Top 10 Reasons You Should Sign up for Social Media Tutoring at Midwest Writers

Top 10 Reasons You Should Sign up for Social Media Tutoring at Midwest Writers

by Cathy Day

All MWW13 attendees are eligible for a free, 50-minute Social Media Tutoring Session.

Here’s why you should sign up:

  1. It’s absolutely free. FREE!

  2. No other writers’ conference offers a Social Media Lab with hands-on assistance. (If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.)

  3. As a writer, you are the owner of a small business called being yourself.

  4. As a professional-type person, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself about technology.

  5. Since technology is constantly changing, this means that that process of educating yourself will never stop happening.

  6. There’s no point in whining about this. Besides, learning new things is actually kind of fun.

  7. If you sign up, you’ll be helping a young person get real-world experience, which is part of the mission of Ball State University.

  8. I applied for a grant from the Discovery Group in Muncie to hire this highly skilled group of Ball State students as interns. Don’t feel guilty about pumping them for knowledge. They’re getting paid!

  9. The tutors will leave the session feeling empowered: “Hey! This stuff I do for fun can actually be useful and help people!”

  10. You will leave the session feeling empowered: “Hey! Look who’s walking around with a bit more swagger? Me.”

So if you’re coming to Midwest Writers Workshop 2013, sign up!


Hear Indiana’s Poet Laureate!

Midwest Writers Workshop presents a POETRY READING

Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Vera Mae’s Bistro, 209 South Walnut Street, Muncie, Ind. 

To celebrate April’s National Poetry Month, join us to hear Indiana’s Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik and poet Mark Neely.

(And thanks, Jay Sheets, a very clever Ball State student!)

MWW April Poetry

One-Day “Manuscript Makeover” Sessions

In addition to our annual summer workshop, Midwest Writers often schedules mini-workshops and special events throughout the year. If you would like to schedule a mini-workshop in your area, please contact us.

MWW offers One-Day Intensive “MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER” Sessions

November 17, 2012 at Ball State Alumni Center,  9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On Saturday, November 17, MWW offers THREE intensive sessions in our very popular Manuscript Makeover format.

  • “Manuscript Makeover for the Inspirational Writer” led by Dr. Dennis E. Hensley
  • “Manuscript Makeover for the Flash Fiction Writer” led by Sean Lovelace, MFA
  • “Dragons Be Damned: Manuscript Makeover for the Aspiring Fantasy Writer” led by Michael Meyerhofer

Do yourself a favor before the busyness of the holidays begins! Give your writing a boost! These special intensive sessions will be held at at the Ball State Alumni Center, (Muncie, IN) from 9 am to 3:00 pm. Class size is limited to 20 participants in each session. Attend the session of your choice for $125 (includes a brown bag lunch so the work continues to flow).


“Manuscript Makeover for the Inspirational Writer” Led by Dr. Dennis E. Hensley

If you are working on a novel that qualifies as inspirational or motivational or religious, or if you are working on a nonfiction book of devotions, testimonies, or an inspiring life story, this all-day session would be perfect for you.  Each participant will submit the opening ten pages of a book-in-progress, along with a one-page synopsis. These pages will be critiqued by Doc Hensley and then examined (on an overhead) in class. The participants will be shown how to proofread, edit, and rewrite their own material, and will benefit from seeing the editing work done on the other participants’ pages.  Additionally, students will be given handout materials, and the day will include interactive writing exercises and presentations by Doc Hensley on techniques of writing and manuscript marketing.

Dennis E. Hensley holds a Ph.D. in literature and linguistics from Ball State University, and he is director of the professional writing department at Taylor University. He is the author of 53 published books, including eight textbooks on aspects of writing. He is a columnist for Christian Communicator and Advanced Christian Writer and MBN: Metro Business North Magazine. He is a recipient of the Indiana University Award for Teaching Excellence and also the Elizabeth Sherrill Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Speaking.


