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PNWA 2010 Conference Sessions 

Registration opens Thursday , July 22nd at 8:00 a.m.

(Please note: the following schedule is subject to change.)

(Please note you do not need to register to any conference sessions, seating is first come first serve.)



Thursday, July 22, 2010


One Day Novel Writing Seminar

Join New York Times best-selling writer Bob Mayer for an all-day workshop on writing the novel, beginning with the original idea and core conflict, developing plot and character, working with point of view, and pulling everything together selling your book and the business of writing. 


This intensive workshop is included in your registration fee. However, if you wish to ONLY attend the One Day Novel Writing Seminar, the cost is $150.00 for PNWA members and $200.00 for non members. Click here for registration form.


9:00 –   9:50      The Original Idea – The Heart of Your Story and Key to selling Your Book

10:00 – 10:50    Plot and Outline: The Events of Your Story

11:00 – 11:50    Point Of View:  The voice of Your Story

12:00 – 1:00      Lunch Break (Bring your own lunch - Lunch is not provided)

1:00 – 1:50        Characters:   The People of Your Story

2:00 – 2:50        Selling and Marketing Your Book

3:00 – 3:50        The Current State and Future of the Publishing Business for the Writer    


4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

What Is A Book Doctor, and Why Do You Need One?  

A look at what a book doctor is, and how book doctors fit into the broader spectrum of the publishing industry. 

Speaker: Jason Black    


Stay The Course

How to stay the course with a book you know you’re supposed to write when doors keep slamming shut in your face.

Speaker: Jessica Maxwell


Pitching to Agents and Editors Without Being Pushy

Speaker: Janna Cawrse Esarey


Conducting Investigative Research.

This workshop will be geared toward non-fiction work, particularly journalistic projects, but will be suitable also for the fiction writer who seeks greater authenticity.  The presenter, Bruce A. Smith, is a freelance investigative reporter and is regularly published in the Pierce County Dispatch, a weekly newspaper that covers the southern half of Pierce County.  The focus will be broad and will cover strategies, protocols, resources and a do’s and don’t discussion of investigating crimes, political maneuverings, and major financial activities.

Speaker: Bruce A. Smith



8:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Andre Dubus III

Dessert Reception with Agents and Editors,




Friday, July 23, 2010


8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

PNWA Annual Meeting



9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Editors Forum

The editors will give an overview of the kind of projects they are acquiring and the best way to submit your project.  A question and answer period will be included.



10:30 a.m. – Noon

Agents Forum

The agents will give an overview of the kind of projects they are acquiring and the best way to submit your project. A question and answer period will be included.



12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch and book signing with author Robert Dugoni



1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Sex and Sensuality

This workshop is about more than sex and chocolate. Megan Chance and C.C. Humphreys discuss how to use description and world building to create images that heighten atmosphere, character’s relationships, tension, emotion and setting and immerse readers fully into story.

Speakers: C.C. Humphreys and Megan Chance



Science Fiction and Fantasy  

Zombies, Vampires and Werewovles, Oh, My.

When to follow the trends and when to start your own.

Speaker: Don Roff, Joe Monti, Cherry Weiner, Laurie McLean



Children’s and Young Adult

Searching For Harry Potter: The Key Elements of Successful Middle-grade and Young Adult Fiction.

The success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, in not only the children’s book market, but also in the adult market has made this an exciting time for middle-grade and YA fiction.  These novels are now commanding unprecedented advances and receiving attention from both the publishing and film industries.  Laura Rennert, a senior agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, provides an insider’s view of the state of the market for middle-grade and YA fiction.  She discusses current trends and reveals the five crucial elements of commercially successful middle-grade and YA fiction.  Come gain an awareness of the formal and conceptual tools at your disposal whether you are a first-time or a well-published author, and discover the criteria for noteworthy middle-grade and YA fiction.
Speaker: Laura J. Rennert



The Casual Game Industry: Writing Opportunities for new and established authors.

What do James Patterson and Nora Roberts have in common?  They are both involved with the emerging Casual Game Industry.  Cara Ely, an award-winning producer and game designer, will discuss storytelling in games, an overview of the games industry, what is a casual game, who is buying these games, the authors currently represented in the industry and opportunities for new authors.  

Speaker: Cara Ely



And You Thought You Were Finished – Facing the Revision Decision.

This workshop will address recognizing the role and value of a completed early draft, evaluating major changes, such as changing point of view, eliminating chapters, rewriting the beginning or the ending, switching from first to third person, and changing from present to past tense.

Speaker: Kit Bakke



Five local screenwriters and an entertainment lawyer discuss ways to break into screenwriting.

Speakers: Royce Buckingham, Pat White, Diane Mettler, Gano Lemoine, and Bill Schreiber.


How to Write an Irresistible Non-fiction Book Proposal
Speaker: Rita Rosenkranz



3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

From Legal, Detective, Serial Killer, Political and Medical Thrillers to the Cozy Mystery.

Authors discuss the hits and misses.

