Friday Schedule

Friday Workshops


Presenter: Delilah S. Dawson
First chapters are like blind dates: If there's not an immediate connection, there is no second date, much less a kiss goodnight. That means that the opening pages of any story must grab the reader, agent, or editor and compel them to keep turning pages. In this workshop, students will learn where to start a story, cliches to avoid, things that make an agent say no, and how to dynamically introduce character through dialogue and action.
Presenter: Robin Stevenson
Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing interest in sexual and gender diversity in books for kids and teens, and more LGBTQ characters and stories are gradually beginning to appear on the shelves. In this session, Robin Stevenson will talk about the challenging issues that still face LGBTQ youth, discuss why we need more LGBTQ characters in teen and middle grade novels, share some recent ground-breaking novels for kids and teens, review the ever-evolving language of the diverse identities within the LGBTQ community, and facilitate a discussion about how to write realistic LGBTQ characters. 
When we hand our manuscript to readers, we do so because we need honest feedback. But sometimes what we get instead is not helpful, or even damaging. Learn how to train your readers so you get the feedback you need AND learn how to parse the feedback so you can incorporate it into your manuscript with ease.
Join our panel of agents for insight into the pitch and query process. Learn the dos and don'ts and ins and outs of this nerve-wracking part of a writer's career.
Presenter: Bob Mayer
The most critical component of a novel is character. How do you go from flat, two-dimensional characters to vibrant, three-dimensional ones? Templates to develop characters and the concept of character arc and change will be discussed.


Presenter: Laura Bradford
A commonsense guide on how to publically comport yourself as a professional author.  We discuss how choosing to make sound business decisions about how you are perceived will work to further your business and brand. Come hear suggestions on what to do, what not to do and the career benefits that come with being the kind of author people want to work with.
Presenter: Sonali Dev
Learn how to use the three pillars of Bollywood blockbusters: Chemistry, Conflict, and Drama, to ramp up the emotional quotient of your novel. Watch clips from successful Bollywood films to learn how family, culture, and setting can be applied to plotting, style, and character development to give readers the emotional highs and lows and satisfying endings they crave. This session focuses on romantic fiction.
Presenter: Darren Groth
A spotlight on literature's concise forms - the short and the novella - spotlighting essential techniques, narrative styles and structures, and current publishing opportunities.
Presenter: Jael Richardson
Presenter: Hallie Ephron
=\This workshop looks at voice and viewpoint and how they intersect in a work of fiction; how to decide which characters get to narrate, and how do imbue each one's narrative with a distinctive voice.
Presenter: Larry Brooks
Regardless of how you get there, structure is the backbone of fiction.  It is perhaps the most debated hot button of the trade, and yet, excellent stories almost always align with certain core principles, even when their authors claim they pay it no mind.  Structure is often the outcome of revision, the very thing that strengthens story elements that at a glance don’t seem to be structural in nature at all.  This workshop with identify and explore the fundamental structural paradigm of modern fiction, showing how it becomes the key to creating dramatic tension, nailing character arc and the crafting of expositional context, and how you can use it to make your first draft shine while drastically reducing revision by orders of magnitude.
Presenter: Shari Green
Verse novels continue to be popular, especially in children’s and young adult fiction. Discover reasons for writing in verse, look at variations within the form, and learn tips and techniques for writing your own novel in verse.


