Afternoon Workshops

The program includes 42 one-hour workshops taught by well-respected industry professionals. You choose your focus—Fiction, Nonfiction, Children's, Platform, Writing Craft, Indie Publishing, and specialties such as screenwriting, greeting cards, and more.

Workshop I

Friday 4:30–5:30pm

#1 FICTION: Flash Fiction

Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf see bio

Learn what flash fiction is, what makes a flash fiction story great (elements like plot, structure, conflict, character development, etc.), and how to condense everything into 1000 words or less. By the end of the workshop, participants will know what it takes to write compelling flash fiction and where they can submit their story.

#2 NONFICTION: The Art of Writing Narrative

Keren Baltzer

Keren Baltzer see bio

In The Art of Writing Narrative, FaithWords senior editor Keren Baltzer will teach you what narrative writing is and what it must do to most effectively reach your reader. You’ll walk away understanding the approach, the craft, and tricks of the trade.

#3 CHILDREN'S: Writing and Formatting Picture Books

Christine Tangvald

Christine Tangvald see bio

Age Groups. Word Counts. Formats. Picture books. Board Books. Die Cuts. Novelty Books. Secrets. Come join our picture Book Adventure as we hop, skip, and jump through dozens of facts you must know to write in this delightful but difficult genre.  I’ll share a few secrets I’ve picked up to hopefully help you jump up into the top 20% of consideration.  I’ll also bring a ton of handouts.  And maybe we can actually brainstorm a picture book in class ... together.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  See you there!

#4 WRITING: The Art of Collaborative Writing

Susanna Aughtmon

Susanna Aughtmon see bio

Use your writing gifts to tell other people's stories. This workshop will explore the process of collaborative writing--from interviewing your co-author all the way through publication. Different types of collaboration--from working with gifted writers to those who don't write at all. How to get into someone else's head and write from their perspective. How collaborative writing can be like writing fiction. And helpful tips about navigating the joys (and craziness!) of collaborative work.

#5 PLATFORM: Authentically Marketing Yourself and Your Writing

Stacy Hawkins Adams

Stacy Hawkins Adams see bio

How can an author build a solid brand, connect with readers, and remain true to his or her writing mission amid the temptation to create sizzle that sells? Explore this question with Stacy and discover the opportunities a solid brand brings to honor God, and not only to strengthen your platform in a manner that resonates with your waiting readers, but also with you.

#6 ADVANCED: Two Agents and a Hopeful Client

Vicki Crumpton

Tim Beals see bio Ann Byle see bio

Credo Communications founder Tim Beals and Credo agent Ann Byle offer an interview-style discussion about what makes a good client, the process of acquiring clients, what clients can expect from an agent, and what not to do to impress potential agents. You’ll come away informed, entertained, and ready to really impress the next agent you meet.

#7 SPECIALTY: Write Your Story for the Screen

Rene Gutteridge

Rene Gutteridge see bio

Have you ever imagined your book as a movie? Do you  feel drawn to screenwriting? In this one hour workshop, discover the technical and artistic details that change the way stories are told on the screen. The class will cover screenwriting basics, adaptation essentials, and behind-the-scenes business know-how's of movie writing. Come join us!

Workshops II

Saturday 1:45–2:45pm

#8 FICTION: Spotlight on Love Inspired

Elizabeth Mazer

Elizabeth Mazer see bio

The Love Inspired program publishes sixteen titles of inspirational romance fiction every month, and is actively looking to acquire new authors. Go behind the scenes with an associate editor to learn about the requirements and guidelines, discover the themes and plotlines that are in the highest demand, get insight into exactly what the editors are and are not looking for, and find out if your story might fit in the Love Inspired line-up.

#9 NONFICTION: From Personal Experience to the Printed Page

Sherri Langton

Sherri Langton see bio

We'll review the effectiveness of story to communicate biblical truth; where ideas come from and which ones to use; how to build strong reader identification; and how to show the action instead of telling about it so the story will come alive to the reader.

#10 CHILDREN’S: The Top 5 Categories for Christian Children’s Books

Catherine DeVries

Catherine DeVries see bio

Go beyond your great book idea to a deeper understanding of the Christian children’s publishing industry. How do book sales break out by category? What are the most popular books? What are the least popular? Discover where the growth opportunities are, as well as watch outs and risks. And learn about another opportunity to get published without landing a book contract.

