2023 Workshops

Writing Multiple Genres in a Story or Novel: (60 Minutes)  One of the hottest trends in publishing is stories that combine genres, but crafting a narrative that sits comfortably on two (or more) shelves is easier said than done. Every genre has specific expectations attached, and if you as a writer blow them off, readers will punish you for it. We will define the characteristics of various genres, explore popular blended plots, and identify overlaps and contrasts so you can hit all the marks and truly satisfy a broad range of readers.  Presented by Erin Beaty

Making and Keeping Promises to Your Reader: (60 Minutes) The opening chapters of your novel set the readers’ expectations for the rest of the story, and the last thing you want to do is disappoint them. Learn how to let readers know what they’re getting into and the cues they will pick up on so they can spend time enjoying the plot, rather than being frustrated that it’s not delivering what you’ve told them you would.  Presented by Erin Beaty

Time is on Your Side: (60 Minutes) Most novels take place over a significant span of time, but letting your reader know how much time has passed between scenes can be tricky, whether it’s five minutes or five decades (or even in the past). This workshop will address ways to make time jumps clear to the reader, including with simultaneous events with multiple points of view.  Presented by Erin Beaty

Where Does My Story Start?: (60 Minutes) Writers are told to begin their stories in the middle of some action and as close to the inciting incident as possible, but that advice isn’t entirely correct. This workshop will help you see what your reader needs to know before going into the fray with your characters.  Presented by Erin Beaty

Revising a Novel: (60 Minutes) So you’ve finished your novel, and you know it’s not perfect, but editing over 70,000 words is more than just tweaking language and fixing punctuation. Learn the stages of revision, what kind of feedback to ask for (and whose), and which to take or ignore so you can fill those plot holes and kill those darlings to be left with a leaner, harder hitting manuscript.  Presented by Erin Beaty

The Categories of Children’s Books: (60 Minutes) Books for kids can be divided into Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult, but what defines each and what are the age boundaries? (And what the heck is “New Adult”?) Join us to explore the differences between each and the themes and topics every level can be expected to address so your children’s novel is aimed appropriately.  Presented by Erin Beaty

Making SciFi/Fantasy Digestible: (90 Minutes) Elaborate worldbuilding is a hallmark of science fiction and fantasy, but so is the plethora of confusing, unpronounceable, made up words and concepts that can overwhelm your audience. This workshop will discuss ways to build a fantastical world and ease readers into it, making it more likely they’ll remember characters, places, and events. We’ll also address how to put complex ideas into a concise, understandable, and intriguing pitch for agents and editors as well as readers. Presented by Erin Beaty

Nailing the ten-minute author/Agent Pitch: (120 Minutes) Description forthcoming Presented by Steven Salpeter

Picking Concepts that Sell: How to find the Overlap between Your Writing Interests and the Market (Multidiscipline, Intermediate to Advanced): (60 Minutes) As the President of Literary and IP development at Assemble Media, Steven Salpeter scouts books, short stories, articles, plays, art, screenwriting and more that hook both the publishing and Film/TV markets, and the company has done business with the major book publishers as well as MGM, Netflix, Sony, Universal, Lionsgate, and many more partners. This class covers how to examine the long term and short term trends in the publishing, Film, and TV markets and examine the overlap between your own writing interests and unique talents to pick a next writing project designed to sell. Presented by Steven Salpeter

How Short Fiction Writing Can Improve Your Career (Fiction, all skill levels): (60 Minutes) A practical talk spanning both the about how short fiction writing can help you level up in both the creative and professional worlds, whether your goal be to find a Literary Agent, sell your next book to an indie press, or simply learn skills in a shorter format that can help you with your long form writing. Presented by Steven Salpeter

Elements of High Concept Writing for Film/TV (Screenwriting, all skill levels): (60 Minutes) A class to examine successful writing that is driven by big concepts, and how to apply these lessons and strategies to your own writing, particularly in developing concepts or in revising screenwriting to draw more attention from the marketplace. Presented by Steven Salpeter

Pitch Perfect: Strategies to Successfully Query, Pitch, and Talk about Your Writing (Fiction and Nonfiction book, short story and article writing focused on professional development): (90 Minutes) Do you want to take meetings, prepare query letters, and try to break into book publishing? Steven Salpeter walks you through the strategies to discuss and submit your work effectively and advises how best to avoid the most common errors many authors make in the pitch, query, and submission processes. This class will cover an overview of the book publishing process after your manuscript is written, including how to find a literary agent or manager, how to talk about your writing, how to submit your writing, and an introduction to the book publishing process from the time you have representation to when you’re on shelves. This is great for authors in the middle of the project, to those getting ready to submit their book length fiction or nonfiction, or for those folks who might have submissions out there and want to perfect their submission material. Presented by Steven Salpeter