“Manuscript Makeover for the Flash Fiction Writer” Led by Sean Lovelace, MFA

Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.

How do we get the words right? How does a lump of coal become a diamond? Time + Compression. In flash fiction, no matter how solid the initial inspiration, a writer must work hard to polish and polish (and polish!) the rough draft. Time is revision, the art and science of. Compression entails all the techniques of revision, as revision is a guided process, not a random undertaking. In this session, each participant will learn many specific techniques of rewriting. The class will learn to line edit, utilize the style and efficiency of figurative language, and understand the significance of the “right” objects in prose and the importance of verb precision, among other concepts. As a group, the session will discuss, practice, review, and apply this revision process to our drafts.

Each participant will submit five flash fiction drafts. Each text should be a maximum of 550 words. Bring a printed copy of these drafts to class. Professor Lovelace will give critically constructive feedback on these texts, and will discuss at least one (if not more) of each writer’s draft in class, together, on an overhead projector. Additionally, students will be given handout materials, and the day will include flash fiction examples, writing exercises, and presentations by Professor Lovelace on flash fiction writing and marketing.

Sean Lovelace is a professor of creative writing and a writer of many genres. He is the recipient of the 2011 Creative Endeavor Award at Ball State University. He has published two collections of flash fiction, including the award-winning, How Some People Like Their Eggs (Rose Metal Press) and the recent Small Press Distribution bestseller, Fog Gorgeous Stag (Publishing Genius). His flash fiction works have appeared in many anthologies and have won numerous national literary awards, including Dzanc Best of the Web, wigleaf Top 50 online, multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, and other recognitions. He writes flash, reads flash, blogs flash—he loves flash fiction! He also likes to run, far.


“Dragons Be Damned: Manuscript Makeover for the Aspiring Fantasy Writer” Led by Michael Meyerhofer

What distinguishes fantasy from literary fiction?  Is it simply the use of exotic settings, magic, dragons, etc., or is it something more?  Put another way, are the requirements for “successful” fantasy characters really all that different from the requirements for their literary fiction counterparts?  This workshop will begin with the assumption that character development and avoiding cliché are critical elements of successful fantasy writing, just as they are in other genres.  Each participant will submit a synopsis and the first five pages of their novel; these will be critiqued by Michael Meyerhofer and examined (on an overhead) in class.  While this workshop will primarily focus on a brief discussion followed by manuscript critiques, participants will benefit from seeing the critiques of their peers’ work.  I also encourage you to perform this Character Description Exercise for your story’s protagonist and/or antagonist and bring that with you; time permitting, we’ll discuss these as a group, as well.

Michael Meyerhofer’s first fantasy novel, Wytchfire, is forthcoming from Double Dragon Press in April of 2013.  It will be the first in a series (the sequel, Knight of the Crane, is completed but a publication date is yet to be determined).  He has also published three award-winning books and five chapbooks of poetry, along with short stories and novellas in the science fiction and fantasy genres.  He received his MFA from Southern Illinois University and currently teaches at Ball State University.  He is also the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review and, if prompted, can give you a ten minute lecture on the types of metal used in different kinds of swords.  For more information (on his writing, that is), feel free to swing by

Social Media Consultants & FREE tutoring

NEW for MWW 2012!

Social Media Consultants & FREE tutoring!

By Cathy Day, MWW Committee Member, Ball State University professor, author of The Circus in Winter and Comeback Season

Because MWW is committed to helping you become a published writer, we talk a lot about social media. That’s because changes in the publishing industry have forced writers to become “author-preneurs”-marketers, promoters, social media experts, and much more. At MWW, we know how time-consuming and confusing these tasks can be, and we want to help by offering free social media tutoring.

Yes, free.

Originally, we were going to require you to pay $35 per consult, but we decided it would be easier and more effective to run it more like a drop-in tutoring center. (Those who already signed up and paid will receive a refund.) Consultants will be available to show you how to start a blog and how to use Facebook and Twitter effectively. We’ll offer a limited number of tutorial sessions, so sign up for your 45-minute individual consultation. Bring your laptop and/or smartphone, and get ready to join the digital age!

