2016 PPWC Workshops

At Pikes Peak Writers Conference, our goal is to provide you with a program full of exciting and informative workshops for all skill levels and interests. Authors, agents, editors, publishers, and specialists come to our conference for one reason… to share their knowledge and love for writing with our passionate and ambitious attendees.

This list of workshops will continue to grow as we confirm more faculty and decide on more workshops.  We will post new information as soon as it becomes available, so keep checking back for the latest news.

Please remember that some things are beyond our control, so all programming is subject to change at any time.

2016 PPWC Workshops:


A DASH OF THE PAST: How to Incorporate Research Artfully in Historical Works

Presented by Aimie K. Runyan

Historical books, be they literary fiction, romance, mystery, or any other genre, require a good amount of research before you put pen to paper, or quill to parchment if you prefer. This session will go over important aspects of how and what to research, solid tools to use to find the details you need, and handy tips for keeping all your information organized. Most importantly, we will discuss the best ways to implement your research in your work that draws the reader in to your world, but that does not bog them down with minutiae that slows the pace of your book. As a bonus, we will even discuss what to do with all those fun tidbits you learn about, but that you can’t incorporate in your novel.


ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE: Creating Vivid Settings

Presented by Carol Berg

To bring a story to life, every scene must communicate a vivid sense of time and place. But the days of long pages of description are past. Explore the techniques of scene-setting through details of description, character, and action that will keep your story real and immediate.


BAD MOON RISING: Set the Tone Through Mood and Atmosphere

Presented by Warren Hammond

Your character needs a voice, and so does your setting. Whether it’s dark-and-stormy or bright-and-sunny, it’s time to bring your setting to life just like your characters. Learn to take your writing to a new level by infusing your story with mood, tone and atmosphere.


BARGAIN BOOK SITES: How to Make FREE Work for You

Presented by Julie Kazimer

Giving away your work might make you queasy, but it can also make you rich and famous. In this workshop, we will discuss bargain book sites like Pixel of Ink, BookBub, and many others and how they have skyrocketed some author’s careers. We will also explore book giveaways and how FREE can affect sales. We will look at cost and best practices that support your use of these sites.



Presented by Carol Berg

Whether writing fiction, non-fiction, long or short, a professional writer has responsibilities to publisher, agent, reader, and self. Many are related to communication, design, and scheduling. But professional responsibility must also include the craft of writing itself. This workshop will explore those sometimes uncomfortable lanes where the business of writing and the craft of writing intersect.


EXPAND AND CONTRACT: The Dance of the Well-Paced Story

Presented by Angie Hodapp

A well-paced story takes the reader on a journey over peaks and valleys of tension and emotional complexity. Learn strategies for maximizing dramatic effect through narrative expansion (which heightens tension and creates powerful emotional moments) and contraction (which allows the writer to skip low-tension moments, set hooks, or deliver quick dramatic punches). Expansion and contraction are complementary tools that can help the writer draft the best possible version of his or her story.



Presented by DeAnna Knippling

What makes a monster, a monster? Digging deeper into the psychological basis for why different monsters scare us, and how to build a solid foundation for your monsters in fiction.



Presented by Lisa Hawker

Video gets the most clicks online, and if you’re promoting a book, you want to get as many clicks as possible. Book trailers can be an attention-getting promotional tool if you do them right. My book trailer got almost 30,000 views in a month.

This workshop will give you resources for royalty-free stock footage, music, and graphics to make an arresting video piece that will drive traffic to your website and, more importantly, your order page. You’ll learn how to get low-cost help from college and art school film programs. We’ll discuss the dos and don’ts, view effective trailers and tacky trailers, and brainstorm ideas for your very own video baby.


KEEPING ALL THE BALLS IN THE AIR: Multiple Streams of Productivity and Revenue

Presented by Jodi Anderson

With a balance of lecture, interactive exercises and feedback, join this workshop to explore opportunities available in today’s ever evolving writing market. Also, come to find new tools to raise your productivity and focus.


