2014 Breakout Sessions



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

Where the Wild Things Are: Getting to the story
Let’s take for granted that your fiction is character-driven. Let’s suppose you have an idea.  But what is the action of your story? What’s the plot? Often that necessary narrative spine is the most difficult to find or see.  This workshop will discuss a couple of examples of written fiction (including Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are), but it will centrally involve practical hands-on exercises in finding the plot of your story, either one you make up in the workshop or one you are working on already. 
Janet Burroway, author and Professor Emerita at the Florida State University


WELCOME TO THE WOODSHED: Getting serious about writing
Know you’ve always had a book inside you but can’t get it out? Finding yourself unable to balance writing with other obligations? Ready to accomplish your writing goals? In a seminar that is one part inspirational speech, one part how-to guide, award-winning mystery author Brad Parks talks about how to change your life so writing rises to the fore.
Brad Parks, best-selling author of the Carter Ross thriller series

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Why you need an agent and how to get the right one
For all that has changed about the publishing world in the last decade, one thing hasn’t: People not named E.L. James still need to get the right agent if they want to last. Seven books into his own career, Brad Parks talks about what he did wrong at first, what he’s done right since then, and how you can query your way to the agent of your dreams.
Brad Parks, best-selling author of the Carter Ross thriller series


LIFE BEFORE THE ALPHABET: LEARNING TO WRITE BY HEART (Poetry)
This workshop will consider orature, and its place in the contemporary world of letters. How can orally composed or delivered art help modern day writers of poetry, prose, plays and screenplays? Our aim is to stimulate and nurture the aural imagination.  We will discuss the political, cultural, aesthetic, and psychological aspects of taking art off the page. We will briefly touch on the sources of literary poetry as orature in prime cultures, and we will trace ways in which the oral tradition survives today in children's verse, anecdote, joke, and ritual speech. Bring a draft of a piece you are currently working on.
Dr. Philip Brady, author, Youngstown State University professor, and executive director of Etruscan Press

INTRODUCTION TO INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING
This workshop offers an introduction to the world of independent literary publishing. Aimed at authors trying to come to terms with the rapidly changing landscape of the publishing world, the workshop will focus on roles and various models of the independent press. We'll touch on editorial policies, distribution, production and design, grant writing, promotion and marketing, and the role of authors.  
Dr. Philip Brady, author, Youngstown State University professor, and executive director of Etruscan Press

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR INDIE-PUBLISHING PITCH
What are publishers looking for? How can you get an editor's attention, and distinguish your manuscript from the pile of submissions received every day? This workshop will focus on strategies and protocol for authors looking to break into publishing without aid of a literary agent.
Dr. Philip Brady, author, Youngstown State University professor, and executive director of Etruscan Press


Developing Characters Through Collaboration
When writing a novel you create characters in an isolated void. This workshop will include a "writing improv" exercise to help ensure that your characters' voices stand out to the reader. Together we will explore how your characterization can be honed when writing collaboratively. As part of this interactive workshop, writers will be paired up and asked to write a short dialogue with one another using characters from their WIPs.
Emily Gref, Literary Agent at Lowenstein Associates Inc.


Maximize Your Twitter Platform
Make the most of this popular social media platform. Learn strategies for how to tweet smarter, connect with your target audience, market your personal brand, and build your online presence.
Kaylee Davis, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary

Join the Pitch Party!
Learn how to pitch your manuscript online in 140 characters or less. We will go over this alternative to traditional querying and how to make it work for you. After breaking down the essentials of a successful pitch and reviewing the characteristics of each pitch party, writers will have the opportunity to apply the strategies learned and craft their own perfect pitch.
Kaylee Davis, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary

Self-Editing out of the Slush Pile
Learn how to get your work noticed! We will discuss some of the most common mistakes seen in queries and sample pages, and how to self-edit your way to success.
Kaylee Davis, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary


