Schedule: 2019 Workshop


8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location. Check in and get comfortable.

There will be 3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day. Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018 (Wyeth C), taught by Brian Klems. This workshop is quick and easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing. The speech is designed to educate writers and help them understand what publishing options exist for them today and why it’s an exciting time to be a writer.

2. Create New Worlds: A Guide to Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Wyeth A), taught by A.C. Wise. Speculative fiction is difficult to create. Let this session help you understand worldbuilding, the differences between sci-fi and fantasy, the tropes of both genres, when you should follow the rules, when you should break the rules, and more. The discussion will also include tips and resources for submitting work for publication.

3. Revise Your Novel: Self-Editing Tips and Tricks (Wyeth B), taught by Marie Lamba. Top-notch revision skills are an important part of a writer’s toolkit, especially now that agents and editors expect manuscripts to be well-polished. But where do you begin? How do you decide what’s working and what isn’t? And how, exactly, should you go about fixing things? Author and literary agent Marie Lamba will break down the revision process, revealing how you can systematically self-edit your manuscript. She’ll share the tricks she’s discovered while editing her own novels, and show how to spot and correct problems with essential elements like pacing, structure, characters, dialogue and plot. At the end of this session, you’ll be ready to look at your novel with fresh eyes, and to use new tools that can take your manuscript from sloppy first draft into its final submission-ready form.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros (Wyeth A), taught by Brian Klems. This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice. We’ll discuss nuts & bolts tips for sentence construction like how to avoid passive tense, how to use vivid language, how to self-edit your own work, how to make your characters memorable, the art of compelling dialogue, and much more.

2. How to Write A Successful Query Letter (Wyeth C), taught by Kelly Peterson. Bring your laptops, tablets, or just multi-colored pens and paper for this interactive, hands-on workshop. You’ll be guided through tips and tricks for creating your best query, then given time to create/edit your own and even share with a beta reader or two. Come prepared, main character in mind, to learn new tactics for getting your manuscript noticed.

3. The Secrets to Crafting an Unforgettable Mystery (Wyeth B), taught by Rahiem Brooks. Writing mysteries, crime novels and thrillers that captivate people can be a real challenge–and a lot of fun. In this session, publisher Rahiem Brooks will teach you how to create a compelling sleuth and a worthy villain; construct a plot rich in twists, red herrings, and misdirection; ring the story to a satisfying conclusion; sharpen characters and optimize pace during revision; and seek publication through both traditional and indie paths.

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes. There are lots of options, including onsite restaurants, and nearby places to eat.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Wyeth C), with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)
2.  How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Wyeth B), taught by Damian McNicholl. A nonfiction book proposal is required for most nonfiction books — and a literary agent will teach you how to create one in this class. The workshop will begin by distinguishing between memoir and nonfiction, then will discuss nonfiction specifically and what is expected from the writer, breaking down the proposal into its constituent elements. At the end of these session, the writer will know the fundamental elements constituting a proposal and how to put one together and how to approach an agent. The instructor will also set aside a fifteen minute period for questions.

3. Writing for the Little Ones: How to Craft an Amazing Picture Book For Kids (Wyeth A), taught by Madeline Smoot. Picture books are tricky works of art that require a lot to happen in very few words. In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Wyeth C), taught by Brian Klems. Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already, how to launch your book right, how to draft a compelling query/pitch and synopsis, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.

2. Developing Compelling Characters (Wyeth A), taught by Greer Macallister. Without compelling characters, even a five-star plot falls flat. We’ll discuss what the most interesting characters have in common across all genres, as well as practical strategies to take your characters from paper dolls to fully-fledged people.

3. Writing Young Adult and Middle Grade in an Ever-Changing World of Technology, taught by L.E. DeLano. Technology and social media figure heavily in the lives of today’s teens. How do you write what’s current without it going out of style before your publication date? And how do the current click-bait and slideshow trends online influence the perceptions of young readers? Published YA author L.E. DeLano will walk you through this and more in her speech.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Wyeth C), taught by Brian Klems. After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how you cross between the words of self-publishing and traditional publishing (i.e., use them both) to make the most money, how to build a readership, and much more.

2. Yesteryear This Year — The Art of Writing Great Historical Fiction (Wyeth A), taught by Michael Callahan. Transporting your reader back in time, whether that’s centuries, decades, or just a few years, presents unique storytelling challenges. In this class, you’ll learn how to ensure that whatever era you’re writing in, your characters, settings, and dialogue will authentically reflect it, and that your readers will be fully immersed in your story. From developing an ear for period dialogue, to the best methods for research, to sidestepping common pitfalls, you’ll learn how to craft historical fiction that truly takes your readers to any period you choose to go.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Wyeth B), taught by Moe Ferrara. The romance market is constantly changing, so how then, are you to know what and when to submit to editors and agents? In this workshop, you will learn not only what’s trending in the current marketplace, but how to research an agent/editor that best suits your needs, and the proper ways to approach them.


At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore station for a short while to sign any books for attendees.