Martha Brockenbrough Joins MWW15 Faculty

Midwest Writers Workshop is pleased to announce the addition of Martha Brockenbrough to the MWW15 faculty.

marthabrockenbroughMartha Brockenbrough (rhymes with broken toe) is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers. She’s the founder of National Grammar Day (every March 4), and she’s written game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. The former editor of MSN.com, Martha has interviewed lots of celebrities, including the Jonas Brothers and Slash (his favorite dinosaur is the diplodocus). Her work has been published in a variety of places, including The New York Times. She also wrote an educational humor column for the online encyclopedia Encarta for nine years. Her debut novel Devine Intervention, was one of Kirkus Reviews Top 100 books for teens in 2012, and was a Kansas State Reading Circle selection. Her books include the middle grade nonfiction opus Finding Bigfoot, and a picture book called The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy. Her YA novel The Game of Love and Death was released April 2015 by Scholastic. Martha has taught writing for children at the University of Washington continuing education program and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Martha will teach a Part I Intensive Session, “The Writer’s Survival Kit.”

Making it as a writer is a combination of craft and cunning. This intensive will be broken down into parts: a two-hour session on the first 500 words of your book, focusing on the six elements you must master; an additional two hours on revising like a master; and a final hour on the 10 things a writer needs to know in order to persist in an often lonely, highly competitive business.

Her Part II sessions include “When Bad Grammar Makes for Good Writing,” “Secrets of the Synopsis – How to Make This Dreaded Thing Work for You,” and “Adding Humor to Your Writing.”

Welcome, Martha!

A Change in This Year’s Conference Line-up

We here at Midwest Writers want to reiterate we are an organization that does not tolerate discrimination. For 40-plus years, we have proudly welcomed all writers to our workshop, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or religious beliefs and we promise you that will not change in 2015. 

We’ve learned that not everyone agrees with our response to our state’s passage of RFRA. Unfortunately, one of our faculty members, Chuck Wendig, will no longer be attending this year’s conference.

As director of Midwest Writers, I want to assure you that our committee is working swiftly to find a replacement for Mr. Wendig. We are confident we will soon find someone we expect will be just as great a draw for attendees of our conference.

We hope this news does not cause any of you to change your plans. If you have questions or concerns you’d like me to address directly, please email me at midwestwriters@yahoo.com. As soon as we are able, we will share news about our new presenter—so be on the lookout for these details on our website, blog, and email. Attendees enrolled in Chuck’s sessions also will receive direct emails with information about how to receive refunds, should they wish.

As you know, I am a big believer in Happy Day Moments. I choose for today’s moment to be this: I am so very grateful that the world is filled with diverse writers, and I look forward to celebrating each and every one of you at this year’s workshop. 

I hope to see you there,

Jama Kehoe Bigger

MWW Director

MWW: All Are Welcome

In light of the current state and national discussion around the recent Indiana legislation, we wrote the below statement to affirm our commitment to the inclusiveness of our conference: 

As always, if you are human and write words, you are welcome to the Midwest Writers Workshop.

(If you aren’t human and write words, you are welcome to our conference as long as you agree to allow us to videotape you writing so we can win YouTube, especially if you are a cat.)

Regardless of your title, cover, genre, or translation, you are welcome to our conference.

If you are gay or straight or somewhere in between, you are welcome to our conference.

If you are a grammar guru, someone who will fight against the Oxford comma, or someone who will fight for it, you are welcome to our conference.

Regardless of your race, creed, religion, immigration status, political- or planetary-affiliation, you are welcome to our conference.

Our point is that EVERYONE is welcome, and we consciously work to make our conference more diverse and inclusive. Last year we were excited to have Daniel José Older lead a session titled Fundamentals of Writing “the Other” and this year Christa Desir is leading a session titled: Everything You Want to Know About the World of Gay Romance But Were Afraid to Ask. (see our full list of sessions)

Even though Muncie, Indiana, might not be the most diverse city in the United States, the MWW committee believes that diversity of people, thoughts, and opinions, make us stronger as a community and as writers.

Cathy Day

NEW intensive session! “Short Story Fellows Workshop” with Cathy Day

Midwest Writers is offering a NEW intensive session for our Part I format on Thursday, July 23, 2015! 

“Short Story Fellows Workshop” taught by (writer, teacher, bossy narrator) Cathy Day (Blog: The Big Thing www.cathyday.com) is limited to six participants who will spend the day reading and responding to each other’s manuscripts. It’s an intensive intensive.

