2024 Schedule & Class Descriptions


*Schedule Subject to Change

How to Read This Schedule:

NF = Nonfiction

F = Fiction

C = Children’s

B = Business of Writing

Tuesday (Children’s Intensive Conferees Only)

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.      Registration Opens for Children’s Intensive Conferees Only (No Dinner)   


Wednesday (Children’s Intensive)

7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.   Breakfast (for those who spent Tuesday night only)

8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.   Registration Opens and Bookstore opens for consignment                                                                      

10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.  

The Secret S.A.U.C.E. of Children’s WritingMichelle Medlock Adams: (Board Books/Picture Books) Are there any secrets to becoming a successful children’s book author? Yes, and Michelle will share them in this workshop, discussing “the spaghetti strand rule,” finding and conveying emotion in every story, and putting a new face on an old concept, to name a few. Room 225

Strong Starts—and Finishes, Tim Shoemaker: (All) In our world of shrinking attention spans, what do we need to do in our fiction to grab our readers—and not let them go? We’ll look at secrets to great openings . . . great endings—and how to create yours. Auditorium

11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.    

Rich, Real, and Relevant: Writing Devotions for Kids!, Tama Fortner: (Devos) Do you want to write devotions that kids (and grownups!) will run to pick up and read on their own? Then join the writer behind the million-selling Indescribable for Kids series, as well as the ECPA award-winning Roar Like a Lion devotional—as she shares with you her best tips and strategies. This class will explore such topics as the basic structure of a devotion, using the richness of imagination and humor to connect with your audience, staying mindful of the cognitive stages of children, finding your voice (Hint: it’s not a preachy one!), avoiding “church speak,” and making your message rich, real, and relevant to today’s readers. Room 225

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing for Children, Rachel Pfeiffer: (All) Kids are taught to follow rules, and to write for them, you should follow some rules, too. These key tips for writing engaging, creative stories for children will help you catch an editor’s eye. You’ll learn about audience insights, industry trends and more. Auditorium

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.     Lunch, Private Dining Room with speaker: Tim Shoemaker

1:10 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.      

Rhyme, Rhythm, and Repetition, Sally Cressman: (BB/PB) Kids love rhyme, rhythm, and repetition in books! What better way to produce a read-it-again book than by incorporating these elements. While we won’t go into great depth, we will look at how these elements are used in books already in the market and how and when to incorporate them into your manuscript. Bring your latest picture or board book manuscript. Room 225

Welcome to the Children’s Library, Leslie Santamaria: (All) From Goodnight Moon to Twilight, the books available for children come in many formats: board books, picture books, picture storybooks, easy readers, early readers, leveled readers, chapter books, middle grade, and YA. In this lively, hands-on session, with a guiding PowerPoint presentation and 50 books set up in the room, we’ll examine all the types of books for kids at different ages and grade levels and the unique aspects of each category so that you can figure out the best formats for your great ideas. A comprehensive handout will help you take home what you learn and apply it to your own writing for children. Auditorium

2:10 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.       

There’s More Than One Way to Write a Picture Book, Michelle Medlock Adams: (BB/PB) Have you ever perused a bookstore and discovered a picture book that made you stop and say, “I wish I’d thought of that!” Yep, me too. And, every time I find myself saying that, it’s because that picture book is told in a very different, unconventional, totally original way. In this workshop, we will take a look at a few of those types of picture books and learn how to think outside the typical picture book box. Room 225

What a Difference a Word—or a Phrase—Makes, Tama Fortner: (All) Mark Twain is often credited with saying “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

In this class, writers will explore ways to take their writing from “lightning-bug” to “lightning” by using literary devices and other techniques. With examples pulled from both picture books, young adult, and devotionals, we’ll cover such topics as assonance and alliteration, personification and onomatopoeia, imagery, rhythm and rhyme, parallelism and repetition, and the use of reader-directed questions. Writers will also learn to create mood and change tone by varying word choice and sentence length. And, of course, we’ll dive into the infamous but essential “show, don’t tell.” Auditorium

3:10 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.      

