Workshops

Workshop Schedule 

Thursday • Friday • Saturday • Summary Schedule

Thursday

Session 1

Writing Flash Fiction that Sells

Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf teaches on Splickety’s specialty: flash fiction, or short stories 1,000 words or less. Attendees will learn what makes a flash fiction story great (elements like plot, structure, conflict, character development, etc.) and how to condense everything into such a small amount of words. By the end of the presentation, attendees will know why they should write flash fiction and how it can help their career to do so, what it takes to write compelling flash fiction, and they will leave with ideas for several different approaches they can take for writing a standout flash fiction piece.

Session 2

Devotionals for All Ages

MacKenzie Howard

A well-written devotional can become a treasured book readers use again and again and pass along to others for encouragement and inspiration. We strive to implement key elements that connect with people and help them grow in their walks with the Lord.

Session 1

Those We Do Not Speak Of

Parker J. Cole

Taboo subjects in Christian fiction are myriad. Mainstream readers and publishers shy away from these topics but is this an appropriate approach to fiction? Participants will be introduced to several topics that are considered taboo in Christian fiction and how best to implement these subjects in their writing and why more authors should consider writing in these areas.

Session 2

Writing for the General Market

Mike Duran

It’s one of the most common questions asked by Christian writers: “Should I write for the Christian market or the general market?” In this workshop, Mike Duran will help the Christian author think through both the philosophical and practical aspects of deciding between markets. Is it less “Christian” to write for a secular audience? What kinds of stories are better suited for a given market? Must an author compromise their message to write for the general market? How can we practically market our stories to those who don’t share our faith? Mike has published in both Christian and general markets and seeks to help other Christian authors wrestle through this potentially difficult issue.

Session 2

Doing Ministry the Write Way

Tim Riter

For those with a speaking ministry, our impact can be greatly expanded by taking existing messages and turning them into blog posts, articles, and books. However, the radical differences between the two forms can derail effective communication. Tim Riter, with experience as a pastor and professor of Communication and Composition and author of nine books, will guide speakers into understanding how communication works in general and provide practical help to enable them to make the transition.
Doing Ministry the Write Way will help speakers understand the differences and similarities between speaking and writing, and will provide some practical insights on how to transform spoken words into written ones.

Session 1

Demolish Reader Stumbling Blocks

Lori Freeland

Our goal as writers is to put the scenes playing in our heads onto the page in a way that lets readers experience them the way we do. But there’s often a gap between what we imagine and what we write down. That gap can cause readers to stumble. But if we know what to watch for, we can demolish those stumbling blocks with clarity. Learn to use clarity to set the scene, center your characters, and manipulate sentence structure to toss unnecessary words, nix clichés and filter words, use active versus passive voice, and avoid vague words and ideas. Weaving the idea of clarity into every scene not only catches a reader, but keeps them.

Session 2

Writing by Emotion

Martha Bolton

Martha Bolton’s method of Writing By Emotion can help writers of both fiction and non-fiction. If you want your dialogue to sound authentic, your scenes to come alive, and the challenges that your characters face to ring true, follow these ten simple steps.

Session 1

The Current Picture Book Market

Adria Goetz

A 75-minute workshop examining current trends in the general trade picture book market, and where those trends might be heading. We will discuss dos and donts, which trends are over-saturated, and how to tap into trends in your own unique way.

Session 2

What Hollywood Agents Want

Terry Porter

Learn what an agent looks for in a movie script. This workshop discloses the inside tips on what makes Hollywood run and how to avoid the shark pit. Important contacts, samples, and dos and don’ts will also be provided.

Session 1

How to Sell Your Book to an Agent

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.

Session 2

Navigating the New Publishing Frontier

Allen Arnold

Allen offers counter-intuitive insights into the new realities, landmines, and possibilities within the ever-changing publishing universe. As the founding Publisher for Thomas Nelson Fiction, Allen oversaw the launch of more than 500 novels. Since then, he has self-publishing his own book.  He’ll speak to the pros and cons of Indie and Traditional publishing so writers are better equipped to untangle the myriad of options, overcome what has felt overwhelming, and pursue their stories with new freedom and purpose. An interactive time for Q& A will wrap up this workshop.

