WANACon Feb 2014 Session List

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KEYNOTE: Creating Compelling, Unforgettable Characters – Shirley Jump

Editors love books that are character driven. Learn how to create novels with plots created by the characters themselves, giving a stronger, more powerful–and more emotional story. If you’re stuck in your writing, needing inspiration or just want to learn more about developing characters, you’ll get the boost you need for this class with New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump!

BACKSTORY: How Your Hero’s Past Shapes His Future – Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

This session looks at the importance of backstory and understanding how the people and events from a character’s past will shape their core motivation, dictate their needs, and steer their relationships. Writers will learn how to dig deeper into who their characters are, allowing them to write with authenticity and draw readers in.

Writing in Stolen Moments: Building Your Novel One Sentence at a Time – Mercedes Yardley

This is by far Mercedes’ most requested topic. In this class, we’ll learn how a busy person can find the time to write short stories, articles, and novels with a chaotic and busy life schedule. Novels are built one sentence at a time, and we’ll explore how to use your valuable free time in a wise and productive manner.

PDMI Publishing Editorial Department Presentation – Clay Gilbert & Stacey Brewer

On behalf of PDMI Publishing, Clay Gilbert, the company’s Chief Editor, and the Managing Editor, Stacey Brewer, will provide WANACon attendees with a window into one of the publishing world’s most dynamic new voices, with a look at the workings of PDMI’s Editorial Department. Attendees will learn what makes a professional manuscript, and what is needed before a manuscript is ready for submission. The steps of the process following acceptance will also be discussed, as well as how the dialogue between editor and author is being shaped by the shifting tides of the small press publishing world.

Questions will be taken from the audience and, for those attendees who are authors with completed manuscripts, PDMI’s editors will be providing an avenue for contact regarding submissions–so have your work looking its best by the time you come to WANACon!

Why Choose A Small Press? – Daven Anderson

Daven will explore the strengths and drawbacks of each method of publishing (New York, Do-It-Yourself and Small Press), answer authors’ questions, and give these authors information to help them decide which path is right for them.

Self Publishing: Preparing To Launch – Kait Nolan

So you’ve made the decision to self publish. Great! But there’s more to the process than just clicking the button for publish–at least if you want to be successful. Self publishing veteran Kait Nolan is here to walk you through the thorny path with a comprehensive overview of all the aspects you need to consider both before and after you publish.

Jumping Into Bed Between an Explosion and a Firestorm of Bullets – Sandra Brannan

Suspense can mean many different things to readers. But the one thing readers agree on is the best suspense is a book where they hated to see the words THE END come too soon.

The fine art of leaving the readers wanting more from your protagonists, particularly when it comes to their relationships — the emotion, the passion, the tension, the romance — should be the goal of every writer. As important to mysteries, thrillers, and suspense as plot, pacing, and storylines, is the subplots of the characters who make that novel come to life. A writer needs to pay as much attention to the characters’ relationships and emotions as they do to the outcome of the story.

Master the craft of having the reader fall in love with your main characters through creative tension – desires and dalliances are as important as drive and determination. How do you make jumping into bed between a firestorm of bullets and explosions believable? Let’s find out…

Inside The Mind Of An Illustrator – Virginia Jennings

What to look for and what to expect when working with an illustrator to sculpt your book into a work of art. How to help your illustrator see your vision.

Write-amin 101: Eat Well, Write Better! – August McLaughlin

Did you know that the cells in your brain require twice as much energy as cells in the rest of your body? They also need primo nutrition. Eating well boosts everything from creative function to the ability to recall information and learn. In Write-amin 101, you’ll learn the basics of brain-healthy eating and fun, simple ways to fit it into your busy, writerly lifestyle. Beginners welcome! No diet-shame allowed. 😉

Collaboration Station – Ellie Ann Soderstrom

We are not alone. As much as we love our little writing closets, everything in our field requires working with others. Which is why learning how to be a great collaborator is important. Most of this session will concentrate on how to work well with the most important person to your career: your editors. If your editor ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, so I’ll present tips on how to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I’ll also discuss how to collaborate with writing partners, cover designers, and book reviewers.

The Devil’s in the Details–World-Building 101 – Kristen Lamb

World-building isn’t just for sci-fi and fantasy. Most novels will require some degree of world-building. The trick is to build your world in a way that it compliments your story and adds depth and texture. This workshop will go over fundamentals of world-building, how to blend it into the narrative and keep it from overtaking your novel like Tribbles on crack.

Blogging for Authors – Kristen Lamb

How do you begin blogging? What do you write about? What are the advantages of blogging? How can a blog cultivate a fan following for fiction? What are some of the most common mistakes and can they be fixed if you already oopsed? A blog should support our writing, not become a giant time-suck that makes us want to throw ourselves off something high. Blogging can be fun and drive sales, but there is a method to the madness.