#11 WRITING: Writing To Include

Joyce Dinkins

Joyce Dinkins see bio

This is an opportunity for writers to participate in the ongoing dialogue about writing for diverse audiences that Dinkins has been engaging in with writers for 25 years. Participation in this dialogue—part fact sharing, part illustration, part Q&A forum, helps participants improve comprehension of diversity and inclusion issues and gain resources as well as techniques for developing content that includes diverse readers. Takeaways will include a lexicon, bibliography of references, ideas for best practices, and networking helps for ongoing publishing conversations. 

#12 PLATFORM: Building Your Wow Factor

Kim Bangs

Kim Bangs see bio

“Platform” is a familiar phrase bantered back and forth in the publishing world. (You might even hear that you can’t get published without one.) Is there a formula that works for everyone to grow their platform? From the perspective of a seasoned acquisitions editor this workshop will dive into what your WOW factor, a sellable platform, should look like. Breaking it down into nitty gritty details: When do you need a platform? When do you need to begin building one? What should that platform consistent of? How do you grow and nurture what you have developed? Will self-publishing help or hurt? In today’s publishing environment perspective authors need to hear the platform story from the other side.

#13 ADVANCED: Breaking Out of the Midlist

Wendy Lawton

Wendy Lawton see bio

Innovative strategies for the writer whose books seem to be consigned to midlist doldrums or those worried there won’t be a next contract offer.

#14 SPECIALTY: The Mailbox Smile (Card Writing 101)

Trieste Van Wyngarden

Trieste Van Wyngarden see bio

In 2010, DaySpring reached its long-term goal of touching one billion lives around the world, through cards, gifts, and social media. This class provides practical information about how especially in today’s world, greeting cards can often open a door into fellowship, discipleship, or evangelism that isn’t often walked through.  You’ll learn the basics of greeting card writing and see examples of some of DaySpring’s most successful cards.

Workshops III

Saturday 3:00–4:00pm

#15 FICTION: The Secrets of Page-Turning Suspense

James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell see bio

A mystery or thriller needs page-turning suspense, because the alternative is a book where readers don’t care what happens next. In this workshop, you’ll learn what pro writers do to keep readers hooked and wanting—needing—to turn the page. From the foundations of a character facing death stakes to the secrets of organic action with no dull parts, this session will give you a tool belt of techniques that you can use for your thrillers ... or any genre, for that matter. Because no novelist wants a reader setting their book aside!

#16 NONFICTION: Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message

Susan King

Susan King see bio

Since the principles for writing great devotionals apply to any Christian writing, the audience for this workshop is all Christian writers. We will focus on the essentials of an effective devotional for the devotional market in general and especially on writing devotionals for The Upper Room—a magazine that reaches millions of readers in more than 100 countries worldwide.

#17 CHILDREN'S: Reaching Boys Through Fiction

Tim Shoemaker

Tim Shoemaker see bio

This is about writing for a tough market … but one of the most rewarding. Learn why it’s smart to target boys with your writing—and the secrets to doing it well. We’ll show you the ten “gotta haves” when writing for boys and the ten “kisses of death.”

#18 WRITING: Creating Your Proposal from a Marketing Perspective

Tawny Johnson

Tawny Johnson see bio

This workshop will explore the varied components of a strong proposal along with tips on how to market that information in order to catch the eye of an agent and/or a publisher. Also, attendees will discover a critical marketing exercise that will take their proposal from blah to brilliant.

#19 SPECIALTY: The 5 Best Practices for Creative Entrepreneurs

Chris Morris

Chris Morris CPA see bio

Most writers don’t exactly get excited about taxes or accounting. 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. A Q&A too.

#20 ADVANCED: Writing Companion Bible Studies

Joanna Weaver

Joanna Weaver see bio

A simple companion study added after publication made Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World a bestseller. Come to this workshop to explore what a companion Bible study is, why you might write one, and when and how to write a companion Bible study.

#21 SPECIALTY: Writer, Worshiper, Warrior

Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti see bio

Writing is no harder than learning to ride a bicycle...on a tightrope...blindfolded...carrying your high school English teacher on your shoulders...while giving birth. King David managed roles of writer, worshiper, and warrior. When those roles were in balance, he knew God's favor and success. When he ignored one or the other of those elements, he failed miserably. What practical benefits can we gain for our writing and our writing life by observing what we know about King David?

