offer perspective on that story. Learning to integrate narration and reflection is part art, part craft. Through discussion, examples, and directed writing exercises, you learn about the nuances of voice from a pro.

 

Make Your Mailing List Work for You

Amy Tasukada

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Learn why having a newsletter is important in today’s ever-changing social media landscape, and how to entice readers to subscribe to yours. Gain knowledge on how to keep your back list selling and the best way to lead readers through an autoresponder campaign. You will also learn how to gain information from your newsletter about where to sell your books and how to create a review team willing to work for you. Turn nameless readers into friends willing to support all your writing adventures.

 

Mastering the Scene

Jaye Wells

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Scenes are the building blocks every every great story. In this workshop, USA Today-bestselling author Jaye Wells will share her strategies for building compelling scenes that deepen characterization and ramp up tension. She’ll address the use of beats to craft scenes, the proper place to begin and end scenes, and weaving scenes together to craft an amazing story.

 

Opportunities and Challenges in Young Adult

Everyone | Panel | Open Seating

Scott Westerfeld leads a panel of YA authors and agents to discuss trends in the YA market.

 

Painless Developmental Editing: How to Help Writers with the Big Picture without Breaking Them

Leslie Lutz

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

You’re a great beta reader, and everyone is clamoring to get in your reading queue. How do you take those skills and turn them into an editing career? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn about the typical editing process for genre fiction, tools for examining plot, and how to help a client with scene development. More importantly, you’ll learn how to help your writers though one of the hardest stages of book development without making them cry.

 

Preparing For And Nurturing A Loyal Fan-Base

Jennie Komp

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Published writers and those still wrestling with their stories will want to attend this snapshot of the steps successful authors use to cultivate those first thousand fans who will read anything you give them. It’s so much more fun than you think! Come as you are or get even more out of this by coming with a list of the most tangible parts of your stories (symbols, maps, clothing descriptions, notable trinkets, or anything else that’s memorable). We will break down the social media tools the experts use and you’ll see current, live examples, and we will map out a plan you can implement immediately.

Plotting Toward Success

Marisa Corvisiero

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

This interactive presentation is designed to help writers prepare a good plot that takes readers on a well paced journey with the characters of the story. We will discuss the elements of the novel and the needed scenes that will captivate the readers attention from the intriguing beginning to the satisfying ending of the novel.

 

Put Your Best Face On: Makeup for Every Author

Sabrina Lotfi

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

As writers, we spend a large portion of our time hiding behind our computers in our PJs, with sloppy ponytails and coffee stains on our tees. But there are a myriad of author events we’ll face in our careers where we have to ditch the bunny slippers and put a little more finesse into our appearances. Pitch sessions. Author headshots and publicity photos. Book signings. Interviews. Panels. In this hands-on class, nationally published makeup artist Sabrina Lotfi will demonstrate the tips and tricks you need to look your best and boost your confidence for any author occasion.

Query Pitch Master Class Part 1: Learn to Write the Perfect Query Letter for your Novel

Kristin Nelson

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

Agent Kristin will walk you through how to write a standout query letter while avoiding common pitfalls. After learning the inside scoop, participants will have a chance to revise their query letter pitch for part 2 of the master class. Participants will also be paired with a fellow participant critique partner. Team work to create the best possible query letter.

Query Pitch Master Class Part 2: Learn to Write the Perfect Query Letter for your Novel

Kristin Nelson

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

Agent Kristin will do a select live reading of revised pitch query letters. Nothing speaks louder or more directly to your query letter’s effectiveness than the on-the-spot feedback of an agent, so don’t miss this opportunity.

 

Read and Critique Workshop

Panel of DFW Writers’ Workshop authors

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

One great way to hone your craft is to read your work in front of a critique group. The DFW Writers’ Workshop has been doing just that since 1977, and has perfected its system over the years. Bring your current work in progress, read it in front of a group and receive critique from published authors. Each reader gets a specified allotment of reading time (normally enough to read around 5 to 6 pages of formatted manuscript). We also have a small number of “observer” seats available if you’d like to listen to the reads and learn from the critiques, but aren’t quite ready to read your own work in public yet.

 

Rookie Submission Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Patricia Nelson

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Learn about common pitfalls of queries and first chapters, along with a crash course in best practices for catching an agent’s eye.

