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Your Voices

Workshop

Next Level Self-Publishing

Master Class

Deciding to self-publish your book is only the first of many decisions you’ll have to make. In this class, join USA Today Best Selling Author Elena Aitken and explore some of self-publishing strategies and best practices including:  making the decision, what you can do on your own vs. outsourcing, what’s your budget? how much will it cost?, covers, editors, formatting, launch strategies, newsletters, branding, reader/fan groups,  cross author promos, physical books, audios, translations, series vs. stand alone,  release schedules and more.

Bullet Journals and Vision Boards for Writers

Master Class

Mindful and intentional goal setting, tracking, and revision are necessary for most of us—but especially for writers. Regardless of your writing genre, learning to craft and use bullet journals and vision boards as tools to help stay focused on writing projects is a fun, relaxing, and effective way to keep yourself aligned with your ultimate purpose—to finish your book! This engaging and interactive workshop will include preliminary theory on organization for writing, followed by instruction on how to create beautiful bullet journals and vision boards to help keep you aligned with your writing goals. Each workshop attendee will create both a bullet journal and a vision board, which will help to prepare for the weekend’s conference. Attendees must bring their own journals (any shape or size is fine); the rest of the workshop supplies will be provided.

Hands-on WordPress Website

Master Class

In this hands on masterclass, you’ll build yourself a basic author website with an integrated blog! This workshop will blend strategy and action as you learn the difference between free and paid options for wordpress, and decide what is a good fit for you. You’ll be guided through the process of creating the sections on your site, including menus and the pages they link to, and you’ll upload content to those pages. By the time you leave this workshop you’ll have a functional author website, and be familiar with how to update and add content yourself. You will receive a small preparation assignment to get you ready for the workshop, and will need to bring a laptop to the workshop itself. This master class is limited to twelve participants.

Scrivener Intensive Jumpstart

Master Class

Want to get even more out of Scrivener (Mac or Windows)? Or maybe you just want to know what makes this writing software so popular? The author of Scrivener For Dummies will walk you through the basics and cover some of her favorite tips and features, plus show you how to compile (export) your manuscript to a document or e-book. *Feel free to bring your laptop, loaded with Scrivener, so you can follow along. To get the free trial, go to www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php.* Topics: Creating and understanding projects and templates Getting familiar with the Scrivener interface Working with files and importing Tagging and color coding your scenes/chapters Writing in split screen and full screen composition (distraction-free) modes Formatting tips Tracking your progress Using the Corkboard and Outliner Compiling (exporting) to DOC, RTF, EPUB, and MOBI And more if time permits

Swept Away: Writing Enthralling Fiction

Master Class

Fairy tales are not the only fiction that sweeps us away. All novels can cast spells, enchant, enthrall and move us with the force of human truths, hope, and heroes and heroines who attain mythic stature. A hands-on workshop taught by veteran fiction instructor and literary agent Donald Maass.

The Dreaded Synopsis

Master Class

A strong, compelling synopsis serves as a vital sales tool at every stage of your career. Whether you are a new writer starting to submit to agents or a multi-published author proposing a project to your editor, you need to be able to write a synopsis that meets your needs. That means not only writing an interesting synopsis that shows off your project to its best advantage, but tailoring it to suit different purposes. Yet many writers find writing a synopsis a daunting prospect.   Join Nephele Tempest in her master class to learn how to tackle writing the synopsis that will help you sell your novel. Find out how to break down the task into manageable parts, emphasize the most important components of your story, build interest in your manuscript while remaining concise, and convey a tone that’s consistent with your project. You’ll also learn how to adapt the length of your synopsis depending on its intended use, and how the process differs when your book has yet to be completed.

Manuscript Critique

Master Class

*** Limited to 12 attendees ***   In this extremely popular class, Jack Whyte helps attendees identify the problems in their most troublesome pages and work on how to fix them. Struggling with an opening that just doesn’t work? Can’t figure out why that transition brings everything to a grinding halt? Know something’s not quite right, but have no idea what it is? This class is for you.   In this interactive, discussion-based class, students share a few pages of their manuscript for group and instructor feedback. Learn not only from responses to your own work, but from the strengths and weaknesses of your fellow students’ pages, too.   This class traditionally sells out very quickly, with 2016 selling out in a record 6 minutes, so get that mouse-clicking finger ready for noon on June 7 if you want a spot.

