Breakout Sessions



In no particular order at the moment and still subject to changes, additions, and deletions:

How to Write a Novel
A practical 15-point plan that takes you from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to transform the nub of an idea into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent and marketing the finished product.
Presented by John DeDakis

Buffing and Polishing 
You've finally finished your manuscript and now you're ready to tell Oprah all about it. Not so fast. The best writing is REwriting. In this session, you'll learn practical ways to put your writing on a flab-burning diet so that your copy is tight, trim and hot -- and all without even having to step onto a treadmill.  A big chunk of this is a writing lab, so be sure to bring pen and paper.
Presented by John DeDakis

Getting an Agent.....and Getting Noticed
Writing's the easy part. The hard part is stepping out of your solitary comfort zone and trying to convince someone else that they should read your book. In this session you'll learn how to attract an agent and how to market yourself using strategies that are tailored to your personality.
Presented by John DeDakis


How to E-publish Your Work and Make Money
The workshop will cover basic principles for e-publishing and methods of self-publicizing indie author's works.  Specific methodology for achieving success in the ever-evolving state of publishing will be discussed.
Presented by C. L. Bevill

Maintaining and Sustaining Authentic and Appropriate Voice
The workshop will assist authors in learning how to develop a unique voice and how to allow that voice to carry though to the dialog, thoughts, and actions of original literary characters.  Particular emphasis will be on discussion of characterization methods that best humanize your unique characters.
Presented by C. L. Bevill


Upping the Ante
Does your novel lack drama? Could you be undercutting the tension in your story? One of the best pieces of advice workshop presenter Alma Katsu ever got was from Janet Evanovich: “Put it all on the page. Don’t save anything for the next book.” But how do you do this without going overboard or ending up with a soap opera? Through analysis of exemplars and exercises, novelist Alma Katsu will show you how to up the ante while keeping it appropriate to your story and relatable to readers.
Presented by Alma Katsu

What To Expect When You're Expecting (A Book)
Congratulations! Your agent has sold your book. What happens next? Learn what to expect in the 12-24 months between when your book is sold and when it is published, and what you can (and shouldn't) do during this time to prepare for the big event.
Presented by Alma Katsu


The Unstoppable Story
A step-by-step guide to structuring your thriller that will take you from conflict to character, hurdles to hope, to the darkest hour and triumph. This session looks into the recipe for plotting a page-turner.
Presented by Rick Mofina

Telling True Lies
The best fiction is what we know to be true. How to make every aspect of your story as real as possible, be it anguish, action, or motorbike rides through the slums of Rio de Janeiro. This workshop will teach attendees how to secure the reader's trust with authentic fiction.
Presented by Rick Mofina


What to Do When a Poem Doesn’t Sound Right
You know what you want to say but you can’t quite hear it in your work? Learn how to revamp a poem that isn’t working with craft-based technique. Bring 1-2 works in progress; writing time is included in this program.
Presented by Annmarie Lockhart

The Value of Editing
The elements are all there but the poem is lacking ... polish! Learn how to strip out redundancy, use grammar to enhance meaning, and, most difficult of all, prune dead branches to let your poetry blossom. Bring 1-2 works in progress; writing time is included in this program.
Presented by Annmarie Lockhart

Getting Published ... and Maybe Even Paid
You’ve got a body of work, now what to do with it? Learn how to find the right home for your poetry and how to position yourself to be compensated for it. This program focuses on the business of writing and researching outlets for your work.
Presented by Annmarie Lockhart


Crafting a Story-Worthy Screenplay
This interactive workshop presents an overview of screenwriting from creating a “story-worthy” idea, through character creation, the basics of how scenes are constructed, to the final structuring of the “Altered 3-Act Breakdown.” Familiar film clips will be used to illustrate the five key parts of the screen story: inciting incident, act one climax, mid-point crisis, point-of-no-return, and resolution. Handouts will be provided.
Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds

The Inside Game of Screenwriting: Dialogue, Subtext, and Story Promise
This interactive workshop digs deep into the inner workings of screen story. Participants will learn the five ways that dialogue has to function to connect characters to plot, pacing, premise, other characters, and the audience. It will cover the three layers of subtext that every story has to have and how those layers have to manifest in the script. Participants will also learn how to use subtext to answer your "story promise." Clips from key films will be used for illustration and handouts will be provided.
Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds


Storytelling in Nonfiction
The advantage of writing nonfiction is that you don't have to make anything up. In fact, you had better not! This workshop will present attendees with a few suggestions about how to approach, cover, and structure nonfiction stories so readers will pick them up and not put them down until the last line.
Presented by Dr. William Ruehlmann

The Art of the Interview
How does a writer go about getting a good story from a perfect stranger? Rag thief or angel, no two of them are alike. In this workshop, attendees will be offered practical suggestions that have provided a wide range of road-tested results.
Presented by Dr. William Ruehlmann


