Date Track Session/Presenter/Description Location Time

Saturday, June 1, 2019

General Session

Keynote Presentation: Amy Tan

Bestselling author, Amy Tan, will deliver Saturday's keynote address.

TBD 9:00am to 10:40am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Why Funny Is Funny

Comedy writing is not a talent reserved only for those who are naturally funny. That’s because why funny content is funny is not mysterious or subjective. Instead, funny is funny for two simple reasons. Both of which can be easily identified and diagrammed. This means writing funny is learnable. It’s a skill that can be honed and relied upon every time you sit down to write. And if you are already writing funny, these two simple reasons will allow to you to write humor with greater confidence and freedom. This fast-paced, one-hour workshop will also reveal why anything and everything can be communicated in a funny way. Whatever is on your mind or in your heart — heartwarming, serious, profound, even tragic— will be more moving and memorable, even inspiring, for having
been presented in a way that makes your reader or audience laugh! If you want to be a writer of funny, this workshop should be your first stop.
TBD 10:50am to 11:50am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing for Performance

Playwriting Without Tears and With Fewer Fears

This workshop will discuss some of the guiding principles for writing plays. The workshop includes ways to develop character, creating dialogue and generating situations for scripts. While theatre is the focus of this workshop, the skills and techniques discussed can be applied to screenwriting and other forms of performance.

TBD 10:50am to 11:50am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

Shakespeare in Love: From the Renaissance to the Bestseller Lists

A talk about Shakespeare's plays and how to use the Bard to structure and sell all kinds of bestselling literature, including YA, literature, romance, sci-fi, mystery, and more. Focused on romance writers, but useful for other writers as well.

TBD 10:50am to 11:50am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Fiction

Talk This Way

Fiction writers often have a hard time writing dialogue—take it from a playwright. Let's cram as many tips and strategies for constructing good and distinct dialogue for your characters into this hour as possible.

TBD 10:50am to 11:50pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Business of Writing

Perfecting Your Pitch

A great pitch is one of the most powerful and underestimated tools any writer can have in his/her quest to be published successfully. From landing an agent and a book deal, to self-publishing well, to getting traction online, to attracting media, to convincing booksellers that they must carry your book, to letting readers know why they should buy your book, the perfect pitch is the goose that will lay your golden publishing egg. Find out how to craft and dynamite pitch. And be sure to bring your pitch with you, even if it’s far from perfect!

TBD 10:50am to 11:50am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Poetry

Working Words

The workshop focuses on expanding the writer's word choice.  Poets often use a few words over and over.  One way to break this pattern is to use different words--ones that have not been used.  This workshop uses an exercise to generate new poems and as a tool that the students can take with them.
For beginners.

TBD 10:50am to 11:50am

Saturday, June 1, 2019

General Session

Pitchapalooza

Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only kinder and gentler). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! Dozens of writers have gone from talented amateurs to professionally published authors as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza, including Genn Albin, our KC winner who got a 3-book mid-6 figure deal with Farrar Straus & Giroux.   

At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. From Miami to Portland, from LA to NYC, and many stops along the way, Pitchapaloozas have consistently drawn standing-room-only crowds, press and blog coverage, and the kind of bookstore buzz reserved for celebrity authors.

At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his/her book.

Red Oak North & South 12:00pm to 1:45pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

WRITING AND SELLING A NONFICTION BOOK

This 90-minute session examines how to write, and how to pitch for publication, a nonfiction book. These are two very different skills, but are fast becoming equally important. The writing of a nonfiction book involves not only focus – the shape and organization of the subject – but the tricky task of scheduling and conducting interviews. And once all the research is done, the hard part really begins. As for selling your proposed book to an agent or publisher, that involves a lot of work, too, using different sets of muscles and skills. 

NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross TV critic David Bianculli has written nonfiction books on TV since 1992, generating hefty book proposals and lengthy interview lists in the process, talking to everyone from Mel Brooks to Ken Burns. He’ll go through the process of both writing and pitching, with tips and warnings regarding both, conduct a classroom exercise on outline organization, and leave lots of time for Q&A.

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

The Fabulous, Sexy Novella

As the New York Times pointed out, novellas are “experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well.” A novella can influence readership numbers and future sales; it’s one of the most effective tools available to a writer. This workshop will address novella structure, collaborations, pricing, challenges, and the elements of successful and unsuccessful novellas. 

