2017 Workshops


3:00 – 6:00 pm

  • Registration
  • Promptapolooza/Donna Munro and Deanna Sjolander
    • Come and write your heart out. A fun, laid back, prompt-based writing workshop meant to help spur creativity and sharpen writing tools. Come with laptops charged and ready to type or pencils sharpened and ready to scribe.
  • Pitch Practice/Deanna Sjolander
    • This is part of the Thursday open workshop day: Yay! You’ve written a book! Now you need to sell it. Sell it?! Whether you have some ideas or no idea where to start, this interactive workshop allows you to work with your peers to practice your pitch.
  • Free Write Among Friends/Non-Directed
    • Hogwarts on the hill + you + time to write = Awesome


  • Breakfast Peer Critiques Sessions/Moderator TBA
    • In this session, participants will give peer critiques of one another’s 10 pages submissions. Please come to the session having fully read the submitted works and with either written or typed notes on each submission to return to each author.

9:00 – 9:50 am

  • Don’t be a D*ck: How to Professionally Pitch Your Novel /Sandra Kasturi and Deanna Sjolander
    • How do you know you’re pitching the right way? Join Sandra and Deanna as they go over their rules for pitching your novel to editors, agents, and even fellow readers. And hey, if you just do as the title says, you’re halfway there!
  • Erotic Romance: A Journey of Heart and Sexuality/Anna Zabo
    • Quite often erotic romance is equated to porn, something created to tantalize and get the reader off, but that’s a misunderstanding of both the purpose of romance and erotica. Both are about a journey, and when brought together, the story becomes an intertwined journey of both heart and sexuality.  This workshop will discuss the aspects of these journeys and how to successfully craft an erotic romance as well as where you can market your work.
  • Hands-On: Writing the Back-Cover Blurb/Shelley Adina
    • If you’re seeking traditional publication, the back-cover blurb goes in your query letter. Once you’re under contract, your publisher may ask you to write your own–or rewrite theirs. And if you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to write a grabby book description to hook the readers attracted by your cover art. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll learn the anatomy of a blurb, from shoutline to hook, and then in four easy steps, write one for our works in progress.

10:00 – 10:50 am

  • A Writer’s Advertising Campaign/J. R. Baird
    • This Module focuses on creating an advertising campaign for either a book, an event, or a person. A presentation that includes topics such as audience, slogan, message, campaign strategy, and platforms to promote will be offered.
  • Reboot Your Novel/Sally Bosco
    • Do you have novels that are sitting on your hard drive taking up space? You’d love to rework them, but you don’t quite know what to do? Take heart, you’re not alone. This workshop focuses on how to take an existing “shelf” novel, analyze it, and bring it up to publishable quality. Please be ready to analyze one of your “zombie” novels that you would like to re-animate. We’ll work through the revision in class.
  • Plotting with W, M, and Spaghetti/Randee Paraskevopoulos
    • You’ll take home a full explanation of these techniques, along with blank Ws and Ms waiting for your ideas.

11:00 – 12:00 pm

  • Lunch

12:00 – 12:50 pm

  • Beyond Questionnaires: Models and Methods for Character Design/Mary Mascari
    • Books and articles about characterization usually come with a long questionnaire to fill out. But how do you know what to say? And how do you remember? This workshop will go through a few simple models to find the main thrust of a character and include writing exercises to discover more about them.
  • Idiom’s Guide to World Building (AKA Cultural Linguistics for Writers)/Symantha Reagor
    • World-building is often a “hot potato” topic amid the writer community with “everyone and their mother” eager to give their opinion “at the drop of a hat.” Without solid world-building, a writer may have to take a novel “back to the drawing board” even after months or years of work. But “every cloud has a silver lining” just as every culture has a set of “idioms.” By examining known Western and Eastern idioms, writers in this workshop will build a fictional culture with its own set of idioms that highlight the values and unique characteristics of a new fictional world.
  • Food and Writing/Christina Stitt
    • We’ve all read a scene where a weary traveler finally sits down to a good meal, only to drool over the description of their well-deserved dinner. Or we’ve tried to picture fantastical foods and what they would taste like and smell like in real life. This module explores the power food can hold in your writing, and how the right details can take a simple meal and turn it into a trove of information for your readers. We will also briefly touch on writing about food in the non-fiction world (memoirs, blogging). Yes, there will be samples.

