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Upcoming Events

An Important Message about our Conference

An Open Letter to Local Writers

Dear fellow writers, friends and WOTR members,

Here in 2018, Write On The River’s twelfth year serving local writers, the board of directors has made some major changes to our programs. Some of you have joined us for our new offerings: a summer garden party, the fall writing retreat, the first of our intensive Saturday workshops, and our monthly meetings, now called Writers Meeting Writers. And there is more to come.

We have suspended the annual conference, however. Some of you have been understandably distressed about that. As the founder of Write On The River, I share your disappointment. We have loved being able to bring a writers’ conference to Wenatchee, and we cherish the experiences we have shared with local writers throughout the years. Some of you who have helped with our conferences know how labor-intensive it is. Combined with the year-round programming offerings, we found that our volunteers just could not continue to devote the time needed for such an intensive annual enterprise.

Typically, work on the conference began in August and we pushed hard through the year to carry it off. While we had several committed volunteers, along with board members, we often found ourselves overwhelmed with the work load. Board member turnover, WOTR members’ busy lives, and the relentless need for marketing, fundraising, and presenter recruitment have brought us to the conclusion that we lack the volunteer base for a writing event of this size. We continue to make our need for volunteers known, such as we did with the board’s message to the attendees of the 2017 conference.

We have also experienced a decline in conference attendance. As a result, some years have been financially difficult. Although we take heart from the contributions of those who are paying members, and despite best efforts in promoting our organization, our membership is not growing. Appeals for donations come from so many organizations; it has been difficult to gain enough donors and members for the conference to remain financially viable.

Still, the board is determined to find the right mix of programming that meets our local writing community’s needs. Through surveys, we’ve heard from you that you’d like opportunities to write together, make writing contacts, and continue to work with talented teachers on a range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Check out the WOTR website for the offerings we’ve devised to better meet your

 needs this year.

My dream when I moved to Wenatchee was to have a first-class writing conference for North CentralWashington. We’ve loved doing it and still hope that in a future year the conference will return. Dreams are worth pursuing. We hope that if you share that dream, you’ll help us shape and create it.

With best wishes in the writing life,

Kay Kenyon


Conference News, Upcoming Events. Posted on March 12, 2018.

Writers Meeting Writers: March 17th Open Mic!

Our next Writers Meeting Writers meeting is March 17 from 9 to 11AM at the Wenatchee Public Library.

We are doing something a bit different for this one: a Four Minutes of Fame! Read your work, or just come and listen. Either way, you’ll get to network with local writers. Sign up for reading time at info@writeontheriver.org.

Upcoming Events. Posted on March 5, 2018.

January Members Meeting!

Join us from 9:15-11:15 on January 20th at the Wenatchee Public Library for a stimulating and enlightening workshop.

Playing With Perspective
Writers in any genre will find this mini-workshop an eye-opening and intriguing way to capture the essence of your narrative. We’ll switch perspectives using a variety of voices (point of view) and a variety of tenses (time frame) exploring different approaches to engage the reader dynamically. Bring a short excerpt of your own writing, and a laptop or paper for lots of “quick writes” to share and discuss.

Susan Lagsdin is a free lance journalist and poet with 30+ years experience teaching high school and college writing classes. She organizes events for Write On The River, writes about artists and houses for The Good Life magazine and teaches at Wenatchee Valley College.

Upcoming Events. Posted on January 4, 2018.

2018 Writers Competition Opens!

It’s ba-aack! Our always popular, perennial Writers Competition. Sharpen your pencils, polish your prose, and give us your best. Besides winning esteem, acclaim, and rejuvenation, you’ll also have a shot at $1,200 in prizes. Entries are due March 16, so don’t delay!

Click HERE for the 2018 Entry Form

Click HERE to read last year’s fantastic winners!

Upcoming Events. Posted on January 4, 2018.

December Members Meeting

Writers Meeting Writers
Saturday, December 16
Downstairs at the Wenatchee Public Library

“Reading Your Work in Public Beautifully”

Do you get nervous when you’re up in front of people? Does the
microphone fill you with dread? Would you like to overcome anxiety
and become more adept at reading your work in public?