Write a Novel from First Inspiration to Final Draft

Master Class

Write a novel – from first inspiration to final edit – then submission!   Have you got a book in you? Have you always wanted to get it out into the world but lacked the confidence? Then join award-winning, bestselling author Chris (C. C.) Humphreys, for an intensive writing workshop that will help you banish the critic, release your creativity, and introduce you to the secrets of novel construction, character development and sheer storytelling fun.   With plenty of exercises to get the fingers and brain moving, and a step by step analysis of what makes a successful, exciting piece of fiction, participants will leave the workshop with the beginnings of a novel and a road map to help you finish it. Or if you have a piece that has sat in a drawer for years, Chris will show you how to regain your faith in it, and take it to the next level – maybe even all the way to publication.   Subjects will include the separate stages of writing – from first idea to final edit; how to create great characters; plotting; editing; dialogue; the synopsis, the pitch.   Come for fun and hard work: it’s time the […]

Beginner’s Intensive: Starting from Scratch

Master Class

Join bestselling author kc dyer for an intensive class specially designed for beginning writers. You’ll get an inside look at the jargon and best practices for getting your work into the publishing world: from agents to editors; from queries to non-fiction book proposals; from traditional to self-publishing. Learn the right questions to ask, and get them answered in this comprehensive overview of the world of books. Be prepared for writer’s cramp!

Dialogue

Master Class

You can’t have a great book without great dialogue. Join multi-bestselling author and longtime SiWC presenter Diana Gabaldon for a look at what works – and doesn’t – in dialogue and how to make the most of this essential aspect of any novel.  Examples for discussion will be drawn from multiple sources by a variety of authors.

Re-writing

Workshop

The Diagnostic

Workshop

Creative non-fiction instructor and memoirist JJ Lee walks you through his system of analysing problematic stories, called “The Structure”. Built on his experiences as a documentarian, network journalist, sketch comedy performer, live storyteller, award-winning essayist, and critically-acclaimed author, “The Structure” can help writers identify the critical elements found in compelling, well-told stories. This workshop helps writers of both fiction and nonfiction uncover which elements may be missing from their own works-in-progress. The session is ideal for new writers and writers struggling with difficult drafts.

Uncovering Your Characters’ Emotional Wound

Workshop

The backstory wound is critical to the story, as not only does it shape the character’s personality, whatever he fears most will keep him from achieving his goal until he can face the past and move beyond his emotional trauma. In this one I’d talk about how to brainstorm a character’s emotional wound by looking at how they form, and the different types of categories of wounds that are most common (misplaced trust, betrayals, injustices, childhood wounds, victimization, traumatic events, disabilities, etc.).

According To Plan

Panel

Creating a Business Plan for Your Career as a Writer If you’re ready to make the move from writing strictly for fun for writing as your business- then you need a plan. You’ll need to consider your brand and your personal strategy. A business plan that helps guide your steps and allows you to track your progress. This workshop is designed to outline the areas you will want to consider from setting creative goals, to scheduling, to hiring outside help, to promotion- while balancing your budget and time. Participants will leave the session with the start of a customized business plan that works for them.

First Chapter

Workshop

Playwriting

Workshop

Writing Hacks that Work

Workshop

From fountain pens to computer software, writers through the ages have used all kinds of hacks to bring their stories to life. Join bestselling author kc dyer for a look at the writing hacks she employs, and learn how they can help you get your words on the page. Everything from notebooks to timelines, mind-maps to Scrivener tips — even Yahtzee! Bring your own hacks to share.

Finish That Book

Workshop

Newsletters

Workshop

The Dark Side

Workshop

No Write Way: Talking Process with the Whisky Chicks

Panel

From idea generation to final draft, writing a novel consists of many stages, and every writer has their own approach to the process. Hang out with Elizabeth Boyle, Susanna Kearsley, and Mary Robinette Kowal, and learn how they each come up with their ideas, create characters, delve into research, and sit down to get those drafts written. Their methods may inspire you to try something new, but they will also prove that there is no one way to write a book.

Epic Electric

Workshop

Using Positive & Negative Charges to ELECTRIFY Your Writing. Have you ever had this experience? Someone you know is watching some terrible movie, and you KNOW its terrible because you hate THAT kind of movie, but as you linger… you find yourself slowly drawn in? You don’t even like this kind of movie, but you have to admit, THIS one is kinda interesting! You’re getting drawn in despite yourself. Likely what is happening is that moment by moment, the story, scene, or beats are TURNING, TWITCHING, REVERSING. Learn what this important technique means. How to recognize it. How to master it. Is your scene, short short story, book chapter dead? Discover the secret to bringing it back to life.

