2012 Coaching Classes

OCW Summer Conference 2012 Coaching Class Descriptions

Oregon Christian Writers is pleased to offer 12 coaching classes taught by some of the best in the publishing field. These in-depth classes meet for three consecutive mornings for a total of seven hours.

Note: Class caps vary. When you register, please indicate your first, second, and third choices. If your first choice class has a spot available in it, you will be assigned to that class; if not, you will be assigned to your second or third choice.

Beat Resistance and Write Like Crazy ~ Caleb BreakeyClass will be capped at 16. 

This continuing track is not about writer’s block. You’ll eradicate writer’s block from your life in the first 25 minutes of class. Instead, this roundtable of serious writers is about RESISTANCE—our greatest nemesis. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, says there’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”

Come happy or angry, strong or weak, hungry or starved. We’ll kick and claw at resistance with every tool and technique known to man. And together we will learn to write productively and focus ferociously—for our writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, demands nothing less. 

Caleb Jennings Breakey is an author, writing mentor, social media guru, and crazy lover of Jesus. His popular website for teen writers www.CalebBreakey.com had 50,000 hits in its first 100 days of existence. Caleb teaches writing and Christlike character at high schools, colleges, and conferences throughout the country, encouraging authors to embrace their role as difference makers. For more about Caleb, visit his website at www.CalebBreakey.com.

Writing to Reach the Unbeliever ~ Terry BurnsClass will be capped at 18.

Jesus used fiction to make some of His most important points. They were called parables. Terry talks about using fiction in order to spread God’s Word and about the difference between writing for the Christian market and writing in hopes of reaching an unbeliever. Too often people say they are writing a “crossover book,” but Terry believes a crossover book is an accident. Books are written 180 degrees differently for the maximum effect in the two markets, so the writer should choose one and hope he or she can get people from the other market to read it as well. Too often a book intentionally written for both markets ends up in that no-man’s-land, with too much faith content for the mainstream market and not enough to interest the Christian market. Terry will talk about these differences and how to reach the desired audience.

Terry Burns is an agent with Hartline Literary, www.hartlineliterary.com, as well as a writer of 40 books, including 10 novels. A new four-book series of his collected short works, entitled The Sagebrush Collection, saw the first book, On the Road Home, released in March 2010. A Young Adult novel entitled Beyond the Smoke won the Will Rogers Medallion. A new book, A Writer’s Survival Guide to Publication, was developed out of a month-long course he held for ACFW. A popular speaker at workshops across the country, Terry’s regular blog can be found at www.terryburns.net.

Writers on the Web ~ Angella Foret Diehl – Class will be capped at 10.

This coaching class will walk you through the basics of setting up your website based on the popular, easy-to-use WordPress format. We’ll talk about the “musts” of your website, create a website using your own domain name, and walk through the mechanics of your site. Registrants will also have first option to attend one-on-one blogging appointments to discuss their site.

NOTE FOR THIS CLASS: This is a hands-on workshop. Participants will need to bring a laptop computer with WiFi access. Please contact Angella by July 15th at webmaster@oregonchristianwriters.org to set up your domain name and other details. Participants in this coaching class will receive a full year of domain name registration and web hosting as part of the class.

Angella Foret Diehl is a freelance writer, editor, and blog designer. An OCW member for more than 14 years, Angella has served as OCW’s newsletter designer and is currently the OCW webmaster. She writes for The Oregonian, and has written for  Christian News Northwest and national publications. A self-professed geek, Angella blogs on foodstuffs at www.angelicious.com  and writing at www.angellaforet.com.

Playing with Words: A Poetry Workshop ~ Lonnie Hull DuPont – Class will be capped at 14.

This workshop is for seasoned poets, would-be poets, or any writers who want to nudge the right side of the brain to open up their writing. Simply put, we’re going to play. Together we’ll experiment with lots of poetry-writing exercises, and we’ll write new poems. We’ll also share our new work in a supportive environment, identify successful poetic devices and techniques, and discuss the publishing prospects for our poetry. So come with an empty notebook and an open mind, and let’s get some new poems written!

Lonnie Hull DuPont is the executive editor of Revell (www.revellbooks.com), a division of Baker Publishing Group in Michigan. Lonnie has worked in publishing for many years as both an editor and writer. She is the author, compiler, and collaborative writer of several nonfiction books. She is also a widely published, award-winning poet, whose poems have appeared in dozens of literary journals and anthologies, and she has published six poetry chapbooks.

The First 50 Pages ~ Jeff Gerke – Class will be capped at 20.

The opening 50 pages carry a surprising amount of weight for beginning a novel correctly. You have to engage your reader, introduce your hero, and establish the context of the story. You’ll also be presenting the stakes, introducing the antagonist, establishing the hero’s desires, starting the main character’s inner journey, and getting the time bomb ticking—plus much more. And you want to do all these things without dumping backstory on your reader, misleading your reader, insulting your readers’ intelligence, or tipping your hand to your reader. In this class, Jeff pulls from his second Writers Digest book, The First 50 Pages, to show you how to begin your novel with the skill and intentionality that keeps readers’ eyes glued to the page.

