2019 Programming - Panels

*please note, programming is subject to change up until the event

Adding Mystery to Your Fiction

Jim Jackson (M), Kelley Armstrong, Dwayne Clayden, Matt Hughes, Barb Ferrer

Most stories have a mystery element to them. How do you choose appropriate mystery elements? How do you keep the mystery going without giving it away to the audience? Should you give enough clues for the reader to figure it out? Bring your mysterious questions to our panelists and they will answer, or not, it’s unknown.

Best Advice I Ever Received

Michelle Vandepol (M), Adam Dreece, Eileen Kernaghan, Joshua Pantalleresco, Gail Sattler

Save time and effort by coming out to listen to professional authors and artists share the best advice they've received about writing and the publishing industry. Take away lessons that have been passed down to them, as well as ones from their own experiences.

Between Floors: what is an Elevator Pitch, and how do you create one?

Barbara Gordon (M), Kelley Armstrong, Janine Cross, Stacey Kondla, Dean Wells

Workshopping how to compress thousands of words of plot and character into a one-to-three sentence hook that will catch a publisher or agent.

Bouncing back

Adam Dreece (M), DD Barant, Chloe Cocking, Linda DeMeulemeester, Linda CJ Hunt

Join panelists as they discuss recovering from life and finding your voice again.

Continuing education and professional development for writers

KT Wagner (M), Kelley Armstrong, John Mavin, Holly Schofield, Jennifer Sommersby

Writing is both a skill and an art. Readers are often surprised to learn about the multiple levels of construction that go into an enjoyable story. Much like a guild, apprentices learn from journeymen and masters. However, beyond skill-acquisition, education and pro-d are an opportunity to connect with community and refill the creative well. Panel members will discuss the depth and breadth of educational opportunities for writers and how they have benefited (or not) their writing practice.

Creating believable Characters

Dean Wells (M), Tyner Gillies, JP (Jo-Anne) McLean, Joshua Pantalleresco, Diana Stevan

How do you convince your readers that your imaginary friends are real..at least in the story?

Creating Tension

Dwayne Clayden (M), Michelle Barker, JM Landels, Jonas Saul, Dean Wells

Top Agent Donald Maass says there should be tension on every page. How do we accomplish that? How do we get our readers hooked on the anticipation of what will happen next? How do we keep them invested in what happens to our characters and what happens in our world of the novel?

Feeding Your Muse

Katherine Koller (M), Stephanie Charette, Jim Jackson, Mark Teppo, Lisa Voisin

The creative process can often be a tricky one, and it is easy to fall into ruts or hit a blank wall. Our panelists will discuss how to develop ideas, create compelling subject matter, and what do next when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what to do for your next piece of art, writing or other creative project

Finding homes for short stories, a structured approach

KT Wagner (M), Faye Arcand, Donna Barker, T.S. Bazelli, Kristene Perron

Researching markets, setting up a system to keep track of current and past submissions, tracking upcoming submission calls and contests, managing contracts and shopping reprints can start to feel like a part-time job (often taking significant time away from writing!). Or perhaps you are reluctant to submit your short stories because the entire process is daunting. Panel members will discuss their submission strategies and help simplify and demystify the path to short fiction publication

Great dialogue Breathes Life into a Story

Adam Dreece, Katherine Koller, John Mavin, JP (Jo-Anne) McLean, Brie Wells

How many lines of dialogue from your favorite novel or movie can you recite? Good dialogue sparkles. It has an eavesdropping quality to it. It's a bit like overhearing a conversation and straining to hear more because it's simply too seductive to ignore. How can an author develop his ear to write dialogue that makes each character distinct and propels the plot in varied ways? In this panel, we will examine tools and tips in writing good dialogue.

How Editors Think

Katrina Archer (M), R. Graeme Cameron, Melanie Cossey, JM Landels, Syliva Taylor

What do editors appreciate in an author, both in their attention to craft and their professional interactions? Come and listen to editors share their experiences and insight on how to find and develop an effective relationship with an editor.

How to Create a Killer Opening

Kristene Perron (M), DD Barant, T.S. Bazelli, Tyner Gillies, Randy McCharles

We hear it over and over again. Your opening needs to GRAB people. How exactly do you do that? How do you get your first pages to jump out at editors, agents, publishers and readers?  

How to Create A Writing Routine (and stick with it)

Do you find yourself procrastinating your writing? Having a hard time getting into a groove of writing consistently? What are the best ways to create a writing routine and to keep it going?

How To Get An Agent

Eileen Cook (M), Brenda Carre, Janine Cross, Linda DeMeulemeester, Stacey Kondla

Where should you start looking? What should you look for? What should your expectations be? Do you even need an agent? There’s a lot to talk about. Join our pros for a talk about agents.

How to Swim Through a Sea of Rejections

Michelle Vandepol (M), Stacey Kondla, Jim Jackson, Holly Schofield, Brie Wells

Rejections are tough. How do you keep going when they start piling up and you feel like quitting? How do you know when something shouldn't be sent out any more? Join authors, editors, slush readers and publishers as they discuss how to deal with those rejection letters.

