2017 Workshops


Making a Difference through Writing

Keynote Address, Friday, October 13 - Marcel “Fable” Price and Rachel Gleason

Impassioned spoken-word poets and emphatic performers Marcel Price and Rachel Gleason will discuss the importance of creating partnerships in a community to bridge the gap between artists and organizations. 

Following the discussion, Marcel and Rachel will energize the audience with dynamic spoken-word performances. The evening will conclude with an interactive exercise to encourage unity and empathy and to inspire writers and artists to think beyond their own perspectives.

Don’t miss this exhilarating keynote address! It’s the perfect preparation for a day of learning, sharing, and growing as writers, authors, and artists.


The IT Factor: Don’t Let Perfection Paralyze You From Reaching Your Dreams

We all get 86,400 seconds each day, but what each person does with that time is significantly different. In this session, Dr. Damon F. Arnold will teach you how to turn your past experiences into your future successes as well as how to discover your IT.

According to Dr. Arnold, you can live in a world that you dream of. You are more than capable of making your dreams become a reality. You can no longer believe the lie that YOU are not enough because YOU are more than enough. You must understand that you don’t have to be perfect to get started, and after attending this session, YOU will no longer allow the constraints of perfection to paralyze YOU.

Dr. Arnold will encourage participants to restructure their thinking because certain things won’t fit in their lives anymore. He will also inspire you to create a vision for your life beyond your current circumstances.


In a Flash! Tips for Writing the Memorable, Compressed Fiction and Nonfiction Editors Seek


Flash writing is at the forefront of exciting literary trends in writing and publishing. More than ever, editors and readers are excited by the prospect of dynamic, focused writing that fits easily into space-limited print journals and that matches the faster pace of readers’ attention spans. How do you write a complete, stand-alone piece in a few hundred (or far fewer!) words? In this teleconference workshop with Melanie Faith, students will learn tips for compression, ways to craft a dynamic setting and characterization on the skinny, and techniques for drawing short pieces to satisfying closures. Writers will receive handouts on various flash topics with specific, craft-related exercises. We will look at an example or two of good flash and discuss the elements and techniques that work well and that writers may try in their own future drafts. Questions are welcome.


Show & Tell: Finding Material for and Bringing Energy to Memoir


Memoir is not autobiography. It is not the entire story of your life. It’s the smaller, even little pieces of your life, the grappling with what it meant then (even if it was yesterday), and what it means now that create a knowing–a universal experience for the reader. Joy Gaines-Friedler challenges participants with questions: What can you remember that has something to do with rain? How about a first kiss or the day your best friend died? What can you remember that has something to do with shoes? Objects in particular contain a colorful quilting of memory–things make up the stories of our lives. In this workshop with  will look around our rooms, look around our lives, and find materials that can be turned into short memoir. By the end of this session you will have at least a dozen memories that can be turned into flash memoir or longer pieces. Should you already be working on a memoir, this workshop will show you how to enrich your telling by combining it with more vivid showing. You’ll learn how to mine your potential stories with examples of flash memoir and snippets of vivid writing from book-length memoir.


Journalism 2020: A Fresh Take


What will the state of journalism be in the year 2020? Will fake news still exist? Will radio and TV change even more? And what about the state of print and online news? Is there a new media emerging? Entertainment journalist John Gonzalez of MLive Media Group offers a fresh take on these questions and more


Picture Books: Breaking into Writing and Illustrating for Children

Ryan Hipp will provide an in-depth, top-to-bottom tour of navigating his 12 years making a living creating works for children and surviving in a bunny-eat-bunny profession. From what it takes to getting your portfolio on top of the stack to what every writer needs to know before submitting a manuscript, Ryan will share common mistakes you can avoid and promises to deliver secrets that helped him get to where he is today.


How to Get On and Perform On the Air – For Authors of All Genres


Do you want to sell more books on TV and radio shows? This media-training course with Brian Jud will show you how to get on more shows and how to appear confident while delivering your message convincingly with both words and actions. Learn how to use memory techniques if your mind goes blank, discover proven techniques to use when taking calls from listeners, and find new ways to improve your telephone interviews for radio shows. You will also learn how to become the perfect television guest by using your body language, gestures, and facial expressions strategically and confidently.