 

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Fiction

Creating Fiction from Nonfiction

Bad news: There are business reasons for would-be journalists and non-fiction writers to turn back --- journalism jobs are scarce, publishers have trouble selling non-fiction. Good news: There are business reasons for those writers to turn to fiction. 1) Great stories have all the characteristics of fiction: character, plot, conflict. 2) Great stories have what distracted readers crave: velocity. 3) Consider Balzac, champion of realism, as a non-fiction writer of novels.

After 40 years as a journalist, I now write plays and novels. My play tells the little known story of the final years of Henri Matisse, the 2nd most famous artist of the last century. My new novel is another little known story: the life-changing White House love affair of John F. Kennedy, the most famous President of the last century. Both exhaustively researched, both aimed at the literary and mass audience.

In this advanced level session, participants will share stories they might want to write as non-fiction, and we’ll discuss their viability as fiction.

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Business of Writing

How to Locating, Luring & Landing the Right Agent

In many ways it’s harder to find a great agent than it is to write a great book.  Between his 15 years as a professional actor and 15 years as a professional writer, David Henry Sterry has convinced over 50 agents to represent him.  He is a Professional Agent Hunter.  And of course Arielle Eckstut that has been a literary agent for over 20 years, so she gives the perspective from behind the desk.  Using exhaustive research methods, surgically pinpointed query letters, and gentle but persistent follow-up techniques, they will show you in easy-to-follow steps exactly how to find, approach, and bag the literary agent who’s right for you.

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Poetry

Basic and Bold—The Uses of Contemporary Poetry

This Workshop is designed to engage participants with contemporary poets, many of whom are writers of color, and their different strategies to generate new work.  

The Workshop will be in two parts:

#1.  Participants will look at poems in the packet and discuss the work of those poets with whom they unfamiliar.

#2.  We will use vocabulary from two or three of the poems to generate new work.

We will use poems as catalyst for new works. Poems by Bojan Louis, Gregory Pardlo, Jennifer Bartlett, Marilyn Chin, Maureen Owen, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Sally Mao Wen, and  David Rivard may be included. Participants must be prepared to read and write, write and write.

At the end of this workshop, it is my hope that participants will have created poems that they feel good about and have learned about.
For advanced poets. 

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing for Performance

Writing the Other

Write what you know? Nah. This 90-minute workshop gives you tools you need to write about people with vastly different experiences from your own.

TBD 1:55pm to 3:25pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Writing the Memoir that’s (at Least a Little Bit) Funny

If you are a memoirist or a writer of any sort of first person non-fiction, this workshop should be your next stop after attending Jonathan’s “Why Funny Is Funny.” What we’ll focus on: So many best-selling memoirs are, not coincidentally, humorous. So we will focus on what it takes to write your life in a way that makes your reader smile or even laugh out loud. First, we’ll look at how to present the funny adventures and anecdotes from your life in such a way that no one thinks, “Well, I guess you had to be there.” Secondly, we’ll map out how to present the adversities (even tragedies) from your life story, with humor, but without being crass or jokey. Because, as we will discuss, the opposite is possible: When correctly presented, the moment we laugh can be the moment when meaning is most illuminated.
TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing for Performance

The First 10 Pages

When I was teaching at NYU, I noticed my students were starting their scripts with leisurely opening scenes. I told them: “The people who will be reading your work see a lot of scripts. If they like one and they champion it and the movie gets made and is a commercial failure, they can lose their jobs. It’s safer to turn scripts down. If yours starts slowly, they can safely turn it down without finishing it. So… you have 10 pages.” My students protested:. “The people reading our scripts used to go to film shool. They love movies. They’ll keep reading.” I asked my friend and rabbi David Brown to come to class. He once ran Fox. He also produced “Jaws,” “The Sting,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” and many more hits. “You have 5 pages,” David Brown said.

In this introductory level session, we’ll look at some obviously compelling opening paragraphs/pages of scripts/non-fiction/novels. Then participants will announce the intent of their openings and read them, and we’ll discuss their effectiveness and ways they might be stronger.  

TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing for Performance

Once More, With Feeling: Reading Your Poetry

Reading poetry out loud in front of real live people can be nerve-wracking, but its rewards are numerous: engaging with your readership, dynamic feedback on work, community-building. This workshop, aimed at intrepid readers, will provide techniques for reading and performing through tips, in-class exercises, and examples.

TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Fiction

WHAT'S MY NAME? AND THE EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER

It's a Rihanna song, a Muhammad Ali taunt, and, to my thinking, the first step in writing character. My six year old son comes up with a new character every week. His latest is a boy named Windmill Sin. Windmill Sin. I could write reams about that kid. But, no, he belongs to my son. That's his character not mine. For me, it always begins with a name. Atticus Finch, Holly Golightly, Keyser Söze, Hannibal Lector. Anyone from Dickens. The list goes on and on. So, we'll talk about names (and nicknames). We'll talk, too, about physical fact versus telling detail. The difference between a police report and a character sketch, and how they might meet on a parachuting skull or a scar shaped like a question mark. We'll talk about the bundle of desires and the hero's wound. About subjective perspective and specialized vocabulary. About panheads and slobknockers and blister bugs in pepper patches. We'll talk about Doritos and Daredevil, Hag and Tay Tay, and the art of “Naming the World.” We'll talk about my mother's red cowboy boots and my family in five knives. About why the crap in Ferris Bueller's pants pocket is so important. We'll talk about the airplane glue on my uncle's thumb, Dustin Hoffman's collection of gaits, Bogie's ear pull, and how Maurice Micklewhite learned to act by riding the London Tube. All that and a bag of “Boy Named Sue” (the only character model you'll ever need).

TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Business of Writing

Author Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

When resources are limited, content marketing is an effective way to attract readers to your books. With 1.32 billion daily users, Facebook is the world’s most widely used platform. As such, it’s a great place to find and engage with your target reader audience. For free! It can be a time-consuming proposition, but there are a lot of creative ways you can connect to potential readers for exactly zero dollars! And for those operating on a shoestring marketing budget, it’s a great place to create a foundation for your fandom.

TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

How To Boil Water: Ways to Actively Build Your World Without Exposition

Using active scenes, gripping paragraphs, and vivid depictions of the impossible, authors pull readers into secondary worlds while avoiding large chunks of expository text when possible. This workshop will discuss and deploy tools for doing this in your work. Also expect a rousing discussion of research, line of supply, and verisimilitude. (appropriate for adult, YA, and children's authors)

TBD 3:35pm to 5:05pm

Saturday, June 1, 2019

General Session

Reading & Signing Event

During the Reading & Signing Event, guests will have the opportunity to hear the works of the talented authors, Amy Tan, Colum McCann, and Eloisa James. Guests are welcome to enjoy light hors d'oeuvre, wine, and beer. After the reading, the authors will sign copies of their work.

Red Oak North & South 5:15pm to 7:30pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

General Session

Keynote Presentation: Colum McCann

Out of your Head: Writing Outside of your Experience

Award-winning novelist Colum McCann confronts the idea of working outside the realm of the immediate self.  McCann, whose novels have a far-ranging reach—from an intricate metaphorical look at 9/11, to the workings of the Irish peace process, to the portrait of a 1950's Romani poet—will discuss what it means to "write towards your obsessions."  He will discuss issues of expanding your imaginative reach and what it potentially means to the hot-topic issue of cultural appropriation.  

TBD 9:00am to 10:00am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Fiction

Making the Imaginative Leap

Colum McCann will guide a small workshop group on the journey towards writing outside of our immediate experience.  How does the writer gather the courage to go elsewhere?  How does he/she make the imaginative leap into a character that seems so different to oneself?  How and where does a writer draw the lines?  How does he/she garner the language to go into uncharted territory?  The workshop will include in-depth discussion of craft and, if possible given time constraints, one short writing exercise.  

Red Oak N&S 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Business of Writing

Who Are You - and Why Readers Care: Your Guide to Author Brand

Marketing doesn’t have to be daunting. In this fun, fast-paced session, a marketing professional will demystify what it means to have an author brand, how it’s much more than a logo and web presence, and why it’s foundationally important to do the thinking behind what you want to stand for. We'll discuss how to apply archetypes to define your unique brand and the components of an author's brand framework. We'll also romp through some real-life examples to show the importance of consistency in visual branding. 

