MWW 2017 Schedule: Mark your calendar ~ July 19-21, 2018

Link to Student Center Floor Plans: 1st Floor, 2nd Floor, 3rd Floor, Lower Level [Rooms with Names = 2nd Floor / Rooms with Numbers = 3rd Floor]

  • Registration — Browsing Lounge
  • Vendors — Terrace Lounge
  • BSU Bookstore/MWW Bookstore & Merchandise — Music Lounge
  • Editor Pitches — Room 302
  • Agent Pitches — Room 303
  • Social Media Lab — Room 304
  • Manuscript Evaluations  — Rooms 310A {Agent & Editor evaluations/queries in Rooms 302 & 303)
  • Query Letter Critiques — Rooms 310B
  • Faculty Green Room — Orr Room

Thursday Events – July 20, 2017

8:15-8:30 am    Browsing Lounge:  Registration welcome bags for Part I 

8:30-9:00 am    Ballroom:  Welcome                                               

9:00-11:30 am    PART I INTENSIVE SESSIONS: 

Room 301 [1] Adrenaline Rush: Writing a ThrillerJohn Gilstrap

Award-winning thriller author John Gilstrap presents a day-long seminar on the construction of intelligent commercial fiction. What makes for a strong plot? How do you take cardboard characters and give them life on the page? Through lively lectures and writing exercises, students get a peek at the skeleton that gives structure to the stories that keep us reading long into the night.

Room 303 [2] The Book Doctor is in – Adventures in Developmental EditingMatthew Clemens

Matthew will critique each writer’s first 10 pages and the attendees will engage in writing exercises geared to trends within the group’s manuscripts as well as creating characters, writing realistic dialogue, building scenes, point of view, and learning to read like a writer as opposed to reading like a reader. Participants will send a one-page synopsis and the first 10 pages of a book manuscript in progress by JULY 1 ( line: Developmental Editing Intensive). [Limit 15.]

Room 304 [3] Screenwriting 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.

Room 305 [4] Writing Women’s FictionAmy Reichert & Melissa Marino

“Women’s Fiction” is a widely used, frequently misunderstood publishing term. In this session we’ll discuss the genre’s definition and scope–from sweeping family dramas to light-hearted romance, 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.

We recommend you read widely in the women’s fiction genre. These are not required, but here are some suggested books that demonstrate the range of women’s fiction: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. [For those with complete story ideas, you’re welcome to submit a 2 page, single-spaced synopsis to Melissa and Amy, along with your first 250 words by July 1 – email to with “women’s fiction” in the subject. All submitted synopses and writing samples will be given feedback.] 

Room 306 [5] Writing the Young Adult NovelMike Mullin

In this intensive, we’ll cover almost every aspect of writing a young adult novel from first lines to final edits. There will be lots of writing exercises, so come prepared to write like a hyperactive ferret. If ferrets could write. But they can’t, so that’s beside the point. There will also be ample opportunity to discuss writing and hyperactive ferrets with award-winning young-adult author Mike Mullin.

Room 307 [6] Writing for ChildrenRuth McNally Barshaw

The children’s book industry is more competitive than ever, and working in it can be surprisingly rewarding. We’ll explore picture books for young children and illustrated novels for older children, their differences and what works for both: structure, story, character, rules to follow and rules to break, the writing life, and the industry. We’ll discuss it all, from the first ideas for your book to seeing it in the bookstore — including how to survive the whole process and do it all again for your next book. We’ll have handouts and hands-on exercises to explore with either your work in progress or a new idea.

Room 308 [7] Memoir: It’s Not About Your Life – It’s About How You Feel About Your LifeMardi Jo Link

You’ve had experiences, adventures, great loves and great losses. Your life should be a book. Everyone tells you so and you’ve always wanted to write about some of your amazing experiences. But the key to compelling personal narrative isn’t having outrageous experiences, it is how the writer has been changed by those experiences. In this workshop, writing prompts and focused readings of memoir and personal essay will guide you toward analyzing how you feel about your life today, vs. how you felt about your experiences as they were happening. This new “you” is the emotional core of your story and can be discovered!