1:00 – 3:00 pm

  • Author Guest of Honor Critiques

1:00 – 5:00 pm

  • Individual Pitch Sessions (8-10 min sessions for each pitch)
    • Admin 202
    • Admin 203
    • Admin 211

1:00 – 5:00 pm

  • Author Guest of Honor Critiques (15-minute pre-scheduled sessions)
    • Admin 212

1:00 –1:50 pm

  • Sexless Love: Passion for Everyone! /C.A. Jacobs
    • Many novels and stories in all genres are determined to force their main characters, and even many of the supporting characters, into sexual or romantic pairings. In truth, the world we live in and the ability to create realistic worlds for our characters to live in depends on passion. This module, taught by an asexual author, intends to demonstrate how to incorporate passion into all of your characters and provide them with a network of positive interpersonal relationships as well as more diversity in their lives.
  • Got Magic?/Maria V. Snyder
    • Magic is one of the conventions found in 99% of fantasy novels.  From using electricity and power objects to flicking a wand, the range of magic systems used in fantasy is diverse. This workshop will review the various magical systems and help you create one of your own.

2:00 –2:50 pm

  • Kick-Ass Titles/Sally Bosco
    • One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your novel is the title, yet many of us settle for the first thing that pops into our minds-the “good enough” title. Your novel’s name is the first introduction a reader, editor or agent has to your novel. In our busy world where people make snap decisions about what they would like (or would not like) to read, why not come up with a title that compels the reader to pick up your book?
    • Class time will be allowed for you to work through this process with one of your own novels.
  • Panel: How to Become an Indie Author/Carrie Miller
    • I aim to provide you with the tools you’ll need to navigate the treacherous waters of the self-pubbing world. I’ll tell you all of the mistakes I made so you don’t have to make them, and give you advice and resources so you can make well-informed choices about your publishing career. Topics to include: editors, formatting, covers, marketing, reader interaction (social media/blogging/newsletter), distribution channels, ISBNs, and more.
  • Social Media for Anti-Social Writers/Dr. Natalie Duvall and Matt Duvall
    • The module features hoary (not whore-y) alums talking about ways they use social media to enhance their writing. Panelists TBD.

3:00 –3:50 pm

  • Martial Arts for Writers/Mike Mullig
    • The martial arts are often seen as mysterious and mystical, with practitioners capable of superhuman — or supernatural — feats of skill and endurance. While such fight scenes can look brilliant on the screen, it can be difficult to understand the concepts underlying martial arts for writing prose. Join Sandan Mike Mullig as he invites you to look behind the dojo door. In this presentation, Mike discusses (and demonstrates) topics such as training, techniques, applications, injuries, and the conditioning that comes with the practice of a martial art.
  • Paid to Play: Writing Video Game Strategy for Cash and Kingdom/Serena Stokes
    • Keep working on that novel! But in the meantime, you need to make a living. We know a lot of you talented writers out there are also enthusiastic gamers. Did you know those two passions can work together to create exciting job opportunities? The strategy guide branch of the gaming industry is constantly searching for gamers with a stellar work ethic and sense of professionalism, who know the ins and outs of the freelance world, and, above all, who can craft a good sentence. Attend to learn about the skills, expectations, and responsibilities required of the job, and how you can turn a love of video games into a viable career path.
  • Building a Story Pyramid/Jessica Freely
    • A fun and interactive workshop to get you thinking about story structure in a whole new way!

4:00 –4:50 pm

  • X-Ray Your Scene: How to find the bones of a scene and use them for pre-writing or editing/Mary Mascari
    • Do you know your scene has problems, but can’t tell exactly where the problem is? This workshop will give you some tools for analyzing a scene so you can make a diagnosis and treat the patient.
  • Brainstorming! /Diana Botsford, Jen Brooks, and Rhonda Mason
    • Looking for a fun, fast-paced workshop to generate new fiction ideas or enhance a work-in-progress? Diana, Jen, and Rhonda will lead the group in some activities they use to brainstorm their own work. Plenty of group participation here, with a focus on spawning ideas and spiraling them out in interesting directions. You will leave with at least three new story ideas and plenty to continue thinking about after the workshop ends.
  • Get Your Butt in The Chair/Erica Millard
    • Are you lacking direction as a writer? Have you looked at the calendar and realized that you haven’t written in weeks? Is the Internet/Netflix constantly distracting you from your writing and other things that are important to you? In this module, we will be discussing and setting goals as well as nailing down how we can stay motivated to write in a world where everything else is stealing our attention. We will also be discussing how to keep a balance between writing and other aspects of our lives such as relationships and personal health.