Magnificant Middle Grade, Leslie Santamaria: (MG) Children ages 8-12 are in a formative stage, absorbing messages all around them and developing their understanding of what is true and how to act in the world. During this golden age of reading in upper elementary school, many children fall in love with literature while others find reading frustrating or unsatisfying, especially when compared to the digital options available for their entertainment. The books for this age group vary widely in length, approach, and subjects, so what is middle grade? And how can we write middle grade stories children can’t put down?

 In this workshop, we’ll first cover how middle grade novels differ from chapter books and young adult books. Then we’ll discuss three levels of middle grade fiction and the expectations for each, including word lengths, amount of dialogue, and appropriate topics. Finally, we’ll read some excerpts and examine the writing techniques that hook, entertain, and inspire this age group. Room 225

From Facts to Fascinating: Tips for Writing Nonfiction for Kids, Rachel Pfeiffer: (All) Stories naturally engage young readers, and nonfiction can be engaging too. These tips for crafting fascinating nonfiction will help you write pieces that keep kids interested while they learn more about faith, history, science and more. Auditorium

4:10 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

One Draft, Two Draft, Old Draft, New Draft, Sally Cressman: (BB/PB) In this class, we will look at the three steps of prewriting, revision, and polishing a draft. The object is to produce a picture or board book that kids will want to read and read again. We’ll analyze books that have done well in the children’s market and discover why they have succeeded. Bring your latest manuscript. Room 225

Reaching Boys With Your Writing, Tim Shoemaker: (All) We’ve all heard that boys don’t read as much as girls do… and often that is true. But sometimes boys just aren’t interested in much of the writing out there. We’ll look at the ten “gotta haves” when writing for boys, the ten “kisses of death”, three things women must remember when writing for boys, and more. Auditorium

Wednesday (Regular FCWC Conferees)

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.     FCWC Registration Opens and Bookstore opens for consignment. If you are registered to arrive on Wednesday, please do not come onto Lake Yale property until after 1:30. We cannot get you into your room early and we cannot provide lunch for you. Mount Dora, Florida, which is not far away, has lovely restaurants and shops (and a cool bookstore) that you may visit if your flight arrives early, etc. Thank you for understanding. 

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.     Book Proposal Studio, Edie MelsonThe studio is for writers in the process of preparing a book-length manuscript to present to agents or editors. Participants will work side by side with an instructor in preparation of a professional book proposal. Room 221

Wednesday’s class is the introduction for the Book Proposal Studio Continuing Class that will take place throughout the conference.

A book proposal has a specific format and must answer the questions on an editor’s mind. As an author, you must be able to answer questions such as the topic and message of your book, the take-away value, your target market, and more.

An editor wants to get right to the point. A well-written book proposal helps you to clarify your project in your own mind, so that you can clearly communicate your idea for publishing consideration. This will give you the confidence you need to show any agency or publisher you are a professional.

Attendees for this session should come with their manuscript and all the information needed to write the proposal. Attendees who register for the session will receive materials (via email) before the conference to help you pull together the necessary information for your proposal.

If you are interested in being a part of the Book Proposal Studio, be sure to register for the BOOK PROPOSAL STUDIO and then please send an email to [email protected]. Put "BOOK PROPOSAL STUDIO/Your Name" in the subject line. *THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL COST TO THIS CONTINUING CLASS AND YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER**

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 To AI or Not to AI, That is the Question, Lynette EasonCome join Lynette as she walks attendees through what AI is, why it's not ALL evil, along with the do's and don'ts of using it. She will show you how it can help you brainstorm your stories, be an amazing research tool and more. Lynette will demonstrate how she uses AI to plot a never before plotted story--in other words, she will do for the class, exactly what she does at home when she has a new story to generate. When you leave the class, you will be able to take this knowledge with you and do the same for your own novel. And plus, it's fun. And will involve chocolate. She hopes to see you there! Room 234