Presenter: Cathy Yardley
Are you overwhelmed by “building a platform” and promoting while you’re trying to write and juggle the rest of your daily life? The key is to focus on strategy, rather than accumulate tactics. This workshop will help you determine your goals, strengths, and resources, and give you a step-by-step list of what you absolutely need, as well as tools to determine what to pursue – and what to avoid.
Presenter: Angie Abdou
Almost all writers (and creative writing teachers) use some sort of "free write" in their creative process. Whether we call it free fall, timed write, or free write, the idea is: keep your pen moving; don't censor yourself; don't listen to your inner critic; tap into that mysterious source of creativity; and let the words pile up. Many classes and textbooks and creative writing exercises focus on this initial part of the creative process, but it's a big step to get from a free write to a polished and publishable work. Or is it? This workshop will focus on working with those free writes to produce drafts and eventually finished work. We will also discuss ways of using free writes to improve work and tap into creativity at any stage of the process towards publication.  Bring pen and paper.
Presenter: Eileen Cook
The challenge of keeping readers turning pages requires the perfect storm of characters, their conflicts and their motivations coming together. This workshop will explore how these different aspects worth together and how the writer can use each of them to amplify the others. Practical prompts and examples will help participants with their current manuscript as well as providing areas to consider when planning new works.
Presenter: Bennett R. Coles
The world of publishing is an arcane, often mysterious place. Why do publishers choose the books they do? What is the process inside a publishing house? What kinds of things will a publisher do (or not do) to support an author and why? Join Bennett R. Coles, publisher and CEO of Promontory Press of Victoria – and author with Titan Books of London – as he takes you behind the curtain and explains the publishing world from the perspective of the people at the business end of writing.
Presenter: Robert J. Sawyer
When asked what the first thing she looked for in a book proposal was, Cynthia Good, former publisher of Penguin Canada, answered, “A way to get the author on TV.” Canada’s leading science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer has been interviewed on TV over 350 times, on radio over 350 times, and countless times in print, and he has a huge online presence. Join him for a discussion of how to make a book (fiction or nonfiction) newsworthy, from the first conception of the idea until long after it’s been published.
Presenter: Cat Rambo
Learn how to move from promising rejections to actual acceptances by taking your story to a new level with interesting and illuminating devices that help make your story memorable.
Presenter: Michael Slade
Of this session, Slade says, "Come and sell your soul to the devil with the help of Michael Slade." Join our resident horror master and learn how to write books that'll strike fear in the hearts of your readers.


Presenter: Lori A. May
This workshop discusses how to incorporate sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound into your writing to enhance setting, characterization, mood, and overall reader experience. We’ll consider how senses are related to memory and review sample texts from Elizabeth Gilbert, Joan Didion, Phillip Lopate, and more. Includes prompts and in-class exercises.
Presenter: Jasper Fforde
Pretty much everything Jasper Fforde has ever written has 'The Narrative Dare' at its core. Throw yourself into a Narrative Bear pit with slippery sides and spikes at the bottom - then try and claw your way out and see what happens along the way. Best selling fantasy novelist Jasper Fforde talks about the way in which storytelling can unfold through bold self ingenuity, and the pleasures and pitfalls of writing your way in to - and out of - a jam.
Presenter: Lee Edward Fodi
Every author strives for originality, but sometimes a good place to start the plotting process is by deconstructing and examining the universal elements found in fiction. In this workshop, we’ll follow the twelve steps that many famous characters—from Treasure Island’s Jim Hawkins to The Fault in Our Stars’ Hazel Lancaster—take as they embark upon “the hero’s journey.” Along the way, we’ll discover tools and tricks to help with the development of our own plots.
Presenter: Daniel José Older
We are always writing the other, we are always writing the self. We bump into this basic, impossible riddle every time we tell stories. When we create characters from backgrounds different than our own, we’re really telling the deeper story of our own perception. We muddle through these heated discussions at panels,in comments sections, on social media, in classrooms — the intersections of power and identity, privilege and resistance. How do we respectfully write from the perspectives of others?
Award-winning author Renée Sarojini Saklikar leads this session with conversation and writing prompts to help participants explore personal and cultural trauma. Renée will share her personal journey in writing poetry: “children of air india”, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, particularly her approach to invention strategies for telling difficult and painful personal and historical stories. There will be plenty of time for questions and for writing, and maybe a little time for participants to read briefly from their work, should they choose.
Are you a thriller author? A crime writer? CSI junkie? Are you OCD about accuracy in describing your forensic crime scene investigations? Then this workshop with retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police homicide detective, forensic coroner, bestselling author, and Huffington Post blogger, Garry Rodgers, is for you. Garry walks you through the professional forensic disciplines and the reality of characters who practice them. He gives you the facts and busts the myths about how books, TV, and movies portray crime scene investigations.