Major Morning Tracks

Seven comprehensive courses to choose from, each one designed with three parts packed with benefits. Included in the basic Main Conference fee.

  • Receive instruction from topnotch industry professionals.
  • Apply some of the principles in your own writing.
  • In an afternoon critique group, Saturday and Monday, share your writing for constructive response and/or brainstorming.

At the conference, choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Major Track Schedule

Saturday, April 8

Sunday, April 9

Monday, April 10


Lecture & Guided Writing

Lecture & Guided Writing

Lecture & Guided Writing


Lecture & Guided Writing


Lecture & Guided Writing


Instructor-guided Critique and Brainstorming Groups with published mentors


Instructor-guided Critique and Brainstorming Groups with published mentors


#1 Getting Started (Or Re-started) as a Published Writer

Jeanette Hanscome  |  Author and Mentor to First-Timers  |  see bio

Jeanette Hanscome

Do you dream of getting published but feel clueless about where to begin? Are you still struggling to find God’s plan for your writing? Maybe you had to put your writing on hold for a while. This workshop will provide the tools you need to begin—or re-begin—your publication journey. You will learn what it takes to be an author in today’s market, and how to take your story from great idea to publishable manuscript. Other topics will include finding your voice, audience, and ideal genre; finding markets for your stories; manuscript and editing basics; understanding the submission process; finding time to write; overcoming rejection and discouragement; and how your writing can benefit from delays and setbacks. Through hands-on exercises and discussions, you will go home equipped to take the next step into a God-honoring career. Bring a story idea and a new notebook.

#2 Your Best Nonfiction Book Now!

Bob Hostetler |   Author—Fiction and Nonfiction  |  see bio

Bob Hostetler

Four hands-on sessions that will help you conceive, craft, rescue, revise, complete—and sell—the best nonfiction book(s) you have in you. 

#3 Get Your Story Straight

Mick Silva  |  Book Coach and Freelance Editor   |  see bio

Mick Silva

Writing fiction demands mastering certain conventional elements--characterization, psychological tension, backstory, action pacing, dialogue, surprising plot twists. But how can you ensure your work stands out with a compelling voice and spiritual/emotional truth? What are the secrets not just to meeting reader expectations but surpassing them? And how can you best develop your writing muscles to take on the hugely demanding requirements of today's competitive market?

#4 Find Your Words in the Father’s Presence

Doug Newton  |  Author; Senior Pastor  |  see bio

Doug Newton

Jesus set the standard for writers when He said: "I do not speak on my own. The Father tells me what to say and how to say it" (John 12:49). Seriously? All those amazing parables (fictional short stories) that change hearts? All those authoritative teachings (non-fiction) that transform minds? All that came from an intimate listening relationship with His Father? If the "Word of God made flesh” had to find His words in His Father's presence, how can we hope to write without a similar process? In this major morning track, you will gain confidence in your co-authorship relationship with God and learn how it works in the realms of reasoning and imagination. Your writing will likely become Spirit-filled and creatively fresh. And the value-added bonus? Your prayer life will never be the same.

#5 The Art and Exercise of Writing for Children

Mona Hodgson |  Author–Children's Books and Novels  |  see bio

Mona Hodgson

This interactive course offers an overview of writing for children from birth to age twelve—books and magazines. Come learn about age group divisions, fiction and nonfiction formats for books and magazines, the skill of writing for children, and much more. Receive marketing information, too.

#6 You Can Write Funny, Even If You're Not

Susanna Aughtmon  |  Author of Humorous Nonfiction  |  see bio

Susanna Aughtmon

Rene Gutteridge  |   Novelist and Scriptwriter  |  see bio

Rene Gutteridge

The device of humor is one of the most effective ways to communicate to a reader. Whether it be through fiction, non-fiction, devotionals, blogs, screenplays, or other forms of writing, humor shoots your message straight to the heart of your reader. In our class, learn how to create moments of humor in your writing, even if you tell a joke as well as Kim Jong Un tells the truth.  We'll discover tricks of the trade humor writers use to create funny moments, and we've designed exercises around each one of our topics, practicing different styles of humor writing while helping you hone your own humorous writing voice. Humor can help build your story, connect at a gut level with your reader and add depth to your writing. Whether you're writing a murder mystery or a Bible study, whether you blog or tell other people's stories, come join two veteran writers and prepare to make yourself, and others, laugh!

#7 Lifestyle Marketing

Mary DeMuth  |  Author–Nonfiction and Fiction  |  see bio

Mary DeMuth

Learn how to market and promote your book in the midst of your everyday life—successfully and joyfully, but without it taking over your life. In this course, you’ll explore the ins and outs of peaceful promotion—how to market and promote without losing your joy or perspective. While you’ll uncover ways you can leverage different platforms, you’ll also discover which methods bring the most ROI (return on investment). Practical and inspiring, this course will help you formulate a you-shaped strategy that is effective and not burdensome. 

Morning Mentoring Clinic

If you have some writing and publishing experience and are ready to deepen your skill in a small-group setting, consider signing up for a Morning Mentoring Clinic instead of a Major Morning Track.

Writing Retreat

If neither of those options is right for you, why not make the Mount Hermon writers’ conference a writing retreat? Start your day in a Prayer & Praise session with Kim Bangs, or take a prayer walk along one of the beautiful redwood trails, or seek divine guidance in the Mount Hermon chapel. Join us for a delicious, healthy breakfast. Then spend the rest of the morning writing whatever God lays on your heart to work on. After lunch, do more writing or take some workshops, meet with the Critique Team, have appointments with faculty members, or enjoy some of the recreational opportunities available to conferees. If you get stuck, spend some time with our Prayer Partners in the chapel. After dinner, be inspired by our evening worship and keynote speaker … or do more writing. You’ll be amazed at how much quality work you’ll get done in this inspiring atmosphere!