Our Two-Part Workshop format offers a blend of genre-specific intensive instruction (Part I) and more than 35 cross-discipline sessions (Part II). In Part II, July 21-23, 2016, from Thursday afternoon until the closing banquet on Saturday night, you have ample time to network with faculty and other participants, glean information about fiction and nonfiction writing techniques, marketing, and taking your writing career to the next level. There are also agent pitch sessions, query critiques, professional head shots, consultations for social media and taxation for writers, PLUS networking, writing contests, and more!


  • Part I: Intensive Session – One day, Thursday, July 21
    • $155 [Fee also includes: morning refreshments and lunch]
  • Part II: Thursday evening, Friday & Saturday – July 21-23
    • $300 [Fee includes: Friday lunch; Saturday awards banquet] 
  • Part I & Part II: Package
    • $400 [Fee includes all activities described above]

2016 Part II Schedule

Thursday Events – July 21, 2016


PART II begins


3:45 pm               Registration packets for Part II available                                                                       

3:45-5:00 pm 

[1] Conference 101 — Holly Miller and Sarah Cannon [For first-time conference attendees]

[2] Pitching 101 — Kelsey Timmerman and Summer Heacock [Tips for the 3-minute pitch to agents and “pitch practice”]

[3] Querying 101 — Uwe Stender and Jim McCarthy [Tips for improving your query letter]

5:00-6:30 pm    Dinner on your own

6:30-8:30 pm

Welcome & Keynote: Kelsey Timmerman. 

We’ll kick off Part II with a welcoming talk by MWW’s own international speaker, Kelsey Timmerman. Kelsey first came to MWW as an attendee with no agent and an idea for a nonfiction book. Today, he speaks around the world about his books, Where Are You Wearing? And Where Are You Eating? His presentation will be inspirational and filled with his special brand of wit, to get you in a workshopping mood.

Faculty Introductions / [Cash bar/refreshments/networking: “Find Your Tribe”]

At MWW, we’ve learned the importance of connecting with other writers, for support, to share information, for possible editing of one another’s work, and because it’s just plain fun. To help our attendees meet one another on the first night, we’ve taken the concept of “icebreakers” to the next level. In our Find Your Tribe event, we separate attendees by interests and writing genre. Depending on the number of people, we may break groups into subcategories within their genre. Then we let them meet informally and make whatever connections they choose. Sometimes, this activity has sparked friendships and writers hang out with their tribes for the rest of the conference and beyond. *Once you have registered, we will find out your genre and provide more details.

Friday Events – July 22, 2016

[NO sign up necessary for Part II sessions; attend any ones you want!]

[Pitch sessions, manuscript evaluations, query letter critiques, social media, and tax/business appointments scheduled throughout Friday & Saturday]

8:15-9:00 am        Coffee & Networking

9:00-10:15 am

All Agent Panel Q&A

10:30-11:30 am

[4] Prewriting, freewriting and rewriting — Wendy Beckman. Participants learn how to break through writers’ block and organize ideas for an essay, book, or article. I start with prewriting and freewriting exercises and then talk about mind mapping. (Many people have heard of mind mapping and may have done it to some extent but I have rarely met someone who really gets the full value of mind mapping.). Then I show how the map can lead to a traditional outline; then we talk about writing and rewriting. As one of my students at Women Writing for (a) Change said, “It never occurred to me that I might want to revise my work after I wrote it!” She thought it had to come out perfect and hated the idea of ever editing it, but she impressed herself at how she could polish her own work. I help them embrace the idea that it’s OK for the first draft to be crap. I also introduce them to the professional writers’ credo: Good enough by the deadline is great. Perfect past the deadline is too late.

[5] Prompting Poems — Liz Whiteacre. How do you begin? It can be a great challenge, if you’re not feeling moved by your muse. This session will expose you to a different types of writing prompts and resources you can use to jump start poems. We’ll also talk about the, often elusive, writing schedule and how to make prompts routine. Written exercises will be included in the session.

[6] Turning Your Memories Into A Memoir — Ashley Ford.

[7] What to Expect When You’re Expecting a (Book) Baby — Karma Brown. Taking a book from SOLD to shelf can be a long process, filled with plenty of unknowns, hard labor, and thrilling milestones. Tips and insights for what to expect through (and beyond) the debut year.

[8] Editor Q&A — April Osborn & Liz Pelletier.

