|8:00 am||Orientation Session||
Keynote: Peter Rubie
|10:30 am||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
|1:30 pm||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
|3:30 pm||Workshops||Pitch Appointments||Blue Pencil Cafe Appointments|
Get Aquainted Dinner
Keynote: Sarah Wendell
Friday Night Owl: Slade's Shock Theatre
Presenter: Amber Dawn
A Memoir Writing Workshop for brave voices led by author Amber Dawn, Tough Language, Tender Wisdoms invites participants to write under-told and perhaps boundary-pushing stories from their personal experience. Whether participants are interested in formally writing their memoirs or writing is a part of self-discovery, this workshop will offer foundational memoir writing exercises. Amber Dawn will use source material from her book “How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustlers Memoir” and other texts to lead participants through a series of writing exercises and small group discussion. Come prepared to with pen and paper and be willing to take risks.
Presenter: Danika Dinsmore
Dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, and slipstream. No longer do we think solely in terms of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror when it comes to speculative fiction. As readers and writers become more sophisticated, genres are being bent, blended, and blurred. In this workshop, Danika leads the participants on a journey through the contemporary world of speculative fiction, examining the various sub-genres with explanations and examples of each. Then she introduces two writing exercises. The first plays with the possibilities of creating new subgenres. The second exercise combines elements of speculative fiction to create story ideas participants can develop later on. Students leave with access to resources to further expand their knowledge of these genres.
Presenter: Anita Daher
How has the young adult novel evolved through the years? What exactly makes your novel young adult versus adult, new adult, or juvenile, and will it “pop” in today’s publishing landscape? Through discussion and short exercises explore strategies to make your YA novel spit, flow, bleed, scratch, glow and generally knock the socks off an editor and reader.
Presenter: Sarah Wendell
You’re an author. An aspiring author. A writer who dreams of seeing her name on the cover of a book. Maybe you share that aspiration or the good news about your new publishing contract, or your new agent, with someone. Word gets out: you are a writer. Right after exclamations and congratulations come those dreaded questions: What’s your website? Do you have a blog? How are you promoting yourself? Are you on Twitter? What about Pinterest? Those inquiries are scary enough if you don’t have them - or any idea what they are. And any number of people stand ready to tell you what you absolutely have to have to be successful. It’s enough to make you run away from the internet and never go back except for research purposes. Fear not! With the Smart Bitches trademark humor, wit, and candor, Sarah’s multimedia-enhanced remarks offer solid information about the latest in online self-promotion, addressing such questions as: What are the must-have items for an author website? (Hint: there are only five.) Does an author have to start a blog? (Hint: The answer is “No.” There are equally useful alternatives!) Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Tumblr? What now? While useful for all writers, this session will have a romance bent.
Join our panel of agents for a fast-paced panel on perfecting the elevator pitch. The panel will discuss what makes a great elevator pitch, what not to do, and will maybe even let some of you try yours out in class for feedback.
Presenter: Hallie Ephron
In this workshop, join Hallie Ephron to discuss how to create a vivid sense of place, and the many uses of setting that go beyond that (to reveal character, drive suspense, trigger memories, and more) and explore the crucial link between viewpoint and setting.
Presenter: Elizabeth Boyle
Take your idea for a romance novel and put it to the test in this fast-paced, hands-on exploration of plotting a romance novel. You'll use theme, characters, and conflict to build the plot of your story. While romance specific, this workshop will examine the elemental parts of any great story and how to use them to build a compelling novel. Come ready to work.
Presenter: Roberta Rich
Narrative drive is the X ingredient all editors are looking for- the quality that keeps the readers up all night turning pages and stumbling bleary eyed to work the next morning. The manuscript with narrative drive is the manuscript that will sell. Learn how to create cliff hanging chapter endings, suspenseful plots and tension-filled dialogue.
Presenter: Lucas Aykroyd
Lucas Aykroyd has faced a charging polar bear in northern Canada, flown in a helicopter over a volcano in Maui, and attended the Golden Globes red carpet arrivals. And he did it all for his job: travel writing. No other profession enables you to have as many adventures and to expose as many intriguing destinations to the world as travel writing does. In this presentation, he’ll explain how he forged a successful career writing for the Vancouver Sun, the Washington Post, and the Globe and Mail, and give concrete examples of how others can do the same.
Presenter: Peter Rubie
In this session, agent Peter Rubie will talk specific story premises with the twelve writers in attendance. Additional attendees are welcome to come to listen and learn as Peter brings his experience to bear in evaluating story ideas and talking about what works and what doesn’t and why. (Please sit in the front row if you wish to participate. Up to twelve stories will be discussed, and the front row is first-come, first-served. No seat saving.)
Presenter: David Corbett
In this workshop, award-winning author David Corbett (The Art of Character) will guide students through exploration of the five cornerstones of characterization—Desire/Yearning, Adaptations/Defense Mechanisms, Vulnerability, Secrets, Contradictions—and demonstrate how they form the foundation of any compelling character.
Presenter: Susanna Kearsley
There are advantages and challenges involved in the decision between writing in third person and in first. Susanna, since she uses both in all her books, and switches POV according to the novel’s needs, will share her own experience and observations and techniques, and help explore the choices that you face in your own writing.
Presenter: Pam Binder
Dialogue is the fastest way to improve your fiction. Sometimes there are too many adverbs. Sometimes there is too much “happy talk.” The dialogue itself may be too “puffy.” Speech is physical. When characters speak, it should be because they are trying to further their agendas in a given scene. This workshop will teach you the tools needed to make your dialogue sharper.
