Novel to TV series | Screenwriter Nina Sadowsky | MWW17

Midwest Writers Workshop 2017 is offering a NEW Part I Intensive Session on “Screenwiriting,” and we’re pleased to welcome screenwriter and novelist Nina Sadowsky.

This class will provide an in-depth overview of writing for film and television. A mixture of lecture, in-class exercises and screenings will give the participants an understanding of how material is pitched, developed and produced in Hollywood as well as tips for successful screenwriting.

Spots to Nina’s intensive session are limited and we expect this one to fill up fast.

Register now!

A New York City native, Nina R. Sadowsky is an entertainment lawyer (in recovery) who has worked as a film and television producer and writer for most of her career.  Just Fall, published by Ballantine in March 2016 is her first novel, and is now in development as an original series for STARZ. She has written numerous original screenplays and adaptations and done rewrites for such companies as The Walt Disney Company, Working Title Films, and Lifetime Television.

She served as President of Production for Signpost Films, a film financier and foreign distributor, where she worked on such projects as the Academy Award nominated “The House of Sand and Fog,” starring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. Prior to joining Signpost, she served as President of Meg Ryan’s Prufrock Pictures for over five years. During her tenure, Prufrock landed first look feature deals with Fox 2000 and Castle Rock Entertainment and an overall long-form television deal with Polygram/Universal Television.

Sadowsky served as executive producer for the hit film “The Wedding Planner,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey for Intermedia and Sony, produced “Desert Saints,” an independent film starring Kiefer Sutherland which premiered on Cinemax, and has served as executive director for numerous other films.

She is also currently serving as adjunct faculty at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts program, teaching both writing and producing. Her students have been the recipients of many awards and accolades including best scripted series at the College Television Awards and inclusion in the Cannes Film Festival Shorts Corner. Sadowsky is also currently serving as a mentor for the Humanitas Prize’s New Voices Program, and is a member of Humanitas’ Woolfpack, an organization of women writers, directors and showrunners.

MWW: What’s it feel like to have your debut novel being adapted for a television series?

NS: It’s thrilling that we sold Just Fall to STARZ, particularly as premium cable allows creators to push the limits. I’m especially excited that the network wanted me to write the pilot as they felt the work was so particular to my voice. As far as I know, the title will remain the same. And I wish I had a timetable, but I don’t!

MWW: You’ve said the opening scene of your psychological thriller was inspired in real life when your husband was lying in bed with one arm flung over his head. You imagined him dead, just for a moment. Why do you think people like yourself, a happily married woman and a mother, write and read dark, crime-filled stories?

NS: Actually, I am a mother of a 21 year old daughter and a 18 year old son and stepmother to other kids (one girl, one boy) now 22 and 20 years old. And the incident you correctly describe happened shortly after we blended the two families (the kids were all teenagers then).  Blending the family created all kinds of tensions between my husband and I that we never anticipated.  We believed “love will beget love” and were gobsmacked when our rosy predictions weren’t fulfilled. It got me thinking about all the couples who throw themselves into love and marriage and then have to get past the romantic idealism and slog through whatever real life throws at them.  In writing Just Fall, I wanted to take those very ordinary, universal feelings and inflate them to a thriller level.  As to why I like to write or read about crime, it comes from my desire to understand human nature.  Why we connect with other people. Why we don’t. Why societies create norms of behavior and what it means to an individual to step out of those norms. When is it right to do the wrong thing? Wrong to do the right thing? I’m trying to make sense of the confusing moral world that surrounds us and I think readers are too.

MWW: What are some ways your work as a film and television producer have influenced your novels? Might novelists benefit from learning screenwriting techniques in your course at MWW as well?

NS: I’d say the biggest influence is in the way I start any scene. I close my eyes and I think about what each production department would need to do in order to bring a scene to life. What are people wearing? What’s the quality of the light? What does the location look like and how do its details reveal something about the characters in the production design? These questions help me envision any scene for a book or a screenplay in a way that serves the narrative.  It’s my philosophy as a film maker that every inch of the frame should contribute to the story, so I think similarly about writing a scene in a book. Every element should be meaningful to furthering character, plot, theme and/or story. And I definitely think novelists can learn from screenwriting techniques. While film and television have highly codified and specific structures, good storytelling is good storytelling!

MWW: Just Fall seemed to be about taking risks as a writer, from the overall structure, to the sentence structure, to setting description, to characters that behave in unexpected ways. Do you have a tip or five on why authors wanting to break in or break out should take risks?

