Conference Workshops

A Cut Above: Taking Your Craft to the Next Level

Intended as a small, continuing class over several days, this workshop is an intense, interactive practicum for troubleshooting plot and character development. Participants should have a finished manuscript and specific questions about criticisms they’ve received or changes they want to make. They must be willing to share details in a classroom setting.


A Lady to Love: Turning Your Heroine’s GMC into an Irresistible ARC

This advanced craft workshop takes an intensive look at the character development that will turn your heroine from engaging to unforgettable. Participants will be asked to bring a description of an unforgettable heroine from the movies and a description of their own heroine, along with sample dialogue and description passage from their own novel.


A Gentleman to Admire: Turning Your Hero’s GMC into an Unforgettable ARC

This advanced craft workshop is a companion to “A Lady to Love,” and focuses on character development tips that will turn a hero from enticing to cherished and extraordinary. Participants should have completed at least one novel. They will be asked to bring a description of an unforgettable hero from the movies. Workshop tasks include filling out a character sheet for their own hero and providing sample dialogue and descriptive passages from their novel.


Perfect Pitch: 10 Tips on Selling in 50 Words or Less

Ten suggestions that will help you perfect your “elevator pitch.” These will help you refine the high concept in your book and suggest ways to practice. Finally, they’ll help you eliminate those inevitable nerves when approaching an editor and make the best of your ten-minute session. Bring those pitches with you!


Shoot Someone: Ten Tips on Turning Your Middle from Muddle to Magnificent

Every novelist struggles sooner or later with a “middle malfunction.” In this workshop, I offer ten workhorse tips and writing exercises for revitalizing a droopy middle or jumpstarting a stalled one.


10 Tips to Winning an Editor’s Heart (and Signature on a Contract)

Based on a seminar originally developed for the Southern Christian Writers Conference, this “Top Ten” countdown focuses on what editors and agents look for in a prospective writer’s work and attitude. Drawn from 30 years’ experience as a professional editor, this is practical advice presented with humor and (I hope) wisdom.


Shoot the Deputy: How Secondary Characters Can Make or Break a Novel

The easiest way to lose an editor’s attention is for your story to be confusing or annoying. By the time you introduce, describe, and give a life history to the twentieth secondary character, an editor is going to be both. This workshop provides tips on controlling your supporting cast: how different levels of characters should be revealed and built into the plot, explanations of how flat secondary characters can kill a sell, and tips on how to layer your characters in order to build interest and curiosity without taking over a book.


Deconstructing Paul: What God’s Apostle Can Teach Writers About Writing

A workshop that shows how Paul’s passion for his subject, his attention to details, and his awareness of his audience can be a primer for excellent writing. The class will focus on the four Ps of Paul’s letters:

  • Passion (Love your art)
  • Perfection (Know your craft)
  • Pitch (Know your audience)
  • Persistence (Never give up)


Marathon: Finishing Your First Draft in 30 Days or Less

If you’ve ever thought, “I can write better than that!” then this workshop is for you. A lot of people have great ideas and start a book, but never finish. Some even enter “book in a month” contests, then stall out after only a few chapters. This workshop will provide readers interested in writing as well as experienced authors the guidelines necessary for finishing the first draft of a novel in 30 days or less.


From the Red Pen Diaries: Editing Your Inspirational Novel for Publication

Editors don’t look for a reason to buy the novel you’ve struggled with for months—or years! They look for a reason to reject it. Don’t give them one. This workshop provides a glimpse from behind an editor’s desk: what they look for, why talent is not enough to get your manuscript published, and traps to avoid in such areas as format, presentation, and the development of character and story arcs.


Tag, You’re It: Crafting Dialogue to Eliminate “He Said/She Said”

“He Said/She Said” should describe a book’s conflict, not the repetition of annoying dialogue tags. The way a character speaks should be as individual as a fingerprint. This session covers 5 tips to intensify a character’s voice and syntax as distinct as their actions.

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