Rhyme gets a surprising amount of controversy in the picture book industry. In this workshop, Hena will discuss the pros and cons of writing your picture book in rhyme, share tips on how to make it work successfully, and highlight some common pitfalls to avoid.
Learn how to maximize your efficiency through deliberate career and series planning. Part business planning, part creative brainstorming, this session takes a practical look at the challenges authors face when publishing both traditionally and indie. Bestselling author Piper J. Drake shares strategies that allow her to meet her career goals while still chasing the joy […]
There’s a famous Billy Wilder quote that says, “If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.” In this workshop, I will teach you how to look at your ending in a holistic way, building those stakes and tension throughout your entire story so that your ending […]
We can always physically create words. You put your pen to paper and begin. You push down those keys. You speak into your machine. So what gets in the way of putting words on a page? And how might we move around those obstacles? This workshop will provide a space to discuss our barriers to […]
What is it about certain books that when we finish the final page the characters stay with us for days? What is it about those characters that has made them so memorable? Using examples from his own and other writers, Bob will teach techniques to make your characters well-rounded individuals that will keep readers wondering […]
Join our panel for a wide-ranging conversation about all things picture books. Bring your questions!
Have you ever known the sort of person who can talk themselves out of any kind of trouble? The ones who talk themselves into trouble are even more fun. Come along and eavesdrop, and we’ll see what happens–and how!
How do you properly open a query? How much plot, character, and setting goes into the blurb? What are comp titles, and how can you effectively use them? What do you do when you receive an offer of representation? Learn the ins-and-outs of querying with confidence in this session with BookEnds Literary Agent Naomi Davis, […]
Writers are creators. We build entire civilizations in our minds in the span of a weekday afternoon. As our manuscripts take shape we often find that we’re stuck. A character or a scene has lost the magic, the world that we’ve built that was once so inspiring is now boring and tired. How do we […]
You’ve ticked all the boxes: agent, publishing contract, books in stores. But a terrific book deal or even a spot on a bestseller list does not guarantee permanent success. Readers’ tastes change or a pandemic comes along, and suddenly you need to pivot to keep your career afloat, whether by writing something a little different […]
Killers & their motives. Monsters & their murders. Cops & their clues. Lawyers & their trials. Come learn tricks of the trade – “Murder IS my business” – and how to baffle and chill readers from a courtroom veteran of 100+ real-life murder cases.
Climate change is an invisible antagonist, an existential threat that writers of speculative fiction have been warning us about for decades. Its popularity in today’s fiction reaches across every genre. Many authors are using elements of the contemporary environmental crisis in their world-building. In this class, we’ll discuss the challenges of using extreme environmental conditions […]
Kids and teens want and need books that reflect their lives and the diversity of the world they live in. But when it comes to issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion, conversations about writing can get complicated. There are difficult and often emotional debates around appropriation– and there is a long history of negative stereotypes and harmful […]
Writers, editors, and publishers face many legal issues that often also encompass ethics. Learn the basics to guide your use and sharing of images and words, in traditional and digital markets. Legal topics include copyright basics, libel, and the right to privacy. Real life case studies and lively discussion will hone your ability to do […]
Narrative voice has greater range than most writers know. This elusive concept is demystified and made practical by presenter Donald Maass.
Scenes are the living inhale and exhale of a book. We’ll deep dive into the mechanics of scene structure and examine all the elements of a great scene, then discuss how to craft that underlying emotional beat, the all important reversal/lesson, and end with a hook that pulls the reader into . . . the […]
Social anxiety or imposter syndrome can affect even confident people in both overt and subtle ways, but networking doesn’t have to be hard or scary when you learn to work with your natural ways of connecting rather than trying to fit an external image of what networking should look like. This class will teach the […]
A sense of mission can be a vital part of a memoir. It obviously exists in the main character (the “I” in the story). And readers come to understand that sense of mission when the writer articulates the motivation, stakes, and desires behind the action. What is often overlooked, however, are the powerful needs that […]
The pleasures of timeless fiction lie latent in every manuscript, regardless of category or style. Dig out unused elements in your novel with presenter Donald Maass.
The world of self-publishing is evolving rapidly, and there are more tools, opportunities and things authors need to know than ever before. We’ll look at what options are available to authors who want full control over their publishing process, as well as what common mistakes to avoid. You’ll learn how to match your self-publishing approach […]
It’s the struggle almost all of us deal with, and our panelists are no exception. Join them for insight into how they try to find a balance in a world that makes it difficult to achieve.
