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How do you avoid the slow start, the saggy middle, the unsatisfying ending—and how do you rev up the speed at just the right moments, give just the right amount of pause for breath, and play with readers’ expectations in ways that both build suspense and provide a satisfying payoff? Jump into this session for Stant Litore’s exhilarating crash course on pacing in fiction.
6 Steps of Indie Publishing: Writing a great story is just a small part of what it takes to be a successful indie author. As an indie author you write, proof, edit, and format your masterpiece. There are covers, marketing, branding, promotions, and networking tasks to tackle. And then there is the intricacy of putting your work into the world. This workshop will go2 over several tools and tips to all of these and more for the aspiring author new to independent publishing, or interesting in learning new tools.
Rebels, librarians, pilgrims, tricksters, and kings. Great stories begin with great characters, and some of the most powerful ones are often based on timeless archetypes. We’ll explore the various types found in literature and film, and how writing to these archetypes will give your story additional zip, boom, and bam!
Your author bio can be a valuable tool for connecting with readers. Or it can bore them to death. Too much info, or the wrong info, and you may lose a potential reader of your work. But a good bio can spark the beginning of a great author-reader bond. This workshop provides an easy-to-use M-PACT system of “best practices” for creating an author bio. M-PACT prompts us to consider the desired Message of a bio, be Professional, be Appropriate for the audience/venue, practice Consistency, and edit until your bio is To the point for achieving your goals. This workshop provides straightforward “best practices” for the author bio, with guidelines anyone can follow to create a bio that works on every level. As a bonus, we’ll also cover the author photo and apply the M-PACT system to that as well.
Every working writer accumulates bits of writerly wisdom through the years: from editors, from workshops, from readers, from critiquers. Much is useful in the moment. Some strike a particularly resonant chord that carries through a series or a even a career. But sometimes you collect a gem that can take you to another level of insight and skill. Here are a few I have collected.
In this workshop, Ines Johnson will show you how she became an overnight success … after five years of bumbling mistakes. You’ll learn the secrets, which are mostly comprised of what not to do, as she details her missteps and failures up the slippery ladder of success from three figure to six figure author.
“Does this sound familiar: racing from deadline to deadline, constantly putting out fires, pushing back delivery dates, and losing sleep worrying about all the work you have to do? It’s time to get organized. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In this presentation/workshop identify the main reasons we all fall behind and various techniques to condense all our work into one place. Once we have the work, we’ll look at how you can estimate the level of effort, prioritize the tasks and put it all on a schedule. With everything in place, you can get back to your project confident that you’re not forgetting something without fear of those looming deadlines. And if the crunch happens anyway, you’ll be ready to handle it all. This workshop/presentation will discuss:
I became a full-time by taking advantage of a quick-release strategy in a popular genre where readers expected a new title monthly. That meant I had to learn how to write fast. In this class, we’ll talk about outlines, tricks on how to write five thousand words a day, and several tips for editing a novel in a week…before you start on the next book.
Sexual tension is the sensual dance, the push and pull, the “will they, won’t they” that drives the romance between a book’s main characters. Whether the heat level is sweet or scorching hot, sexual tension isn’t only important to the romance, but it also causes readers to become invested in the characters and their relationship. From the first time the main characters meet, the tension between them builds and doesn’t end until the closing of the book. Through this workshop, we will learn the Laws of Attraction when it comes to sexual tension. We’ll explore how setting, characterization, secondary characters and conflict influence the push and pull between the main characters, as well as learn alternate tools for writing and increasing tension.
type of writer you are, why knowing matters, and how to make pantsing a manuscript less stressful.
Lately, it feels like we all want to do all the things. In the struggle between FOMO and Burnout, I have to be cautious about where I commit my time. So… how do I decide. In this workshop, by author success systems expert, Becca Syme, you'll learn about how to make good choices when it comes to author marketing. Afraid what you're doing is not making a difference? This is the workshop for you.
In this interactive session, we'll focus on techniques writers use to make sci-fi and fantasy writing engaging and believable. Practical tips will be given for avoiding common pitfalls, developing fictional worlds, and getting readers to accept incredible events. We’ll discuss fantasy/sci-fi ideas, writing and publication strategies, and explore why The Exorcist was popular in 1973, The Matrix in 1999, and The Hunger Games in 2014.