3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Pitch Studio, Edwina PerkinsIn this workshop, you’ll learn how to craft a perfect pitch. Whether you’re pitching a nonfiction or fiction, the mechanics of the pitch are the same, and so are the results. From the introduction of the main character to the hook to the promise of the premise, Edwina will walk you through what makes a powerful, memorable pitch. She’ll also share how to make the most of those 15-minute appointments with the editor you’ve been stalking. Room 223


5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.      Dinner

6:45p.m. –  9:00 p.m.      Registration for FCWC will re-open after dinner

6:45 p.m.                        Coke Floats and Conversation: Panel Discussion by our Editors & Agents. Auditorium

After Hours Workshops (Begins after Coke Floats and Conversation):                                                      

Overcoming the Mountains of Discouragment (F/NF), Tina Yeager: Creatives suffer immense, ongoing rejection and discouragement. The pursuit of our calling often feels like a trek through treacherous, stormy mountain ranges. Equip yourself with three strategies to help you persevere on this difficult journey to fulfill the purpose for which God created you. Room 237

Reprints, Writes, and Rewrites: Getting Mileage out of Your Work (NF), Cheri CowellIt takes twice as long and ten times the energy to write a new piece than to rework and resubmit that piece again and again. Learn how to get more mileage out of your work in this chock-full-of-tips-and-tricks class. Room 234

What Did They Say? (B), Cindy Sproles: You'll want to know the industry lingo if you are new to writing and conferences. What is a critique group, and what a good critique is? What is the difference between traditionally published, self-publishing, and custom publishing? POD, POV, RUE. What are all these initials? In this class, you’ll be introduced to the lingo of the industry and what to do in those 15-minute appointments. This class will help you navigate the ropes as a new conferee. Room 238

Am I Ready to be All-In? (B), Christy Bass Adams: Upon finally answering the call the write, many writers have a hard time navigating what pieces of the writing world are for them. They struggle with knowing how to navigate and appropriately use social media, create websites and blogs, and what to spend money on. In this workshop, I plan to address the "whens" of writing. When should I move from a free website to a paid host? When should I expand my social media and how? When should I write a proposal and where should I send it? When should I hire an editor? When and how should I build my platform and what is the message I plan to convey? Upon exiting this class, participants will have a rough outline of when to be all-in with certain parts of the writing world and when to settle for simple. If you are struggling with any of these "whens" this class is for you! Room 232


7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.      Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.    Registration                                                                                             

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.    First Time Conferees Orientation, Edwina Perkins, Auditorium                             

10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Opening Session Faculty & Conferees, Auditorium                                                 

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.    Lunch                                                                                                 

1:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.      Continuing Classes Begin:


Writing Nonfiction Track, Lori Hatcher: Non-fiction books make up forty-five percent of all books sold. Add to this magazines, e-zines, websites, and blogs, and the possibilities for publication abound for non-fiction writers. During this continuing class, multi-published Amazon bestselling author Lori Hatcher will help you identify and define your calling, audience, and message. She’ll train you in the basics of short-form writing to expand your platform and grow your audience. Not sure how to chart the course for your book? She’ll talk about this too. Best of all, Lori will share twenty insider secrets to help you maximize your writing as you share the message God has laid on your heart. Room 237


Fiction Track, Mesu Andrews: Whether you’re just beginning your fiction-writing adventure or you’ve been working on your craft for some time, we can all benefit from rehearsing the fundamentals of building solid scenes, creating captivating characters, and pacing our plots with BAM beginnings, mirror-moment middles, and extraordinary endings. Join this continuing class to learn, laugh, and lean on Jesus while writing your best book yet! Room 234 


Screenwriting Track, Billy Wayne ArringtonPerforming arts are great outlets for writers to express themselves and influence pop culture. This is especially prevalent with script writing.  Script writing is utilized for stage, screen, radio and social media.  Learn how to bring ideas and stories to life by developing intriguing plots and  inspiring characters.  Turn your written works into live presentations.    

