PPWC Workshops

We are hard at work on Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018.

The dates: April 27-29, 2018

Below are some of our 2018 PPWC workshops! Stay tuned to this page for the latest updates–we’re typing as fast as we can! Please be aware that planning a conference of this size is a somewhat fluid activity, and circumstances beyond our control may dictate changes to workshops or faculty at any time. We strive to keep this list, and our attendees, updated in a timely manner.

10 Reasons Why You Should be Writing Short Stories

Presented by Liz Colter

Many writers begin writing by tackling novels, but writing short stories as well can help you practice technique, learn business skills, gain exposure, and more. This workshop will explore ten reasons to try your hand at short-form writing, and the tips that will get you started.


13 Lies They Tell Writers

Presented by Rod Miller

Many approaches to writing and techniques for crafting a story are presented at writers’ conferences and in workshops and creative writing programs as if they are commandments set in stone.  But, for many writers, those mandates are less than helpful and do not work.  A discussion of 13 of these decrees encourages writers to not  intimidated by decrees from “experts” that, for them, are “lies.”  Instead, authors are inspired to find their own way and develop their own methods to achieve success.


An Insider’s Look at the Editor/Author Relationship

Presented by Jennie Marts/Deb Werksman

Join Sourcebooks Casablanca Editorial Director, Deb Werksman and USA Today Bestselling author, Jennie Marts,  as they share insight on how editors and authors can work together best from the story inception to the finished book on the shelves.  Find out how to communicate with your editor to get the results you want, as well as what to do should communication ever break down, how to get to alignment when you can’t agree to disagree, and how to get the absolute most out of your relationships with your publishing house.


Author Websites the Easy Way

Presented by Fauzia Burke

Pub Site is the new do-it-yourself website builder designed specifically for books and authors.  It supports author tours, blogging, bookseller links, and even e-commerce!  Designs, layouts, and features are all created with books and authors in mind, which means you can have a website up and running in less than an hour with either your domain name or ours.  Import your blogs, and add video and mailing list sign-up forms easily.  Check out a demo and learn more about this easy-to-use, yet powerful, website builder.


Be Proactive:  Eliminating Passive Voice

Presented by April Moore

No one likes being passive, right?  The same should go for your writing.  While some passive writing is unavoidable (even necessary), most of the time, it’s a clear sign of an amateur writer.  Active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb.  In passive voice structure, the subject is acted upon by the verb.  Passive voice tends to be wordier and over employs -ing words and was and were.  Not clear?  No worries.  Through lecture and examples, participants will understand, identify, and eliminate passive voice with a stroke of the keyboard…or pencil.  This is a great class for both fiction and nonfiction writers.


Building the Perfect Non-Perfect Character

Presented by Cindi Madsen/Aaron Michael Ritchey

Learn how to build characters–from the relatable and likable to the villains we secretly love.


Building Your Author Platform with Magazine Articles

Presented by Kerrie L. Flanagan

Whether you’re writing novels or are trying to position yourself as an expert for your nonfiction books, writing and submitting magazine articles is a great way to reach a larger audience and build your author platform. Taught by accomplished freelance writer, Kerrie Flanagan, whose work has appeared in such publications as Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, Alaska Magazine and FamilyFun, this presentation will cover the basics of magazine writing, including generating ideas, finding your target market, and writing an effective query. In addition, it will cover the reasons why tapping into this market is an important and effective marketing tool that many authors do not take advantage of. Through a combination of instruction and guided activities, participants will leave with the basic knowledge of writing for magazines along with ideas for future articles to help build their writing platform.


Building Your Self-Publishing Team

Presented by Callie Stoker

Elevate your self-publishing by finding the right professionals to build your team.  Editors, formatters, cover designers, and personal assistants.  How to find them, how to afford them, and why treating your self-publishing as a business will bump up your professionalism and your sales.


