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2017 Conference Workshops

CLICK HERE to REGISTER!

Click here to learn about the esteemed faculty of our 2017 conference!

CONFERENCE KICKSTART

Friday evening, 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Mixer and First Page Party

This kickstart to the weekend conference is a great way to learn more about your own and other people’s writing! Meet and mingle with conference presenters and your local writing friends while you enjoy hearty appetizers and a no-host bar.   

The two commentators, Scott Driscoll and DongWon Song, will read several pieces aloud and then discuss their merits. We are also pleased to welcome Washington State’s Poet Laureate, Tod Marshall, who will open our event with the reading of one of his poems.

If you’re submitting a page that evening, bring it with you, untitled, without your name on it. The limit is one page of fiction or nonfiction, double spaced, Times New Roman, one inch marginsPlease indicate genre at the top (i.e. mainstream, literary, memoir, nonfiction, fantasy, mystery, middle grade, children, young adult, etc.) Our commentators will read as many pieces as we have time for.

DongWon Song is an agent with the prestigious Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. Scott Driscoll is an award-winning instructor of creative writing at the University of Washington.

Space is limited, so register early and be one of 30 to reserve a place!

Date: Friday, May 19

Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Cost: $30 per person, including delicious hearty appetizers.

Location: Riverside Banquet Room (top of the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel, 201 North Wenatchee Avenue)

 

CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DISTINGUISHED FACULTY!

Sunday Master Class, 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

The Whole StorySteven Barnes

In 1993, Comics genius Scott McCloud broke storytelling into six levels:

  1. Idea/Purpose: Philosophy and politics
  2. Form (Book?  Short Story? Film?  Drawing?  Dance?)
  3. Idiom (Genre)
  4. Structure (Plot, Character, Poetics)
  5. Craft (Skill and knowledge)
  6. Surface (Polish and packaging and marketing)

Most writing classes deal with one or two of these levels, at the most. Steven Barnes’ “The Whole Story” examines every level, guiding the students through creation of a specific game-plan for constant improvement of their skills to the professional level…and beyond.

Questions such as:

1) How do I clarify my beliefs and philosophies?

2) How do I integrate philosophies or politics into my writing without dragging my prose down?

3) How do I choose the ideal form for my idea?

4) What are the rules of the major genres?  

5) How can I learn to play by those rules?

6) What are the most basic and practical tools of plotting?  Character?  

7) What are “Poetics” and how do I integrate them?

8)  How do I develop my craft and skill?

9) What are the levels of “surface polish” that make a finished, professional work?
Join us for an in-depth, dynamic experience in storytelling!

Saturday Double-Session Workshop

Voice: Who’s really telling the story? Scott Driscoll

What we really talk about when we talk about voice is the language used to tell the story. In order to understand the “voice” that’s showing up line by line (this discussion does not include dialogue in a scene), rather than ask who owns the point of view, we first have to ask: to whom do the words belong? Followed by: the telling is being done from what distance? Followed by: who’s listening? Followed by: what occasion prompts the telling? We readers want to be “moved” by the narration. The author achieves that goal by addressing the above questions.

This workshop on “voice” will seek to identify three different methods of story-telling and show how they’re used. In the process attendees will learn, by going through numerous examples, how to apply the above narrating questions so that they can gain better control over the “voice” telling their stories to the reader. This workshop is suitable for writers of literary fiction, popular fiction, and narrative non-fiction.

Agent Presentation

Pitch PerfectDongWon Song, Literary Agent
Whether you like it or not, being able to effectively pitch your projects is an important skill to cultivate over the course of your writing career. Mr. Song will touch on how to pitch agents and editors early, but also how this influences marketing decisions, reader outreach, and social media strategies. Attendees will also have the opportunity for public pitch feedback from Mr. Song on the strengths and weaknesses of their own “elevator pitch.”   Click here to learn about our new agent format for this year’s conference!

Saturday Morning Workshops, Sessions 1, 2 &3:

To Market, To Market. Part 1 Steven Barnes

You are not in the business of writing. You are in the business of SELLING your writing…otherwise it is just a hobby. Learn to apply successful rules of marketing to your work and career.  If you don’t understand this, you will be outperformed by lesser writers who do! This first session will deal with the topic of the perfect message: Polishing, nurturing what is unique about your work. 

Keep it Short: Writing brief nonfiction Janet Buttenwieser

When it comes to writing creative nonfiction, sometimes less is more. But how do you write succinctly about the events of your life? How do authors turn large-scale issues of either a personal or global nature into miniature works of art? In this class, we will discover all that the short form can offer us through reading and discussion of published examples. We will look at the techniques authors use in brief nonfiction, including word economy, form, imagery, dialog, and sensory details. Participants will come away with a list of places to read and submit brief nonfiction, as well as some prompts to create short pieces on their own. Open to writers of all levels.