These classes will be creative and interactive. Bring your script ideas and imaginations with you. Room 232


Children’s Writing Track, Michelle Medlock Adams: Michelle Medlock Adams, a multi-award-winning children’s book author and senior editor of Wren & Bear Books, is excited to lead this year’s continuing class—"Writing for Today’s Children’s Book Market”. The children’s book market has drastically changed over the past three years, and it continues to evolve. So if you have a heart for kids and a desire to make a difference in their world through your writing, this class is for you. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie in the genre of children’s writing, Michelle is saving your seat…and she has chocolate. You’ll learn the process from idea to submission, the earmarks of a modern-day picture book, how to identify trends in children’s publishing, how to know where your story fits, and how to breathe new life into old stories. Room 224

We will also cover:


Speakers Track: Turn Your Written Words Into Compelling Platform PresentationsCarol KentWriters need to be speakers and speakers need to be writers. From pitching our proposal to an agent, to expressing the uniqueness of our idea to an industry professional in a 15-minute appointment, to developing a signature keynote presentation on the content of our book—we need to communicate our ideas effectively.

In today’s world publishers are extremely interested in writers who have speaking platforms. Your carefully written words have the power to transform lives—in print and in spoken form.  Carol Kent has trained thousands of Christians in communication skills through the Speak Up Conferences. 

Come to this continuing class to learn how to put together an outstanding topical presentation. You’ll discover how to develop powerful illustrations, how to gain the attention of your audience, how to deliver a message with energy and enthusiasm, and how to motivate your audience to follow through with a positive action step. An added benefit is that Carol will share the secrets of building your speaking platform, setting appropriate fees, and she’ll reveal how to get meeting planners to invite you to come back again and again. Room 223


Manuscript Critique Track*, Shellie Arnold and Jan Powell: If you’ve ever attended a writers conference and thought I wish I could actually work on my current project, this track is for you. Using Word Weavers International critique group guidelines, attendees will have the opportunity to refine their current work-in-progress. Pre-conference emails will be sent explaining formatting requirements and critique procedure, for those who aren’t familiar with the WW critique method. Participants will bring six pre-printed copies each, of 4-5 submissions of 1500 words. (That’s a potential 6000-7500 words critiqued. Awesome, right?) Attendees will be placed in groups of no more than five, according to genre if possible. Space is limited and is on a first come, first served basis to those who register for the entire conference. Each participant must commit to attending every daytime session (only the evening session is optional), with the only exception being for agent/editor interviews. Come discover what you’re doing right, what needs improvement, and how to make those improvements.  * Only the first ten will be accepted and must pre-register: [email protected] Room 238


Devoted to Devotions: the Value of “Small Writings”, Ava Pennington: You’ve been thinking about it. Praying about it. Maybe even talking about it. God has placed a devotional book on your heart. Or maybe you just want to write individual devotions. But how do you process your passion into printed words? Devotional writing can be a valuable part of your writing journey, providing benefits far beyond what you might realize. We’ll explore benefits, structure, style, and types. Then we’ll discuss tools, components, dos & don’ts, and bonus tips. We’ll also focus on self-editing: writing tight, weasel words, Christianese, and clichés. Finally, we’ll focus on submitting and selling your devotions. Bring your devotional ideas and we’ll find the answers to your questions together! Room 221


Book Proposal Studio*, Edie Melson: Continuing instruction on writing your book proposal. By the end of the week, you should have a completed book proposal ready to dazzle editors and agents! *Must have registered for the Book Proposal Studio ahead of time. Room 222

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Sign up for Editor/Agent/Publisher Appointments, Room 225                                                                                                                               

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.      Dinner                                                                                                 

6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.      General Session & Keynote, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Auditorium

After Hours Workshops (After the General Session):

The Appointment (F/NF), Tim ShoemakerStomach churning. Palms sweating. Hey, an appointment with an editor or seasoned writer IS a big deal.  Relax.  Well look at critical factors and tips to make sure your appointment is a step in the right direction. Room 237

Perfection & Procrastination (F/NF), Deb DeArmondEvery writer or published author has dabbled or delayed in their quest to finish a writing project. This truth may comfort you. It happens to all creatives at one time or another: the flow is interrupted, and the words disappear. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, says it simply: “A writer will do anything to avoid the act of writing.” 