5:00 –5:50 pm

  • “Oh, Goddess!” Representation of the Feminine Divine in Fiction/Jennifer Della Zanna and Symantha Reagor
    • Goddesses abound in fantasy novels. Many are rooted in religious and mythological histories and, while there are commonalities between goddesses across cultures, too often a select few tropes (fertility/sexuality/virginity) are disproportionately represented. This module will look at common representations of the feminine divine and explore additional representations of goddess figures and mythology from which authors can draw inspiration.
  • You Are Here: Deepening POV/Scott Johnson
    • How to bring your readers into the action instead of keeping them at arm’s length.
  • The Kiss/Aaron Bennett
    • In a good kiss, there is both fulfillment and longing. That is one of the reasons people often find the kissing scenes sexier than the actual sex scenes. Learn how to pump up your kissing scenes for maximum impact.

5:30 –6:30 pm

  • Dinner Break

6:00 –8:00 pm

  • WPF Thesis Readings
    • Observe the readings offered by the Writing Popular Fiction graduates. All attendees of IYWM are welcome and encouraged to attend. A list of topics is available at registration.

6:30 –7:30 pm

  • Evening Peer Critiques/Moderator TBA
    • In this session, participants will give peer critiques of one another’s 10 pages submissions. Please come to the session having fully read the submitted works and with either written or typed notes on each submission to return to each author.

7:00 – 9:30 pm

  • Book Signings with Readings
    • Between 20 and 30 different authors available for book signings and personal questions about their craft.

9:45 pm –done

  • Ghost Tour


8:00 – 3:00 pm

  • Registration

7:00 – 9:00 am

  • Coffee Bar at Registration

8:00 am – 1:00 pm

  • Red Pen Query Session
    • All conference attendees should bring a query letter or two (personal info removed) to be read and edited by a variety of conference attendees.

8:00 am – 8:50 am

  • Expect Success: The Business of Your Career/Shelley Adina
    • Whether you’re traditionally or indie published, getting that first book out into the world is a huge milestone. So is the second and the third and suddenly you have a career! So many of us don’t expect success. But with a little preparation and know-how, you can manage your career as you would a small business, from time management to taxes, incorporation, and building a publishing team around you. And by the way, have you written a will yet? Shelley Adina will talk about these and other important issues for the career writer.
  • Further Things That Annoy the Piss Out of Timons/Timons Esaias
    • Timons has been building a list of cliches, commons mistakes, and damnable habits ever since the publication of his “Don’t Be A Bobble-Head…” essay. We will review the lowlights of that List, with occasional malt balls for those who testify.
  • Writing Intriguing Characters/Judi Fleming
    • Without a character your readers can relate to, you don’t have a story.  What makes some characters draw them in and what elements make a compelling adversary?  What about all those secondary characters can your readers really tell them apart?  In this workshop, you’ll be given some tools to help you make strong, memorable characters and tweak yours through a guided exercise.

9:00-10:15 am

  • Story Development and Efficiency In Your Writing/Diana Rowland
  • Trends: Finding the YA Sweet Spot/Kurestin Armada
    • Discussion about crossover genre fiction, specifically fiction that hits the sweet spot between YA and adult audiences (Red Rising, Uprooted, etc). Why editors want it, what makes a book work for it, how to pitch a book you think might fight the bill, what isn’t a good fit, and so on.

 10:30-11:45 am

  • Navigating the Publishing World from a Publisher and Editor’s Perspective/Sandra Kasturi
  • Foreign Rights for Publishing and Film/TV Adaptation/John Bowers

12:00-1:00 pm

  • Guest Author Lunch with Diana Rowland
    Lunch provided for all IYWM attendees. 

1:00-2:15 pm

  • What I Look For in a Query/John Bowers

 2:30-3:45 pm

  • Horror: The Redheaded Stepchild/Sandra Kasturi
  • Fixing the First Five/Kurestin Armada
    • With genre fiction, it can be hard to balance world building, genre expectations, and character building all in those initial pages, all while maintaining reader interestPlease bring two copies of your first five pages and four different colors of pen/highlighter/crayon for this exercise.


  • Special Guest Panel
    • Bring your questions about the publishing world. Our fantastic industry professionals (two agents, one editor, and author) will be ready to give you answers.

5:30- 6:30 pm

  • We are Here to Help: Pick an Editor’s Brain/J.L. Gribble and Anna La Voie
    • here is a stigma against editors that they are just frustrated writers. In reality, editors have one goal: To make the author’s work better. Join freelance editors for a panel conversation about the role of editing in the life of a work of fiction.
  • Flash Fiction for Fun and Fulfillment/Donna J. W. Munro
    • Writing flash fiction can hone your skills as an editor, force you to write with sharp daggers for words, and get your name out there. This workshop will spend half the time discussing markets and communities. The other half of the time will be spent putting together a flash piece.

