2024 Workshops

Don’t miss the pre-conference
workshops and zoom meetings. Link coming.

ALL times are Eastern.

 

August 7-10, 2024 VIRTUAL Write His Answer Conference

Visit again for a helpful chart of our 9 tracks.


Wednesday, August 7

Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:50

W1 — 7 Steps to Support Your God-Given Calling — Ava Pennington   B
Learn how to follow these seven steps to support your God-given calling. Discover how to find God's will, step out by faith in love, manage your time, and press through the tough times.

  1. Nurture Your First Love.
  2. Find God's Will.
  3. Guard Against the Enemy's Lies.
  4. Persevere Through Dry Times.
  5. Compare Time Management vs. Time Stewardship.
  6. Step into Your Calling in Faith.
  7. Trust God's Timing.

W2 — Sensitivity and Diversity in Manuscripts — Edwina Perkins  ALL
The number of books with ethnic characters has risen over the last few years. Because publishing houses are looking for more diversity in what authors are submitting, non-ethnic writers need to address some important issues when it pertains to diversity in their manuscripts. This workshop addresses writing about a culture outside of your own and the need for sensitivity readers.

W3 — Writing Women’s Fiction — Deborah Raney   ALL
Deborah will cover many writing tools that apply to all genres: writing cinematically, strong characterization, complex plots, and deft use of point-of-view. But it will also key in on elements unique to contemporary women's fiction: exploring social issues in fiction, writing realistic likeable-yet-flawed characters, strong dialogue, page-turning (despite a lack of explosions or car chases), and a life-changing message without being preachy. NOTE: This workshop goes until 6:00 pm.

W4 — What Are You Soaking In? — Cathy Lawton   ALL
What are you soaking in? What you soak up culturally and religiously will squeeze into your writing. In this workshop we: 

W5 — Still Climbing: Not Over the Hill — Louise Looney    ALL
Wisdom gleaned from your past experiences contains a warehouse of stories to pass on to future generations. Press in and polish these jewels. Keep on writing!

W6 — The ABC’s of Podcasting: Acoustics, Broadcasting, Connection — Patti Shene   ALL
Would you like to host a podcast or be a podcast guest? Do you have a book or ministry to promote, a subject you are passionate about, or a skill to share? Learn the basics of this popular method of reaching an audience, from equipment needs, cost, and time investment, engaging broadcasting techniques of the interviewer and interviewee, to connecting with hosts/guests and attracting listeners.

W7 — Hybrid, Cooperative, Subsidy . . . — Indie Publishers at the Conference  ALL
Each of the seven indie publishers will give an overview of the services they offer. This is a workshop for anyone considering going indie to attend or at least watch the video later. The Indie Publisher’s panel on Thursday from 1:10 – 1:50 will give you an opportunity to ask questions. NOTE: This workshop goes until 6:00 pm.

W8 — Book Reviews Roadmap — Tamara Clymer    I / ADV
Nabbing great reviews can be daunting. Tamara’s workshop offers a step-by-step roadmap for collecting those elusive reviews. By the end of this session you’ll have a plan that works, know how to identify potential reviewers, be able to craft compelling review requests, and handle feedback with grace. Don’t miss this opportunity to unlock the power of book reviews and navigate the process with confidence.

W9 — Newsletter Newbie — Debbie Allen   I / ADV
With social media platforms like Facebook changing the rules of the game, savvy authors increasingly depend on email newsletters to connect with readers. But what do you say to your readers and how do you keep them engaged? Join us for tips and easy-to-implement ideas to stay engaged without stress, and learn five unbeatable techniques for increasing the size of your list--and staying connected with loyal fans.

 

Thursday, August 8

Workshop 1 (2:15 – 3:05)


1A — Writing to Shape Culture — Michelle Lazurek   ALL

Global Pandemic. Government shutdowns. Economic uncertainty. Given the tumultuous nature of the world around us, is it any wonder Christians feel more hopeless than ever? It can feel like no matter what they do to spread the Gospel, it doesn’t seem to help. This workshop will help them understand that they already possess some of the best tools to tell people about Jesus. 