You’re not alone. Statistics reveal that 95% of the population procrastinates at times, with 26% of the population identified as chronic procrastinators. The trend continues to rise today. As a writer, the cost of procrastination is significant. In this course we will reveal the top five examples waiting to take us down. We’ll examine ways to avoid this trap and help you create habits to keep you in the game. Room 238

The Pros and Cons of Collaboration (F/NF): Timothy Holder: There are challenges to partnering with another writer on a book, but this option presents you with a lot of upside. The information here is based on my experiences from writing six books with other people and nine books by myself. Room 234

How to Create a Speaking Presentation They’ll Love (F/NF), Lori Hatcher: What do you do when your readers invite you to speak to their Sunday School class, Bible study, ministry group, or book club? How do you create a presentation that will meet their needs and deliver a meaningful message. How can you motivate them to action? Toastmasters International contest winning speaker Lori Hatcher (ACG, ALB) will share a simple process to take your message off the page and into the world. Room 237



7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.      Breakfast/VIP Breakfast                                                                                        

8:30 a.m.  – 9:00 a.m.     Music, Devotional, Announcements, Auditorium                                                  

9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up)

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Keynote Address, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Auditorium

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.   Lunch 

 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.      Workshops:

Deepening the Emotional Connection For Your Readers (F/NF), Cynthia Ruchti: They may understand the words you write, but are they moved? Are they convinced of your book's nonfiction premise? Are they living in the pages of your fiction? Are they ready to take action or eager to talk about your book with others? Discover how you can propel your writing from landing in their minds to piercing or soothing their hearts. Room 234

From Proposal to Pub Date—What’s the Process in Traditional Publishing? (B), Catherine DeVries: For those who are soon to be published or are new to the process, Catherine DeVries will share what happens at a traditional publishing house, from proposal to pub date. She has worked for several houses over three decades and will share the steps you can expect to go through alongside your publisher. From Acquisitions, Pub Board, and the Manuscript process to Marketing Support (including titling and cover design), Sales Support, and YOU! Room 223

Building Tension (F), Tim Shoemaker: Some say we need conflict on every page of our novel. But if we want to hold our readers, we need more than conflict. We need tension. We’ll show you why tension is the key ... and how to build it in your novel. Room 238

Publicity Essentials and Branding Tips (B), Tina Yeager: Ready to land those interviews and gain priceless exposure? Outline your brand and prepare to share your unique voice well. Learn how to develop media kits, press releases, and publicity materials. Discover the best ways to establish brand awareness in the marketplace and get booked as a guest on media outlets. Room 222


What a Difference a Word—or a Phrase—Makes (C),  Tama FortnerMark Twain is often credited with saying “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

In this class, writers will explore ways to take their writing from “lightning-bug” to “lightning” by using literary devices and other techniques. With examples pulled from both picture books, young adult, and devotionals, we’ll cover such topics as assonance and alliteration, personification and onomatopoeia, imagery, rhythm and rhyme, parallelism and repetition, and the use of reader-directed questions. Writers will also learn to create mood and change tone by varying word choice and sentence length. And, of course, we’ll dive into the infamous but essential “show, don’t tell.” Room 224

Writing Bible Studies for Personal Reflection (NF), John Herring: Reflective Bible Study is centered on connecting directly with God. There are many frameworks and methods for leading readers through an intentional introspective process. In this class, John Herring will share insights and ideas on creating Bible study methods that lead learners and readers to grow deeper in their relationship with God and in personal discipleship. It is geared for writers who want to work within frameworks that allow personal Bible reading, biblical introspection, and the development of Christian disciplines for an audience yearning to be led this way. Room 221

The Nuts of Bolts of Nonfiction Book Proposals (NF), Lori Roeleveld
: Using examples, Lori will teach you all the elements of a non-fiction book proposal, so you’re equipped to create one for your book. Room 232

All the Wrong Moves, Bob Hostetler
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. Room 237

2:45 p.m.  – 3:45 p.m.      Workshops:

