Midwest Writers Workshop is  formatted into Part I and Part II. The one-day Part I Intensive Sessions are scheduled for Thursday, July 21. These genre-specific learning sessions are designed for writers serious about pursuing a given genre. You will spend the day with the instructor and other writers who share your interest. The Part I Intensive small-group sessions are limited to small class sizes. They fill up rapidly so respond quickly. The cost for Part I is only $155 and includes lunch.

2016 Part I Intensive Sessions

(1) Making Your Thriller Thrilling – Matthew V. Clemens

From inception to completion, we will touch on the steps to writing an exciting, suspenseful thriller.  Creating real-life characters, intriguing settings, building suspense, and even using humor.  We will also discuss adding tools to your writer’s toolbox that will allow you to succeed regardless of your chosen genre. Not just a lecture, we will do numerous writing exercises in a workshop setting.

(2) Building the YA Novel — Julie Murphy & Natalie C. Parker

The Young Adult novel is a mask with many faces — authors blend genres, test the limits of voice, and find new ways to make familiar stories feel fresh. With so many possibilities before us, it can be a challenge to set up your gender-flipped, space opera retelling of Jane Eyre both quickly and intriguingly. In this hands-on workshop, writers will drill down into the language of first lines, explore the potential of voice, and examine how to build a novel that delivers what it promises.

(3) Writing Great Essays For The Web — Ashley Ford.

In this intensive we will cover writing from memory, writing interviews and profiles, and breaking into the business of writing. Writing nonfiction requires a certain amount of bravery, and writing it for the internet adds entirely new concerns about clicks, views, and comments. We’ll discuss the complexity of choosing to write for online audiences; who will be reading your work, and where will they be reading it, how will they find it? We’ll also discuss your writing goals, dream publications, and aligning your artistic values with the work you’re being paid to produce. The idea that great writing doesn’t live or begin online is outdated, and by the end of this class you will have produced work that proves this is true. There will be writing prompts, and one essay will be workshopped per student, by the group, should they choose to share.

(4) It’s A Mystery – Larry D. Sweazy

Some mystery novels are gritty and dark, while others are light and funny. No matter what type of mystery novel you are writing, all of them have basic elements that require attention and skill. This class will be part lecture, part workshop, with plenty of room for discussion with multiple award-winning author Larry D. Sweazy about characterization, plot, setting, fair play, writing a successful mystery series, and much more.    

(5) OMG, Like, Whatevs: Writing For Tweens – Jen Malone

Jen Malone is the author of six novels aimed at the upper middle grade market under Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin M!X imprint and her favorite comment from tween readers is, “Your characters really act like my friends and me!” In this session we’ll discuss ways to make your stories believably tween, including capturing the elusive tween voice, through a series of examples, writing exercises, and discussion points. We’ll do an in-depth examination of issues relevant and appropriate to this age group (as told by tweens themselves), and discuss common considerations facing authors writing for tweens, such as when to use and when to skip pop culture references. We’ll also debate levels of content appropriate for this age group such as sexual situations, cursing, puberty topics, LGBTQ inclusion, and drugs/alcohol from both an author’s considerations and those of the publisher to examine how tween fiction is addressing these topics in the current marketplace. Lastly, we’ll discuss the publishers and imprints dominating this space and what types of books they’re on the hunt for at the moment. Written exercises and opportunities to share work will make up part of the session.  

CLOSED (6) The Art of Revision: From Draft to Publication – Lori Rader-Day

If you’re waiting for a publisher to help you make your novel everything you ever hoped it would be, it’s time for a reality check. In today’s publishing landscape, attracting an agent and an editor is a tough business—but making sure your manuscript is polished to a high gleam is the best way to break through the slush. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn about the many (many) stages of revision you’ll undertake as a soon-to-be-discovered talent, and how to get the specific help you need as you progress from first draft to bookshelf. Participants will work on their own manuscripts as well as those of their fellow writers. Each participant will also receive individualized feedback in class and in written form about their first ten pages. Ten pages must be submitted by June 20 (midwestwriters@yahoo.com/subject line: “Lori Rader-Day Intensive”).  

(7) Using Scrivener for More Organized and Efficient Writing – Dee Romito

In this intensive session, we’ll dive into Scrivener and explore the many tools available to help with your writing. Scrivener can get you more organized and keep everything you need in one place, saving you time and making it easier to get things done. Once you know what features are available, you can use them to do all kinds of things! This session is best for intermediate Scrivener users who already have a foundation in the basics, but beginners are welcome if they’d like to see what Scrivener can do. Please come with a laptop loaded with Scrivener (trial or paid version) if possible. (limit 16-20)

(8) Women’s Fiction, Deconstructed — Karma Brown and Amy E. Reichert

“Women’s Fiction” is a widely used, frequently misunderstood publishing term — no, these aren’t only books written for women by women, and if you ask what “Men’s Fiction” is you’ll likely receive confused stares. In this session we’ll discuss the genre’s definition and scope, common (and often overused) tropes, and what makes Women’s Fiction such a vital part of the publishing landscape. The workshop will explore different writing styles seen in Women’s Fiction, tips for your own writing, and ideas for helping your story stand out —including characterization, pacing, and conflict. Pre-Work: Before the day of the intensive, please read FOREVER, INTERRUPTED and MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid so everyone is familiar with and able to discuss the same examples. For those with complete story ideas, you’re welcome to submit a 2 page, single-spaced synopsis to Karma and Amy, along with your first 250 words by July 1 (midwestwriters@yahoo.com/subject line: “Women’s Fiction Intensive”).  All submitted synopses and writing samples will be given feedback, and a few will be discussed in class.

CLOSED (9) Manuscript Makeover – Dennis Hensley and Holly Miller

This interactive intensive is designed for those fiction and nonfiction writers who are ready to take a quantum leap forward in enhancing their writing skills. Participants will send a one-page synopsis and the first 9 pages of a book manuscript in progress by JUNE 7 (dnhensley@hotmail.com/subject line: “Manuscript Makeover Intensive”).  The instructors will edit and critique these pages and display them (anonymously) to the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses in the material. Additionally, the instructors will lead the students in writing exercises and offer advice on such topics as enhancing dialogue, learning to self-edit, mastering proofreading, finding the right markets for manuscripts and knowing when and how to go into writing full-time. This session is limited to the first 20 persons to register. The sooner writers sign up and pay the registration fee, the more likely they will be assured a spot.

(10) Leaping into Poetry – Liz Whiteacre

In the 70s, Robert Bly’s Leaping Poetry fanned the conversation about taking leaps in poems, or moving readers between conscious and unconscious thought. This intensive session will concentrate on associate leaps, allusions, and leaps prompted by figurative language, like metaphor. You will learn strategies for leaping in poems both as you compose and as you revise. Written exercises and opportunities to share work will make up part of the session. Participants are encouraged to have a few poems they have written with them that they are interested in revising.