Productivity

Workshop

Cross-Genre Writing

Workshop

Writing across genres means writing in more than one arena—poetry, short fiction, memoir, essay, non-fiction or cross-genre within a piece. What makes a piece one genre or the other? Are there conventions that can be carried from one genre to the others to create new cross-genre pieces? What are the implications to your Canlit career of crossing genres? Using a single writing prompt, we’ll explore how to cross genres. Bring your questions!

Poetry Open Mic



Unconference



Sean Cranbury is the host and curator of the SiWC Unconference, a self-organized ‘conference within the conference’ where attendees take control of the conversation about the craft of writing, publishing, and the life of an author in these turbulent times! The Unconference is an opportunity for attending writers to generate and participate in exciting conversations about writing and the process of turning their ideas into the project of their dreams – whether that’s a book, a movie, or something else altogether. It is a participant-driven discussion of ideas and concerns about the writing process. Writers’ ideas and voices lead a wide variety of discussions and debates about all elements of the industry, from craft to publication and beyond. Join us! The UnConference is sponsored by Stormcrow Alehouse.  

Rejected But Not Denied

Workshop

Many submissions to publishers and agents go unanswered and probably many unread. Some writers even collect rejection letters (or e-mails more likely) and use the increasing number as motivation to find a home for their work. That keeps them going. But sometimes a change in tactics can mean a much different reply to their work. There are good and bad rejections. How do you know if the publishers, editor, or agent is leaving an opening, however slight, for you? What should you do to respond? And if you getting no feedback whatsoever – what are you doing wrong? This workshop gives you tips and strategies of how to approach the gatekeepers in the publishing world. We will look at the right and wrong for sending out queries, what makes an effective pitch? what do successful proposals look like? does it ever make sense to call editors or agents? One variation in your method could make the difference between rejection and acceptance.

Chemistry

Workshop

NF Book Proposals

Workshop

Short Stories

Workshop

POV

Workshop

SiWC Idol

Panel

The Sagging Middle

Workshop

In the middle of your manuscript, have an idea how it should finish, but can’t get from point A to C with a boring B? Ideas and techniques for making your mid-novel as exciting as the rest of it.

Writing the Body

Workshop

Fight Scene Basics

Workshop

The World Around Us

Workshop

How setting can enhance your fiction. Setting can be an overlooked tool in a writer’s toolkit. This workshop will show how setting can be used to increase conflict, show tone/theme, and clarify characters. Practical examples and prompts will be provided to encourage writers to put the techniques to work in their own manuscripts.

Memoir

Workshop

POV and Voice from a Business Perspective

Workshop

In fiction, a solid, engaging voice is the hardest thing to nail down. The reason why a book’s voice might fail is very often linked to one issue: a lack of connectivity between a character and the space they occupy (both their body and the world around them). The good news is that there’s a fairly simple solution to this problem: deepening POV. This class will focus on some simple self-editing techniques you can use to deepen your book’s POV without rewriting entire chapters.

Kicking it for Kids & Teens: Writing Middle Grade and Y/A

Panel

How do you translate an adult sensibility into books for kids and teens? Moderated by kc dyer, authors Karen Rivers, Robyn Harding, CC Humphreys and Eileen Cook discuss getting in touch with their inner youth, and how to build bestselling stories for younger readers.

Pacing Beyond Plot

Workshop

Plot moves along the outward events of novels, but a sense of dynamic movement also comes from less visible factors. This hands-on workshop by veteran fiction instructor and literary agent Donald Maass reveals the hidden ways of pacing story, such as by revelation, emotional shifts, moral unfolding and manipulation of reader expectations.

Dialogue in Historical Fiction

Workshop

While dialogue is the core of most screenplays and theatre scripts, good dialogue will also enhance any work of fiction. The teaching focus of this workshop will be the use of dialogue to reveal character and as a tool to advance the plot and action. Through discussion and using writing exercises, Chris will take you through the process of creating effective dialogue that serves several purposes – entertaining the reader while simultaneously advancing the plot and developing the characters. He will also explore period ‘feel’, how to write without anachronism while not straying into the Monty Python world of parody and ‘olde worlde’ talk.

Scrivener Basics

Workshop

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Workshop

Have you ever wondered why humans are so hard-wired to share our selves, our experiences and our learning through story? Curious about what happens in YOUR brain when you work at the process of writing and creating? The crafting of story, for so many of us, may be a passion laden with joy (Yay! I wrote today!), frustration (I sat down and just couldn’t do it), and/or the convenient stick we can beat ourselves with (I may as well give this writing thing up. I committed to five chapters by the end of this week and I’ve got…nothing.). In this session, we will not only look at what makes you a natural story-telling being, but challenge your road-blocks and the negative self talk that gets in the way of your very best and most passionate work. You are here. You are a writer. You can do this! For blue pencil, Kim will meet with anyone who wants help setting writing goals or otherwise getting out of their own way to get words on paper.

