Sessions

Ray Bradbury and Creative Storytelling — Sam Weller    (2 hours)

Sam Weller, the authorized biographer of legendary fantasy and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury leads a creative writing seminar teaching Bradbury’s unique and little known process. Weller will pull back the Ozian curtain on the master’s magical storytelling techniques.

Overcoming Self-Doubt — Sam Weller    (1 hours)

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Writing Romance for Fun & Profit — Melanie Fletcher    (1 hour)

Romance is the 800 lb gorilla in the publishing world – and yet it’s often overlooked. Find out how to get started writing romance, and why it’s so much more than “mommy porn”!

Beyond Cultural Clichés — Richard Gonzales    (1 hour)

“Write What You Know” is a writing mantra that may help beginners but doesn’t assist writers in a world growing increasingly diverse and interconnected. Writers who publish often explore characters and settings foreign to their personal lives and experiences. This session offers how-tos and examples on writing characters, dialogue and settings that authentically reflect cultural diversity – because everyone deserves to be a hero.

Social Media and You — Sarah Hamilton    (1 hour)

Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Psh, authors don’t need that…do they? Most authors cringe at the mention of social media, but it can be fun and a great way to maintain an active relationship with fans. With the deluge of published books available and the digital age rapidly changing how we consume media, it’s vital to understand how to get your novel in the hands of readers and start branding yourself. In this class, we will cover the basics of branding yourself and getting the most out of a social media presence. We will also discuss the best ways to connect with your audience and how to plan your marketing efforts leading up to the release of your book.

*seating is limited, sign up at registration on Saturday morning

Creating Compelling Female SFF Characters — Rachelle Harp    (2 hours)

Learn ways to make your female characters come to life on the pages of your science fiction or fantasy stories. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of cardboard characters in stories over the years. So let’s change that by creating female characters who challenge our ways of thinking and surprise us with their heart and strength. They’re the ones who stick with us long after we’ve closed the book.

In this workshop, we’ll examine and practice a few helpful techniques and characteristics to add depth and realism to the women of your stories. By digging deeper, you’ll hook your readers and have them riveted to the pages, eager to share in your character’s journey.

*seating is limited, sign up at registration on Saturday morning

Secrets of Short Fiction Roundtable — William Ledbetter    (1 hour)

A roundtable discussion about the ins and outs, benefits and pitfalls of how to professionally publish your short fiction. We will start out with pointers and advice, then will take time for questions and discussion. There will be handouts.

Science Fiction for Dummies Roundtable — William Ledbetter    (1 hour)

Do you think you’re not smart enough or scientifically inclined enough to write good science fiction? You’re probably wrong. Some of the best science fiction ever published has very little actual science. The key is getting the science right. We will discuss some of these classic stories and how non-scientist novices and laymen can write kick ass science fiction too.

Strengthen Your Writing Voice — Jenny Martin    (1 hour)

Sure, you know the basics of novel writing…plot, dialogue, description. But are you ready to dig deeper, delivering the the kind of prose that lingers, staying with the reader long after the book has been closed? If so, Join author Jenny Martin for an interactive workshop, in which you’ll have the opportunity to try out new techniques, and discover the keys to writing profoundly memorable fiction. You’ll walk out feeling empowered, inspired and ready to polish your pages.

First-Chapter Fatal Errors– A. Lee Martinez    (1 hour)

You’ve got a brilliant story. You just know it. Unfortunately, your readers don’t seem to be making it far enough into your first pages to discover that. Come learn the most common mistakes that even experienced writers make in beginning their story, and what you can do to fix them.

The Essentials of Self-Editing — Henry McLaughlin    (2 hours)

Many times writers complete a manuscript and start sending it to agents and editors. Then the rejections come. The problem is the manuscript isn’t ready for the public eye. Yet. It is a first draft and it needs work. Sometimes lots of work. The purpose of this workshop is to provide writers with tools and techniques to edit their own writing. It is a hands on, interactive course focused on helping writers evaluate their own work, identify strengths and weaknesses in their craft and in their books, and to correct and improve their stories. This workshop will cover the unique dichotomy of the human brain—the differences between our creative and analytical spheres. We’ll explore various aspects of self-editing and the best use of resources such as writing groups, critique partners, mentors, beta readers and professional editors. At the end of the workshop, attendees will have a solid knowledge base and tools to determine when their manuscript is ready for submission or independent publication.

