MWW23 Schedule: Virtual
Thursday, July 20 – Saturday, July 22, 2023
ALL SESSIONS are EASTERN TIME ZONE! Watch one session live during each time slot, then watch the other later on our private YouTube channel.
Thursday Events – July 20, 2023
8:45 am WELCOME: Coffee Talk/Morning fellowship
Get your morning started right! Coffee, tea, whatever you’ve got, have a cup and say good morning to your fellow Zoomers. This is a chance to clear up any questions you have about the conference and make sure you’re set for the day.
9:00-10:15 am SESSION 1
- CONVERSATION BETWEEN TWO AUTHORS (Lori Rader-Day & Jess Lourey) Kicking Down the Door: The Many Paths to a Publishing Career – Edgar Award-nominated and Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author Lori Rader-Day and Amazon Charts bestselling, Edgar-nominated, ITW Thriller Award-winning author Jess Lourey will discuss the many paths to publication, including becoming involved in the writing community, finding a home for short stories, landing an agent, indie publishing, leveling up from a small press to a big house, and everything in between. They’ll be sharing personal stories and hard-won knowledge. The discussion will end with a Q & A.
10:30-11:30 am SESSION 2
- Bad Writing Workshop – Michael Martone. Bring with you a brief example of bad writing, 100–150-word sample of really bad writing, written by you. It must be your bad writing, something you consider to be bad. We take these classes and workshops (don’t we?) because we think we are already bad and want to get “better,” so with this assignment, just be yourself! Be naturally bad. You will read your bad writing to the group, and we will discuss your strategies of badness, the rules you are breaking to be bad, and how, maybe, you should just go into another line of work. No, I am kidding about that last one. Just be bad.
- Write your Children’s Book with all 5 Senses – Chadwick Gillenwater. Writing with all five senses creates a “literary dream” for young readers. If you write scenes that show what your characters are seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling, your readers will be pulled into a full sensory experience that will keep them turning pages. In this workshop you will learn techniques on writing with all five senses.
1:00-2:15 pm SESSION 3
- Double-Dog Dares – Liz Whiteacre. Writing collaboratively with prompts engages us with our writing communities and helps us explore topics and forms from new perspectives. Join poet Liz Whiteacre and write with others in this session: arrive strangers, leave friends (with pieces to polish).
- Writing from the Heart – Brent Bill. Do you wish to write in a way that touches readers and yourself? That’s the kind of writing that readers find so appealing. Brent Bill’s own writing has been described by Publishers Weekly as being “Like a neighborly conversation across a kitchen table.” Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, you want to write from the heart and not just from the head. This workshop offers tips and techniques for connecting with your writer’s heart and how to put your heart on paper. You will spend time writing, using exercises that will help you uncover the deep themes and concerns that will bring your writing to life.
2:30-3:30 pm SESSION 4
- Novel Writing for Blank-Page Beginners – Lori Rader-Day. Facing the blank page is the challenge of every novelist. Lucky for us, there are many ways into a story. Whether you’re new to writing, new to longform fiction, or just want to generate approaches to a new story, this session led by award-winning crime novelist Lori Rader-Day will offer methods for launching the story you’ve always wanted to tell.
- The Poet’s Superpower – Mark Neely. Using line breaks to create tension, suspense, and surprise. In this session, we will explore how a variety of poets (from Japanese haiku masters to contemporary writers) use line breaks and how these techniques can invigorate your own writing.
3:45-4:45 pm SESSION 5
- What Is a Young Adult Novel, Anyway? – Barb Shoup. When is a novel featuring a teenage protagonist for teenagers l and when is it more likely to be read by adults? This session will identify the tenets of good YA literature, consider the universal issues and events of adolescence that resonate for teenagers anywhere, in any time, and offer strategies for shaping your manuscript toward the market in which you hope to publish it.
