Thursday, July 20
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
First Pages and Your Genre: How Many Rules Can You Break? (CRAFT)
Speaker: Jaye Viner
From fantasy romance to Gaslamp to why choose, romance as a genre seems to spawn subgenres every year. Some of them are cannon for publishers and their marketing departments, some are only seen in the dark corners of social media. This workshop gives participants the chance to share the first five pages of a manuscript with the group and have it critiqued in terms of the genre conventions. We will also spend time identifying tropes, beats, and audience expectations associated with the biggest subgenres, consider how the first pages follow or break those expectations, and if the author can get away with what they're doing without alienating their audience.
Using Guided Meditation to Solve Story Problems (CRAFT)
Speaker: Christine Ashworth
After some discussion, and an explanation of what will happen, Christine will walk you through a meditation to relax your mind and body. She will then take you into a meditative space where you will either interview your problem character, or sit your two characters down to have a discussion - while you eavesdrop. There will be time afterward to write down the revelations you experience. This technique worked to great success at the 2021 RWA Writer's Retreat in Nashville.
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Pitch Perfect (CAREER)
Speaker: Clarissa Kae
Join the Pitch Perfect game show. We’ll outline a Perfect Pitch (a link will be displayed for class members to submit their pitch anonymously).
In my best Bob Barker voice, I’ll read submitted pitches and give real-time feedback on what did and didn’t work. I’ll be tossing out prizes for participation. Each author will leave with confidence in both their pitch and themselves.
Strategic Thinking for Authors (CAREER)
Speaker: Jen Graybeal
Success means different things to different people, but if you don't know what it means to you then you can never get there. This workshop is for published authors that want to apply strategic thinking to every aspect of their business. We talk about what it means, how to use it to your advantage, and the three-letter word that should be part of every strategic discussion.
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
A Deep Dive into Developmental Editing (CRAFT)
Speaker: Sue Toth
As an author, you’ve probably heard that several of your writing colleagues use a developmental editor for their romance novels. But what exactly is a developmental editor? Do you need one? Why?
We’ll examine what a developmental editor looks at, including: story arc, plot holes, tropes, characters, setting, and inconsistencies. We’ll also talk about: Who would be the best developmental editor for your job? How do you find a developmental editor? What your developmental editor expects from you. What you should expect from your developmental editor?
How to Use Tarot for Story, Scenes, Characters, and More (CRAFT)
Speaker: Paula Chaffee Scardamalia
Well-known writers, like Nora Roberts and Stephen King, use the tarot for and in their work, and it is gaining popularity as a creative tool. The tarot is a visual, symbolic and metaphorical tool that offers a unique and fun way to approach character development, setting, conflict, and plot. In this workshop, participants learn to use the tarot for: (1) blasting through frustrating writer’s blocks; (2) uncovering character quirks and secrets; (3) adding the sensory detail and the unexpected twist to any scene; (4) discovering what you’re not seeing in the scene, chapter, or story. They’ll also learn how to “read” a card just for their writing, even if they’ve never seen a deck before. Workshop includes handouts on tarot basics and a tarot layout for an element of story.
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Clarify the Vision of Your Novel: What Is Your Story About? (CRAFT)
Speaker: Julia Amante
Learn techniques on how to write a focused story by figuring out the significant story question. Clarifying the vision of your book will help you write a compelling story readers will be drawn to and that you will later be able to easily market.
Market Your Book without Social Media – Yes, You Can! (CAREER)
Speaker: Penny Sansevieri
If you’ve been wondering how to market your book without social media, this class is for you.
There’s a new trend brewing – authors quitting social media in favor of more creative ways to market their books and spending more time writing new books. But can you really quit social media? You bet. You just must get creative in other ways and this class will show you how.
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Discovering Seasoned Romance: Characterization & More (CRAFT)
Speaker: Brooke Wills
Whether you call it seasoned, later in life or mature romance, this new category of romantic stories is here to stay. And there’s more to writing one than just upping the ages of your characters.
In this one hour workshop, we’ll talk about exactly what is the seasoned romance category with emphasis on characterization including those all-important supporting roles. There will also be tips on how to market your story whether you plan on indie or traditionally publishing. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of why seasoned romance novels and its characters are different from other romance categories.
The Flaw Arc (CRAFT)
Speaker: Katie McCoach
You can craft an entire story arc based on your character's flaw or their "flawed view." If you struggle with plotting or using classic guides like the 3-Act Structure, this might be the unlock you've needed. Stories are about the character's(s') journey, but how do you craft the most compelling, emotionally satisfying character journey for the readers to follow? How do you make sure the love interests have a HEA at the end that is truly powerful?
It's all about the character. In this workshop, you will learn exactly what it means to utilize a character's flaw to build an entire story, how it will naturally create a plot or path forward without feeling forced, and give your readers the most satisfying HEA possible.
In every story, the character journey is essential. But in romance, it's even greater. To provide the greatest payoff for your readers, the development of the characters and the natural conflict that brings the love interests together AND keeps them apart needs to be powerful and authentic. This workshop will help writers tap into the true depth of what's possible for creating the most emotionally satisfying story.
Writers will learn how to create a story from one core element (the character flaw) and build an entire character arc that readers will swoon for.
3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Hook, Line, & Sinker: Crafting the Perfect Opener (CRAFT)
Speaker: Danica Winters
In this fun and informative hands-on course, we will break down what it takes to create a strong hook for both agents, editors and readers. We encourage participants to bring (or have access to) their current WIP so we can focus on what is working, what needs a tweak, and what will make a work standout in the market.
Slow, Steady or Rapid-Release: Which Career Path Works for You? (CAREER)
Speakers: Debra Holland, Linda O. Johnston, Leslie Knowles, and Saharra Sandhu
A panel made up of traditional, indie, and hybrid authors who will discuss the pros and cons of their different release schedules and how those schedules impact reader recognition, sales, and the industry’s perception of professionalism.
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Return of the Rom-Com: Adding Humor to Your Romance Novel (CRAFT)
Speaker: Michael Buzzelli
Return of the Rom-Com: Adding Humor to your Romance Novel is for beginner, intermediate or advanced writers. The seminar is structured to hone the writer’s humor writing abilities. Key focus areas are joke, plot, character and dialogue.
Movie Magic: Using Movies to Plot Novellas and Short Stories (CRAFT)
Speaker: Debby Lee
Learn skills to write short pieces of fiction by looking at key plot points in three classic movies from different genres and how to utilize them to write a compelling short story and novella.