Room 310A [8] Rewrite Your Life: Transform Your Facts into Powerful FictionJess Lourey

According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. But how do we select and then write our most significant story, the one that helps us to evolve and invites pure creativity into our lives, the one that people line up to read? In Rewrite Your Life: Transform Your Facts into Powerful Fiction, creative writing professor, sociologist, TEDx presenter, and popular fiction author Jessica Lourey (MA, MS) takes you step-by-step through the redemptive process of crafting and selling an experience-based novel.

Based on the transformative approach Lourey developed and field-tested in the wake of her husband’s suicide, this workshop combines research, writing guidance, and interactive exercises. Tender, raw, funny, and instructional, Rewrite Your Life offers both a map and a model for those seeking to transform themselves through the simple, profound act of novel writing. Come with something to write with on. If you can, also bring with a maximum 5-page scene from a work in progress for an editing exercise. [Limit 25]

Terrace Room [9] Manuscript Makeover – 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 10 pages of a book manuscript in progress by JULY 1 to  subject line: Manuscript Makeover Intensive. Holly will edit and critique these pages and display them to the class as a way of revealing strengths and weaknesses in the material. Additionally, she will lead the students in writing exercises and offer advice on such topics as creating strong titles and opening paragraphs, 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 10 persons to register. The sooner writers sign up and pay the registration fee, the more likely they will be assured a spot. [Limit 10.]

Pineshelf Room [10] Getting to Know Scrivener’s FeaturesDee Romito

In this intensive session, we’ll dive into Scrivener and explore the many tools available to help with your writing. Scrivener is full of features that can help you get more organized and find the things you need, saving you time and making it easier to get things done. 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. (Please note: this session will be similar to the intensive presented in 2016, but prior attendees are welcome to come for a refresher!)  [Limit 16-20.]

11:45 am-1 pm  Ballroom:  Box Networking Lunch

1:00-3:00 pm      Intensive Sessions (continued)  

PART II begins


3:45 pm    Browsing Lounge:  Registration packets for Part II available                                                                       

3:45-5:00 pm 

Cardinal Hall A [1] Pitching 101 — Summer Heacock, Roseanne Wells, and Brenda Drake  [Tips for the 3-minute pitch to agents and “pitch practice”]

Cardinal Hall B [2] Querying 101 — Eric Smith and Dana Kaye [Tips for improving your query letter]

Cardinal Hall C [3] Conference 101 — Kelly Stanley and Gail Werner [For first-time conference attendees]

5:00-6:30 pm    Dinner on your own {Head to the Village / see suggestions in Sessions Notebook}

6:30-8:30 pm

Cardinal Hall: Welcome & Keynote: Jane Friedman. The Publishing Industry in 2017: What Writers Need to Know

Cash bar/refreshments

We’ll kick off Part II with a welcoming talk by one of MWW’s favorite presenters and long-time faculty, Jane Friedman. Her presentation will be informational, inspirational and filled with her special brand of cleverness, to get you in a workshopping mood. 

Faculty Introductions 

Alumni Lounge/Browsing Lounge/Ballroom: 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 21, 2017

[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    Cardinal Hall:  Coffee & Networking — Angie Thomas interviewed by Jessica Strawser, editorial director of Writer’s Digest [Newly added to the schedule!]

9:00-10:15 am   Cardinal Hall

[4] All Agent Panel Q&A: Everything you’ve always wanted to know about agents but were afraid to ask.

10:30-11:30 am  Cardinal Hall

[5] Buttonhole the Experts — Act 1 —3 x 20 minutes

NO preparation necessary for this event — just talking to folks! Buttonhole the Experts is one of the  highlights of our conference. We have 35 or so tables with an “expert” (our faculty members) at each one, then seven 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. In other words, everyone learns much about the various genres/topics from our experts.