Workshops IV

Sunday 1:45–2:45pm

#22 FICTION: Creating a Scene

Tim Shoemaker

Tim Shoemaker see bio

Discover techniques to strengthen your story—one scene at a time. We’ll also look at three elements every scene needs, and three elements for smooth transitions between scenes.

#23 NONFICTION: How to Title Your Book and Carry Its Themes Throughout

Blythe Daniel

Blythe Daniel see bio

There are a lot of misconceptions about titles and themes that sell, and I see a lot of proposals that I'd not be able to sell based on the title and the theme throughout. We would look at examples and talk about the three things that a title must do: 1 – answer a question, 2 – present intrigue, and 3 – deliver a promise. We would also talk about how to make sure you carry out your theme consistently throughout your book – not just in the set-up/introductory chapter.

#24 CHILDREN'S: Secrets to Writing a Great Book Proposal

Sarah Rubio

Sarah Rubio see bio

How many times have you had your proposal completely ignored or sent back to you with a polite “no thank you” letter? Publishers are looking for proposals that are well crafted, engaging, and make a promise that a reader can’t resist. Come learn how to create the kind of proposal that will invite publishers to ask for more. 

#25 WRITING: Writing in the Deep Places of Life

Kelly Harrel

Kelly Harrel see bio

Are you in a hard place in your career? In your life? Do you find that when you sit down to write, your creativity just isn't cooperating? Does your ability to focus and produce get derailed when you hit emotional, physical, or spiritual hard times? In this interactive workshop, Kelly Harrel will share her own testimony of not only persevering but thriving in her writing career while suffering from brain trauma, pain, and depression. She’ll also share tips for keeping creativity flowing and making progress on your goals when life takes an unexpected turn down a difficult path. (If you're not in a hard place right now, join us to develop a game plan for when it does happen!) You'll come away reassured that you're not alone in the struggle, and you’ll be equipped with strategic, practical techniques and tips. 

#26 PLATFORM: Totally Doable Strategies for Growing a Blog

Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp see bio

Overwhelmed by blogging? Whether you’re starting your blog from scratch, or your last post was in 2014, this is the workshop for you. Blogger Kathi Lipp will teach you step by step how to find readers (without begging,) and then keep and grow that audience. You will also learn the steps to creating content that people can’t help but share. Finally, how to use other mediums (podcasting, video and more) to mix things up and keep your audience coming back for more.

#27 ADVANCED: The Complete Book Process

Steve Laube

Steve Laube see bio

This workshop maps out the route a book takes while in-house. Learn from a seasoned agent (and former editor) how the writer can help or hinder the process.

#28 SPECIALTY: How to Fund Your Writing Career

Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth see bio

The pathway to publication is different than it was several years ago. Now it’s possible to do your own inexpensive print run ($1 a book, 70% less than POD). The problem is, how do you come up with the capital to do that print run? And how can you pay for great editing and a professional cover? Enter crowdfunding. Learn all the best practices of crowdfunding from an author who’s run three successful campaigns, including one that brought in over $25,000 for a nonfiction book. This workshop is highly practical. You’ll leave it with a plan of action, knowing what to avoid and how to best communicate your need to a new audience.

Workshops V

Monday 1:45–2:45pm

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

Lori Freeland

Lori Freeland see bio

Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Using this three-part structure to frame your scenes can move the story along and hook readers to turn the page. Knowing what you want the scene to accomplish—the information you need to share, character growth, mood and tone, and the emotions you're trying to invoke in your characters and in your readers—can be a baseline for filling in that frame. Layering each scene with story-telling elements like setting, dialogue, internal thoughts, action, voice cues, expressions, and body language becomes the polish.

#30 NONFICTION: What to Do When You Don’t Have a Platform

Nick Harrison

Nick Harrison see bio

Very few authors like the idea of building a platform. They just want to write. In this workshop we’ll tackle the tough question of what to do when you don’t have a platform (yet!) and how to begin building one as your writing prospers. Although a platform is a huge advantage in finding a publisher, authors without platforms are published every year. The bestselling Christian book of the past few years is by an author without a platform. Do you know what it is and why it was successful? Come and find out.