NS: Truth be told, when I started Just Fall, my sole hope was to finish it. It was a personal exercise borne out of the personal marital tension I was wrestling with as well as some frustration with the film and TV business. Because my expectations were so minimal, I felt very free. I played with structure partly because I wanted to shuck off the highly rigid structures of film and TV. I also wanted to play with structure as a way of revealing character, as opposed to solely using it to advance plot.  I subverted the stereotypes common to the thriller genre like the “damsel in distress.” I describe the writing of the novel as sort of a “howl,” one that came from a very deep place. No one was more shocked than I was when I exposed the book and very quickly found myself selling it to Ballantine/Random House!  I think one must always take risks.  Writing for the “perceived market” or writing something to which one doesn’t feel authentically connected is in my mind a mistake. Be bold or go home!

MWW: Tell us something distinctive about your writing process?

NS: I create an index card for every scene or chapter with a one line description about the scene. This reminds me to keep the main thing the main thing when I go to write.

MWW: As an adjunct professor in screenwriting at UCLA, what mistakes do students make? Besides reading Just Fall, is there a craft book you recommend your MWW students read in preparation for your course?

NS: I love SAVE THE CAT, which is a great primer on structure. Also when writing for film and TV one must adhere to proper format (if no other reason than improper formatting pegs you as an amateur). And if my students can read Just Fall before the course, I will be able to discuss how we approached its adaptation for TV.

MWW: Anything you would like to add?

NS: I’m looking forward to the MWW!

Quick hits:

1) Plotter or pantser (no pre-planning)?

A bit of both. I start usually with a theme and a visual and then begin to work up characters. I rewrite myself constantly, rewriting the last day’s work before I start on the new day’s work. And outline only once I’m deep into the first draft.

2) Critique group/hired editor or go it alone?

I have a couple of trusted readers, but my brilliant editor at PRH is the one I rely on the most.

3) Scrivener writing software, Microsoft Word or other?

Microsoft Word

4) Early bird or night owl?

Best in the morning, but can write all day and night if on a deadline!

5) Fast, messy drafter or slow and methodical?

Fast. Gut it out. Don’t obsess on every word. Writing is rewriting!

 

NOW AVAILABLE from Ballantine/Random House
Just Fall

COMING SOON also from Ballantine/Random House

The Burial Society

www.ninarsadowsky.com

https://www.facebook.com/nina.sadowsky

https://twitter.com/sadowsky_nina

Build a Better Plot with Shirley Jump | MWW Ongoing | Starts March 27

Our aim at MWW Ongoing is to bring you the highest quality of online courses. Shirley Jump’s 2-week course, BUILD A BETTER PLOT, is next up and sure to benefit all fiction writers, no matter your genre or writing experience. Registration is open now and the class starts MONDAY, MARCH 27th. 

 

About the Instructor
New York Times and  USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance so she can avoid the towering stack of dirty dishes, eat copious amounts of chocolate and reward herself with trips to the mall. She’s published more than 60 books in 24 countries. Look for her all-new novella in the anthology ASK ME WHY (with Marie Force, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas), as well as her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, and her Fortune’s Island series, starting with AND THEN FOREVER. Visit her website at www.ShirleyJump.com for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/shirleyjump.author for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.

Here’s our Top 10 List about Shirley:
From 2006 to 2012, Shirley taught a monthly Real Life writing group at Barnes & Noble, and she has taught dozens of online courses since. She has extensive information to share.

 
If high energy and positivity, combined with a down-to-earth approach, is your thing, you will really appreciate Shirley!

 

Some writers just ask more questions than others and Shirley is one of the most open writers with sharing her secrets with her students.

 

If you like structured lessons to review later, Shirley is the handout queen and each one is like a mini lesson.

 

Plus, she loves rescue animals, and has also honed herself into an athlete who competes in triathlons.

 

A journalist from the age of 11, Shirley learned to write full-length fiction through writing and it didn’t come easy. So she has developed techniques and resources to help others do the same. Just call her the “novel whisperer.”

 

She’s read about every writing craft book there is and brings all that knowledge to her classes, which means you may learn of more resources to delve into after this class.

 

In 2010, her keynote speech, “The Quitting Story” kicked off Midwest Writers Workshop Part 2 and she developed an immediate following there. She has known struggles, and seen triumph. (Ten manuscripts were rejected before that first sale.)

