Major Morning Track Faculty
Morgan L. Busse
Don’t Preach: Organic Writing and the Christian Worldview
As storytellers, our job is to tell stories, not sermons. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your worldview into your story. I will share techniques and ideas on how to bring spiritual elements into your story that both Christians and non-Christians can relate to, and in a way that will organically fit into your story. (This class is for all writers.)
The Call of a Writer
Are you called to be a writer? Is this desire to write a passion, a purpose, or a distraction from what you’re really supposed to do? If it is a call, then how should your life be arranged around it, and how do you build a writing career? This session will help you answer these deeply personal questions, create a physical point of contact to return to through the ups and downs of a writer’s life, and offer guidance for a writing journey that just like any good story will be full of surprises and unexpected plot twists. Get ready to know if you are called and to glimpse what you will discover when you embrace that call.
Lisa A. Crayton
Writing for Multicultural Readers
Effectively reaching a culturally diverse readership is challenging. Discover how to effectively write for multicultural readers while strengthening your commitment to target audiences. Helps identify problem areas in content that hinder cross-cultural communications, while providing methods for improvement. Learn about market needs, pitching tips, and current opportunities (including social media pitch contests). Also discusses the importance of sensitivity reading, and using beta readers for WIPs—and before projects are submitted to agents or publishers.
Write to Video: 10 Ways to Incorporate Video into Growing Your Platform
When it comes to connecting with our audiences and growing a new audience, video content is the train that audiences are addicted to riding. If your writing goals include engaging your audience more, growing your platform or increasing book sales, then you’ve got to run like heck for that video content creator train and scramble aboard.
Creating video content doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or exasperating. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, Barb Roose shares ten ideas and solutions to help you create video content that will increase your engagement with your current and future audience.
James L. Rubart
Say What?! Dialogue that Does Its Job
Immersing your reader in a scene means you’re utilizing action, description, story … and dialogue. But dialogue isn’t just something you throw in to mix it up. Dialogue has important work to do. This workshop will explain what work can be done by crafting clever and compelling character discourse, and how to create natural, engaging speech in any work of fiction or creative nonfiction.
Pitch Practice: Make Those 30 Seconds (or one sentence) Count
An elevator pitch is defined as the 30 to 120 seconds a person has to sell an idea or product before the audience loses attention. This interactive workshop will help participants get the book pitch right from second one to done (with input from someone who has heard thousands of pitches – some that worked and some well, not so much.) Truth: It will be highly participatory and vocal in this workshop.
Top Ten Tips for Securing a Coveted “Yes” from an Agent or Editor
For writers who think “No” is an editor’s or agent’s favorite word, here’s a workshop that provides practical tips to help delete it from their vocabulary. We’ll look at issues that bring an automatic no, tweaking elements that move an editor or agent from no to maybe, and strengthening the project or proposal so the editor/agent is compelled to pull out the Golden Buzzer YES! Both new and veteran writers can benefit from this workshop. For fiction and nonfiction authors alike. Though it is directed toward those aiming for the traditional publishing market, many of the tips can also apply to securing a coveted yes from a prospective reader for independent authors.
4 Secrets of Bestselling Authors
Reaching readers who don’t know you requires you to edit down to the one thing you’re uniquely gifted to share: you! A 20-year veteran of acquisitions and development for multiple houses, Mick will share four universal characteristics of top-selling writers he’s observed that create something of a guide to what selling life-changing books requires in today’s competitive market.
The Spiritual Life of a Writer
Writing is a career, a hobby, a passion, and an act of worship. But how does a writer juggle the first three while remembering the fourth? This workshop will explore what it means to serve God through the act of writing and how to keep Him as the focus, no matter what you are called to write. You’ll leave with tips and tricks which will help you develop your writing efforts as a career and as a way to serve and honor God.
Robynne Elizabeth Miller
1. Traditional, Indie, Self-Publishing, Oh My!
With a million different opinions on the “best” way to publish, how do you which one is right for you? This workshop will answer that very question! After a thorough explanation of all your options, you’ll do an assessment to discover which publishing road works best for your personality, goals, and current project. Bonus: You’ll get a list of next steps no matter which path you choose!