 

Science Fiction Writing for Dummies: Or Dispelling the Myth that Writing SF is Hard

Bill Ledbetter

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Some of science fiction’s best and most enduring classics actually contain very little hard science. The key to writing SF isn’t always filling the story with science, but just making sure any science you use is correct. Come join award winning science fiction writer William Ledbetter in a the discussion about writing believable science fiction.

Self-Editing Tips

Patty Carothers

In this class we’ll go over the Nutshell technique and others to edit your own content, take a look at editing tools that can assist you, discuss the benefits of using beta readers, and go over dialogue tags and how to use them appropriately.

 

Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Workshop for Writing Memoir

Lisa Dale Norton

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Advance Signup Required

Based on Norton’s long-selling book Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide for Writing Memoir, this mini-workshop introduces you to the concept of shimmering images, teaches you how to mine your life for these iconic memories, and shows you how to use them to structure a memoir.

So Close And Yet So Far: Getting Good Writers Over the Publishing Hurdle

Panel of published authors

Advanced | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

There are good writers out there who are actively submitting their work but for whatever reason, haven’t managed to close the deal and land an agent. Maybe you’re one of them! Part support group and part clinic, this workshop will give you the chance to describe your experiences to agents and published authors and get their feedback on what to do next. Prerequisite to address the panel: You must have multiple rejection letters from agents or publishers, and you are encouraged (but not required) to bring them for show and tell. Writers who haven’t started submitting yet may attend as observers.

 

So Here’s My Problem Workshop

Panel of published authors

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Signup Required

You have the floor. What writing challenge has you tearing your hair out? Our informal discussion group of agents and published authors will listen to your woes and do their darnedest to unfurrow your brow and turn your frown upside down. Whether it’s a devious problem with plot development, diabolical dialog, a quarrelsome query letter, a sloppy synopsis or a frightful first five pages, we’ll help. You can bring up to 2 pages of writing; if you do, bring a minimum of five copies, for you and the panelists.

 

Social Media Platform Building

Amy Brewer

Everyone | Workshop | Open Seating

Publishing houses like authors who have well-established social media platforms. This class will show you how to build yours, from tips and tricks for gaining followers to choosing the right social media channel for your book’s audience.

 

Spoonful of subplot: Mixing in a sweet romance

Amanda Arista

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

You’ve got yourself a thrillsome thriller. A fabulous fantasy. The very best of Westerns. It just needs a little something extra – but what? Fortunately, Avon author and SMU instructor Amanda Arista is here to help you season your story to perfection… with a dash of romance! We’ll cover the the who, when, why, and how of adding a romantic subplot to your story, integrating it seamlessly with your main storyline and bringing it all to a a delicious conclusion. Bring your appetite – this class is a feast!

 

Tech Writing – Is it just microwave manuals?

Laura Maisano

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Learn about the different kinds of careers you can have as a technical writer as well as Laura Maisano’s own experience working for both a huge corporation of over 9,000 employees, and a small company of more like nine.

 

The Author-Agent Relationship

Uwe Stender and Sabrina Lotfi

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

You’ve heard it before: the author-agent relationship is like a marriage. There’s the courtship, where the author woos with their query and book and the agent woos to sign them. The wedding, where legal documents are signed. The happily ever after, where you navigate the highs and lows of publishing as a team. Brought together during a pitch session at the 2015 DFW Writer’s Conference, agent Uwe Stender and client Sabrina Lotfi offer insights on how to find, choose, and keep the right agent for you.

 

The Big Q’s: What to Ask Prospective Agents

Amy Bishop

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

So you’ve gotten the e-mail (or the phone call) and the Agent of Your Dreams wants to talk to you about representation. Even if their offer makes you feel like you’ve set an entire kaleidoscope of butterflies free in your stomach, you’ll want to have some questions lined up to hear about their process, the ins and outs of how this whole thing works, and suss out whether you think you’ll have a good working relationship with them. After all, the author-agent relationship is (and should be) a close one and one that hopefully will be the through line of your publishing career. In this class, we’ll be discussing what questions to ask (and why you should be asking them!).

 

The Monster in Every Writer’s Closet:  Free Your Writing from Self-Doubt Sabotage

Colleen Story

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Learn the seven ways self-doubt sabotages your writing goals and dreams, and discover whether it may be working its sinister spell on you right now. Find out how to pinpoint the symptoms of self-doubt malaise, and how to prevent it from destroying the one thing you can’t afford to lose: your creative instincts. Discover how you can actually turn self-doubt from an enemy to an ally. Walk away armed with the tools you need to decrease its power over you and more confidently follow your intuition toward future writing success.