2A — Using Research to Strengthen Your Writing — Kara Bettis Carvalho   ALL   
In the age of social media, everyone has a “platform” to write and voice an opinion. But true writers can become trustworthy sources through research and even just a few strategic citations. As Christians, our speech must be seasoned by salt (Matt. 5:13), and everything must be tested according to Scripture (1 John 4:1). This workshop will explore how even just a little bit of research can bring our writing from good to great.

3A — Workshop 3A – Assemble Your Tools, Control Your Time, and Beat Writer's Block  Amy Deardon   ALL

You need a strategy to write. This lecture covers a workable game plan you can adapt to make it happen. You'll learn how to keep track of ALL your ideas, create a flexible weekly writing schedule, and use free tools to write wherever and whenever you want -- on your computer or on the go with your phone and a folding keyboard. Finally, you'll learn methods to smash writer's block so you can put down -- really -- 1000 words per hour or more. You'll be writing "THE END" before you know it.

4A — Pulling Together the Nonfiction Book — Karen Whiting   B / I

In your mind, your book might look like a 5,000-piece puzzle of thoughts, or fabric scraps of ideas that could be turned into a beautifully designed work of art. You hope you have what it takes to craft a great book, but there's not enough room to lay it all out to work on. You hope to find a way to work in sections or an orderly progression. 

But first you need a plan and discernment (you might actually have multiple books, or a series).

The nonfiction book clinic with Karen will help you transform those ideas into your book's blueprint. You'll fine tune the unique premise of the book, organize  ideas, and create a doable writing plan, including what marketing ideas can be built into the book so it will actually sell. 

 Topics that you'll develop

 Once you have these elements, it will be easy to write the book over the coming months.

 NOTE: This clinic runs through all six workshops and is by application only. Email haleybarb@yahoo.com if you are interested in participating.

5A — From Facts to Fascinating: Tips for Writing NF for Kids — Rachel Pfeiffer   ALL
Stories naturally engage young readers, and nonfiction can be engaging too. These tips for crafting fascinating nonfiction will help you write pieces that keep kids interested while they learn more about faith, history, science and more.

6A — Devotional Writing — David Sluka   ALL
In this inspirational and practical workshop for all writers, David will discuss how you can write from your heart, stay true to God’s Word, and encourage others through devotional writing. Topics will also include:

7A — How to Crowdfund Your Next BookThomas Umstattd Jr.  I / ADV
The average self-4published book sells only 200 copies. Why? Usually, self-published books fail because the author doesn't have the money to do it right. Authors need money to get sales and sales to get money. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are a great way to break the catch-22 of self publishing while also building a tribe and gauging interest.

8A — From God, Through You — Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott   ALL
Turn your personal Bible study into articles, books, and/or talks that are sure to bless others. Bring your Bible and your creativity and go away from this workshop with a personalized message ready for you to further develop into a useable message.

9A — Writing Marketing Copy for Your Book — Blythe Daniel   ALL

Good writers don’t just write books. They have learned to write engaging and descriptive marketing copy. How long should back cover copy be? What should your promotional emails look like? How do you write copy that can be used for multiple purposes? In this workshop, we’ll look at several examples and guide you to create your own marketing hooks and copy so you are equipped to walk away with effective marketing copy!

 

Workshop 2 (Thursday, 5:15—6:05)

1B — Writing Through a Hard Season — Evelyn Johnson-Taylor   ALL
Are you in a difficult season and can’t seem to concentrate on your writing? Do you want to use the challenges of your life to help others? Do you want to know how God can turn your mess into a message? As writers, we must understand why we write. Having a clear vision and mission statement can help keep you focused during the hard seasons.