All Query, No Bite
Not getting bites from the agents you’ve queried? What can writers do to increase their chances of getting “the call?” Learn how to best represent your work by eliminating any potential red flags from your query, synopsis, and sample pages.
Kimiko Nakamura, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary

Make Your Manuscript Sing!
A writer’s voice can be likened to a fingerprint. Learn how to find your authentic voice, or simply fine-tune it, by reevaluating your ideal genre and strengthening the skills that will hone your signature writing style.
Kimiko Nakamura, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary

How to Nail Your 10-Minute Agent Pitch
Discover the best tips for perfecting a 10-minute agent pitch in a workshop designed for both fiction and nonfiction writers. All conference attendees are welcome to participate and those who plan to pitch this year will not want to miss this opportunity. You’ll learn how to effectively communicate your ideas by determining the most salient points of your pitch, the best ways to engage with a perspective agent, and even how to leave time for constructive feedback in those precious 10 minutes.
Kimiko Nakamura, Literary Agent at Dee Mura Literary


Anatomy of a Successful Query: A head to toe look at what works
We'll start with the bare bones of what to include/not include in a query. Then get to the heart of what agents are looking for in a query letter. You will learn how to use your head when querying, with smart DOs and DON’Ts. Ms. Epstein will flesh out the session with examples of real query letters that have worked, those that haven’t, and in each instance why.
Linda Epstein, literary Agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

What Agents Mean When They Say "Show; Don't tell."
"Show, Don’t Tell" is probably the most ubiquitous bit of writing advice. But what does it really mean? How do you know when to show and when not to? Is it ever ok to tell? In this breakout session you'll learn how to kick your powers of description up a notch and have an opportunity to practice showing versus telling in a hands on writing exercise.
Linda Epstein, literary Agent at The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency


Who is telling your story?
Point of view (POV) is one of the most powerful tools in a writer’s arsenal. Effectively applied, it can bring characters to life and draw your readers into the story. When misunderstood and misapplied, it can also create confusion and turn a good story into a difficult and unsatisfying read. This workshop will provide an overview of POV with a focus specifically on developing an effective Limited Third Person narration.
Jeff Andrews, author of The Freedom Star and Gandy Dancer

Building Your Kindle eBook
Publishing on Kindle is easy, but correctly preparing your book for success on Kindle takes time and effort. This workshop will walk you through the process, offering tips on formatting, cover design, building a linked table of contents, and more. You worked hard to write a great book—now learn how to get that book into the hands (and Kindles) of your readers.
Jeff Andrews, author of The Freedom Star and Gandy Dancer

Marketing Tips for Authors
Whether you are self-published or published by a small press, you need to take charge of your marketing. Where should you begin? How much marketing is enough? Learn what it takes to get your book noticed. This workshop will cover topics such as blogging, book reviews, advertising, social media and more.
Jeff Andrews, author of The Freedom Star and Gandy Dancer


Author to media darling: Steps you need to take to get noticed
Authors are experts in their chosen field, but getting a reporter to share that story is another matter.  Journalist Cheryl Tan will tell you what news organizations look for when putting together coverage and how you can package your ideas to get noticed.
Cheryl Tan, Broadcast journalist, speaker, writer

How to maximize opportunities for publicity
You've had your 15 minutes.  The interview went well and your Facebook page lit up with kudos from your recent stint on TV or front page story in the newspaper.  What happens now?  Journalist Cheryl Tan shows you how you can use your media experience to get other opportunities to share your story.
Cheryl Tan, Broadcast journalist, speaker, writer


Step Aside You Humdrum Life (Poetry)
The expression of wonder stands for all that cannot be understood, that can scarcely be believed, Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions.