#31 CHILDREN'S: Writing for Beginning Readers

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman see bio

Writing for beginning readers is challenging! A writer needs to know the guidelines and formulas before tackling this genre. In this session, we will discuss the specific structure and techniques used to write an engaging story with limited vocabulary, short sentences, and dialogue.

#32 WRITING: 7 Truths and 7 Myths About Writing Your Travels

Kay Strom

Kay Strom see bio

Do you love to travel? Are you setting your book in a foreign location? Have you lived in another country?  Served as a missionary?  Backpacked around Europe?  Then you’re probably itching to write about your travels. Maybe even get future travel expenses paid. And get paid for your writing, too!  Is it possible?  Yes, but…  In this workshop we will look at 7 common myths about travel writing, and the corresponding 7 truths.

#33 PLATFORM: Podcasting for Writers

John Vonhof

John Vonhof see bio

Podcasting is a free medium that can expand your platform as a writer and author. Learn how to start a podcast, the tools you need, and a plan to keep recording and build an audience.

#34 ADVANCED: Write Your Novel From the Middle

James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell see bio

Based on the #1 bestselling Amazon writing book, this workshop will teach you a unique method for crafting a powerful, unified novel by way of the "mirror moment" -- a crucial beat that happens right in the middle of great and enduring stories. You'll learn how to discover the true heart of your novel, and how that knowledge brings everything else, from beginning to end, into focus. Best of all, this method can be used at any time during the writing process, whether you like to outline or just wing it as you go. 

#35 SPECIALTY: Best Practices for Self-Publishing Your Book

Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth see bio

There are a wide variety of ways you can independently publish your book—by going with a small press, using a cafeteria plan on a site with conglomerate services, uploading your book to CreateSpace (or something like it) in POD, or doing every aspect yourself. In this workshop, learn all the best practices for creating the kind of book you’ll be proud of. From editing to design, to insider information about promoting your book. You’ll leave this workshop with a treasure chest full of practical tools to become an effective indie author.

Workshops VI

Monday 3:00–4:00pm

#36  FICTION: Historical Research Without the Headaches

Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin see bio

If you want to provide accurate historical details without losing focus on your story, join us to explore principles of conducting research, creative resources to explore, and how to document and organize your material.

#37 NONFICTION: Writing the Book Review

Joseph Bentz

Joseph Bentz see bio

 Why do magazines publish book reviews? How do readers use them? What are editors looking for in a book reviewer? What are the key elements to a good book review? How do you establish yourself as a review? What is the pay? This workshop answers these and other questions with examples and handouts. 

#38 NONFICTION: Devotionals for All Ages

Jon Woodhams

MacKenzie Howard see bio

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.

#39 WRITING: Create a Winning One Sheet

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler see bio

A one-page summary of your book is a crucial tool for selling your work. This session will not only instruct but also give you a working draft of a winning one-sheet. 

#40 ADVANCED: Make the Best Choices for Your Time and Business

Chris Morris

Chris Morris CPA see bio

As your writing business grows, so will its complexity. Knowing where to focus your efforts is vital to your writing and your sanity. How do you know when to hire someone to do something for you? Are there certain things only you should do? This class gives you a decision matrix for these tough choices. Once you take this class, you will know how to find free resources, how to decide when to hire help, and when to do it yourself.

#41 ADVANCED: Online Presence Makeover: Finding Your Place and Voice in the World of Social Media

Joanna Weaver

Joanna Weaver see bio

Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, shares how to make the most of social media by finding what works for you. From cultivating an online community to launching a book campaign, Joanna will share tips and resources that have helped her makeover her online presence.

#42 SPECIALTY: Creating Fight Scenes

Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf see bio

Learn from a former professional stage combat instructor how to block out your fight scenes with another person for maximum believability. 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. 


The General Sessions, Major Morning Tracks, and Afternoon Workshops are professionally recorded and available to conference registrants for purchase at the conference. Thanks to OT Studios of Whittier California. Six or more CDs are $7.00 each, including a free CD case and free shipping. One to five CDs are $8.00 each plus $3.00 shipping per order. A full set of all sessions recorded on MP3 discs or flash drive is $99.00.