 

The Road to Publication, and Other Great Disasters

Reavis Wortham

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Determination is the key to an author’s success! This discussion follows Reavis from his childhood attempts to write short stories to his writing career today. Through the years, we see that he never gives up and continued to work hard to maintain a career while writing. Through humor and personal stories, this entertaining author will show you how he made it past many obstacles, even the day he lost an entire manuscript through a technical glitch.

 

The Room Where It Happens: Putting Your Story On Stage

Kathleen Coombs

Everyone | Limited Seating Workshop | Advance Registration Required

Want to write a great play? All you need are compelling characters with tangible wants, clear stakes, persistent needs, and challenging obstacles. But without narration and description, how can you tell your story? Through action, dialogue, and scene construction. In this class you’ll learn how to translate your novel, screenplay, memoir, or idea into a viable play. You’ll leave with effective storytelling techniques for the stage or the page.

 

The Scientist Next Door: Or How to Approach Experts with Research Questions

Bill Ledbetter

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Most writers can’t be an expert in everything, so research is a must, but talking directly to real live human experts on a particular topic can be daunting and stressful for those writers who are naturally introverted. You might be surprised to find that most professionals actually like talking about their field of expertise. Come learn some tricks and hints on how to make this type of research easy and fun.


The Secrets of Optimal Productivity: What You Really Need to Get More Done in Less Time

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Colleen Story

We’re constantly bombarded by an unprecedented amount of information and temptations to distraction. How is a writer to manage it all? Learn what’s holding you back from accomplishing what you need to accomplish, and how to turn it all around. Discover the very real dangers of distraction and decision fatigue, how modern-day “busyness” kills creativity, and why you feel like you’re constantly behind. Discover your unique time personality and how to use it to boost productivity, then use the five solutions to get more done, find more time to write, and enjoy a break now and then, too.

 

The Screenwriter’s Labyrinth, Part 1: Moving TO the Center

John Darrouzet

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

John Darrouzet’s design of screenplays, from concept to story treatment to scenes, involves putting the protagonist and other characters into situations that expose a central issue and reveal in the end an heroic decision. The turning points of the 12-circuit labyrinth, embedded in the floor of the famous Chartres Cathedral in France, provide writers with a conceptual map of 78 distinguishable situations that, when paired and sequenced into a story, yield 39 scenes with built-in conflict. The first 39 situations are the subject of this first presentation as John moves with participants to the center of the labyrinth and to the center of the Protagonist’s issue.

 

The Screenwriter’s Labyrinth, Part 2: Moving FROM the Center

John Darrouzet

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

John Darrouzet’s design of screenplays, from concept to story treatment to scenes, involves putting the protagonist and other characters into situations that expose a central issue and reveal in the end an heroic decision. The turning points of the 12-circuit labyrinth, embedded in the floor of the famous Chartres Cathedral in France, provide writers with a conceptual map of 78 distinguishable situations that, when paired and sequenced into a story, yield 39 scenes with built-in conflict. The final 39 situations are the subject of this second presentation as John moves with participants from the center of the labyrinth and to the Protagonist’s heroic decision.

 

The Truth about Memoir Publishing: What Editors Know and Writers Need to Know

Lisa Dale Norton

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Everyone has a story, but not everyone will win a deal to publish that story. Learn from an editor why this is so and what you need to do to tip the odds in your favor. Class covers what editors look for in a memoir; typical mistakes; and current memoir patterns at the Big 5 publishers and the independent houses.

 

Tricks to Writing a Great First Page

Lauren Spieller

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

First pages are tough! Using examples from published books, attendee submissions, and her own forthcoming novel, Lauren will teach you how to write a stand out first page that will grab an reader’s attention and not let go.

 

Typography for Self-Publishers

Laura Maisano

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

Book formatting doesn’t just have to be going by a checklist you found on the internet to make it “good enough.” Set your print novels above the rest by learning the basics of typography and design. With a little know-how, the inside of the book can look just as awesome as the words you write. Laura Maisano, editor and technical writer, will introduce you to why Comic Sans is so bad and by the end of the class, maybe you’ll have a favorite typeface too.