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Poetry

The Unexpected Image

Every writer has personal obsessions, whether they realize it or not. Repeated metaphors, images, conflicts, etc. can all go in to making a poet's distinct body of work; however, it's also important to be aware and in control of personal cliches. In this class we will examine the obsessions of a few published writers, and will try to identify our own obsessions. We will use a series of exercises that help the writer play, experiment, and push past the boundaries of what they are used to writing. As Robert Frost said: “All metaphor breaks down somewhere. That is the beauty of it. It is touch and go with the metaphor, and until you have lived with it long enough you don’t know when it is going. You don’t know how much you can get out of it and when it will cease to yield. It is a very living thing. It is as life itself.” Students are encouraged to prepare original 3-5 poems. Early or rough drafts are OK -- these will be used as part of a writing exercise, and will not be shared or workshopped in class. Preferably, poems should be accessible on a laptop. Laptops are recommend.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

The Power of Scene to Bring Your Story Alive

When you write a memoir, you have to choose from an overwhelming amount of memories to find the themes that focus your story. You begin with your passion and the joy of writing your story and then need to decide what to include and how to move from telling to showing.

Scenes are the engine of a story. Scenes invite bring readers into the now moment and allow them to walk in your shoes and experience life as you lived it. We’ll talk about the necessary elements in a scene and how you can use them to get the reader involved in your story.

We will begin with an exercise that helps you select your important moments and themes and move into writing a scene.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

Who Gets to be the Hero? Imagining a More Just Future Through Diverse Children's Literature

Bigotry and oppression can be seen as crises of imagination. While the manifestations of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc. are real and physical, their roots are, at least partially, storied. In other words, they originate from the way we narrate ourselves and our communities. Who counts as a real American? How do we conceptualize what our neighborhoods look like? Who is a criminal, a terrorist, a threat? And who, in turn, gets to be a hero?   In the words of the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Children’s literature has a critical role in shaping and transforming our collective imaginations – and that role has too long been fulfilled through inaccurate and bigoted narratives, as well as through a lack of narratives. Marginalized communities have been trivialized, demonized, and made invisible. However, movements such as #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices in young people’s literature are changing this historical reality. This talk will address the need for diverse and inclusive stories for young people – not just so that marginalized readers can see themselves reflected positively in literature from the beginning of their reading lives – but so that we can collectively engage in acts of radical imagination – bending the arc of all our futures toward justice.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing for New Media

Gutter Magic: What Makes Comics Comics, and How to Use Them to Tell Your Story

Comics have become so ubiquitous and so fashionable that it can be easy to  overlook what it (or should it be “they?”) actually is (or, maybe, “are”). In this workshop we will look at the components that make up comics and how they work together to create a unique, and deceptively complex, reading experience. Then we’ll talk about how to use that knowledge to tell the story you want to tell.

TBD 10:10am to 11:40am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Poetry

Breaking the Habit

How can we expand our poetic vocabulary to include new and different syntax, structure, and voice? This workshop is aimed at beginners, but will be beneficial to anyone stuck in a rut of their design. We’ll look to poems as models and inspiration, play games, and participate in writing exercises all with one objective: break habits that are holding our writing back.   
For beginner poets

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Fiction

BUILDING THE DOOR & THE 7 C's OF SUSPENSE

When a story is slow, we sometimes think we need to make more things happen, but, really, what we need to do, is make more promises. Suspense equals worry, and it occurs in the quiet space between the promise of something dreadful (or wonderful) and its arrival (or failure to arrive). We'll talk about creating characters we care about and putting them in trouble. We'll talk about the closed door, Nolan's bug, Hitchcock's bomb, and Gorey's alphabet. About abstract adjectives, telling details, protecting the unknown (even as we reveal it), and why King calls horror "the art of disappointment." We'll talk, too, about deemphasizing the climax and sustaining apprehension beyond the last word. About getting under the reader's skin. About the story balloon (the pop, the fart, and, worst of all, the pinhole leak). About Creepypasta and The Dog’s Lick. We’ll talk about broken sharks, dented helmets, waxpaper boats, Sebastian Shaw, and that half-smile at the end of Psycho. Plus: cold duck, Giger’s Big Chap, and three ways to fire a rubber band.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Business of Writing