Is All Procrastination Fear?

Adam Dreece (M), Michelle Barker, Brenda Carre, Elissa McColl, Stacey M. Miller

Do you sit down to write but find yourself roaming social media? Or do you get the sudden urge to do laundry or make phone calls instead? Do we procrastinate because writing is too hard? Or is it out of fear and if so, what are we afraid of? Or is it a lack of motivation or ideas? Join the panelists as they discuss procrastination and how to deal with it.

Levels of Editing

Barbara Ferrer (M), Manny Frishberg, JM Landels, Lewis Pollak, Jennifer Sommersby

Let’s talk about developmental edits, line edits, professional editors, alpha and beta readers. What are the differences? Which happens at what point in the process? How much do you do on your own? How do you know whether to pay for any editing, if you’re self-publishing or traditional publishing? So many questions. Our panelists will attempt to answer these and any others you bring.  

Live Action Slush - General Edition

Michelle Barker (M), JM Landels, Lewis Pollak, Sylvia Taylor, Krista Wallace (R)

Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational!  

Live Action Slush - YA/MG Edition

Michelle Barker (M), Stacey Kondla, Tash McAdam, Randy McCharles, Andrea Westaway (R)

Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your YA or MG manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational!

Multi-Stream Incomes for Writers

Donna Barker (M), Eileen Cook, Mel Dawn, CJ Hunt, Sylvia Taylor

Having a side hustle helps many writers get noticed and pay the bills. This panel led discussion focuses on the good, the bad and the ugly of juggling several writer jobs.  (p.s. CJ. Hunt and I are likely suspects)

Plot or Character: Which Comes First?

Tom D Wright (M), Wren Handman, Matt Hughes, Manny Frishberg, Farida Somjee

What is most important to a good story: a fast moving and/or engaging plot to carry you away, or characters that you can identify with, or at least care about? You can have one without the other, but when should you? And, does plot emerge from the character’s needs and desires, or is the character born to serve the plot?

Researching Made Easy

Donna Barker (M), Eileen Kernaghan, G.S (Gabrielle) Prendergast, Jonas Saul, Krista Wallace

Panellists discuss how to research a novel or short story, ways to make research accurate and fun

without overwhelming the reader with everything you know, sources and tools anyone can use for

both current and historical fiction.

Scrivener, the introduction

Jonathan Sean Lyster (M), Kelley Armstrong, CJ Hunt, Bryce Raffle

Those who use Scrivener are passionate devotees who believe those who don’t use it just don’t understand it yet. Interested in learning more about Scrivener, some of the basics and why those who love it, love it?

Silence Your Inner Critic

Mark Teppo (M), Brenda Carre, Ian T. Shaw, Lisa Voisin, Tom D Wright

How do you shut off that voice that tells us we’re not good enough, not talented enough, not enough to write? Should we? Or does it serve a purpose? Join panelists as they discuss why this happens, what you can do about it and how to make it work for you, not against you.

Stories from Self-Publishing

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean (M), Adam Dreece, Kristene Perron, Jonas Saul, Jennifer Sommersby

There is a lot of information out there about self-publishing, but how good is it? Join our panel of

self-publishing authors to discuss their experiences with online publishing, marketing methods, cover

designs, book formatting, and the many other components that go into a self-published book

Write What You Know or Write What You Want

Lisa Voisin (M), Eileen Kernaghan, Jonathan Sean Lyster, Bryce Raffle, Diana Stevan

The advice used to be to write what you know. In these days of the internet research, does this still apply? Has it ever? Should you write things you don’t know about? How outside your own personal experiences do you or should you feel comfortable writing?

Writing Fight Scenes

Kristene Perron (M), Tyner Gillies, JM Landels, Tash McAdam, G.S (Gabrielle) Prendergast

Join panelists for tips on writing effective fight scenes. Learn what to include, what to avoid, how to make them fit your story and dispel some myths and fallacies about fighting. Battles may break out among panelists.

Writing The Future

G.S (Gabrielle) Prendergast (M), Manny Frishberg, Wren Handman, Matt Hughes, Robert J. Sawyer

How do you create a credible near future? What things are likely to change, what will stay the same? How do you incorporate changes in the environment, economy, politics and culture into a believable future?  

Friday Readings:

8:00 - 8:10 - Eileen Kernaghan

8:10 - 8:20 - Michelle Barker

8:20 - 8:30 - Barbara Ferrer

8:30 - 8:40 - Tyner Gillies

8:40 - 8:50 - Matt Hughes

8:50 - 9:00 - Jim Jackson

Saturday Readings:

4:00 - 4:10 - DD Barant

4:10 - 4:20 - Brenda Carre

4:20 - 4:30 - Katherine Koller

4:30 - 4:40 - Bryce Raffle

4:40 - 4:50 - Rhea Rose

4:50 - 5:00 - Sylvia Taylor

5:00 - 5:10 - KT Wagner

5:10 - 5:20 - Dean Wells