 

Along with the instructional sessions, Shirley will actively engage through our private Facebook page specifically for this class.

 

With 67+ books published for multiple publishers in her career, Shirley’s help in nailing the concept of GMC in this course, (Goal, Motivation and Conflict,) will not only positively impact your current story but all your future stories as well!

 

We’re so very pleased that MWW Ongoing is offering the opportunity to learn online from Shirley. At just $75, it’s a bargain. This will be interactive with the chance to see clear cut examples. Shirley sometimes invites students to provide ideas from their works in progress. With a short amount of the student’s information, Shirley is able to shed light on what isn’t working in a story–or simply knows ways to make the writing stronger.

* * * If you’ve ever wished for a brainstorming session with a published author with a talent for turning stories into publishing contracts, you owe it to yourself to register for Shirley’s class!

REGISTER HERE!

Streetlight Magazine interviews MWW Director

MWW alum and MWW Plus member Karol Lagodzki recently joined the staff of Streetlight Magazine (www.streetlightmag.com) as an outreach coordinator. Streetlight is a small-to-mid-size literary and arts magazine which started as a print publication in the Charlottesville, VA, area, but has since migrated entirely to the web.

As outreach coordinator, Karol defines one of his roles as providing writers with resources and with references to resources available elsewhere. This includes Streetlight’s own literary contests and opportunities to get published, as well as external resources for improving one’s craft and marketing finished work.

Since Karol enjoyed his first experience at MWW16 so much, he asked to interview me so that Streetlight’s readers could learn more about Midwest Writers and the enduring benefits it offers.

After I attended the Midwest Writers Workshop this summer, I made a vow to write about it. I had gone to other writing conferences, but this one felt different. Warmer, helpful. Permanent. As a dutiful outreach coordinator whose mission is to offer writers opportunities to publish and improve their craft, I reached out to Jama Kehoe Bigger, the long-term director of the workshop.

Jama didn’t disappoint. The warmth and enthusiasm which will envelop you as you read on is the same whether conveyed in writing, from a podium or in a conversation.

Read the interview here.

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward | Message from MWW Director

Hello writers!

Well, here we are. 2016 is over and done. 2017 is beginning.

And, of course, folks everywhere are reflecting on our year and thinking about what the New Year will bring. Me, too.

Here’s what I ask:

Step 1: What Went Well?

Whether you write it down, or just think about it in your head, ask yourself, “What went well?”

It may be hard to remember everything. Especially if you’re not a detailed note-taker or journal-writer.

So, what I recommend is thinking about things by month. “What did I do in January? What went well? What did I do in February? What went well?”

What’s important about this exercise is this: don’t just think about huge successes. Think about the little successes, too.

Maybe you came to Midwest Writers Workshop for the first time… and met a new friend.

Maybe you wrote a blog post you never wrote before… and people loved it.

Maybe you wrote a manuscript and got a ton of new ideas.

Maybe you wrote a query letter or pitched to an agent.

Whatever the case, think about the wins. Big wins. And little wins.

Then, move to step 2…

Step 2: Can I Do It Again?

At this point, it’s natural to think about “What went well.” And follow up with “What went wrong?”

But don’t concentrate on the negative stuff. Instead, think about what went well…and ask yourself, “Can I do it again?”

In 2010, I started writing a daily “Happy Day Moment” on my personal Facebook page.

The reaction from others, the discipline of seeing the positive, the mantra of “living with gratitude” went really well. I noticed it, almost immediately. Then I asked myself, “Can I do it again?” And then, I created a Happy Day Moment Page where I post a daily word of encouragement/support/inspiration.

This is important.

You see, everyone always thinks about what went well, and moves directly to what went wrong.

Resist that urge.

Instead, think about what went well. And then ask yourself if you can do it over and over and over again.

Because if it went well once…

…it can go well again.

So, here’s what I want you to do:

Today, take some time to think about what went well for the year that was 2016.

And then, think about whether or not you can do it again.

And then, tell me about it.

Leave a comment on this blog post right here. Write the comment like this:

Hi, I’m [Name]. And I write [insert]

What Went Well:
[Insert What Went Well]

Can I Do It Again?:
Yes, I can. [And here’s how I plan to do it.]

Go leave the comment now.

Let the good things of 2017 begin.

