“There were so many classes to choose from I had a hard time deciding which to attend.”

The Afternoon Session includes a variety of classes that focus on craft, marketing, and your questions about what major publishing houses are looking for. All genres will be discussed.

Those who are interested can attend all afternoon classes and the keynote for a one-time cost of $125 if you register before 3/31/18. (Cost is $145 after 3/31/18.)

This price includes:

  • Plenaries
  • Panels with agents and editors
  • Author book signing
  • The WIFYR party
  • And more hours of classes than you get at a typical 2-day conference

NOTE: Registration for the afternoon session is included with the purchase of a 5-day workshop.

Class Descriptions

Monday, June 11

PLENARY: with Alyson Heller

PLENARY: “Writing It Right: How to End up with a Cleanly Edited Masterpiece” with Samantha Millburn

HANDS-ON WORKSHOP (HOW): “How to Write & Illustrate a Picture Book” with Julie Olson
Come one, come all! Author/Illustrator Julie Olson will workshop the process of writing and illustrating a picture book from start to finish. Bring any questions or concerns you have, and Julie will address as many as possible in the time allotted.

Choose One of the Following:
“World Building: It’s Not Just Maps & Fantasy Creatures” with J. Scott Savage
Think world building is only for science fiction and fantasy? Think again. Every genre has its own unique world-building challenges. J. Scott Savage will walk you through what world building means, when to explain, and when to let the reader figure it out for themselves by using scene layering to communicate more than one story element at the same time, understanding “Reader Radar,” and more.

“Your Zombie Manuscript—Mostly Dead, but Still Alive Enough to Work With” with Dene Low
Does your manuscript stumble along? Do you wonder about scenes that seem sparse without flesh or are too long and bloated? Is your hair thinner because you’re tearing it out in frustration over a plot that wanders, dragging one leg? Does your story leave random bits around without consistency or are bits missing? Should you just kill it now or do you work to revive it? Come and find the answers to these apocalyptic questions and ways to address them—like, “Hey! Zombie!”

“Keep Politics Out of Stories?” with Yamile Mendez
Let’s explore how it’s impossible to write in a vacuum. During this class we’ll objectively discuss beloved classic and favorite contemporary picture book and novels and analyze how the social/political/cultural environment created a perfect brew for them to resonate with readers.

Choose One of the Following:
“From Paragraphs to Pictures: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing Comics & Graphic Novels” with Courtney Alameda

“Kissing Like You Mean It (Smooching 101)” with Charlie Holmberg
Kissing. We all like it. Most of us like reading about it, too. But when it comes time for lip-locking in our own stories, many of us flail in awkwardness or, sometimes, inexperience. Never fear! This class will not only teach your characters how to kiss, but show you, the writer, how to give kissing the extra oomph it needs to make your readers swoon. We’ll build up to the kiss, make it momentous, and then deal with the awkwardness that so often follows.

“Making Your Characters More Proactive!” with Tricia Levenseller
In this class, we’ll look at the differences between proactive and reactive characters with examples from Disney princess movies, learn how to make characters more proactive to move the plot along, look at dreamy pictures of princes, and discover how this all relates to the phrase “Strong Female Character.”

Tuesday, June 12

PLENARY: “This Mysterious Creature Called Agent” with Heather Flaherty
In this “Agenting 101” plenary, literary agent Heather Flaherty will help you understand what, why, and how agents do what they do.

PLENARY: “Building an Online Platform” with Kelsy Thompson
This presentation will tackle the basics of marketing, branding, and self-promotion for authors, including best practices for social media, creating and maintaining your content calendar, establishing a brand identity, reaching your intended audience, and more.

HANDS-ON WORKSHOP (HOW): “How to Create Engaging Characters” with Ken Baker
If your readers can’t connect with your characters, they’ll lose interest in your story and you’ll lose your readers. This class will teach you how to create engaging characters that your readers will care about and that will pull your readers deeper into your stories.

Choose One of the Following:
Breakout Session with Kyra Leigh

“How to Write Morally Charged Stories without Teaching or Preaching” with Claudia Mills
Many of today’s most celebrated authors claim that they would never write with the goal of conveying a “moral” to young readers—their only goal is to tell a compelling story—and editors reject stories that are overtly didactic or preachy. Yet literature can be a powerful way of exploring ethical questions and defending insightful answers to them. Claudia Mills, who is both a children’s author and a professor of philosophy specializing in the field of ethics, will offer strategies for engaging young readers in ethical exploration without taking on the problematic role of teacher or preacher.

“Mock Critique Group” with WIFYR Assistants
Being part of a critique group is a great way to improve your writing and your story. In this mock critique group, you will learn how to offer and receive feedback.

Choose One of the Following:
“The Map to Revision: Getting Organized to Revise with a Purpose” with Trent Reedy
While it may be true in the early, exploratory phases of our writing that “not all who wander are lost,” at a certain point, if you want a book that works, you have to stop messing around and just ride the eagle to your objective. Though revision is the most important part of the writing process, finding an effective revision strategy can be daunting. In this class, Trent Reedy will discuss many practical tips that will help writers get organized with revision, saving them time and while developing better manuscripts.