Character Diaries Paula Marie Coomer

Put your novel or short story on hold and get inside the minds of your characters by making them one-by-one keep daily diaries. Choose the most important three characters, give them each a notebook, and channel each person every day for a week by recording in his or her first-person point of view events, activities, and interactions that might have occurred on that day, hopes, dreams, frustrations—everything that person might be apt to reveal if no one is looking. This exercise is a sure way to understand the deeper secrets and motivations of the person you are creating. The #1 Rule is that for a prescribed period of days, you don’t work on your main narrative, only write in-character in the diaries. What you will have gained is fuller knowledge of the workings of this person. Participants receive templates for doing Character Diaries as well as place and character sketches.

Perseverance in the writing life Paula Marie Coomer

The hardest lesson the writer must learn is perseverance. It can take young writers (those new to the craft) some time to understand that writing is a lifestyle and a practice, not a means to an end. Eventually we must come to be gentle with ourselves and our work, to approach it with respect and humility, but also, as author Natalie Goldberg puts it, “a tenderness.” A good writer, like good writing, is always a beginner, a curious seeker. Some days are exhilarating and some are slow and uneventful, and depending on our attitudes, serene or chaotic. The presentation includes advice and tips for surviving all the ups and downs, for putting publication into perspective, and for enduring a journey that in the end is more rewarding but much tougher than any of us imagined.

The Ragbag of the Essay: Poetry techniques in nonfictionTod Marshall

In this session, we’ll look briefly at innovations in nonfiction to find techniques that we can adopt for our own projects.  We’ll learn about some modernist and contemporary writers who are implementing lyrical, sassy, and innovative techniques into their nonfiction, and we’ll spend some time discussing easily adoptable practices that can energize our own works of nonfiction.

Telling Your Own Story: Crafting the ME in Memoir – Wendy Call

“In nonfiction, the narrator is the only thing you can make up,” my first writing teacher told me. Just who is that slim, upright pronoun – the “I” — poised on the page? And who isn’t s/he? In this workshop, we delve into one of the most important jobs of the memoirist: creating the “me” who appears on the page. Looking at examples from master memoirists, we will discuss the differences among (1) the younger person who appears on the page in your memoir, (2) the first-person who tells that story, and (3) the real-life author – you. All three of these entities are represented with that slim, upright pronoun. In this workshop, you will learn the crucial skill of distinguishing among them!

Saturday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

We’re bringing back our popular new afternoon format! For each 50-minute period in the afternoon, choose from 6 or 7 breakouts. These will be slightly shorter sessions, in order to give you even more options and material. They have the potential be more interactive, face-to-face, and intimate…while still delivering invaluable content from our esteemed faculty. After so much positive feedback last year, we are so excited to continue this breakout format!

WRITERS WORKSHOPS – NEW THIS YEAR!

Two workshops will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 and from 2:30 to 4:30. Space is limited. Get your fiction pages in front of a panel of professional authors for individual critique and discussion. Click HERE for details and submission guidelines. (www.writeontheriver.org/writer-workshops)

GUIDELINES FOR MARSHALL AND SONG BREAKOUTS

Poetry critique: Mr. Marshall will select 4-5 poems to discuss in session and will provide written comments on the rest of the submissions. Submission guidelines (www.writeontheriver.org/poetry)

First Impressions: Bring 3 copies of your first page, double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman. Not a pitch session.

Session 4     1:30-2:20

Future PerfectSteven Barnes  Science Fiction and Fantasy are the most popular genres of film, and hugely popular in publishing.  But do you understand the rules and principles  that actually drive it, make it work, distinguish them from other genres?   

The Revision Process – Janet Buttenwieser  Tips for how to improve your nonfiction work through the frustrations and rewards of revision. I’ll show before and after examples of a piece I’ve had published.

Micro-fictions: In a Flash – Paula Marie Coomer  Writing micro-fiction (also called flash or sudden fiction) teaches economy of language. Participants receive prompts and write in-session using a technique known as “twinning” to construct a micro-fiction.

Poetry Critique – Tod Marshall  Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall will critique 4 or 5 poems submitted by attendees. Everyone is welcome to attend and listen. All submissions will receive written critiques. For submission guidelines and more information click here: (writeontheriver.org/poetry)

The Heart of Romance – Trish McCallan  Through brainstorming and discussion the attendees will design various conflicts to impact their main characters, thus driving the plot and character development and supercharging their romance novel.

Dialogue as Conflict – Heather Ryan  Elizabeth Bowen said “Dialogue is what characters do to each other.” As such, crafting dialogue that pushes characters into conflict with each other will be the centerpiece of this workshop.