Mythic Structure for Writers: The Craft of Plotting: (120 Minutes)  Unlock the secrets of the design and principles that govern the structure of storytelling.  Based on the studies of Joseph Campbell, this session will teach you the critical ingredients of a successful story and help you look at your past work with a fresh perspective. Program involves lecture and hands-on writing exercises. Presented by Karen Jones

Ingredients of a Successful Novel: (90 Minutes) This seminar will include a discussion of mythic structure and its importance in developing the story; the different types of characters, their defining traits, and how to incorporate them into the plot, the different uses of setting including setting as character and dramatic device; and an examination of the dramatic scene including the theory of illumination and advancement, and the necessary elements of the climatic scene.  Presented by Karen Jones

 Plotting Stategies: (60 Minutes) An examination of techniques for finding your subject including research and brainstorming techniques; plot organization strategies including outlines, circle diagrams, charts, slanted lines; dividing the story using scenes, sequels and bridges; a discussion of plot arcs, the use of index cards for plot points, scenes and bridges. Presented by Karen Jones

Characterization Stategies: (60 Minutes) This class will introduce successful methods for finding your characters using the character sketch, the timeline, the relationship sketch, character tags and character emotions; techniques for finding your setting, real versus imagined settings; exercises for the creative jumpstart. Presented by Karen Jones

Make Your Characters Come to Life: (60 Minutes) Spend time learning the techniques and developing the skills necessary to construct believable characters and make your characters come alive. Program involves lecture and hands-on writing exercises.  Presented by Karen Jones

Borrowing from Real Life: (60 Minutes) This session will describe how to frame a story based on personal experience and how to insert specific moments from your life into your stories to make your writing richer. A practical exercise will use key details from personal experiences to create a fictional story.  Presented by Bill Glose

Short Stories—Crafting a Cohesive Collection: (60 Minutes) This session will explain the benefits to having a theme for your collection and detail the various ways a book of short fiction can be structured. How to derive a theme from stories already written will also be discussed.  Presented by Bill Glose

Ekphrasis: (60 Minutes) Creating poetry based on other art forms. This session will explore the many ways the written word can intersect with other arts to create a poem, which everyone will do through a practical exercise. How ekphrasis has evolved over the years will also be discussed.  Presented by Bill Glose

Writing for Magazines: (60 Minutes) In this workshop, Bill Glose shares his own roadmap to successful publication to show how to break in at magazines and keep landing assignments after you’ve kicked the door down. You will learn the basics of querying, editorial timelines and relationships, and the art of narrative non-fiction as it applies to both essays and articles.  Presented by Bill Glose

Scrivener Basics: (90 Minutes) This session will cover the basics for setting up a writing project in Scrivener. We will go over how to use the binder, corkboard, word processor, and research sections. By the end of the session attendees should have a basic working knowledge of how the program facilitates a writer researching, outlining, structuring, and writing. Though not required, attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops with their own copies of Scrivener loaded. While Scrivener is available for Windows and Apple operating systems, I will be using the Windows version of Scrivener. Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds

Scrivener Advanced: (60 Minutes) This session will go beyond what the Scrivener Basics session covered with the purpose of digging down into the uses of the Scrivener program to write, rewrite, compile, and print your manuscript. Though not required, attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops with their own copies of Scrivener loaded. While Scrivener is available for Windows and Apple operating systems, I will be using the Windows version of Scrivener. Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds

Screenwriting: (120 Minutes) This session will go over how to develop and write a screenplay. We will cover how to write a treatment, how to create scenes, how to develop characters, how to create interesting description and dialogue, and how to write in screenplay format. Also, we will go over what you can and can’t do in a screenplay and how you write “cinematically”. We will study examples from classic and current films. Handouts will be available. Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds

Writing the Suspense Thriller: (60 Minutes) This session will cover the basics of the Suspense Thriller genre in both novel and screenplay. We will cover how to design your characters – the hero, the villain, the supporting characters. Also, we will work through how to plan and structure powerful stakes for your story. We will examine many examples of the Suspense Thriller in literature and film. Handouts will be available. Presented by Dr. Dennis Bounds