From smaller-scale tales to protagonists who have agency but no access to power, there are many ways to craft a story that lean away from the tropes of war, imperialism, and colonialism that sometimes tag along on the hero’s journey. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to build worlds, plots, and characters for stories that […]
What’s an ‘audience’ and how does a writer acquire one? When the first draft is done and the rewrites begins many authors ask the question: who is my intended audience? Sure, we want as many people as possible to read our work, but identifying our intended audience allows us to make our characters relevant and […]
To write your best poem you must be able to switch identities, take turns as editor and poet to become the artist who can take credit for the final version of the poem. In this work shop you will learn to craft the poem until it presents its best self to you. Bring your inspired […]
Point of view — you don’t even know what it is until you start trying to write fiction. Then the questions start. Whose story is this? First person or third? Can I use omniscient? What about multiple points of view? How to handle point-of-view shifts? Does it matter if the viewpoint slip-slides? How does POV […]
Learn to weave inclusivity into your cast of characters, worldbuilding details, and narrative structure with bestselling author Piper J. Drake. Discover how to create compelling and unique stories by building worlds that reflect diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Leverage a broad range of narrative structures as you spin compelling tales.
Join our host Renée Sarojini Saklikar for a supportive, positive opportunity to share your poetry. Participants and respectful audience members are welcome.
Maybe it’s true you can’t libel the dead, but you still hold their lives in your hands when you choose to include them as characters, and they can still complicate the choices you face when it comes to both crafting your story and doing it ethically. Was that guy really a villain (or saint)? Would […]
Mustache twirling is so last year. Come and learn the five common mistakes writers make when creating villains. Write villains that engage and intrigue readers- who doesn’t love a great bad guy? Participants will be provided with prompts to assist them in creating an antagonist that fits their story and pushes their protagonist over the […]
Curious about the editorial process? Using actual editorial letters, copy-edit notes and style sheets, kc will walk you through all the steps necessary –in both traditional and self-publishing – to present your very best work to your readers.
After the year we’ve all had, one of the hardest things to face is the state of our own creativity. In this workshop, I will provide the tips, hacks and habits that helped me not only put my butt back in the chair, but also made me see that creativity is more than word count.
One of the two most stressful parts of completing a novel-in-progress is nailing the opening. It’s also one of the most important parts of any book. Whether you’re submitting to a publisher or an agent or securing promotional events or trying to sell your book in the store, capturing a reader in those opening lines […]
Come sell your soul to a “Master of Horror” to learn the nitty-gritty of conjuring no-holds-barred fear, dread, and shock from the Darwinian workings of YOUR mind. “To put it bluntly, Slade is not for wimps.” – Fangoria
See what it’s like to write for television in this mock writers room. In this class, we’ll discuss three-act structure, room etiquette, and the best snacks for writing as we collaborate on breaking a story. This class is interactive, so attendees will be on camera and part of the session recording unless you opt to […]
Join our panel to dig into how they build their stories, whether plotters or pantsers, and how they approach the chicken-or-egg question of character and plot.
This session is back this year by popular demand! Life is complicated and often those complications don’t leave space for the creative work (or hobby) that we want to have in our lives. This class discusses why that happens and how to shift your life so that there is space for creativity to flourish inside […]
We live in a time of vibrant diversity in our literature. Every genre of creative writing is experiencing a superabundance of styles and perspectives from writers with different influences, intentions, and expressions. Publishers, agents, and editors are seeking new voices that speak to the experiences and desires of new audiences. Who are these audiences and […]
In this workshop, we learn how to master and apply the basics principle behind pacing from a sentence to a novel level.
The books readers remember are those where they’ve made an emotional attachment either to the characters, the story, or both. This workshop details how to writers can capture emotion on the page and snag that reader interest. Learn how to identify what your characters are feeling and how to integrate those emotions into your scenes […]
Join our panel of agents and authors to learn about the ins and outs of traditional publishing relationships and the practical nuts and bolts of the business.
Whether you write strictly to the shape of a detailed outline or glory in the journey of a rambling draft, there comes a point when you must assess whether your story is doing what you intend it to do. Mind mapping, a visual tool often used for non-fiction, allows you to identify the main thesis […]
Join Anne Perry to learn how she approaches writing an outline. Topics in this session will include what qualities to look for in a good outline and what to avoid, as well as how to adjust your outline for each new draft.