Get ready to experience the power of a clear plan, the purpose of your writing, the promises from God’s Word, and the provisions He gives for you to continue writing during the hard seasons. As a ten-year caregiver for my late husband, I know firsthand what it’s like to write through a difficult season.

2B — Unleash the Writer Within — Twila Belk   ALL
Beloved author Cecil (Cec) Murphey says, “The best kind of writing occurs when it comes from the heart. It’s called being authentic or transparent.” He also advises, “Be you when you write.” We’ll discuss how to do that and learn from some of the important points he makes in his book Unleash the Writer Within.

3B —  Kickstart Your Novel 1: Find Your Story Idea and Write a Logline  Amy Deardon   B / I

Do you know what you want to write about? If you do, is your idea strong enough to carry a novel? Whether you have a story idea or not, this class will help you find and combine great possibiities to build a resonant, powerful central core that is strong enough to build on and bring you through to the end. Finally, you'll learn how to write a logline that summarizes your story in one sentence. This class includes lots of exercises and fun twists to get your ideas popping.

4B — Putting Together the Nonfiction Book Clinic — Karen Whiting (See 4A)    B / I

5B — How to Write for Focus on the Family Clubhouse & Clubhouse Jr. — Grace Kelley   ALL
Writing for magazines is a great first step to become a published author for children. In this workshop, you’ll discover the keys to contributing to Focus on the Family’s children’s magazines.”

6B — Writing Clean YA Fiction — Krysten Lindsay Hager   B
This workshop will focus on writing clean young adult novels with characters and plotlines that both entertain as well as inspire YA readers. We’ll discuss how to pick topics, themes, as well as how to create memorable characters and settings that feel real to readers. This workshop is suitable for beginning writers.

7B — Book Proposals — Front End-Method — David Fessenden  I / ADV  
Maybe one in ten book proposals is complete and well- prepared. Why? Because most authors go about it backwards, and it’s a process doomed to failure. This workshop shows you how to prepare a simple and successful proposal. 

8B — Format Your Own Book — Debbie Allen    ALL
Indie authors can save a lot of money by formatting their books on their own, leaving more funds to use toward cover design and editing. Learn how to use Vellum and other free formatting tools for a professional look--without being a tech genius.

9B — Marketing Into Ministry — Cheri Cowell    ALL
No one wants to hear about you and your book after the third week of your book’s release, so how do you market your book without talking about your book? Learn the proven strategy that turns marketing into ministry AND sells books.

 

Friday, August 9

 

Workshop 3 (Friday, 2:15—3:05)

1C — AI and the Future of Writing — Rhonda Robinson   ALL
Explore the crossroads of faith, creativity, and technology. This workshop dispels fears around AI in the writing industry. We'll uncover how AI can serve, not replace, God-given human creativity in crafting compelling narratives. As we navigate the ethical landscape of AI usage and look forward to future implications, we'll delve into what it means to be a writer in the age of AI. Join us as we balance faith and innovation in this exciting new era of writing.

2C — What’s Your Voice? — Edwina Perkins    B / I    
One of the biggest struggles new writers face is how to find their writing voice. It’s also the key to unlocking their creative potential. Spending time deliberating over voice is worth your attention and focus. No matter what you write—fiction or nonfiction—your voice is essential. Take time to learn your unique voice.

3C —  Kickstart Your Novel 2: Build Your Story Foundation with the Four Story Pillars PART ONE  Amy Deardon   B / I
This is the first part of a two-part talk. Great stories are built on four story pillars: Plot, Character, Theme, and Story World. You need to establish each of these pillars to construct a resonant story foundation that will make your story sing. In this talk you'll plan out each story pillar so that they coordinate and strengthen your narrative into a unified whole. Exercises will help to sharpen your focus so you are not lost.