11:45-1:00 pm  Cardinal Hall: Buffet lunch

[6] Keynote: Jessica Strawser: Writing Lessons From 10 Years of Bestselling Author Interviews — A full decade of my diverse 15-year publishing career has involved interviewing bestselling authors for Writer’s Digest—and not only has their advice inspired our readership, but it’s inspired me—all the way to a two-novel contract of my own. This session distills 10 years of collected wisdom into the all-time best insights into the creative process, the writing life, the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Get new perspectives on revolutionizing your writing routine, following the path of your story, revising with the right mindset, persevering through rejection, and empowering yourself to be your own work’s best advocate—from award-winners and bestsellers including Alice Walker, David Sedaris, David Baldacci, Patricia Cornwell, Khaled Hosseini, Brad Meltzer, Lisa Scottoline, Chris Cleave and more.

1:15-2:15 pm 

Cardinal Hall A [7] Editor Panel — Terri Bischoff, Lauren Smulski, Jessica Strawser

Cardinal Ball B [8] How to Tell if Your Story Idea Has Legs? — Amy Reichert.

Cardinal Hall C [9] Pitch Perfect — Brenda Drake. Nervous about pitching your manuscript to industry professionals? Not sure how to create a hook that sells? Learn the one formula you can use to create all the various pitches needed in today’s market. We’ll go over twitter and contest pitches, queries, synopses, plus winning titles and first pages.

Ballroom [10] Writing Diverse YA — Becky Albertalli and Angie Thomas. Guidelines for #ownvoices and outsiders

Pineshelf [11] Scrivener for Beginners — Dee Romito. If you’ve heard the buzz about Scrivener, but need some help getting started, or you’re already using it and want to learn what else it can do, this session is for you. You’ll see how easy it is to get started with this time-saving writing program and get an overview of the many helpful features that can take your writing to the next level. You’ll leave more organized, motivated, and ready to write!

Terrace Room [12]  Book to Screen: The perils and pleasures of adaptations — Nina Sadowsky.

2:30-3:30 pm

Cardinal Hall A [13] Debut Author Panel — Bronwen Dickey (nonfiction), Summer Heacock (fiction), Jessica Strawser (fiction), Angie Thomas (fiction), Brenda Drake (fiction) Eric Smith (agent)

Cardinal Hall B [14] Worst Advice Ever: Write What You Know — John Gilstrap. The real trick is to write what interests you.  This session presents strategies for getting in touch with experts who can help you, and where to find answers to your most perplexing questions.  Hint: Knowing a little bit is fine.  The rest is about faking it.  We’ll talk about that, too.

Cardinal Hall C [15] Funding the Writer’s Life: — Mardi Jo Link. This session gives an overview on literary contests, Kickstarter, grants, advances, speaking fees.

Ballroom [16] How to Write a Mystery Novel in 7 Steps — Jess Lourey. You’ve got that golden idea for a crime novel, the one that won’t let you go, that embellishes itself as you walk around your day. How do you turn that good idea into a great mystery, and what do you do with it after you write it? Join author of eleven mysteries and college writing instructor Jessica Lourey for the answers. Participants will be shown how to go from idea to completed novel using the seven-step POP Method in addition to receiving detailed information on cracking the world of publishing.

Pineshelf [17] Let’s Talk About Sex: How to Write Romance–From the Subtle to the Sexy — Melissa Marino.

Forum Room [18] Why Is Writing So #$%@ Hard? — Mike Mullin. Is writer’s block real? How do you beat it? Why is writing sometimes so difficult? Why are there days the words seem to flow without conscious thought? Is it better to write in the morning or at night? In this session, award-winning young-adult author Mike Mullin will share the work habits of dozens of famous authors, delve into the latest neuroscience and psychological research as it pertains to writing, and suggest concrete strategies you can use immediately to make yourself a more productive writer.  

3:45-4:45 pm

Cardinal Hall A [19] Help! I have a book coming out, what do I do? — Dana Kaye.

Cardinal Hall B [20] Fail Your Way to Success — Ruth McNally Barshaw. This session examines how mistakes and missteps are essential in the creative process. Writing luminaries such as JK Rowling have learned to embrace and celebrate the low points. Ruth has had success and plenty of rejections, and provides insight on how to make your challenges worthwhile.

Cardinal Hall C [21] The Art of the Interview — Bronwen Dickey.