Secret Agent Business Q+A – DongWon Song  Ask our professional literary agent questions about career strategy, contract issues, and rights questions. Mr. Song will focus on how you can look beyond merely querying and pitching, and more on how you can build a sustainable career and avoid some legal traps.

An Introduction to Indie Publishing – Anthea Lawson Sharp  Have you wondered about self-publishing, but didn’t know where to start? Three connected breakouts will cover the basics of production, distribution, and marketing your work as an independent publisher.   

Indie Publishing #1 – Production: You’ve finished writing a book – now what?

* Editors, beta-readers, and critique partners, oh my! Assembling your best team.

* Cover art: premades, custom, or illustrated covers, and matching your market.

* Formatting: programs for doing it yourself vs. hiring out, best practices.

* Expected costs, including hiring contractors to do the things you’re not good at.

* Must-haves: a website and mailing list.

 

Session 5   2:30 – 3:20

The YA/MG Grade Novel: Plot & Emotion – Dan Gemeinhart  A satisfying (and sellable!) MG/YA story has both deep emotion and a high-interest plot. Learn to combine these two essential elements into a story that will hook young readers!

The Inciting Incident – Scott Driscoll  Every story is in one way shape or form a quest. Every quest starts with an event that disturbs the balance of forces in that story’s familiar world. This craft talk will identify how to best employ inciting incidents to give your stories and novels a sense of urgency from the outset.

The End of the World – Heather Ryan  Fiction about the end of the world is a favorite genre for many writers. This workshop will focus on developing plot ideas for dystopian, apocalyptical, and post-apocalyptical fiction.

Writing Nature in Creative Nonfiction – Derek Sheffield  We’ll examine techniques of nature writing, both old and new, with an eye toward using them in our own projects.

To Market, To Market, Part 2 – Steven Barnes  You are not in the business of writing. You are in the business of SELLING your writing…otherwise it is just a hobby. Learn to apply successful rules of marketing to your work and career.  If you don’t understand this, you will be outperformed by lesser writers who do!

Open Mic “Four Minutes of Fame” (1st readings)New this year…JOIN US!  Not a workshop or competition but a chance for up to 8 readers to share in-progress or published work in a casual setting. Sign up for a reading slot at the registration table in Wenatchi Hall. (Listeners are always welcome.)

An Introduction to Indie Publishing – Anthea Lawson Sharp  Have you wondered about self-publishing, but didn’t know where to start? Three connected breakouts will cover the basics of production, distribution, and marketing your work as an independent publisher.   

Indie Publishing #2 – Distribution: Sending your book out into the world!

* Getting your work on retailer platforms; pros and cons of 3rd party distributors. 

* Print options and bookstores

* Selling direct; exclusivity

* Visibility, and how to use metadata to your advantage.

 

Session 6   3:30 – 4:20

How To Submit Your Work – Janet Buttenwieser  The submission process de-mystified through discussion of techniques for where, when, and how to submit your nonfiction work for publication. Includes handouts of submission listings and a sample spreadsheet.

A Character Named Place – Paula Marie Coomer  Setting can reflect a character’s true circumstances more than other elements of fiction writing. Participants discuss dynamic representations of place from known authors and practice tricks for bringing a story’s backdrop to life.

Scene – Scott Driscoll  Scenes have an arc, like a story. They start with a goal and push through a series of “beats” to an emotional tipping point. This craft talk will demonstrate how to use “beats” to squeeze the best dramatic potential out of your scenes.  

Mystery, Manners and The Grotesque – Tod Marshall  In this session, we’ll explore the usage of “the grotesque” in recent poetry and use this exploration to write poems on the spot that may give us and the reader productive discomfort.

Agent’s First Impressions – DongWon Song  Mr. Song’s feedback on the opening of your manuscript. Bring 3 copies of your first page (double spaced, black on white, 12 point Times Roman). We’ll read as many pages out loud as time allows and provide initial impressions. (This is not a pitch session.)

Open Mic “Four Minutes of Fame” (2nd readings)New this year…JOIN US!  Not a workshop or competition but a chance for up to 8 readers to share in-progress or published work in a casual setting. Sign up for a reading slot at the registration table in Wenatchi Hall. (Listeners are always welcome.)

An Introduction to Indie Publishing – Anthea Lawson Sharp  Have you wondered about self-publishing, but didn’t know where to start? Three connected breakouts will cover the basics of production, distribution, and marketing your work as an independent publisher.   

Indie Publishing #3 – Marketing: Finding your readers in a crowded marketplace.  

* Growing your newsletter – your priceless direct connection with your readers.

* Running sales, and booking ads; pros and cons of loss leaders/freebies.