Those interested in the workshop are encouraged to be bold. Send the first page of their novel to henry@henrymclaughlin.org by Monday, October 23. Their submission may be used as an anonymous example during the workshop. Everyone who submits their first page will receive a free critique within five days after the conference.

*seating is limited, sign up at registration on Saturday morning

Writing Flash: the Art of the Super Short Story — Michelle Muenzler    (1 hour)

Flash fiction is a fantastic way to learn how to maximize your story per square inch. Here we’ll discuss how to condense the most story into the least amount of space, how much to tell versus how much to imply, and other various flash fiction techniques, including the all important “how to stick that landing”!

Busting Through Writer’s Block — Michelle Muenzler    (1 hour)

Is writer’s block keeping you from finishing the perfect story? In this discussion, we’ll explore various methods of breaking through that pesky wall, storming past the hordes of rabid brainweasels seeking to derail you, and victoriously reaching the end of your story (sledgehammers not required)!

First Draft to Last Pass — Rachel Pilcher    (1 hour)

You have a great story, but what do you do to get it in the hands of readers? Whether you plan to publish independently or submit to a publishing house, there are many steps you should take before you publish. This session will provide you with the steps you’ll want to take to ensure your story is ready to go to print.

The Author/Editor Relationship — Rachel Pilcher and Richard Gonzales    (1 hour)

A bad editor is a writer’s worst nightmare. No, an editor who doesn’t care is the total worst case scenario for a book. Developing a good working relationship between author and editor is a craft which takes patience, understanding, and sometimes a few hard truths to get the book done. Join author Richard J. Gonzales and his editor/publisher Rachel Pilcher as they discuss the ups and downs of the Author/Editor relationship.

Dump the (Sales) Slump — Jodi Thompson    (1 hour)

Your book took off like a bottle rocket from a ten-year-old’s secret fireworks stash, then crashed like that same ten-year-old’s bike as he tried to outrun his wayward pyrotechnics. Sales slumps suck, but there is nothing you can do, right? Wrong! This session will look at what issues might contribute to declining sales, and possible fixes. We will also look at boosting techniques to get your book in front of the right buyers. If you have a thick skin, bring your problem child of a book and we will workshop solutions.

*seating is limited, sign up at registration on Saturday morning

Seriously Serial — Jodi Thompson    (1 hour)

What do Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen King, and you have in common? They all found success writing serialized fiction. This session can help you determine if serial fiction is right for you. We’ll discuss exactly what it is, how it translates into 21st century publishing, and its pitfalls and pay-offs. Any completed novel can be serialized – this session will help you determine if yours should be one of them.

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding From the Inside Out — Tex Thompson    (2 hours)

It’s a hard truth every writer knows: a good story needs a great setting, and many a diligent storyteller has gotten lost in the details. But doesn’t have to be that way! Whether you’re adapting the past, delving into distant regions of the present day, or conjuring other worlds altogether, some principles of good story-grounding are universal – and you can start applying them right away. Come learn the secrets of crafting immersive, dynamic settings – real or imaginary! – that your fans will want to explore for years to come.

PANEL: Are you Ready for Prime Time? — with Melanie Fletcher, Richard Gonzales, William Ledbetter, and Jodi Thompson    (1 hour)

They say that a story is never finished – only abandoned. They also say that writers are terrible judges of their own work. So how do you know when your story is ready to be bundled in a basket and sent downstream into the wide world? Come learn the earmarks of professional-quality writing from writers who have seen it all!

PANEL: Critique Group 101 — with A. Lee Martinez, Rachel Pilcher, Sarah Hamilton, and Henry McLaughlin   (1 hour)

What is a critique group, and how can you make the most of one?