Know Your Competition

It’s essential to understand what your competitors are doing and how they are engaging with their audience. Interaction is key when trying to attract readers, so watching the people who have had proven successes with book promotion is key to developing your own goals and objectives. While it might be tempting for you to focus on building your brand, it’s even more important to determine how they are approaching the market. Knowing what they are doing and where they are playing online – platforms they most frequently use, marketing tactics they employ, content of their messaging, degree of audience engagement– can make a big difference when you are creating a strategy to build your own audience and business.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

How to Use Primary Sources to Construct a Nonfiction Narrative in Graphic Form

Description coming soon.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

Widgets and Bridges -- Why Engineering Matters in Science Fiction and Fantasy

While physics and dragonology may get a lot of fictional attention, there's serious fun, and excellent writing to be had in engineering -- from widgets and timers to bridges and wings, we'll look at how engineering can work to strengthen plot, underpin character, and expand a book's impact. (appropriate for adult, YA, and children's authors)

  

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing for New Media

Sounds Good!: Writing Audio Fiction in the Age of Podcasting

The rising popularity of podcasts has created a new golden age of audio drama. But the way these dramas are delivered and consumed – on demand, through headphones, and when you’re walking, driving, or cleaning the living room – has turned this old medium into something new. In this workshop we’ll talk about the limitations and opportunities created by telling a story only using sound, and how to take advantage of those when developing your story and writing your script.

TBD 1:10pm to 2:40pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Genre Fiction

First Page Workshop: Writing for Young People, Writing for Justice

This workshop is aimed at intermediate or advanced writers of chapter books and novels for young people. In this workshop, we will collectively examine middle grade and YA novels that have historically done injustice to marginalized communities – as well as texts that have sought to represent our diverse worlds with greater sensitivity, solidarity, and accuracy. Simultaneously, this workshop will take the perspective that writing for young people is less about “teaching a good lesson” and more “telling a good story” – and that in fact, telling good stories involves representing our communities in all their rich diversity.

Writers will be asked to bring a “first page” of writing for young people, without their names on it. We will workshop these first pages aloud – gathering collective input on their openings, voice, world building and representation. We will also discuss practical matters such as querying agents, understanding market trends and seeking publication.

For intermediate and advanced writers.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Business of Writing

Craft Marketing Plans like an Author-preneur

Marketing is simply the art (and science) of finding and connecting with your audience. In this fun, fast-paced session, Carol will demystify how professional marketers devise marketing plans. As with most success, it starts with setting quantifiable objectives. 

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing for New Media

Writing Nonfiction Graphic Novels

Description coming soon.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Power, Presence, and Transformation in Memoir

Writing a memoir is an opportunity to explore your life and how life has shaped you into who you are. When you write your story, it is like an archeological dig that reveals the past in a new light. This process can be deeply transformative as we discover the power of our words, and the power of our truths. Memoirists struggle with truth, family, the inner critic—all issues that challenge us. We’ll talk about solutions to those challenges and how to keep writing forward.

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Fiction

PLOT

Many authors find, counterintuitively, that plot is the most challenging part of creating fiction: it’s easy to make up the people, but hard to figure out what to do with them.  This is true even though plot is the most elemental part of storytelling, the thing we use when we relay gossip to our friends, tell our partners about our day, or explain the world to our children. This session will help writers find the tools they need to create compelling plot, exploring the mechanics of action.  We’ll examine how to build sympathy for characters and suspense about what’s going to happen to them next.  We’ll also find the connecting points between character, voice, and plot, and consider the way these crucial elements of fiction relate to one another. 

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Writing Poetry

The First Line Says It All.

The opening of a poem can make or break everything. Where to begin? In this workshop, we'll look at poems by Louise Gluck, Richard Siken, and Terrance Hayes to learn how they infuse urgency from the get-go. We'll then try writing poems inspired by some of their strategies. 

TBD 2:50pm to 3:50pm

Sunday, June 2, 2019

General Session

Open Mic Event

This is an afternoon event where conference attendees can read their original work to a live audience. Read your poetry, essay, short fiction, or novel excerpt, or simply come and listen.

TBD 4:00pm to 5:30pm