The Cosy Mystery

Workshop

Point A to Point B: The Art of Transitions

Workshop

Learn how to build your scenes into a seamlessly connected story by dealing with the passage of time, getting your characters from one place to another, moving from one narrator to the next, and tackling all the troublesome transitions in between.

Building a Romance

Workshop

Whether you are just starting out, have been writing by the seat of your pants, or are looking to put a more zing into that romantic thread in your latest novel, come learn how to plot and plan a romance story line. Elizabeth will examine how every part of your story: theme, setting, characters, plot and conflict can intertwined to heighten the romantic adventure. You’ll leave having plotted your romance and with writing tips aplenty to keep the romance alive from page one to that perfect happy ever after.

Accountability: Owning Your Deadlines

Workshop

Stop talking and start writing. In this class, we’ll explore how you can start prioritizing your work no matter what life throws at you. We’ll discuss strategies to make yourself accountable and how to put a team in place to help you (writing doesn’t have to be a solo act). Set a productivity goal and stick to it! And of course, how to get back on track when life happens, because it always does!

Rambo Editing

Workshop

Subtext

Workshop

Creating Charismatic Characters

Workshop

A New Theory of Charisma. The Godfather, Darth Vader, Scarlett O’Hara What do they all have in common? They are unforgettable. Long after we left the movie theatre, these remained with us, haunted us. What makes someone fascinating? Contradiction. We will start unpacking this new theory of charisma, starting with the character you know best. YOU.

The Whirlwind Researcher

Workshop

Don’t have an unlimited travel budget or weeks of vacation time to spend doing on-location research? Learn how to travel efficiently, getting the details you need when you haven’t got more than a few days–or even a few hours–to get them.

Outlining

Workshop

Self-Publishing Virgins

Panel

Are you a little worried about your…first time? Not sure of the right moves or which part goes where?  Join authors Meg Tilly and kc dyer for the inside scoop on the hot and heavy experience of losing your self-publishing virginity.

Using Setting to Power Up Fiction and Reveal Character Depth

Workshop

Many writers think of setting as a “stage” for events to unfold, and so often don’t take advantage of the full power it has over story. Because writers so often underutilize the setting I show them why picking the right location allows you to use it to characterize the story’s cast, deliver important backstory actively, reveal fears and desires, supply tension and conflict, steer emotion, evoke mood, and more.

Romance

Panel

Writing the Wave

Workshop

Novels that are page turners unfurl in accelerating waves of establishing narrative, building to suspense, building to action, resolving reflection, and then thrusting forward to the next wave. In this workshop we’ll dissect how to write each element of this “ISAR” wave, and how to construct  plot in which each scene ends with a hook that grabs the reader and moves the story forward. 

Branding 101

Workshop

Hooked on Sentences

Workshop

Social Justice Writing

Workshop

Writing about activism is writing that promulgates a progressive view of our world and motors towards change. Is it possible to write social justice poetry or fiction, along with the more usual non-fiction and memoir? Is writing about social justice risky? What will happen to a writer’s career if they become associated with a cause or causes? What about lawsuits and trolls? We’ll spend the workshop engaged in a lively exploration, using social justice writing prompts, learning how to be an effective activist in Canlit. Bring your questions!

Crawl before you Walk: The Basics of Self-Publishing—Is it right for me?

Workshop

Exploring the idea of self-publishing for the first time can be overwhelming for authors. With so much information out there, how do you wade through it all and actually get started? In this introductory class, we will break it down into easy to manage baby steps, addressing topics such as i) Is Self-pub right for me? ii) How to make the decision. iii) Do you have to do it all? What can you outsource? What can you do on your own? iv) How much is it going to cost? What’s your budget? v) KU vs. Going Wide As well as…riding the self-publishing wave, navigating the successes and struggles along the way.

Worldbuilding

Panel

Query Letters

Panel

Weaving a Character Web

Workshop

This workshop looks at creating characters with conflicting goals, creating the tension that is essential to any compelling story. We’ll analyze the web of character in examples, then examine the participants’ works in progress through the lens of the character web.

Writing Across Genres and Formats

Workshop

Publishing—traditional and indie—is in constant flux. Things change overnight. Publishers of all shapes and sizes go under or get gobbled up by other publishers. Editors change houses or leave the business. Trends change lighting fast.So how can an author manage to navigate all that and carve a place for themselves in this reality? Lauren Dane will talk about her personal method in this workshop melding the business and craft of being an author.