2. Self-Publishing 101
If you’ve made an informed decision to Self-Publish, and want a firm roadmap on the process, you’re in the right place! We’ll define terms, explore options, and take a look at the specific timeline successful self-publishers use to streamline the process and position their books for the best chance of success. You’ll leave with knowledge, concrete steps to take, resources, and the confidence you’ll need to step into the self-publishing world.
1. Marketing Matters
You have a story, message, ministry or business and you want the masses to know all about it. On top of that, you have this burning desire to spread the news like wildfire! Whether you are an author, publisher, or literary agent, it’s important to always remember that marketing matters. Gaining maximum exposure and striving towards success takes continual motivation and momentum as you place yourself into the marketplace. In this workshop, you will learn strategies of how to market your product or service to your targeted audience with skill, bravery, consistency, and actionable steps that are sure to make the sale or land your next new client.
2. Cultivating Your Community Through Communications
In today’s engaging culture, it’s important to get and stay connected to your customers, clients, and community. Whether your audience is offline or online, you want to build upon and cultivate those professional and vocational relationships through intentional methods of communication. In this workshop you’re learn how to effectively craft your messages for your intended community or clientele, grow your audience or customer base, communicate a clear call to action in every sale or opportunity, engage more effectively, correspond via email with passion and purpose, and so much more!
1. Writing the Authentic Faith-Based Feature Film
Writing a screenplay is hard. Writing a faith-based screenplay is even harder. Learn the secrets of story structure, character development, and dialogue that studios look for when choosing new projects to develop.
2. Writing the Authentic Faith-Based Television Series
With the rise of the streaming service, writing a television series has changed dramatically. Learn how to write a series that will hook your audience from the first episode and keep them binge-watching all day.
3. Pitching Your Book or Script to Production Companies
Studios and production companies look for specific details when pitched new projects. Learn what is important to pitch about your project, the order to pitch, and how to leave the executive wanting more.
1. What’s In/What’s Out in Publishing
Do you feel like you hit roadblocks when what you want to publish comes back as “That’s not what we’re looking for” or “We don’t spend marketing dollars that way.” What is IN and what is OUT in publishing? This workshop is designed to give you this perspective from a literary agent on both editorial and marketing strategies. We’ll look at topics, techniques, and time-tested ways of publishing and marketing what’s selling. This applies to new writers, writers who have previously published, and established writers.
2. Building a Platform That’s Genuine
With the needed emphasis on the community that an author has, how do you develop a platform that’s genuine to you? What are the key areas that publishers look for when deciding to take on a writer and his/her book? Do you need different platforms if you write more than one genre? What is proven to be most effective? In this workshop, we’ll look at what type of platform is needed today. We’ll tackle the top questions writers have and why publishers need to see what you have to offer before moving forward with you, even previously published authors. Since platform has become so valuable, we’ll look at how to maximize yours.
3. What Agents Do for Authors
Ever wonder why publishers won’t take submissions unless it’s from an agent? An agent plays a key role in a writer’s publishing success to become an author. Not only do agents help open doors, but agents know current market standards and practices and guide writers not only to the right publisher for their work but also help them navigate what’s needed after you sign with a publisher. In this workshop we’ll look at what to expect in the author-agent relationship, how agents work, and how you know what’s right for you.
1. All the Wrong Moves
Sometimes a writer knows there is something wrong with a chapter (or book), but can’t quite put a finger on it. This session will provide a working list of the most common reasons a page, passage, or chapter isn’t working. (Intermediate.)
2. Business and Organizational Tools for Writers
A successful writer must give attention to the business side of things. These 12+ practical tools make it easy, even for the least business-minded writer. (Intermediate.)
3. The Art of the Query Letter
What is a query letter? What to query. Who to query. Why query? How to write a “killer” query letter. (Intermediate.)
