MWW24 SCHEDULE

This year we’re excited to represent a wide array of genres and topics! You’ll see children’s and middle grade literature, young adult, mystery, horror, historical fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction! We’re also planning discussions on craft–character, setting, and point of view–as well as sessions on book marketing and the writing life. No matter what your genre, your writing will benefit from the wisdom and input of this impressive faculty. We’ll see you in July!

Midwest Writers Workshop 2024
Summer Conference Schedule

(all times Eastern)

Thursday July 11, 2024

9:00am Registration (In-person at Ball State Alumni Center; Virtual set-up via Zoom)

9:30am – 10:30am Welcome & Introduction to faculty: Thoughts on the Creative Process

11:00am – 12:00pm

  • Create Characters that Breathe – You know them, those characters that come to life on the page. You can picture them and hear them as if they were real, and, boy, like them or not, they do pull you into the story. We’ll work on the skills necessary to create these characters by looking at examples of characterization and by writing exercises that you can share with the group, or not. These skills work for fiction and non-fiction. All levels welcome! (Lucrecia Guerrero)
  • As I Live: Writing the Every Day There is so much we take in every day—ordinary moments that when looked at closely, offer glimpses of brilliance and sometimes even revelation. In this workshop, we’ll find what matters to us and explore how best to say it. Through readings, discussion, and exercises, we will look at how raw material from our daily lives can be shaped into a compelling story. There is much for writers of creative nonfiction to learn by noticing what grabs our attention. Together we will explore new ways of thinking and seeing our world. (Melissa Fraterrigo)
  • Office hour: Piper Huguley

*Author Office Hour: Have you ever wanted to sit with a published author and pick their brains on topics like: publishing, revising, or anything that relates to becoming an author? This is your opportunity. You don’t need an appointment, just drop in for this informal session with an author. Available for all in-person attendees.

12:00pm – 1:15pm LUNCH (preorder: sandwiches/salad)

1:30pm -2:30pm

  • A Light at the End of the Labyrinth: Publishing in Horror – Publishing in horror has never been more diverse, in all senses of the term. This session will discuss the inclusive nature of contemporary horror publishing while examining the wide variety of publishers interested in the full gamut of the genre, from mainstream to niche. (Paula Ashe) 
  • Bringing Picture Books to Life with Lyrical Language – Lyrical language is vital to an engaging picture book, especially when you’re working with a limited amount of words. Pace, emotion, rhythm, and literary devices are equally important. In this vibrant, interactive session, participants will explore lyricism in picture books and create a few lines of their own. Join us for a rhythmic hour in the world of children’s literature. (Keenan Jones)
  • Office hour: Nancy Christie

2:45pm – 3:45pm

  • The Ability to Stop Time – the Power of Poetry as Narrative – Poetry can be intimidating. Many prose authors have praised poetry as the most sublime of the literary arts. Is it any wonder that many steer clear of poetry when they’re getting their feet wet as beginning writers or as accomplished writers who never try their hand at writing a poem? However, poetry isn’t all line breaks and rhymes. It can be written on the page as a paragraph – it’s called the “prose poem.” It can also be written with line breaks and be a true narrative poem. Still skeptical? Still feel poetry has too many formal rules…too many forms to deal with? Then come discover that you’re not intimidated by poetry after all. In this session, we will examine the narrative side of poetry. How you can “stop time” with a memory – a story told through poetry devices: vivid imagery, concrete details, and concise words. Get answers to your prose as poetry questions, take away a few examples of narrative and prose poems, and leave with a draft of a narrative/prose poem of your own. (Lylanne Musselman)
  • From Board Books to Young Adult Literature: an overview of writing for children – The field of Children’s and Young Adult Literature is wide-ranging and inclusive of many genres. This session will cover an overview of the different categories with a focus on writing for middle grades and young adult (Helen Frost)
  • Office hour: Melissa Fraterrigo