The FUNction of Flash Fiction (F), Sophia Hansen: Come and learn why writing Flash Fiction is beneficial for authors of all experience levels, and how to have FUN with it! Room 232

Writing for Anthologies (NF), Ava PenningtonBuild a portfolio of publishing credits by writing short stories for anthologies! Inspirational books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul are always looking for terrific, true stories that will touch the hearts of their readers. Join us as we discuss the recipe for a winning story. Room 223


Neurodivergents: When Your Normal Isn't the Norm (B), Heather IsemingerDo you have a character with autism, ADHD, OCD, down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, or any other type of neurodivergent (ND) diagnoses? Are you, yourself, an ND writer? There are distinct struggles NDs deal with as artists that may not be the norm for most. This session will provide specialized organizational methods, writing strategies, and other strategic tools specific to the ND writer. It will also offer advice to neurotypical attendees wanting to better minister to all members of their audience, as well as responsibly include authentic ND characters in their narratives. Room 224

The Making of a Page Turner (F/NF), Cindy Sproles:   What makes your reader continue to flip the pages? What does it mean when a reader says, “It’s a fast read?” These are questions every writer needs to answer and understand. In this class, we discuss what a cliffhanger is, the types of cliffhangers (every cliffhanger is not a devasting thing), and how to add them at the end of every chapter. Learn about twists, how they pull the reader to the next page, and how they may even surprise you. If you are writing a novel, this class is a must. Room 222

Too Christian or Not Christian Enough?
(F), Mike Parker:
 This workshop is intended to involve a significant amount of leader-led audience interaction and discussion. The topic is inherently a bit controversial, and folks have a wide variety of opinions. While there may not be a one-size-fits-all answer, together we can find ways to improve your chances of finding the right publishing option for novels that don’t always fit the niche. Room 221

Topics covered include:

The World of Gift Products (F/NF), Leslie Calhoun: From the definition of what makes a gift product and how it is created to the general timeline of its publication process, this workshop offers a broad overview of everything one might want to know about the world of gift. Included in the presentation are different types of gift products, full-color examples of interior pages, and the elements that make gift titles shine on the shelves. Room 237

Landing a Literary Agent (B), Karen Neumair: Get insider information on how to open the door to traditional publishing with the right representation. Senior Literary Agent Karen Neumair will answer all your questions about literary agents, including how to find the best fit for you and your unique writing aspirations. (Target Audience: Intermediate authors ready to pursue a traditional publisher). Room 238

Igniting Your Message and Making it Memorable (NF), Peg Arnold
Beginning writers learning to be speakers In this interactive workshop, you will explore how God formed our minds and the effectiveness of engaging the senses in our writing and messages. Using props to write or speak helps illustrate scriptural analogies that capture attention, trigger emotion, and improve retention. You will be empowered to combine the foundation of your writing skills with various teaching techniques. These tools will help you to implement and ignite your personal God-given message. Room 234

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Workshops:

Post Book Launch Marketing Strategies (F/NF), Stephanie Alton: Marketing a book after it has launched is often an overlooked opportunity. It’s a season of big advantage too - the ability to think and strategize without the frantic publishing and marketing deadlines piled on top of each other! This workshop will focus on ways to help keep your title in the forefront. Room 234


Bold Writing: How to Stomp on Toes Without Crushing Souls (NF), Jean Wilund: We live in a world that celebrates evil with more exuberance each year. More than ever, we need Christians to deliver bold messages that convict their readers’ hearts, but don’t crush their souls. In this workshop, Jean Wilund, the author of Embracing Joy: An 8-Week Transformational Bible Study of Habakkuk, shares four critical elements of bold writing she used to stomp on toes with hard truths in such a way the reader feels convicted and loved by God, not destroyed. Room 237

Hooks That Won’t Let Go (F/NF), Bob Hostetler: Twenty ways to write a hook to your article, story, query, or book that will compel interest. Room 238

Can I Turn My Book Into an Audio Book(F/NF), Cheri Cowell: Are all books good for audio, can I read my own, and how much does it cost? These questions and more will be answered in this workshop. Learn how you can take advantage of this hot trend. Room 223


