2017 Conference Workshop Descriptions

Lunch Keynote: Jessica Burkhart

Her Successful NaNoWriMo Experience

In her keynote speech, Jessica Burkhart will discuss how she attempted National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time as a 19 year old student at Florida State University.

Jessica will detail how she managed to "win" the contest and emerge with a very ugly 50,000 word draft of a young adult novel 30 days later--a draft that would later become her first published novel.

The keynote will also highlight:

  • how she landed an agent
  • the importance of social media and platform
  • her first book deal at 20 years old with Simon & Schuster
  • her writing schedule while penning the 20 book Canterwood Crest series as the installments published bi-monthly
  • a few funny and surprising anecdotes from behinds the scenes of publishing

  • Finally, the importance of never being too young, too old or too "anything" not to pursue writing the novel of your dreams.

    Dinner Keynote: Shari Stauch - Put Your Passion in Print:

    How to Share Your Vision and Influence with a Greater Audience

  • Why having a great idea and enormous passion is no longer enough
  • Five free ways to quickly give voice to your vision
  • How to customize your passion platform to reach (and influence) a receptive audience
  • Case Studies: Seven ways other writers are giving voice to their vision that you can start doing in just minutes a day (because you are, first and foremost - a WRITER!)

  • Learn how authors touch on greater themes and issues in their work (i.e. animal rights, sustainable agriculture, women's rights, sexual harassment in the workplace, grief counseling, etc.) to tap into more (and more passionate) readers. Identify your own passion issues and use your writing to effect change!

    With WWW's Shari Stauch

    Jessica Burkhart - Writing the Young Adult Novel

    Jessica Burkhart will take participants through the stages of writing a young adult novel. She will spend 35 minutes on:

  • concept and idea
  • the importance of outlining and why Jess uses chapter by chapter outlines
  • creating relatable characters
  • constructing an interesting setting
  • realistic voice
  • cliffhanger chapter endings
  • a brief list of favorite resources
  • Remaining time will be devoted to Q&A with workshop participants.

    Jessica Burkhart - AGENT 101

    Jessica Burkhart will discuss the ins and outs of having a literary agent. In her 50 minute workshop, she'll spend half an hour discussing:

  • how she got her first agent
  • what to expect from an agent
  • warning signs from bad agents
  • instances when one might not need an agent
  • the emergence of agents using social media (contests)
  • few favorite resources for finding an agent
  • The remaining time will be devoted to a Q&A.

    MJ Carlson - Using Scrivener Effectively

    Attendees will come away with an understanding of:

    1. How to create and save a basic novel template in Scrivener for Windows and Mac. 2. How to import documents created in various word processors into Scrivener, separate manuscripts into scenes, and manipulate text more efficiently than standard word processors. 3. Scrivener-based novel organizing tips and tricks including importing photos and PDFs for reference and two different ways to outline manuscripts. 4. How to compile manuscripts into ePub, mobi, pdf, and HTML. Bonus: 5. How to set Presets (Styles) in Scrivener to make typesetting almost effortless.

    The workshop will include time for questions and extensive audience participation.

    Sea Chapman - Authorship as Entrepreneurship: Writing as a Career

    This 90-minute business workshop will help you understand the current and anticipated trends in traditional, independent, and self-publishing. We'll explore ways you can boost your sales and improve your career by discussing strategies for digital marketing, live events, branding and design, editing, e-commerce, intellectual property protection, budgeting and bookkeeping, and other facets of entrepreneurship vital to your success as a career writer. By the end of this workshop, we'll have created a customized business plan for each workshop attendee.

    Douglas Dandridge - How to Get Reviews

    Reviews are the make it or break it of online book sales. Covers are not that important, and most people buy books based on blurbs and reviews. Averages count, but the most important thing is total numbers. In this workshop I will show how I have garnered over three thousand reviews on Amazon and Goodreads

    Vic DiGenti - The Suspense is Killing Me

    One of the keys to hooking the reader and keeping them hooked is to infuse the story with abundant quantities of suspense. There are many ways to add suspense, and in this workshop Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis) shares some of the secrets bestselling authors and the late "Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock-use to keep the reader in a constant state of anticipation.

    Participants will learn:

  • Keys to hooking the reader with suspense
  • How to involve the reader and make them care about your character
  • How to put the character in jeopardy
  • The "Bait and Switch" technique for generating tension and suspense
  • How to use sensory details to extend a suspenseful scene

  • Vic DeGenti - Changes in Latitude: Embrace Change to Cure Common Writing Problems

    Albert Einstein once said, "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change," yet the fear of change runs rampant in the human psyche. Maybe that's normal, but when it comes to our writing we should learn to embrace change. In "Changes in Latitude," award-winning writer and FWA Regional Director Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis) will demonstrate some of the most common writing problems found in our stories and how simple changes can lead to dramatic improvement.

    This workshop won't cure your fear of the dark or fear of snakes, but it will cure what ails your manuscript and dispense these three restorative balms:

  • Overcoming the trauma of "Conflict Dysfunction"
  • Curing the embarrassment of the "Flaccid Protagonist"
  • Remedies for finding the best starting point for your story. No GPS necessary.

