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Home | Speakers | Sessions | Master Classes | Critiques | Keynote | Registration | Just Write Jr.

Sessions

9-10am

How to Write a Novel / John DeDakis
A practical 16-point plan that takes you from the germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We’ll discuss how to transform an idea into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting.

Writing What You Know / Carol Deibel
Use what you know to create hot local history or special interest non-fiction books! Several publishers specialize in local history and niche non-fiction to be sold regionally. You can take advantage of this trend by identifying your special knowledge and writing what you know and love.

In Someone Else’s Shoes: Writing Persona Poems / Pat Valdata
Learn how to take elements of storytelling and incorporate them into a persona poem, a poem that is written from another person’s point of view. Participants will learn how use elements of fiction, such as narration, character, and setting, to tell a compelling first-person story in the form of a poem.

Build Your Audience Before the Book / Shannon Morgan
How does one find readers? Use your secret weapon -- your email list. Don’t have one? We’ll work together to get you started. We’ll discuss why you need to start building an audience before you publish your book, why email is an essential marketing tool for writers, and strategies to help you start building your audience today.

10:15-11:15 am

Crafting an Opening Page That Readers (And Editors) Can’t Resist / Kathy Flann
Both readers and editors make quick decisions. Did the first page grab their attention? Will it make them want to turn to the second? With some careful attention to the opening page of a novel or short story, we can craft a beginning that beguiles our readers and editors, leaving their fingers twitching to get to page two.

So You Want to be a Travel Writer? / Shannon Morgan
Imagine traveling the world and getting paid to write about it. Sounds glamorous, right? Author and travel writer Shannon Morgan pulls back the curtain to tell you what it’s really like. She’ll share her experiences in the industry and offer tips to help you break in.

Capturing Family History / Katherine Cottle
Discover non-traditional, non-linear, and multi-genre ways to capture family history through poetry and prose. Using modeling exercises, you’ll discover how to create a fascinating look at your personal history.

Write in the Voice of the Opposite Sex / John DeDakis
Forget about Venus and Mars. Emotions are not gender specific. We all have them. It just takes a little work (ok, a LOT), to get into the head of the opposite sex.

How to Get Noticed By Fiction Editors / Jen Grow
An insider’s view of The Do’s and Don’ts of Publishing: why certain stories get published while others do not. The reason isn’t always what you think. We’ll discuss the basics of submitting, as well as more subtle aspects of writing to keep in mind when trying to publish.

Being a Poet Panel
Panelists discuss how they are inspired, how they stay motivated, and why they write poetry.

11:30-12:30pm

Introduction to Story Writing / Con Lehane
A hands-on workshop about the basics of writing stories, from characters to structure. We’ll explore memory and talk about the difference between what happens in life and what should happen in fiction. Finally, you’ll go home with a process to use to write the first-draft of a story in one sitting, one week from session.

The Skeleton in the Closet: What Film Structure Can Teach Us About Crafting Our Stories / Harrison Demchick
Many don’t realize is that nearly every film boils down to the same three-act structure. This talk will explore what the three-act structure teaches us about how and why stories are constructed, and how these lessons can be incorporated into our own writing.

Repetition and Tradition / Kim Roberts
Traditional verse forms come to us from every culture; many are extremely ancient forms that have been used in poems for centuries. In this session, we will study three: one from Asia and two from Europe. Models from published poets will be shared, as we prepare to write our own versions of Pantoums, Sestinas, and Rimas Dissolutas.

Dynamic Dialogue: Techniques to Add Depth and Tension to Your Writing / Jen Grow
Eight techniques to invigorate your narrative, give your characters greater dimension, and create a more compelling story. We’ll discuss the art of how to use (and not over-use) methods such as talking at cross-purposes, lying, speaking in one-word sentences, or even answering with silence.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Writing / Mary McCarthy
In an ever-increasing digital world, authors must master social media gain readers and fans. Learn about the appropriate use of different social and digital media tools to drive website traffic, generate awareness and increase your reader base.

Preparing for Indie Publishing Panel
If you think you are ready for the indie publishing route, think again! There are many steps along this journey that you will be responsible for and must take seriously if you are to be successful.

2-3pm

Transforming Real-Life Experiences into Engaging Fiction / Kathy Flann
Many aspiring writers have treasure troves of exciting life experiences from which to draw. But the story often doesn’t turn out the way they hoped. This session will explore ways that writers can shape lived experience into engaging fiction by heightening the stakes, developing the characters, and tightening the plot structure.

Secrets of Non-Fiction Authors / Sheree Bykofsky
If you follow the steps of successful authors and are a reasonably good writer, with a good and timely idea that has an audience, your chances of publication are not so slim! Learn the secrets and get started on your path to publication.

The Elements of Romance / Leslye Penelope
Romance is a billion dollar industry with voracious readers. It may look easy to the uninitiated, but crafting a best-selling romance novel requires a thorough understanding of the genre. Learn what sets a romance apart from a love story, along with the standards for plot, conflict, characterization, and length.

Literary Magazine Submissions: Building Your Skills / Kim Roberts
Explore how to research journals that would make good homes for your creative writing, best practices for how to communicate with editors, and tips for how to organize your submissions. Writers who develop professional habits get the best results!

The Series Panel

Authors of series talk about the challenges and rewards of recurring characters and settings.

3:15-4:15pm

Beyond Google: Tips for Researching / Pat Valdata
How much did a new raincoat cost in 1933? What did people eat for breakfast in Iron-Age Britain? The Internet has made it much easier to find the answers to these questions, but there are other sources for obscure information. Discover a variety of ways to uncover realistic details for characters and settings in historical novels.

Marketing 101 for Authors / Leslye Penelope
Are you a new author putting out their first or second book and struggling for visibility? Learn how to break through the cacophony and make your way onto Amazon Top Selling Lists with a new release. Learn about book distribution options, getting reviews, connecting with readers, and strategic planning.

Ha! Incorporating Humor into Your Writing / Mary McCarthy
Even the heaviest of stories can benefit from a touch of humor. Explore elements of humor and push yourself to find and exploit humor in your own writing.

Copyright for Writers / Dana Bucy Miller, Esq.
Learn about how to protect your work and the right way to use another author’s.

Small Group Critique - Fiction / Karin Harrison
Share a chapter of your manuscript (and a synopsis) or a short story and get feedback from a group of dedicated writers like yourself.
Small Group Critique - Poetry / Katherine Cottle
Share your poetry and get feedback from a group of dedicated writers like yourself.
Please prepare your submission as directed and email it in no later than September 9th to hacker@hcplonline.org. You will receive manuscript submissions from your group colleagues along with things to consider and question. Please be prepared to talk about the submissions at this session. (extra fee)