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

Please join us June 15-19, 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 this June we’ve added new sections—book-length memoirs and writing popular genres.

At a glance

What: 5 days of professional instruction for writers of all levels

When: June 15-19, 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


NEW! "Write-by-the-Lake Book Fair" on Thursday, June 18

Let's celebrate your publishing success!

Participants and instructors are invited to display and sell their books on Thursday, times to be determined. Authors will have free space for their displays. You must handle your own sales.

How to participate: You must be enrolled in the program or be an instructor or guest speaker. Because space is limited, please contact program coordinator Laura Kahl as soon as possible AFTER you've registered. Email: Laura Kahl, lkahl@dcs.wisc.edu, or call 608-262-3982.

Our writers get published!

Carpe Diem, Illinois, the debut novel by Kristin Oakley, Madison, has won the Chicago Writers Association 2014 Book of the Year Award for Non-traditionally Published Fiction. In Carpe Diem, Illinois, the first in a planned series with journalist Leo Townsend, a small town's embrace of “unschooling” reveals massive government corruption and personal battles. Kristin worked on her novel at the our Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop and Retreat in a section for first-time novelists led by Christine DeSmet. Kristin now teaches writing online and in person at conferences for UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Congratulations, Kristin!

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.

2015 sessions and speakers

1. Thrill Me: Creating the Momentum That Publishers Crave, with Tim Storm
2. Your First Novel: Fast and Finished! with Kathy Steffen
3. The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre, with Laurie Scheer
4. Richer Nonfiction Now (Stories, Essays, Short Memoir), with Amy Lou Jenkins
5. Turning Your Life-Changing Experiences into a Book, with Julie Tallard Johnson
6. Unpack Your Memory Attic: Creating Your Event or Personal Memoir One Dust-Free Word at a Time, with Sue Roupp
7. Writing Compelling Creative Nonfiction Books, 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: Your First Fifty Pages, with Angela Rydell (full novels; limit 8; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
10. Master Class: Finish, Polish, Publish, with Christine DeSmet (limit 6; send application; enrollment with instructor permission)
11. Mastering the Music of Poetry: Sound, Rhythm, and Voice, 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 class #8 and #10 have a limit of 6 participants, master class #9 has a limit of 8.)

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!