 

Using Insights from Social Media to Guide Your Strategy

Michelle Wicmandy

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

Social media blends technology with conversations to create content, which produces valuable insights. In just a few clicks, you the writer can research topics and titles for your new book or blog while gaining knowledge about your readers’ interests and desires. In this workshop, you will learn techniques to conduct research and which metrics to track to help you gain meaningful insights on your readers and guide your direction for your next project.

 

Walking the Tightrope Between Faith and Fiction

Greta Boris

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

How do you keep Christians happy without alienating non-Christians? This talk, or workshop, examines methods of meeting crime genre expectations while remaining true to your convictions.

 

What Story Are You Not Telling? Writing Our Way Through Challenges

Angelique L’Amour

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

How do you keep writing when faced with a catastrophic event? The death of a loved one, an illness, loss of income can make or break our lives as well as our writing. During challenging times it is even more important to lean in to our writing and our creativity. Learn how to keep writing and how to keep going when everything seems impossible.

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Get Published

David Goodner

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

You’ve written; you’ve revised; You’ve submitted. And now an agent has said Yes. What happens next? David Goodner, author of Ginny Goblin Is Not Allowed to Open This Box (HMH Kids, 7/17/2018) walks you through the next steps on your publishing journey, so you can be less of a noob than he was.

 

What’s Your Secret? The Character Creation Workshop

Angelique L’Amour

Everyone | Workshop | Open Seating

Join Angelique L’Amour on the trail of discovering your characters’ innermost secrets. In this hour-long workshop, learn which questions to ask to create characters who engage the hearts and minds of your readers. As you delve deeply into your characters, you will learn more about your story and its possibilities.


Writing Believable LGBT Characters

Sam Hawk

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

The prevalence of LGBT characters is exploding in literature and it seems that every editor and agent is looking for the next Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda or The Art of Being Normal. Diverse characters are more important than ever, and this includes sexual orientation and gender non-conformity. This can be a challenge for some authors who may find themselves writing outside their comfort zones. In this session, we will explore the creation of believable LGBT characters who fit naturally into books, and pitfalls to avoid.

Writing Lessons and Tips

Reavis Wortham

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Through humor and personal anecdotes, Reavis will take you through the lessons he’s learned as an author. Should you attend a writers’ conference, or be part of a writers group? When it comes to the job, should you write every day, and how long? What weakens a sentence, or a story? Do you need an agent? Do you have questions about writing or self-publishing? He has the answers.

 

Writing Past Cliché, Reflecting Real Diversity in Literature

Richard J. Gonzales

Everyone | Workshop | Open Seating

This workshop offers writers seeking to write responsibly about diverse people information, examples, and exercises on how to reach this goal. An increasing, multi-cultural reading audience, agents and publishers expect writers to create and describe diverse characters, settings, and motives in a manner reflective of their complex culture and conflicts, and devoid of stereotypes and alternative facts. Class participants will review examples of excellent diverse writing, examining dialogue, characterization, and setting. They will review their own cultural framework through the use of a culturagram and learn about implicit bias and its role on perceptions. They will engage in diversity writing exercises that will challenge them to push beyond their normal cultural experiences.

 

Writing With a Partner

Patty Carothers and Amy Brewer

Patty and Amy will discuss the benefits of having a writing partner, how to determine whether another writer is the right partner for you, the perfect partner and how to make the partnership work.

 

Writing With Passion (Without Being a Drama Queen)

Patricia Burroughs

Everyone | Lecture | Open Seating

Writing with passion does not mean being overwrought, purple prosey, or melodramatic. Done well, it’s an intertwining of character and motivation, of dialogue and text, of location and era. Emotional content can be intense or subtle but without it, your ability to grab a reader is diminished. This is a workshop about why and how and where and when and who, and how all of these things will affect your reader.

 

Your Book Marketing Recipe for Sizzling Sales

Shayla Raquel

Advanced | Lecture | Open Seating

Is your book marketing strategy a little bland? Spice it up with a recipe for author success! Using digital tools, you can create a marketing recipe that will get your book noticed without giving you heartburn. In this how-to-filled session, you’ll learn to have fun with marketing while attracting and keeping loyal readers. Author websites, high-quality books, social media, email marketing, and book ambassadors will be covered to help build reader engagement and drive book sales.