4C — Putting Together the Nonfiction Book Clinic — Karen Whiting (See 4A)    B / I

5C — How To Write a Guideposts Story — Evan Miller   ALL
Evan will breakdown the ingredients of a successful Guideposts story using actual examples from Guideposts. He will take participants through the process of writing their own Guideposts story step by step. We’ll cover story structure of a Guideposts story, how to come up with a compelling presenting problem, how to sustain tension, and the all important story resolution. There will be plenty of time for Q and A as well. Even if you have no interest in being published in Guideposts you will learn a wealth of information about writing a compelling narrative story.

6C — So You Want to Write a Children’s Book — Karen Neumair  Target Audience: Aspiring children’s authors with no publishing experience
How hard could it be? It turns out there are several parameters you need to know before you start that children’s manuscript. Join Senior Literary Agent Karen Neumair as she unpacks the ins and outs of writing board books and picture books for young readers. 

7C — New to Writing: Here’s a Roadmap — Debbie Hardy   B
Do you have an idea for a book but no idea how to give it birth? Come and learn the basics, from how to get the book written to how to get it published. We’ll explain terms used in publishing and look at the steps in publishing and marketing your book. Get your message out to your target audience.

8C – Self-Edit Before You Send It  Karen Porter  ALL

This workshop is a practical and hands-on class on how to spot areas in your manuscript that need to be edited—before you send it out.  Discover how to find passive voice, wordy sentences, incorrect punctuation, split infinitives, and so much more. Learn how to use the tools in your computer programs to eliminate problems. Your writing will be forever changed for the better.

 9C —Six Beliefs of the Platform-Building Mindset — Michael Klassen  ALL
Most authors treat their book promotion as if it were a hot, steaming plate of liver and onions. This doesn’t need to be the case. In this important workshop, author and pastor Michael J. Klassen will address:

 

Haven’t found a way to be two places
at the same time?
Remember, you have until December 31, 2024,
to view the replays at NO additional cost.

 

Workshop 4 (Friday, 5:15—6:05)

1D —Overcoming Imposter Syndrome — Evelyn Johnson-Taylor   ALL
Do you struggle with an identity crisis? Do you ever think, if people knew who I was, they wouldn’t like me? It’s important to remember that each writer has their unique style, voice, and perspective. Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your self-esteem and creativity. 
     In this workshop, we will explore imposter syndrome and provide steps to help you overcome it. It’s crucial to embrace your true self and show it to your readers authentically. Remember, God created each of us uniquely, and there are no carbon copies. You can learn how to discover your true identity in Christ and find the confidence to overcome any feelings of intimidation

2D — Brick by Brick: How to Build Your Story — Melanie Dobson   B
How do you build an engaging story from the opening image to your closing scene? This practical workshop will lay down the foundational bricks of narrative structure, conflict, and character transformation by providing the tools needed for both novelists and creative nonfiction writers to construct a compelling and unique story, one layer at a time.

3D — Kickstart Your Novel 3: Build Your Story Foundation with the Four Story Pillars PART TWO  Amy Deardon   B / I
This is the second part of a two-part talk. Great stories are built on four story pillars: Plot, Character, Theme, and Story World. You need to establish each of these pillars to construct a resonant story foundation that will make your story sing. In this talk you'll plan out each story pillar so that they coordinate and strengthen your narrative into a unified whole. Exercises will help to sharpen your focus so you are not lost.

4D —  Putting Together the Nonfiction Book Clinic — Karen Whiting (See 4A)    B / I

5D — Three Puzzles of Periodicals — Sherri Langton   ALL

You have a great idea, but how can it become something worthy of print? This class will help you solve three puzzles that often stump writers wanting to submit to magazines:

6D — Writing for Early Readers — Michelle Lazurek   B / I  
Many people want to write for children. But how do you write engaging content that not only tells a story but also keeps a young audience engaged despite the instant gratification world in which we live? In this workshop, Michelle will address the following aspects of children’s writing:

Why is writing children’s book so important?
Five tips to help you if you have a desire to write but don’t know where to start
Four ways to keep children engaged in the story
How to structure your book

7D — Making It into a Movie — Michele Chynoweth    ALL
Have you ever dreamed of making your book into a movie? Best-selling author Michele Chynoweth has too and can teach you how to write a book so that it’s more adaptable to the screen and how to pitch your book to TV and movie producers! Michele has been coached by Michael Hauge, author of Writing Screenplays that Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds who has coached hundreds of screenwriters and producers including Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Val Kilmer, Morgan Freeman and more, and has consulted on projects for studios like Warner Brothers, Disney, Columbia, CBS and Lifetime.  Michele has pitched her own books and had them accepted for review by TV and movie producers now considering them for production. Just like the book world is diversifying and growing, so too is the television and movie industry, and the entertainment world is hungry for good stories – and books – to make into good movies and TV shows. Michele can lend her experience and knowledge to help you get on your way to seeing your work on screen!

8D — Canva for Authors — Catherine Jacobs    B
Are you frustrated trying to figure out how to make memes for social media? Wish you had a designer who could help for free? Canva offers free templates and images you can use. It’s designed for those who think they can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. 
     Catherine Jacobs has thirty-five years of experience teaching elementary art and the patience to help you get started with Canva. She can show you how to create professional looking graphics for a bunch of uses. 

9D —How to Create a Marketing Strategy for Your Book — Thomas Umstattd Jr.  I / ADV 
If failure to plan is planning to fail, it is no wonder that so many books fail to sell as many books as their authors hope. In this talk you will learn a strategy to successfully market books and how to adapt it to your book specifically. 

 

Saturday, August 10

 

Workshop 5 (Saturday, 2:00—2:50)

1E— Writing Through the Wall — Jane Daly   I
What to write when you don't know what to write. Jane will take authors through writer's block and give helpful hints on how to overcome it.

2E — Write Better, Faster: Unleash ChatGPT’s Writing Powers — Michael Klassen   ALL
Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we think and communicate, and it's here to stay.  And that's good news—if you know how to harness this powerful tool to make your writing more relevant than ever.
     But did you know that ChatGPT can help cut your writing time in half? By the end of your time together, you will know how to use ChatGPT to

     It’s like hiring a personal assistant—for free!

3E — Kickstart Your Novel 4: Assemble Your Story Into an Outline  Amy Deardon   B / I
While every story is unique, stories unfold in a general pattern that moves from ordinary world, to inciting, to midpoint, then climax and resolution. This session will help you consolidate your elements into a sturdy outline that you can use to create your first draft -- or rescue a stuck manuscript -- and have you typing "The End" before you know it. 

4E –  Putting Together the Nonfiction Book Clinic — Karen Whiting (See 4A)    B / I

5E – Working with a Magazine Editor – David Bennett    I / ADV
What's the best thing about writing for a magazine and how do you build a relationship with the editor? David will also share how to guarantee your manuscript will be rejected. Learn the not-so-bright things to do to ensure your manuscript is first in line for the shredder. Rather than leaving an editor shaking their head, you can abide by a few simple things to help your lines avoid the circular file.   

6E — A Winning Recipe: Writing for Anthologies — Ava Pennington   B
Build a portfolio of publishing credits by writing short stories for anthologies! Inspirational books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul are always looking for terrific, true stories that will touch the hearts of their readers. Join us as we discuss the recipe for a winning story.

7E — The Publishing Contract — David Fessenden   ALL
Just when you are rejoicing that your book is going to be published, you receive a thick envelope in the mail—the dreaded publishing contract. This seminar explains the clauses in a standard book contract, from a layperson’s perspective.
[Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t dispense legal advice!] 