Everyone is interested in ‘profiling,’ but few understand what it means. “Are you profiling me,” is a common question I get, and the reply might be – “sure, have you committed any murders lately?” This workshop will begin with an investigation, and how it was solved. We will then go thru some of the methods we use to solve violent crimes, and hopefully get a chance to examine a second case to further apply what we’ve learned. There will be a book available which examines many other case studies.
Revision is not simply proofreading or grammar checking, but a strategic activity. Good revision strategies allow us to further develop and refine our stories – characters, settings, plot, structure, action, and voice – making sure we have taken best advantage of our ideas and creativity. Strong revision brings to bear the craft of writing as well as the art and passion.
Writing an entire novel can be intimidating. But if you remember that a book is a series of connected scenes, writing one scene at a time is much less daunting. Once you master scene structure, you have mastered one of the basics of storytelling. Come join us for an interactive discussion about how scene and sequel work.
Have you ever wondered if your productivity systems are as good as they could be? Have you wondered why you're not as productive as you want to be? Even if you're just on the fence about your productivity, this workshop will illustrate some common myths about how productivity functions, taught by an expert in customized productivity systems.
But what does “strong woman” even mean these days? This workshop is an exploration of how fully realized female characters are portrayed across a variety of genres in modern fiction. We'll talk about some common pitfalls to watch out for, The Bechdel Test, and how the definition of “strong” does not translate to “fights like a man but has boobs.” You can use what you learn in this workshop to flesh out any character more fully, not just women.
Gather with fellow writers to practice your pitch. You’ll wait quietly in line for a turn to speak for five minutes with a published author, a seasoned writer, or maybe a VIP. When the time is up, you’re done! But you’re welcome to get back in line for another go.
Attendees, faculty, and VIPs alike, rave about how much fun they’ve had at this event.
Faculty and VIPs, feel free to drop by and help attendees with pitches, even if you haven’t signed up in advance.
A ton of information is available online to help you query novels, but what if you're trying to submit short stories? We'll go over formatting, finding open markets, cover letters, and what happens after.
A presentation about those elements of narrative fiction that lend depth, value and resonance to writing. Every story has some, the best have many. We’ll learn how to identify which elements to include in your story. Subplots and multiple stories, arcs, settings, themes, novelties, information and more. A little foresight, a touch of research and a clear goal can nurture the muse to bring out the strength of the form.
Writers will be challenged to expand their fiction into elements beyond mere story and character. Emphasis will be placed on theme as well as history, education and entertainment qualities. Examples and techniques will be offered to help shape niches and expand any story into new areas of interest.
First impressions are important: that’s as true for fictional creations as it is for factual people. And just as the first sentence of your story needs to enthrall, shock, intrigue, startle, amuse, or entice the reader, so too does their first encounter with your protagonist. Come learn how to catch your reader off guard and introduce your character in a way that demonstrates who they are, sets up conflict, and makes promises to the reader that you will either fulfill or subvert later. Discover varied strategies for arranging a reader’s successful blind date with your character.
For over a decade, I’ve used Blake Snyder’s groundbreaking books, Save the Cat and Save the Cat Strikes Back! to outline my projects, and the results have been sales, rave reviews, and satisfied readers. In this class, we’ll talk quickly about all fifteen beats, but we’ll mainly focus on the third act, and how to use Snyder’s Five-Step Finale to create the best ending possible. We’ll cover wrapping up character arcs, emphasizing themes, and plugging plot holes.
Best practices to reach a new audience (& you won't have to sing or dance to do it)
Over the last decade, the publishing industry has undergone tremendous evolution due to the growth of online retail and digital books, as well as the power of any author to publish and distribute their work at the click of a button. Jane discusses everything you need to know about how book publishing operates today, in plain English, to help you understand the pros and cons of every major publishing path available.
Do you struggle to execute the plans you make? Start off the year or the quarter with the best of intentions, and then you just can't follow-through? This workshop will break down the major functions of the psychology of planning and give some answers to the question: why can't I execute my plans? (Spoiler alert: it's not about SMART goals… promise.)