Busting the Block

Presented by MB Partlow

This is where you bring your plot problems to be solved!  Got a hole in your plot?  Wrote yourself into a corner?  Need a motivation for a character?  Need a crazy twist?  Learn how to brainstorm, trope-twist, and redefine your plot problems, with an eye to leaping over whatever hurdles you have and finishing that manuscript.


Can You Feel the Love?

Presented by Cindi Madsen

Romance is one of the hottest genres out there. So how do you build great heroes and heroines, make sure the romantic chemistry is smoking from the first page, and make your reader fall in love along with the characters? From slow build to starting off with a bang, learn how to make sure everyone leaves satisfied.


The Death of the Mentor aka We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Mentors!

Presented by Trai Cartwright

Since the beginning of storytelling, the hero’s journey has included one significant aid for our young main characters:  a mentor.  Magical, older, wiser, this person was the guardian and guide until our young hero could master his own skills and destiny.  But in recent storytelling, we’ve seen a radical change in the hero-mentor relationship–the mentor has all but disappeared, or has otherwise failed their charges.  From Haymitch to Dumbledore to stories like Ready Player One and Fault in Our Stars, we’ll examine what’s different about the hero’s journey and why we’ve killed off our elders.


Dialogue That Fits Your World

Presented by Callie Stoker

The characters in your unique world need to speak in a way that matches the worldbuilding.  Learn common time period, gender role, and social communication “rules” of a world in order to clearly apply those guidelines to the world of your building.  From idioms to swear words, these frameworks will help you find the words and phrases that will give authenticity to your creations.


Dive into Data

Presented by Deb Werksman

Data can drive creativity.  Find out why books are different from other media, the importance of positioning an dhow do it to maximize a book’s success, and what you need to know to understand today’s marketplace.  What you don’t know can be as interesting as what you do know, by the way.  You’ll also learn what to ask, and where to look to reach readers and maximize your impact.


Do You Want to Kill a Snowman?

Presented by Sam Knight

We don’t buy the book because the protagonist is a twenty-something drop-out who no one believes in.  We buy it because we want to see the monster!  What makes a great monster?  It’s strengths and weaknesses–in other words, how to kill it!


Eating Your Words:  Make Them Tasty

Presented by MB Partlow

Of all the senses, taste is the one most often ignored.  Which is sadder than a cake left out in the rain, because what your characters are tasting can speak volumes about your characters, their past, the setting, societal and cultural values, and more.  This workshop will delve into ways to work taste into your work, no matter what your genre, how other writers have mastered this, tropes to avoid, how to use non-food tastes, and sources for inspiration.


Edit Sober (The second half of our special Write Drunk; Edit Sober activity!)

Presented by Deb Courtney

So you did some improv writing. Some of it might even be good. Now the real work begins. This session focuses on unpacking the small samples you create in response to writing prompts, flexing the ideas, identifying themes, and understanding how to develop these exercises into usable material. Please note: This workshop is suitable for anyone who has done improv writing, or writing to prompts. You’re welcome to attend even if you didn’t attend the “Write Drunk” portion last night.


Emotional Description–The How and Why that will Change Your Writing Forever

Presented by Terry Banker

Emotional Description is more than writing descriptive narrative. Emotional Description is a guiding principle used to govern all writing aspects in fiction and nonfiction.   It engineers specific emotions to guide a reader through a story by controlling, confining, and filtering choices toward a desired emotional outcome.


Establishing Yourself as a Business in the Eyes of the IRS

Presented by Therese Francis

Think like a business, look like a business, get treated like a business (and take advantage of the tax laws only available for businesses).  Even if Congress makes big tax law changes this year, your small business reporting requirements will not change (and might increase).


Expanding Your Readership

Presented by M.H. Boroson

There are a limited number of people who already read lots of book in your genre; most authors compete for these readers.  This workshop, however, is about people who aren’t regular readers–but they’d love YOUR book.


Fantasy and Sci-Fi World Building:  Writing Like an Anthropologist

Presented by Darby Karchut

Come explore the eight universals that make up a culture and how to incorporate them into world building to give your fantasy or sci-fi book extra depth.  There will also be activity to help participants review their WIP and determine if their own “brave new world” has all the elements of the culture.