4:00pm – 5:00pm

  • Building a MysteryEdgar nominee and Indiana Author Award winner Saundra Mitchell presents the fundamentals of writing mysteries for all ages. It starts with a very simple foundation: you know who did it, and you’re going to lie to yourself and others until the big reveal! (Saundra Mitchell)
  • Writing Across Genres (panel) – What genre is best suited for your writing idea? Learn how to make these decisions and as well as how to present your work to the right audiences. (Piper Huguley, Helen Frost, Nancy Christie)

5:00pm – 6:30pm Dinner (on your own)

6:30pm – 7:00pm Reception (Cash bar) (door prizes)

7:00pm – 8:15pm Keynote: Tamara Winfrey-Harris

9:00pm – 10:00pm Late Night VIRTUAL TalkAbout**

**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 July 12, 2024

8:30am – 9:00am Coffee/Community

9:30am – 10:30am

  • Instructions for a Writer’s Life – Tamara Winfrey-Harris
  • Tuning out the Noise (panel) –  Learn best practices for time management and avoiding distractions. (Lylanne Musselman, Melissa Fraterrigo, Paula Ashe)
  • Office hour: Helen Frost

10:45am – 11:45am

  • Revision & Reviving: A Revision Workshop – Every person’s revision process, like his or her writing process, is different. Some writers reread their pieces, sense its potential, but can’t figure out how to change it. Other writers may begin a piece with great excitement, but struggle to finish. In this brief one-session class, we considering our unique creative process and what might be getting in the way of our drafts. We will learn different techniques as a way into our drafts, as well as self-editing strategies you can take with you in subsequent drafts with the ultimate goal of integrating our vision for a piece with what is on the page. Please consider bringing with you a piece you are interested in revising as part of the workshop. (Melissa Fraterrigo)
  • Characters Readers Can Touch – How does the psychology of a character play a role in a story? This session will talk about how using a character’s childhood can impact the ways they behave in the course of their story and the way they approach problem-solving, which is where stories start. (Piper Huguley)
  • Office hour: Keenan Jones

12:00pm – 1:15pm LUNCH  (preorder: Tex-Mex)

1:30pm – 2:30pm

  • Have an Ekphrastic ExperienceHave you ever been moved by a painting or photograph? Maybe you have a favorite artist that you stand for hours in the museum or gallery and stare at their work. Do you know that you can create a poem or flash piece using vivid verbal images, rich details/descriptions, and metaphors from that artwork? This is your chance to learn about Ekphrastic writing from an award-winning poet and visual artist who employs ekphrasis in her works. This workshop is for beginning and advanced writers – whether you’ve heard the term ekphrasis before or not. We will use images, prompts, and examples to get you writing and then you’ll ideally leave the workshop with an ekphrastic piece or two. Come join in the experience of “painting” with words! (Lylanne Musselman) 
  • From a Whisper to a Scream Crafting Effective Dialogue in [Horror] Fiction – This session will explore dialogue’s role in diverse storytelling methods to evoke fear and suspense. Through interactive discussions and brief exercises, we will identify the psychological nuances that influence diction, pacing, rhythm, and more. (Paula Ashe)
  • Office hour: Saundra Mitchell

2:45pm – 3:45pm

  • From Writer to Author – In “From Writer to Author,” you’ll learn how to start the book marketing buzz and keep it going from pre-publication stage to post-pub and beyond. (Nancy Christie)
  • Settings that Become Character – Nothing happens nowhere,” says E. Bowen’s maxim, and that somewhere is so much more than a physical description of the surroundings. We will look at examples of works where setting becomes a character, and we will develop the skills to do this in our own stories, non-fiction or fiction. Let’s have fun with writing exercises that add flesh and blood to setting. (Lucrecia Guerrero)
  • Office hour: Sean Lovelace