 

Your writing cheerleader,

Jama Kehoe Bigger, MWW Director

 

 

Brand Secrets from Publicist Dana Kaye | MWW Ongoing | Starts Dec. 7

MWW Ongoing is pleased to offer a new, exclusive 4-week course:

YOUR AUTHOR BRAND

with Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity, Inc.

Author of Your Book, Your Brand

Registration Available Wednesday, December 7th

MWW Ongoing Logo 600px wide

“I wholeheartedly recommend Dana Kaye’s Your Book, Your Brand. In the years I’ve known and worked with Dana, her ideas and strategies have been pragmatic, effective and cost efficient. I count her as an amazing and essential resource for my clients and the agency. I plan to buy this book by the carton and distribute it not just to clients but to my writer friends as well.”

— Janet Reid, of queryshark.blogspot.com, Agent at Fine Print Literary

Brighten your winter with must-see tips on author branding from Dana Kaye, the highly-respected publicist and founder of Kaye Publicity.

This 4-week online study with content exclusively created for the MWW community is for all authors, regardless of where they are in the publishing process. Authors will receive guidance on understanding, the importance of branding and how it applies to them. Aspiring authors will learn how to establish their brand prior to publishing their first book and veteran authors will learn how to create an author brand that embodies the scope of their work in a compelling, memorable way.

Register now and receive the first lesson December 7th and each subsequent class on the following three Wednesdays. Or feel free to join any time through January, and catch up with the classes on your own schedule.

Why is this course important?

Readers (and publishers) are risk averse. They want to know what they’re going to get before they buy. According to Nielsen’s PubTrack Consumer Survey, the #1 reason consumers purchase a book is because they like the author. The #2 reason is that they enjoyed other books in that series. These readers account for 60% of all readers surveyed. So how does a debut or midlist author build a readership? By establishing a favorable, memorable author brand.

What will this course cover?

This course will take you through each step of the branding process, from creation to establishing that brand online. You’ll form a brand summary and tagline, identify which online platforms are ideal for launching your brand, develop a content strategy, and learn how to cultivate relationships online. Lectures include:

  • Branding Workshop
  • Online Platforms
  • Content Strategy
  • Community Building

Students registering for this course will have access to a private Facebook group: MWW + Your Author Brand. The group provides a private place for you to ask questions and have conversations with each other. You’ll receive an invite to join this private Facebook group within a few days of registering. Stay connected and form a writing community with others in the course.

Hint: Our students say that receiving the course weekly is motivating and makes participating in our Facebook group a bit more focused. So sign up now, and we think you’ll be glad you did. That said, we know it’s a busy time and when you sign up is not as important as just making sure that you don’t miss this class.

Cost: $150

You won’t want to miss this instruction. Spend your winter time wisely and develop your brand in time for spring or sooner.

REGISTER HERE TODAY!

Who is Dana Kaye?

dana-kaye-for-publicityDana Kaye is a veteran publicist, social media pro, and brand manager. In 2009, she founded  Kaye Publicity, Inc., a boutique PR company specializing in publishing and entertainment. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she coaches her clients on how to identify and establish their unique personal brands. Kaye is also the author of  Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales, published by Diversion Books, and founder of Branding Outside the Box, an online platform that coaches users on how to establish their personal brands.

MWW friends & past faculty in anthology: Not Like the Rest of Us

ANNOUNCING …

Indiana Writers Center has a publication for the book lovers on your holiday gift list! Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary  Indiana Writers  features stories, poems, and essays more than 75 Indiana writers, including MWW past faculty and friends:

Kelsey Timmerman, “The Labors of Our Fathers”

Cathy Day, “Not Like the Rest of Us: A Hoosier Named Cole Porter”

Philip Gulley, “The Hoosier Identity”

Barbara Shoup, “Working a Jigsaw”

Eugene Gloria, “Alfonso Street”

Karen Kovacik, “Assemblage: Lake County”

David Shumate, “Bringing Things Back From the Woods”

Kevin Stein, “The Tragedies”

Lucrecia Guerrero, “Rings”

Michael Martone, “Contributor’s Notes”

Susan Neville, “Jubilee”

Jill Christman, “That’s What You Remember [An Essay in Third Person]”

Mark Neely, “Extremist Sonnet”

Sean Lovelace, “Elvis Presley Visits His Red Harley”

 

This is a great read for the coming wintry days. Now at a special holiday price! Purchase copies for your friends (and one for yourself)!