Ballroom [22] “You remember how the revolution happened, right, Karen?” OR How do you dialogue? — Rena Olsen. Dialogue is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of writing a believable story. In this session, we will practice speaking and writing dialogue that makes sense on the page, encompasses the voice of the character, but that is not overly distracting to the reader. Participants will be asked to speak to each other during this session.

Pineshelf [23] Bookkeeping for Writers Who Hate Numbers — Carol Topp. Writers are word people who usually hate numbers, but regular bookkeeping is a guarantee of business success. Author and accountant Carol Topp will share with you tips and tools to make record keeping easier.  You don’t need complicated, expensive software. She will show you how real authors keep their records that are easy to maintain and delight their accountant.

Forum Room [24] For Fun and Profit: Making Money from Your Website, Blog, and Social Media — Jane Friedman.

5:00-6:30 pm   Dinner ON YOUR OWN

6:30-7:30 pm

Alumni Lounge: Faculty Autograph Party / Ballroom: Cash Bar & Snacks / Free Photobooth

7:30-8:30 pm

Cardinal Hall B 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. This activity was such a blast for MWW16, that we’re offering the fun again. At what other conference can you bowl with agents and authors?!

Saturday Events – July 22, 2017

9:00-10:15 am

Cardinal Hall [25] Buttonhole the Experts Act 2 — 3 x 20 minutes

10:30-11:30 am

Cardinal Hall A [26] Internet Stalking Without Being Creepy: How to Research, Network, and Become a Priority — Jessica Sinsheimer.

Cardinal Hall B [27] Diversity is Not a Trend Panel — Monica Odom, Becky Albertalli, Angie Thomas, Brooks Sherman, Ashley Ford, Terri Bischoff

Cardinal Hall C [28] How to Become a Regular Contributor to Any Publication — Jessica Strawser. Becoming a regular contributor is the dream scenario in terms of steady paychecks, easier-to-come-by assignments, and more byline opportunities for freelance writers, and yet so many freelancers go about this the wrong way. This session teaches you how to make ANY assignment the first of many, build relationships with editors, recognize opportunities other writers miss, earn more money with less effort, and strengthen your freelance writing career without driving yourself query-crazy.

Pineshelf [29] Illustrations in Children’s Books — Ruth McNally Barshaw. What I know and what I’m still learning — Analyzing the art in picture books. How the art and writing work together to surprise the reader. How they encourage the reader to turn the page. How picture book art has changed in the past 200 years, and where it seems to be going.

Ballroom [30] Writing is Rewriting: Strategies for fighting writer’s block and how to be your own most critical reader — Nina Sadowsky.

11:45 am-1:00 pm  Lunch – on your own

1:15- 2:15 pm

Cardinal Hall A [31] How to Research: How to Tell Believable Lies — Matthew Clemens. We’ll discuss ways to do research, what to include in your novel, what to leave out, and how to not spend your whole life down the rabbit hole of research.

Cardinal Hall B [32] Publishing Relationships Panel — Brooks Sherman, Becky Albertalli, Angie Thomas, and Sarah Cannon; Lauren Smulski and Summer Heacock

Cardinal Hall C [33] Nonfiction Book Proposal Idea — Monica Odom, Roseanne Wells, Eric Smith. Literary agents and publishers are always hungry for fun, intriguing, thought-provoking, and original material to make into books. But for lots of writers, bloggers, and journalists, pursuing publication can feel like a big leap into the unknown. Never fear! This workshop will teach you everything you need to know about creating and selling a nonfiction book proposal, from generating ideas and honing your angle to leveraging your platform and searching for an agent. Agent Monica Odom will discuss best practices, pitfalls, and trends in publishing, as well as the nuts and bolts of formatting a proposal, writing a query letter, and communicating with agents and publishers. And though the workshop session is aimed at writers looking to turn an existing blog/column/web project etc. into a book, there will be time for Q&As and discussion of other avenues to publication as well. So, if you’ve ever daydreamed, considered, or just wondered about how to get started on making your ideas into book—this is the workshop for you.

