Write-By-The-Lake: Sections & Speakers

"By the time the week is done, you’ve learned so much and laughed and grown together so much that you want to keep going. You become driven after a week here."

Jabe Stafford, Lansing, MI [Referring to Angela Rydell’s section]

Help Support the Continuing Studies Writing Programs!



Thank you to our 2020 sponsors:

Write On Door County logo
Orange Hat Publishing logo
Dandelion Web Marketing and Consulting logo
Anthology logo

Sections & Speakers: 2020 — revised

  1. From Novice to Novelist, with John DeDakis
  2. Reinventing Fairy Tales & Myths for All Ages & Genres, with Kat Falls
  3. Five Pressure Points That Propel Plot from Page One to Done, with Angela Rydell
  4. Write Meaningful Nonfiction: Turn Your Personal Experiences, Knowledge, and Journaling into an Inspiring Book, Blogs, or Other Writing, with Julie Tallard Johnson

Section 1: From Novice to Novelist

Instructor: John DeDakis

John DeDakis

If you’re new to novel writing or want the next novel manuscript to be far more successful than the first, join John for a series of workshops within a workshop. This section is designed to deconstruct and demystify the novel-writing process for struggling and/or aspiring writers.

You’ll learn how to stay organized, how to create diverse characters, the art of rewriting, and how to overcome your writing and marketing fears.

By the end of the class, you’ll be prepared to begin work on a novel and will be equipped with the skills to perfect it. Each day will include short writing assignments (during class and/or overnight), plus the opportunity to have your work critiqued.

The week covers: a 15-point plan for writing, tips for better dialogue that sells, how to get out of your comfort zone with different types of characters, mastering scene design—the building block of the novel, how to master rewriting and polishing in an organized way, how to face your fears, and how to get an agent or make choices in publishing.


Section 4: Reinventing Fairy Tales & Myths for All Ages & Genre

Instructor: Kat Falls

Kat Falls

Once upon a time…

There’s something magical about fairy tales and myths.

Tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Pandora’s Box go back hundreds and even thousands of years, yet they’re more popular than ever. We see them in novels, movies, television shows, advertising, fashion, art, and video games. In other words, virtually every form of media we consume.

Writers are drawn to myths and fairy tales because, by their very nature, they’re meant to be retold and reinterpreted. No matter if you’re writing literary fiction, romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, or any other genre, there’s much to learn from old tales. No matter the age of your audience, these stories can be an incredible source of inspiration.

In this retreat workshop, we will examine the challenges inherent in adapting a familiar and beloved work; cover techniques for creating a story premise with “must read!” potential; discuss the unique parameters of fairy tales and myths and how to weave those elements into your work; and how to develop heroes and villains for a modern audience.

This section is open to experienced writers and enthusiastic beginners.


Note: Kat has a new website; please disregard the one you see in the attached syllabus. Her new website can be found at katfalls.net

Section 7: Master Class—Five Pressure Points That Propel Plot from Page One to Done

Instructor: Angela Rydell

Angela Rydell

A well-structured plot not only impresses with good pacing and eye-popping scenes, it thrives on meaningful character change. How do you enact elusive character change before a readers’ eyes, scene after scene? Pressure points.

First, you identify how your protagonist’s way of thinking is set in stone. We’ll do that on day one. Then you’ll strengthen your inciting incident so it not only rocks her world and unearths a new goal in life, but challenges brittle thinking.

In fact, each pressure point demonstrates that something hard as stone can indeed change. Just as profound heat and pressure underground forces rock to shift its molecular structure into a metamorphic form, so, too, will you subject your “set-in-stone” protagonist to intense internal turmoil and external conflict until she comes out changed.

We’ll pinpoint a different pressure point daily as we progress from inciting incident to midpoint to climax.

You’ll also receive instructor critiques, and begin building a ten-page plot outline to submit for instructor feedback anytime during the summer.

An added bonus: This big-picture system helps you stand firm on steady ground while the pressures mount in your own life as you write your way to done.


Section 10: Write Meaningful Nonfiction: Turn Your Personal Experiences, Knowledge, and Journaling into an Inspiring Book, Blogs, or Other Writing

Instructor: Julie Tallard Johnson

Julie Tallard Johnson headshot

Whether you have just an idea for a book, journals full of notes and stories, a series of blogs, or, have written a first draft of a manuscript, you will leave this week with simple, applicable methods for the writing and completing of your book.

You will leave fully equipped and ready to continue to write about your life experiences, stories, and wisdom.

This dynamic workshop has helped dozens of writers frame their ideas, get their book written and out to publishers. You too will know how to share your wisdom, ideas and stories in a captivating way. Write a narrative that reaches readers and gets publishers’ attention. The magic and skill is in making what is personally meaningful to the writer (you), meaningful and captivating for our readers.

I use transformational writing prompts that inspire you to write and the reader to be engaged in your stories. We will be writing inside and outside the class, with every day full of writing prompts, explorations, and methods to inspire you to write captivating nonfiction.

Extra bonuses from this class will be your ability to write better blogs, articles, or any other creative nonfiction piece. In addition, all my work with writers includes helping them to identify personalized ways to make a living from their writing.