 

Gift certificates for all the writerly things

The Write Gift — write here, write now

Gift certificates for all the writerly things

Every writer wants to get better, and the best way to do that is in a supportive, welcoming community. That’s why Midwest Writers Workshop is now offering gift certificates in any amount. Nudge the writer in your life to take that next step.

Order your  gift certificate HERE!

We will snail mail you a personalized certificate, good for one year from purchase date, that can be applied towards any of our offerings, including:

  • MWW Ongoing (online classes and webinars)
  • Membership in MWW Plus, which offers discounts on all learning opportunities–webinars, workshops, online classes, and mentoring services–plus other benefits exclusive to the MWW Plus Community
  • Our 2017 Midwest Writers Workshop (held July 20-22) — apply to Part I, Part II, or both
  • Workshop extras: manuscript evaluations, query critique, head shots, and other professional appointments offered as part of MWW
  • MWW merchandise offered for sale at our events
  • Mini Workshops (1-2 offered per year) — watch our website and our E-pistle for details about the next one, coming up on March 18
  • and more.

Check out this great faculty for our 44th summer workshop! And pass along to your writer friends.

AUTHORS:

  • John Gilstrap – author of the best-selling Jonathan Grave suspense thriller novels
  • Jess Lourey – author of the Lefty-nominated Murder-by-Month mysteries and Rewrite Your Life
  • Amy Reichert – author of women’s novels The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Love, Luck & Lemon Pie, and The Simplicity of Cider
  • Melissa Marino – author of women’s novel So Twisted
  • Becky Albertalli – author of the award-winning young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited
  • Angie Thomas – author of the young adult novel The Hate U Give
  • Mike Mullin – author of the young adult Ashfall Series
  • Mardi Jo Link – author of the memoirs The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond Time and Chance and Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm
  • Ruth McNally Barshaw – author and illustrator of children’s books including the Ellie McDoodle diaries
  • Nina Sadowsky – screenwriter, producer, and author of romantic psychological novel Just Fall
  • Dee Romito – author of middle grade novel, The BFF Bucket List, and guru for Scrivener writing software
  • Sarah Cannon – author of middle grade novel Oddity
  • Bronwen Dickey – contributing editor at The Oxford American and the author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon
  • Ashley Ford – essayist, co-editor of the anthology with Roxane Gay, and featured opening writer on Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl book tour
  • Brenda Drake – author young adult novels and creator of #PitchWars Contest
  • Kelly O. Stanley – author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray, and graphic artist
  • Rena Olsen – author of thriller novel The Girl Before
  • D.E. Johnson – author of the Detroit-based Will Anderson historical mystery series, The Detroit Electric Scheme named one of Booklist’s Top Ten First Crime Novels
  • Matthew Clemens – co-author with Max Allen Collins of the Reeder and Rogers thriller series
  • Holly Miller – nonfiction writer and author of Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes

AGENTS:

EDITORS:

INDUSTRY EXPERTS:

  • Jane Friedman – 20 years in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers
  • Dana Kaye – Dana Kaye Publicity

 

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Make Your Online Writing Pay | Jane Friedman | Oct 10

Learn how to become a better online writer and monetize your work

Starting Monday (Oct. 10), Jane Friedman is teaching a new online course—“Make Your Online (and social media) Pay” through MWW Ongoing—that helps you learn how to market and promote yourself through online writing—as well as what it takes to monetize your online work. It’s a 4-week course ($200) that’s suitable for all types of authors, especially those who want to develop a long-term strategy for their online platform and creative work.

REGISTER HERE!

This course is for both unpublished and published book authors who wonder what they could or should be doing to market and promote themselves through online writing—whether that’s blogging, guest blogging, micro-publishing through social media, or contributing to sites such as Medium, The Huffington Post and other large clearinghouses of content.

The challenge for most book writers is that they haven’t had any professional experience or training in writing short pieces (or even social media posts!) that are ultimately skimmed quickly in online environments—particularly mobile environments. Writers have heard that blogging, or producing content for social media sites, can be an effective way to build a readership, but don’t understand how that happens especially when they have no audience and are unpublished.

This course helps authors make themselves and their work more visible through strategically written online pieces that get distributed and marketed to the right audiences in order to develop their author platform and build a readership over the long-term of their careers.

This course is about making your online writing efforts, especially those with a marketing intent, have a measurable and meaningful payoff—whether for your website/blog, social media, or someone else’s site. We’ll look at content strategies, measurement tools, marketing and promotion tactics, and specific ways to make your online content put money in your pocket.