That's a Wrap: (60 Minutes) This session will focus on modes of closure in poems. How do we decide upon an ending. What do we mean by our endings. We will look at poems whose closures resonate and shine. Presented by Charlotte Matthews

Generative Hour: (60 Minutes) In this session, participants will be given a variety of prompts. We will write and have opportunity to share what we wrote. A group poem will be a product of this session. Presented by Charlotte Matthews

Prosody: (60 Minutes) This session will focus on elements of prosody, the patterns of rhythm and sound used in poems. We will practice scansion and will look at poems whose meter plays a major but inconspicuous role. Presented by Charlotte Matthews

Writing as Healing: (60 Minutes) This session will focus on how the poems we read and those we write can be powerful antidotes to suffering and loneliness. Presented by Charlotte Matthews

Let’s Get These Drafts in Order: (60 Minutes) This session will focus on organizing notes and drafts of poems. Participant will learn practical tips for making order out of all the stray pieces of paper on which they have haphazardly jotted down enticing ideas for poems. They will walk away with a system so that when time allows, they can roll up their sleeves and get right to the poems they want and need to write. Presented by Charlotte Matthews

Creating Strong, Appealing Women for Your Historical Novel in Spite of the History: (60 Minutes)  We all know that, until very recently, a woman’s place was highly circumscribed, yet it is common to find historical novels with female characters who seem to have stepped right out of the 21st century in their language, attitudes, and abilities. Historically, few people, male or female, admired a woman for taking an active role in anything—but female doormats subservient to the nearest male do not sell books. Readers want their heroines independent and action oriented. But historical reality cannot be wished away. This class will discuss how to create a female character who holds true to history while appealing to today’s historical fiction readers. Presented by Mary Miley Theobald

First Aid for Historical Fiction: (60 Minutes) You don’t have to have a PhD. in history to write an authentic historical novel. You do have to be sensitive to the very real cultural differences that exist between today and your story’s setting. In this class we’ll go over the most common blunders and how to overcome them. Presented by Mary Miley Theobald

Help! Resources that Help You Create Authentic Historical Characters, Scenes, and Stories: (60 Minutes) The usual history books fall miles short of providing us writers with historically appropriate information on topics like food, clothing, furnishings, gardens, interiors, street scenes, prejudices, attitudes, habits, and so forth. This class will point you to the resources that let your writing sparkle with accurate cultural details and bring the past to life. Presented by Mary Miley Theobald

Successful Novel = Compelling Story + Excellent Writing: (60 Minutes) A manuscript has only one chance to impress an agent/editor, and weak writing will doom your efforts before the reader reaches the bottom of the first page. Join us as we focus on the second part of this equation, exploring 16 ways to take your writing to the next level through self-editing—before your manuscript lands on an agent's or editor’s desk. Presented by Mary Miley Theobald

Crafting a Memorable Villain: (60 Minutes) Villains range from the mildly antagonistic to the wickedly villainous. However, there's one thing all villains need to possess. We'll dive into this element and examine how it brings authenticity to your antagonist. We'll also examine how to pair the right antagonist for your hero. And, how to let that relationship build throughout the story. Villain's aren't just for suspense novels. All stories require an antagonistic force. Join me to learn what goes into creating a truly memorable  villain.   Presented by Dani Pettrey

Take Your Dialogue Deeper: (90 Minutes) This class focuses on the myriad of craft skills that make dialogue an art in and of itself. We'll explore how to create the mood and atmosphere that best fits the conversation, where the scene is set, the way the dialogue flows with syntax, cadence, and rhythm, and most importantly, what's not being said.  Presented by Dani Pettrey

High-Octane Pacing: (60 Minutes) Pacing isn't about constantly flying ahead. True pacing is learning when to propel the movement forward and when to give readers a chance to breathe . . . somewhat. We'll explore techniques to keep your reader flipping the pages late into the night. We’ll discuss how to help your reader identify with your characters within the story movement, ways to keep your middle from sagging and to bring tight pacing through the full length of the manuscript. We’ll also discuss how to end on an intriguing and satisfying note.  Presented by Dani Pettrey

Marketing—Before & After Publication: (60 Minutes) Marketing is a crucial skill for writers both before and after publication. We'll discuss how to build a platform and expand your networking before publication as well as what you need to do differently once published. We'll look at specific social media platforms, what's hot in marketing now, and how to stay sane through it all. Presented by Dani Pettrey