- Image + Text: Transform Your Writing with Drawings, Diagrams, Comics, & Collage – Kelcey Ervick. There is a magical alchemy to the combination of image and text. Whether you want to begin making your own comics or just experiment and “see” your words in a new context, this session will give you inspiration, examples, and a little practice. I’ll share sample work from a variety of image+text creators in my new edited book, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Graphic Literature, who work with diagrams, calligrams, altered photos, comics panels, and collage, then invite you to practice 1-2 techniques. Bring a poem or passage of prose (yours or someone else’s) to transform with imagery. No drawing skills necessary!
9:00 pm -10:00 pm
- Late Night VIRTUAL Talkabouts: This is a great time for the in-person attendees to hurry back to their hotel rooms, jump into their pajamas, and join the online attendees for a late night gabfest about everything we saw and heard during the day. We can also share work and ask questions, and finish the evening with a writing sprint to get ready for the next day of writing and learning.
Friday Events – July 21, 2023
11:00-12:00 am SESSION 6
- Adrenaline Rush: How to Write Suspense Fiction – John Gilstrap. Award-winning thriller author John Gilstrap presents this session on the construction of intelligent suspense fiction. What makes for a strong plot? How do you take cardboard characters and give them life on the page? Through a lively lecture and writing exercises, students get a peek at the skeleton that gives structure to the stories that keep us reading long into the night..
- Seeing Beyond the I: Using Multiple Points of View in Creative Nonfiction – Jill Christman. Sure, the first-person singular is the most common point of view in narrative essays and memoir, but the “I” is certainly not the only way. Join nonfiction writer and editor Jill Christman to explore the ways in which changing the lens of point of view (second person, third person, or first-person plural) can shift perspective, expanding our personal stories in fruitful and surprising ways.
1:15-2:15 pm SESSION 7
- Literary Citizenship: The Feel-Good Way to Market and Promote – Jane Friedman. Worried you’re not all that good at marketing, or that you don’t have the time, energy, or skills required to do it well? You’re not alone: most writers have anxiety surrounding how to market and promote their work. Fortunately, there is a remedy that doesn’t require perfecting the hard sell or becoming a professional marketer. It’s literary citizenship. Literary citizenship is a concept from the literary writing and publishing community that is useful to all writers no matter what your background or genre. It essentially advocates lifting up and bringing attention to literature, reading, books, and other pursuits that are intrinsic to authorship and publishing. If you like books and you read books, you can practice literary citizenship. It’s simple to understand and can be applied across all forms and mediums (online and offline). The only requirement? You’ll adopt an abundance mindset. You’re not competing with other authors, but collaborating; when others succeed, you will succeed too.
2:30-3:30 pm SESSION 8
- The 7-Step Pyramid on Point Method for Turning an Idea into a Novel or Memoir – Jess Lourey. *This workshop is directed at writers in any genre and of any age and skill level. You’ve got that golden idea for a book, the one that won’t let you go, that embellishes itself as you walk around your day, but you don’t know what to do with it. Or you find yourself in the saggy middle of your novel and want to throw in the towel. Or possibly you have a completed first draft but know something isn’t quite right with it. How do you take control of your book? Join multi-genre, bestselling author Jess Lourey for the answers. Participants will be shown how to use the seven-step POP Method to write cleaner, better, and faster.
- Defamiliarization – Michael Martone. How does a fish know it is in water? We forget that we forget. We forget how strange and mysterious the “ordinary” world really is. We normalize it. We get used to it. We gloss over the wonders and weirdness of the everyday. We forget to notice. In this session we will begin to notice noticing, the nature of noticing. In class, we will do exercises that, I hope, will return us to states of child-like wonder, and we will do in-class writing that will make strange the ordinary. I hope we can do a bit of walking around and just look at things, fishes out of water.
3:45-4:45 pm SESSION 9
- Writing the White Whale – Lori Rader-Day (ends late: 5:15 or 5:30). In 2012, award-winning crime novelist Lori Rader-Day got a story idea that was too big, too unwieldy, too MUCH—a story she had to attack from every direction. If you have a story that obsesses you but darts away unfinished or a story feels as though it will swallow you whole, this session will help you make fishsticks of your elusive quarry, once and for all.
