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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 Sessions At A Glance

Writing Crime Scenes: Garage-Sale Puzzles, and That Gut-Feeling — Dan Román
A garage-sale puzzle is often a challenge: the pieces are thrown into a plastic bag, no box with the picture, pieces missing and, many times, pieces added from a totally different puzzle. A crime scene typically carries along these same features: no picture on the box, pieces/clues missing (think of Cornish hens with parts missing), and the occasional contaminated scene with extra “clues” thrown in. It takes time to figure out complicated crime scenes, a process that can be accelerated by having a deep visual database of what crime scenes look like, and following your gut as to what doesn’t belong.


World-building: Creating a World Without Stalling the Story — Tim Storm
World-building and back story authors can get pretty excited about the invented worlds of their stories. But that excitement sometimes translates to excessive description and digression. We’ll examine how to create the world and history without stalling the story. Leave with practical tips on incorporating back story, setting, and exposition.


Take Your Readers on an Emotional Journey — Angela Rydell
The emotional impact of your novel shouldn’t be accidental. While you can’t control what readers feel, Donald Maass says, “you can control whether they will feel something in the first place, and what those feelings will be.” Provoking emotion in readers comes partly from revealing the inner lives of characters. We artfully imply a character’s emotions through action, clever subtext, or well-chosen descriptive language. The narration interprets, comments, or dips into a character’s head. But reader emotion is also provoked when you plot the outer life of your character—creating circumstances that raise personal stakes, forcing gut-wrenching decisions, and heightening reader suspense. A discussion of established writer’s work will explore how this meaningful interplay of inner emotion and outer action builds plot while also challenging readers to think, question, and form opinions about the characters they’re reading—and themselves. And that keeps readers emotionally involved from first page to last.


10 Tips for Writing After Weekend With Your Novel — Kristin Oakley
You’re spending a whole weekend on your novel — how can you keep that momentum going? We’ll discuss 10 tips to do just that including: Three effective ideas for joining or forming a critique group and putting your new critique skills to good use; how to establish effective goals to complete your work-in-progress; places to submit your Weekend With Your Novel work; and much more.


Writing Powerful Scenes — Angela Rydell
Scenes are the building blocks of all good novels. Yet many writers write scenes without giving structure a second thought. Sometimes those scenes come out right, sometimes they fall flat. Why rely on instinct alone? We’ll analyze goal, conflict, action-reaction, and character change in short scenes by successful writers, and you’ll come away a blueprint to help you construct a well-formed scene every time.


Novel Structure: Overview and Options — Tim Storm
Novel structure Long-form storytelling needs structure. Without it, readers will be disoriented or disengaged. But where do you begin with structure? How do you avoid being formulaic? We’ll give an overview of the many options for novel structure and discuss the difference between formula and guidance.


Top 10 Mistakes New Novelists Make — Kristin Oakley
Many new novelists make the same mistakes including avoiding description, avoiding setting, and not trusting the reader. In this workshop, we will use exercises to help improve your writing by steering clear of those mistakes.


Plus a Master Class with Liam Callanan, and additional sessions with Ian Graham Leask, Agate Nesaule, and Christopher Chambers.