Those accepted into this intensive will have the opportunity to have their 5-10 page short story critiqued by the whole group. Specifically, participants will be working to improve their facility with scenecraft (when to dramatize, when to summarize), point of view, setting, suspense, and readability. All work will be discussed anonymously and read aloud. To apply, send a 5-10 page writing sample in manuscript form (as an attachment) to Cathy Day at cathy@cathyday.com. Applications will be taken until midnight on (DEADLINE EXTENDED) April 6. Participants will be notified of acceptance by April 18 so that they can sign up for another intensive if not selected. [Note: the writing sample submitted as an application does not need to be the same story you will workshop at the conference. Those who are accepted will be notified at a later date about sending their story for the workshop to Cathy.]

Day CathyCathy Day is the author of two books. Her most recent work is Comeback Season, part memoir about life as a single woman and part sports story about the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl season in 2006. Her first book was The Circus in Winter, a fictional history of her hometown.  The Circus in Winter was a finalist for the GLCA New Writers Award, the Great Lakes Book Award, and the Story Prize, and has been adapted into a musical. [Strange but true: The Circus in Winter was the solution to the New York Times Magazine acrostic puzzle in February 2005.]

Currently, she lives in Muncie, Indiana and teaches at Ball State University, where she’s serving as the Assistant Chair of Operations in the Department of English.

We asked Cathy a few questions about this new intensive session.

MWW:  Why did you decide to offer a short story intensive, something that is new for MWW in recent years?

CATHY: I wanted to do this because I believe that the best way to help people become published authors is to actually read and respond to their writing.

MWW offers so many great pathways to publication, but there’s nothing better than good, old-fashioned writing instruction.

MWW: We sometimes think of short stories as “literary” as opposed to “commercial” so please let us know the types of stories you are open to receiving. (Is something with paranormal elements okay? Fantasy? Dystopian?)

CATHY: I’m open to anything. The craft elements I’m focusing on–scenecraft (when to dramatize, when to summarize), point of view, setting, suspense, and readability–apply to any kind of fiction.

MWW:  What would you say to someone who has never written a short story? Is this class for them or for the experienced short story writer?

CATHY: Honestly, I’d like to work with MWW veterans who come quite often and are looking for something new, something they haven’t gotten already. I know that this is something our diehards have said they’d like. That is why I’m reviewing the manuscripts beforehand–I would prefer that everyone in the class be writing at about the same level: intermediate to advanced. Maybe another year, I’ll do something for beginners.

MWW:  Since you’re accepting six students, what happens if you receive too many registrations?

CATHY: I will choose the six writers I’d like to work with. That’s why those in this workshop are “fellows,” because they were vetted ad selected. I want those in my intensive to feel a little bit special.

MWW:  What specific help will a person get on their manuscript?

CATHY: I do this in my classes at Ball State with much success. I read the story aloud and it’s projected on a screen. I do this without revealing whose story it is. It’s a great experience to be in the room when others are “reading” your work for the first time. You hear them sigh or laugh. You watch them fidget when things are dragging. Then we talk about the story, and you can join in too. There’s something about not knowing exactly whose story it is that frees us up somehow to be honest. At the end, we reveal who wrote what.

I rarely read work by people I don’t know because I do so much of that in my job at Ball State. But I’m offering to read your work, if you’re up for it, too. Every year that I’ve presented at MWW, people have asked if they can take a writing class with me, and I’ve had to say no. Now I’m saying yes. Come work with me. I’m very nice, and I don’t bite.

lou-harry

The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit: March 21, 2015

Greetings! Our latest MWW mini-conference on March 21st is around the corner, and we like to think spring is too! Plan to join us to learn screenwriting, strengthen your social networking, or up your game with non-fiction writing.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

Cost: $155 (includes lunch)

One of the four sessions is “Shaping the Real Work: The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit” taught by Lou Harry.

At MWW, we’re all about forging new paths as publishing continues to evolve. Plus, we are mindful of our rich legacy. So trust us when we say that non-fiction and fiction writing enhance one another. For that reason, we coaxed Lou Harry to tuck MWW into his jam-packed schedule and teach at the mini-conference. Lou’s made a career of specializing in the many forms of non-fiction.