Session 1

How to Pitch Your Book Idea

Kim Bangs

For many there is nothing more frightening on this publishing journey then “pitching a book” idea to an agent or an editor. A fifteen-minute appointment often begins with what has been called an “elevator pitch”: 30 to 120 seconds to present your idea to your audience and grab their interest. After that you have 13 to 14 ½ minutes to sell not only the book idea but also you as the author. In this interactive workshop we’ll discover how to get the pitch right from second one to done (with insights shared from someone who has heard thousands of pitches–some that worked and some well, not so much.)

How to Pitch Your Book Idea is an interactive workshop to discover how to get the pitch right from second one to done (with insights shared from someone who has heard thousands of pitches–some that worked and some well, not so much).

Session 2

Keys to a Successful Book Proposal

Sandra Barela

In this workshop, Sandra will focus on the importance of having a successful book proposal to publish your book. She’ll touch on such topics as how to create an effective book proposal, why proposal is necessary, and how to use your book proposal to its maximum potential. With the tools Sandra provides, you can create the best book proposal to showcase your work.

Session 1

Making the Most of First Impressions

Julie DeEtte Williams

Your palms sweat and judging from the pain, those aren’t butterfly in your stomach, they’re hornets. Just how in the world are you going to meet with your dream agent/editor without having a public breakdown? Simple: prepare and power pose.

In this hands-on workshop, we’ll discuss what you need to know and do to engage in a successful interview. You’ll learn how to create and use a one sheet, whether you should sew your pockets closed or line them with tissues, and most importantly, I’ll share some great life-hacks on how to calm your spirit and open yourself up to a great discussion that will make you feel good about the outcome, even if it doesn’t go the way you expect.

Session 2

Blogging Basics

Stephanie Alton

Blogging Basics will talk about the differences between having a free WordPress site and having your own domain and when & why you should have one or the other, what type of info to have on blog and why, frequency of posting, how to boost traffic to your blog, and what’s trending in blogs.

Session 1

Screenwriting for a Specific Brand

Bob Saenz

Every network, no matter if it’s broadcast or cable, has a brand. Sets of rules that govern what they will accept and produce from writers. These rules can also affect the re-write process. We’ll discuss and lay out some of these rules, how to deal with them, and talk about executive notes, producer notes, director notes, and actor notes and the writer works through working for a brand.

Session 2

How to Publicize Your New Release

Miralee Ferrell

Writers often hate to share about their own books. It’s easier stay in your writing cave and crank out more words. Unfortunately, books don’t sell themselves, and publishers want proactive authors who will spread the word.Learn from multi-published, best-selling author Miralee Ferrell about setting up a Street Team, the do’s and don’ts of social media, what the single most important marketing tool is if you can only pick one, why talking about your book can be a ministry rather than bragging, and much more. Learn from someone who’s been there. Miralee helps authors learn how to set up a street team and keep members engaged, learn about Facebook groups vs Pages, how to set up a FB release party, what to do with a newsletter, how to host your own webinar, and other tools that will help writers succeed.

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Friday

Session 3

Acting Out – Fighting Basics for Writers

Ben Wolf

As a professional stage combat instructor and a mixed martial arts practitioner, Ben Wolf teaches and demonstrates the essential moves authors will need to ensure maximum believability for their fight scenes (such as punches, kicks, and even some jiu jitsu). Get ready to get off your keister and jump into some fighting movements and (safe) action. Screenwriters and visual media attendees will benefit from knowing how to write actual stage combat into their screenplays, and fiction authors will benefit from knowing what they can and can’t do in a fight scene in their novels.

Session 4

Choosing a Small Press

Renae Brumbaugh Green

Tired of waiting for that phone call from Random House? Afraid your beard will grow to Rumplestiltskin lengths while you hope for that contract with HarperCollins? Or maybe you’re toying with the idea of self-publishing, but you’re not sure if that’s the route you want to take.

Perhaps there’s another option . . . an alternate path to publication that’s better suited for your current place in the publishing journey. Join Renae Brumbaugh Green, owner of Armonia Publishing, as she details the pros and cons of working with a small publisher.

Session 3

Writing a Series

Rachel A. Marks

My secrets to creating a satisfying and complex story arch that can span several books, and avoid the slump of the middle book curse.

