Workshops – Fall 2013

Add Fall Color to Your Writing

by Marilyn Rhoads, OCW Program Coordinator

From fiction writing to marketing, here are eight workshops you want to miss!

A. Brandilyn Collins will present “The Four Ds of Story Structure”: Desire, Distancing, Denial, Devastation. These Four Ds form the main building blocks for your novel.

MaryEllen Stone
MaryEllen Stone

Learn what each one means and why they are so important for your story as a whole and for individual scenes. Whether you are a plotter or seat-of-the-pantser, following the Four Ds will help you structure a sound novel. (fiction)

B. MaryEllen Stone will teach “Write Tight to Pack a Punch.Kick those words to the curb that clutter your page and lose your readers. This workshop will help you power up sentences and put a punch in your writing. “Write Tight” is for beginners or the experienced wordsmith. Bring three pages of your manuscript for an in-class exercise. Please come even if you don’t have your writing in hand. (all genres)

MaryEllen, author of Run in the Path of Peace—an OCW Cascade Awards Writing Contest finalist—teaches creative writing classes and is a speaker. Upon retirement, she was awarded faculty emeritus from Lower Columbia College, where she taught and was a counselor for many years. MaryEllen has been published in Seek, Evangel, Mature Living, Salal Review, Rambunctious Review, and Joyful Women, and she has placed in numerous contests.

C. “Launching Out” will be taught by Karen Barnett. Most writers spend years preparing for the “YES” from a publisher, but they put little thought into what happens after the contracts are signed. From cover art to ARCs, influencer lists to book launches, the to-do list for a newly contracted author threatens to steal the joy of publication. Learn skills you can put into action today so you are prepared to shift gears from pitching to editors to reaching out to your readers. (marketing for all genres)

Karen is the winner of the 2013 OCW Cascade Awards Writer of Promise. She went from wanna-be writer to juggling four different contracts in a six-month time period. Her first novel, Mistaken, released in July from Abingdon Press. Her next book, Out of the Ruins (first in a three-book series), will arrive in bookstores in May 2014. Karen is a wife and busy mom of a teen and a tween. When she’s not doing that, she likes posting photos of her dog on Facebook.

Karen Barnett
OCW Cascade Writer of Promise Award winner Karen Barnett will teach “Launching Out” workshop.


D. Gail Denham will present “Listen for Your Voice. As you write poetry, do you see places to improve—to eliminate passive voice, use stronger sounds, strike unnecessary words, or try new poetry forms? Each time you begin a poem, do you make it your goal to learn something new? Use layers of meaning in your work, employing rhythm and language. This workshop will broaden your skills and improve your craft. Come and develop new techniques. (poetry)

Gail was profiled recently in a Wyoming Poets’ online member posting, won second prize in a Utah poetry contest, had one of her photos used on the cover of the National Poetry Association anthology, had three photos and a poem in the online Handful of Dust, sold a poem to Harp String Journal, and received two honorable mentions in a short-story contest. She is a member of a dozen state poetry associations and contributes to a LinkedIn poetry group.

E. “Coloring Passions—Fully Developed Character Emotion” will be taught by Brandilyn Collins. Human emotions are interconnected and multi-layered, building upon each other. These emotions force action, which in turn produces more emotion. Novelists need to understand human passions and the way they act upon each other. All too often authors don’t go far enough in this area. The result is a shallow novel—a story that fails to move the reader. Leave this workshop knowing more about emotion than you ever have before. (fiction)

F. Kevin Ferguson will present “Over the Counter: Is There Still Value in Brick and Mortar?” What value does a brick-and-mortar store have for you in the midst of an ever-growing e-presence? Explore traditional publishing venues and how valuable retail space can launch your career. Discover the challenge of promoting self-published consignment titles versus a bookstore ordering from a distribution center. Learn how an individual bookstore determines whether an author’s book is given shelf space and how you can promote your work by understanding the booksellers’ needs and your particular role. (marketing)

Kevin is a regional manager for Tree of Life Christian Outlet with stores throughout the Northwest. He graduated from Multnomah Biblical Seminary with a Ma

Poet Gail Denham will present the "Listen to Your Voice" poetry workshop.
Poet Gail Denham will present the “Listen to Your Voice” poetry workshop.

ster’s degree in biblical education with an emphasis in family ministry. He is married to Krista and they have four children. Kevin has also served as pastor of youth at First Baptist in La Pine, Oregon, and First Baptist in Corvallis.


G. “Grant Writing 101: Help Your Community and Earn Cash” will be presented by Chad McComas. Most nonprofit organizations struggle for finances. As a writer, you have the basic skills to write grants to secure funding from foundations. Grants can be daunting if you aren’t acquainted with what they are and how they work. Come get some basic training and gain confidence as you master grant-writing skills. You can benefit your community and create a new income stream for yourself. Chad serves in nonprofits and writes grants to help support them. (grant writing)

Chad lives in Medford with Debi, his wife of 36 years. They have served in ministry since 1977 in various parts of Oregon. Chad took over The Christian Journal newspaper in 2000 and has increased it from 4,000 monthly papers to more than15,000. It is listed in the top 50 Christian publications. Chad and Debi founded Set Free Christian Fellowship, which includes two churches, a food pantry, Rogue Retreat, Celebrate Recovery, pop-open Bible verse cards, and a bookstore.

H. Nicole Miller, OCW Media Coordinator, will teach, “The Power of a 1,000 Words: How to Use Images to Power Your Social Media Platform.If an image is worth 1,000 words, how can you make images and graphics work for you and your online platform? Consistent branding will make your marketing efforts go further and gain attention for you on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This class will provide simple how-to tutorials and cover free online tools (including time-saving shortcuts) for you to implement. (social media)

Nicole Miller, OCW Media Coordinator, will present the "The Power of 1,000 Words: How to Use Images to Power Your Social Media Platform."
Nicole Miller, OCW Media Coordinator, will present the “The Power of 1,000 Words: How to Use Images to Power Your Social Media Platform.”

Nicole is a writer, history buff, graphic designer, and a former rodeo queen—all of which come together in her writing. She has received awards for her nonfiction, but historical fiction is her true love. The online media manager at the University of Western States, she provides graphic design services and marketing consulting through her business, Miller Media Solutions.

Check Also

Cascade Contest Update – Fall 2013

Our many prayers of the last year were answered as 225 writers and faculty gathered to worship, study, and fellowship at the OCW Summer Conference in Portland, August 12–15. One-third of our conferees were first-time attendees, and conferees came from as far away as Maryland. Our numbers rose to 275 during our inaugural Cascade Awards on Wednesday evening.