July 22-24, 2021


Author Archive

Writing Catchy Dialogue That Rings True

Writing believable dialogue is as important as having a clear beginning, middle, and end of your story. But what makes great dialogue? How do you know when the character is talking too much or too little? How do you distinguish one character from the next without always saying, “she said,” “he said”? Dialogue is a vital skill that all good storytellers must understand. This workshop will present time-tested tips on how to write dialogue that stays etched in the reader’s mind with scene setting, gestures, and conversation tactics that will lift the characters off the page, allowing the work to sing.

Secrets of Plotting Success

For some writers, the notion of “plotting” is right up there with pulling teeth. Yet for others, it promises to open a doorway leading toward a secret garden of knowledge harvested by established pros who aren’t sharing the secrets that await. When framed improperly—leaning into oversimplification while offering the notion that it is optional (which it is most certainly not)—plotting and its misunderstood bodyguard called story structure can seem more like limits and rules than the liberating gears of momentum and dramatic tension they are designed to be. Plotting and structure are essential core competencies in novels that don’t simply just work. They are the magic dust that allows stories to soar.

The bottom line is this: Plotting and structure may not be what you’ve been led to believe they are. This workshop, once and for all, sets aside the casual dismissal and will help you get this right.

In this session you’ll:

  • Learn the basic core principle upon which all plot structures are derived.
  • Learn why structure is a writer’s best friend, leading you toward the dramatic elements that make a story soar.
  • Understand how and why plotting and structure are process-neutral… they work whatever your story development process looks like.
  • Learn to interpret the writing conversation on this topic to avoid confusion, cynicism, and doubt.
  • Learn how to manage complex plotting within your process, and thus, how to enjoy the process.
  • See the magic of plot and structure at work within bestselling novels you may know.

You’ll come away with a list of targets and criteria for your unfolding plot to use as you please, how you please.

10 Tips for a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal

Writers who followed the advice in The Weekend Book Proposal have earned well over $1 million in advances with their nonfiction book proposals. This presentation reveals some of my–and their!–best tips for making YOUR nonfiction book proposal stand out and get noticed by industry gatekeepers. We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A at the end, too, to address specific questions from the audience.

The Filthy Topic of Coin: Financial Considerations for Writers

Writing is a tough profession, and many writers make it tougher on themselves by not thinking about the financial side. Can you make a living writing? How much will your book advance be? How do royalties work? What’s a good freelance rate? What fresh hell are “quarterly taxes”? All these questions and more will be addressed as author Jeff Somers walks through the basics and beyond when it comes to making money as a writer.

How to Save a Character From a Drowning Story

As writers, we’ve all experienced that moment when it becomes painfully clear that the story we’re working on just isn’t. We’ve tried to twist and bend it this way and that, but we’ve come to the end of the rope on the manuscript and have to let go. But what if the character/protagonist won’t let go of you? What if the character continues to haunt you and you simply cannot give up on them? Here’s how to rescue a great protagonist from a less than great story and not end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This presentation will offer actionable tips for ways to salvage the “good” from a story before hitting DELETE.