Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat

Please join us June 14-19, 2015 for our 17th year!

It’s a roll-up-the-sleeves, friendly, professional atmosphere overlooking the lake in Madison.

Last June we hosted our largest group ever, with over 130 writers from 15 states. Beginners to published writers chose from 12 sections and writing coaches and mentors.

For next June we’ve added new sections—book-length memoirs and writing popular genres.

The lineup—including Master Classes for full novels—will be in place by January 1, 2015.

Need info now? Please contact director Christine DeSmet at cdesmet@dcs.wisc.edu or 608‑262‑3447.

At a glance

What: 6 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels

When: June 14-19, 2015 • 9:30a-12:30p each day

Who: Taught by leading educators and writers from UW-Madison and across the country

CEUs: Continuing education credits available, including optional graduate credits in English. See fees & credits» for more information.

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


Our writers get published!

Jessica Vitalis is now represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary with a middle-grade novel called Nothing Like Lennon. The novel subsequently won first place in the Middle Grade/YA fiction category of the Southern Breeze conference sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Jessica credited her attendance at the spring UW-Madison Writers’ Institute conference, the June Write-by-the-Lake Retreat master class with Christine DeSmet, and Angela Rydell’s critiques for playing important roles in her career launch.

“The coaching I received from Angela and Christine provided industry knowledge and confidence necessary to develop a winning query.” Her query was spotted at WriteOnCon (an online conference for children’s writers) and she received an offer of representation 24 hours after submitting the full manuscript.

Congratulations, Jessica! You can find her at jessicavitalis.com and at Twitter: @jessicavitalis.

Looking for inspiration from other writers who have signed deals, gotten published, and won awards? Read more Success Stories here»

Keynote luncheon speaker Brad Schreiber of Los Angeles speakes about the “Role and Responsibility of the Writer” at our 2014 retreat.

2014 sessions and speakers
Click here for full 2014 session details»

1. Thrill Me: Creating the Momentum That Publishers Crave, with Tim Storm
2. Your First Novel: Fast and Finished! with Kathy Steffen
3. Building Powerful Plots: Strengthen the Structure of Your Novel, with Angela Rydell
4. Writing Compelling Creative Nonfiction Books, with Laurie Scheer
5. Richer Nonfiction Now (stories, essays, memoirs), with Amy Lou Jenkins
6. Turning Your Life Experiences into an Inspiring Book, with Julie Tallard Johnson
7. Constructing a Writer’s Toolkit: Improve Your Fiction and Nonfiction, with Brad Schreiber
8. Master Class/Complete and Ready to Compete? with Lori Devoti (full novels; limit 6; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
9. Master Class/Finish, Polish, Publish, with Christine DeSmet (full novels; limit 6; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
10. Master Class/Deep Revision—The 7 Cs of Fiction, with Laurel Yourke (limit 10; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
11. Master Class/How to Create Non-Stereotypical, Three-Dimensional Characters, with Marilyn R. Atlas
12. Best Words, Best Order: A Poetry Workshop, with Marilyn Taylor

How it works and what we offer

Choose the one session you're most interested in. Limit of 15 participants per session unless noted. (Master classes #8 and #9 have a limit of 6 participants, master class #10 has a limit of 10.)

Sessions for beginning writers as well as those at publication level.

Optional: 1-3 graduate credits in English (offered in a partnership with UW-Madison Dept. of English).

Special low fees for nontraditional credit students. Plus, some grants may be available. See fees & credits page»

Meet your director

Author and scriptwriter Christine DeSmet teaches writing online and in person. She is the director of the annual June “Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat," director of the fall “Weekend with Your Novel,” and coordinator of “Critique Services” for writers.

Learn more about the sessions & speakers, location & lodging, fees & credits, other resources, and how to register.

Thank you for your interest in Write by the Lake!