Jeff Gerke is an author and editor of fiction and nonfiction including such books as the Operation: Firebrand novels. He has been called the de facto gatekeeper of Christian speculative fiction. Jeff launched Marcher Lord Press (www.marcherlordpress.com), an independent publishing house, whose several major awards lend credence to its claim of being the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. His how-to-book, The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, is available through Amazon or Marcher Lord Press, and Plot versus Character, his first craft book from Writers Digest Books, released in 2010. His newest Writers Digest fiction craft book, The First 50 Pages, released in November 2011.

Marketing 101 ~ Randy Ingermanson Class will be capped at 18.

The horrible truth about modern publishing is that publishers only market the winners. Furthermore, books that don’t get marketed are not going to be winners. If that sounds like a wretched catch-22, it is. That’s reality. If you want to escape that trap, then you need to learn how to market your book well enough that your publisher knows it’s going to be a winner. Then they’ll market it too.

How do you do that? First, you build a platform. Then you use this platform to promote your work. In this coaching class, we’ll look at exactly how to do this. We’ll focus on the five main parts of your online platform and help you figure out which ones might work best for you. Then we’ll help you decide on a strategy to build your platform over time into a mighty marketing machine.

Randy Ingermanson (“the Snowflake Guy,” www.ingermanson.com) practices what he preaches. His book Writing Fiction for Dummies has been a best seller in its market niche ever since it was published. Randy’s publisher asked him to write this book because they knew about his powerful marketing platform.

Randy is also the author of six award-winning novels. He publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writers E-zine www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com with more than 28,000 subscribers and sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Randy holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley and runs the software division of a biotech company in San Diego.

Finding the Story in Everyday Experiences: Writing Powerful Narrative Nonfiction ~ Sherri Langton – Class will be capped at 14.

God loves a good story. It’s His way of communicating biblical truth so generations of seekers will know about Him. The problem is that sometimes we don’t know how to craft a story so it catches an editor’s eye. This class will help you write powerful nonfiction for magazines and will explore how story communicates biblical truth, where ideas come from, and how to be sure an idea is marketable. We’ll look at “singing” prose that shows instead of tells and fiction techniques that pull the reader into the center of the action. One session will be devoted to writing about tragedy. Come with ideas, and learn how God can use your story!

Sherri Langton, associate editor of Bible Advocate (www.baonline.org) magazine and of Now What? e-zine, has worked in Christian publishing for more than 20 years. She is also an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in Focus on the Family, In Touch, Upper Room, Marriage Partnership, Today’s Christian Woman, Decision, and other publications. Sherri has contributed poetry and articles to the collections My Turn to Care, Teatime Stories for Women, Becoming a Godly Man, Faces of Faith, Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, and Hurray God! In addition, Sherri teaches workshops at several Christian writers’ conferences. 

Re•vision: Re-Imagining Your Novel ~ Mick Silva – Class will be capped at 16.

Revising your novel isn’t just about grammar and syntax; it’s not just about word choice or showing and telling. It’s about seeing again—rediscovering a vision for your work that is deeper, more captivating, more entertaining, and more profound.

It takes a different set of skills to judge your own work and effectively realize its potential. By examining character, plot, theme, scene, dialogue, style, and voice, you will learn how to wield the tools of the craft to complement, enhance, and transform your work during this crucial phase of the writing process.

Mick’s class will be interactive and informal. Students will be asked to submit a one-page synopsis and the first 5 pages of their manuscript electronically by August 1. Instructions will be provided after registration.

Mick Silva is a speaker, author, and acquisitions editor with more than ten years of experience publishing stories with cross-market appeal. He spent five years as an editor for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, and in his five years of writing and editing for Focus on the Family, he assisted nationally known names in parenting, marriage, and family advice. He’s currently a freelance editor and consultant helping authors and publishers develop their projects for publication and building an online community dedicated to preparing progressive authors to excel. He lives with his wife, Sheri, and two daughters in Portland, Oregon. Find out more at www.YourWritersGroup.com/

Ministry in Writing ~ Cecil Murphey – Class will be capped at 18.

Everything we write reveals something about who we are—even our attempts at self-concealment. Our most honest writing becomes our best writing. Too many writers feel they must change—to become different and try to morph into something they’re not. They weaken the power of their words. As we probe within and accept who we are, we expand our capacity, plus our writing becomes richer and stronger. This course incorporates material from his new book Unleash the Writer Within. http://amzn.to/cecmurphey

In this coaching class, Cec will help you:

  • Discover who you are
  • Develop your voice and writing style
  • Learn to write with heart
  • Become authentic to your readers
  • Grapple with the dreaded writer’s block
  • Harness the inner critic
  • Expand your comfort zone

Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or cowritten 120 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.

