**Please check back for a complete list of conference workshops**

Lisa Carter

Grounding the Reader: The First Chapter Checklist

The first chapter is often the hardest chapter to write for an author. This workshop will focus on the essentials—what must be included—to entice a reader or editor to continue turning the pages. First chapter essentials covered in this workshop include: elements of a great opening line, strategies to establish character bond with readers, creating a storyworld, and common first chapter mistakes and how to correct them, first chapter essentials, elements of a great opening line, strategies to establish character bond with readers, creating a storyworld, and common first chapter mistakes and how to correct them.


Robin Patchen

Digging into Dynamic Dialog

Dialog is often a reader’s favorite part of a story. No matter how serious or dramatic a plot, dialog can add humor, spontaneity, and surprise. Yet many authors neglect to dig into their dialog, settling for predictable speech patterns and over-used action beats. Through the study of speech, dialog tags, and action beats, learn how to craft strong dialog segments that deepen characters, enhance emotional impact, add humor, and provide energy to delight your readers and drive a story forward. Each device will be explained and illustrated through examples. Exercises and feedback will be given as time allows.

Writing the Emotional Roller Coaster

It has been said that people read fiction for an emotional experience, yet most fiction authors leave their readers’ emotional journey to chance. Rather than writing a good story and hoping for the best, why not plan and engineer your readers’ emotional journey? Conference attendees will explore the three ways to add emotion to a manuscript—telling emotions, showing emotions, and eliciting emotions—and when it’s appropriate to use each. They will discover how to use the emotion wheel to add depth to their prose, to dig deeper into what a character is feeling, and to bring more complexity to the characters’ journeys, which will in turn elicit emotions in the reader. Each attendee will learn simple tools and techniques to create stories that will pull their readers onto a roller coaster that will leave them breathless.


Deborah Raney

Show Me A Story: Writing Cinematically

Using movie techniques, writing cinematically, is a great way to be sure you are SHOWING instead of telling. By dissecting and comparing two 20-words sentences, Deborah will explore showing vs. telling, point-of-view, deepening characterization, writing vivid settings, naming characters, using strong verbs, and many other secrets of strong writing.


Ken Raney

Pricinples of Design for Writers

Every writer will eventually need to either hire a designer or learn to be one. This workshop will help writers understand some basic design principles for designing professional looking business cards, newsletters, blogs and websites, bookmarks, postcards, e-mail signatures, ads, and much more. This session will also explore some of the easily accessible online resources for writers such as templates, themes, stock photography, fonts, photo-manipulation programs, etc. This session is designed to be very practical and user-friendly even for non-techies.


Besty St. Amant Haddox

Saying a Lot Without Saying Much At All

Subtext is crucial to allow your reader to connect with your characters. This workshop dives deep into the art of incorporating subtext into your story for added depth and impact. Attendees will learn how and where to add subtext to give your reader the inside scoop and provide greater emotional impact. Multiple examples will be provided from published novels and popular TV shows, and provides exercises for the authors to create their own subtext on the spot as time allows.


Toni Shiloh

So You Want to Write a Series

In So You Want to Write a Series, we will discuss the different types of series and the items needed in your writer toolbox to plan for them. Topics covered in this workshop include length of books, how many to write, the world of a series, story plot, setting up each book in the series, and how to keep track of all information throughout your series.

Social Media the B.O.O.K.I.S.H. Way

Learn how to connect with potential readers using one or more of the social media platforms today. Participants will leave with a better grasp of utilizing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. The workshop will help participants choose the best platform as they seek out their bookish tribe. For aspiring, beginner or advanced writers.


Sara R. Turnquist

Novellas Are Not “Novel”: How Creating a Novella is Different

Novellas have become more and more popular to readers. They are great for the busy reader who likes to start and finish a story in one sitting. They can be a good tool for the writer as well. But they can be a headache! Trying to cram your novel-minded structure into a quarter of the size…it can be stressful. Why not think about novellas from a different angle? Perhaps wonder if the planning might be completely different? Or, for my pantser friends, to consider that some planning can make for a greater impact?

Why Should I Scrivener?: Beginner Level Class in Scrivener

Does Scrivener intimidate you? Seem like more trouble than it’s worth? Or perhaps you want to use it, but you got stymied when you opened it? Maybe you just don’t get what all the hype is about? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, this class if for you. We’ll take a broad look at the benefits of Scrivener and then zoom in to walk through how to get a good start. This class will get you comfortable enough to start using Scrivener and making the most of it.