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SDCWC 2014

Words From Our Community

2014 Workshops

 Fiction Writing

Concept to Synopsis and Proposal w/ Linda Windsor

It's easier to write the synopsis of a novel once the book is finished. But writers must know how to do this in order to pitch and sell the book, as well as to have a guide from which to work while plotting and writing it. Having been a seat-of-the-pants plotter, Linda Windsor speaks from over 30 novels' worth of positive and negative experience, to show what editors and agents want and don't want to see in this make-or-break first peek at your project.

Using a simple parable from scripture, the author will  demonstrate how you can build a synopsis--regardless of the fiction genre--by addressing nine essential questions that editors want answered. She will also explain the elements of the proposal, including the basic content, what marketing wants to see, and the different writing styles appropriate for the cover letter, synopsis and the sample chapters.

From Synopsis to Plot w/ Linda Windsor

Once the synopsis is complete, where do we go from there? Windsor will show the class how to flesh out a synopsis into a basic plot by answering provocative questions about the key characters, their motivations, and the action. This method has saved her hours of wandering through her novel without a road map to keep her on target, and of writing scenes that slowed down the pacing.

No, the author will not know 'everything' that is going to happen in detail. Her characters and unexpected circumstances or opportunities inevitably will change the original plan to some degree, changes which she has found are always for the better. In the end, however, this three-dimensional approach can develop a story that will draw in readers and keep them turning the pages to a satisfying conclusion.

Marketing and Platform

Marketing and Platform: Turning These Twin Dreads into Your Biggest Assets w/ Cheri Cowell

Editors and agents ask “What is your platform?” and “What is your marketing plan?” These two dreaded questions are part of the publishing reality. But how do you get a platform if you don’t have one, and what are you to do when the whole marketing thing overwhelms you? In this class you will learn to build on your strengths while tapping into a plan any writer can put into place. You will leave this class with a step-by-step course of action, so you can confidently answer the twin questions with, “Yes, I have a platform and marketing plan. Let me show you.”

Queries w/ Cheri Cowell

How to Write Them, Use Them, and Be More Productive With Them

Come and learn how query templates are your key to multiplying your efforts, what will make yours stand out from other queries, and how to avoid those things that scream “amateur.”

Taking Advantage of the e-Book Trend w/ Cheri Cowell

Find out why there is a window right now for taking advantage of this trend that will soon be closing. Find out if your book is a good choice for e-conversion. Learn what you should know about doing it yourself or hiring someone. Learn how material you have in your files now could be ministering to a new audience as an e-book or audiobook.

Craft of Writing

Proposals that Pop w/ Hartline Literary Agent Jim Hart

Your book proposal is often the first thing a prospective literary agent and editor will review as part of their decision-making process. Good proposals are noted and receive responses, while bad proposals are deleted and forgotten.

“Proposals that Pop” will give you valuable information on what exactly should be, and what should not be, included in your proposal. Some of the themes discussed will include: Basic Structure Guidelines, Compelling Cover Letters, and Knowing When to Stop.

Be Your Own Best Editor w/ Lin Johnson

Writers who make sales and get assignments not only have good content but also clean copy. Learn how to think like an editor to clean up your manuscripts before sending them.

Make Money Writing for Specialty Markets w/ Lin Johnson

A wide variety of markets for freelance writers exists outside of periodicals and books. Those specialty markets include curriculum, Bible study guides, drama, puzzles, games, crafts, tracts, devotionals, and greeting cards. In this workshop, you'll gain an introduction to the genres, learn about any special qualifications you'll need to write for them, and become acquainted with potential markets for your manuscripts.


Participating in the Poem w/ Shirley Stevens

This workshop will involve participants in the craft of poetry. We will draft poems, share the results, revise poems, and perform them.


We will study models by well known contemporary poets and examine the poetic elements in the models.


Since poetry is both written and oral, we will read poems aloud and train our ears to listen to the effects of various elements of the craft. We will also experiment with  a performance poem: "The Poem for Two Voices."


Prose writers may profit from practicing elements of the craft including precise diction, figurative language, alliteration, assonance, and rhythm.


Beginning, intermediate,and advanced poets are welcome to participate in the poem.

Writing for Children

Writing for Young Children: Tapping into Your Inner Child w/ Anne Slanina

This lively, interactive session will focus on developing an awareness of the inspiration around us in our everyday life and what grabs young children’s attention.  You will engage in activities to awaken your innate creative nature in order to find your own special voice for writing for young children.

Using Knowledge of Child Development to Write for Young Children w/ Anne Slanina

Participants in this session will learn how knowledge of child development theory can assist in writing for young children. The session will be a combination of lecture, discussion and exploring literature that has the potential to guide children’s moral, social and emotional development.

Putting it all Together: Prioritizing, Collaborating, and Publishing w/ Anne Slanina

Wonderful! You’ve got a great idea for your first book! Now what?!  This session will explore issues that will empower you to make the necessary decisions for setting your goals and determining your next steps so that you will be able to see your dream of a book become a reality.

Writing Life

Why You Should Hire an Agent w/ Hartline Literary Agent Jim Hart

Navigating the waters in the publishing ocean can be tricky. It’s easy to go around in circles and never reach your intended destination. There is danger of running aground and being stuck in uncharted territory. You need someone that has sailed those waters and possesses the knowledge and experience to steer you in the right direction.

A good agent works with you to set goals, plot your course, and then work with you, and on your behalf, to ‘land’ the publishing deal that is best for you.

“Why You Should Hire an Agent” will address the following issues: Editorial Contact;  Business Management; Career Development; Expectation Level

How to Get Published w/ Lin Johnson

Do you like to write but don't know how to get your words published? Are you tired of receiving rejection letters instead of checks? Do you long to see your name in print? Learn the nuts and bolts of getting published in this class. Topics include focusing your ideas for publication, targeting the right markets for your ideas, writing articles, rights and copyright, query letters, keeping records, dealing with rejection, and basic resources you'll need.

The Writing Life w/ Lin Johnson

Writing involves more than putting words on screen or page; there’s a whole world of lifestyle/business aspects to deal with as well. Learn to gather ideas, find time to write, deal with rejections, develop positive relationships with editors, organize your resources and records, deal with income/expenses, and set goals.

 Non-Fiction Writing

Article Writing: Beyond the Basics w/ Joyce Ellis

Get fewer rejections by sharpening your skills in this continuing class. If you’ve taken a basic how-to-get-published course, this track will help you deepen your article-structuring ability (lack of which is a major shortcoming editors see in manuscripts submitted to them). You can then put that knowledge into practice in two of the article types editors look for most, the devotional article and the personal experience article.

The Art of Interviewing and Shaping Articles From Interviews w/ Joyce Ellis

Capturing the life of an interesting person in a single article can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding skills a writer can learn. In this workshop we’ll cover important essentials for interviewing the person you want to write about. You'll then learn how to organize that material, structure the article, and weave in quotations appropriately for an interesting and publishable article editors will love.

Research Techniques for Both Fiction and Nonfiction w/ Joyce Ellis

Research? Don't cringe. After this class, you may view research as the most enjoyable part of the writing process. You’ll discover how you can make your fiction and nonfiction ring true to life with both traditional and in-the-field research (even for historical fiction). This workshop will be chock full of “stories from the trenches” incorporating Joyce's decades of writing, ghostwriting, and editing fiction and nonfiction for Christian publishers.

Writing Curriculum w/ Lin Johnson

If you like to study the Bible and have teaching experience, you have the basics for being a curriculum writer. Learn the types of curricula editors are looking for, how to get assignments, markets, and how to write to meet teachers’ and learners’ needs.