2018 Conference Schedule

*Schedule Subject to Change

 

THURSDAY AUGUST 23, 2018

1:00 REGISTRATION BEGINS

3:30 PITCH WORKSHOP/FIRST TIMERS

4:00 FACULTY MEETING

5:00 DINNER

7:00 OPENING SESSION/PRAISE & WORSHIP/FACULTY INTRODUCTIONS

8:00 LATE NIGHT WORKSHOPS

1. What DO They Want? – That Vital First Page
Workshop Leader: Ramona Richards
You can sell your book with the first page. A look at how editors review a new manuscript, what really gets their attention, and tips on crafting the first page. (novice & intermediate

2. How to Sell Your Book to an Agent: What to Do and What to Avoid
Workshop Leader: Tessa Emily Hall
It’s no easy feat to attract the attention of a literary agent, especially when it seems as though they’re searching for a reason to reject your manuscript. (Which isn’t a far stretch from the truth!) How can your submission stand out in the midst of an agent’s slush pile? What you can you do to avoid having your submission deleted as soon as the agent opens your email? Come to this workshop and discover how you can increase your chances of signing with a literary agent.

 

FRIDAY AUGUST 24, 2018

7:30 – 8:30 BREAKFAST

9:00 – 9:45 GENERAL SESSION/KEYNOTE SPEAKER

10:00 – 12:00 CRITIQUE SESSION #1 (LIMIT 6/MUST PRE-REGISTER)

10:00 – 10:50 WORKSHOPS

1. Been There, “Scene” That!
Workshop Leader: Eddie Jones
Making a scene is as easy as ABCD – Action, Background, Conflict & Decision. In this class you’ll learn how to frame each scene of your story. A good scene reveals information that moves the story forward (new goals, old secrets, hidden motives), shows conflict between characters (adds tension), deepens the character’s development, and creates suspense (introduces a new wrinkle that leaves the reader hanging). Learn the three keys to scene summary, how to create memorable moments in your story, what four questions you should ask of each scene.

2.The Instagram Influence
Workshop Leader: Bethany Jett
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is the platform where writers should have a presence. Learn to create content that your readers and audience will eagerly consume. Topics include “Content Six,” how to use hashtag “top nines” to purposefully engage, color schemes and filters, how to microblog, how to use Stories and Highlights, connect with influencers, and more.

11:00 – 11:50 WORKSHOPS

1. A Closer Look: How to Know if Your Manuscript Needs as Professional Editor (and How to Find One)
Workshop Leader: Ramona Richards
This workshop reviews the reasons to hire (or not) a professional editor for your manuscript, how to find an experienced editor in your field, and how and why edits are so expensive. It will explain the different types of edits, the costs, industry standards and expectations, and the advantages of having one.

2. Writing for Children: The Nuts & Bolts
Workshop Leader: Michelle Medlock Adams
In this session, Michelle will discuss children’s books—from board books to YA, and everything in between. You’ll learn the proper word counts for various kinds of children’s books, layout, submission formatting and useful tips that will answer questions such as: “Where does my book fit?” and “How do I break into the world of children’s books?” If you’ve got questions, she’s got answers! Aspiring children’s writers will love this session!

NOON – 1:00 LUNCH

1:30 – 3:30 CRITIQUE SESSION #2 (LIMIT 6/MUST PREREGISTER)

1:30 – 2:20 WORKSHOPS

1. Deepen Your Story with Deep POV
Workshop Leader: Tessa Emily Hall
When we write our books in a shallow POV rather than in deep POV, we risk a “cricket chirping” response from our readers. We’re narrating a story that could come across as much more powerful if we chose to instead invite the reader to experience it. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to bring your writing to the next level by incorporating deep POV techniques that will bring your story world to life, allow your readers to feel the emotions, and invite them to connect with your POV characters on a much deeper level.

2. Marketing 101
Workshop Leader: Julie Gwinn
What authors can do for free or cheap to promote themselves even before they have a book.
Publishers, agents and editors want you to have a platform, but what do you talk about BEFORE you have a book? This session will give you ideas and strategies!
 

2:30 – 3:20 WORKSHOPS

1.Turning Personal Experiences into Parables – Writing Devotions for Impact
Workshop Leader: Eddie Jones
In this class, you will learn how to draw readers into your devotion, article or story with the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” method of writing. Devotionals are compact stories, (think of the parables of Jesus) focused on a single topic that conveys a specific spiritual lesson. A devotional ministry can complement the advancement of a building campaign, mission work and church projects. For some, a devotion may be their only Bible for the day, so let us help you touch hearts, teach His Word and change lives.

2.The Power of Email Marketing
Workshop Leader: Bethany Jett
Your email list is your business or writing career’s most precious possession. This workshop explores various email providers and services, best practices for newsletters and email content, and tips on segmenting, tagging, and nurturing your lists, as well as creating funnels that provide value to your readers.
No matter where you are in the process, this course will give you practical examples and information to either grow or launch your list.

3:30 – 6:00 FREE TIME/WRITE, NAP, TAKE A LONG WALK … FEEL GOD’S LOVE!

6:00 DINNER

7:30: GENERAL SESSION/PRAISE & WORSHIP/KEYNOTE SPEAKER

 

SATURDAY AUGUST 25, 2018

7:30 – 8:30 BREAKFAST

9:00 – 9:45 GENERAL SESSION/KEYNOTE SPEAKER

10:00 – 10:50 WORKSHOPS

1.Top 10 Do’s to Devotional Writing
Workshop Leader: Michelle Medlock Adams
As the author of many devotional books such as her award-winning “Encouraging Words for Mothers: Daily Devotions to Lift Mom’s Soul” (Barbour) and her latest “Love and Care for the One & Only You: 52 Inspirations” (Worthy), Michelle shares how to gather ideas for meaningful devotions, as well as the power of sharing intimate and personal thoughts with humor and “realness” without watering down the Word. You’ll also discover the markets for those devotionals you’re called to write and the secret to breaking in!