Once the moment in the woods passes, once the eclipse is over, how do we make experience indelible so that others might experience it too? This workshop will address this question and invite participants to recognize awe in daily life. Short exercises will encourage participants to achieve this goal.
Charlotte Matthews, Hollins University professor and author of two full length collection of poetry, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars

Writer as Cartographer (Memoir)
As a cartographer is one who makes maps, projecting an area of the earth's surface on a flat plane, so is a writer able to transform an imagined shape into real shape. In much the manner of a cartographer, a writer must brave the elements in order to come closer to an understanding of what is mysterious. With a focus on memoir, this class will ask students to consider their own lives as maps.
Charlotte Matthews, Hollins University professor and author of two full length collection of poetry, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars

Look Closely (Flash Fiction)
Description concerns itself with the study of things as they exist, bringing forth attributes without labeling them. Every time we sit down to write, we set out to discover a truth, at least part of which we did not fully know before. This workshop will demonstate this truth. Participants will write flash fiction pieces in response to specific prompts. An example of a prompt would be to write everything you know about wind. Participants will experience how writing becomes a way of discovering and shaping understanding of a subject.
Charlotte Matthews, Hollins University professor and author of two full length collection of poetry, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars

The Notion and Heft of Home (Memoir)
This workshop will be an exploration of the connections and disconnects, the fact and fiction, the comfort and anguish of home. In his writings of 1950 Thomas Mann noted, “One of the most important characteristics distinguishing man from all other forms of nature is his knowledge of transitoriness, of beginning and end, and therefore of the gift of time.” Do we invest so much in home as a stay against this knowledge? Why is leaving home so monumental? Why are the homeless so often outcasts? Students will take home as the subject and write about about it employing very specific prompts, some of which involve making a blueprint of one’s childhood home.
Charlotte Matthews, Hollins University professor and author of two full length collection of poetry, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars


THE LIFESPAN OF A BOOK
What happens to a book after you’ve written it? Quite a lot, actually. From P&L evaluations to royalty reserves to online positioning to sales reps rehashing your elevator pitch, this presentation will walk through the life of a book from pitch to pulping. Improve your chance of publication by understanding the book process and your part in it.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK REVIEWER
Bill Glose discusses how he chooses books for review in Virginia Living and various things publishers have done in the past to focus attention on a particular book. He also explains the mistakes that many beginning authors do that harm their chances for review.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

ART & CRAFT - COMBINING FREETHINKING CREATION WITH LOGICAL REVISION
This workshop will use free-writing methods to come up with ideas, plots and subplots. Next, a logical process will be used to revise and organize disconnected ideas into a workable outline. This class will include demonstration, hands-on workshopping, and review.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

CATHARSIS OF POETRY - WRITING POETRY BASED ON PERSONAL HARDSHIPS
For 10 years after the Gulf War, Bill Glose felt unable to write about his combat experiences. When he finally did, he used omniscient techniques to explore tender wounds. This workshop will explore ways to make your personal experiences universal and how poetry can aid in the healing process.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

POETRY & REVISION
This workshop will walk through many of the decisions poets have to make when crafting their poems. Examples of published & noted poems in early drafts will be used. Revision of a poem will also be performed using class participation.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

FINDING FREELANCE SUCCESS
This workshop will focus on how to improve your chances of publication by aiming at the right market and building relationships with editors. There will much discussion of the query letter and process, including poor and promising query letter examples followed by a hands-on exercise.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING
This workshop will detail the professional requirements of writing for pay—writing on deadline, understanding publishing cycles, and prioritizing competing demands.
Bill Glose, freelance journalist and author of two books of poetry, The Human Touch and Half a Man


The Author and His Website: A tentative romance, a virtual inevitability
Congratulations, you wrote a book! Now you need a good promotional platform from which to showcase your work, engage and grow your audience, and generate publicity. Your author website will be a key player; let's make her your best friend, too! Get to know what she's about, how she works, and how to dress her for your success.
Nora Firestone, professional writer/reporter, website designer and founder of Step-by-Step Presentations


Begin with Style
This workshop will help writers construct beginnings that grab attention, introduce conflict, and establish critical story elements. The class covers proven techniques and incorporates wisdom from editors and writers on what draws readers in and propels them forward. Participants will draft the opening paragraphs of a story from a set of parameters, and then we’ll discuss the impact of the choices made.
Valerie Wilkinson, author and educator

