Major Morning Tracks

Major Morning Tracks

Choose one of ten comprehensive courses to attend all three mornings: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (unless you’re participating in a Morning Mentoring Clinic). Receive in-depth instruction and guidance from top-notch industry professionals.

Unlike the Morning Mentoring Clinics, you do not need to preregister for a Major Morning Track. Just go to the one you choose on Saturday morning. If you realize in the first session that you’ve chosen the wrong one for you, you may switch to another one. But it’s best not to switch again since each session builds on the ones before it.

FICTION WRITING: Writing Unputdownable Fiction, Robin Patchen

A compelling novel is more than a great plot and sympathetic characters. It’s more than settings that come alive and hooks that grab readers. It’s more than deep POVs and relatable GMCs. From the big picture of plot and characters to the nitty gritty of scene structure and word choice, learn how to create irresistible, compelling, unputdownable fiction that will stay with your readers long after they’ve closed the book. 

NONFICTION WRITING: Write Award-Winning Nonfiction that sells, Lynn Donovan

This track will equip you with the “Five Musts” of the creative writing and editing process for nonfiction. We’ll cover the secrets to writing nonfiction that compels readers into action. Uncover the power of forty-eight minutes, how to self-edit, working with a critique partner and editor, the dos and don’ts of social media, and building your brand. Additionally, you’ll learn how to pitch your book to an acquisitions editor as how to manage your career as a professional author. We will discuss meeting deadlines, handling contracts, and doing radio and television interviews. This track is filled with positive, effective, and powerful writing tools to craft your best story for the kingdom!

MEMOIR/BIOGRAPHY: Turning Personal Experiences into Powerful Stories, Jeanette Hanscome

This track will equip you to get your personal stories written in a compelling way. We will cover the benefits and challenges of writing personal experiences, the importance of reader take-away, how to know when you’re ready to write one for publication, and how to find homes for your stories.

PUBLIC SPEAKING: Developing a Thriving Speaking Ministry, Jennifer Slattery

Through well-crafted, authentic, and transparent presentations, writers can connect deeply with their audiences and foster a hunger for their material. In this track, you’ll learn how to develop and deliver strong presentations, get bookings, and receive call-backs. We’ll discuss how to craft powerful openings, how to reach your listeners’ hearts, how to gain speaking engagements, and how to gain word-of-mouth bookings.

INDIE PUBLISHING: Getting Started, Misty Beller

Learn to create a detailed self-publishing plan and timeline to include the components of publishing and marketing a new release. We’ll cover finding the right members of your publishing team, distribution decisions, creating an effective launch plan, analyzing the results of the launch, writing as a career, and more!

SCREENWRITING: Screenwriting Basics, Bob Saenz and Jeff Willis

This track will get you started in the right direction for screenwriting. We’ll cover all the basics: concept, research techniques, outlining, character development, transitions, action, dialogue, world building, settings, setups and payoffs, format, and protecting your intellectual property. Tips to ease your way into screenwriting and mistakes you can avoid.

ABIDING WRITING: The Joy and Power of Partnering with Jesus, Judy Gordon Morrow

As writers committed to Christ, we are endowed with His Spirit to create the most hope-giving content on earth! John 15 will guide us as we explore what it means to abide in Jesus and how that abiding can transform our writing. This track will combine a wealth of resources from writers of old to present-day examples. Come with an open heart to learn, laugh, and reflect—and bring an empty notebook ready to be filled with enrichment. Let’s discover as a class God’s ordained design for our time together.

CAREER GROWTH: Business Beyond Your Book, Tricia Goyer

This track is for writers who have experienced some publishing success and wish to build their writing into a business. Tricia Goyer will take published fiction and nonfictionwriters through owning their brands, crafting their missions, sharing their stories, building a social media following, growing a tribe, fostering engagement, and choosing next projects. As an author of various types of books, a podcaster, and a blogger, Tricia can give insights into each area. Attendees will work on social media posts and plans in the track. Through interactive lessons, brainstorming, and group activities, participants will leave the conference with actionable steps and practical material to use as soon as they get home from Mount Hermon.

TEEN TRACK: Lori Freeland & Katie Potter

Just for Teens!

Grab your laptop and your imagination and learn how to pull the stories out of your head and put them on the page. Lori and Katie will hit the highlights of story structure, like mapping a solid arc, developing cool characters, creating a logline, and powering up your scenes. We’ll stack your skill set with tools to get inside a character’s head, identify what’s overdone and underdone, and ditch stumbling blocks that turn readers toward TV.


This track is for authors who have already launched a successful or growing writing career and understand the value of networking with other professionals, sharing proven business practices, taking their writing craft to the next level, and recognizing that their creativity is a gift from God, who is always willing to lead and guide us on our journey as writers. What better place to accomplish all that than in the beautiful retreat center setting of Mount Hermon!

With 25- to 40-year careers in publishing—Deb as a fiction and nonfiction writer and freelance editor, and Ken as a children’s book author, illustrator, graphic designer, book formatter, advertising manager, and publisher—we have plenty of experience to share. But if you’ve published three or four books, you have wisdom to share with the group as well. So come prepared to add to the conversation and learn from others as well as from us.

Find out more about this track.

Apply for this track.

You must apply in advance to participate in the Professional Writers Track. Acceptance of application is at the discretion of the leaders. (If you are not a multi-published author with extensive experience in the Christian publishing field, please choose a different track. Other tracks do not require advance application.)

Deadline to apply: March 20, 2020



Other Morning Options

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, or take a prayer walk along one of the beautiful redwood trails, visit the indoor or outdoor prayer labyrinth, 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!