Some of you may remember Earl Conn and Alan Garinger, who passed away after years of service to MWW. They used to say that non-fiction writing can be a stepping stone to a fiction career. If you doubt them, the evidence is clear. The examples are endless, from Michael Connelly to Elizabeth Berg (our keynote speaker last year) to Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig (who is coming this year). Non-fiction writing–from essays to news stories, from columns to blogs–is a great way to get noticed. Just ask our 2013 faculty member Roxane Gay, whose collection of essays Bad Feminist is winning awards and snagging her speaking engagements, as she also promotes her debut novel An Untamed State.

So if you are someone whose first love is fiction, please don’t discount the idea of learning about non-fiction. Lou’s expertise may be just the help you need for getting your non-fiction ideas launched. And writing shorter work has many rewards, such as seeing your byline in print and giving you ideas for your fiction.

Lou Harry’s wildly eclectic output includes books on creativity, sports, drinks, movies, life lessons, gadgets, guilty pleasures, voodoo, excuses, crop circles, Santa Claus (and Martians), curse words, parenting, trivia and, this year, squirrels. The co-creator and editor of Indy Men’s Magazine and current Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal (www.ibj.com/arts), Lou has written for more than 50 publications including Variety, Mental_Floss, and This Old House. While on journalistic assignments, he has profiled CEOs, escorted a spiral-cut ham into a movie theater, took a pie in the face from Soupy Sales, attended Broadway openings, exposed tarot readers, sat on the Full House couch, gotten attached to a Velcro wall, and turned his honeymoon into a travel story. He hopes one day to have a book for every category in the Dewey Decimal System.

MWW: You showed such enthusiasm and creativity at MWW 2013, I’m wondering what you have in store for mini conference participants. Will there be writing and discussion or mostly a lecture format?

LOU: Lecture, schmecture. Yes, I’ll do some talking and offer solid, specific advice. But we’re also going to dig into fun, engaging, and, most importantly, useful writing exercises. The most important thing to me is helping the attendees move forward.

MWW: Is your presentation aimed toward a certain level of writer or can people enter into the class from wherever they are and jump up a level or more?

LOU: Come as you are. All of the discussion and activity is geared toward taking you to the next level, wherever you stand right now.

MWW: What is the scope of the class? For example, will you cover writing craft mostly or will finding markets and how to query be covered?

LOU: There are three key elements: Finding markets, approaching those markets wisely, and being a writer who is ready for those markets. All three need to happen for successful sales.

MWW: What would you tell those who haven’t met you and/or have never been in such an intensive class or maybe haven’t tested the waters of non-fiction, to help them get off the fence and register?

LOU: Are you satisfied with where you are in the writing universe right now? If not, then strongly consider joining us for an afternoon. I’m going to be teaching the class that I wish I could have taken.

MWW: Please provide a couple of links to your work, if possible, so people can easily find it.

www.louharry.com
www.ibj.com/arts
http://howlround.com/authors/lou-harry

Register soon!

Mullins, Matt

Building Blocks of Spec Screenwriting: March 21, 2015

There’s still time to register for Midwest Writers Workshop’s ONE-DAY INTENSIVE SESSIONS.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

Cost: $155 (includes lunch)

 One of the four sessions is The Basics of Compelling Cinematic Storytelling” taught by Matt Mullins. His session will run the gamut of the basics of storytelling for film, beginning with the building blocks of spec screenwriting format and style, how to approach it and what to avoid, and then moving on to the core elements of visual/cinematic storytelling structure and content. This includes, among other things, how plots are shaped and how they arc, how characters are constructed and why/how they change, how scenes work, and how/when to use dialogue versus/along with visual exposition.

Matthew Mullins is a writer, experimental filmmaker, videopoet, and multimedia artist. His videopoems have been screened at conferences and film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. His fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online literary journals including Mid American Review, Pleiades, Hunger Mountain, Descant, and Hobart. His debut collection of short stories, Three Ways of the Saw, was published by Atticus Books in 2012 and was named a finalist forForeword Magazine‘s 2012 Book of the Year. And his work in screenwriting has won awards from the Broadcast Education Association. Matt teaches creative writing at Ball State University where he is an Emerging Media Fellow at the Center for Media Design. You can engage his interactive/digital literary interfaces at lit-digital.com.

MWW board member Cathy Shouse caught up with Matt to discuss his intensive session on screenwriting.

MWW: What should those attending your intensive session expect? Should they have an outline or idea for a screenplay? Will they be writing or will you be sharing your ideas?