4:00pm – 5:00pm

  • How Do You Know These Kids?”: Getting the Voices Right in Young Adult Fiction –  The language of teenagers is constantly changing, and in any given me it is by no means monolithic. In this session we will explore the challenges of creating believable and authentic YA voices in historical and contemporary fiction. (Helen Frost) 
  • Diversity/Inclusivity in Literature and Publishing (panel) – This panel will explore questions about the ways the literary world can be improved by increased representation of marginalized voices and a recognition of the contributions of those voices to their respective genres and forms. (Saundra Mitchell, Keenan Jones, Tamara Winfrey-Harris, Lucrecia Guerrero)

5:00pm – 6:30pm Dinner (on your own) 

6:30pm – 7:00pm Reception with Cash bar

7:00pm – 8:15pm Keynote: Jane Friedman
2003 vs 2024: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t About Writing & Publishing Jane first spoke to Midwest Writers Workshop in 2003 about trends in publishing, and if she gave that talk today, it would be horrifyingly wrongheaded. How does advice today differ from 20 years ago? Are writers better or worse off? Have opportunities grown or dwindled? Jane comments on what’s changed and what hasn’t for writers and the publishing industry.

9:00pm – 10:00pm Late Night VIRTUAL TalkAbout

Saturday July 13, 2024

8:30am – 9:00am Coffee/Community

9:00am – 10:00am

  • From Indiana to the Big Five: My Journey to Publishing – In 2022, only 13% of new picture books were by Black authors, up from 5.7% in 2019. Join debut author Keenan Jones as he shares details of how he broke into the industry and secured his first deal with Beach Lane Books of Simon and Schuster. Keenan’s debut picture book, Saturday Morning at the ‘Shop is set to be released in the fall of ‘24. This session will also hold courageous conversations about how we can amplify voices of those who are underrepresented in publishing. (Keenan Jones)
  • Live Long and Try to Prosper: The New Frontier of Artificial Intelligence and Creative Writing (panel) – How will AI affect the future of writing and publishing? This panel discusses the threats and opportunities available within the AI writing landscape. (Jane Friedman, Saundra Mitchell, Sean Lovelace)
  • Office hour: Lylanne Musselman

10:15am – 11:15am

  • Writing about History – How does history work as a setting in a story? This session will help writers think through all the ways history can be used as a setting in their story so that readers will feel transported to a different time and place. (Piper Huguley)
  • How to Vanquish the Monstrous Blank Page – A blank page of paper can be an overwhelming sight, a daunting void, an impenetrable fog, a whiteout blizzard or even the abyss. It doesn’t have to be! In my writing and teaching life, I have learned to reconsider my gaze—’to tell all the truth but tell it slant,’ as Dickinson advised—and view a page as never blank, but as a possible beginning for structure, language, theme, appropriated forms, and all other sorts of wonderful imaginative hijinks to begin creative writing. In this session, we will discuss (and write) several techniques that remove any fear of an empty page. It isn’t blank at all; it is full of potential. We just need to see it that way.  (Sean Lovelace)
  • Office hour: Paula Ashe

11:30am – 12:45pm LUNCH  (preorder: sandwiches/salad)

1:00pm – 2:00pm

  • 3 Steps to Achieving Your Writing Goals – Having trouble defining your writing goals? Overwhelmed when trying to figure out the process to follow to achieve them? Challenged by procrastination, defeatist self-talk or creative constipation? In this workshop, you’ll gain useful information and do-able tips to help you work toward your specific writing goal. (Nancy Christie)
  • POV In YA – Despite its reputation, YA is more than first person, present tense. YA author and editor Saundra Mitchell leads an exploration into the uses of POV in YA– there’s a right POV for every situation, and sometimes it’s more than one! (Saundra Mitchell)
  • Office hour: Lucrecia Guerrero

2:00pm – 3:30pm CLOSING PANEL: Best Writing Advice and Recommended Books on Craft (all available faculty)

 

*Author Office Hour: Have you ever wanted to sit with a published author and pick their brains on topics like: publishing, revising, or anything that relates to becoming an author? This is your opportunity. You don’t need an appointment, just drop in for this informal session with an author. Available for all in-person attendees.

**Late Night VIRTUAL TalkAbout: 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.

In-Person Registration

Virtual Registration

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