Fear of Commitment:  Finding Your Match

Presented by MB Partlow and Kameron Claire

Whether dating or looking for a critique group, finding a good match can be hard, but finding the right one can be even harder. Before entering any relationship, you need to take a hard look at who you are and what you bring to the table, as well as know what you need from your partners. We’ll help you figure out what’s out there, how to seek out the best partners, and give you solid tips on how to handle a potential break-up. We can’t help you find a love connection, but we can help you find or build a good critique group.

The Grown-Up in the Room: Writing Powerful Adult Characters in YA and Middle Grade Books

Presented by Darby Karchut

Too many books for children and teens feature missing or flawed adult characters, a trope that has recently come under fire in the publishing world. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to include well-rounded and successful adults in our stories while still allowing the young heroine or hero to shine on center stage.


How to be a Hostage and Live

Presented by Pete Klismet

Former FBI Profiler and Hostage Negotiator Pete Klismet will dispel some myths about hostage-takers and situations. Pete will discuss the different types of people who are apt to take hostages, and the different situations where this may occur. Not only could some of this information be useful for your thrillers, and even give you some ideas (NO! Not how to take hostages!), it will provide some information about what could happen to any of us in these violent times.


How to do Research for Historical Fiction Without Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Presented by Jason Evans

Many people love history and historical fiction.  For the beginning writer, however, it can be easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of research, wasting money and time getting lost in history.  This seminar will give the writer clear and concise guidelines on how to world build, create subplots, and add color using the chosen time period.  The workshop will also show students how to do preliminary research, in-depth research, and detailed research, as well as when such research is necessary.  Finally, the workshop will show how to outline and draft historical fiction as quickly and simply as possible.


How to Save Your Manuscript Using the Story Grid

Presented by Lisa Hawker

Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid is a tool that breaks down the component parts of manuscripts and tells the writer what’s working, what’s not, and what to do to fix the problems and amplify the strengths.  The Story Grid is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pike of paper stuck in an attic drawer, or can inspire an original creation. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use the Story Grid and save your novel.


How to Study Fiction

Presented by Deanna Knippling

How to peel apart fiction on different levels to find out how it works and why–and how to get away with breaking the rules the way top writers do.


How to Write a Successful Novel Synopsis

Presented by Terry Banker

How to mine your story’s unique elements to create a long or short synopsis.  In 50 minutes, you’ll have another tool in your toolbox that will help you articulate your story, showcase and help sell your manuscript, and… help you sell your next manuscript.


How to Write Compelling Villains

Presented by Jason Evans

Every good hero needs a dastardly villain to oppose them.  But how do you write that villain?  What motivates that villain to do evil?  What do they really want?  This class will teach writers how to go deep into the villain’s character arc.  We will discuss what drives the villain.  How they operate their organization.  Whether it’s the captain of the cheerleaders mean girl or a mad Roman emperor, every villain attracts followers and we’ll discuss those, too.  Join us and by the end you will have a complex, rich villain your readers will LOVE to hate.


I Do Not Think that word Means What You Think It Does

Presented by Sam Knight

We all know the problems with lay vs. lie or who vs. whom, but there are other words that seem to continually stymie new writers. Here we’ll learn about some of those not so well known to be a problem, so that you can keep them in mind when you use them.


Introduction to Write It Forward:  From Writers to Successful Author

Presented by Bob Mayer

For fiction and non-fiction authors, This overview workshop educates writers on how to be authors.  Based on over a quarter century of experience in traditional, hybrid and indie publishing, Write It Forward is a holistic approach, encompassing goals, intent, environment, personality, change, courage, communication, and leadership that gives the writer a road map to become a successful author.  Many writers become focused on either the writing or the business end; Write It Forward integrates the two, especially in the rapidly changing world of digital publishing.


Is Self-Publishing Right for You?