LET’S COMMIT MURDER: Answers to Your Most Deadly Plot Points

Presented by Julie Kazimer

In this workshop, attendees would bring their murderous musing and together we would craft a murder scenario based on the criminal mindset and rules of evidence.


MEMOIR: How to Write True Stories That Make You (or Your Characters) Squirm

Presented by Andra Watkins

How much truth goes into crafting a memoir? Should the author combine events, gloss over facts, portray characters in a more (or less) flattering light or make things up in an effort to move the story forward? Using her memoir Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Andra will help aspiring memoir writers decide how to approach complex questions, difficult relationships and sticky story points. Every participant will gain concrete tools to finish a memoir that reads like a novel, something readers today prefer. Participants should come prepared with one (1) 100-word section to be critiqued.



Presented by Jerry Ackerman

A look at the differences between the sub-genres of mystery and what that means for the writer and how they approach the work. Cozies, Private Investigator, Police Procedural, Hardboiled, Noir, and Thriller will be discussed.


SYMBOLISM THEORY: Connection and Reference

Presented by Johnny Worthen

A wide reaching discussion about the foundations of language itself and the use of symbolism to achieve deeper meaning through shared reference in writing. Guaranteed to confuse and enlighten students of all levels with deconstructionist emphasis on subconscious symbolic relationships and associative writing. We’ll study how symbols are used and suggest ways to identify and harness both acquired and created symbology to strengthen own work.


THE DANCE OF THE DIVINE: Where Story Arc and Character Arc Meet

Presented by Aaron Michael Ritchey

In the very best stories, characters who grow and change move us even as the plot catapults us into overwhelming drama. We turn the page to see what happens, and after the dragon is slain, the characters continue to haunt us. In this workshop, you will learn how to use plot to build characters, and how to use characters to build plot. For truly, when authors do this well, it is the dance of the divine.

After going over examples of various story structure models, we’ll delve into how story structure can also support character arcs. At the same time, the events of the story should stem from the characters: what they most need to learn, what they most fear, what they most desire. In this way, we craft the story to bring out the best (or worst) in our characters which will also move the story along.



Presented by Evangeline Denmark

This workshop looks specifically at the genres of urban fantasy, dystopian, paranormal/paranormal romance and steampunk. We’ll discuss keys for world-building in each category and get down to the heart of the story. What drives the plot? What makes the reader hungry for more? We’ll look at core elements of each category and how to keep them in focus as we write.


THE THRIVING WRITER’S TOOLKIT: Insights and Inspiration to Keep You Productive and Creative

Presented by Michelle Major

There are many aspects to thriving as a writer, from productivity to creativity to dealing with rejections and life’s little (and big) distractions. Michelle and Lana will provide craft-related tips and tricks, as well as proven methods for creating energy and clearing your internal blocks. You’ll come away with tools to keep you moving forward in your best life and help you become and stay a thriving writer.


WRITING ON THE EDGE: The Promise and Challenge of Diversity in YA Literature

Presented by Judith Robbins Rose

Discover techniques for creating edgy books for adolescents, including an extended look at the need for diversity in children’s and YA literature. Explore the potential pitfalls of writing outside of your own experience, and learn why you should do it anyway.






PPWC At a Glance

When: April 15-17, 2016

Where: Colorado Springs Marriott
5580 Tech Center Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80919
(719) 260-1800

Back By Popular Demand! Due to the positive feedback, we are continuing the payment plan option for the 2016 PPWC.

Thursday Programming: Pikes Peak Writers is pleased to bring back our overwhelmingly popular Thursday Prequel on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Faculty (Editors, Agents, Authors, Etc.): Stay tuned for more information about our faculty as it develops.

Payment/Registration Methods: All registrations for Pikes Peak Writers Conference must be done through our partner, RegOnline. You can use any form of payment RegOnline’s secured web site will accept. Registration via postal mail, email, fax, or non-RegOnline methods will not be accepted. Payment methods that are not accepted via RegOnline may not be used.

Ride and Room Sharing: If you're in need of a shared ride or room, or if you have something to share, please check out our Ride and Room Sharing page.

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