Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Making It in Tough Times Mini-Writing Conference

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Dec• 09•11

Making It in Tough & Changing Times
A Mini Writing Conference

January 28th, Portland, Oregon
At last, a practical one-day conference crammed with just the information that you need to propel your writing career to the next level and muscle your way to submission. We’ll cover everything from creating potent sentences and writing irresistible query letters that capture attention, to writing killer openers and making a living in a media-saturated world.
Time: 8:30-5:30
Cost: $99 Includes Continental breakfast, catered lunch, workshops and keynote address by author Christina Katz.
Location: Tabor Space, 5441 S.E. Belmont
8:30 Registration, Continental Breakfast, Introductory Remarks: So What do you Mean Writing is a Life?

9:00 One Strong Sentence After Another, Monica Drake Editor Gordon Lisch famously said that good writing is a matter of one strong sentence after another. In this craft workshop we’ll consider techniques to build muscle and cut the fat in each sentence. Participants may join at any level of experience. They’ll leave with examples and ideas to improve their own work quickly. This may be applied to any genre of literary fiction and nonfiction.

10:30 Killer Openers, Jessica Morrell All writing lives and dies by the opening lines. The opening paragraphs have a huge job — to hook the reader. We’ll discuss how killer openers immediately set the tone of the story, quickly raise questions that need answering, and hit the reader right between the eyes, often by being surprising or shocking. Of course we’ll also talk about how to kill openings with common blunders and missteps. Examples and discussion will amplify this important topic.

12:00 Keynote: The Prosperous Writer: Tips For Navigating The Gig Economy, Christina Katz Writing well, closing sales, narrowing your focus, continuous learning, and a career-long willingness to self-promote—these are the five qualities of prosperous writers. But how will you sustain your creative productivity and juggle all of these skills at once? These are the creative productivity secrets that most writers rarely share. Myths will be busted. Truths will be bared.

1:00 Anatomy of a Scene, Jessica Morrell Scenes are basic units of storytelling that dramatize both everyday life and key moments. In scenes something significant happens that has not happened before and will not happen again. A scene brings the story to a new place in the narrative, it offers something fresh and somehow stirs reader’s emotions Thus scenes are the intimate moments in the story that create emotional involvement with the reader

2:15 Paring it Down to the Truth, Emily Whitman “Make every word count.” You hear it all the time, but how do you do it? Whether you tend to write long and then slash, or pithy and then add, you need to cut the dross in that final draft. Paring it down doesn’t always mean cutting it short: pacing and rhythm matter. Years of writing educational passages with strict word limits have taught Emily a thing or two about trimming down to the essentials. This workshop will look at the tricks and tools at your disposal, from the concrete to the conceptual.

3:30: What Editors Want in Query Letters, Adam O’Connor Rodriguez An editor will discuss cover letters and manuscript presentation. He’ll reveal what editors love to see in a submission and what they hate to see. Workshop participants are encouraged to submit their cover letters and before hand for insightful feedback. Adam will also answer questions about the submission process.

4:40 Panel/Q & A: Risk It—to get published Q & A with Christina Katz, Jessica Morrell, Adam O’Connor Rodriguez

5:15 Book signing, closing remarks
To register: Contact Jessica Morrell at jessicapage(at)spirtone(dot)com
Space is limited so early registration is recommended. Payments can be made by check or through Paypal. Mailing address is: Jessica Morrell, P.O. Box 820141, Portland, OR 97282-1141

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  1. Brian Ormiston says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Are there spaces still available for the mini conference?

    Thanks for posting.


    • jessicap says:

      Hey Brian,
      Yes-thanks for asking. It’s limited to 50 participants and will fill up. If you want to register, contact me at jessicapage (at) spiritone (dot) com for details. Best, Jessica

  2. […] Panel Topic: Risk It! Saturday, January 28th, 8:30 am – 6:30 pm Tabor Space, 55th and Belmont More info & register Making It in Tough and Changing Times (download the […]

    • jessicap says:

      Folks, don’t miss the conference and writing coachChristina Katz. Her latest book is The Writer’s Workout and it’s loaded with doable, practical ideas and inspiration for advancing your writing career.

  3. […] lunch, workshops, and my keynote. Inspiration? Education? Writers! Yowza! Hope to see you there! More info… […]

  4. Kaye proctor says:

    I am thinking seriously about coming to the conference jan 28. Still space left? I could mail check. Thanks. Kaye

    • jessicap says:

      Thanks for asking. Yes, there are spaces left. You can also bring a friend or two. It’s going to feature practical guidance and I promise will give your writing a big boost. Mailing address already listed as is my email address if you need more info.

  5. […] 28, 2012. I’m teaching at Making It in Tough & Changing Times, a mini writing conference, along with Monica Drake, Jessica Morrell, Christina Katz, and Adam […]

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