MM: I’ll be talking about how to write in proper spec screenwriting format and style and I’ll be talking about the basic principles of good storytelling for the screen. So it’ll be mostly sharing ideas. They don’t need to come with an idea for a screenplay or any kind of outline.  If we do any writing it would be simple exercises. But I think it will mostly be lecture and watching short films and clips that illustrate the points I’m trying to make.

MWW: What are some benefits that attendees will take away from the day?

MM: I would hope that they learn the very basics of format/style and get a sense of what’s required to tell a compelling story for the screen.

MWW: How would you rate the level of the class, such as aimed at beginning writers, those who have completed a manuscript or others?

MM: I’d say it’s beginning to intermediate in terms of format and style and beginning to intermediate in terms of storytelling principles, maybe with a touch of advanced in that area.

MWW: With so much pressure to “grab attention,” can you give a hint at something that adds creativity to a story?

MM: Be yourself. Think about what it means to be a human being and how creativity/storytelling/art can comment on that condition in ways that allow us to see life’s ironic complexities. Go for endings where something is lost or gained at the cost of something meaningful (literally and/or metaphorically).

MWW: What are some awards that you have won? Which one holds special meaning for you and why?

MM: Winning the Broadcast Education Association’s Best Feature-length Screenplay Award (for a collaboration with Rich Swingley) meant a lot. We put that script (“Nerdvana” a kind of geek road trip comedy) through twenty drafts. Winning Ball State’s Creative Endeavor Award was also special. It was really nice to have the breadth of my work recognized.

MWW: Is there anything else potential participants should know?

MM: We’ll be talking about format and style. We’ll be watching/analyzing short films and various scenes and discussing how they work from a writer’s perspective.

REGISTER NOW!

Linda Taylor

Building Your Author Platform: March 21, 2015

Midwest Writers Workshop invites you to join us for one of our most popular offerings: ONE-DAY INTENSIVE SESSIONS. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

Cost: $155 (includes lunch)

One of the four sessions is “Building Your Author Platform” taught by Linda Taylor. MWW committee member Cathy Shouse interviewed Linda about what her session will cover.

MWW: You’ve indicated that in your mini session, you will share the best way to start a platform. Could you give us a sneak peek of what you mean? As long as someone has Facebook and Twitter accounts, posts once in a while about what they have for breakfast (ha) and the followers are growing, isn’t that enough?

LINDA: Unfortunately not. In fact, that’s probably the worst thing you can do. Seriously, who cares what you had for breakfast? The point is to use it strategically, to post regularly, and to be interested in what others are doing, not just sharing your stuff. The first thing to do is figure out who you are as a writer and who your “tribe” is–then go from there, which is what we’ll talk about in the session.

MWW: If someone is not on Facebook or Twitter, are they too much of a beginner to benefit by attending your session? Please describe how you see this working for someone who has not started.

LINDA: Getting started on Twitter is especially easy–so if you haven’t started on Twitter, you will have a Twitter account and start finding some people to follow during the session. I will also show you some ways to make Twitter make sense. That is, you may have tried it but been overwhelmed, which is an easy thing to happen. But there are tools you can use to organize Twitter so that you can see only what you want to see. We’ll be doing that, too!

Facebook is pretty ubiquitous, and many people like to leave it as more about family and friends than professional connections. It’s up to them. We’ll talk about pros and cons. If you’re published, you might want to create a “page” for your book (as opposed to a “profile” which is what everyone has).

Others might be on other platforms–

That’s the point of this session.

MWW: Where can we find you online to see some of the posts you make in various platforms and follow you?

LINDA: How nice of you!

I have my blog (where I write a lot about writing and editing and publishing) at

https://lindaktaylor.wordpress.com/

My professional site is at http://lindakarentaylor.weebly.com/

My Twitter is @LindaEdits https://twitter.com/LindaEdits

I’m also a couple other places, but that’s enough for now.

MWW: Can you give us an idea or two of the mistakes you see people making in this regard and maybe a tip on what to do differently?

LINDA: I think many people believe that building a platform is all about me me me, and they don’t want to come across that way. OR they think that since they don’t have a book published, they don’t need a platform. Wrong on both counts. Instead of making your social media presence about you, make it about others–being interested in what others are doing. And if you don’t have a book yet, even better! This is the best time to start building your platform.

MWW: Do you want to add anything else that would help a prospective student of your sessions?