Presented by Kerrie L. Flangan

We live in a time where writers have many publishing options.  Gone are the days when the feasible way to get your book into the hands of readers was to get it published by a traditional publisher.  Now, with the rise of the Internet and e-books, those who are interested in self-publishing have choices.  Self-published author and instructor Kerrie L. Flanagan will share an in-depth view of the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing, the process of self-publishing, provide self-publishing resources, and explain the pitfalls to avoid.  Participants will leave with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about whether or not  self-publishing is the direction they want to follow.


It’s Never Too Late to Write Your Novel

Presented by Lisa Hawker

Thing you’re too old to write a novel?  To get published?  In this breakout workshop, you’ll learn how to persevere and stay motivated no matter how many rejection letters you receive, the value of persistence, self-discipline, and how to surround yourself with an encouraging support system, and the do’s and don’t’s when you’re just starting on your journey.


Join the Red Hot Middle Grade Book Market

Presented by Mariko Tatsumoto Layton

The children’s book market is so hot that bestselling adult novelists are jumping in for a piece of the action:  James Patterson, Rick Riordan, Jeff Kinney.  But how do you write for kids?  Parents, teachers, and librarians are gatekeepers of Middle Grade books, and you must follow the rules.  Find out what they are.  Come learn what bestselling authors know about how to capture and entertain kids.  Learn the differences between adult and Middle Grade novels.


Keeping the Books on your Books:  Intro Bookkeeping for the Self-Published Author

Presented by Therese Francis

Thinking of self-publishing or hybrid publishing your next book?  Once you enter the world of publishing, you are required to completely change the way you keep track of your expenses and report them on your taxes.  Get the inside scoop before those changes bite you.  We will cover inventory, accrual based accounting, overhead allocation, job costing, and more.


Keeping Your Series Fresh

Presented by Laurell K. Hamilton, Jenny Marts, Darby Karchut

What the tricks and tips to writing a series that make readers want the next book as soon as you finish it?  How do you create characters that resonate and move from book to book?  How do you create plots that demand attention?  This team of writers have success in that area and will share their secrets with you.


Layering:  Accomplishing More Story in Less Words

Presented by Callie Stoker (Two hours)

Is your word count out of control?  Does it take you more words than you wish to express what you want to say?  This presentation will teach how your writing can accomplish more than one thing for your story at a time.  Reveal character while moving the plot forward, describe and expand setting while foreshadowing.  This technique will improve your story pacing and lower word count, and show you how to pin-point and fix this weakness in your writing.


Looking for Research in all the Right Places

Presented by Terri Benson

Just about every genre of fiction, as well as non-fiction, requires research.  While Google may be the go-to place for many writers, it’s not the only, or often the best, place to look.  This workshop will review a wide variety of research options, including some non-traditional ones, as well as some basic worksheets to help writers keep their research organized.


MailChimp Mayhem: Master Your Email Newsletters with Ease

Presented by Debbie Maxwell Allen

With social media platforms like Facebook changing the rules of the game, savvy authors increasingly depend on email newsletters to connect with readers. But email programs bring headaches of their own. Don’t monkey around. Join us for a tour of the free MailChimp email service, and learn five unbeatable techniques for increasing your list–and finding loyal fans.


Market Like a Maniac–Without Feeling Like One

Presented by Cindi Madsen

What’s the best way to get the word out about your book? We’ll discuss blog tours, newsletters, how to make social media work for you, publicity, anthologies, and street teams. Learn how to create a tribe of people who will want to help you get the word out for you, how to gain more followers without spending all your time marketing instead of writing, and how to find affordable help when you can’t do it all yourself.


Multiculturalism is Hot:  Make Your Multiculturalism Book Authentic

Presented by Mariko Tatsumoto Layton

Multiculturalism and diversity in novels are HOT right now.  But a multicultural book must be authentic in dialogues, descriptions, gestures, and customs to portray the culture accurately.  Learn how to educate yourself to avoid incorrect assumptions or stereotypes.  Details, not generalizations, make a book, but where and how do you learn the aspects that capture the reader, yet remain true to the culture?  Can you put away your preconceived notions and do justice to the culture and its people?  Will you be influenced by what the publishing industry wants?  Come find out if including multiculturalism in your novel is right for you.