11:45-1:00 pm   Buffet Lunch

[9] Jane Friedman: Writing for Free: The Continuing Dilemma of Exposure vs. Cash

1:15-2:15 pm 

[10] It Was A Dark And Stormy Afternoon — Larry D. Sweazy. Creating a setting and characters that come alive in a reader’s mind is easier said than done. Can atmosphere and settings be a character, too? Are characters influenced by setting? In this hour, both questions will be discussed along with a how-to tips about how to accomplish an immersive, multi-sensory experience for your readers no matter what genre you write in.

[11] Organizing with Scrivener — Dee Romito. Learn how to use Scrivener to organize your writing, keep documents and research easily within reach, and link to outside sources. We’ll explore ways to include things like photos, chapter summaries, and labels based on what your story needs, and use the binder, corkboard, and outline modes to get the most out of your writing time.  

[12] How to Build Your Speaking Engagements — Kelsey Timmerman. Speaking to audiences is a great way to get your message to more people and to make a name for yourself as a writer. Session includes discussion about how to find/book these engagements, how to develop those relationships, and how to market yourself.

[13] Crafting the Best @You: Best Practices in Building Your Professional Social Networking Brand — Lauren E. MacLeod.  Learn how to develop a coherent professional brand for social networks, the best practices and the do’s and don’ts of using social networks for promotion. This class will work equally well for writers just thinking about dipping their toes into the world of Twitter in the hopes of meeting an agent and for authors starting to think about how to use the networks they are already on more thoughtfully to promote themselves and their forthcoming books.

[14] Agent/Author Relationships Panel — Julie Murphy/Natalie Parker/Molly Jaffa, Amy Reichert & Rachel Ekstrom, Uwe Stender/Brent Taylor/Summer Heacock

2:30-3:30 pm

[15] They Fight Crime! Writing the Amateur Detective Novel — Lori Rader-Day. Miss Marple was just a nosy old lady. Lord Peter Wimsey is a bored one percenter. Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew should be in school. Jessica Fletcher and Richard Castle are seriously procrastinating on book deadlines. From cozy to psychological suspense, readers can’t get enough of regular people taking on crime. How do writers craft amateur sleuths with the desire, skill, and time to catch a murderer?

[16] Voice/Dialogue — Julie Murphy & Natalie C. Parker. Voice is the lifeblood of every story. You’ve either got it or you don’t. Some would even say it can’t even be taught. Join Natalie C. Parker and Julie Murphy as they unlock key secrets and tricks to finding and nailing your narrator’s voice.

[17] What it Means to Be Middle Grade — Jen Malone & Dee Romito. What does it mean for a story to be middle grade? Join us to learn about word count, language, voice, topics, and characters that make middle grade stories unique. We’ll discuss things that are expected at the middle grade level and where you can color outside the lines.

[18] From Pitch to Pub — April Osborn. This workshop will focus on the roles of authors, agents, and editors at each step of the publishing process: from the initial query letter to the on sale date, and everything in between. We’ll break down each stage, discussing how to effectively pitch your book, how to navigate the book-making process, and what you can do to help your book succeed. 

[19] Let’s Talk About Genre Panel: What Did I Just Write? — Amy Reichert, Rachel Ekstrom, Larry D. Sweazy, Kelly O’Dell Stanley, Dennis Hensley. With an agent and authors from a variety of genres, this panel will answer questions about word count, language, voice, topics, and characteristics of each genre.

3:45-4:45 pm

[20] Finding—and Holding on to—Inspiration — Kelly O’Dell Stanley. Powerful work can be done in that space where inspiration and faith intersect your writing. Session discusses aspects of writing specific to those who write inspirational work: establishing credibility; knowing and connecting to your audience; writing with sensitivity when your audience spans denominations or religions; replenishing yourself after you pour it all out in your writing; and the importance of vocabulary.

[21] Not Long Ago: Writing Contemporary Tales — Tom Williams. A discussion and demonstration of how and why one might write stories set in a general contemporary setting with what John Gardner called, “small changes in the laws of the universe.” How this vein of story writing meets the needs of those perhaps fed up with realism but not inclined toward experimental absurdism.

[22] NaNoWriMoing to Success — Sarah Schmitt. For those brave (or crazy) enough to take on National Novel Writing Month, this session will share some tips and tricks to make your attempt successful. From pre-writing to revision without tears, participants will leave with tools to tackle the ultimate writing challenge.  