The Dreaded Comp Titles—A Necessary Evil That Can Launch Your Career: (60 Minutes) This session will forever change your relationship with Comp Title requests. Amy will go over HOW to find and how to use comp titles to pitch your idea and then prove that your idea is a great idea. Comp titles in a log in/pitch allow authors and agents to “shorthand” the pitch and are the MOST effective way to let editors and agents know if your manuscript is a good fit for them.  In addition, comp titles in your market viability statement shows that books like yours are selling now.  Learn how to find the BEST comp titles using websites, databases, and a host of tools you may not have seen before. Learn how to use the data you uncover in this class to get out of the slush pile. Presented by Amy Collins

Writing a Pitch vs. Writing a Synopsis—The Differences and an Easy Way to Do Both Without Losing Your Mind: (60 Minutes) Do you want to pitch agents and editors with the best pitch possible? Do you know what a pitch is supposed to include (and NOT include?) This class will help you streamline and polish your pitch so that you get more requests.  AFTER the pitch comes the synopsis. This “Step one, Step two” session will also give you the rules and best practices for a synopsis that will impress an agent or editor. Presented by Amy Collins

Find Your Readers: (60 Minutes) There are a few critical elements for a successful writing career that go beyond simply being a great writer. It all starts with an understanding of how to find and connect with readers. This aspect of a writer’s career is essential. Effectively marketing, selling, and promoting yourself and your work is uncomfortable. But it does not have to be. This class offers a sustainable plan to find fans and get reviews. The tools taught will help you develop the relationships you need to achieve both your creative and financial goals. Understand who your readers are, and where they browse and shop. Presented by Amy Collins

Social Media for Those Who HATE Social Media: (60 Minutes) Whether you're an introvert concerned about being too pushy and "selling out," or a social gadfly with an established platform—you'll walk out of this session with an actionable, individualized plan to embrace the business side of your writing career without getting overwhelmed. Social media does not have to be exhausting. You can use it as a research and communication tool that you can be comfortable with. Learn how to reach and connect with your readers. Presented by Amy Collins

Making the Most of Amazon Author Central: (60 Minutes) Join book marketing expert Keri-Rae Barnum of New Shelves Books as she explores one of Amazon's greatest resources for authors – Author Central. Authors will learn how to claim their profile, use special features to optimize their Amazon book listing and ways to increase their visibility and credibility on one of the largest e-commerce and book sales platforms available today. Presented by Keri-Rae Barnum

Amazon Algorithms 101Get More Traffic to Your Book Sales Page for Free: (60 Minutes) We all know that you can pay for Amazon to boost your book on their site with Amazon Advertising. But did you know that you can also work with Amazon’s algorithms to naturally improve your book’s visibility on their site for FREE? In Amazon Algorithms 101 Keri-Rae Barnum of New Shelves Books will discuss the most recent algorithm updates on Amazon and 4 easy hacks you can use to make sure your book shows up in more Amazon searches without paying a thing. Presented by Keri-Rae Barnum

Using Facebook to Grow Your Audience and Sell More Books: (60 Minutes) While apps like TikTok have been making the news the last few years, Facebook continues to be named the most popular social media platform based on global active users. If used correctly, Facebook can be a wonderful platform for authors to find their ideal readers. In this class, we will discuss tips for optimizing your author Facebook page, ways to engage your audience and the best ads to run to increase your sales. Presented by Keri-Rae Barnum

How to work with bookstores and retail stores to Get Your Book on Their Shelves: (60 Minutes) Do you dream of seeing your books on the shelves of the local bookstore? Or maybe you have your sights set on airport stores, chain stores and gift shops. Before that can happen, you must learn the “rules” of selling your book into the retail market. Bookstores have very limited shelf space compared to the rent they are being charged. It is a book buyer’s job to make sure that those shelves earn their keep, and your job to convince them that your book can turn a profit in their store. This class will cover:

  • The ins and outs of the book retail world
  • A checklist of items you need to pitch your book to bookstores
  • What wholesalers and companies can help with this process
  • How to earn your way onto the store’s shelves through the side door

If you are ready to take your sales to the next level and develop the strategy needed to see your book on the shelves of stores worldwide, join Keri for this class! Presented by Keri-Rae Barnum

Hook ‘em With a Hook Line and Reel ‘em in With the Query: (60 Minutes) In this class, we’ll explore the ins and outs of writing a successful hook line and query. We’ll go through querying etiquette, as well as tips and tricks to avoid the slush pile. We’ll talk about what catches an agent’s eye and what will make us say no immediately. Presented by Lori Colvin