Breakout Session with Carol Lynch Williams

“Writing and Meditation” with Christian McKay Heidicker

Wednesday, June 13

PLENARY: “Conflict vs. Adversity: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Maximize Both in Your Book” with Lisa Mangum

PLENARY: “Agent/Editor Panel” with Alyson Heller, Heather Flaherty, Kelsy Thompson, Heidi Taylor Gordon, and Lisa Mangum

HANDS-ON WORKSHOP (HOW): “How to Get Your Novel’s Heart Healthy” with Ann Dee Ellis
A workshop on character, relationships, and tension. At the heart of every novel are people. People who love each other and hate each other and need each other and hurt each other and change with each other. In this class we will explore what your characters, major and minor, really want and why they want it. We’ll talk about how their relationships to each other create the kind of tension you need to make stories that people will connect with. Bring your laptop, your first chapter, a meaty middle chapter, a favorite middle grade novel, AND ALSO bring your sketch book, your colored pencils, or pens or markers. We’ll be writing and reading and drawing and coloring and storyboarding and laughing, and if someone brings delicious food, we’ll also be eating.

Choose One of the Following:
“Keep Your Eyes on the Sparrow: Faith & the Writing Life” with Trent Reedy
The writing life is one of uncertainty and also of infinite hope. For these reasons and others, writing is a vocation that requires a tremendous amount of faith. Trent Reedy will lead a discussion about the importance of faith in the writing life. Some of the questions we’ll address include: How do we find fulfillment as writers? What mindset should we strive for, and how do we achieve it? What place does prayer have in our lives as writers? What place does faith have in the lives of our characters? How do we cope with the creativity-killing doubt and uncertainty that often creeps into our minds as we write or consider our careers? (Hint: Keep your eyes on the sparrow.) This discussion will explore the concept of faith very broadly, from both within and without the context of religion. All writers of all beliefs are welcome.

Breakout Session with Carol Lynch Williams

“New Writer Panel” with Kyra Leigh, Laura Card, and Tricia Levenseller

Choose One of the Following:
“Foreshadowing: I Did & Didn’t See That Coming” with Stephanie Black
We’ll discuss how to paint your manuscript with dots, traces, and shades of future events so your readers will be prepared—but not too prepared—for thrilling twists, and you can get away with things.

Breakout Session with Kate Birch

“Build Your Amazon Author Brand” with Heather B. Moore
Learn the latest marketing strategies used by top Amazon bestselling authors to attract readers and boost your sales.

Thursday, June 14

KEYNOTE: “Been There. Been There Again. Been There Again, Again. Now What?!” with Ann Cannon

PLENARY: “First 200 Words: Agent/Editor Panel”

Friday, June 15

PLENARY: “Author Panel”

PLENARY: “Real Dialogue vs. Realistic Dialogue: The Art of Writing Believable Conversations” with Heidi Taylor Gordon

Choose One of the Following:
“Using Rhetorical Figures to Enhance Style” with Rosalyn Eves
Editors and agents often report that, even above a killer concept, style and voice are what really capture their attention. But style and voice can be such nebulous concepts—how can you deepen a writing style when you’re not really sure what yours is? In this class, I argue that one way to increase style (and voice) in a manuscript is to pay more attention to classical rhetorical devices. I will introduce writers to 15-20 common rhetorical figures and, using literary and rhetorical examples, illustrate how the figure can be used to highlight emotional moments in the story. For instance, a common way to build to an emotional punchline is to use a mix of parallelism, tricolon, and climax, where three parallel sentences (or phrases) build to an increasingly emotional finish. Following the introduction to the devices, we will practice incorporating these devices in our own writing.

“When to Show, When to Tell” with McKelle George
We’ve all heard that quote by Anton Chekov, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” The advice “show don’t tell” is passed around often enough we consider it a rule, but the reality is writers have to tell all the time; there’s a reason it’s called storytelling. Often what an editor means when they say “show don’t tell” is actually “tell us better.” Learn when to show and when to tell in your writing—and if you must tell, how to tell well.

“Science in Fiction” with Elaine Vickers
Explosions! Time travel! Outer space! Using examples from books, TV, and movies, this class will cover some basic laws of science that can take your story to the next level, whether you’re writing sci-fi, fantasy, or even contemporary/historical. Taught by a university science professor.

“Children’s Nonfiction: A Burgeoning Market” with Sharlee Glenn
The children’s nonfiction market has exploded over the past few years, driven in part by the new Common Core standards, which require that children in grades K-8 read at least 50% nonfiction. That number rises to 70% for students in grades 9-12. According to Book Business Magazine, juvenile nonfiction print sales have grown 28% since 2009, compared to the juvenile fiction growth rate of only 8%. Clearly, there’s never been a better time to write children’s nonfiction. In this session, we will explore together the exciting possibilities of this burgeoning market.