MWW20, July 23-25: Schedule to be Announced


MWW19, July 25-27: Schedule

Ball State Alumni Center, Muncie, IN

  • Registration: Conservatory
  • BSU Bookstore/MWW Bookstore & Merchandise: Pre-Event
  • Sessions:
    • AH: Assembly Hall
    • MR1 / MR2: Meeting Rooms
    • BR: Boardroom
    • CR1 / CR2: Conferences Rooms
    • Library: Networking/Manuscript Evaluations

Thursday – July 25, 2019

1:00 pm           Registration: Conservatory

1:00-1:30 pm   Welcome, Introductions: Assembly Hall

1:30-2:30 pm     BREAKOUT SESSIONS #1

  • [MR1] Session #1: Get a Clue: Setting the Mystery Scene – Mary Carter (Carlene O’Connor). What exactly is a scene? How many clues do you need in each scene? Do I need red herrings? When does the killer have to appear? Every scene in your book matters. We’ll talk about the why. And the how. And if you don’t have a clue, you’ll have several at the end of this session.
  • [CR2] Session #2: Your Middle Grade Story Needs a Skeleton – J.R. Roper. Whether you’re an outliner or a pantser, one thing is certain, your story needs structure. In this session we’ll discuss the major story elements and where to place them to keep your pacing just right and the reader turning pages well into the night.
  • [MR2] Session #3: Intro to Editing – Bryan Furuness. A session about global editing and line editing, including exercises that can help students edit the work of other writers or revise their own work.
  • [CR1] Session #4: Writing Creative Nonfiction with a Social Justice/Environmental Justice Lens – Michael McColly.  With the loss of local newspapers and the downsizing of regional media outlets, writers of CNF are increasingly filling the gaps with online blogs, reportage, and various forms of essays that inform and raise awareness about social and environmental justice.  With Facebook and Twitter and other online platforms, writers can serve a critical role in providing communities with thoughtful and objective reportage, provide desperately needed historical background, document local problems with photographic essays or interviews, as well as write powerful essays based on personal experiences that empower neighbors, friends, and others to take action.

2:45-3:45 pm    BREAKOUT SESSIONS #2

  • [MR2] Session #1: Organic Plot Development – Ashley Hope Pérez. A discovery-based approach to shaping your narrative’s direction and getting characters into action.
  • [CR1] Session #2: Short Story 101 – Cole Lavalais. This workshop will introduce you to the basic tools every good short story writer uses to create engaging and unique fiction. We will discuss plot, point of view, setting, dialogue, and character development.
  • [CR2] Session #3: Maps to Metaphor: Ekphrasis & the Outward Gesture – Mitchell L.H. Douglas. Metaphor is the sport of poets: the drawing of threads between seemingly disparate things that shows a reader just how cunning a writer can be. It’s also no easy feat. Ekphrastic poems, interpreting visual art in textual medium, is a natural way for poets to meet their greatest responsibilities. This workshop will employ works of art to craft poems that create original metaphors and connect your poems to the world outside the lines.
  • [MR1] Session #4: Nuts and Bolts: A Checklist of Things Beginning Writers Think They Already Know – Matthew Clemens. An hour version of an all-day class about the basics of the craft.  This will center on the issues I see most often as a developmental editor.

4:00-5:00 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS #3

  • [MR1] Session #1: The Write Start: Cultivating Creativity – Melissa Fraterrigo. In this workshop, you will learn how to turn your love for the written word into practical experience. Whether you are new to writing, have an idea you are interested in pursuing, or write regularly but need a reboot, in this class we will explore how to live a more creative life.
  • [AH] Session #2: Not the Usual Suspects: Developing Characters for Your Mystery – Mary Carter (Carlene O’Connor). Everyone has heard of motives, means, and opportunities. What does this mean for the suspects in your murder mystery and how do you create compelling and believable characters? Learn what’s needed to craft a determined sleuth, a memorable villain, and a colorful parade of suspects.
  • [CR2] Session #3: Chronicling Social History – Michael McColly. The Memoir has become a popular form of Creative Nonfiction in recent years to both read and write. Some become documents of social history as they chronicle with a personal lens a significant historical period, an experience many others witnessed or lived through, or a significant social condition or trauma. This workshop looks at how to write memoir or the personal narrative essay as a means of documenting history. Writers might consider how they can assist others in writing creative nonfiction documents of social history as well.
  • [CR1] Session #4: PANEL: Writing/Life Balance: Ashley Hope Pérez, moderator. As writers, we are always making a leap outside of our own experiences, but doing so responsibly is especially important when we are engaging in narrative with communities we aren’t part of. What are the dos and don’ts of creating a diverse world in your stories? How does this effort matter to the quality of your writing? (Mitchell L.H. Douglas, Cole Lavalais, Larry Sweazy)