LINDA: This is a really good place for novices to safely put their toes in the water or to learn a few basic strokes before diving into (like that analogy?) the social media world. This is important for all of us as writers. Even if you don’t ever publish anything, being a part of your literary world is what drives you, keeps you going, and keeps you writing. And that’s why learning these skills is so important for all writers.

REGISTER HERE!

Announcing One-Day Intensive Sessions: March 21, 2015

Midwest Writers Workshop invites you to join us for one of our most popular offerings: ONE-DAY INTENSIVE SESSIONS. This spring take advantage of the opportunity to attend one of four amazing sessions. Choosing which of these dynamite professionals to spend the day with will be a challenge. Look at these helpful sessions:

Manuscript Makeover, Nonfiction, Screenwriting, or Building Your Author Platform. These one-day intensive sessions will be held at the Ball State University Alumni Center, Muncie, IN on Saturday, March 21, 2015 (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Each session is capped at 20 participants. Cost of each intensive session is $155 (includes a brown bag lunch so the work continues to flow).

So here’s how it works:

1) Register for the mini.

2) If you’re signing up for Manuscript Makeover, you must submit the requested number RECEIVED by MARCH 6, 2015.

3) Come to Muncie, IN on Saturday, March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for personalized instruction and a chance to network with other writers.

Payment and registration close on March 16, but if you’re signing up for Manuscript Makeover, get registered NOW, pay, and send your pages RECEIVED by March 6.

Choose ONE of these four sessions:

Manuscript Makeover – Dennis Hensley & Holly Miller

This intensive session is limited to 20 participants who have book projects–either fiction or nonfiction–in progress. The six-hour workshop is led by Holly G. Miller, author of Feature and Magazine Writing and consulting editor to two national magazines, and Dennis E. Hensley, chair of the professional writing department at Taylor University and author of Teach Yourself Grammar and Style in 24 hours. After registering for the class, each participant should e-mail a one-page synopsis–with a working title–plus the first nine pages of his/her book project to Dennis and Holly. Please double-space and format in 12-point Times New Roman font. Holly and Dennis will personally edit all pages to return to the authors at the workshop. In addition, the instructors will display on a screen and discuss portions of each student’s manuscript. Students will receive folders filled with handouts plus their edited manuscripts midway through the day. As time permits, Miller and Hensley will discuss plots, character development, editing techniques, finding an agent, and marketing a published book. The instructors have co-authored seven books–including a series of novels–as well as completed several solo book assignments. Dennis just signed a multiple-novel book deal, co-writing with Diana Savage, with Whittaker House Publishing Company. Don’t hesitate; this workshop always fills up quickly and is offered only once a year.

Shaping the Real World: The Non-fiction Writer’s Tool Kit – Lou Harry

The non-fiction writer’s task is to shape and frame a piece of the world, whether that’s in an opinion column, a travel tale, a review, a celebrity profile, a news story, or a feature story. At this workshop, the Indianapolis Business Journal‘s Lou Harry, recently seen on CBS News Sunday Morning and the author of more than 25 books, helps you maximize the impact of your stories and increase demand for your writing. The Society of Professional Journalists award winner will open up a tool kit collected from penning

hundreds of stories in more than 50 publications, from Writer’s Digest to Variety and from Men’s Health toThe Sondheim Review. He’ll guide you through exercises to improve your interviewing skills, shape opening paragraphs, find your rhythm, and develop a passionate curiosity about any subject. Manuscripts up to five pages can be submitted two weeks ahead of the workshop for critique and use in class. Bring your laptop, your questions, and your open mind for a lively day of working with words.

The Basics of Compelling Cinematic Storytelling – Matt Mullins

We’ll run the gamut of the basics of storytelling for film, beginning with the building blocks of spec screenwriting format and style, how to approach it and what to avoid, and then moving on to the core elements of visual/cinematic storytelling structure and content. This includes, among other things, how plots are shaped and how they arc, how characters are constructed and why/how they change, how scenes work, and how/when to use dialogue versus/along with visual exposition.

The Best (and I Mean BEST) Way to Build Your Author Platform – Linda Taylor

Authors don’t like to think about the importance of building a platform. They want to just write their books and watch them climb best-seller lists. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. But building your platform isn’t about tooting your own horn or getting people to buy your book. Instead, it’s about finding your “tribe,” appreciating others’ work, connecting, and being interested in what others are doing. This is important (even vital) for all writers-published or not-because we’re all part of the literary community. In this all-day session, we’ll learn about blogging and tweeting and connecting–all to join the literary community and build a platform in a non-scary way. Come if you’re published; come if you’re not. It’s about “literary citizenship.” Bring your laptop and be prepared for a day of encouragement and hands-on training.