Where the Idea Came From

Last year, I was on the faculty at MWW and attended many of Jane Friedman’s panels on how to use social media. I looked around the room and saw people around my own age and older with stunned and frightened looks on their faces, and I thought to myself, “Oh, I know exactly how you feel!” I’m a latecomer to social media. My first forays went badly, and I experienced a profound sense of culture shock. (You can read about it here.) I turned to the young people in my life-my students-who showed me the ropes.

I’m excited to introduce you to these four individuals. Let me tell you about each of them, and I think you’ll see why I selected them to work as social media consultants at MWW.

Meet the Consultants

Fields TyperTyler Fields is in his third year at Ball State University, majoring in Creative Writing and Digital Publishing. He edits the BSU English Department Blog and is co-president of the Writers’ Community.  Both of these positions require maintaining a social media presence and/or professional writing proficiency. Tyler has published both creative pieces and academic articles in various national journals and continues to assist Ball State faculty in their publishing endeavors. Tyler currently maintains several personal social media platforms including his  website, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, and can be easily reached on Facebook.

Q: Tyler, in a nutshell, why is it important for aspiring writers to maintain some kind of internet presence?

A: The climate of writing, publishing, and reading is shifting drastically and swiftly. Unless a writer has become established before the surge of the internet and social media, it seems there is little to no hope for her to break out of the growing saturation of aspiring writers today. How is she to get notice from agents or presses? I think that because most communication has already shifted to internet-exclusivity, those aspiring writers who have yet to get connected are losing out on a myriad of opportunities. One is simply to create connections with other readers, writers, and publishers. Online, a writer is able to maintain connections with other hopefuls and established personnel. And as with any new prospect, it’s incredibly important to have already made connections with those people who can assist in your writing endeavors. Another opportunity exists in the recent push to publish online. I know of several authors who have been approached by agents from big and small presses to submit a novel manuscript based on their publications to online journals.

Further, because it’s becoming simpler all the time to move forward as a writer without a middleman, many writers are taking advantage of the ability to push and market their work more quickly and efficiently. How do they do this? They have a prominent online presence. In the end, if a writer is able to create and maintain at least a semblance of an online presence, they increase their chances greatly to immerse themselves in the world of reading and writing which has largely taken to rely on the internet to provide new, upcoming, and promising writers.

Ford AshleyAshley C. Ford received her BA in English Studies from Ball State University where she edited the departmental literary magazine The Broken Plate, contributed to the university magazine “Ball Bearings,” and served as communications intern with the Ball State University Foundation. In addition to her work with the university, Ashley served as Blog Editor and Marketing Director for

Specter Magazine and Communications Coordinator for local consulting firm, Whitinger Strategic Services LLC, where she ran six successful marketing campaigns using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and various blog-hosting sites. Feel free to follow her on Twitter: @iSmashFizzle, or read her blog, “The Next Thing.”

Q: Ashley, tell me a story about how social media has enriched your writing life, provided you with an opportunity you might not have had otherwise.

A: Let me say that I have a wonderful group of writing friends and partners right here in Muncie. We share work, attend literary events together, and support one another through the toughest spots of our writing processes. However, it is through the online writing community that I’ve found ways to get my work into the world.

About two years ago, I decided to follow and engage one of my favorite writers on twitter. I just wanted to let her know how much I enjoyed her work and how I found her to be inspirational. This led to her giving me the opportunity to read for a well-known literary magazine she edits. She went on to publish two of my essays in different venues. Through this relationship I have been introduced to other amazing writers, offered invaluable advice on writing and publishing, and she has become my writing mentor. All of this from a few initial tweets!

I know not everyone is looking for a writing mentor, but through social media I have had the opportunity to have conversations with writers from around the world who I may never get the opportunity to meet in person. Some of them have even offered to read and critique my work. These connections are only possible via the internet and I plan on using them to their fullest potential.

