2022 Cascade Christian Writers Conference
Classes and Workshops
“Write Like a Published Novelist” Karen Barnett
What separates an aspiring writer from a published novelist? If you answered “a book contract,” you’d be only partially correct. Editors aren’t merely looking for creative story ideas; they’re searching for writers who have mastered their craft. In this fiction coaching class we’ll cover some of the key techniques you need to learn to ensure you’re writing at a level worthy of publication. Here are some topics we’ll cover: genre expectations, providing readers with a powerful emotional experience, character desires and weaknesses, backstory, research, show don’t tell, deep point of view, sensory detail, grounding the reader, conflict, dialogue, story structure, spiritual growth, and character transformation.
“What I’ve Learned” Melanie Dobson, Nick Harrison, Rochelle Gloege, Christina Suzann Nelson, and Terri Kalfas
Here’s your chance to hear from people with a wide variety of experience in the business of publishing. Your hosts will offer you the wisdom they’ve gained, ending each session with a time for questions.
“The Writer’s Retreat” Hosted by Heidi Gaul
Enjoy a place to decompress and be nurtured, to write and connect with other writers. Feel free to use this time to write wherever you are comfortable with or join in with others. Snacks, prompts, and brainstorming are available for those who choose this option.
“Pen to Published” Rachelle Gardner
Ready to pursue your dream of publishing a book? After this class, you’ll be familiar with the entire process, knowing exactly what to do next—and how to do it. Get answers to these questions:
How do I develop the mindset of an author?
How do I find the right publisher?
Do I need a literary agent? How do I find one?
Should I consider self-publishing?
What’s a book proposal? Why do I need one?
What’s a platform? How big does it need to be?
This class can save you years of skirting around the edges of publishing, never quite knowing exactly how it works. You’ll be prepared to be an author. Join us—we’re going to have fun along the way!
“Quantum-Level Branding & Marketing” James L. Rubart
Do you understand branding and what your personal brand is (the theme of your life)? Do you realize how the right branding can make you and the wrong branding can break you? In this course, Christy Hall of Fame author and marketing expert James L. Rubart will show you how to discover your brand and how to use it to stand out to editors, agents, and readers as well as how to apply it to your website and every other aspect of your marketing and career.
“Deep, Deep, Deep, Deeper POV” Linda Glaz
Authors stumble and stammer when trying to write solid deep POV. And that’s to be expected when there’s confusion about what deep POV even means. Let’s have some straight talk about ways to write deep POV correctly and understand when it is and when it isn’t necessary.
- Can we go any deeper, and why should we?
- Explore how a writer gets caught “telling” the story
- Show rather than tell
- Do we need all the dialogue tags?
- How can we tighten our writing to stay in our character’s POV?
- Work out the many issues that give us away as authors telling the story
“Writing Nonfiction—from the Ground Up” Susan King
While writing for publication may start with great ideas, it will also end with them if the writer doesn’t follow through with clear, concise, well-organized material that is also a joy to read. With that in mind, this class will start at the beginning: how to get our creative juices flowing. Next, we’ll explore the four qualities that every piece of publishable writing has to have and how to achieve them. Then we’ll end up with how to market our nonfiction work. On the first day, attendees will be given a writing assignment that can be submitted as a magazine article, a short piece in an anthology, or even the foundation for a book. (Hint: the assignment will be on the topic of the next book in the Short and Sweet anthology series.)
Session A: (Friday, June 24, 2:00 – 3:00)
“Broken Dreams and Detours” Heidi Gaul
We will examine using life experiences, both good and bad, to enrich our writing.
“The Literature of Personal Disaster” Sherri Langton
Is a story good just because it relates a horrific event? In this workshop we will discuss why we write about tragedy and how we can make it real to the reader as well as redemptive.
“Free Indirect Style: Why You Might Want to Ditch First Person for Close Third” Shawn Smucker
We often categorize first person as a highly personal POV and third person as being removed. But Free Indirect Style gives us the advantages of both first and third and adds an incredible amount of complexity to any story.
“How Do I Decide? Traditional or Indie Publishing” Rachelle Gardner
There is plenty of information available on both traditional and self-publishing. But how do you choose between the two? This workshop will guide writers through the decision, allowing them to ignore the noise and hype and focus on their personal path. It’s a fair and balanced approach that avoids favoring one choice over the other—and instead teaches how to determine which choice best fits each individual’s situation.
“Platform 101” Barbara Roose
Platform isn’t everything in landing a publishing contract, but it is an important part of the picture. In this workshop, Barb will explain the three types of platform-building approaches. She will also provide step-by-step instructions, encouragement, and lots of resources that will equip you to launch from zero platform and move with intention toward your publishing goals.