Mythbusting Agents

Presented by Justin Wells, Maximilian Ximenez,  Quressa Robinson, Gabrielle Piraino, Melissa Edwards

Everything you wanted to know about agents but were afraid to ask! We’ll cover a lot of ground in one hour, from unsolicited manuscripts to pet peeves to slush piles. We’ll talk about what mistakes to avoid, what agents are really looking for, queries that stand out for all the right and the wrong reasons, and so much more.


Mythbusting Editors

Presented by Kelsy Thompson, Deb Werksman, Stacy Whitman, Steve Saffel, Martin Biro

Everything you wanted to know about editors but were afraid to ask! We’ll cover a wide range of topics, from unagented manuscripts to the secrets of the slush pile. We’ll touch on how they work with agents and how they work with authors, what they’re looking for, and how their respective publishing houses work. A wealth of information is yours just for showing up.


Mythbusting Keynotes

Presented by Laurell K. Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jonathan Maberry, Bob Mayer,

Here is your chance to spend some time with our amazing keynotes speakers.  Find out what secrets they can share about their success stories.


Nitty Gritty Pacing

Presented by DeAnna Knippling

While pacing covers every aspect of a work of fiction and non-fiction, it all starts with sentences and paragraphs.  In this workshop, we’ll talk about things like fight scenes, how not to bore readers, and how not to boot the reader out at the beginning of the story.


One Great Big Idea

Presented by M.H. Boroson (Two hours)

New writers often hear advice telling them to write many different kinds of story. But some authors dedicate their lives to ONE GREAT BIG IDEA for decades. Which approach is right for you? How do you know if your idea is big enough or great enough?  ONE GREAT BIG IDEA can make the difference. But writers can also spend years pursuing ideas that fizzle. How do you know if your idea has the potential to be the next Harry Potter? This seminar explores the notion of ONE GREAT BIG IDEA, examining authors who dedicated decades to a single vision. We’ll explore the characteristics of an inspiration that deserves your long-term commitment, as well as characteristics of ideas that may be brilliant but short-lived. We’ll look at ways to search out great big inspirations, and ways to test to see if your idea is big enough, great enough, and one enough to be worth devoting decades of your life to it.


The Original Idea:  The Fuel of Your Story

Presented by Bob Mayer

Can you say what your book is about in 24 words or less?  This is essential to writing a tight book and then selling it.  We’ll discuss ways to find and state your original idea so that you stay on course while writing the book and an approach with which you can excite those you tell your idea to when trying to sell it.  Conflict drives your story.  Not only must conflict escalate throughout the entire novel, every single scene must have conflict in it.  The Conflict Box is an effective technique for focusing your story on the protagonist, antagonist, their goals, and find out if you have the necessary conflict lock.


Perfect Placement: Position Your Words for Power

Presented by Debbie Maxwell Allen

How writers end a sentence, paragraph, or chapter helps determine whether readers keep turning pages.  Find out how to revise your manuscript with powerful words in mind, placing them where they pull the eye along–and keep readers up all night.


Pick Your Poison:  Using Poisons in Novels

Presented by Megan Rutter

Poison often makes a cameo appearance in fiction.  But is it the right poison?  Using poison in fiction isn’t as easy as pouring antifreeze into kool-aid or tea.  Or sprinkling some arsenic into finger sandwiches.  Not anymore.  As forensic science has improved, access to common poisons has become more and more difficult, even in fiction.  This session will help writers understand the uses, symptoms, side effects, and evidence left by poisons.  It will help writers create a plausible poisoning that will have readers coming back for a second dose.


Popular Self-Publishing Platforms

Presented by Sam Knight

So you want to self-publish your book, but you’re not sure where/how to do it.  Is Amazon really the only game in town?  What’s this Draft2Digital thing I keep hearing about?  Can I afford to use Lightning Source?  Wait!  What?  What do you mean I can’t use Lightning Source?  Why not?  Here’s a rundown on the most commonly used platforms and their pros and cons for both print and e-books.