Susan Blair, former professional speaker, trainer and member
of Toastmasters International (Advanced Toastmaster-Silver)
will share tips and techniques for reading your work in public
more effectively.

Through easy, non-intimidating exercises, we’ll practice techniques
designed to help us relax and feel more confident in front of people.

In addition, we’ll have some fun networking and doing some writing!

Contact Susan Blair, Membership Chair at sfblair61@gmail.com.

Upcoming Events. Posted on December 4, 2017.

Creating the Novel: A Seven-Week Writing Seminar

Creating the Novel

Note: This Seminar is now FULL. If you’d like to be added to the Waiting List, please email Kay at tko@kaykenyon.com

Write On The River presents a seven-week writing seminar from Kay Kenyon.
This seminar is for beginners and mid-career authors of mainstream as well as genre novels. Topics will include concept, character growth, plot progression, scenes,structure, narrative tools and staying focused.
Each session will include an hour of instruction and an hour’s critique of a student manuscript by the instructor and the other five students. Following the seminar’s conclusion, participants can stay in touch with the instructor and each other in a private on-line chat room.

DATES: First session is on Thursday, February 15 (to avoid Valentines Day) and will run every other week after that on Wednesdays until May 9.
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 PM.
COST: $250
 Membership in Write on the River. Join here.
 Must be 18 years of age or older.
 At least 30 pages of a novel ready for critique. (May submit up to 40 pages.)
 For six of the seven sessions, print out and read 30-40 pages of a classmate’s manuscript, and be prepared to spend 7-8 minutes in verbal critique of each session’s manuscript.
 To get the full benefit of critiques, keep an open mind about different genres. Although we all have preferences for what we like to read and write, storytelling techniques are much the same across the categories of fiction.
 Commit to attending all sessions.
REGISTRATION: Registration open until filled. If the six spaces are not filled by February 1, the class will be cancelled and payments refunded.  Note: This Seminar is now FULL. If you’d like to be added to the Waiting List, please email Kay at tko@kaykenyon.com


Kay Kenyon is a novelist with three novels published or forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called her most recent novel, At the Table of Wolves, “A superb adventure”; During her twenty years in publishing, she has sold fifteen novels to major publishers and numerous short stories to anthologies. She has taught at the Pacific Northwest
Writers Conference, the Willamette Writers Conference, Surrey Writers Conference, and Write On The River. She has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the Endeavour Award, and twice for the American Library Association Reading List Awards. Kay is a founding member of Write On The River.


A novel proceeds from moment to moment, sentence to sentence, and scene to scene. But the novel is also a whole experience, a journey from unknowing (on the part of the major character) to discovery. In other words, it is a story. How do we create a sense of the whole when we are inevitably proceeding from page to page? There is no set way, but there are classic approaches that offer valuable guidance. Using time-honored storytelling techniques, we can find our way forward to create a believable, memorable journey that the reader can enjoy and even learn from.
To that end, this seminar will provide an overview of the traditional tools of novel writing. My challenge as an instructor is to present story techniques clearly and also to help students address issues. My hope is that you’ll have many a-ha! moments during our seven weeks together and that you’ll discover opportunities in your story to bring what you already know, and what you
will learn in class, to bear.
Stories are not only told by writers, they are experienced by readers. That’s why each class will include manuscript critiques. The feedback can’t tell you what to change and what to keep; it can only shed light on how another human being (actually, the six of us) have reacted to what you wrote. Was there confusion, interest, disappointment, impatience, or emotional connection? We don’t gather in critique to deliver conclusions, problem solve, or pass judgment. We simply read and express our experience of that read. The writer should feel free to accept or reject; learn, laugh, or leave it be. No one can tell you for sure what you should write.
It’s your story. Your exciting privilege is to make all the decisions. Yes, it can be intimidating, but the reward is that you are the sole artist of your creation. We’re here to help, to shine what light we can onto an exhilarating journey. It will be instructive at many levels. And it will be fun.
Join me and five of your fellow travelers for Creating the Novel! — Kay



February 15. The foundation of story.
What is a story, and why do we read them? We consider the fundamentals of the novel in the broadest sense, considering questions of concept, theme, character and originality.
February 28. The engine of the novel: Character.
What makes the major character memorable? A look at inner journey, personality, backstory, and character growth. We’ll address the supporting cast and consider the forces of opposition.
Critique: Manuscript #1.
March 14. The shape of the novel: Acts, meaning, and movement.
The four stages of character arc and how it relates to the plot. Uses of the turning points of the novel: plot points I and II, midpoint, and climax. How structure guides your story choices.
Critique: Manuscript #2.
March 28. Plot development.