“Writing a Meditation for The Upper Room” Andrew Breeden
Participants will learn about writing devotionals for this daily devotional guide. Through group discussion and instruction from an Upper Room editor, we will explore what makes a strong devotional, how to turn personal experience into a devotional message, and the unique global ministry of The Upper Room. The writer’s guidelines can be found here: https://submissions.upperroom.org/en/guidelines
Session B: (Friday, June 24, 3:30 – 4:30)
“Do’s and Don’ts of Writing for Children” Rachel Pfeiffer
Kids are taught to follow rules. To write for them, you should follow some rules too. These key tips for writing engaging, creative stories for children will help you catch an editor’s eye. You will learn about audience insights, industry trends, the use of humor, and more.
“Poetry Book Self-Publishing” Linda Kruschke
Do you have a group of poems you would like to self-publish on Amazon KDP? This workshop will walk you through the steps to properly format your manuscript for Amazon, options for creating the cover for your poetry book, and how to upload your files to Amazon for a finished product.
“Cowriting and Ghostwriting: Collaborating as a Way of Making Money as a Writer” Shawn Smucker
For nearly 15 years, Shawn has made a living cowriting and ghostwriting books alongside other people. He will share his story of entering the cowriting world, talk about the positives and negatives of being a collaborator, and give you some ideas on how to get started.
“Publishing Financials 101” Linda Howard
What is an advance? How does it affect my royalty? What is my royalty percentage based on? What investment has a publisher made in me by the time my book releases? Learn the answers to these and many more questions in this workshop.
“Turning Your Speaking Ministry into a Book” Janyre Tromp
Learn the steps necessary to turn your speaking ministry into a book deal. Veteran editor Janyre Tromp tackles the surprisingly difficult process and breaks down the elements so you can easily uncover the best idea, distill it, and create the structure for your first book.
“How to Bake Without Burning It” Jaime Jo Wright
Sometimes we want to write a layered story but don’t know what the layers should be made out of. Then, sometimes, we just burn it and we’re left with piles of crumbs and not much story. We will take the baking the layer cake of a story and break it down onto a recipe card you can understand.
Session C: (Saturday, June 25, 2:00 – 3:00)
“Writing Articles That Teach” Sherri Langton
In these days of increasing biblical ignorance, help point readers to truths in the Word of God through a teaching article. What is a teaching article—and what isn’t it? This workshop will answer these questions and show you how to rightly divide the Word for your writing. It will also show you how to engage readers to grow in knowledge and understanding of biblical truths.
“Short Form Poetry and Poetry ‘Rules’” Linda Kruschke
In this hands-on workshop, we will review several short poetry forms, such as the sevenling and tanka, and discuss various breakable rules every poet should know. Each attendee will write at least one poem and have an opportunity to share.
“You Need a First Page that Pops and Pops Again” Linda Glaz
- Getting the reader’s attention on page one and keeping their interest to the end
- Writing so that your work POPs off the page…
- Oh, the importance of the first page!
“Four Practices to Take Your Writing Deeper” Shawn Smucker
Often, when we talk about improving the craft, we think about technical aspects of writing where we can get better. But today we’ll talk about ways to live differently that will have a positive impact on our writing.
“Three Things Editors Want in an Author” Janyre Tromp
You have your proposal in order, your sample chapters polished, now what? What kind of author stands out in the crowd of proposals crossing an editor’s desk? In this workshop 20-year industry veteran Janyre Tromp will reveal three things every editor wants to see.
Session D: (Saturday, June 25, 3:30 – 4:30)
“Writing for Focus on the Family” Rachel Pfeiffer
This workshop provides an overview of Focus on the Family’s publications. You will learn what content each publication is looking for and how you can submit fitting content for each.
“Five Steps to Marketable Devotionals” Heidi Gaul
Learn tips to improve the quality of your devotionals and ways to make your work stand out.
“How to Be Spiritual without Being Annoying” Jaime Jo Wright
Want to incorporate faith into your books but avoid the sermonettes and outright in-your-face soapbox preaching? Can you do this and still be a Christian writer, or are you selling yourself, your Lord, and your readers short? We will uncover the balance in writing for faith, writing for outreach, and writing for entertainment.
“Freewriting Your Way to a Better Ending” Shawn Smucker
Often, we think of endings as arriving in the writer’s mind in a flash of brilliance. But what if endings require more work than that? We will discuss various endings, why they work, and how freewriting might just be the missing piece to help you discover your best possible ending.
“Historic Laundry List: Putting People to Sleep in Different Eras” Linda Glaz
- Write historic novels with flavoring but NOT cayenne pepper.
- Sprinkle facts throughout.
- Avoid laundry lists of facts.
“Greenlight Your Way to a Literary Agent” Barbara Roose
Literary agents love partnering with hopeful and established authors who are serious about their publishing journeys. What factors prompt a literary agent to say “yes” to one prospective client and “no” to another? We will learn the success path for both agents and clients as well as six greenlights that speed an author’s goal of landing a literary agent.