Promote Yourself and Your Project Like a Pro

Presented by Susan Mitchell

This workshop is all about getting comfortable talking about yourself and your projects. Learn how to present your project log line and your personal log line like a pro! Attendees will also learn how to create a one-sheet to encapsulate their project pitch and bio in a super sell-able format.


Query Letter Boot Camp

Presented by Angie Hodapp

Most writers will tell you that writing a good query letter is more difficult than writing the whole manuscript. How do you distill the essence of your novel into one pithy pitch paragraph? Come find out! Angie will divulge why so few query letters lead to requests for pages, and then walk you through how to write a standout four-part query letter while avoiding common pitfalls.


Reverse Engineering Your Mystery Plot

Presented by Laura Hayden

Learn how to avoid plot holes and logic errors by reverse engineering your mystery plot. Mystery author and celebrity ghostwriter, Laura Hayden, deconstructs a classic suspense movie/novel plot, breaking down the characters and their motives, then reworking the storyline backwards.


Rules for Pacing and Clarity

Presented by Steve Saffel

Whether or not your submission is accepted may hinge on the pacing and clarity with which your narrative flows. All of the story elements may be there, but if they don’t sing like a diva at the opera, your manuscript may fall flat. Learn some basic rules that can help you hit all of the right notes.


Sales Tax:  The Moving Target

Presented by Therese Francis

Knowing when to charge sales tax and how to report it is not as easy as it should be, especially with the ever-changing interstate and international rules for the Internet.  For some states, having a physical presence is required.  For others, just having a certain dollar amount of orders pushes you over a threshold.  Some states have one rate for the whole state, others can have different rates by city or county–or by the block.  Today, mailing a book to someone might also mean you have international issues to address.  This workshop will discuss moving targets, such as these, including the Amazon Amnesty Program and what that could mean to authors.


Save the Cat!  Strikes Back!  Exploring All of Blake Snyder’s Brilliance

Presented by Aaron Michael Ritchey and Jason Evans (2 hours)

Many writers understand the basics of Blake Synder’s Save the Cat plot structure and love the fifteen beats.  However, there is a wold of other information in Snyder’s books that rarely gets discussed.  We want to delve into aspects of Snyder’s books, including pitching, character development, collaboration, and the idea of a fully fleshed-out forty scene storyboard based on the fifteen beats.


Save Your Manuscript Using the Story Grid

Presented by Lisa Hawker

Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid is a tool that breaks down the component parts of manuscripts and tells the writer what’s working, what’s not, and what to do to fix the problems and amplify the strengths. The Story Grid is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pile of paper stuck in an attic drawer, or can inspire an original creation. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use the Story Grid and save your novel.


The Scoop on Audiobooks

Presented by Kerrie L. Flanagan

Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry.  With smart phones, speakers like Alexa, and bluetooth technology, people are listening to more audio content while cooking, driving, exercising or sitting on the sofa.  Now is the perfect time for authors to venture into the world of audiobooks, but there are important things to understand before taking that step.  This workshop will cover the listening and buying habits of audiobook consumers, the variety of options for publishing an audiobook, and the components that go into a successful audiobook.


Short Stories: A Proportional Understanding of Pacing

Presented by Mary Robinette Kowal

There are a lot of theories out there about how to handle pacing for novels, but how do you do it when you’re constrained by length?  It turns out that many of the same rules-of-thumb apply, but in a proportionally smaller space they look very different.  Learn how to structure your beginnings, ends, and of course, those pesky middles.


SNAFU Forensics:  When Forensics Gets It Wrong

Presented by Megan Rutter

Ever wonder when and where forensic science has tumbled on the path to better understanding the how and why of a crime?  Want something funny and maybe even a big madcap to add flare to your manuscript?  Then this is the session for you.  We’ll discuss the foibles and folly of forensics from crime scene modeling to DNA.  From phrenology to blood splatter analysis.  This session will give writers a completely new view on the idea of trial and error.


