Weekend With Your Novel: Sessions

"A workshop like this makes the writing life real. From the instructors to the other writers, the group shared their stories and often received on-the-spot remedies for problems. My critique group was a gift. Laurie was wonderful in guiding us through a thoughtful and rich discussion of strengths in our opening pages. We all left ready to finish our drafts with renewed energy."

2014 Participant

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Weekend With Your Novel Sessions: 2018

It’s Never Too Late! From Procrastination to Publication, Bridget Birdsall

Whatever calls to you—memoirs, novels, plays, picture books. or poems, today is the day. The hour is at hand. It’s time to transform procrastination into productivity, possibilities, and publishing by adding that key “F” word: FUN! This informative, past-paced session will arm you with seven key secrets to not just surviving but thriving in your writer’s life. Recommended reading: The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.

Up Close and Personal: Achieving Intimacy w/ Deep POV, Heather Luby

Point of view isn’t just an element of storytelling—it is the foundation of any captivating story. Diving into a Deep POV and utilizing the tools of narrative voice is how we thrust our readers into the minds of our characters and push them into the fictional dream. In this fast paced, hands-on session, you will learn the key elements necessary to write immersive, voice driven prose. Come prepared to learn how character, dialogue, and voice work in tandem to leave your reader emotionally spellbound. It is recommended you bring a sample chapter of your own work for hands-on learning.

In Other Words: How to Destroy Writer’s Block Forever, Marshall Cook

Writer’s block: When your invisible friends stop talking to you. Words are the pebbles we use to build our cathedrals or cabanas, strip malls or skyscrapers. You can’t even think it, let alone write it, if you don’t have the words for it. We won’t talk about creativity. We’ll do creativity. And oh what games we’ll play. Some of the possibilities: Make a word from scratch: Part One: The Chinese menu game; Make a word from scratch: Part Two: It should be a word but isn’t (yet); Just for the sound of it: class poem. Daffynitions: other possible definitions for common words; Go anagram yourself (Adolph Hitler anagrams to Hatred For All); Climbing the word ladder; What’s the difference?; Whassit?; Word riddles; The song collaboration game; Inflection detection; Plus seven lab-tested kickstarters for when you’re stuck, and time for your specific questions.

Sez Who? Using Point of View in your Fiction, Marshall Cook

The two most important decisions you make as a fiction writer are: Where does my scene, chapter, story, or novel rightly begin, and what point of view will work best for it? As with everything else involving writing fiction, there are tons of rules, theories, and terms, many of which contradict one another. Let’s cut through the confusion and share a few examples that illustrate how to choose the right point of view for your story, the strengths and limitations of your point of view choice, and even ways to switch points of view (breaking one of those ‘rules’) effectively, without disrupting the reader or the flow of your story. Bring your specific questions about your work in progress or something you plan to write.

On Creating Suspense, Tim Storm

We all know that suspense is one of the main motivators for readers to keep reading, but how does suspense work exactly? What are the main drivers behind suspense and what kinds of suspense can you create for your stories? This class will give you an abundance of ways to create suspense.

On Developing Character Arc, Tim Storm

The corollary to the external plot’s various plot points and acts and whatnot, character arc traces the internal evolution of the main character over the course of your novel. This session will explore the imperatives of character arc and will give tips on how to make sure it escalates and results in a satisfying resolution that is true to character and reveals theme.

How Turning Points Propel Plot, Angela Rydell

Key events on your protagonist’s journey kick plot into high gear. Each arrives at a different point in the timeline—whether inciting incident, midpoint or climax—but all are made of the same stuff: high stakes, profound pressure, new direction, and irrevocable change. Major turning points don’t just accelerate external action, they fuel plot from within, testing your protagonist’s beliefs and morals, and driving difficult choices. Those choices must be so profound your protagonist is forced to abandon the familiar and enter the unknown. Dissecting the anatomy of a turning point will help you identify which scenes matter most, and which end up on the cutting room floor. Through discussion and analysis of established writer’s work, you’ll take home tips for propelling your novel’s plot all the way to the bittersweet end.

How to Be Professional Even Before You’re a Published Author, Cheryl Woodson

This session will help you develop and commit to a relevant writing schedule, recognize the characteristics of a useful critique group, through a discussion of the 5 Cs of Writing Excellence: Commitment, Consistency, Creativity, Craft, Critique. Plus additional helpful writing resources and tools from a professional and a published author.

Research Skills for the Novelist, Kristin Oakley

Research? But I write fiction! Can’t I just make this stuff up? Yes, but your novel has to be grounded in fact to make it plausible. Lack of plausibility is one of the main reasons agents, publishers, and readers reject a book. Novels that are well-researched are not only realistic, they’re entertaining and enlightening. In this workshop we’ll discuss when and how to conduct research, how much research is enough or too much, and how to integrate your research into your manuscript.

Novel Openings: 50 Ways to Begin, Christopher Chambers

Beginning a novel is challenging, and arguably the most important part of the work. We’ll look at a wide variety of openings from published novels and discuss how and why they succeed. Participants will leave with practical approaches for starting new novels and with strategies for new beginnings for novels in progress.


Reading and Writing Crime Scenes: Dan Román

The Endgame of the Novel: A Sense of Resolution, Ian Gaham Leask

On Writing Groups and Writing Critiques, Christopher Chambers

TBA, Michelle Wildgen and Susanna Daniels

Sessions subject to change. Check back for up-to-date information.