Meet the Faculty:

Holly picHolly Miller is an editor with The Saturday Evening Post and co-author of Feature & Magazine Writing. She and Dennis Hensley have collaborated on four novels and three nonfiction books. Holly’s byline has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest and TV Guide. She is the author of 14 fiction and nonfiction books. She has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of American Travel Writers and Society of Professional Journalists.

Hensley DDennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., is a contributing editor for Writers’ Journal and the author of eight textbooks on writing, including How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It. He has written 51 books, including  Millennium

Approaches (Avon), Uncommon Sense (Bobbs-Merrill), and Money Wise (Harvest House). He directs the professional writing major at Taylor University. His 3,000 freelance articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Success, People, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Downbeat, among dozens of others.

Lou Harry‘s wildly eclectic output includes books on creativity, sports, drinks, movies, life lessons, gadgets, guilty pleasures, voodoo, excuses, crop circles, Santa Claus (and Martians), curse words, parenting, trivia and, this year, squirrels. The co-creator and editor of Indy Men’s Magazine and current Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal (www.ibj.com/arts), Lou has written for more than 50 publications including Variety, Mental_Floss, and This Old House. While on journalistic assignments, he has profiled CEOs, escorted a spiral-cut ham into a movie theater, took a pie in the face from Soupy Sales, attended Broadway openings, exposed tarot readers, sat on the Full House couch, gotten attached to a Velcro wall, and turned his honeymoon into a travel story. He hopes one day to have a book for every category in the Dewey Decimal System.

Matt Mullins is a writer, experimental filmmaker, videopoet, and multimedia artist. His videopoems have been screened at conferences and film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. His fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online literary journals including Mid American Review, Pleiades, Hunger Mountain, Descant, and Hobart.  His debut collection of short stories, Three Ways of the Saw, was published by Atticus Books in 2012 and was named a finalist for Foreward Magazine‘s 2012 Book of the Year. And his work in screenwriting has won awards from the Broadcast Education Association.  Matt teaches creative writing at Ball State University where he is an Emerging Media Fellow at the Center for Media Design. You can engage his interactive/digital literary interfaces at lit-digital.com.

Linda Taylor has been working in publishing and doing writing and editing for the last three decades. She also loves teaching about social media for authors, editing, and publishing at writers’ conferences and at Taylor University where she is an instructor in the professional writing department.

 

save-the-date

MWW Director says…don’t miss MWW15!

My writer friends,

It’s the first week of a new year and I’m thinking about you. And I’m thinking how Midwest Writers Workshop could give you so many Happy Day Moments.

The days and months ahead are your blank book. You get to decide how to fill those pages, those chapters.

So why not decide to make Midwest Writers Workshop some of those pages?

You know I’m your MWW Director/Cheerleader/Encourager and we have an UNBELIEVABLE faculty for MWW15.  I’ll be working with my programming committee in the next few weeks to develop the AWESOME schedule of sessions, panels, and activities for what could be the THREE most life-changing, eventful days of your writing career…. JULY 23-25, 2015, in Muncie, Indiana.

 

I’m posting here to cheerlead/encourage you to keep MWW15 on your radar.

Save your money. Or how about this: put attending MWW15 on your gift list. Just ask Liz Lincoln Steiner.

Liz twitter Capture

You have 200 days. Six months and 19 days. 143 weekdays and 57 weekend days. 28 weeks and 4 days. 4,800 hours. 288,000 minutes.

Don’t let another year go by without discovering what MWW can do for your writing!

I know firsthand how MWW can be life-changing. So do these folks.

Plan to make this happen.  Make 2015 the most meaningful year of your life. Let’s go on this journey together.

Come. Let’s share some Happy Day Moments! Can’t wait for July!

-Jama

#happydaymoment

**Bookmark www.midwestwriters.org and watch for upcoming information on the schedule and registration. Make sure you’re on our e-mail list!

{photo by Gail Werner Photography}
043_mww2014

New MWW Committee Member: Summer Heacock

043_mww2014The MWW Planning Committee is excited to introduce its newest member–the incomparable Summer Heacock! Although Summer is a relative newbie to MWW, she’s been writing for years, women’s fiction mainly, and her quirky, upbeat, honest blogs and tweets as “Fizzygrrl” have netted her thousands of followers and fans. Summer joined the committee in September. With her, she brings her unique brand of boundless energy, vision, spontaneity, and passion for writing. Please join us in welcoming her into the MWW fold. You can visit her blog at www.fizzygrrl.com and tweet her @fizzygrrl.