Love it or hate it, social media has become an intrinsic part of the way our world does business, socializes, promotes, and entertains itself. Join our incredible panel for an entertaining, enlightening, wide-ranging discussion on the ins and outs, ups and downs, and dos and don’ts of the virtual world.
Presenter: Larry Brooks
This inescapable phase of the story-building process is often (and dangerously) melded into the drafting process, which can push the criteria and benchmarks of effective storytelling behind the more visible and rewarding task (because writing is fun, right?) of generating the narrative itself. This workshop will define and segregate all three phases of story development (the "search for story" being the first and the most critical; and yes, "drafting" is one way to get it done, but not the only way...) while culling out those criteria and benchmarks, thus empowering the remaining two phases. This knowledge is useful even when the writer processes all three simultaneously, turning potential chaos into storytelling law and order. The issue isn't whether you plan or pants your story... it's knowing the difference between searching for vs. the discovery of the story itself, no matter how you go about it.
Presenter: Mary Robinette Kowal
Think you never have time to write? In this workshop, Hugo award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal will walk you through how to write short stories using a combination of lecture and in class exercises. The session will cover economical prose, effective use of POV and how plot works in short form.
Presenter: Sandra Vander Schaaf
This session will focus on The Art of Seeing as fuel for the writer's creative fire. By drawing parallels to the artistic choices professional photographers make to create meaningful images, photographer and writer Sandra Vander Schaaf will lead several exercises designed to nurture the foundational skills of observation and reflection, enhance understanding of visual perception, explore the role of visual writing in character development and establishing the writer's visual voice, and develop compositional skills. Participants will come away with a fresh understanding of how The Art of Seeing can infuse their writing with greater clarity, depth, and vitality.
Presenter: Robin Spano
What makes for a great crime novel? Yes, it helps to have original characters and rich thematic undertones, like in literary fiction. But with crime fiction, structure is equally important to leave a reader satisfied. In this session, you'll learn some tricks of the trade—devices to make your mystery or thriller work on a technical level.
Presenter: Kevin Chong
Do you have a life experience you want to write about? Family history you’d like to explore? A great trip you’d like to set down on the page? This workshop is for you.Through lecture, discussion, in-class readings, and exercises we will explore the various subgenres (memoir, personal essay, travel writing), research techniques, and the ethical dilemmas of autobiographical writing.
Presenter: Kim Foster
It’s not hard to call up the names of incredibly talented writers whose health issues got the best of them: Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Stieg Larsson. As writers, we spend a lot of time in one place—namely, sitting in front of a desk or computer. The recommendation to “keep your butt in your chair” is awesome advice for your writing productivity...but not so awesome for your actual butt. Writers are prone to a multitude of ailments: carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, obesity, diabetes, eye strain, depression, alcoholism.... Staying health and—ideally—alive, are important investments in a nice, long writing career. In this talk, Dr. Kim Foster will be presenting solutions: ideas on incorporating exercise into a busy schedule, for example; strategies for dealing with the mental health threats of social isolation, deadline stress, and insomnia; and the mother of all questions: how much coffee is too much?
Presenter: Laura Bradbury
In this interactive workshop Laura Bradbury, self-published Amazon bestselling author of My Grape Escape and the soon-to-be-released My Grape Village, explores why self-publishing is the perfect option for her and why it may also be the ideal choice for your writing career. She will lead participants through a series of questions and discussions on topics such as - How prolific are you? Do you get fired up about being an entrepreneur? Do you have access to a market for your book or can you create one? Are there reasons why traditional publishing may not be a good fit for your writing? Can impatience become your new best friend (hint- yes it can!)? Laura will share all the tips she has learned on her own self-publishing journey and show you how and why self-publishing may be both a lucrative and well-suited solution for you and your manuscript(s). This workshop is suitable for beginners, experienced writers, and everyone in between.
Presenter: Mary Robinette Kowal
The historical fiction panel is an SiWC tradition. Our bestselling panelists and moderator know not only what life was like in the time periods and places in history in which they’ve immersed themselves, but how to write about it so that they avoid sounding like that boring professor whose classes you slept through when you bothered to attend at all. Come learn their secrets and enjoy their stories, too.
Presenter: Chuck Wendig
Did you hate studying theme in literature while at school? Chuck Wendig did, too. But it’s time to reclaim the word and use it as a tool in our toolbox. What is theme? And how can we use it as a springboard to launch us into a greater understanding of our own stories?
Presenter: Dan Bar-el
The funny bone is a myth but comedy muscles are real, so let’s exercise them. Working on the premise that nothing kills a joke like explaining a joke, this session will try to focus more on the doing than the pondering. Yes, we will look at the root of what makes something funny, ways of generating ideas, discovering a comedic perspective and also looking at one formula to creating a comedic character. But as much as possible, this will be a session to explore and hopefully share your humour in a safe, supportive environment. We will put the “ny” back in “funny!” … or something to that effect.
Presenter: Susan Fox
Everyone has an opinion on critique groups/partners, ranging from “they’re essential” to “stay away.” In this workshop Susan Fox discusses the pros and cons for writers at various stages of their careers. Learn how to set up a successful critique group or relationship, and what to do if it’s not working. Learn how to critique and to be critiqued. The handout includes a critiquing checklist.