Schedule: 2022 Workshop (April 1-2, 2022)

ONLINE: The 2022 SWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on April 1-2, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)



Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:


9:30 – 10:30: Publishing 101, taught by Kat Kerr. This workshop is a crash course into the publishing process: from first draft, to landing an agent, what to expect from the submission process, the art of a book deal, and what comes after! This course offers a peek of what’s behind the curtain and beyond the query.

10:45 – 11:45: The Art of Character Development: Creating Unforgettable Characters, taught by Cody Luff. From the manner of your character’s speech to their hidden desires, this workshop explores how to craft a truly unforgettable character in any genre. We will discuss dialogue tonality, idiosyncratic movement and blocking, branching character arcs, and crafting long-lasting first impressions through simple description and the use of omission. Special attention will be placed on crafting relationships between your characters and your audience and how to make your character step beyond cliché and into the unexpected.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Don’t Send Your Query with a Box of Doughnuts – How NOT to Become an Anecdote, taught by literary agent Carrie Howland. In this query letter and pitch-focused workshop, we’ll explore all the ways, good and bad, which authors can get noticed by agents. From pitching an agent in the restroom at a conference (don’t) to having a great elevator pitch (do), we’ll explore all the secrets to a stellar submission that will have agents talking … in a good way! 

2:45 – 3:45: Common Publishing Myths … Debunked, taught by Kaitlyn Johnson. Publishing is a labyrinth in and of itself, especially when writers begin speculating what it takes to be successful. In this session, literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson discusses the most common myths about publishing and what the reality for writers truly is.

4:00 – 5:00: Lost In Revisions — How to Self-Edit Your Manuscript, taught by Beth Marshea. You know that before you send your work out to the world it’s going to need some adjustments, but where do you begin? How do you look at a work when you’ve been so close to it for so long. Agent Beth Marshea will teach the foundations of self-editing, focusing on high level plot and and continuing down into the nitty gritty of grammar. We’ll go over techniques that give authors the ability to distance themselves and discuss what makes one writer’s work sing while another’s falls flat. 

* * * * *


9:30 – 10:30: Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters, taught by Eric Smith. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

10:45 – 11:45: First Impressions: How To Hook an Agent or Editor with Your Opening Pages, taught by Amaryah Orenstein. You only get one chance to make a first impression. When it comes to your written work, this means that your opening pages are critical! Why? Well, if an agent or editor isn’t hooked by your submission immediately he or she will put it down and move on. It’s as simple as that. In this seminar, literary agent Amaryah Orenstein will show you how to capture a reader’s attention with your opening pages and how to avoid the weak openings that lead to instant rejection. We will discuss the most common pitfalls found in first sentences and first pages, including overused beginnings and clichés that can drag down a work. 

11:45 – 1:15: Break.

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from SWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: The Perfect Plot, taught by Eve Porinchak. Crafting a strong plot is a science. And every effective story ever told – whether in the form of a children’s picture book, or a massive adult novel – must contain a handful of essential plot beats. In this workshop, writers will understand these essential plot beats that you will need to map out a cohesive and captivating story.

* * * * * * * * *

Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)! With an in-person conference, attendees would miss snippets of classes because they leave the classroom to pitch, or make a phone call, or anything else. But the 10 classes happening April 1-2, 2022 are all recorded, which means we will send the days’ recording following the event. You can watch classes as many times as you want during the next six months. This is an exciting new element that we couldn’t include before. Also, we will be sending out all handouts for all classes to attendees in advance.


Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 10 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you 12 more FREE classes on the side, for attending in 2022:

  1. “How to Write a Damn Fine Query Letter,” taught by literary agent Carlisle Webber.
  2. “Word Wizardry: Crafting a Stand-Out Voice,” taught by literary agent Kelly Peterson.
  3. “The Business of How Authors Make Money,” taught by literary agent Carly Waters
  4. “3 Things You Must Do Before Contacting a Literary Agent,” taught by literary agent Barb Roose.
  5. “7 Marketing Tips for Authors,” taught by published author E.J. Wenstrom.
  6. “How to Get Past Writer’s Block,” taught by literary agent Devon Halliday.
  7. “Traditional vs. Independent/Self-publishing, taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.
  8. “How to Write Great Romance Novels,” taught by published author Sarah Zettel.
  9. “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy that Sells,” taught by published author Olivia Cole.
  10. “Ask an Agent Anything: A Q&A Panel” — a chance to see aspiring writers get expert answers and advice from literary agents.
  11. “So You’ve Finished Writing and Revising Your Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel,” taught by published author Julie Eshbaugh.
  12. “Writing and Selling Fiction vs. Nonfiction,” taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.