What do you do when you find yourself stuck, without words, or an idea on how to continue your latest project? Here are some tips and tricks Elizabeth has collected in her twenty four years as a published author. Through a set of guided exercises and questions, Elizabeth will teach you to get past road […]
What is it that keeps us up late at night biting our nails and turning the pages of a good novel? Tension and suspense. Bob will teach techniques employed by established writers to create conflict or to inject conflict into flat scenes, creating the tension and suspense readers crave in the best novels.
Join our panel of romance writers and our moderator Eileen Cook for a wide-ranging discussion into the craft of writing romance.
Whether you’re writing a protagonist who holds back some of the truth or a story whose ending changes the reader’s perspective, creating an unreliable narrator or narrative means weaving together the right combination of point of view, character voice, objective and subjective truth, and reader revelation. In this workshop, we’ll explore it all, from the […]
What is the difference between category and genre? How many words should my picture book be? How do I know if my books is middle grade and YA? Do I need an agent? Must I write the whole book before I query it? And what are some of the challenges of writing for readers who […]
Short stories and novellas are a great way to dive into writing romance, level up your craft and expand your audience. Writing a complete and satisfying story in a small package can be challenging, but it allows you to release more frequently and get those online store algorithms working for you—among other benefits. In this […]
Plotting and Pantsing have traditionally been seen as the two solitudes of a writer’s existence. But what if, like gender – it’s all about the spectrum? Join best selling author kc dyer to take a peek at how some of the big names of literature found their way to telling a story, and examine how […]
Though characters **are** what they **do**, every surprising action has to make sense in light of the character’s back story. The challenge for the novelist is finding “Page One” and then revealing back story without bogging down the front story. Topics include: What is back story, and why back story matters to the front story […]
Join our panel for a discussion of world building for all genres of fiction.
Your story world is more than just the place where your story happens. In every genre, your settings can reveal new aspects of your character to the reader, reinforce your themes and move the plot forward. We’ll take a deep dive into understanding the intersection between story and setting and how to use this knowledge […]
Fiction sticks when it stimulates readers’ minds. One powerful technique for that is the use of dichotomies, meaning strong contrasts within protagonists, in cast composition, in plot problems and forks in the road, in theme, in a story’s social world, in underlying moral questions, and in a novel’s very language. Learn the methods of oppositional […]
Discovering the unexpected and complex in your characters is half the fun of writing stories. In this master class, we’ll experiment and play with developing characters who spring off the page to surprise both you and your readers. I’ll invite you to treat writing as discovery, lean into the unknown, and be okay with it […]
When people converse, they do so with more than just words. Body language, tone of voice, and societal context all play a role in understanding what a person means. In this master class, we’ll do a deep dive into spoken and non-verbal communication, discussing word choice and using in-class exercises to explore how to get […]
Attention all newbie writers! Are you longing to make a great escape into a writing career, but not quite sure where to begin? Make kc dyer’s Grand Tour of Publishing the first stop of your SiWC weekend. In a marathon, information-packed session, kc takes you on a comprehensive tour of the publishing world. This workshop […]
You’ve been writing a short story and suddenly realize you have a novel on your hands. What happened? How do you make a story interesting and full of tension without bloating the plot out of shape? There are secrets…
Whether you’re writing a first-person confessional, an omniscient narrator’s observations on the world below, or something in-between, the voice of your narrative influences both how you tell your story and how your reader receives it. In this masterclass, we’ll dive into how to craft a story’s narrative voice, from the 10,000-foot decisions about who and […]
This class is about remodelling your spaces so you can do your stuff better and be happier while doing it. Contextual Inquiry is a user-centered design process for building things like keyboards, chairs, and word-processors. In this class we’ll take these design principles and teach you how to remodel everything which touches on the work […]
Deep dive into key Relationship Arcs with Piper J. Drake to develop dynamic, evolving connections between characters to drive plot, compel reader investment, and create captivating stories.
This master class is a deep dive into how communities work on a macro and micro scale so that you can craft cities, villages, and cultures designed to support your story and the struggle your protagonist will have through that story. This class will discuss power structures, how they shift, and how you as a […]
Plot. It drives your story from beginning to end, but how do you make sure it’s keeping your reader’s interest, building tension, and achieving your story goals? In this masterclass, we’ll look at how to build a compelling plot that works for both you and your reader and takes you from the opening line to […]