5:30- 6:30 pm

  • Dinner Break (available in Lowe Dining Hall)

7:00 pm

  • Public Forum, Cecilian Hall
    • Enjoy a lecture by the special guest of the WPF program, ?. All IYWM attendees are invited.

9:00 – Midnight

  • Costume Ball (Theme: International Persons of Mystery)
  • Costumes are encouraged, but not required.
    • Join us for our annual costume ball! Finger foods will be provided, and there will be a beer/wine cash bar. Come in your best spy ensemble, or come as you are! Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, and raffle basket winners will be announced. Dance the night away!


8:00 – 8:50 am

  • Coffee Bar

9:00 – 9:50 am

  • Idea vs. Story: Creating a Full-Length Novel/Anna LaVoie
    • How many times have you gotten a nifty idea, sat down to start writing and run out of oomph thirty pages later? A great idea is a great idea, but how do you turn it into a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end? Influenced by a range of plotting and world building methods, I will share my approach to expanding upon an initial idea and fleshing out the necessary pieces to create a full-length novel.
  • What’s Love Got to Do with it? /Victoria Thompson
    • A romantic subplot can spice up any genre, and if you’re not writing a Romance novel, the romance doesn’t even have to end happily.  Using Joseph Campbell’s theories of myth-based fiction, you can add a romance subplot to any genre and create conflict, mayhem, and disaster or just a really, really long courtship.
  • Panel-Behind the Scenes of Military Life/J.L.Gribble, Alex Savage, and K.P. Kulski.
    • This panel of veterans, current service members, and dependents are ready to share their unique experiences of life in the military (and life attached to the military) and answer questions from the audience.

10:00 – 10:50 am

  • Adjuncting for Dummies/Elaine Ervin
    • So you have that almighty parchment bearing the letters M.F.A. How do you put it to work to do any actual teaching? This workshop presents a basic game plan (and many tales from the trenches) for those wishing to learn more about the adjunct life and how to break in without going “too” crazy. Ms. Ervin has over a decade of teaching experience (9 years as an adjunct) for a variety of campuses from community college to university level with equally varied environments (on-ground, online, blended).  If you think college teaching “might” be for you, come kick the tires to find out.
  • Naval Warfare for Writers/Timons Esaias
    • Okay, you’ve gotten your characters down to the sea, and they need to use ships to fight the Enemy. Maybe you don’t know what kind of ships that would be. Possibly you aren’t clear on how they would use them. You’re wondering if pirates have a union. What made Vikings so awesome? And what are battleships, anyway?
    • Timons Esaias will dispense malt balls and perspective. There will be many pictures. We’ll talk about “Why You Won’t Have Galleons Without Gunpowder” and deal with the basic logic, and logistics, of fighting on (or under) the water. We’ll get you sailing line ahead in no time.
  • Your Own YouTube Channel/Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller
    • We will work with you to:
      • set up a YouTube channel.
      • create your first content (or better content).
      • decide if monetizing your account is preferable for you.
      • understand why writers would even want to do this.

11:00 – 11:50 am

  • Purple(headed) Prose and How to Avoid it/Dr. Natalie Duvall and Matt Duvall
    • Sometimes your naughty bits may tingle just a little too much when you’re writing those scenes of afternoon delight. We’ll examine the anatomy of good sex scenes, bad sex scenes, and scenes so bad they’re good. You’ll be erect (in your chair) the whole time.
  • The Cold Hard Clog: AKA the Middle/Maria V. Snyder
    • What happens after the excitement of writing the beginning of your book?  You start working on the middle section, and eighty percent of your novel is considered “the middle.”  For most writers, it’s a cold hard slog until you reach the thrilling climax at the end of the book. This workshop will help you get through the middle by developing characters, advancing the plot, and weaving in sub-plots all to reach your goal – finishing!
  • Abracadabra/Scott Johnson
    • Have magic users in your fiction? How to make readers go along with the ride, instead of using magic to get you out of every tight spot.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

  • IYWM Closing Luncheon
    • All attendees are welcome to attend this luncheon when the new graduates of the WPF program are celebrated and welcomed into the alumni community.

1:00 – 2:30 pm

  • Alumni Business Meeting
    • WPF alumni are welcome to attend this meeting to discuss the IYWM conference, make suggestions, and recognize needs.

3:00 pm

  • WPF Commencement