* Multi-author collaborations – strength in numbers!

* Social media, FB ads, how to focus your marketing efforts.

* Expansion into Audio, translations etc. When is it right for you?

 

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

FRIDAY EVENING, MAY 19 COAST WENATCHEE CENTER HOTEL in the Riverside Banquet Room
7:00 -9:00 PM CONFERENCE KICKSTART: Mixer and First Page Party. (Limited seating – register now!) Critiques by Scott Driscoll and DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
SATURDAY MORNING, MAY 20 WENATCHEE VALLEY COLLEGE
8:00 – 8:45 AM REGISTRATION in Wenatchi Hall
SESSION 1 8:45 – 9:45 AM Voice: Who’s really telling the story?
To gain clarity on the “voice” telling your story, we will explore: To whom the words belong, the distance the telling is being done from and who is listening. Learn to deepen narration through a better command of voice.
Scott Driscoll
Perseverance in the Writing Life

                    

The hardest lesson the writer must learn is perseverance. This presentation includes advice and tips for surviving the ups and downs, exploring publication, and enduring a rewarding but tough journey         
Paula Coomer

Telling Your Own Story: Crafting the ME in Memoir                         
Explore the differences among (1) the younger person who appears on the page in your memoir, (2) the first-person who tells that story, and (3) the real-life author – you. In this workshop, you will learn the crucial skill of distinguishing among them! Wendy Call
SESSION 2 10:00 – 11:00 AM Pitch Perfect
Learn how to pitch agents and editors and how this influences marketing decisions. Attendees will also have a chance for public feedback from Mr. Song on their own “elevator pitch.” 
DongWon Song
The Ragbag of the Essay: Poetry techniques in nonfiction      
We’ll examine recent works of nonfiction that are innovating the genre to try to learn from some new techniques involving collage, lyricism, and tone.
Tod Marshall
SESSION 3

11:15
AM -12:15 PM

Character Diaries   

                                

Create fuller characters by channeling them one-by-one through daily diaries, discovering deeper motivations and detailed backstory. Participants receive templates for Character Diaries as well as for place and character sketches.
Paula Coomer

To Market, To Market, Part 1

              

Learn to apply successful rules of marketing to your work and career. This session deals with the perfect message: Polishing, nurturing what is your unique about your work. 2nd session this afternoon.

                   

Steven Barnes

Keep it Short: Writing brief nonfiction                                
How do you write succinctly about the events of your life? We will mine published examples of nonfiction for techniques. Includes prompts and a list of places to submit.Janet Buttenwieser
12:15 – 1:15 PM BOX LUNCH and AWARDS: WOTR WRITING COMPETITION and CHELSEA CAIN HIGH SCHOOL WRITING COMPETITION

 

AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION 4: 1:30-2:20     Breakout Session offerings described above

SESSION 5: 2:30-3:20    Breakout Session offerings described above

SESSION 6: 3:30-4:20    Breakout Session offerings described above

*Writers Workshops are concurrent with the breakouts. Click HERE for details and submission guidelines: www.writeontheriver.org/writer-workshops

AFTERNOON RECEPTION & BOOK SIGNING

4:30-6:00  Our popular afternoon reception (with wine and appetizers) features signing and sales by local writers as well as our guest presenters. If you’ve published a book and are interested in hand selling copies, please email info@writeontheriver.org with your name and the title(s). Or you may want to contact our bookseller, A Book For All Seasons, info@abookforallseasons.com, to order and sell your book for a share of the purchase price.

SUNDAY MASTER CLASS, May 21, 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

The Whole StorySteven Barnes

In 1993, Comics genius Scott McCloud broke storytelling into six levels:

  1. Idea/Purpose: Philosophy and politics
  2. Form (Book?  Short Story? Film?  Drawing?  Dance?)
  3. Idiom (Genre)
  4. Structure (Plot, Character, Poetics)
  5. Craft (Skill and knowledge)
  6. Surface (Polish and packaging and marketing)

Most writing classes deal with one or two of these levels, at the most. Steven Barnes’ “The Whole Story” examines every level, guiding the students through creation of a specific game-plan for constant improvement of their skills to the professional level…and beyond.

Questions such as:

1) How do I clarify my beliefs and philosophies?

2) How do I integrate philosophies or politics into my writing without dragging my prose down?

3) How do I choose the ideal form for my idea?

4) What are the rules of the major genres?  

5) How can I learn to play by those rules?

6) What are the most basic and practical tools of plotting?  Character?  

7) What are “Poetics” and how do I integrate them?

8)  How do I develop my craft and skill?

9) What are the levels of “surface polish” that make a finished, professional work?
Join us for an in-depth, dynamic experience in storytelling!

CLICK HERE to REGISTER!