1. The Elements of a Great Book Proposal
So, you’re ready to pitch your project to an agent, editor, or publisher, and they’ve asked for a proposal? What now? This workshop outlines the crucial elements of a proposal that will represent you and your project well … and attract notice.
2. Redeeming Rejection: Turning Pain into Pleasure
Rejection is part of the writing journey, but it doesn’t have to be the soul-crushing blow you might think. This crucial discussion of the realities of rejection –the whys, hows, and what nows – will give you fresh perspective and actionable steps on the heels of any “no.”
3. The 10 K’s of a Good Book or How You Can Earn 10K on Your Next One
Join this fun discussion of the elements of a good book to get an industry expert’s view of the critical components of marketable manuscripts.
1. Crafting Characters Who Resonate with Readers
Truly memorable fiction revolves around characters who feel as real as our own best friends. We want our readers to think about our characters long after the book is closed. In this workshop we’ll learn to craft multi-dimensional characters with strengths and weaknesses, quirks and flaws, hurts and secrets, fears and dreams. We’ll explore how nature, nurture, and experience have shaped our characters, so we can understand how they’ll act and react in the story. Getting to know our characters from the outside in, we’ll gain insight to make our novels deeper and richer.
2. The Super Synopsis—From Dread to “Done!”
Few things inspire more dread in the heart of a novelist than the word “synopsis.” We can write a novel faster than a speeding bullet, craft themes more powerful than a locomotive, and leap plot holes in a single bound—but the synopsis is our kryptonite. However, editors and agents and writing contests require them for a reason, so we need to learn to write them—and write them well. In this workshop, we’ll explore some tricks to bring the synopsis villain to his knees—and convert him into an ally in your quest for truth, justice, and a publishing contract.
3. Serious about Series: Tips on Writing a Seriously Good Fiction Series
Every author loves to hear, “I can’t wait for your next novel!” One way to build anticipation is with a book series. In this workshop we’ll discuss the pros and cons of writing a series. We’ll look at how to connect the novels to build a sense of community and familiarity for your reader. We’ll discuss how to maintain consistency within a series. And we’ll look at ways to provide contrast by varying plot, character, and setting within the series. You can create a series that grips your readers and won’t let them go!
From your synopsis to your pitch to the first line of your book, hooks are what grabs your audience and makes them want to stay. In this workshop, we will explore what makes a good hook, why they are effective, and where you should use them.
Social Media 101
During this course, authors will learn the basics of various social media platforms. From how to use social media as an author to how to build your specific social media platforms, authors will walk away with the knowhow and tools to start building their platforms effectively.
Serving Your Tribe
If you find yourself having to tiptoe around others, you’re not walking amongst your tribe.” Whether fiction, nonfiction, or memoir, we writers are rare birds. Come sit with your fellow authors and learn different ways to serve one another through launch teams or volunteer work or simply staying accountable to a writerly friend. We all have gifts to lend one another. And there are boundaries we should be sensitive toward. Cultivate friendships with your fellow authors or become an example or villain in their next book.
Ian Feavearyear, J.D.
1. Registering Your Copyright … and Why You Should!
Did you know that, as an author, your copyright is one of your most important assets? It even passes down to your heirs with the rest of your property. BUT, if you self-publish, you’ve probably never registered your copyright and find the prospect daunting at best. In this workshop, Ian will take you step-by-step through the registration process, giving you confidence to tackle it yourself—it’s easier than you think. And, to help motivate you, he will also explain why you should!
2. Research Resources to Raise Your Writing’s Reliability
Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, it’s vitally important that your writing is accurate and credible. One of the most important keys to achieving this goal is quality, in-depth research. But where to begin? In this workshop, we will review the best online (and offline) resources you can use to bring a deeper level of credibility to your writing, and to yourself as a writer. We will also discuss ways to incorporate your research seamlessly and organically into your writing.
Reaching Children’s Hearts Through Writing
Do you want to write a children’s book? Do you know the most important thing needed in a children’s book? Learn the categories of children’s books being published today and what publishers expect from a children’s book author. Come and get your questions answered by Deb Gruelle, bestselling and award-winning children’s and adult author.