Cec stays busy as a professional writer and travels extensively to speak on topics such as writing, male sexual abuse, recovery, spiritual growth, caregiving, and significant living. Cec regularly shares writer wisdom on his website, www.cecwritertowriter.com.

Creating Unique Stories with Spiritual Heft ~ Jim Rubart – Class will be capped at 18.

Do you long to create stories that make editors and agents say, “Now this is different; I love it!”? Do you want your stories to ring with authentic spiritual depth? Do you want to know how to develop story ideas that will make a major impact on readers?

Often agents and editors (and ultimately readers) will say, “I’ve seen this idea many times before.” Or, “The spiritual part of the book seemed to be tacked on.”

If you want to break out of that pack, this is your class. During this continuing education track, best-selling author Jim Rubart will explain the techniques he uses for his own stories and how you can use them to develop powerful and attention-getting stories of your own.

Jim Rubart is the best-selling author of Rooms, the winner of Romantic Times Book Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year in 2010, plus Book of Days, The Chair, and five other novels in the works, including the soon to be released (October 2012) Soul’s Gate. Jim received his degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Washington and started his career on air at a Seattle radio station. During the day, he runs Barefoot Marketing, which helps businesses and authors make more coin for the realm. Jim is also an in-demand speaker and consultant. For more about Jim’s titles and awards, visit his website www.jimrubart.com. An interview about Jim’s approach to the writing life is also posted at www.ocwsummerconference.com.

Twenty-Five Principles of Feature and Magazine Writing ~ David Sumner – Class will be capped at 18.

This class offers conferees a review of the most time-tested techniques for producing lively and compelling features for magazines, newspapers, websites, and books. Telling a story and not giving a report is the gist of good feature writing. Some of these techniques include creating a strong angle; using anecdotes and telling stories; writing about people; and incorporating action, color, humor, and drama. Dr. Sumner has been teaching these principles in journalism classes for more than 20 years and bases his popular textbook, Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes, around them. His book (co-authored with Holly G. Miller) has been adopted for classroom use in more than 50 universities.

Dr. David Sumner, aka Professor Magazine, is professor of journalism at Ball State University and a national leader in magazine research and education. Dr. Sumner is the author of dozens of articles, books, and papers and supervises the award-winning student magazine, Expo. Dr. Sumner published his fifth book, The Magazine Century: American Magazines Since 1900 in June 2010, and has received highly positive reviews in six academic journals. Dr. Sumner was named “Magazine Educator of the Year” by the prestigious Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2007. He earned a doctorate from the University of Tennessee in mass communication and a master’s of divinity and a master’s of theology in church history. For more about David’s titles and awards, visit http://sumner.iweb.bsu.edu/.

Movin’ and Groovin’: Advanced Novelization Techniques ~ Susan May WarrenClass will be capped at 18. – Intermediate to Advanced Writers

You’ve learned the steps of basic novel building. Now it’s time to ramp up your writing with advanced writing techniques! Characterization, Storyworld, Story Stakes versus Motivation, and Descriptive Writing. All these techniques and more will add polish to your story and teach you how to dance with the stars. Sessions include:

Advanced Plotting and Characterization Techniques. Learn how to craft a plot that pulls readers to the edge of their seats and takes their breath away by creating a balance between stakes and motivation, the perfect choreography for any novel’s tune. Then dive into character and learn how to add depth to your characters.

Advanced Storyworld and Emotion. How do you pull your readers into the music of your story, capture their imagination from the first page, and hold them in the song? Storyworld! This session will look at examples from best-selling books and dissect the elements of Storyworld. Then class participants will utilize hands-on activities to learn to develop their own Storyworld and apply them to their novels. Then we’ll learn to add emotion to the dance.

Dance is all about the story, caught in the emotion of the music. This class will teach participants the different levels of writing emotions and how to take their writing from just the moves to touching the music inside the heart and soul of the reader.

Dancing with the Stars. The secret formula for a best-selling book. Want to learn the top-secret formula for a best-selling book? This session will reveal the 10 ingredients, from the explosive first chord to the finale, that make a book an all-nighter. If time, we’ll also brainstorm your plots to ensure you leave the class with a powerful story and game plan for completion.

Susan May Warren is the RITA-award-winning author of more than 35 novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill, and Summerside Press. A four-time Christy award finalist and a two-time RITA finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award and the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Book of the Year. Susan is also the author of the beginning writer’s workbooks, from the Inside…Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! and Deep and Wide: advanced fiction techniques for making your characters deeper and your plot wider. She is the founder of My Book Therapy, www.MyBookTherapy.com, an online community for writers that focuses on the art of fiction, and she is a popular speaker and teacher at conferences around the country. Susan received the Mentor of the Year award from ACFW in 2010. For a full list of Susan’s awards and titles, visit www.susanmaywarren.com.

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