[23] But What Types of Online Marketing Actually WORK? — Jane Friedman. Do you wish you knew how much your online activity—social media, blogging, or commenting—actually contributed to your long-term book sales? Do you feel left in the dark about whether this or that new marketing trend or digital tool could actually make a difference to your book launch? This session will look at very practical ways to track and measure your online efforts so you know what to stop doing, what to keep doing, and what to do more of in the future.

[24] Tax Tips for Writers — Carol Topp. Hear the federal income tax explained in clear English. She will discuss tax deductions and special tax rules for writers, as well as record keeping tips to help you stay organized. This session is loaded with examples to make your writing business less taxing.

5:00-6:30 pm   Dinner ON YOUR OWN

6:30-7:30 pm

[25] BUTTONHOLE THE EXPERTS Act 1 —3 x 20 minutes

 Buttonhole the Experts is one of the  highlights of our conference. We have 30 or so tables in the banquet hall with an “expert” (our faculty members) at each one, then six participants sit at each table and chat informally with the expert for about 20 minutes. Then at the ring of a bell it’s like musical chairs (or “speed dating for writers”!): everyone rises and heads to another expert’s table for another 20-minute chat. This process is repeated three times. 

7:30-8:30 pm

Message in a Bottle: Open mic / 2-minute/Two-Page Share Participant Readings

We’ll have a time for sharing your work at Friday evening’s Message in a Bottle Reading event. Participants who chose to put their name in a bottle and are selected will have an opportunity to read for two minutes/two pages. So, bring something to share!

7:30-9:30 pm


Activities Night. Everyone from corporate workers to athletes on sports teams have bonding activities these days. The reason is to improve creativity and to inspire teamwork. Think of this time as
Writer Bonding and don’t worry about whether you are able to bowl–let alone if you feel like aiming for a spare. Activities are simply the backdrop for a chance to brainstorm with some, or share publishing tips with someone else you just met Thursday at Meet Your Tribe. “Let your hair down,” or lay down your Serious Conference Persona and see what happens. As with anything MWW tries for the first time, we can’t wait to hear what you think after participating in this evening!

Saturday Events – July 23, 2016

9:00-10:15 am

[26] BUTTONHOLE THE EXPERTSAct 2 — 3 x 20 minutes

10:30-11:30 am

[27] Slaying the Synopsis — Karma Brown. Tips and tricks for how to write a killer synopsis that gets the job done…without losing your mind, or your creative energy, while you do!

[28] Line Break Clinic — Liz Whiteacre.  Many writers find free verse, well—freeing, but they can become frustrated finding the form that best communicates a poem’s message. In this session, we will explore strategies and exercises you can use to break lines in poems as you draft and revise, helping you experiment with and discover forms that best suit your goals and a poem’s intention. Written exercises 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.

[29] Everything You Wanted to Know About Grammar and Punctuation* *But Were Afraid to Ask — Wendy Beckman.  Most of us know we should have learned many things in our English classes that we currently stumble over or just do flat-out incorrectly now. Plus some things change. Did you know that since the mid-80s that you’re supposed to put only one space at the end of a sentence? Only about half of my students know that. One of my recent editing jobs was a novel written by a high school English teacher up in Washington. It killed me that he kept putting periods outside quotation marks, using “which” instead of “that,” and “I” as the object of prepositions. This class comes with optional bags for putting over their heads to ensure complete anonymity.  

[30] The Agent Interview — Jim McCarthy. Learning the questions to ask so that you make sure you end up with the right agent for you.

[31] Panel: Critique Partners: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them — Amy Reichert, Jen Malone, Dee Romito, Summer Heacock. The best critique partners push each other’s writing to the next level, but how does one find that perfect match? This workshop will discuss how to identify the right CP, how to get (and give) a good critique, and how to nurture a great CP relationship. We’ll explore different places you can find CPs (and maybe make a few matches during our session) and how to make a CP relationship successful for both parties.

11:45 am-1:00 pm  Lunch (on your own) Head down to The Village!

1:15- 2:15 pm

[32] Marketing Your Book Outside the Box — Jen Malone. Middle grade and young adult author and former New England Head of Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films couples her marketing know-how with her author’s perspective to discuss creating outside-the-box grassroots campaigns for your kidlit book titles.