5:00-7:00 pm    Dinner on your own

7:00-9:00 pm   Evening of Connection, Community, Craft (and contest!)

  • The Earl Conn Memorial Great MWW Write-off Contest [100 = $100]
  • Find your tribe / 2-page read Open Mic

Friday – July 26, 2019

8:30-8:45 am   Coffee & community: Conservatory

8:45-10:00 am

  • [AH] Buttonhole the Experts: All Faculty.* Buttonhole the Experts is one of the highlights of our conference. We have 15 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.

10:15-11:15 am   BREAKOUT SESSIONS #4

  • [CR1] Session #1: Get Inspired, Find Time to Write, and Be Happy While You’re Doing It – Ashley Hope Pérez & Alisa Alering. Do you wish you spent more time writing? Would you write more if you had more ideas? Is there a voice in your head that tells you that everything you write is crap so maybe you should just give up? If this sounds like you—don’t fear. You don’t have to live (or write) this way! Come join your agony aunts, Ashley and Alisa, for a session full of inspiring advice and practical solutions. Alisa has a demanding day job as the editor-in-chief of a science and technology magazine—complete with a busy travel schedule. Ashley is a full-time professor, novelist, and parent to two young kids. Yet we still get writing done–and enjoy doing it! Practically speaking, we will throw down our best tactics for beating the Monster of Self-Defeat and Bog-Demon of Inflated Expectations. We have inspiration jump-starts, psychological witchery, and solid methods for fitting regular writing dates into any schedule (really!). Bring us your questions and dilemmas and we will give you advice.
  • [MR2] Session #2: The Star of Your Story – J.R. Roper. Breathe life into your middle grade characters with only 26 letters and some punctuation. In this workshop we will explore character dimensions, character arc, and how to create or resurrect the star of your story.
  • [AH] Session #3: Forming a Writing Habit – Bryan Furuness. Figuring out your own ideal creative process and starting a sustainable writing practice.
  • [CR2] Session #4: Finding Your Personal Essay Through Play – Melissa Fraterrigo. It is in the process of playing with form that we discover new ways to approach our half-remembered events. In this class we’ll discover how form can be used to structure your personal essays to reveal unexpected insights and create momentum through play.

11:30 am-12:30 pm LUNCH (provided): Assembly Hall

12:45-1:45 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS #5

  • [MR2] Session #1: Building Authentic Lives – Cole Lavalais. This workshop will introduce you to strategies to imagine and develop compelling and authentic characters who leap off of the page.
  • [CR2] Session #2: Form as Freedom – Mitchell L.H. Douglas. Sestina or villanelle, poetry will never lose its fascination with form. In recent years, poets have evolved from experiments with traditional sonnets and ghazals to creating forms of their own. In this workshop, participants will examine new innovations in poetic form (including Ruth Ellen Kocher’s Gigan, Terrance Hayes’s Golden Shovel, and workshop leader Mitchell L. H. Douglas’s invention, the Fret) and discuss how a mode of writing typically linked to restraint can also provide freedom.
  • [BR] Session #3: Foot-in-the-door Features – Holly Miller. Unpublished writers often ease their way into the competitive world of book publishing by first selling blurbs, brighteners and briefs. Readers love them, editors solicit them, and book publishers notice them. These feature articles—50 to 600 words in length—are recyclable and generate a constant stream of income for writers. Workshop participants will explore the wide, wide world of “shorts” and learn how to create everything from list articles to personal experience essays to profile pieces.
  • [MR1] Session #4: Research: The Truth That Makes Your Lie Believable – Matthew Clemens. An overview of research, what it entails, how much is too much, what to use, what to leave out.