8E — Photography Tips for Writers — Darrell Goemaat For writers who need to submit photos for their stories but don’t have professional equipment.
Your editor wants you to submit photos with your article but all you have is your phone. This workshop explores ideas for making “better than Facebook” photos when you don’t have professional equipment. We will look at principles and practical guidelines for making strong, story-telling photos in cases where you can control the situation and strategies when you can’t. We will show samples that have good composition, lighting, expressions, and posing. We will give tips on how to work in a changing environment to produce good candid photos. 

9E — Marketing 101 — Michele Chynowweth   ALL
In addition to being an award-winning published author, Michele Chynoweth has worked in the field of marketing and public relations for more than thirty years, including owning her own marketing firm for twenty years. Her marketing expertise has helped her in her own career as an author, landing her numerous book signings, television and radio interviews, newspaper articles, blog guest appearances and speaking engagements! She will take you on an informative journey on how to think like a business, brand yourself, create your own website, engage in social media, write a blog, get radio, TV and newspaper coverage and much more! She’ll show you how to light the match so you can set your world on fire and increase your exposure – and book sales!

 

Missed a workshop you wanted to attend?
Remember, you have until December 24,

to view the replays at NO additional cost.

 

Workshop 6 (Saturday, 3:45—4:35)

1F — Achieve Your Writing Goals in 100 Difficult Steps (NOT) — Bob Ruesch   ALL 
You have sold books to family and friends and have even been able to sell a few at author events. Your book hasn’t received a review in a while and your garage is filled with unsold copies. “What are you going to do? Who are you going to call?” If you don’t have an idea, perhaps this workshop is worth attending. Ghostbusters are not available to help, but some brainstorming with fellow authors could be the solution.

2F — Importance of Fiction Techniques in NF Books — Edwina Perkins    ALL 
Engage the reader from the first word. Like a fiction book, a great non-fiction book draws the reader in from the start. We'll look at how some fiction-writing techniques can create more engaging and impactful non-fiction books.

3F —  Kickstart Your Novel 5: Writing Techniques to Help Your Scenes Shine  Amy Deardon   B / I

The basic unit of the story is the scene, and generally there are forty to sixty scenes in a novel. But how do you write a scene? This class will review some helpful tricks and tips to create a compelling scene including discussions of point of view (POV), the importance of the hidden need triplet in creating the character arc, and an amazing technique to keep your reader breathlessly turning pages to the end.

4F — Putting Together the Nonfiction Book Clinic — Karen Whiting (See 4A)  B / I

5F — Writing for Youth Magazines — Steve Bootsma  ALL who write for youth
The entire story needs to fit onto two-three pages. What’s important to add, what needs to stay, what can go? How do I make sure the Christian message comes through? Now that your story is ready to submit, what will improve or hinder the chances of it being published?

6F —The 4 Ps of Poetry — Cathy Lawton   ALL
How to improve, market, and publish your poetry. In the process, sharpen your observation skills, deepen your relationship with God, connect with and influence others.

7F — The Journey to Your Dream — Kathy Green   ALL
This workshop offers insight on the writing and publishing process. Discover what it takes to go from merely dreaming about being a published author to actually holding your book in your hand. Kathy will share from personal experience how to establish good writing habits, avoid the pitfalls of procrastination, deal with distractions, and overcome obstacles along the journey. Gain the encouragement and inspiration you need to see your writing dreams become a reality.  

8F — Verb Power — Scoti Domeij    ALL
Is verbicide killing your writing? Resurrect power verbs to grab the attention of agents, editors, and readers. Learn how to turn snooze-inducing verbs into powerful action or picture verbs. Send the first five pages from your fiction or nonfiction chapter for review. Email to blacksidepublishing@gmail.com. In the subject line note “For Write His Answer Conference.”

9F — PR for Authors: Pre, During, and Post Launch — Mytecia R. Myles   I / ADV
Learn how to create an effective public relations strategy to use for you as an author and for your book platform for pre, during, and post book launch to increase awareness and build engagement. At the end of the class students will have an opportunity to share their creative work, and receive feedback from peers and instructor.