McNelly SpencerSpencer McNelly received his BA in Creative Writing from Ball State University where he was a tutor at The Writing Center, a member of Writers’ Community, and a copy editor for Stance, BSU’s international undergraduate philosophy journal. In addition to writing memoir and editing work, Spencer was Vice President of Spectrum, BSU’s GLBTQSA organization, where one responsibility was maintaining the Twitter account for the group. Spencer also blogs on Tumblr and can be reached on Facebook and @androgynisto on Twitter.

Q: Spencer, what would you say to someone who makes an appointment with you at MWW and says, “They say I have to do this. I don’t really want to, but I will if I have to. So show me what I need to do.” And what do you have to offer someone who’s a little more advanced, who says, “I’m doing it, but I think maybe I’m doing it wrong. How can I do this better?”

A: Firstly, I would ask them who “they” is and secondly, I’d assure them that one doesn’t have to be a part of social media. It’s an important aspect of being a literary citizen, but not a requirement. I’d walk them through the three main appendages of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and eBlogger. If someone asked about using social media incorrectly, I’d discuss with them about their goals in being a part of social media. I’d assure them that there isn’t necessarily a wrong way of doing it, just a gap in not getting what one wants from it.

Ralston MayeMaye Ralston worked as a freelance journalist and a professional writer and consultant specializing in marketing and public relations media. She has several years experience with online site development, writing, and marketing – including deploying websites, blogs, and social media and incorporating intersecting media. She is currently studying creative writing at Ball State University, where she continues to explore emerging media.  She plans to apply to MFA programs in the near future. You can follow Maye on Twitter @MayeRalston, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and at her recent blog “The Well of Creativity.”

Q: Maye, one reason why I selected you is that, unlike the other consultants, you’re not Generation Y. You’re not someone who’s grown up using technology and social media. Like a lot of MWW attendees, you’ve had to learn how to incorporate this into your personal and professional life. What advice do you have for the aspiring writer who’s nervous about dipping their toe into these waters?

A:  Trying something new can be confusing, frustrating, and very time consuming. Certainly it can be risky. Especially if one has already acquired a certain amount of professional reputation capital, it can be intimidating to risk that capital in a technological wilderness. I wish I had had someone to guide me when I first started using online tools and media, it would have saved me hours (months really) of hard and frustrating work. As to the risk: not venturing into new tools and technology can also be risky, as the world may well leave one behind, mired in the muck (yes I love clichés) of outdated methodologies. It is a fact of modern life that technologies will change the way we live and work, at ever decreasing intervals. Keeping up necessarily means taking risks, and that means making mistakes. The good news is that even new media “experts” make mistakes, so we are all in good company. If we desire to remain industry viable, anything we can do to shorten the learning curve in order to get back to our real passion (writing) is worth every penny, and every effort, we spend on it.

Homework Assignment!

The consultants have some questions they’d like you to consider before you arrive at MWW 12 and sign up for an appointment with them.

  • Do you have: a Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, a blog?
  • Are you active on these accounts? How active? How long have you been using them?
  • Are these accounts primarily for personal or professional use? Or both? Are you connected to other writers and publishing personnel?
  • If you have more than one of the items in number one, are they interconnected? (For example does your twitter feed show up on your blog or Facebook feed? Or does your blog feed show up on your LinkedIn profile page?)
  • If you have a blog, what is your primary use of this blog? (personal or professional or a little of both)
  • What is the topic of your blog, if there is a topic or focus?
  • How many followers does your blog have? And whose blogs do YOU follow?
  • Do you know how many followers/friends/connections you have on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook?
  • Are your followers mostly friends and family members, or are they also professional connections? About what percentage of each are there?
  • What 1 or 2 things do you most want to learn during your tutoring session? Be sure to come to the session with a plan, your passwords, and a digital headshot photo.

Email your responses with subject line: “Social Media Homework”