Weekend With Your Novel

Thank you to everyone who attended last year's Weekend With Your Novel. It was one of our largest turnouts ever! Be sure to stay in touch to see what we have planned for this year's Weekend With Your Novel, Nov 14-16, 2014.

(All information below and on the following pages is for Weekend With Your Novel 2013, here for your reference.)

New every year, this annual fall event is packed with techniques and wisdom for serious novelists who want to start smart or revise right for publication. Refine your voice and style. Or discover your voice. Or change it! Create deeper characters, plots, and settings. Become the next sought-after “fresh voice.”

With 15 workshops in Tracks 1 (beginning) and 2 (advanced level), plus critique group sessions, this intensive and fun weekend retreat is a thorough, roll-up-the-sleeves boost for any novel writer.

At a glance

What: Annual fall writers' retreat

When: Nov 8 (6:30-8pm), Nov 9 (8am-7pm), and Nov 10 (9-11am)

Where: Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI (Sat)
Lowell Center, 610 Langdon St., Madison, WI (Fri/Sun)

Cost: Friday and Saturday, $125 (before Oct 11). Just Friday's bonus session, $35. Lunch and presentation (extra), $12.50. Critiques (extra), $60 each. See event details page for early-registration special.

REGISTER ONLINE» or by phone at 608-262-2451

Questions? Contact Christine DeSmet at cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu or 608-262-3447

PDF with complete program and "at a glance" schedule charts»

What is Weekend With Your Novel?

Weekend With Your Novel is an annual fall writers' retreat, with over 15 workshops and 150 ways to improve your novel, presented in 2 tracks (beginners and advanced) plus critique groups—all with the ultimate goal of getting you published.

Get pro-level revision tips and checklists to polish your novel and make it ready to pitch. Agents and editors look for a marketable concept and excellence in craft. This retreat shows you how to sharpen your premise, plot, style, scenes, and more.

Your workshop leaders—all authors and experienced writing mentors/coaches—focus on the “best-of-the-best” advice and techniques to save you time, heartache, and dough during your journey of writing a novel.

This weekend also helps you polish professionally for upcoming conferences, agent meetings, or indie publication.

This year's theme: Voice

Do you want to improve your voice and style? Discover and define your voice? Change your voice? Create a new character with a fresh voice?

Voice is that “something extra.” It seals the deal for writers with their readers, reviewers, agents, and publishers. Polishing your style and voice spells the difference between a sale or not, or a good review or not. Learning techniques and tips about style and voice also helps you create and design better characters, settings, and plots.

Add a critique group for a hands-on, instant makeover of your pages and watch your voice improve overnight!

Something for every level of writer

Track 1: “I’m starting out in novel writing and writing workshops.” Who benefits most from workshops in this track? You’re probably writing your first chapters, or maybe you haven’t written at all but want to start smart. Maybe you’ve written a whole manuscript that’s been sitting on the shelf for a long time and you’re ready to re-start. Or you’ve vowed to start a new novel differently and smarter this time.

Track 2: “I’m close to looking for an agent or self/indie publishing.” Who benefits most from workshops in this track? You’ve finished your manuscript or are close. You may have gone through a revision or two already. Maybe even suffered a couple of agent rejections. You’re serious about polishing and using all the advice you can get in a short time. You’ve likely taken other workshops and read several good how-to books so you know the jargon and don’t need basics explained to you. You may be looking ahead to pitching to the agents coming to the April 2014 UW-Madison “Writers’ Institute” conference.

You may attend any session, no matter what track it’s in. You may also change your mind at the last minute and attend a different workshop if you wish.

Do you need guidance about critique groups or which workshops to attend? Call Christine DeSmet, 608-262-3447, or email her at cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu.

Friday night bonus

Short on time? Can’t attend the entire weekend? Attend Friday night’s “Weekend in 90 Minutes”!

For only $35, join us just for Friday night’s workshop, The Conditions that Create Voice led by Laurie Scheer. We promise a fast-paced, in-depth overview of many techniques for improving voice found in today’s well-reviewed novels. If you’re signed up for Saturday’s workshops, this workshop is a free bonus for you.

Recommended reading beforehand: The Conditions of Love, by Dale Kushner (Grand Central Publishing, 2013). Laurie will discuss the charismatic voices that shine throughout the book. This is a literary novel, a first novel written by Dale Kushner, originally trained as a poet.

You don’t even have to read the suggested book to glean good tips for your writing, but we hope you can find the time beforehand because that will enhance your workshop experience.

Take home new ways of looking at the development of not only her characters’ rich voices, but the overall novel’s voice.

This workshop presents techniques that apply to all types of writing. You’ll be among writers of many genres seeking tips to improve their voice writing skills.

Saturday lunch and presentation: Make 'em Laugh

Don’t miss signing up for the luncheon and presentation with Tim Storm! Gather with your fellow writers and enjoy more tips about voice from a popular writer-instructor who always gives us surprises every time he presents.

Critique groups

Choose from critique groups on Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday. Would your first 10 pages hook a reader or agent?

Take command of your writing style and voice

We look forward to seeing you in Madison!

– Christine DeSmet, director, cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu, 608-262-3447

P.S. The fall weekend retreat is an ideal warm-up for those of you pitching to agents at the April 4-6, 2014, 25th anniversary edition of Writers’ Institute in Madison.

Get complete details about Weekend With Your Novel speakers, workshop content, critique sessions, and program agenda, as well as fees, location, lodging, logistics, and more.