9:00-9:30 AM - CHECK-IN, LIGHT BREAKFAST, HOT DRINKS
OPTIONAL/FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE AT 1:45 PM: Drop off FOUR COPIES of the first page of your work-in-progress at check-in. (See guidelines below, under FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE at 1:45 PM.)
9:30 AM - WELCOME & CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
Deanna R. Adams, Conference Coordinator
Laurie Kincer, William N. Skirball Writers' Center
9:40-10:20 AM - KEYNOTE SPEAKER: David Giffels, Writer in Residence at the William N. Skirball Writers' Center on "Writing When You Think You Have No Ideas"
David Giffels is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin and a Measure of Life. His previous books include The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt and All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House. A former Akron Beacon Journal columnist, Giffels is an associate professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.
Note: Sessions with an asterisk (*) include a writing exercise.
10:30-11:30 AM - BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. *Writing Like Mr. Potato Head / David Giffels. In Meeting Room ABC. Participants learn techniques to engage all the senses in observing, drafting and refining their creative nonfiction prose.
2. *Kiss, Marry, Kill: How to Create Compelling Characters / Bree Barton. In Writers' Center Meeting Room. Learn to craft the kind of irresistible characters who set your book apart, people who leap off the page, lie and cheat, enchant and beguile—and make your book unputdownable. Come with a character (or two) in your back pocket to use in a fun, hands-on writing prompt.
3. Drafting the Nonfiction Book Proposal / Deanna Adams: Learn step-by-step how to put together your book proposal so you can win over the agent or publishing company of your choice.
11:30-11:45 AM - BREAK & PREARRANGED EDITING SESSIONS. In Writers’ Center Writing Rooms.
During four breaks today, winners whose names were drawn April 1st will meet with editors Judy Allen or Lex Hupertz for 15-minute individual editing sessions.
11:45 AM-12:45 PM - BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. *Writing Historical Fiction: Avoid Tumbling Down the Research Rabbit Hole / Marin McGinnis. In Homework Center. Delve into the issues writers should consider when writing historical fiction, and find out answers to questions you’ll ask yourself as you plot and write.
2. *The Situation and the Story / Charlotte Morgan. In Meeting Room ABC. Learn about memoir and essay writer Vivian Gornick’s theory on writing less about the situation and more about the story. There will be time for attendees to work on this strategy.
3. The Legal Matters in Publishing / Steve Grant. In Writers' Center Meeting Room. Learn how to deal with the traditional publishing world, and how to protect yourself from unscrupulous companies in the self-publishing world.
12:45-1:45 PM - LUNCH BREAK PLUS BOOK SALE & AUTHOR SIGNINGS
Brown bag or go out. Restaurant map available at check-in table. Lunches may be eaten in the Writers' Center main room today but not elsewhere in the library.
1:30-1:45 PM - PREARRANGED EDITING SESSIONS. In Writers’ Center Writing Rooms.
1:45-2:45 PM - FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE: Panelists David Giffels, Bree Barton and Deanna Adams. Submit FOUR COPIES of the first page of your work in progress (prose only, fiction or nonfiction) at the check-in table until 12:00 noon. Submissions must be double-spaced, Times New Roman-12, with title and genre indicated at the top of the page. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME. Each panelist will raise a hand at the point where they would stop reading and will comment on what stopped them. Pages will be randomly selected.
2:45-3:00 PM - BREAK & PREARRANGED EDITING SESSIONS. In Writers’ Center Writing Rooms.
3:00-4:00 PM - BREAKOUT SESSIONS, choose one:
1. *The Art of the Short Story / Scott Lax. In Writers' Center Meeting Room. Take the leap—learn about dialogue, character, setting, and plot and write that short story you’ve been thinking about.
2. Selling Without Being Sales-y / J. Thorn. In Meeting Room ABC. Traditionally published authors and independents alike must learn how to effectively get their book in front of the right people. J. Thorn shows you how to engage online, and in real life, without feeling like a salesperson.
3. *Poetry Matters / Damien Ware. In Homework Center. Poetry, in its many forms, should inform and inspire. In this workshop, Damien will enlighten the poet in you.
4:00-4:15 PM - PREARRANGED EDITING SESSIONS. In Writers’ Center Writing Rooms.
4:00-4:30 PM - DOOR PRIZES, BOOK SALE & AUTHOR SIGNINGS
Deanna Adams is an award-winning writer, speaker, essayist, and author of six books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the longtime coordinator of this conference, the “Book Whisperer” for Cuyahoga County Public Library, and teaches online writing courses for the Pennwriters organization. Her book, The Writer’s GPS: A Guide to Writing & Selling Your Book, instructs aspiring writers how to get their book written from beginning to end. Her website is www.deannaadams.com.
Judith Allen has worked as a copywriter and freelance writer for fifteen years, editing manuscripts for fiction, nonfiction, young adult, children's, and other genres. She instructs business writing for colleges and corporations. Visit her website at www.zoneexcel.com/editing for more information on her editing services.
Bree Barton is a writer and dance teacher in Los Angeles. Heart of Thorns, the first novel in her YA fantasy trilogy, came out from HarperCollins in 2018, and has been published in seven countries and translated into Spanish, Polish, and Italian. She has published op-eds in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and short fiction in The Iowa Review and McSweeney's.
David Giffels is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed memoirs, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life (Scribner, 2018) and All the Way Home (William Morrow, 2008), and the essay collection The Hard Way on Purpose (Scribner, 2014). His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Parade, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and other publications. He is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction and is currently Writer in Residence at the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s William N. Skirball Writer’s Center.
Steve Grant is an intellectual property attorney with Standley Law Group, where he practices patent, trademark and copyright law. Additionally, Steve is an adjunct professor at the Capital University Law School, where he teaches intellectual property law and copyright law. A popular and frequent speaker at this conference, Steve draws on over thirty years of experience in addressing issues concerning writers.
Lex Hupertz has her BA in English with a Concentration in Writing from Denison University, and her Master's in Creative Writing from the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts. She has a background in both traditionally and self-published works, which she uses to help her clients succeed. Lex has developed a wide and varied group of associates, from content editors to graphic designers and photographers.
Scott Lax is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, short story writer, journalist, essayist, playwright, and movie producer. A graduate of Hiram College, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholar in Nonfiction, and a Sewanee Writers Conference Fellow in Fiction, Scott teaches creative writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His works include novels, The Year That Trembled, named one of “1998’s Milestones in Fiction,” by the Denver Post, and Vengeance Follows.
A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She has four historical romances published with the Wild Rose Press and is hard at work on a new cozy mystery series set in the English Lake District, one of her favorite places on earth. She lives in a drafty 105-year-old Cleveland Heights house with her husband, son, and poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete.
Charlotte Morgan is a longtime journalist and nonfiction writer based in Cleveland, Ohio where she teaches Composition and Rhetoric, as well as Intro to Fiction at Cleveland State University. From time to time, she leads workshops in nonfiction writing in the hopes of helping others find their creative voice. Her upcoming memoir, Glenville: My Side of Paradise, is in revision.
J. Thorn has published two million words and has sold more than 185,000 books worldwide. He is an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. He is a full-time writer, part-time professor at John Carroll University, co-owner of Molten Universe Media, podcaster, FM radio DJ, musician, and a certified Story Grid nerd.
Damien Ware is a poet, literacy advocate and literary artist. Since 2010, he has used love for the literary arts as means to bring community together through the arts. He developed and leads a weekly creative writing workshop called “Veterans’ Voice,” designed to encourage and support US military veterans to write and share their military experience as a community.