MWW: How and when did you hear about MWW? When did you first attend, and what did you take away from it?

 SH: I first heard about MWW on Twitter! The source has become a bit of a legend in my mind at this point. I was tipped off either by Dee Romito (@writeforapples) or had seen lit agent Sarah LaPolla (@sarahlapolla) mention it. I’d been in search of a conference to attend and was pretty intimidated by all things publishing at the time, but MWW seemed like a perfect fit.

My first year attending was in 2012, and I took away pretty much everything a person can take away from a conference. I walked in the Alumni Center not knowing a soul and scared to death, and left with so many wonderful new friends, a notebook full of information to make me a better writer, an award for “Best Tweet of the Weekend,” and a fistful of agent requests, one of which turned into an offer of representation that I accepted. So, basically, it was a dang good time.

MWW: What advice would you give new writers as they seek their first publishing credit?

SH: Wear a helmet.

Or, less ominously, buckle up and prepare for all the feelings. Surround yourself with people who will give you real talk and the feedback you need to hear, not just the things you want to hear. It’s just as important to have beta readers who will tell you what sucks as it is to have ones that tell you what’s great.

The downs are pretty gutting. Everything you are goes into your words, so being rejected by agents or editors or whoever sort of feels like standing there naked in front of the world and being handed a form rejection that says, “Thank you for allowing us to you consider your bits, but your boobies just aren’t a good fit for us at this time. Best of luck to you and your junk.”

But the wins? The days when you get the good emails or the happy phone calls? Those days make all those other days totally worth it. Like, flying high off those for ages.

Although, I’d like to think writerly folk are all a bit masochistic, really. Why else would we willingly do this to ourselves, yeah?

MWW: I’ve got to ask about your huge social media following … how did you do it? (Please answer in 140 characters or less.)

SH: I get into really embarrassing situations that I tend to Live Tweet, I try to interact with everyone, and I find ace geeky GIFs. #Blessed

(Side note: I don’t feel like I have a huge following by any means. But I am consistently shocked there are a few thousand people who are entertained enough to keep hanging around, and I appreciate them all very, very much. This is me snugging them all.)

MWW: What writing projects are you working on now?

SH: Okay, this will go down in my personal history as the exact moment I realized I need an official title for this story. (This also might be the moment Jama realizes she’s made a terrible mistake bringing me on board…)

I’m working on a contemporary Women’s Fiction that has been lovingly referred to as “The Vagina Book.” I’ll…I’ll just see myself out now.

MWW: What is your most head-spinning writing fantasy/goal?

SH: Gosh, like the craziest, geekiest dream?

Okay, let’s go back to like ten-year-old Summer for that one. I have always wanted to do two things: write or act. And my biggest, shiniest dream all through adolescence was to see a book I wrote be turned into a movie that I would then star in because “realistic goals.”(Jama, Summer tells me that this sentence is correct. Although I don’t get “because realistic goals,” but maybe it’s just me. Is it clear to you?)

I’m just saying if David Fincher wants to give me a call and discuss “The Vagina Book,” I wouldn’t let his call go to voicemail.

But, in the real world, my biggest goal, truly? I really, really, really just want to see my words on paper. Real, actual paper with words printed on it that I wrote. That’s it. That’s the goal.

I imagine the first time I hold a book of my own I’ll get a paper cut because the universe is freaking hilarious.

MWW: And finally, what does being part of the MWW Planning Committee mean to you?

SH: So very much. I love MWW in ways I can’t properly express without devolving into a squeaking mess of flailing and tears and sounds only dogs can hear. I love these people. I love this place. I love this conference. I was driving my kids to the park when I got the call inviting me to be on the committee, and I legitimately was tearing up and stuttering through my acceptance. I saved the overjoyed ugly crying for the call to my husband when we got to the park. Like a grownup.

I owe a heck of a lot to MWW, and I’ve done my best to help out however I could over the last few years, but now in an official capacity? I’m working my ‘tocks off to do everything I can to give back to this amazing community.

And not to oversell it, but MWW15 is going to be AMAZING. Seriously. Holy biscuits, guys. Hold onto your butts.