Panel: Mike Lawson, Kevin O’Brien, Bob Mayer, Lisa Gardner, Robert Dugoni and Penny Warner.



The Author-Agent Relationship: What each party brings to the table.

Congratulations! You’ve finished your novel and are in search of an agent (or maybe you’ve even found one!) Now what? Learn what makes (and breaks) a good business relationship with your agent.  Yes, it’s about meeting deadlines, checking your spelling, and minding your manners, but also much more.  Come participate in this lively and enlightening discussion so that when you find the right agent for you, you’re ready to go.

Speaker: April Eberhardt



Myths and Misconceptions About Writing For Young Readers

Panel: Joni Sensel, Deb Caletti, TBA.



World Building the Fantasy and Science Fiction Novel

Speakers: TBA



Funny You Should Write That.

Writing humor has been called the most difficult genre to work in, and Gordon Kirkland has mastered it.  His award winning books have all received critical acclaim, in part because he lets his readers laugh with him and at him, and in turn, shows them the way to laugh at themselves.  In this workshop, Kirkland will discuss the tools and methods for successful humor writing, and for inserting comic relief into other genres.

Speaker: Gordon Kirkland



Re-Inventing Yourself As A Writer and How Your Agent Can Play A Role

Speaker: Sheila Roberts and Lisa Hendrix



The Evolution of the Blues Poem and Blues Poet

The musical tradition of the Blues is a touchstone of African American culture.  It is said that music has transcendent qualities.  This lecture and discussion will examine the progression of the Blues poem from Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes to contemporary practitioners of the genre such as Kevin Young, Tyehimba Jess, Honoree Jeffers, and A. Van Jordan.  It will address such questions as; what is a blues poem, why do the Afro-Formalists want to see it taught as part of the American canon, how much does the literary form owe the musical traditions, what are the Yoruba and references Blues poets use, is there always a weight of personal authenticity within the Blues poem, and can any poet write a Blues poem?  Handouts will be provided, and some music will be played.

Speaker: Gary Copeland Lilley



7:00 p.m.

Featured Speaker: Lisa Gardner

Dinner Program


8:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Autograph Party (this event is open to the public)

Over 60 Award Winning and New York Times Bestselling Authors will attend the Autograph Party that will follow the Keynote Address.

(To participate in the autograph party please click here)





Saturday, July 24, 2010


8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

Practical Guide to Screenwriting 
Screenwriting is the craft of showing characters visually reacting emotionally to whatever circumstance in which they find themselves 
– whether it’s war, love, mystery-solving, victimization or heroics.  Most beginners feel they have to focus on getting the format “right,”
the paradigms in the right place, the plot points on the right page and screenwriting style over substance.  What has happened is that
too many scripts are looking and sounding alike.  While Hollywood is afraid to step too far a field of what they’ve seen work, they’re still
looking for that fresh voice. Writer, director, and producer, Colleen Patrick, will discuss elements of screenwriting, the seven steps of a
full length story, characters, dialogue and premise.

Speaker: Colleen Patrick  



Performance Coaching for Writers: How to be more creative, confident, and successful.

Speaker: Jim Murphy



The Dark Side of Publishing – Using the Force of Small Press, Juried Press, Self-Publishing, and e-Books.

This discussion centers on “non-traditional” ways of getting published.  It includes a survey of how to locate small independent publishers, how to approach them, and what to expect from them.  It will talk about alternative publishing forms like “juried” publishing in which agents and editors are cut out of the cycle and readers decide what to publish.  It will also look at the business of self-publishing, when it makes sense, and how much it costs.  It will be blunt about how much work it is to make a published book sell.  Finally, we’ll talk about the “new” e-Book market and what to expect when an e-Book hits the market, fueled by the multitude of new eBook readers and platforms.

Speaker:  Nathan Everett, Terry Persun, Boyd Morison



Working to a difficult deadline

We all know that missing a deadline is not a good idea.  Sometimes the deadlines, both those placed on us and self-imposed, can be overwhelming.  Taking the lessons learned during the taping of his TV show in which he had to write a complete novel in 72 hours, Gordon Kirkland will show participants a number of tips and tricks for meeting a deadline, no matter how deadly it might seem.

Speaker: Gordon Kirkland



10:30 - Noon

Marketing Tips Your Publisher Doesn’t Tell You.

From the verbal pitch to their appearance on TV, most authors receive little guidance in what marketing assistance is expected of them and how they can provide it.  In order to avoid having a book printed and then forgotten, all authors must participate in the marketing.  This workshop will discuss what agents and publisher need to know in order to offer a contract, what happens to your manuscript once it is accepted by a publisher, and how and when you can influence the marketing of your book.

Speaker: Alice B. Acheson


It’s Just Bunny Eat Bunny Out There: How to Succeed in the Competitive Picture Book Market.

Picture books look deceptively simple, but they’re not.  Join Laura Rennert, senior agent at Andrea Brown Literary agency, as she discusses the art and craft of picture book writing, drawing on her many years of expertise as an agent and her own recent experience on the other side of the table as the author of a picture book forthcoming with Knopf.  This in-depth discussion will focus on the special requirements, challenges, and techniques for creating a picture book that editors can’t put down.