Branding for Writers – Kristen Lamb

The Digital Age has completely transformed our world and how humans interact. Discoverability is a nightmare and we exist in an on-demand world with the attention span of a meth-addicted squirrel. How do we stand apart? How can we create a brand that is immune to trends and technology? How can we create a brand and have time to WRITE?

This class will cover all the basics for a strong author brand that is resilient, flexible and grows and changes with you and your career.

7 Steps to a Stronger Love Story – Gabriela Pereira

This workshop walks you through seven techniques that will help you jump-start a new story or reboot a story from your archive. Whether you’re stuck in the middle of revisions, you’ve hit a rut partway through your first draft, or you’re just getting started, these techniques will help give your story that necessary boost so you can go from frazzled to finished. While the techniques in this workshop can apply to writers of all genres, this particular presentation will be especially tailored toward romance and love stories.

Simple System to Rock Your Revisions – Gabriela Pereira & Julia Duffy

You’ve finished NaNoWriMo, and you’ve done your happy dance, but now it’s back to business. You know your book needs revision but you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, this presentation has got you covered. Discover a systematic way of navigating your revisions and making sense of that fast first draft. You’ll learn a step-by-step process for revision to guide you from rough draft to polished manuscript. No one said revision would be easy but with this simple system, it can be manageable and fun.

How Nonfiction Colors Fiction – J.E. Fishman

We’ll talk about the different ways that nonfiction elements affect the power of a fictional narrative and how much research the novelist should do in relation to the various impacts she or he seeks to have through her work.
(This session is an updated version of his previous presentation.)

An Introvert’s Guide to Twitter – Jami Gold

Many authors are introverts at heart, and yet we need to interact with others to be successful. Other writers can help us through the maze of our career path, and our readers want to know the “real” us. Twitter is an easy way to connect with others, stay on top of industry news, and build our platform. But how can we make Twitter work for us if we’re an introvert?

Twitter is much more than a place for spammy “buy my book” links and updates on what we had for lunch. Learn proven techniques to join Twitter conversations and make friends:

• Learn the difference between @ replies and retweets—and when to use each
• Identify opportunities to reach out to others
• How to “get credit” for helping others
• Learn about planned Twitter chats
• Know what makes us likable in online interactions

OneNote: One Solution to Organizing Your Work – Jenny Hansen

Use Microsoft OneNote and SkyDrive to keep your book research and notes handy at any time on any device. And it’s easy! Jenny details how to access and coordinate your writing notes, photos, websites and research in ONE place so you can stop living inside a mountain of sticky notes and start being able to easily search through your book binder.

Build an Author Website Without Getting Burned – Laird Sapir

How to have a killer author website on any budget.
• How to make your website reflect your brand
• Organizing your site for the best visitor experience
• Subscriptions & Mailing List solutions
• Your website as a jumping off point for your Social Media Presence
• Self-hosted sites vs. WordPress.com (Pros and Cons) & a peek at a new alternative.
• What to look for in a WordPress theme
• Avoid getting your site hacked (basic security & handling updates)
• Beginning SEO tips (getting Google to love you, and what Analytics can tell you about your visitors)
• Going with a Pro: How to find a developer that will get the job done right & on budget.
• Q&A

Beyond Basics: Writing Effective Inner Dialogue – Lisa Hall-Wilson

Inner Dialogue is the conversation we have inside our own heads. These conversations are raw, uncensored, impolite, and often reveal the gap between what we’re thinking and what we say and do. No one in real life would want their inner thoughts broadcast to the world, but in fiction a reader wants in on all the action.

We all have issues/destructive thinking patterns that trip us up, convince us a bad decision is the right one, and sometimes steer us on the right path. Being able to convey that gap (that inner conflict) to readers helps them connect with your characters in a new way. This is what compelling writing is all about!

Putting Your Inner Editor to Work – Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Marcy Kennedy

When we’re writing our first draft, we look for techniques to silence our inner editor so our creativity is free to play. Once that first draft is done, though, we need to turn our inner editor from our enemy into our ally so that we can decide if our story is worth saving and polish it into a ready-for-publication book. During this session you’ll learn how to train your inner editor to decide if your big picture concept is strong enough, identify and fix weaknesses in the structure of your plot, and troubleshoot (or add!) your main character’s arc. We’ll also look at the single biggest secret to a captivating setting, and you’ll walk away with practical quick fixes and a checklist for each scene.

The Process and Pitfalls of Writing – Reavis Z. Wortham

The general philosophy of writing is that authors should write two to three hours a day, every day, or at least two to five pages. In a perfect world, for perfect lives, writers that might be possible, but beginning writers have to work when and where they can, while earning a living or taking care of family.

In addition, there are many pitfalls in writing. Overused words, misinformation, and grammar problems. Wortham will discuss his writing career from then to now, and will present a number of writing issues that he learned the hard way.

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