So You Want to be a Hybrid?

Presented by Jenny Marts

Being a hybrid author can offer you the best of both the traditional and the indie published worlds. USA Today Bestselling Author Jennie Marts takes you through the ins and outs of being a hybrid and offers practical tips to successfully navigate both worlds.


Sometimes Writers Block is Really Depression

Presented by Mary Robinette Kowal

Sometimes these two things are closely intertwined.  Being able to identify why you are having trouble writing can often help you find strategies to start writing again and to know when to ask for help.


The Story on Story Structure

Presented by Kendra Merritt

Everyone talks about story structure as if there’s one framework for every novel, but there are so many schools of thought–the Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, the Snowflake Method.  How do you know which one is right?  This workshop will compare each of these methods and give you the tools to plot your next novel without the confusion.


Strike a Match:  Spark Creativity Through Art, Music, and Photography

Presented by April Moore

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?  Inspiration comes in many types, and writers could always use a muse once in a while.  Oftentimes, other art forms take on that role.  Want to jump start a story?  Write a poem?  Or maybe you want to beef up your characterization skills?  Certain music can practically write a scene for you (well, almost).  Through lots of examples and exercises, participants will discover a treasure trove of inspiration to spark a fire of creativity, and maybe even their next published piece!


Talk to Me:  A Voice & Dialogue Workshop

Presented by April Moore

Our characters, and their unique voices, are what make readers fall in love with a book.  A protagonist’s voice is all he or she has to communicate to the reader, so it’s crucial to give your character a unique and compelling voice.  Voices shine through dialogue, which done correctly, will create tension, propel the plot, and give vital insight into our character’s head, heart and soul.  Body language and gestures are also ways to convey voice.  Through lecture, instructions, examples, and exercises, participants will learn what it takes to create unique and memorable character voices that will speak volumes to readers.


Thinking Outside the Publication Box:  Unique Ways to Get Your Words to Hungry Readers

Presented by Debbie Maxwell Allen

Whether you are frustrated with the pace of publication, or you’re eager to find new readers, it’s time to think outside the publication box. Millions of people all over the world are gaining access to smartphones, increasing the number of potential readers. Cutting-edge writers will consider the needs of these lucrative groups.  Join us as we discuss a host of unusual, yet effective techniques, to write in ways that reach farther than a physical book.


This One’s for the Boys

Presented by Darby Karchut

In a world where girl empowerment is hitting its stride, schools and librarians are still begging for “books for boys.”  Author Darby Karchut will share tips on writing for this half of our population, and how writers can craft books to keep guys turning the pages.  Because boys who read grow up to become men who think and feel.


The Three Step Formula for Building an Author Platform

Presented by Fauzia Burke

Every author’s online platform is his or her biggest asset, and creating one is vitally important to your long-term success.  However, there has never been more demands on an author’s time than today.  In this session, you will learn which efforts are worth your time and which ones are a distraction.  You will learn through examples and case studies on how to connect all the elements of online marketing (website, mailing list, blogging, social media, advertising, and publicity) into a cohesive, successful, and sustainable author platform.


TV, News and Media, Oh My

Presented by Susan Mitchell

Gain perspective and authenticity when you include News, TV and Media in your fiction.  Learn how newscasts work, how stories are cultivated, the difference between a producer and director, what reporters really do and more!  We’ll also explore the difference between news and entertainment, reality TV, and scripted programming.


Using Humor in Fiction

Presented by Rod Miller

How do you blend humor with narrative and use language to set a humorous, lighthearted tone?  This workshop reveals writing techniques that create and contribute to humor in fiction.


Using TV Binge-Worthy Techniques for your Book Series

Presented by Trai Cartwright

TV watching has radically changed in the last decade, and it’s all because of the way stories are told.  Suddenly, we can’t stop ourselves from binge watching!  There are very specific reasons why it’s the Golden Age of television, and those exact principles can be used to make our books binge-readable, too.


