In-Person Sun Oct 8

Sun Oct 8 Sessions


Session descriptions for Sun Oct 8 are below. Program subject to change.

For registration information, go to the registration page


9:30 - 10:45 AM Sessions


Writer as Researcher with AJ Bermudez and Melissa Cook: Hoping to enrich your storytelling through research? Writers and scholars A. J. Bermudez and Melissa Cook share how to use research to bring stories to life with depth, vividness, and authenticity. This session will explore key stages of research, the ways in which research can support craft, and valuable resources for writers in all genres including historical fiction and memoir.

How to Be Funny (Even if You Think You Aren't) with Kat Falls: Even if you weren’t born funny, there is a craft to comedy writing and if you’re willing to take small risks, you can learn how to infuse your work with humor. In this lively seminar, Kat gives you the tools you need to understand the inner workings of the comic process. Laughs guaranteed.

Liars, Lovers and Criminals - Writing Character-driven Fiction with Lisa C Taylor: It's the character first that taps a reader on the shoulder. Writers shape the characters by adding habits, gestures, and obstacles. Lisa C. Taylor has taught students of all ages, helping them to take that first good idea to a completed work. In an atmosphere of respect and humor, you'll learn how writers put a character through necessary paces so that he/she/they reveal both flaws and humanity.

How to Write a Professional Synopsis with Eric Miller: Writing a book itself is one thing, but explaining the contents in a compelling and succinct way in a synopsis is trickier. Attendees will learn the importance of writing a compelling synopsis in marketing language that will compel its readers (agents, acquiring editors, and Hollywood people) to want to read more. Tips will be provided for writing short (1,000 words) to long (1,800 words or more) synopsis, and the essential differences of each.


11:00 am - 12:15 pm Sessions


Working Together: The Ghostwriting and Collaborative Process with E. Danielle Butler: Ghostwriters are responsible for more than 50% of nonfiction best-selling books. This session is designed to discuss the art and business of ghostwriting and collaborative authorship for writers. A specific emphasis is placed on the diversity within the traditional publishing industry.

Science in Poetry, Poetry of Science with Amelia Díaz Ettinger: This session will review old and new science poems, and dissect how the language of poetry and science are so easily intertwined. Samples of poetry from William Carlos William to current poets will be examined and discussed.

SESSION FULLTransform your Manuscript from Boring to Bad*ss with Valerie Ihsan: Learn how to diagnose your work so you know exactly what to address in revision, bringing your manuscript from "meh" to magnificent. This session will cover it all: characterization, dialogue, protagonist’s wants and needs, character arc, genre expectations, setting, emotional tone, theme, pacing, passive voice—as well as the 3Cs: Conflict, Choice, and Consequence.

The Nuts and Bolts of Independent Publishing Panel Discussion with Melissa Vail Coffman, Kizzie Jones, Laura Moe and Penelope WrightSelf-published authors Kizzie Jones and Penelope Wright team up with independent publisher Melissa Vail Coffman to discuss the ever changing options for building an audience for your work. This lively discussion will include time for Q&A and is moderated by author Laura Moe, who is both traditionally and self-published.

Featured Session: 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Presented by Edmonds Arts Commission.
 Literally Speaking with Mary Lou SanelliJoin professional Literary Speaker Mary Lou Sanelli to discover how reading your work aloud can artfully communicate and inspire an audience and, if needed, enhance your book sales. Learn how to slow down, how to add humor even to the most serious topic, how to read a poem without falling victim to the singsong voice.


1:45 - 3:00 pm Sessions


Writing the Senses with April vila: Sensory details can transform a story from something mundane into something truly beautiful, but they can also be easily overwritten. In this session, we practice writing about each of our senses in turn, then discuss how to edit so that only the most compelling descriptions remain in our final draft.

SESSION FULLBeginnings with Scott Driscoll: We’ll talk about how to hook readers on the opening page, how to excite anticipation for the story to follow, and how to make sure something of significance happens that sparks a reaction. Suitable for all levels. Three Key take aways: 1) Writers will learn how to fashion opening lines that grab readers’ attention. 2) Writer’s will learn three things necessary to set up the story so it delivers what the reader expects. 3) Writer’s will learn how to make sure something happens in the opening that the main character must react to and how to make sure it will be significant enough to matter deeply to the character and the reader.

Writing and Publishing for a World in Eco-Crisis - Panel Discussion: As the world suffers from climate change and other eco-crises, writers struggle to write about nature without succumbing to hopelessness. In this in-person session, three essayists/poets/publishers discuss researching, writing, and publishing place-based writing that explores harms to ecosystems and landscapes while also educating, inspiring, and fostering effective action in readers. A panel discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A session. Panelists: Adrienne Ross Scanlan, Gail Folkins, Jill McCabe Johnson.

Writing Right: Copyright Basics with Rebecca LanctotDid you know the Eiffel Tower is trademarked when lit up? Or that publishers generally expect writers to be responsible for damages based on third-party infringement claims? This session dives into these and related questions, in an overview of copyright and trademark issues that you should be aware of and consider when writing. 

Rebecca Lanctot is an attorney and MBA. Over the past 25+ years, she has worked in the entertainment, media, technology, publishing, and retail industries, in a variety of roles and capacities. She regularly provides pro bono legal services, primarily through Washington Lawyers for the Arts (WLA), of which she is the immediate past Chair and a current Board member.


3:15 - 4:30 pm Sessions


Writing Picture Books that Sell with Mary Boone: Writing books for kids? That must be simple. HA! Telling a story in a few hundred words that sounds great when read out loud – over and over – is difficult. Learn tips that will help your manuscript find its way out of the slush pile and onto bookstore shelves. Take away points are, 1) Rhythm and readability will set your PB manuscript apart from the competition, 2) Well-place page turns can keep a reader (or editor) reading, 3) Writing to trends won’t work. Pitching to trends will.

Creating a Compelling Character Arc with Stephanie Dethlefs: A novel is more than the things that happen in it. What connects your reader to the story is how the protagonist is changed by the events. In this session for beginning/intermediate writers, you’ll identify your protagonist’s emotional journey and tether it to the plot.

Making Every Sentence Work Harder with Christine Pinto: A deep dive into the rich possibilities at the sentence level. Beginning to intermediate writers will learn sentence-level editing techniques to make their prose more powerful and impactful. Strategies and examples will help authors choose the most effective way to engage readers.

Strong Characters in Memoir with Ann Hedreen: Building strong characters is as essential a skill for memoirists as it is for novelists. In this session, we’ll look at several examples of how memoir writers create vivid, three-dimensional characters by using details not just of personality but place, time, style, clothing, culture, setting and voice.