Schedule: 2023 Workshop

 All times listed below are
Central Time.



FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023:

9:30 – 10:30: Querying Agents: What to Do, and What NOT to Do, taught by Dani Segelbaum. The query letter is the ultimate tool for writers seeking publication. It is your sales letter that attempts to persuade an editor or agent to request a full manuscript or proposal. This is your first chance to present your book. What information do you need, and where do you start? A literary agent instructor will cover the ultimate “Do’s and Don’ts” of writing the perfect query letter to get you noticed by publishers and agents. The goal? A requested manuscript or proposal. By the end of this presentation, you’ll have the tools in your toolbox to write the most polished one-page letter that will make your book shine.

10:45 – 11:45: Wrangling With Plot: How to Pace Your Story, by A.S. Green. In this session, a USA Today bestselling romance author leads you on a step-by-step course for plotting a storyline that balances the need for fresh ideas against the need for meeting reader expectations. The focus of this session will be on pacing your novel in a way that quickly engages an audience. This session will also include a discussion on popular novels and movies and how they hit (or miss) when it comes to pacing. Bring the manuscripts you’re working on or get ready to start plotting some new ideas.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: 10 Questions You Can Use to Bust Writers Block, taught by E.J. Wenstrom. Writer’s block happens, but with these questions, you can turn it into an opportunity instead of a setback, This presentation will prepare writers to knock out writers block and uncover fresh ideas for their stories. During this talk you will learn how creative thought functions and what causes writer’s block; insights into how to reduce and break through writer’s block; and specific examples of questions that can help a writer break through a block and tap into creative flow again.

2:45 – 3:45: Visual Thinking for Picture Book Writers, taught by Maria Vicente. The best picture books make equal use of words and art to tell a story. Even if you’re not an illustrator, it’s important to master the art of visual thinking if you want to be a successful picture book author. This session challenges us to think critically about the role of art in picture book manuscripts and gives writers tools to make a more successful submission to agents & editors. 

4:00 – 5:00: Behind the Author/Agent Relationship, taught by Erica Bauman. A crucial part for many authors on their publishing journey is finding an agent. But what, exactly, does an agent do? What should authors consider when deciding representation? From querying and “the call,” to submission and planning for the future, this talk will help authors consider what qualities in an agent they’re looking for and how to navigate this working relationship.

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9:30 – 10:30: Connect With Your Muse, taught by Josephine Carr. “Only connect,” which E.M. Forster famously penned as the epigraph to Howard’s End, becomes a catalyst for exploring and discussing both how and why writers benefit from working with their muse. Find your voice, discover your deepest subject, explore the story only you are meant to write. To compose from your heart and soul is to write with passion — and passion sells. You don’t have to believe in the idea of a muse to discover that inspiration is the source for successful writing and publication. Learn to access your project’s hidden and elusive depths to leap from good to great.

10:45 – 11:45: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account, taught by Paul S. Levine, Esq. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing. This session, taught by a literary agent and attorney, will explain advances, royalties, subsidiary rights, and much more. If you’re curious how money works in the publishing process, this class is for you.

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 TWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: The Texture of Urgency: How to Deeply Engage Your Readers from the First Page to the Last, taught by Helga Schier. Urgency is not unique to thrillers and not always a function of a fast pace. Urgency drives all fiction, and a slow-moving passage can have you at the edge of your seat. Urgency may sit deep inside the subtext of a scene, manifest in a character’s motivation, or show in the ambiance of a setting. In fact, urgency is the very fabric of your novel. It is what engages readers in your plot and makes them care about your characters’ plight. So, how do you create that sense of urgency? This session with editor Helga Schier will talk about the underlying storytelling strategies such as cliffhangers, smart cuts, masking and unmasking information, about creating ambiance and the art of the crawl, about tracing clues, pacing, and racing to the end. Attendees will learn to look at their writing as a means to take the reader on an (emotional) journey to arrive precisely at the destination the writer intended and walk away with tangible tips for creating the forward momentum any novel needs.

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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 June 2-3, 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:

  1. “Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing,” taught by literary agent Leonicka Valcius at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  2. “Voice — and How to Hone Yours,” taught by literary agent Kaitlyn Katsoupis at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  3. “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes,” taught by literary agent Lesley Sabga at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  4. “Improve Your Fiction – How to Master Self-Editing and Revision,” taught by literary agent Elizabeth Kracht at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  5. “From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Any Kind of Fiction,” taught by literary agent Laurel Symonds at the 2022 Florida Writing Workshop.
  6. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  7. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  8. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  9. “Social Media Promotion Secrets for Authors,” taught by author Erik Deckers at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  10. “The Power in Choosing Your Dream of Writing,” taught by author Brittany Thurman at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.