Outline Your Bible Study in 10 Easy Steps
No matter who is in your target audience, writing a Bible study can be a daunting task—unless you have a plan. In this workshop, you will walk through the 10 steps to develop a clear, working outline of your Bible study, including help on crafting your chapter summaries (key if you plan to write a formal book proposal). BONUS: Sample Chapter Summaries
David M. Hyde
Story: The Three-act Structure for Stage, Screen, or Page
Whether you realize it or not, story has structure. Learn the plot points and breaks that stories have in common to carry your audience from beginning to end.
1. Character Wounds
This workshop will explore a variety of character wounds, how they impact human behavior, and will equip the writer in building complex characters, deep conflict, and intriguing spiritual threads to take their stories from “good” to captivating.
2. Opening Your Book with a Bang
This workshop will explore how to create fascinating opening lines that capture the reader’s attention and leave them wanting more. We will dissect the different types of sentences that snag a reader’s attention, as well as scrutinizing famous first lines to learn why they are so powerful. In addition, we will help each attendee punch up their current WIP’s opening line to pack it with a bang.
1. How to Put Together a Launch Team that Rocks Pt. 1
What is a launch team? Why do I need one? What are the basic components to a successful launch team? How do I put one together that will help me successfully launch my book/product? In this workshop we will discuss the What, who, why, when and where of all things pertaining to a book/product launch.
2. How to Put Together a Launch Team that Rocks Pt. 2
When it comes to launching your book/product, you are only as successful as the team supporting you. In this workshop session, we will dive deeper into the “HOW” of a launch team. We will discuss what you can do before, during, and after release date. Engagement and fun are key to a launch team that not only will get you ready for a successful launch but blast you off when it’s GO TIME!
1. What Goes Where 101: Structuring Your Nonfiction Book
One of the writing slogans is “Study the form.” But what does that mean? How do you actually do that? This workshop will teach you the specific form, distinctive features, and organization of five nonfiction book genres: Christian living, devotionals, Bible studies, gift books, and memoirs.
2. What Goes Where 101: Structuring Your Nonfiction Book Chapter
We’re told to “study the form” of a genre before we write, but rarely are we told HOW to do that. This workshop will teach you how to structure a Christian living book chapter, and the interactive approach in this class will show you how to study ANY kind of genre so you feel confident in trying something new.
1. Rookie of the Year (An intro to writing conferences and Mt. Hermon!)
New to Mount Hermon? New to writing? Feeling like a rookie? This class is packed with acronym-busters, writer lingo, and tips for a smooth start to your weekend. Nervous or second-guessing why you even signed up for this conference? You’re in good company. Every attendee was new once, but I’m here to boost your confidence and answer your questions! Bring your nerves and walk out in peace.
2. A Blank Canva
Canva rocks! As an online graphic design tool, Canva lets you create without needing any graphic designer skills. From basic photo edits to crafting social media images, flyers, and documents, you can start with a basic idea and leave with a rad creation. Bring your laptop and get ready for a hands-on tutorial with plenty of time for questions and creativity. Zero experience required!
Elizabeth (Lisa) Thompson
1. How to Pay Your Editor the Most Amount of Money (or Avoid it!)
This workshop covers eleven factors that I consider when a potential client asks me to provide a quote for a potential project. I go through each one of these to help writers understand how they can reduce their editing costs and so their editor can do the best possible job.
2. Understanding the Nuances of Editing Christian Nonfiction
Editing Christian nonfiction includes many nuances. Just some of these include: capitalizing the personal pronouns for God, capitalizing other biblical terms, Bible verses references, permissions for Bible versions, and more.
1. Skip the Pitch: Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments
Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to create a work-for-hire package to catch publishers’ attention. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile.
2. Write With Wonder: Science and Nature Writing
Discover the joy of connecting God to your science-related articles, stories, devotions, books, and more. Explore science—both fiction and nonfiction—for all ages as you write with wonder. Learn writing and submission tips from a published author who shares God’s world by writing about owls, parachutes, spiders, and more—without a science degree.