2.YA Christian Fiction: What Teens Really Want to Hear—and What They Don’t
Workshop Leader: Tessa Emily Hall
Books are powerful tools when it comes to reaching lost youth. However, teens aren’t searching for a sermon when they pick up a novel; they’re seeking a story and escapism. In this workshop, Tessa will discuss how you can deliver a story that appeals to the heart of youth, all the while avoiding major pitfalls that YA Christian fiction writers tend to make.

11:00 – 11:50 WORKSHOPS

1.Tag, You’re It: Crafting Dialogue to Reveal Character
Workshop Leader: Ramona Richards
“He Said/She Said” should describe a book’s conflict, not the repetition of annoying dialogue tags. The way a character speaks should be as individual as a fingerprint. This session covers 5 tips to intensify a character’s voice and syntax as distinct as their actions.

2.Writing the best selling proposal, query letters and synopsis
Workshop Leader: Julie Gwinn
Do you know the difference between a query, proposal and synopsis? Do you know how to write a good hook? What about a market analysis? This session will help decipher the different pieces and highlight effective ways to pitch your project.

NOON – 1:00 LUNCH

1:30 – 3:30 CRITIQUE SESSION #3 (LIMIT 6/MUST PREREGISTER)

1:30 – 2:20 WORKSHOPS

1.Why A Small Press Could Be Your Best Route to Publishing Success
Workshop Leader: Eddie Jones
In this session we will explore the path to a profitable writing carrier via traditional (not self-pub), royalty-paying independent book publishers (Indies). Learn how eBooks, Print On Demand and book distribution into Christian bookstores can lead to regular royalty checks. We will examine sales figures, royalty profit statements, and discuss the risks and benefits associated with signing a book contract with an indie publisher.

2.Writing a Bestselling Novel
Workshop Leader: Julie Gwinn
Join Julie as she shares tips and tricks for writing a best-selling novels and the keys editors look for and how to take your project to the next level. 
 

2:30 – 3:20 WORKSHOPS

?1.Creating Believable Emotional Characters
Workshop Leader: Merilyn Howton Marriott’s
Merilyn’s career in clinical psychology prepared her to create believable emotional characters and to bestow each character, especially her protagonist and antagonist, with certain personality traits so distinct that her readers recognize each character just by having her speak. She can help you avoid the pitfalls of allowing characters to deviate from their personalities, once they’ve been established. You’ll learn to know your characters well enough not to have their actions or reactions be unrealistic to the reader. Understanding and using emotional characteristics you will learn to create memorable personalities that leap from the page and make themselves unforgettable.

2.Why Did I Get Rejected?: A View from Behind the Desk
Workshop Leader: Ramona Richards
Editors don’t look for a reason to buy the novel you’ve struggled with for months—or years! They look for a reason to reject it. Don’t give them one. This workshop provides a glimpse from behind an editor’s desk: what they look for, why talent is not enough to get your manuscript published, and traps to avoid in such areas as format, presentation, and the development of character and story arcs. (intermediate & advanced)

3:30 – 6:00 FREE TIME/WRITE, NAP, TAKE A LONG WALK … FEEL GOD’S LOVE!

6:00 DINNER

7:30 GENERAL SESSION/PRAISE & WORSHIP/AWARDS CEREMONY

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018

7:30 – 8:30 BREAKFAST

9:00 – 10:50 CRITIQUE SESSION #4 (LIMIT 5/MUST PRE-REGISTER)

9:00 – 9:50 WORKSHOPS

1.Get Out of the Dumps! Turning Backstory into Character Development
Workshop Leader: Ramona Richards
“Too much backstory in the first chapter.” It’s the response every author dreads. It’s the one sure-fire way to get a book rejected. Backstory, everyone says, should be delivered with an eyedropper throughout the text. But HOW do you do that when so much information is necessary for the reader to understand what’s going on? This class breaks down what a backstory dump looks like and offers three main solutions to using “what came before” to support the plot, development the main characters, and provide motivation for supporting characters. (novice & intermediate)

2.Taking Biblical Truth to the General Market
Workshop Leader: Michelle Medlock Adams
Writing for both Christian and general markets, Michelle often sprinkles biblical truth throughout her mainstream articles and books. In this workshop, she discusses ways to weave the Word into general-market pieces without turning off readers and editors.

10:00 – 10:50 WORKSHOPS

1.Mastering the 5 Variations of Show vs. Tell 
Workshop Leader: Tessa Emily Hall
Every writer is advised to “show” their story rather than tell it, yet this seems to remain the most difficult technique for writers to master. Perhaps it’s because we’re showing in some areas of our writing yet telling in others. In this workshop, I’ll discuss the five variations of showing vs. telling and how you can bring your story to life by mastering these techniques. Be sure to bring a 1000-word sample of your writing that you don’t mind revising and possibly sharing with the class (optional).

2.The Beginner’s Guide to Ghostwriting
Workshop Leader: Bethany Jett
Ghostwriting can be a lucrative addition to your freelance writing portfolio. In this workshop, we’ll cover how to get started, tips for efficient communication, strategies for organization, tips on how to develop your client’s voice and erase your own, what to charge for your services, and how to obtain ghostwriting jobs beyond books.

11:00 – 11:50 GENERAL SESSION/KEYNOTE SPEAKER

NOON – 1:00 LUNCH AND DISMISSAL