Nonfiction Writing . . . With Attitude
It's one thing to pen opinion pieces. It's another to write them with voice. Good column writing involves a careful mixture of attitude, humor and information.
Presented by Kerry Dougherty

Humor writing: No laughing matter
Essays and columns that make people smile are the most difficult to craft. There's an art to witty writing, yet humorists are underappreciated.
Presented by Kerry Dougherty


Writing the Social, Cultural, Political Event Litany (in the tradition of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl")
In this workshop we will first discuss how the poet, Allen Ginsberg’s incendiary “Howl” galvanized an entire generation into protest against lethargy, apathy of youth and drug use. Through discussion, readings, and writing exercises, workshop participants will learn how to write their own litany that, through repetition and diction, explores a theme, subject, topic, event from every angle and provides a powerful testimony. COME PREPARED TO WRITE AND CREATE your own "Howl" that focuses on some aspect of a current political, social, or cultural movement.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan

Finding and Writing the Poem of Faith
One of the ways to become a better poet (or writer) is to write honestly about the things that we hold most dear—family, love, our children, our faith. Through discussion, readings, and writing exercises, participants will learn how to create a poem that speaks to their values, beliefs, precious moments, or lessons learned, around and surrounding faith. COME PREPARED TO WRITE AND CREATE your own poem of faith.
Presented by Shonda Buchanan


Query DO’s and DON’Ts: How Not to Sabotage Your Work
So you’ve written an awesome novel, handpicked agent recipients, sent out your queries… and received nothing but crickets. There are all sorts of pitfalls to avoid when querying an agent—and even experienced writers are not exempt. This workshop will explore the things you can do to make your query stand out in a sea of hopefuls, common mistakes to avoid, and how give your query efforts the best possible chance at success.
Presented by Rachael Dugas


A Day in the Life of a Literary Agent: What They Do, and How You Can Use it to Your Advantage
Literary agents do much more than read all day. Having a clear understanding of their duties can help you find the best agent for you, and, once you’ve signed with him or her, enable you to navigate the agent-author relationship in the most professional, effective way possible. In this workshop, you’ll learn how agents evaluate queries, edit manuscripts, pitch books to editors, negotiate deals, handle subsidiary rights, collaborate with coworkers, review contracts, network with editors and scouts, and more. Since every agent operates differently, you’ll also learn about various styles of agenting, and how to find the kind of agent with whom you might work best.  
Presented by Molly Jaffa

Mastering the 10-minute Agent Pitch
In this workshop designed for both fiction and nonfiction writers attendees will learn what things go into a successful agent pitch and how best to deliver that pitch. If you intend to take advantage of an agent pitches this year this workshop will markedly increase your chance to deliver a superb pitch. Should time allow, Ms Jaffa and the rest of the workshop attendees may be able to listen to the beginning of your pitch, followed by a short critique of it. This workshop is available to all conference attendees, whether they plan to pitch or not.
Presented by Molly Jaffa


Crafting a Gripping Opening
15 authors will read their opening two pages aloud in front of the group and Brooks Sherman. After each reading, Mr. Sherman will react to the material as though he'd received it as a submission. He'll explain what worked for him, what didn't, and how the work could be honed in the opening pages in order to capture an agent's attention. Note: The first 15 people to register for this workshop and request a reading slot will receive it. All others are welcome to attend and listen.
Presented by Brooks Sherman


How to Write a Best Seller That Will Win All the Important Awards (Juvenile Fiction)
These awards will get you booked on Oprah, the Today show, Good Morning America and others, which will mean you'll need an entire new wardrobe.  However, with the gazillion dollars you'll make, you'll easily be able to afford it. What's more, you'll never again have to write another book. Barring that kind of success, this workshop will help guide you to beginning the best book you are capable of writing, learning the skills of plotting and storytelling, the things that will (truly) make you beloved by your audience of young people.  But then, you're on your own for the wardrobe. Part of this interactive workshop will be spent writing and voluntarily sharing work.
Presented by Patricia Hermes

Make Your Characters Come to Life Through Authentic Dialogue (Juvenile Fiction)
Dialogue is perhaps the most effective way of making characters come alive.  But how does one create dialogue that is essentially true to the characters?  How does one differentiate language among the characters?  How can one write dialogue that sounds like 'today', without creating dialogue and characters that will sound dated tomorrow?  From judicious readings and examples, (not from my own books!) participants will learn how the pros do it. Part of this interactive workshop will be spent writing and voluntarily sharing work.
Presented by Patricia Hermes

Plot—What it is and How it Differs from a Series of Scenes
If the scenes are funny or appealing or scary, who needs plot?  How can an author come up with plot that tugs at the heartstrings, (sorry -- a terrible cliche, and we'll talk about cliches, too)? How does one draw on the deepest wells of one's soul and life experiences, to make the connection with the reader's soul?  There will be exercises that will perhaps lead the way to opening those closed places in the heart and soul and memory. Part of this interactive workshop will be spent writing and voluntarily sharing work.
Presented by Patricia Hermes




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