Session 4

The Do’s And Do Not’s Of Story Structure

Rebecca LuElla Miller

Stories have a unifying principle, namely what a character wants. The also have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Along the way they have backstory and plot layers, foreshadowing and flashbacks, a climax and a dénouement. How do all the parts fit?

How does the inciting incident get things rolling (and what is an inciting incident)? How does the writer create the necessary tension to keep things moving at a crisp pace?

Do only novelists who outline have to think about such things?

Story structure is for fiction writers regardless of their preferred creative process. In this workshop we, outliners and seat-of-the-pants writers alike, will examine eight Do’s a novelist should consider and four Do Not’s in order to create a well-paced plot that showcases our characters and weaves our theme seamlessly into the fabric of our story.

Session 3

Frame Your Scene, Build Your Story:
Use Layering to Paint a Word Picture

Lori Freeland

Like an essay has a beginning, middle, and end, using a three-part structure to lay the groundwork to frame your scene can set the scene, move the story, and hook the reader to turn the page. Knowing what you want the scene to accomplish—the information you want to share, character growth, the mood and tone, and the emotions you want to invoke in your characters and in your readers—can be a baseline for filling in that frame. Layering the scene with story-telling elements like setting, dialogue, internal thought, action, voice cues, expressions, and body language becomes the polish at the end.

Session 3

Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message – Part 1

Susan King

Every Christian writer should be writing devotionals, either as a main focus or in addition to other writing projects. And this workshop is essential for anyone who wants to write devotionals. Typically, the shorter the piece, the harder it is to write. And publishers expect much from those 250 words. The practice of writing devotionals also provides great spiritual discipline. After all, connecting God’s Word to the experiences of our lives is what Christians should be doing every day. So why not write about this connection and publish for a large and eager audience?

Session 4

Creating, Writing, and Pitching the TV Pilot

Andrea Frazer

In this 75 minute workshop, Andrea Frazer – produced television, pilot and script polisher – will teach you how to create, write and pitch your dream TV show. Samples of the workshop will include:

  • Refining your idea
  • Targeting your demographic
  • Researching similar projects to use for inspiration/structure
  • Creating an outline/beat sheet
  • Structuring the script
  • Writing the script
  • Creating a schedule
  • The value of networking
  • Pitching your show

Session 3

Creating with God

Allen Arnold

Writers are offered countless tips, tools, and formulas to help measure their progress and achieve their goals. But what if there is a deeper foundation, calling, and invitation available? Discover what it looks like to actually write with God rather than for or about Him – following his rhythm to create stories transformed by his presence. This fast-paced, powerful teaching fuses the mysterious with the practical by diving deeper into God’s motive – and ours – for pursuing Story.

Session 4

How Poetry Improves Prose

Tim Riter

Some writing lives for a season, some for decades. Some has a handful of readers, some has millions. Incorporating principles of poetry works can move your prose to a higher level. Many of us may not write poems, but the traits of poetry can add beauty and power and longevity to our writing. Tim Riter, poet and author of nine nonfiction books, will explore how word choices and their sounds, how rhythm and its pace, how implicit writing all entice the reader.

How Poetry Improves Prose will teach some basic principles of poetry that can be implemented by all writers of prose. That will increase both the beauty and impact of all forms of our writing.

Session 3

The Future of the Christian Picture Book Market

Adria Goetz

A 75-minute workshop in which workshop attendees will time travel to the future and discuss the trends of Christian picture books. This workshop is a cheat sheet to help writers write the books that agents want to represent, editors want to acquire, and children want to read.

Session 4

Tax Strategies Most Creative Entrepreneurs Miss

Chris Morris

Most writers don’t exactly get excited about taxes. Actually, it probably stresses you out…but it doesn’t have to. This workshop will cover the following topics:

– What you can and cannot write off
– When it makes sense to hire a CPA
– When you have a business, not just a hobby
– Why you might be flagged for an audit, and how to avoid it

There will also be time for questions. When is the last time a CPA gave you an open forum to help you out, at no cost?

