SUN OCT 6 Sessions

  • Select one session from each time block at registration (total 4 sessions).
  • Keynote is included with Oct 4, 5 & 6 registrations.
  • Sessions are not recorded.
  • Program subject to change.
  • Download > Sun Oct 5 schedule <

9:30AM Sun Sessions

Characterization Through Dialogue with John DeDakis - When characters talk to each other, the story moves forward and the reader learns about the speaker. In this class, which includes brief writing exercises, you’ll learn how to create characters out of thin air and learn the do’s and don’ts of finding the right words to put into their mouths.

Keep Readers Reacting: Or, Triggering Readers the Right Way with Eric Witchey- Contrasts trigger reader emotional responses. Award-winning writer Eric Witchey demonstrates what readers react to and how to manage reactions in every moment of every story. Participants will walk away with a well defined
production tool, a set of immediately useful techniques, and a comprehensive handout for review once they get home.

Blending Genres: Using a Subplot to Enhance Your Story with Troy LambertDoes your romance need some mystery? Or could your mystery use some romance? A subplot can add conflict and tension to your story, or even soften the dark parts of some genres. We’ll explore how to use subplots and blended genres to make your stories stand out.

Book Buzz: Strategies for Publicity with Mary Boone - Elevate your author brand with practical insights on websites, newsletters, social media, book launches, collaborations, and news releases. Learn to identify your target audience and meet them where they are. Whether you’re pre-published, self-published, or have multiple books to your name, you’ll pick up tips designed to build book buzz.


11:00am Sun Sessions

Rendering Time in Fiction and Memoir with Anne Elliott - One of the gifts of the page is that we can slow down or speed up the perception of time, jump into the past and future, or nest moments within other moments. This session will explore three components of time in fiction and memoir: chronology, pacing, and urgency. Key points include: Understanding the feeling of time created in the reader as a way to modulate emotion; the difference between a trite flashback and a moment in the past that is integral to the story; and a review of strong models to read for inspiration, including craft texts.

 Who's That Talking: Identifying Problems with Point of View with Jessica Barksdale Inclán - While often writers think that plot and character are the main trouble spots, what can truly derail a story is inconsistent or confusing point-of-view. Yet identifying shifts in point of view (POV) seem to be the hardest for writers to spot—or they want to shift but the shifts just aren’t working. While many experimental texts do have a varied, changing, vague POVs, voices that shift and spin and move about, most of us are really trying to keep the voices in our story consistent and follow-able.

Research: What to Look For, Where to Find It, and How to Use It with Nancy Burkhalter - This presentation covers four topics: The kinds of research sources to look for, the places to find them and determining when to stop doing research and start blending research into a writing project. Participants will learn where on the internet to find material, books, language translation, etymologies and suggestions for blending research into their book.

Writing Novellas with Wendy Kendall - The novella is surging in popularity with authors, publishers, and readers. This interactive presentation shows the craft of writing a novella format. We'll review expectations of publishers and readers of a novella, and walk through creating structure, pacing, plotting, and characters. We'll also discuss the opportunities and challenges that writing novellas present. Key points also include a review of the types of novellas, advantages for writers in
writing a novella and marketing tips.


12:15PM Lunch Break

12:30PM - FEATURED LUNCH HOUR PRESENTATION: Short Fiction Books for Adults with Limited Literacy with Martha Young-ScholtenThere are few pleasure reading books for beginning-level adult readers. Adults at the five- and six-year-old reading level may have unaddressed dyslexia, reading difficulties from a stroke or dementia or English is not their first language. Children’s books are an option for these readers, but books created for children do not cater to adults and their interests, knowledge and life experiences. Join Martha Young-Scholten in discovering how her organization, Simply Stories, addresses the dearth of publications for beginning-level adult readers and how Simply Stories works with writers to develop publications for this demographic. 


1:45pm Sun Sessions

Intentional Rewrites with Elena Hartwell- Writing a first draft is a wonderful accomplishment, but for most writers, it’s
just the beginning of the journey. This workshop provides writers with multiple lenses through which to analyze their work and illustrates various methods with which to attack a rewrite, maximizing improvements on any manuscript. This session will cover rewriting for character development, story structure, exposition and description that matters.

Your Setting is Your Hook with Glen Erik Hamilton - Attendees will learn the critical steps of making settings in their works integral, essential, and vibrant to readers, prospective agents and editors. The session emphasis is on mysteries and thrillers, but the lessons are applicable to all fiction genres. Key points include learning how to identify what about their settings is unique, intriguing, evocative, and new; how to make the most out of the writers’ knowledge and experience, whether it's the first draft or the final rewrite; and tips, tricks, and concrete examples of describing setting concisely and effectively.

Tell, Don't Show (Sometimes) with Peter Mountford - In preparing to teach a class, I read 25 submitted essays and was surprised to discover that not one of the essays opened in “scene.” No dialogue in the opening sentence, ever. Take a look at your favorite novels, short stories—it’s actually very uncommon for a piece to open in a scene. Yes, it’s vital to be specific and vivid, to “show,” but scenes have limited uses, and in this session, we’ll examine exactly what a scene can do well, and what
“summary”, or telling, can do well. Attendees will learn when to tell and when to show.

Failure to Launch with William Kenower - Have you finished the final draft your novel, had it fully edited, hired a book designer, but then chose to never actually self-publish it? Have you ever had an agent or two request some pages, but then never sent them? If so, you’re not alone. Many writers love to write but struggle to finish, submit, or publish their work. In this workshop, William Kenower, author of Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt,
and Fearless Writing, offers advice and exercises to help writers of all genres and experience levels get out of
their own way and share their work.


3:15PM Sun Sessions

Taking the Mystery Out of Writing a Mystery Panel Discussion with Roxanne Dunn, Maria Barrs and Linda Lorlander -Three Mystery authors will discuss mystery subgenres and the importance of meeting genre requirements. On this foundation, they will build three steps in the journey to publication: how to write the best book you can, how to polish it with help from critique groups and beta readers, and how to edit it to perfection with help, if needed, from various types of editors. Finally, they will address pros and cons of self, hybrid, and traditional publishing, then describe who the publishers are and the all-important pitch. 

When and How to Push Back on Editor Advice with Cecilia Kennedy - When side margin comments reach flood stage, do you, a) keep swimming? b) get the National Guard? c) run away? In this intermediate writers’ presentation, the presenter uses her experience as an editor to help writers identify the right sort of editor fort their project during all its stages, learn techniques for responding effectively, and how to recognize advice to reject and keep their vision intact.

Got Ideas? with Leslie J Hall - Do you struggle to generate new story ideas? Perhaps you start an idea but are bored part-way through or can’t finish. This session helps you discover ways to produce ideas that excite you and have enough to become a finished work. Get the jump start you need to start writing fiction.

[Session TBA]



A NOTE ABOUT THIS YEAR'S PROGRAM: The WOTS conference program offers many topics on fiction and nonfiction, as well as information regarding editing, publishing and marketing.  This year, we are not offering specific poetry sessions as the popular biennial Skagit River Poetry Festival in nearby La Conner will be held Oct 3 – 5.