Week 1: Best Practices of Online Writing and Blogging

  • Welcome from Jane
  • A Big-Picture Preface Before We Begin
  • Basic Principles of Online Writing
  • Blogging Basics (is it for you?)
  • 7 Principles of Good (Professional) Blogging
  • Don’t Forget the Important Role of Your Website

Week 2: Understanding Search Engine Optimization

Week 3: Marketing and Promoting Your Blog or Online Writing

Week 4: Monetizing Your Blog or Website

The Course That Helped Me Write My First Novel

by Gail Werner

gail-werner-photoThree years ago this month, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post from my friend Cathy Day, an English professor at Ball State. It detailed her decision to offer her novel writing class online to anyone wanting to follow along.

Reading this news, I felt my pulse quicken. This is it, Gail, I told myself. This is your sign.

Except, it couldn’t be. Not when I had a 11-month-old son at home, a job at Ball State keeping me busy, and a photography business that was going strong.

I didn’t have time for signs, and yet something in my gut re-enforced what I knew was true: If I let the moment pass, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.

With shaking fingers, I signed up, not knowing it was a move that would forever tilt my creative compass true north.

Over the weeks that followed, I read through the half-dozen books Cathy assigned on her syllabus. I dove into each with a zeal I hadn’t experienced since journalism school. It was intoxicating learning something new again, especially something I was so passionate about—learning how to write a book!

Using the skills I picked up that semester, I went on to finish my first novel. Ever since, I’ve kept going: reading more, writing more, learning more. Today I’ve reached the point where I’ve completed my second novel and am now querying agents, hoping one of them wants to help me publish my work.

Often times when I tell people I’ve written a book, they get a dreamy look in their eyes and admit they want to write one, too. What I always want to say (but haven’t until now) is writing a novel is almost impossible without learning a bit of craft first.

Which is why I’m elated to announce, in partnership with Midwest Writers Workshop and its new MWW Ongoing online courses and webinars, Cathy is offering another introductory novel-writing class this fall!

“It’s Time to Start Your Novel” will span four weeks beginning October 1 and is meant for anyone who’s ever thought, “I think I have a novel inside me.” (Newsflash: If you’re thinking this, it probably means you do.)

The cost is $150 and I promise (from the very bottom of my heart), it’s worth every penny.

What you’re about to learn from Cathy is what’s true of any goal worth pursuing—you’re gonna need time and preparation to tackle it. Consider this class your first step.

Or, as Cathy describes it:

“Think of ‘It’s Time to Start Your Novel’ as a cooking course in which you spend the first class cleaning the kitchen and prepping the ingredients. Think of it as a marathon-running course in which you spend the first class buying a good pair of shoes. Your chances of drafting an entire novel (maybe for National Novel Writing Month?) increase exponentially when you spend some time preparing yourself for the journey ahead.”

All of that makes sense, right? So I’m wrapping up this post hoping this opportunity finds a few brave souls yearning for the same creative challenge I was that afternoon I found Cathy’s Facebook post. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how all of the work and second-guessing would be worth it to chase the creative high I’d experience as a result.

If you have specific questions about the course—which will cover topics like how to develop a writing regimen, along with how to create characters and scenes for your future novel—send them my way. You can also ask about signing up for Midwest Writers Workshop 2017 or, better yet, find out how to become a member of our new MWW Plus to get a 10-percent discount on Cathy’s class along with future webinars and workshops MWW has to offer!

So come on then … take this chance on yourself.

Learn how to fit writing into your life.

If you do, then someday (2017 resolution, anyone?) you can know the joy of holding your first finished novel in your hands the same way I did.

 

Gold medal for MWW16!

Your evaluations, emails, tweets, posts have been read and tallied. The results are in!

The determination: gold medal for MWW16!

Sure, we weren’t perfect. We had a few deductions to our final score (parking, construction, A/C), but we received more high scores than low. And for our first year in a new facility, we were darn pleased that participants and faculty had a great time. The high marks included: our “killer deal,” 10+ for our social media tutoring, our spiral bound book of session notes, and 10+10 for our unique “Buttonhole the Experts” activity.

Comments in the hallways included: “I loved the diversity of topics and speakers/presenters.” “I met life-long friends here!” “AMAZING conference! Life-changing! I plan to be back!”

From July 21-23, a record-breaking 280 people who are passionate about writing — participants, faculty, interns, MWW staff — occupied the three floors of our new location at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center to listen, talk, write, share, pitch, question, eat, drink, laugh, challenge, commiserate — and, yes, rejoice.

