Schedule: 2021 Workshop


Friday, September 10, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “Editing for the Eye, the Ear, and the Hand,” taught by agent Vicki Selvaggio. After what seems like the most work, putting fingers to keyboard, the REAL work begins! With a completed manuscript, it’s time to delve deeper into the elements of a story, while considering editing in the written stage, the visual stage, and the audible stage. While some editing tips are effortless, some require more butt in chair and sweat and tears and work. With an accompanying digital handout (and writing exercises, to do at home), this breakout session will highlight different editing tips, while providing tips on how elements of a story can fall short.

10:45 – 11:45: “How to Get a Literary Agent (and Write a Damn Good Query Letter),” taught by Chuck Sambuchino. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “The Importance of Place: How Setting Unlocks Superior Storytelling,” taught by Lori Steel. Plot, Character, and Setting are the magical three elements of story construction, but rarely does setting get the play time it deserves. When crafted with intention, setting affects decisions as broad as voice and character, and as detailed as the chips your protagonist eats. When a writer is stuck or the project feels flat, often a fully-realized setting is the culprit. We’ll spend time diving into the concept of setting and how its power can unlock your story to become the standout project it deserves.

2:45 – 3:45: “How to Get Past Writer’s Block,” taught by agent Devon Halliday. If you’re bored when writing, the reader is bored when reading. Dreading or dragging your feet through a chapter is a sign that the chapter shouldn’t be in the book. In this session, a literary agent instructor will suggest a few radical re-imagining exercises that will sidestep writer’s block entirely.

4:00 – 5:00: “You’re Probably Starting Your Story In The Wrong Place,” taught by agent Kelly Van Sant.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “The 7 Touches of Marketing for Authors,” taught by author E.J. Wenstrom. In this session, a seasoned communications pro will explain a fundamental principle of marketing and sales, and explain how authors and apply it to their own efforts to build a readership and sell books, in the context of a modern, digital world.

10:45 – 11:45: “Writing and Selling Fiction vs. Nonfiction,” taught by agent Leticia Gomez. Selling a fiction or nonfiction book project to a traditional mainstream publisher requires different approaches. Whether you are a first-time unpublished author or a seasoned one who has been around the publishing block once, twice or more times, the industry rules and guidelines must be adhered to in order to be able to get your feet through the door. In this session, literary agent Leticia Gomez will explain in great detail what these established rules and guidelines are. She will also discuss precisely what sample material components are must haves and what is the best way to package them up in order to secure the publishing deal of your dreams.

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 submit 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. Instructions to participate 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 CWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: “Writing a NY Times Bestselling Novel,” taught by Julie Gwinn. This session covers a list of things to do (like establish mood and create conflict) and things to avoid (like weasel words and purple prose) on your journey to becoming a bestselling author.

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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 Sept. 10-11, 2021 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. “This is Going to Be Harsh: 10 Things that Writers Need to Know About Writing and Publishing”–a class taught by agent Cecelia Lyra, with blunt tips and advice for aspiring writers.
  2. “An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today”—a class on understanding the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, taught by Chuck Sambuchino, former editor of the Guide to Literary Agents.
  3. “Self-Publishing: Top 10 Ways to Get it Right,” taught by author Marion Thomas. This class helps those interested in self-publishing books avoid potential pitfalls and mistakes.
  4. “Pursuing a Small Press Publisher for your Book,” taught by publisher Emily Victorson. If you don’t query agents but instead submit directly to publishers, know what you’re getting into.
  5. How to Think Like a Developmental Editor (and Write Well),” taught by editor Shirin Leos. Good writing is rewriting. Learn how to effectively self-edit your own work.
  6. “7 Touchpoints of Marketing for Authors,” by author E.J. Wenstrom. Sell more copies of your books, and build your presence online.
  7. “Writer’s Got Talent” – a Page 1 Critique Fest (San Diego). In this class, watch writers submit their anonymous manuscript first pages to agents, and hear agent praise and criticism of the work.
  8. “The Dos and Don’ts in Science Fiction & Fantasy World Building,” taught by agent Eric Smith. If you’re writing speculative fiction, this class will help you immensely in creating your world.
  9. “Picture Books: From Opening Line to Published Manuscript,” taught by author Reem Faruqi. This session is a great overview on how to write picture books for children, taught by a published author.
  10. How to Write Young Adult and Middle Grade that Sells,” taught by Jessica Burkhart. Writing novels for kids is so small feat. Get tips and advice with this class.
  11. “Romance 101,” taught by author Vicki Essex. This class is an intensive on writing romance novels, taught by a published author.
  12. “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” taught by Brian Klems—a class specifically designed for writers of nonfiction who want to craft an awesome proposal and entice an agent/editor.