- Play Writing and What Every Writer Can Learn from It – Lou Harry. Writing for theater is more than just ditching descriptions. It’s about sculpting a story to take place in public in real time. Take a step toward the stage — or hone your existing skills — in this session with one of Indiana’s most produced playwrights.
- Keynote Speaker: Haven Kimmel – Wherever You Came From and Wherever You Are Now: Both Are The Perfect Places For Writers
9:00 pm -10:00 pm
- Late Night VIRTUAL Talkabouts
Saturday Events – July 22, 2023
9:00-10:15 am SESSION 10
- Curiosity and Obsession in Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction (Jill Christman, Michael Martone, Mark Neely). Three writers discuss how curiosity drives their writing lives and how they turn their obsessions—from trains, to borrowed babies, to 1980s pop culture—into compelling stories, essays, and poems.
- Developmental Editing: Is There A Book Doctor In The House? – Matthew Clemens. A nuts and bolts discussion of mistakes many amateur writers make that keep them from becoming authors who get paid. When does the normal frustration of the writing process call for an outside eye to lend guidance to a project?
10:30-11:30 am SESSION 11
- Blood on the Page: Using Research to Create Credible Fiction – John Gilstrap. Bestselling author John Gilstrap writes critically-acclaimed thrillers featuring military tactics and surveillance, but has never served in the armed forces. He writes about crimes and cops, but he’s never served in law enforcement. In this session, you’ll learn how to make minutes of research look like years of first-hand experience.
- How to Draft, Revise, and Add a “Spark of Poetry” to Your Nonfiction Using the Techniques of Surrealism and Collage – Kelcey Ervick. The word collage comes from the French coller, meaning to glue, and collage artists find, cut, and glue fragments to create something new and often delightfully strange. In this workshop, we will apply the techniques of Surrealism and collage to our own writing: we’ll generate fresh text fragments through automatic writing, we’ll cut and paste lines of found text, we’ll collaborate using the “exquisite corpse” method, we’ll enlist the help of images, and we’ll surprise ourselves. Then we’ll rearrange our fragments, exploring new juxtapositions and generating what Surrealist collage artist Max Ernst calls a “spark of poetry” in our writing.
1:00- 2:00 pm SESSION 12
- Your Author Brand Workshop – Dana Kaye. This session will lead participants through the process of identifying, creating, and beginning to establish their unique author brands.
- Write Great Read-aloud Picture Books – Chadwick Gillenwater. As a school librarian and as Professor Watermelon, Chadwick has read thousands and thousands of picture books to children. He has learned what qualities turn a picture book into a read-aloud classic. In this workshop, let Chadwick help you see if your PB manuscript has what it takes to stand the test of time on the library shelf.
2:15-3:15 pm SESSION 13
- How to Choose a Genre for Your Novel – Jess Lourey. *This workshop is directed at writers of any age and skill level who are interested in writing fiction.” Are you drawn to certain types of books—romances, mysteries, maybe literary fiction? If you find yourself reading mostly in one book genre, you might assume that is the genre you should write in as well. But what if selecting an unfamiliar genre rockets your writing to new heights? This exciting, interactive, and multimedia workshop offers a guide for choosing the genre that best fits the story you need to tell. [need a room that is set up for sound to play movie clips in this workshop]
- Secondary Characters: Where They Come From, What They Do, and How to Make Them Real – Barb Shoup. Sometimes writers know who their secondary characters will be and what purpose they will serve when beginning a novel; sometimes secondary characters appear and evolve along with the story. This session will explore the purpose and development of secondary characters by looking at examples of effective secondary characters in contemporary fiction and considering why/how they work, as well as offering strategies.
3:30-4:30 pm SESSION 14
- Panel Q&A: The Stretch Run: from manuscript to book—steps toward finishing (and publishing!) your book. (John Gilstrap, Matthew Clemens, Angela Jackson-Brown, Barbara Shoup)
- Closing: Final thoughts from faculty. Panel: What No One Tells You About the Writing Life, But Should
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