From the ten intensive sessions of Part I to the 45 sessions of Part II, MWW16 offered participants opportunities to “find their tribe” and enjoy a genuine community which encouraged them to make connections and get to the next step in their writing. And what other writers’ conference provides a chance to bowl with a literary agent (or a T-Rex) and a massage therapist to relax you before your pitch?

Something special marked this 43rd annual workshop and these are some of the comments which pointed in this direction.

From the participants:

 “Thank you for helping me to pursue my life-long dream! You guys rock! You’re amazing!”

“In a solitary profession like writing, it’s sometimes difficult to connect with peers – or even realize that you have any. At MWW, I realized that the literary world is both large and small: there are many of us who come from across the country, but we are a tight knit group, bound by our mutual respect, appreciation, and encouragement of one another. I was expecting a community of writers at this conference – but I was not met. I was welcomed. – Valerie Weingart

“It was worth the trip from North Carolina! I’m going home with information and inspiration to aid my writing.” – Rebecca Paynter

“This was my first writers’ conference. MWW truly delivered on their promises. I  feel much more prepared to begin a writing career, and the atmosphere was perfect for connecting with so many amazing writers, authors, agents, and other members of the writing community. I am excited already for MWW 2017!” – Mary Rose Kreger

“Great content. Great community.” – Bo Thunboe

“Writing can be a lonely pursuit. The opportunity to find your tribe and make connections with other introverts tied to their computers was wonderful.” – Mary Robertson

“When you are stuck and alone in your writing journey, MWW will give you the kick in the pants you need. Stop wallowing and come find your people.” – Elizabeth Newman

“MWW is so inclusive of all writers’ wants and needs — topics, events, activities. This has been the best conference ever!” – Doris Smith

“As a young writer, this conference provided access to a variety of topics. I met other writers who immediately treated me with kindness and made me hopeful.” – Sarah Salow

From the faculty:

“Midwest Writers Workshop is a very special place for writers. I’ve been speaking and attending its sessions for nearly 15 years, and the sense of community and support is outstanding. It has played a role in launching numerous successful author careers-unsurprising, since it works so thoughtfully to fulfill its mission of helping writers flourish and be their best selves.” – Jane Friedman

“I’ll go just about anywhere to talk about the agony and ecstasy of writing fiction, but I’ve found the standard of excellence against which all writers conferences will be measured: the Midwest Writers Workshop in the Ball State University campus in Muncie, Indiana. Not only is the hospitality without peer, the staff is professional, the participants lively and whip-smart, the faculty engaging and edifying. Wanna believe that people still love to write and read? Come to Muncie!” – Tom Williams

“Please, please invite me to speak every year from now until infinity.” – Jen Malone

“Midwest Writers Workshop is the best workshop in the Midwest for writers no matter whether they are beginners or seasoned pros. The success stories are countless, and there’s a reason why.  This workshop is all about the writer from the moment the first sentence is written until the last goodbye is said.  It’s a five star event that prepares great writers to go out into the world and share their stories at the highest level.  I count this workshop as one of the main reasons that I have published twelve novels.” – Larry Sweazy

“It was a pleasure. And I already got a client out of it! I signed Jessica Rauh who I met in a pitch session!” – Jim McCarthy

Congratulations to the 2016 Manny Award winners! (and thanks to sponsor Matthew V. Clemens and Robin Vincent Publishing)

midwestwriters2016_web-100

Irene Fridsma – Poetry

Paula Mikrut - Nonfiction

Paula Mikrut – Nonfiction

Victor Suthammanont - Long Fiction

Victor Suthammanont – Long Fiction

Kathryn Page Camp - Short Fiction & winner of the Top Prize L. Karl Largent Award

Kathryn Page Camp – Short Fiction & winner of the Top Prize L. Karl Largent Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irene Fridsma – Poetry

Paula Mikrut – Nonfiction

Victor Suthammanont – Long Fiction

Kathryn Page Camp – Short Fiction & winner of the Top Prize L. Karl Largent Award

 

***

MWW16 may be in our rear view mirrors, but a lot of what we experienced and learned will always remain. We invite you to view our  Photo Gallery and tag yourself on our Facebook Page, which are sure to bring back memories.

So we’re patting ourselves on the back. And for just a while, basking in the bright light that was #mww16 before we move on to our 44th MWW, July 20-22, 2017.