Walking on Eggshells:  Writing Disability Without Offending the Disabled

Presented by Kendra Merritt

So your main character lost his arm and your love interest can’t walk.  You have all your research and experience lined up but now you actually have to write your characters.  Without offending anyone.  The trick to keeping the reader in the three-hundred-pound wheelchair on your side is making sure your disabled characters are as engaging and three-dimensional as every other character.  Easy, right?  It can be as long as you’re paying attention to the right things.  This workshop will cover techniques for ensuring that your characters are people first, including why they’re  important, what language to use, and the stereotypes to avoid.


What is Creative Non-Fiction?

Presented by Rod Miller

This “emerging” genre is more talked about than understood. Although practiced for years, it seems to have become the flavor of the week in creative writing programs and appears to be making headway in the literary world. But, what is it? Where does it fit on the continuum from fact to fiction? Why is it as often panned as praised? This workshop will answer all your questions about Creative Nonfiction—or originate more.


What?  You Want to Make Money While Writing the Great American Novel?

Presented by Terri Benson

If you need to generate income while writing your book, this workshop will expose you to a wide variety of opportunities to write for money, many in areas you might not have ever thought about.  The workshop will give you ideas on how to best match your personality to the opportunities, and how to make as good an impression as possible with your submissions.


When You Feel Like a Fraud:  Living Successfully with Imposter Syndrome

Presented by Kelsy Thompson

This workshop discusses how imposter syndrome affects writers (both published and aspiring) and how to combat that feeling of fraudulence by owning your fears, recognizing progress, and internalizing success.


The Who, What, Where, When and How to Write a Successful Novel Synopsis

Presented by Terry Banker

How to mine your story’s unique elements to create a long or short synopsis.  This workshop will show writers of all levels a technique on how to mine your story’s unique elements to create a long or short synopsis.


Whores, Sluts, and Prostitutes–On My!  Reclaiming Sex for Women in Fantasy

Presented by Kristy Ferrin

The depiction of women in the fantasy genre leaves more than a little to be desired, and never more so than on the topic of sex.  In this workshop, we discuss agency both in and out of the bedroom and discuss ways to handle this in your own writing.


WordPress for Writers – From Nothing to Wow!

Presented by Kristy Ferrin (Two hours)

Don’t let technology get you down.  Getting your own website up and into the world is a snap, and this workshop will show you how to get there.  The best part?  No mad tech skills required!  This workshop is designed for web noobs.


The Worth of an Editor

Presented by Callie Stoker

Editing can be an expensive investment.  This presentation will go through the stages of editing by an editor who will help you spot red flags, of bad editors, give you realistic expectations for your editing, and tips for establishing a lasting relationship with a trusted editor.


Writing Horror

Presented by DeAnna Knippling, Jonathan Maberry, Steve Saffel

Writing horror sounds easy, right?  Just put a monster or serial killer on the page, spill lots of blood, and scare people.  There’s a lot more to it than that and these talented experts will tell you exactly how it’s done.


Writing Prose That Shines

Presented by Liz Colter (Two hours)

This workshop is designed to help avoid the pitfalls that many first-time and newer writers experience, and emphasizes tips to improve writing skills:  how to show, not tell, use strong, engaging language, make each scene count and more.


Writing to Theme

Presented by Johnny Worthen

Raise your work to literary levels by consciously incorporating themes.  Learn how to identify what you’re trying to say, and actively nurture the subtler, but greater questions you’re addressing.  Enhance your writing with symbols as signposts, layers of grays, and depths of meaning.  From the lighthouse of intent to hard questions, symbols, subplots, and echoes, this class will encourage the writer to plumb the depths of their theme, bleed a little, and create multiple strands of meaning in their work.


Writing Young Adult

Presented by Johnny Worthen

Investigate what makes fiction young adult and also what makes great young adult fiction.  From gatekeepers to theme, taboos, and responsibilities, it’s a time of change and we must embrace it.  A class for writers and fans of the genre.