Supportive Small Writing Groups Motivate and Inspire

For many writers, a small writing group is excellent motivation to keep writing. It provides an audience, constructive and useful feedback, and the psychological boost of being known as a writer. Watch a live demo of members of a small writing group sharing their work, providing constructive feedback, and keeping each other on task. Tips on starting your own group will also be provided. Facilitator: Gloria Klinger


Murder in the Stacks: Writing and Selling True Crime


True crime, as one New York literary agent said recently, is “having a moment.” Thanks to The Making of a Murderer, the ID Channel, and popular podcasts, the audience for true crime is growing. The good news for writers is that people who read true crime read a lot of it. So, how can you find a case to write about and do it accurately and with flair? How can you sell it to a publisher? Learn inside tips from an award-winning author who built a career doing just that. Mardi Jo Link’s workshop will show you how to choose a case readers want to read about, where to find records, and how to plot your true story from beginning to end.


Power Tools for Your Writing Toolbox


No matter where you are in your writing journey, powerful technology tools can boost your performance. Led by Sarah McElrath, this workshop will focus on Scrivener, a writing software, as well as on creating online trailers to market your writing. We will discuss advantages and disadvantages and talk about the best ways to learn and use these tools in your writing process. Constructed to be flexible to accommodate all skill levels, this workshop encourages audience participation, sharing of experiences, and questions.


Poetry in Motion: Networking, Community, Collaboration, and Supporting Local


Are you comfortable with writing but struggling with how to network? Do you feel stuck in the past and uncertain of how to optimize social media as a writer? Are you maximizing all your local resources or having issues finding out what your local resources are? Do you struggle with finding collaborative partners and feeling like you are hitting a wall when it comes to looking outside of the box?

This workshop might just be for you! Talk with Marcel “Fable” Price and learn how to use what’s right around you to further your craft. This workshop is all about thinking outside the box.


Your Story Needs a Skeleton


Whether you’re an outliner or a pantser, one thing is certain: your story needs structure. In this workshop with teacher and writer J.R. (Joe) Roper, you will discuss the major story elements and where to place them to keep your pacing just right and the reader turning pages well into the night.


Turning Family Stories into Fiction


How can fictional stories originate from actual events or family legends? For example, did your sister hold guns for the Detroit mob in the 1930s?  Fred Sanderlin will show you how to take stories that jog your creative mind and use literary license in dramatic retelling. Fred will share strategies and questions to help access your family stories and give them narrative pathways.


Get Close to Your Readers through Point of View (Fiction)


How do you know what point of view best serves your story or novel? The goal in selecting a point of view is not simply finding a way to convey information. Rather, it is being able to tell the story in the most effective way. Through reading, discussion, and an in-session exercise with Linda Sienkiewicz, you’ll explore point of view, how readers relate to a narrator, and how you can get the response you want from your readers.


What’s So Funny? How to Add Humor to Writing. 


Join Angela Sweet-Christian in an analysis of why writing is funny in order to better understand how and when to add humor to writing of all genres. We will analyze humor in scripts, poetry, children's writing, memoir, travel writing, fantasy, science fiction, horror/suspense, romance, and more if time allows. This workshop will also provide an opportunity to enter The New Yorker magazine cartoon caption contest. 


Overcoming Glossophobia—the Fear of Public Speaking


Do you shy away from opportunities to speak in public? Do you fear giving presentations? Does the mere thought of public speaking increase your heart rate and awaken the butterflies in your stomach? If so, you might be suffering from glossophobia—the fear of public speaking.

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but if your goal is to have your work published, you need to conquer your fear of public speaking. Authors are often asked to do radio interviews, television appearances, book signings, and presentations. If you want to sell books, you need to be able to say yes to such invitations.

In this workshop, Janet Vormittag will reveal how she defeated the fear and give tips on what you can do to help calm the nerves.