    Saundra Kelley - The Storytelling Element: Enhance Your Writing with Storytelling Techniques

    Each person's life is a story in the making with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's not that simple, however, and that's what makes it interesting to others. So it is with our written stories - they need a clear path the reader can follow but it's what we do with it that keeps our readers coming back for more. The Storytelling Element explores the ancient storyteller's arc and what it can do to make our written work come alive.

    Deborah Malone - Nuts and Bolts of Marketing

    Okay, you've finished your book - now what? The writing world has changed over the past few years. Many authors are self-publishing or publishing with small presses. This means that as an author you will be required to market your books. Don't panic! Knowledge can keep marketing from being such a scary prospect.

    Nuts and Bolts of Marketing will give you tools to put in your marketing toolbox to take out and use when needed. Some of the tools covered by a Power Point presentation are: ways to help you finish your book, writing a marketable book, social media, QR code, promotional material, book launches, speaking engagements, venues, and generating email lists. Come and fill your tool box.

    Debora Malone - Mystery Writing 101

    So you want to write a mystery! Mystery Writing 101 covers the ABC's of writing a mystery. This is a class for those who are writing a mystery or planning on writing a mystery. Mystery Writing 101 is presented with the use of a colorful Power Point presentation. This allows the student to see the information as well as hear it. Along with hearing and seeing the information I give the students time to write down notes so they will be able to look back, for reference, on the information presented.

    Topics covered are: What is a Mystery, Characters, Setting, Clues, Point of View, Dialog, Plotting, Editing and Tying up the Package. I have several handouts to aid the student in retaining the information. One of the handouts is a fill in the blank where the students write down important points presented during the presentation. This is done to help with retention of the information presented. I, also, give examples of the subject being covered by reading from my books, or from well-known authors. At the end of the Power Point presentation I leave time for questions.

    Lorin Oberweger - The Emotional Query

    It's tough enough to consolidate the wide-ranging storylines of our novels into a pithy query letter, aimed at grabbing an agent or editor's interest. But what of communicating the real emotional core of the novel, the beating heart that makes it more than just a series of events but a series of events with MEANING?

    In this hands-on workshop, we'll find ways to convey both the essential plot elements AND the essential emotional elements in a query letter, helping to ensure that we're not just offering a lucid account of our stories but a persuasive argument for why our stories MATTER.

    Lorin Oberweger - Holding The River: When to Create Narrative "Traction" and When to Let the Reader Fly

    Effective pacing, like voice, can sometimes be an "I'll know it when I feel it" proposition, but there ARE practical considerations in creating an efficient narrative flow.

    In this workshop, we'll look at the issues of when to use exposition and when to employ more observable dramatic action; what kinds of scenes demand to be slowed down and savored and what scenes can be dispensed with more quickly; when--and if--we need aftermath or sequel scenes; and how to get a handle on the overall pacing of our novels, creating a sense of escalation and stronger drive as we move toward our story's climax.

    Shari Stauch - Lights, Camera, Author ACTION:

    Creative Uses of Video to Build Your Author Brand

  • Seven ways to create and use video to promote yourself, your brand and your books
  • Elements of a great video book trailer that will actually sell books
  • Where to push that video content once you create it!
  • Interviews, video book trailers and more can bring life to your words in all new ways to build a serious fan base. This informative workshop includes ways other authors are using video to build buzz, the elements of successful video book trailers and the dozens of ways you can use and share the video content you create to build a bigger reading audience. With WWW's Shari Stauch

    Ned Stuckey-French - An Essayist's Guide to Family Life

    What role does research play in the writing of essays? And how can you make doing that research a family affair, even if your spouse is a novelist and your kids could care less? Ned Stuckey-French - Moving Words: Film, Video, and Digital Essays.

    A revolution has occurred. The world is now digital. A little over a decade ago there was no iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, or Snapchat. How do we write in the 21st Century?

    Katya Taylor - Autobiography in a Nutshell

    Enjoy a bird's eye view of your life journey, with prompts to help you explore the multi-faceted layers. A microscope, a scalpel, a mirror, how do you see the tale?

    Facilitator Katya Taylor has been offering Lifestories classes in the Tallahassee area since 1990. She believes in the "wisdom of the pen" and that "no one can tell your story but you."

    Andrea Wenger - Strategies for Simplifying your Writing

    Clarity is vital to effective communication. The more complicated the material, the more straightforward the writing style should be. This session will explore useful strategies for paring down your writing, including shortening sentences, using proper grammar and punctuation, and choosing simpler, more powerful words.

    Andrea Wenger - Deep Characterization Using Meyers-Briggs Personality Types

    While plot may keep an audience on the edge of their chairs, it's the characters that make readers fall in love with a story. In this workshop, you will discover how to apply the Myers-Briggs personality types to deepen the character development in your fiction. For instance, is your character an introvert or extrovert? Is he a stickler for details, or does he prefer to look at the big picture? Does she consider logic or people first when making a decision? Does he like to plan out his day, of follow opportunities as they arise?

    Find out how you can apply knowledge of the sixteen personality types when developing characters: their strengths, their blind spots, and the potential for conflict with other types. Using a combination of theory and exercises, this fun and interactive workshop will give you yet another tool for bringing your characters to life.


    Each year we present the TWA Conference. Our conference this year is held at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center, in Tallahassee. As we come upon each new conference, we will update you with the exciting news.

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