Session 3

Working with Agents and Editors

Karen Ball

We’ve all heard the tales of writers who have conflicts with their agents or editors. But that doesn’t have to happen. Whether you already have an agent and/or an editor, or you’re in the process of making those connections, join us as we discuss how to prepare your heart and mind for a writer’s most important working relationships. From knowing and sharing expectations, to understanding the best ways (and people) to contact, to resolving conflicts, we’ll help equip you to build a strong and effective team for your career.

Session 4

Writing a Book Proposal

MacKenzie Howard

Book proposals are often the first introduction an editor gets with a prospective author. First impressions matter! We are looking for specific elements and information—and the inclusion or exclusion of these things are often the difference between getting a second look and being passed to the rejection pile.

Session 3

Blogging to Book Deal

Stephanie Alton

Blog to Book Deal talks about if you really need a blog to get a book deal, what a successful blog looks like, who’s scouting blogs, what can the publishing industry tell by looking at your blog, and the need for your blog to have credibility and a community.

Session 4

Social Media 101

Sandra Barela

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. With all the social media available, it can be overwhelming even know where to begin. In this session Sandra will be answering questions such as: Why is social media important for authors? How can I build a following? Where should an author choose to spend their time in social media? How does an author use social media effectively? When is the best time to be on social media? What tools are available to help authors with social media? How can authors utilize their street team with social media? The knowledge and insight you gain from attending this session will not only help you connect with readers, but will also help you expand your social platform to gain the most exposure for your work.

Session 3

How Hollywood Works

Terry Porter

Having been in all the major film studios, from Fox to Universal to Paramount, Terry teaches about what happens in Hollywood and the structure within, how it works from top to bottom. Meetings with execs and development professionals. The film festivals circuit and contests. Whether or not to pay to pitch your work. And much more.

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Saturday

Session 5

I Swear

Parker J. Cole

A number of Christian authors struggle with the use of swear words and harsh language in their fiction. Some advocate no use of swear words while others are more liberal. Which is the right approach? Participants will be introduced to a number of topics that fall under this divisive issue and the best approach for utilizing various techniques to get their point across.

Session 6

YA Christian Fiction: What Teens Really Want to Hear—and What They Don’t

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, entertainment, 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.

Session 5

Creative Ways to Get the Story Flowing

Miralee Ferrell

What can you do when the screen in your head, and on your monitor, suddenly go blank? You’ve hit a roadblock in your story, and you’re not sure where to go next. Join Miralee Ferrell as she shares creative ideas that will help get the words flowing again. She will employ lecture as well as discussion, and as time permits, attendees will brainstorm to help break those log jams.

Session 6

Characterization In Fiction

Rebecca LuElla Miller

Great stories have great characters. What would Gone With The Wind be without Scarlett O’Hara? What would Star Trek be without James Kirk?

Characters who stand out, who become memorable, are larger than life. They do great things, but they also have significant vulnerabilities. And they change, grow, develop. What techniques can a writer use to create characters who will engage readers?

In this workshop we’ll identify ways the writer can bring his characters to life, what qualities make a character unforgettable, and how the writer can grow the character so that his inner and his outer journey combine to create a powerful story.

Session 5

Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message – Part 2

Susan King

Continuation of Part 1, focusing on the essential elements of a devotional message.

The Upper Room gives readers a model for reading Scripture and then listening for God’s voice to come to them through it. By publishing your devotional in this highly respected magazine, you will reach millions of readers in more than 100 countries worldwide. And learning to write for The Upper Room will equip you to write well for any publishing market.

Session 6

Don’t Fence Me In

Martha Bolton

Do you feel stuck in one genre? Want to branch out into other kinds of writing, but don’t know how? Then, come discover the advantages of broadening your appeal as you try your hand at non-fiction, fiction, song lyrics, plays, scripts, and more. Who said variety was dead?

Session 5

Writing Through Adversity

Rachel A. Marks

An encouraging discussion on how we can avoid being distracted by the bumps in life’s road, and let God use them in our work, so that he will receive the glory.