2:00-3:00 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS #6

  • [CR1] Session #1: PANEL: Writing Beyond Your Experiences – Ashley Hope Pérez, moderator. As writers, we are always making a leap outside of our own experiences, but doing so responsibly is especially important when we are engaging in narrative with communities we aren’t part of. What are the dos and don’ts of creating a diverse world in your stories? How does this effort matter to the quality of your writing? (Mitchell L.H. Douglas, Cole Lavalais, Larry Sweazy)
  • [MR2] Session #2: Exploring the Novel-in-Stories. Melissa Fraterrigo. What do Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Cathy Day’s Circus in Winter and Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson have in common? All are novels-in-stories, existing between a collection of stories and a novel.  You will leave this session with a clear idea of possible linkages in your fiction and how to build upon these for your own linked collection.
  • [MR1] Session #3: Reading like a Writer – Bryan Furuness. Once you develop this way of seeing how stories are built, every text will become a teacher.
  • [BR] Session #4: What it Really Takes to Launch an Online Freelance Writing Career – Laura Pennington Briggs. In this session, you will discover the demand for talented writers in the online space and how this affects their opportunity to grow their income and experience in the writing field.

3:15-4:15 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS #7

  • [MR2] Session #1: Plotting and Re-writing Your Mystery: Where the magic happens – Mary Carter (Carlene O’Connor). Mysteries fail and succeed on plotting and rewriting. It’s no mystery that writing is re-writing. Murder mysteries have to be carefully plotted, but…. how? This session will give you tips on everything from plotting your mystery, getting the first draft done, and rewriting it.
  • [CR1] Session #2: Writing about The Land – Michael McColly. The land is not the local woods, the lovely lake where you go boating, the pristine National Park you love to visit; it’s your yard, the gas powering your car, the air you breathe, the water you use, the body you feed and inhabit. This workshop asks writers to take seriously our relationship with the natural world as it is in its present precarious state. We explore how to write about the natural world below our feet, recognizing that its history is our history, its health is our health, its future is our future.
  • [AH] Session #3: Writing Settings That Will Immerse Your Reader – Larry Sweazy. How to create vivid, memorable settings that will immerse your readers and set you apart from other writers.
  • [BR] Session #4: Advanced Track: WHAT’S NEXT? – Dianne Drake. Contemplating career choices is tough. This course is designed to help you take a look at your career direction, and determine which way you should go next. (This is an advanced course for writers who have already published in some format.)

4:30-6:30 pm    Fellowship/Dinner

7:00-9:00 pm  Meet and Greet community event with John Gilstrap (cash bar), presentation “Dare to Dream” – Assembly Hall

  • Acclaimed, bestselling author John Gilstrap will be the guest speaker during a special community event at this year’s MWW19. The Meet and Greet, with a cash bar, is open to the public and book clubs are welcome to come mingle with John and conference attendees, and hear his presentation, “Dare to Dream.”  Admission is free, but registration through Eventbrite is recommended. Following his keynote address, John’s books will be available for purchase and book signing. John is the author of the New York Times bestselling Jonathan Grave thriller series; the latest, Total Mayhem released June 25. His novels include Scorpion StrikeFinal TargetFriendly FireAgainst All EnemiesEnd GameHigh TreasonDamage ControlThreat WarningHostage ZeroNo MercyNathan’s RunAt All CostsEven StevenScott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom. In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris. He is contracted to write and co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom.

Saturday – July 27, 2019

8:30-9:00 am   Coffee & community

9:00 am-12:00 pm   All-Day Intensives 

Author Platform and Career Development Bootcamp with Jane Friedman  

[AH] This bootcamp for published authors or about-to-be-published authors offers hands-on guidance and discussion to help you better develop a strategic launch plan for your work, and identify and grow a readership over the long term, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published. This intensive will help you sort through various strategies, tools, and opportunities available and what makes sense at this point in time for the next stage of your career. You’ll come up with an action plan—with specific and concrete next steps to grow your marketing know-how and book launch capabilities—for the upcoming year.