[33] How to Write a Killer Nonfiction Proposal that Gets You an Agent and a Publishing Deal (hopefully!) — Uwe Stender. In this workshop, Literary Agent Uwe Stender spills all the secrets of the writing of a successful nonfiction proposal. What kinds of projects promise success? Why? Why not? What is the most important thing to know about what topics and nonfiction subcategory you should write about and how to present it in a proposal? How does he decide which project will have the highest odds of selling, and which one has the lowest odds?  What are the greatest pitfalls that a writer does not think about before they embark on the journey to publication?

[34] The Smart and Strategic Self-Publisher — Jane Friedman. What does it take to succeed at self-publishing, and what types of authors can benefit from it? What are the best services to use? How much money and time should you invest? Get answers to these questions, plus an unbiased look at the self-publishing scene. You’ll learn the basics of leveraging your platform and driving awareness; how to best use Amazon; how to use pricing/discounting as a strategic tool; how to secure early reviews; and more.

[35] Using Scrivener’s Inspector Panel — Dee Romito. (This session is for those already familiar with Scrivener.) Over on the right of your Scrivener screen is a treasure-filled thing called the inspector panel. We’ll learn how to add comments and annotations, add notes, attach labels to chapters, and take snapshots of current versions of your manuscript. Get the full benefit of all those little icons and features to make completing your manuscript easier and more fun!

[36] Panel on The Crime (Writing) Business — Lori Rader-Day (moderator), Larry D. Sweazy and Matthew Clemens, Dan Johnson.

2:30-3:30 pm

[37] Honing Your Craft in a Non-Traditional, Non-MFA Way — Brent Taylor. This session details the many ways a writer can hone their craft: through critique partners, online resources, and “real world” experience, with an emphasis on the revision process. This session would be for beginner-level writers looking for ways to advance their writing.

[38] Your Lips Move But I Can’t Hear What You’re Saying: Why Not Try Second Person? — Tom Williams. A discussion and demonstration of how second person can be used as a kind of “disguised” first person to maximize connections between reader and characters.

[39] Master Class: Nuts And Bolts: Basics Of Novel Writing + The Book Doctor Is In — Matthew Clemens.  A discussion of completing a novel from the first glimmer of an idea through writing a complete manuscript.  Gleaning an idea, developing it, researching it, writing the first draft, revising, and editing, all the way through to searching for the perfect agent for your work. Including A Twenty-Five Point Checklist To Know If You’re Done With Your Novel. We will go over the twenty-five point checklist that I use both on my own work and as a developmental editor. What Is Developmental Editing? The Book Doctor Is In.

[40] Panel: Interviewing and Research Skills — Karma Brown, Wendy Beckman, Dan Johnson. Where to find different types of information and how to know when to stop researching. We go through different interview techniques and discuss their pros and cons. Participants practice interviewing each other (which is also a good way to develop friendships from the workshop).

[41] How to Edit a Bestseller—Liz Pelletier.

3:45-4:45 pm

[42] Unfinished Essays — Ashley Ford.

[43] Word by Word: What Your First Line Says About Your Book — Julie Murphy and Natalie C. Parker. We know a good first line when we hear one, but we don’t always stop to consider what makes it good. In this session, we will evaluate a series of first lines for the promises they make about the novel to follow.

[44] Connecting the Dots: Embracing Creativity in Nonfiction — Kelly O’Dell Stanley.  Nonfiction doesn’t have to be straightforward—in fact, it offers plenty of opportunities to embrace your creativity. Session will explore ways to approach the writing and publishing process with creativity, such as: developing creative frameworks for essays/book structures; brainstorming innovative ways to extend product line/merchandising and your personal author brand; and creative marketing suggestions to include in book proposals.

[45] Good Digital Design for Non-Designers — Jane Friedman. Few writers are trained in graphic design, but as social media, blogs, and websites become more and more image-driven, it’s becoming increasingly important to know some basics of visual communication. In this session, you’ll learn the principles of design for non-designers, how to find high-quality images for free, and how to use basic, no-frills tools that will make you look a lot better at design than you actually are!

[46] You’re in Business Before You Make Money — Carol Topp. Think you don’t need business or tax advice until you make money from your writing? Think again! Carol will explain tax deductions you can take before you sell your first book. She will also help you understand different business structures such as LLC status and what is best for you. She uses pictures and plain English to explain complex subjects like business and taxes.

5:00-5:45 pm     Cash Bar, Happy Hour

5:45-7:30 pm       Closing Banquet / Manny Awards / Keynote Speaker: Julie Murphy

Speakers and program sessions subject to change

Every effort will be made to adhere to this schedule; however, all programs and times are subject to change.