Schedule: 2022 Workshop

All times listed below are
Eastern Time for Dec. 10, 2022.



9:30 – 10:30: Writing the Young Adult Novel: How to Create Stories and Characters with Authenticity, taught by Jessie Hilb. Some of the biggest pitfalls of writing young adult fiction can be writing down to younger readers, moralizing the story, or misusing popular teen slang. Learn how to tap into the reality of being a teenager and create voices, characters, and plots that are authentic and emotionally resonant.

10:45 – 11:45: Opening Pages That Lead to Yes, taught by Angie Hodapp. If your query letter or in-person pitch got you a request for sample pages, but your sample pages didn’t get you a request for a full manuscript, what went wrong? In this session, we’ll explore what agents are looking for in your opening pages and how to craft evocative beginnings that get your full manuscript read. You’ll learn the importance of establishing character, setting, and voice on page one; how your opening image or scene should relate to your story’s overall structure; how to introduce story questions that entice rather than confuse the reader; how to recognize and avoid cliché openings; and what starting en medias res really means—and, more importantly, what it doesn’t mean.

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: The Hybrid Author: Using Both Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing for Success, taught by Shelli Johannes. Self-published (indie) authors are becoming traditionally published, while traditionally published authors are going indie. This new breed of “hybrid author” that maximizes both options is becoming more and more common. But can authors truly do both? And if so, how? How can an author work with an agent to balance both sides of the industry? What benefits does an agent bring? What is the future of the hybrid author?

4:00 – 5:00: Query Like a Pro, taught by Kat Kerr. This class, taught by a literary agent, examines how to write an awesome query letter that gets agent attention and requests to see more of your writing. We will examine how to construct a query, what goes into an effective pitch, and the differences between a query letter for fiction vs. a query letter for nonfiction.

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Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)!

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 12 more FREE classes on the side, for attending in 2022:

  1. “How to Write a Damn Fine Query Letter,” taught by literary agent Carlisle Webber.
  2. “Word Wizardry: Crafting a Stand-Out Voice,” taught by literary agent Kelly Peterson.
  3. “The Business of How Authors Make Money,” taught by literary agent Carly Waters
  4. “3 Things You Must Do Before Contacting a Literary Agent,” taught by literary agent Barb Roose.
  5. “7 Marketing Tips for Authors,” taught by published author E.J. Wenstrom.
  6. “How to Get Past Writer’s Block,” taught by literary agent Devon Halliday.
  7. “Traditional vs. Independent/Self-publishing, taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.
  8. “How to Write Great Romance Novels,” taught by published author Sarah Zettel.
  9. “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy that Sells,” taught by published author Olivia Cole.
  10. “Ask an Agent Anything: A Q&A Panel” — a chance to see aspiring writers get expert answers and advice from literary agents.
  11. “So You’ve Finished Writing and Revising Your Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel,” taught by published author Julie Eshbaugh.
  12. “Writing and Selling Fiction vs. Nonfiction,” taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.