Thursday Prequel

August 24, 2018

The Thursday Prequel is an add-on option for attendees who wish to extend their conference and get hands-on workshop experience. It can also be a single-day option for attendees who are unable to attend the entire conference.

The Thursday prequel will be intimately-sized small classes and workshops presented by several of our talented faculty guests and most are intermediate to advanced level.

The day consists of two three-hour break-out sessions - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Pick one from each session.

Lunch break and dinner breaks are built into the schedule, but no meals are included in the registration for Thursday. There is a restaurant onsite or several options near the hotel.

End the day with a ticket to the Thursday Evening Reception ($30) where attendees can dine on hors d'oeuvres while mingling with special guests and faculty. Cash bar will be available. 

Morning Sessions
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Fantastic Fight Scenes - with Maria V Snyder

Action scenes are difficult to write.  Writers must find the perfect balance between the four essential elements: description, dialogue, inner dialogue and character emotions.  And we all know the fights in movies and on TV shows are unrealistic at best and often physically impossible without the aid of special effects.  This workshop will cover how to write thrilling and realistic fight scenes using those four elements.

Opening Pages That Lead to Yes - with Angie Hodapp

If your query letter or in-person pitch got you a request for sample pages, but your sample pages didn’t get you a request for a full manuscript, what went wrong? In this hands-on workshop, we’ll explore what agents are looking for in your opening pages and how to craft evocative beginnings that get your full manuscript read.


You’ll learn:
• The importance of establishing character, setting, and voice on page one
• How your opening image or scene should relate to your story’s overall structure
• How to introduce story questions that entice rather than confuse the reader
• How to recognize and avoid cliché openings
• What starting in medias res really means—and, more importantly, what it doesn’t mean.

Bring the first three pages* of your novel or novel-in-progress. (Memoir is fine, but no scripts or nonfiction projects, please.) Time and number of attendees permitting, we’ll discuss our works-in-progress and help each other brainstorm various possible entry points in relation to each work’s overall story structure. Come learn how to turn those sample requests into requests for full manuscripts!

*Double spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman


Querying: The Art of Rejection - with Johnny Worthen

So you have a book. Now what?

The seminar will discuss editing considerations, basic querying formats, synopses, resources and targets while offering suggestions and techniques to present your work to publishers and agents. Learn from the mistakes of a hard-working bootstrapped blue-collar writer who’ve learned it all the hard way and found success in multiple genres.

Afternoon Sessions
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The Allegory in your Sub-Text - with Callie Stoker

Sub-text is a vital part of story telling that is born in negative space. Learn to wield the tools of allegory, as well as tropes, archetypes, and layered writing, to hack your reader’s brain and say more with less. We will define and look at these tools and how they act in storytelling. The last hour will be used to apply what we’ve learned using class examples to brainstorm and workshop story ideas.


*All attendees must bring a laptop or notebook to write with as we will be writing and sharing in class.

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MFA in Half a Day - with Angie Hodapp

Writers tend to think that artful prose belongs solely to the realm of literary fiction—that writers of genre fiction need only concern themselves with matters of story craft: plot, structure, character arc, pacing, and so on. Not true! For agents, a great disappointment is a manuscript that scores high on all the elements of story craft but falls flat in narrative style.


This master class is all about what genre writers can learn from their literary cousins. Come prepared to write! Learn various poetic and literary devices and practice applying them to your prose, from simple sentences to complex scenes. How can description be used to make meaning? How can voice be used to support theme? And, most importantly, how can you develop a personal writing style that leaves a lasting impression on your reader? 

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Dynamic Story Creation - Structure, Theme, Theory of Story - with Maxwell Alexander Drake

Great stories need both a compelling Theme, and an exciting story that delivers that Theme. Join award-winning author and former Lead Fiction Writer for Sony's EverQuest Next, Maxwell Alexander Drake, as he presents his class, "Dynamic Story Creation" This class will give you the tools you need to create both sides of this opposing force. You will learn how to use your Theme to drive your story, ensuring you capture the hearts of your readers, making them emotionally satisfied when they read the words, "The End." This class introduces you to many of these tools in a way that will stoke the creativity within you, keeping you motivated and organized as you move through the creation of your own story.