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