This session focuses on the basics of constructing the plot, including idea generation, rising action, the interplay of protagonist and antagonist, devices to apply pressure and a consideration of the satisfying ending. Critique: Manuscript #3.
April 11. Plot execution.
We’ll look at strategies to keep the story fresh, cogent, and meaningful with tools such as pacing, flashbacks, information, surprise and revelation. Discover the essential tool of scenes and the vital elements that comprise them. Critique: Manuscript #4.
April 25. Narrative techniques.
We’ll delve into the more fine-grained tools of the novel such as point-of- view, subplots, foreshadowing, withholding, openings, exits, and dialogue. Critique: Manuscript #5.
May 9. Staying on target.
The novel as a journey: what has shifted, what is the story trying to tell you? We will learn some diagnostics to use in evaluating needed changes. Lastly, we’ll discover some tracking tools that will keep us from getting lost in the novel. Critique: Manuscript #6.

Note: This Seminar is now FULL. If you’d like to be added to the Waiting List, please email Kay at tko@kaykenyon.com

Upcoming Events. Posted on December 3, 2017.

A Winter Writer’s Workshop in February!

Write On The River presents A WINTER WORKSHOP WEEKEND

Saturday, February 24, 9:00 to 4:00 at Wenatchi Hall on the Wenatchi Valley College campus

WORKSHOP COST: $60/only $45 for WOTR Members

10 free passes available for WVC Staff and students. Interested? info@writeontheriver.org

Includes two 3-hour classes and an (optional) writing critique


Bonus! Meet the presenters! Open to the public: A Book For All Seasons presents an author
reception, book signing and Q&A at the Leavenworth Public Library at 7:00 Friday February 23.

“Learning the craft is only the beginning of a writer’s journey. It has less to do
with finding a compelling opening or creating believable characters and more
to do the many emotional challenges inherent in sharing our work with other
people. This half-day workshop will shine a light on some of the dark
questions about talent, intelligence, time, and money that haunt many
writers and provide tools to keep our attention where it needs to be to write
what we most want to write.”
William Kenower is the author of Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence, and Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion, the Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine, and a sought-after speaker and teacher. In addition to his books he’s been published in The New York Times and Edible Seattle, and has been a featured blogger for the Huffington Post. His video interviews with hundreds of writers from Nora Ephron, to Amy Tan, to William Gibson are widely considered the best of their kind on the Internet. He also hosts the online radio program Author2Author where every week he and a different guest discuss the books we write and the lives we lead.

“The quest narrative is one of the oldest and surest ways of telling a story: we
have a desire to do something, see something, experience something, recover
something, or discover something. Some quests don’t need to be sold: finding
the Green River Killer or a cure for cancer. But you can also write a compelling
quest narrative about seeking the perfect peach or glass of Pinot Noir wine, or
coming to terms with your parents. This workshop helps you give structure and suspense to writing that might otherwise be flat and static, and whether you write personal essays, travel pieces, investigative journalism or memoir you’ll learn to propel readers forward into the narrative.”

Nicholas O’Connell, M.F.A, Ph.D., is the author of The Storms of Denali (University of Alaska Press, 2012), On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature (University of Washington Press, 2003), At the Field’s End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers (University of Washington Press, 1998), Contemporary Ecofiction (Charles Scribner’s, 1996) and Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers (Mountaineers, 1993). He has contributed to Newsweek, Gourmet, Outside, GO, National Geographic Adventure, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sierra, and many other publications. He is the publisher/editor of The Writer’s Workshop Review which features writing from established and emerging writers and the founder of the online and Seattle-based The Writers Workshop.


