Tuesday, August 13
Session A 2:00–3:00
1. Earning the Right to Be Published: Five Steps to Success—Les Stobbe
What five steps in his writing earned Dr. Luke the right to be published? The secret can be found in the first verses of the Gospel of Luke. In this workshop we analyze how Luke put those five principles into practice, comparing his approach to that of other Gospel writers. Finally, we will apply that to how we can earn the right today to be published, whether it be in article or book form.
2. Self-Editing: How to Avoid the Slush Pile—Mick Silva
How do you grab an editor with the first page of your manuscript? How do you deepen drama, sophistication, and grab the heart? A well-known editor has said that, with fiction or nonfiction, editing is what gets the author out of the way. But that’s easier said than done. How do you harness objectivity and ensure flawless accuracy? How do wrangle the prima donna and maintain a consistent voice? Come learn to polish the macro and micro with the artful science of compelling, shiny prose!
3. Finding and Maintaining Your Voice—Nick Harrison
This workshop will consider the important element of any good writing: the author’s voice. What is voice? How is voice developed? We’ll take a look at some well-known books to examine the voice of the author and the part it played in the book. We will also experiment in creating a voice for the attendees of the workshop.
4. The Gift and Ministry of Writing—Kim Bangs
Words are powerful! We are told by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Our words shared through the amazing passion of writing are not just for publication. Rediscover the joy of the gift of writing and uncover the many ways writing is and should be a ministry. Then develop a plan to put that ministry into action.
5. What’s the Story? The Four Pillars of a Best-Selling Novel—Chip MacGregor and Susan May Warren
Did you know that every blockbuster, every best seller has four essential ingredients? Learn these four and it will turn your story from average to award-winning, from a fun story to a must-read. Discover what they are and how to incorporate them into your stories!
6. Guarding the Truth in Biblical Fiction—Mesu Andrews
Isn’t “biblical fiction” an oxymoron? How can an author write fiction about God’s Truth? In this writers’ workshop, we’ll answer practical questions on drawing the line between biblical truth and storytelling, using sound research principles and staying true to ancient cultures. Bring your questions and make this a valuable session for you!
7. Regency Fiction: Tips for Writing Novels Set in Jane Austen’s Time—Julie Klassen
Regency fiction has been a perennial favorite among readers in the general market for decades, and in recent years it has enjoyed increased interest and sales in the Christian market as well. Best-selling, award-winning author Julie Klassen will share dos and don’ts, anecdotes, and resources to help you write your own Regency novel. Topics will include: the pleasures and pitfalls of writing in the Regency time period, how to research and avoid common historical errors, London vs. country settings, language, titles and class divisions, and other tips for writing Regency fiction that will keep readers turning pages. Q & A will follow the presentation.
8. Working with—and Perhaps Even for—Your Local News Media and Beyond—John Fortmeyer, Tom Fuller, Chad McComas, Cornelia Seigneur, Julie Zander
A panel of journalists will discuss the challenges involved in getting church news and Christian events in the news plus opportunities for Christians to work for local news outlets. How does news writing differ from writing fiction? What skills do journalists need? How do you generate press for your books or publishing successes? Are there right and wrong ways of approaching editors and reporters with story ideas? These are only a sample of topics to be addressed. Bring your questions for the people who usually do the questioning in interviews.
Session B 3:30–4:30
9. Getting an Agent to Say “Wow”: The 10 Secrets to Make This Your Last Year as an Unagented Author—Greg Johnson
With most agents getting 100 or more queries a week, if you can’t get your query, your proposal, and your platform to “wow,” you’re likely to get a polite “not for us” email in short order. Are there secrets to getting your presentation—and manuscript—to “Wow”? While there are obviously no 100-percent guarantees for each agent, there are ways to fall into the “serious consideration” category above and beyond the normal query.
10. Storyboarding the Hollywood Way—Jill Williamson
Discover the process that Hollywood uses to create great storylines. In this class, we’ll take one attendee’s story and use it to create a storyboard the way screenwriters do. We’ll study the three-act structure, look for plot holes, check character motivations, track subplots, and consider the climax and ending. This process is great for taking a look at your plot all at once.
11. Killer Queries—Mary Sue Seymour
Your query letter is the first impression you make with an agent, and if you don’t have a “killer query” an agent will most likely not give you the opportunity to make a second impression. Killer Queries is a hands-on workshop where participants will evaluate actual query letters. Participants will also learn the dos and don’ts of writing a query letter, the proper format for writing a query letter, and the all-important parts of a query letter.
12. Rapid-Fire Your Fiction: When to Pull the Trigger—Ronie Kendig
Nothing can kill a story faster than a snail’s pace of plot or action and lack of conflict. Discover some practical tips and techniques in finding a solid balance with your story to maintain reader interest and that “page-turning” fervor! Authors can submit their first chapter (up to 12 pages) to instructor before the conference (contact email@example.com for details). We’ll examine the elements of pacing and momentum together in class (anonymously, if the author prefers—there will be NO tearing down of the “saints” in this class—only instructive, constructive criticism).
13. Fiction Editing 101—Raela Schoenherr
Learn how the editing process works at a publishing company, common mistakes editors find, some tips for self-editing, and how to work with an editor.
14. Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message—Susan King
We will focus on the four essentials for writing an effective daily devotional: Bible basis, authenticity, concentration on a single dominant image, and universality. Included will be information about the devotional market in general as well as specialized writing for The Upper Room, the world’s largest daily devotional guide. (For beginning through advanced writers.)
