ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The Fall 2023 SWW is an Online Conference, on October 13-14, 2023. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)
The schedule here is on Pacific time.
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (OCTOBER 13-14, 2023):
Friday, October 13, 2023
9:30 – 10:30: Writing Rules That Can be BROKEN, taught by Najla Mamou. Stuck in your head are all the things writers are told not to do: passive voice, starting scenes with dialogue, starting off too slow, etc. We’ve all read blogs, received feedback from critique partners, and obsessed over what not to do. In this session, we will explore which rules you can carefully and purposefully break to make your work original. We will examine look at best selling samples where rules were broken, how they helped make the writing more authentic, and explore why and when rules should be broken.
10:45 – 11:45: Hook an Agent: How to Write a Query Letter That Works, taught by Kelly Peterson. This class will cover the basic elements of a query letter, the elements that separate a good query from an excellent one, and common query mistakes and misconceptions — e.g., information that people suggest putting in a query letter that doesn’t really help or hurt your case so you might as well not spend time worrying about how to include it, faux pas that will most likely put you in the “no” pile.
11:45 – 1:15: Break
1:15 – 2:30: The Author/Agent Relationship, taught by Kaitlin Johnson. It’s hard to tell the difference between an agent and a schmagent. How do you know what questions to ask? How can you tell what practices aren’t the norm? In this session, Literary Agent Kaitlyn Johnson goes through the “need to know” details from when you get THE CALL all the way to when your agent sends you to editors.
2:45 – 3:45: Building Your Author Platform: How to Sell Your Books and Yourself, taught by Lindsey Smith. As an author, does the word “platform” make you cringe? These days, the word “platform” has become synonymous with social media numbers and TikTok followers. However, a platform means so much more. In this workshop, Lindsey Smith—author, agent, and publisher—will answer questions such as: “I have a good book idea, but have zero platform. Is that enough to get a book deal? — I’m a fiction writer, do I even need a platform? — Do I need to constantly post on social media to be seen by publishers?” Lindsey has worked with thousands of first-time authors and knows what it takes to sell books, both as a publisher and as an author. You’ll leave with an understanding of who needs a platform, what a platform includes, and how you can continue to build your platform while writing your book.
4:00 – 5:00: The Three Most Valuable Revision Techniques I Learned from My Editor, taught by Kristin Bartley Lenz. Take your writing to the next level with revision techniques from an award-winning YA author. How do you bring your characters fully to life and generate an emotional response in your readers? Kristin’s editor taught her three revision techniques that elevated her writing. Hint: You’ll need to step away from your computer. She’ll share specific examples from her drafts and provide take-home exercises.
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Saturday, October 14, 2023
9:30 – 10:30: Ten Keys to Writing Success, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.
10:45 – 11:45: 10 Surefire Ways to Strengthen your Writing, taught by Kerrie Flanagan. Strong writing packs a punch and has a better chance of resonating with readers (along with agents and editors). It creates vivid imagery, an engaging story, and intriguing characters. In this workshop you will learn 10 specific techniques to strengthen your writing that you can begin implementing into your work right away. By understanding what makes strong writing you will increase the likelihood of getting published and provide readers a satisfying book experience.
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 Fall 2023 SWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.
4:00 – 5:00: How to Get Past Rejection, and Stay a Writer, taught by Diana Giovinazzo. When starting to write, most beginning writers are filled with hope and excitement for the craft, the process, and their journey. But as time goes on, it’s easy to be suffocated by rejection and self-doubt. Join a bestselling author for some truth-telling about the realities of perusing a writing life and how to stay inspired to continue chasing your dreams.
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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 October 13-14, 2023 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 at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:
- Changes in the Publishing Industry — What Writers Need to Know to Succeed, taught by literary agent Rachel Beck at the 2023 Florida Writing Workshop.
- Improve Your Craft — How to Show, Not Tell, taught by author Shirin Leos at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
- Revise Like the Pros — How to Use Beta Readers in Your Life and Make Your Writing Better, taught by author Cherie Postill at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop.
- So, What Exactly Does a Literary Agent Do?, taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
- An Agent’s Tips on Writing Thriller & Mystery, taught by literary agent Jill Marr at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
- Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction, taught by author and editor Madeline Smoot.
- How to Write a Stunning Nonfiction Book Proposal taught by literary agent Mary Demuth at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
- “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with literary agents at the Florida Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
- Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel, with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop.
- Copyright FAQs and Other Legal Topics, taught by literary agent Dana Newman at the 2022 Kansas City Writing Workshop.