If you would like to schedule a 20-minute personal writing critique session with either of the
presenters, please submit your manuscript to him directly by email, as an attachment. Send up to 6 pages (unless it would be a complete story or essay in 7-10; in that case, send the whole text.)
Indicate whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, and whether it’s the start of a longer work or an excerpt.
Also include responses to these questions: What is the intended audience? What is the target
publication? What is the point of the article or story?
Send your manuscript by February 15 to
William Kenower: wdbk1@comcast.net OR Nicholas O’Connell: nick@thewritersworkshop.net

Subject line: Wenatchee WOTR workshop


Upcoming Events. Posted on November 30, 2017.

November Members Meeting with author Matthew Sullivan!

At the next member meeting, WOTR member and author Matthew Sullivan will be presenting on “Breaking Away: Making the Most of Genre Fiction.” Join us on Nov. 18th at the Wenatchee Public Library for some networking time, and then get into the nitty gritty of fiction writing with Matthew!

When: Saturday, Nov. 18th from 9:15-11:15.

Where: The Wenatchee Public Library (downstairs in the meeting room)

Who: You! And a friendly crowd of fellow local writers. And the fantastic Matthew Sullivan:

Matthew Sullivan’s debut literary mystery novel, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore (Scribner, 2017) was an Indie Next pick and a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, and has been published in six different languages. He was selected to be the Goodreads Debut Author of the Month, and his short stories have been awarded the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Prize. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Idaho, and he currently teaches writing and literature at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake. www.matthewjsullivan.com

Upcoming Events. Posted on November 5, 2017.

Fall Four Minutes of Fame, Nov. 29th in Cashmere!

It’s time for another one of our always enjoyable, ever popular open mic reading nights! Join us on Wednesday, November 29th for a lively and convivial night of poetry and prose. Share your own written words, or just listen to others!

We’ll be meeting at beautiful Milepost 111 in Cashmere. Socializing begins at 6:30, readings will start at 7:00. Food and full bar are available for purchase all evening.

To sign up for a reading slot, email info@writeontheriver.org

Upcoming Events. Posted on November 5, 2017.

October Members’ Meeting!

Our Members’ Meetings are back! The next one will be October 21st at the Wenatchee Public Library (Down the stairs, through the kids’ book section, and all the way in the back.) Everything begins at 9 AM and ends at 11 AM, so come show us your bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self, mingle with other local authors, and hear a great presentation!

Please join award-winning visual artist and poet Joanna Thomas for an informal talk and
generative workshop exploring notions of the sublime unconscious, divine nonchalance, and
effortless concentration, as she explains how writing a postcard-a- day means you will never
suffer from writer’s block again. Please bring a pen––postcards will be provided. A question-
and-answer session will continue the conversation after the workshop.
Joanna Thomas, along with several hundred poets from near and far, has participated for years
in the August Poetry Postcard Festival (AugPoPo), founded in 2007 by Seattle’s acclaimed
poet/interviewer/literary activist Paul E. Nelson (www.paulenelson.com). Her poem “The
Floods Come” is included in the newly released anthology 56 Days of August, a collection of
poetry postcards available from Five Oaks Press (www.five-oaks- press.com). Her work has also
appeared in Ekphrasis, Found Poetry Review, Otoliths, Picture Sentence, and shuf/Poetry, as well
as several anthologies, including WA State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall’s WA129, available from
Sage Hill Press (www.sagehillpoetry.com).
Thomas is a founding member of PUNCH (www.punchgallery.org), an artist-run gallery located
in Seattle’s Pioneer Square district from 2006-2016, and the founder of Inland Poetry and The
Prowl (www.inlandpoetry.com), an annual day-long celebration of poetry featuring guest
readers, craft talks, open mics, live radio broadcast, book fair, and film screening, taking place
each April in historic downtown Ellensburg, WA. She lives in a tin house, on the wrong side of
the railroad tracks, with a dog named Archie. Visit her at www.joannathomas.xyz.

Upcoming Events. Posted on September 24, 2017.