Blood on the Page: (60 Minutes) This session will explain the editing process 1st draft through submission and will include tips, techniques, and helpful technologies that will aid in preparing a manuscript for querying. We’ll discuss killer words, paragraph and submission structure, the importance of paragraph and chapter transitions, showing vs. telling, and more. Presented by Lori Colvin

Seriously Social: (60 Minutes) This session will give authors a taste of what is necessary and important to establishing a social media platform. It will cover why social media is important and help demystify the top platforms. We’ll talk about pitch events on social media, the importance of contacts and establishing a professional and positive presence. Presented by Lori Colvin

Poetry on the GoThe Power of Haiku: (60 minutes) Short poems can have just as much resonance as their longer cousins. Using haikus as a launching pad, we find that the discipline and craft needed to write one actually amplifies our engagement with poems of any length. In this short breakout, we will read and discuss various haikus, and then write our own and share our work together. We will also learn how writing in small creative bursts can help a writer deal with moving past blocks and into getting words onto the page. This session is open to poets and writers of any genre. The images we create will echo into all our work. Join us! Presented by Michael Khandelwal

Use MICE to Recruit Your Most Valuable AssetAn Agent for Your Fiction and/or Nonfiction Book: (60 Minutes) In this class, you will learn how to apply MICE

  • M = money
  • I = ideology
  • C = compromise
  • E = ego

to your book projects and career. A huge Homeland fan, I recently read an article about how people are recruited as spies. Reviewing the TV depiction of spy-spotting, a CIA agent shared the mnemonic MICE for what they look for and how agency recruiters assess new potential spies to become assets. The mnemonic MICE hits on the four main motivations people have for agreeing to become spies. And this is a great way to understand the literary agent evaluation process. When it comes to pitching nonfiction to literary agents, it provides an easy method to understand how a literary agent sees your nonfiction readiness. Presented by Katharine Sands

Memoir, Femoir, and Himoir—How to Craft and Publish Your Life Story: (60 Minutes) For writers keen to share their life experiences with readers, this workshop guides you through the process of creating content based on your personal narrative. Drawing on the raw material of your real-life, you'll learn writing prompts, publishing tips and insights into the vital elements of memory-based writing -- focused on the interior and exterior journey -- to both tell and sell your story. Presented by Katharine Sands

Why the Writing You Do About Your Writing is as Important as the Writing Itself: (60 Minutes) Writing commercially probably has been a bane to writers since Pliny the Elder plied the trade. But the truth is: writers could have the magical imagination of J.K. Rowling, the wit and wisdom of Judith Viorst, the perfect economy of Hemingway and the ageless brilliance of (whoever really wrote) Shakespeare, and they still need to pitch, query, and propose before they can be published. The writing you do about your writing is as important as the writing itself. Like the proverbial buck, your book starts here.... The writing about your writing is the passport that you carry into the literary marketplace as you navigate the publishing industry. To effectively introduce a novel or book idea to a literary agent you must persuade him/her that there is a readership for your book. The writing you do about your writing is part “hello,” part cover letter, part interview for the coveted job of book author. Presented by Katharine Sands

Making Your First Impression Count: (60 Minutes) The most common problem that agents see in their submissions is a weak opening chapter that fails to “activate” the story and hook the reader. Learn what an agent is looking for in the first pages of your novel and what elements of story must be present to make your submission stand out, including tips on how to create tension, atmosphere, and immediacy across all types of genres. We’ll also discuss some common mistakes that writers make when crafting a story’s beginning and how to avoid them. The first chapter of your novel isn’t everything, but it can amount to nothing if you can’t convince an agent to keep reading. Presented by Emily Williamson

Point of ViewWhose Story is This? (60 Minutes) Choosing the right point-of-view for your narrative is essential. It affects every aspect of story, sets the tone, the voice, and the kind of relationship a reader will have with your characters. If you’re stuck somewhere in your novel, the wrong viewpoint or a lack of control over shifting POVs might be the culprit. We’ll examine the different POV flavors and how to use them to shape the structure of your narrative. Presented by Emily Williamson

ImageryCan You See What I Mean? (60 Minutes) Imagery is the act of using language to create images in the reader’s mind. According to Stephen King, Imagery does not occur on the writer’s page; it occurs in the reader’s mind. To describe everything is to supply a photograph in words; to indicate the points which seem the most vivid and important to you, the writer, is to allow the reader to flesh out your sketch into a portrait.” This class will focus on the use of imagery in writing, on how to describe in a way that allows readers to SEE the scenes, and on how to turn telling sentences into showing ones. Presented by Emily Williamson