Schedule: 2023 Workshop


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FRIDAY, JULY 7, 2023:

9:30 – 10:30: Wrangling With Plot: How to Pace Your Story, by A.S. Green. In this session, a USA Today bestselling romance author leads you on a step-by-step course for plotting a storyline that balances the need for fresh ideas against the need for meeting reader expectations. The focus of this session will be on pacing your novel in a way that quickly engages an audience. This session will also include a discussion on popular novels and movies and how they hit (or miss) when it comes to pacing. Bring the manuscripts you’re working on or get ready to start plotting some new ideas.

10:45 – 11:45: 10 Querying Tips, taught by Lindsay Flanagan. Your manuscript is done! Next step: Querying! But — how do you query an agent? What should you include in your query letter? How do you even start writing a query? These questions and more will be answered in this class. The top ten tips have been collected from various interviews with literary agents.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: How to Sell Nonfiction: Demystifying the Nonfiction Book Proposal, taught by Eric Smith. In this talk, we’ll dig into what goes into creating a book proposal for a nonfiction project. Whether you’re working on a memoir, an essay collection, a wellness book, or even a cookbook, a lot of the elements are the same — demonstrating why you’re the one to write it, showcasing your writing, and digging into your platform. We’ll show the basics of what you’ll need inside, and why the word “platform” isn’t as scary as people sometimes think it is (spoiler: it has nothing to do with your Twitter following).

2:45 – 3:45: What A Writer Needs to Publish Their First Book, taught by Gabrielle Pendergrast. The session outlines in detail the steps needed after writers complete their first draft of a novel or other full-length book. Topics covered include getting feedback, doing revisions and working with editors and beta readers, as well as how to proceed to the marketing phase of your journey with queries, synopses, loglines, and Twitter pitches.

4:00 – 5:00: Graphic Novels: How to Write Them, and What Any Writer Can Learn From Them, taught by Claire Draper. A literary agent who represents graphic novels for a variety of ages will talk about what goes into making a graphic novel, how you can get started writing one yourself, why they’re so popular right now, and what any writer of any genre can learn from studying them.

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9:30 – 10:30: How to Find and Work With a Literary Agent, taught by Reiko Davis. In this talk, Reiko Davis seeks to demystify the process of finding and working with a literary agent. Her talk will explore the ins and outs of the relationship between author and agent, beginning with guidance and best practices on how to approach an agent about a book project. She’ll cover key topics such as how to: research literary agents, craft a successful query letter and navigate the querying process, vet and sign with an agent, develop a positive, enduring author/agent relationship, and ensure you feel heard and empowered as you move through your career as a writer. We will also discuss agency agreements, the editorial process, book deal negotiation, and what happens once a project is sold to a publisher.

10:45 – 11:45: Chills and Thrills in Young Adult: How to Build Thrills and Suspense in Your Writing, to Keep the Pages Turning, taught by Shelli Johannes. No matter if you writing a genre such as thriller/suspense, or something else, you can learn how to create a suspense and tension in your stories beyond using action scenes. We will talk through ways you can use elements such as dialogue, formatting, and narrative. Talk about what elements are critical to creating a page-turner that teens can’t put down. Though the author-instructor writes young adult books, these tips can also apply to adult fiction and any genre.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from CWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Ever Wanted to Create a Writing/Author Podcast? taught by Matty Dalrymple. Among the many options available to writers to build their platforms, podcasting — as a host or as a guest — is one of the fastest growing, and for good reason. “Getting in someone’s head” through audio is one of the most intimate connections you can establish, and a well-planned and well-executed episode or guest appearance can help you build not only a community of listeners but also of fellow writers (not to mention the possibility, as a host, of earning some money). Matty Dalrymple, host of The Indy Author Podcast, shares her learnings on how to use podcasting to grow your author platform.

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Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)! With an in-person conference, attendees would miss snippets of classes because they leave the classroom to pitch, or make a phone call, or anything else. But the 10 classes happening July 7-8, 2023 are all recorded, which means we will send the days’ recording following the event. You can watch classes as many times as you want during the next six months. This is an exciting new element that we couldn’t include before. Also, we will be sending out all handouts for all classes to attendees in advance.

Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 10 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. “Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing,” taught by literary agent Leonicka Valcius at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  2. “Voice — and How to Hone Yours,” taught by literary agent Kaitlyn Katsoupis at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  3. “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes,” taught by literary agent Lesley Sabga at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  4. “Improve Your Fiction – How to Master Self-Editing and Revision,” taught by literary agent Elizabeth Kracht at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  5. “From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Any Kind of Fiction,” taught by literary agent Laurel Symonds at the 2022 Florida Writing Workshop.
  6. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  7. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  8. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  9. “Social Media Promotion Secrets for Authors,” taught by author Erik Deckers at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  10. “The Power in Choosing Your Dream of Writing,” taught by author Brittany Thurman at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.