Pineshelf [34] Navigating Scrivener’s Features —  Dee Romito. If you’re already using Scrivener, but find yourself wondering which feature you should use to solve a particular issue, come join us for this workshop and discussion. Because what you need for each manuscript changes, you’ll need to hone your Scrivener detective skills! We’ll explore the best features for the things YOU need—perhaps multiple point-of-view, keeping research handy, or maybe tracking a plotline. This session is best for those already familiar with the basics of Scrivener. Please come with a laptop loaded with Scrivener (trial or paid version) if possible.

Ballroom [35] Editing Your Novel: Quick and Dirty Tips to Superboost Your Writing — Jess Lourey. This workshop covers meta editing (“re-seeing” your work to deepen and strengthen the writing) as well as nuts and bolts line editing, including introducing the ARISE (action, romance and humor, information, suspense, and emotion) method for evaluating the strength of your scenes. In addition, author and writing professor Jess Lourey covers the importance of: reading your work out loud to evaluate grammar, consistency, voice, and word choice; ending each chapter with a hook regardless of genre; replacing dialogue tags with movement; suggestions for corralling beta readers and a discussion of whether or not to hire a professional freelance editor and how to select one if you choose that route. Bring 10 pages of your manuscript for practice.

2:30-3:30 pm

Cardinal Hall A [36] Bangs and Booms 101: What Writers Need to Know About Firearms and Explosives — John Gilstrap.

Cardinal Hall B [37] Promotion and Presentations Panel — Amy Reichert, Jane Friedman, Dana Kaye, Mike Mullin, Ruth Barshaw, Kelly Stanley

Cardinal Hall C [38] Writing and Selling the Middle Grade Novel — Jennifer Laughran. 

Pineshelf [39] The Tools of the Trade — Bronwen Dickey. You’ve finally settled on a fascinating topic for an article or book–now what do you do? How do you find interview subjects and reach out to them? How do you take notes that you can actually use, and how do you organize all the other material (photos, audio clips, news articles) that you collect? This seminar will explore the nuts-and-bolts of research and reporting, from pre-interview jitters to assembling your final endnotes and citations. Think of it as ‘all the tips and tricks this journalist wishes someone had shared with her when she started out.’

Ballroom [40] Going from “Tell” to “Show,” or How to Make a Scene in Your Writing — Mike Mullin. We’ve all heard the same advice: always show, never tell. It’s wrong. In this workshop, you’ll learn specific definitions for “show” and “tell.” Both are tools that should be in every writer’s box. You’ll learn when it’s better to tell than to show. And you’ll learn why showing is generally preferred in modern fiction. Come prepared to participate in a short writing exercise.

3:45-4:45 pm

Cardinal Hall A [41] 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.

Cardinal Hall B [42] PubTalk TV SessionLive streaming With Summer Heacock, Roseanne Wells, Jessica Sinsheimer, Monica Odom

Cardinal Hall C [43] Essays — Ashley Ford.

Pineshelf [44] Writing and Selling True Crime — Mardi Jo Link. The most fun you’ll ever have doing research. After “Making a Murderer” and “Serial,” true  crime books are, as one editor told me, “having a moment.” There are no lack of interesting cases to write about. Here’s how to get started, where to find documents and how to access them, and how to turn a crime into a compelling narrative.

Ballroom [45] Channeling the Voices in your Head: A Workshop on Voice — Rena Olsen. We all have those voices in our heads, characters who talk to us and beg us to tell their stories. But how do you translate the character you’ve imagined onto paper? How do you make sure every nuance of their personality comes across, and, most importantly, how to make sure that you take a step back and let them take the lead, even when they lead the story to unexpected places? In this workshop-style session, we will talk about how to get to know your characters, and practice getting their voices to shine on the page. Each participant will create a character and apply their voice to a generic scene.

5:00-5:45 pm   Alumni Lounge:  Cash Bar, Happy Hour

5:45-7:30 pm   Cardinal Hall:  Closing Banquet / Manny Awards / Keynote Speaker: Jess Lourey —”Rewrite Your Life”


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.