Speaker: Laura J. Rennert  



10:30 - Noon

How to Write a Synopsis and Query Letter

Speaker: Robert Dugoni



Jump-Start A Short Story With These Techniques

In this class, we’ll first focus on different aspects of a short story such as, beginning hook, dialogue, showing/telling, and point of view.  We’ll look at published stories as examples.  We’ll then do class exercises to launch a story, strengthen our dialogue, describe a setting from a character’s head, and add an element of surprise in our work and more.  This workshop is meant for both new and intermediate writers.

Speaker: Bharti Kirchner



12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch with an Author Lisa Gardner  



1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

And Then What? How to Organize, Prepare and Create Series and Sequels.

Series and Sequels have never been hotter.  In fact, most readers assume a book will no longer stand alone but will be followed within the year by the “next” one.  As the writer, how do you make sure you remember all the pertinent information and details?  Amber Kizer will share a notebook technique that she uses while juggling both her teen series and her paranormal series.  She will help attendees develop the tools they need to write beyond book number one.  Amber will also share pitching and marketing suggestions for selling your manuscript.

Speaker: Amber Kizer



Crafting Fiction That Sells In Today’s Market – An Agent’s Point of View.

Often writers are not savvy regarding the business and commercial considerations necessary to attaining success.  Publishing professional, Andrea Hurst, will discuss the importance of the right title, a strong opening, and how to polish a manuscript so that it will stand out.   

Speaker: Andrea Hurst



Career Plan Bootcamp – 10 Must-know Tips for emerging Writers.

New writers are often so busy learning the craft that they don’t start thinking about their career until they begin submitting their manuscripts to agents and editors.  But to maximize their success in today’s market, they need to have a career action plan so they can be ready to hit the ground running when they get “the call”.  In this “career fitness training” workshop, Ann Charles, Jacquie Rogers, and Wendy Delaney will discuss in detail ten important tips new and intermediate writers nee to know to help them develop a successful career plan. 

Speaker(s): Ann Charles, Jacquie Rogers and Wendy Delaney.   



Writing Memoir That Sells.

This workshop will define the nonfiction genre with examples from magazines, literary journals, and book-length works.  Agents and editors continue to seek memoir, and this workshop will guide participants in identifying key themes about which to write.  It will also explore the craft of writing memoir, and how to pitch a finished short or long memoir to agents and/or editors.

Speaker: Melissa Hart



3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

The Secret To Grabbing An Agent’s Attention.

What elements make a manuscript stand out from the hundreds, or thousands, submitted each year?  Agents and their authors will discuss the answers to this age-old question.

Speaker: Amberly Finarelli, Penny Warner, TBA



Killer First:  Crafting Page One of Your Mystery.

To start your mystery, you need these elements: Killer, Victim, Sleuth, Murder, Discovery, Reporting, Crime Scene, Sleuth Onstage, Witness Interview, and Victim’s Lair.  Which elements do you need to write Page One?  To find out, join Robert J. Ray (The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery) in this hands-on mystery-crafting workshop with writing in the room.  Bring pencil and paper

Speaker: Robert Ray



Critiques and Champagne: Secrets of a Successful Non-fiction Writing Group.

A group of seven non-fiction writers, who specialize in history, travel and food, share a commitment to writing and getting published.  They use champagne to celebrate victories and roses to soften setbacks.  They will provide resources that will help others find a writing group and tips on how to make the writing group work for them.

Speaker: Kathy Gehrt, Debra Daniels-Zellers, Sheila Kelly, Sharon Morris, and Wendy Hinman.



The Joys and Perils of Internet Journalism

Writers can break through the “paper curtain” that separates the unpublished from the published by entering the rapidly growing field of Internet journalism.  This class will cover the advantages and disadvantages of Internet publishing, teach some of the writing techniques, and suggest ways of getting published on widely read websites

Speaker: Paul J. Shlichta



Write Essays for Fun and Profit.

Thousands of periodicals publish essays, and pay ranges from approximately $20.00 to $800.00.  This genre represents a fast (and often lucrative) way for freelance writers to break into a magazine or newspaper; it also offers authors the opportunity to promote their books with related essays and a byline.

Speaker: Melissa Hart



6:30 – 8:30

Featured Speaker C.C. Humphreys

Literary Contest Awards Celebration and Dinner

Reception for Literary Contest First Place Winners with Agents and Editors follows Awards Celebration.  Invitation (with location) will be included in the First Place Winners’ Packets.





Sunday, July 25, 2010


10:00 to Noon


Featured Speaker Elizabeth Lyon


Manuscript Makeover Revision Techniques

No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore


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10/3/2017 » 12/5/2017
2017 Fall Quarter Fiction Course: Write Your Story

10/4/2017 » 12/6/2017
2017 Fall Quarter Fiction Course: After the First Draft

9/13/2018 » 9/16/2018
2018 PNWA Conference

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Phone: (425) 673-2665