Session 6

Pitching a Kick-Butt Magazine Article: From Conception to Sale

Andrea Frazer

In this 75 minute workshop, content veteran Andrea Frazer will teach you how to successfully create, pitch and sell articles to newspapers, magazines, websites and businesses. Samples of the workshop will include:

  • Establishing your brand/voice
  • Creating an online portfolio
  • How to fill that online portfolio with samples (even if you’ve never been paid to write)
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Creating a pitch
  • Querying your targets
  • Landing the Sale
  • Creating a schedule that guarantees success

Session 5

Christian Worldview in the Movies

Brian Godawa

Brian explains how to apply two techniques that result in powerful life-changing storytelling that avoids preachiness: Incarnation and Subversion. Incarnation teaches how to embody a worldview within a story’s characters, choices and actions. Subversion explains how to work within the cultural expectations to draw the audience in toward changing their hearts and minds.

Session 6

Make ‘Em Laugh!

Renae Brumbaugh Green

Studies have shown the best way to win an audience is to make them laugh. This is easier said than done, especially when you don’t have the benefit of tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language. Making people laugh, in writing, isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, and it’s serious business. But it is possible for anyone to insert humor into their writing in a way that will keep it fresh, and will hold the reader’s attention. In this fun, fast-paced workshop, award-winning humor columnist Renae Brumbaugh Green will share tried and true methods that will take your manuscript from dull to delightful, and keep your readers glued to the page.

Session 5

Time Management for Writers

Lindsay Franklin

All writers have unlimited amounts of time to write, no procrastination problems, and organizational abilities for days…right? Yeah, right. The truth is most of us are trying to shoehorn writing time around busy work and family schedules. And when we do finally sit down to write, we end up spending half our writing time on Facebook (oh, the humanity!). Join Lindsay as she shares the time-management secrets that have enabled her to juggle two multi-book contracts, an editing business that experienced 270% growth last year, and a trio of hungry homeschoolers. You will leave equipped with tools and techniques to help you maximize your writing time and produce more than you thought possible.

Session 6

The Power of Your Premise

Kim Bangs

One of the most necessary, challenging, difficult and shortest items on your proposal is the premise statement (or the hook of the book). In this workshop, we’ll discuss why a premise statement is such a critical element and how you can write it so that those who read your proposal (agents, editors and pub boards) “get it” and give your proposal a deeper look.

The Power of Your Premise will help you develop a “hook” that makes a great first impression and leads interested parties to take a deeper look.

Session 5

Caring for Your Writing Career

Karen Ball

There’s so much more to your career as a writer than just getting words on the page. In fact, the most important factor is one too many writers keep putting off: caring for YOU. Come share your best practices, and learn some new tips and tools, for making sure you care for all the different facets of your writing career, including when to pursue an agent, when to consider switching genres, how best to manage multiple contracts,and how to nurture your publishing relationships, spiritual foundation, and yourself!

Session 6

Bookkeeping Without Losing Your Sanity

Chris Morris

Keeping the financial records for a creative entrepreneur can be daunting, if you approach it with the wrong attitude, tools, or level of anxiety. This works will cover the following topics:

– The single best choice you can make to simplify your bookkeeping
– The power of attitude in financial matters
– The right (and wrong) tools for your bookkeeping
– An action plan to start today

Session 5

Creating a Website

Paul Regnier

Want an author website but don’t know how to get started? This class will utilize one of the top web template and hosting services to go step by step through the creation of a professional looking website that even a non-technical person can build.

This class will also answer some of the technical questions about domain names, hosting services, SEO (search engine optimization), and more.

Session 6

Critique Like an Apostle

Julie DeEtte Williams

Near the beginning of His ministry, Jesus told John He would make him a fisher of men, but did you know that near the end of John’s life, Jesus made him an editor of men?

In this workshop, we’ll explore John’s tried-and-true method of confronting the churches and apply it to critiquing your fellow writers’ manuscript submissions. We’ll also discuss critique group models, the layers of editing, and how to give and receive a critique. We’ll even delve into practical ways to keep your sanity when you find you’re doing more editing than writing, the importance of being a life-long learner, and the steps it takes to become a valued critique partner.

Session 6

After You Write Your Screenplay

Bob Saenz

You’ve finished your screenplay after months of hard work, now the harder work starts as you realize you now have get notes to rewrite so you can make sure it’s ready to be seen, you have to market yourself, and you have to try and get your script seen by managers and producers. There are no shortcuts for these things unfortunately, but there are a lot of things you can do to streamline the process.

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