Virtual MWW21, July 28-31

Wednesday – July 28, 2021


  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm — Kick-off to launch, explanation, introduce ALL Faculty, they offer tips, Q&A (moderator: Kelsey Timmerman)
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm — Angela Jackson Brown: “How to Create Powerful and Moving Scenes” — The most powerful short stories and novels are built on a foundation of great scenes. Scenes are the building blocks necessary to tell a story in such a way that the reader is compelled to stay in your imaginary world as long as the story lasts. In this class, we will discuss how to get in and out of a scene efficiently. In this workshop we will discuss why rooting our most emotional moments in scenes can provide powerful, poignant experiences in fiction. You will see how scenes can help the reader to understand the characters and the plot. Without great scenes, we are left with a series of incidents that have no real literary value.
  • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Jessica Strawser: “Surprise & Delight Your Readers on Every Page” — Suspense isn’t just for thrillers. It’s not even just for fiction. Whether we’re reading a humorous essay, a heartfelt memoir, or a page-turning novel, we love the build of anticipation, the satisfaction of the unexpected. This interactive workshop uses prompts, examples, and tips to help you master tricks for keeping your readers on the hook, from the paragraph level to the story’s premise. You’ll twist turns of phrase, uncover your character’s secrets (even if that character is you!), pull the rug out, and leave with plenty of ideas for adapting these techniques to your own work-in-progress. 
  • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm — Panel: “Staying Motivated & Productive / Beating Rejection / Improving Your Writing Routine.”  Larry Sweazy, Jay Coles, Pam Mandel, Matthew Clemens, Moderator: Angela Jackson-Brown                                    
  • 8:45 pm – 9:45 pm Late Night Talkabouts

Thursday – July 29, 2021

  • 9:30 am – 10:30 am — “Read Your Stuff” Morning Talkabouts
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm —  Jessica Strawser: “10 All-Time Best Writing Lessons From 10 Years of Interviews With the All-Time Best Writers”  — This session distills a decade of collected wisdom into the all-time best insights into the creative process, the writing life, the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Get new perspectives on revolutionizing your writing routine, following the path of your story, revising with the right mindset, persevering through rejection, and more—from award-winners and bestsellers including Alice Walker, David Sedaris, David Baldacci, Patricia Cornwell, Khaled Hosseini, Brad Meltzer and Lisa Scottoline. 
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  Angela Jackson Brown: “Becoming a Planner, One Outline at a Time” — Outlining a story or book allows you to chart the direction your novel is going. Outlining allows you to make your characters complicated versus one dimensional. Outlining gives the writer the element of control that is missing when writing as a pantser. Not all writers outline, but those who do, find themselves able to manage their time better. I am a working writer. Every hour of my day is accounted for, so without an outline, I cannot imagine how I would finish projects on time or still have time for me. This workshop is designed to illustrate the advantages of outlining. It truly is possible to maintain one’s creativity and originality while still knowing exactly where your novel is going.
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Pam Mandel: “Using Your Voice” — For memoir and personal essayists, voice is such a critical part of what makes a story work. Voice is why you’ll be rapt by a piece where the writer doesn’t leave their house and bored stiff by a story that takes place in the most faraway reaches of the planet. Voice can make you love or hate a character, make you feel like the writer is your best friend or someone you’d cross the street to avoid. Pam Mandel covers how to get your writing out of your voice box and onto the page.
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Dirk Manning: “Creating Comics by the Numbers” — This is a technical-based presentation about how to create comics, including panels per page, words per balloon, balloons per panel–but also gets into the sales and costs of creating comics, too.
  • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Panel: “Pathway to Publication” Jessica Strawser, Chadwick Gillenwater, Pam Mandel, Silas Hansen Moderator: Angela Jackson-Brown
  • 9:00 pm -10:00 pm Late Night Talkabouts

Friday – July 30, 2021

  • 9:30 am – 10:30 am “Pomodoro Technique: Timed Writing/Writing Sprints” 
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Jay Coles: “How to Strengthen Your Opening Pages” — In this workshop, we will examine how to make your opening pages to your manuscript stick out by looking at all the ways that you can hook readers–narrative voice, character, setting, and/or killer opening lines. All the things that’ll keep your reader wanting to turn the page.
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Allison Joseph: “Beginnings and Endings: How Poets Can Sing At Both/Poetry as Meditative Practice”
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Chadwick Gillenwater: “Write Great Read-aloud Picture Books” — 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.
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Pam Mandel: “On Writing Memoir” — What happens when the story is your story? How do you take a work from “some stuff happened one time” to a comprehensive full length work that lives on the bookshelf. We’ll talk about hard stuff — what to include, what to leave out, and why, the challenges of revealing yourself on the page, finding great details in the attic of your memory, and that classic Anne Lamott quote: Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
  • 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Panel: “To Agent or Not to Agent” Angela Jackson-Brown, Pam Mandel, Dirk Manning, Allison Joseph
  • 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm Read your Stuff! Open Mic

Saturday – July 31, 2021

  • 9:30 am – 10:30 am “What’s on your Bookshelf?” Morning Talkabouts
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Chadwick Gillenwater: “Write your Children’s Book with all 5 Senses” — 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 pm – 2:00 pm Silas Hansen: “Embracing the Tangent: the Art of Meandering in Personal Essays” 
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Jay Coles “Diversity in Kidlit” — In this workshop, we will look at what it means to write diversely for young adults and middle graders as well as discuss examples of books/authors that do this well and how can we better equip ourselves to write more inclusively to reflect the world that we live in.
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm  Closing.  Moderator: Jama Bigger. Panel: What No One Tells You About the Writing Life, But Should All Faculty