End with Power and Grace
How do you create an ending that is both inevitable and unexpected? This workshop will help writers do just that focusing on ways to clarify meaning and leave readers with a sense of completion. Relying on advice from editors and writers, we’ll discuss ways to capitalize on images, foster paradox, employ proper scale, and hint at meaning without tying too neat a bow.
Valerie Wilkinson, author and educator

Fictional Time Travel: Flash forward, Flashback, and Keep the Present on Track
Time handling can be tricky business. As a writer, you must decide when to pierce the present with the past, when (or if) to flash forward, and how to keep the present action on track. We’ll discuss how to use time cues to keep the reader oriented, review flashback protocols, discuss the most effective ways to flash forward, and try our hands at moving seamlessly back and forth through time. Valerie Wilkinson, author and educator


BIOs & BLURBS & BLOGS, OH MY!
As a new author, having your book accepted for publication is only the beginning! This seminar will deal with the many tools, that when prepared in advance, will make your transition from everyday writer to published author much easier! A checklist of “must-do’s” will be provided.
Ginger Marcinkowski, author and educator

WALKING THE (CHRISTIAN) LINE
Writing for the Christian Market may inadvertently put the writer in a quandary. Ginger Marcinkowski shares her experience of “breaking in” to Christian fiction writing through a secular publisher. This workshop offers attendees several resources to add to their ever-growing toolbox.
Ginger Marcinkowski, author and educator

A SENSE OF PLACE . . . How to take the reader there
The setting of a story is more than just a place. It can be a powerful character. It can transform the reader’s imagination and ground a good plot. Learn how your special “place” can anchor your manuscript. This workshop will include readings and hands-on exercises to stimulate creativity and bring the writer’s personal setting to life.
Ginger Marcinkowski, author and educator


Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning: Creating a realistic medical scene
You wouldn't accept bad medicine in real life, why would you accept it in your writing? Workshop participants will take a quick jog through the medical profession, discussing medical education, medical specialties, and common medical procedures, and separating medical fact from medical fiction.
Dr. Randy Ferrance, author and physician


Beyond Sight: Refining the Senses in Our Poetry
Great poems are built from strong sensory images. In this one hour session, we’ll work together on the craft of building and tuning sensory images beyond what our eyes tell us—those of sound, touch, taste, and scent. Join us and strengthen your awareness of these images that are often less prevalent in our early drafts. This workshop, though designed for poets, can be a great help to prose writers as well.
Michael Khandelwal

Get Moving: Action and Body Awareness in Our Poetry
As in prose, strong poems don’t just move down the page, they contain strong movement as well as an awareness of the body’s place in its environment. In this one hour session, we’ll work together on the craft of the concrete images of action and proprioception/balance. Join us to illuminate the motion that your poems can contain, something often overlooked in our early drafts. This workshop, though designed for poets, can be a great help to prose writers as well.
Michael Khandelwal


How to WRITE TIGHT
Save your writing from the rejection trash bin. In this workshop, participants will learn how to tighten and tweak their manuscripts by eliminating unnecessary words and phrases, strengthen the remaining text and improve the pace of both fiction and nonfiction. Through fun in-class exercises, we will also address; dangling modifiers, overuse of adjectives and adverbs, and other things that cause an editor or agent to pass on your manuscript.
Diana Flegal

Convincing Nonfiction
In this workshop, we will discuss the key to successful nonfiction, your writing mission, see the value in balancing information with personal example, and review developing a conversational tone, so important for the over stressed reader. Patricipants will learn tips for building chapters one upon the other as they develop their final take away.
Diana Flegal


POLICE PROCEDURES FOR THE CRIME WRITER
This session will focus on the Forensic procedures and all levels of personnel involved in death investigations, sexual assault, evidence collection, and DNA analysis. It will conclude with the history of DNA analysis along with some legendary cases.
Dr. C. Thomas Somma




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