15. Blog, Facebook, Twitter: Establishing Your Online Presence—Angella Diehl, Caitlin Muir, and Nicole Miller
Learn from three web and social media experts how to start using the “big three” essential tools to create an online presence and build a following even before your first book deal. Individual presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with Q & A.
Wednesday, August 14
Session C 2:00–3:00
16. State of the Union: What on EARTH Is Going On in Publishing?—Karen Ball
Today’s book world is going through constant change in distribution, digital content, readers’ preferences, publishing mergers, and new publishers in addition to authors’ promotion, publicity, and platform. An agent/editor/author will share what authors need to know about the changes in the publishing world, how this affects them, and what they should do now. Hear the latest from one in the know. Come with your questions for a Q & A discussion.
17. It’s All about Style—Susan King
Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors? Do you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and then clamoring for anything you plan to write in the future? A crash course in excellent writing for any genre, this workshop will describe and illustrate the essential elements of style. Participants will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that attract both readers and editors. (For beginning through intermediate writers.)
18. Create a WOW Impression with Your Book Proposal—Mary Keeley
Your book proposal reveals purposeful and also potentially unintended information about you and your book. Learn the strategy involved in preparing a stellar first-impression proposal, important elements to include, and how to present them in ways that make agents and editors want to take the next step.
19. Theme & Ice Cream: Let’s Inspire Kids—Joanna Echols
How can you hook young readers and keep them engaged? Learn how to entertain and inspire, creating a fun piece with a solid take-away value. Also, discover how to tailor your writing specifically for Focus on the Family Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines—what the editors look for, pitfalls to avoid, and how to break into the market (will include a Q & A session).
20. Writing for the Craft: Six Recommended Works to Make You a Better Writer—Don Pape
From Anne Lamott to Donald Maas, we’ll hear about six books—including one new release—that will aid budding writers, and experienced ones too, in bettering their craft. Come to hear about some highlights from each and discuss the take-away for you personally. Includes door prizes!
21. The Hero’s Inner Journey— Jeff Gerke
The best fiction is fiction about someone who is changed. Your hero’s character arc is at least 75 percent of your plot. Everything else is in service to the inner journey. Come hear how to craft an amazing journey of metamorphosis for your hero. Your readers won’t be able to take their eyes off a hero being transformed.
22. Twenty Tips for Writing Compelling Bible Studies—Rick Steele
It seems that everyone wants to be the next Beth Moore or Rick Warren, but crafting a compelling Bible study is a major undertaking. In this workshop setting, an accomplished Bible study editor will show you how you can make your Bible study proposals get attention. Learn all the dos and don’ts of creating a Bible study worthy of royalty-house consideration. Current trends in Bible study publishing will be discussed.
23. Using Negative Experiences for Positive Impact—Sherri Langton
Why do bad things happen to good writers? Is it chance, or is there divine design behind them? This class will teach writers that God uses negative things not only to change them but also to inspire them to create stories and articles that will bless and encourage readers—and change lives.
Session D 3:30–4:30
24. Writing for Those Amazing Middle Grades—Cheryl Linn Martin
Thinking about writing for the 8–12-year-old age group? Get a good start by learning about mind-set, word count, characters, hooks, humor, inspiration, and language. Bring your ideas and your questions as well.
25. Reaching without Preaching: The Power of Story—Paul Smith
Everyone has a story. Find out why your story is part of the Greatest Story and can reach people who may never hear Christ’s story without you telling yours.
26. Regifting Your Writing—Ginger Kolbaba
Did you know you can write and sell the same work to multiple markets? In this workshop we’ll discuss turning articles into books, books into articles, and how to make the most of your ideas.
27. e-Book Success—Randy Ingermanson
Want to be smashingly successful with your e-book publishing? Great, get in line along with the other seven billion people on the planet. E-publishing is easy to do, but hard to do well. This workshop will begin by trying to define what success actually is. We’ll look at hard numbers from the publishing world and set some reasonable goals for your e-book. Then we’ll talk about how you get there from here. We’ll talk about cover design, the editing process, formatting your e-book in the standard formats, posting your e-book to the online retailers, and marketing your book. All in a one-hour workshop! How will we do all that in only one hour? Using magic, of course.
28. He Giggled?—Maintaining Deep POV for Male Characters—Ronie Kendig
Readers can get jarred out of a story when a male character comes across with a feminine voice or actions. So how do you make sure your hero sounds like a guy when you’re a girl? Or how do you make your heroine strong/independent, yet have her still read true to her feminine makeup? Learn how to dig deep into your characters to make them unique and individual and yet maintain deep point of view that personifies the character . . . whether male or female.
29. Fashioning Fresh Fiction Following a Classical Story Line—Leslie Gould
“Storytelling is a shared experience, and shared experiences are the basis of all relationships,” said J. G. Pinkerton. Our shared experiences include plots and characters from centuries of storytelling, including myths, fairy tales, and the classics. We’ll draw on archetypes from the past as we explore ways to structure plot and develop characters in a way that will inspire fresh ideas.
30. Flying Monkeys: Creating a Fan Base Who Will Fight for You!—Susan May Warren (platform)
An author needs fans, but how do you find them and create in them a desire to follow you through genre or series changes? More than that, how do you create a friendship with your readers that will bump you to the best-seller list? Former missionary and best-selling author Susan May Warren shares tips and techniques she’s employed to build her tribe of readers in addition to practical ideas for publicity that won’t break the bank.