[BR] Manuscript Makeover: All Genres – 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: Holly Miller. 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. [Limit 12.]

[MR1] Adventures in Developmental Editing – Matthew 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 [Deadline extended to JULY 15] ( line: Developmental Editing). [Limit 15.]

[MR1] Mystery Makeover – Larry D. Sweazy

Larry will critique the first ten pages of a novel or short story. Attendees will engage in writing exercises that will focus on character creation, plot development, scene building, point of view, and the basics of writing and publishing a mystery series or standalone novel. Attendees should send a one-page synopsis and the first ten pages of their work by JULY 1 [Deadline extended to JULY 15] to line mystery makeover. [Limit: 15.]

[CR2] Isn’t it Romantic? The Ins and Outs of Writing A Romance Novel (And a Little Bit About Women’s Fiction) – Dianne Drake

Dianne Drake, romance novelist with 50+ published romances, will critique the first 15 pages of your manuscript, and the first two pages of your synopsis. Manuscripts will be returned via email before the start of MWW’s summer workshop.  Additionally, prior to Saturday, Dianne will meet privately, for 15 minutes, with each participant who has submitted a manuscript. Manuscripts will be due no later than JULY 1 [Deadline extended to JULY 15] and sent to subject line: Isn’t it Romantic? In the body, please. Not as an attachment. Appointment scheduling will be done through direct contact with Dianne two weeks prior to workshop. Workshop topics will include: what’s hot, what’s not; tropes (and why they work); character archetypes; character roles and building your characters from hero and heroine down to those quirky secondaries; general industry requirements (pen names and copyrights and payment, oh my!), conflict in fiction and why it’s the key to a successful novel; the differences and similarities between women’s fiction and romance. Also, we’ll construct some good conflicts and do in-class writing that revolves around them. We’ll also design a few characters to fit into those conflicts. [Limit: 20.]

[MR2] Nonfiction Book Proposal Workshop – Kelsey Timmerman

To land an agent and an editor for your nonfiction book, you often don’t have to write the whole book, but instead a book proposal. Think of it as a business plan for your book along with an outline, and sample. We’ll walk through what should be in your proposal to highlight your book’s strengths. If you have a book proposal already, send it to and he’ll give you feedback and may use it as an example in the class.

12:00 pm-1:00 pm LUNCH (provided)

1:00 pm-4:00 pm

Intensive Sessions continue

4:30 pm   CLOSING – Assembly Hall


*Buttonhole the Expert Topics:

  1. Words Are Weapons…. let’s chat about dialogue – Mary Carter (Carlene O’Connor)
  2. Finding and Strengthening Your Voice – Melissa Fraterrigo
  3. Finding your Tribe: Building and sustaining a writing group – Cole Lavalais
  4. Play and Improvisation as Methods for (Getting Out of Your Own Way and Actually) Writing – Bryan Furuness
  5. Engaging diversity and difference in fiction: Craft, research, and responsibility – Ashley Hope Pérez 
  6. Strengthen Your Setting: It’s Not Just Background – Alisa Alering
  7. The value of walking for writers—for their mental health, for their enhancement of perception, for their awareness of the land as a source for creative work — Michael McColly
  8. Line breaks (and a brief exercise to illustrate how effective breaks are made) – Mitchell L.H. Douglas
  9. Mistakes to Avoid in Middle Grade – J.R. Roper
  10. Finding Time to Write Every Day – Larry Sweazy
  11. Takin’ Care of Business:  Writing Isn’t Just A Hobby Anymore – Matthew Clemens
  12. What Editors Want  – Dianne Drake
  13. Launching a podcast / How to find an agent / Launch your speaking career – Kelsey Timmerman
  14. Travel Writing – Holly Miller
  15. Digital marketing for freelance writers and authors (the online freelance writing market, hiring virtual assistants to leverage time/manage social media, SEO for authors and writers) – Laura Pennington Briggs


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.