Pedicure for Pages: First Page Polishes and Secret Self-Editing Tips (F/NF), Tina Yeager: Relax in the gentle hands of an empathetic, fellow writer who served on the first page critique panel at Florida WordWeavers Retreat for many years. In addition to clipping and shaping your first pages, we’ll soak in the learning of best manuscript-polishing tips. Walk out of our class with confidence in the beautiful messages of divine blessings you have to share. As Romans 10:15 reminds us, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Room 224

Deepening Your POV,
 Tim Shoemaker: Point-of-View—used right—is a tool to make your writing more real and powerful. We’ll look at a balanced view of deep POV . . .  and show you how to use it to strengthen your writing. Room 221

10 Surprising Ways God May Use Your Writing, Lori Roeleveld
You have a plan for your writing. God does, too. What happens when they don’t line up the way you thought they would? In this workshop, you’ll learn at least ten disturbing ways God may use your writing gift (that you didn’t anticipate), how to survive the disconnect between your plans and His, and why how you handle the disconnect matters. Warning: This is an unsettling workshop. Be prepared to leave more excited about detours. You’ve been warned. Room 222

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.      Dinner                                                                                                 

6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.      General Session & Keynote, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Auditorium                                   

After Hours Workshops (After the General Session):

Addressing Sensitive Topics (B), Barb WintersAbortion. Politics. Sex. Abuse. Pornography. Is God asking you to discuss a “hot topic” in your writing or speaking? Controversial and sensitive issues, while important to address, may evoke a quick emotional response, causing the reader to put up a wall. We don’t want our intended audience to stop reading or listening before they understand our position or hear our heartfelt message. How do we approach these topics without repelling our audience? How do we speak in love without watering down the truth? How do we transform our painful past into a message God can use to help others? We will answer these questions and more during this workshop. Room 234


The Tax Side of Writing (B), Patricia Hartman: What kind of business should you set up… LLC? Corporation? Sole-Proprietorship? What can you claim on your tax return? What are the hobby-loss rules, and what do you need to know about them? Patricia will introduce you to the options you have as a writer and the expenses you need to track. Room 238

Making Your Mark in Magazines (F/NF), Deb DeArmond: Magazine writing is a great way to establish your credibility as an author. In fact, “writing short” may be among the best methods to build your platform, find your people, and often receive payment for your work. For aspiring writers focused on publishing a book, this may seem like small potatoes. But it can support your dream and build skills as you pitch, follow editorial guidelines, and deliver on deadline.

Deb’s work includes multiple articles for Focus on the Family and 11 years as a monthly columnist and frequent feature writer for Mature Living Magazine, with 300k monthly readers. She’s earned $35k+ during that time. Join Deb and discover where to find opportunities and how to make your mark in magazines! Room 232


The Chemistry of Winning Contests (F/NF), Cindy Lescarbeau: Learn how to put the ZING into your titles, settings, storylines, and characters (including your villain) until they become irresistible. Within this class, you will spend time brainstorming with a small group of fellow writers to give your contest entries-in-waiting so much star power the emcee will announce YOUR name and title on awards night. Room 237


7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.      Breakfast/VIP Breakfast                                                                                          

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.      Music, Devotional, Announcements, Auditorium                                                   

9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up)

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Keynote Address, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Auditorium

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.    Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.      Special Book Signing with Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, FCWC Bookstore

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Extended Classes:

Canva for Creatives (B), Del Bates and Penny Cooke: What do you want to create? An invitation? A one sheet bio? Or maybe that perfect social media post. Join us for a three-hour workshop where we will learn the tricks of the trade with CANVA. Let your imagination soar in this hands-on class with Del Bates and Penny Cooke. PS. Bring your laptop. Room 234

Crafting Promise-Based Interview Topics for Writers and Speakers
(B), Linda Goldfarb
If you write or speak professionally you will have the opportunity to be interviewed via podcasts, television, and radio. Hosts are looking for guests who can make a difference in the lives of their audiences. Linda’s L.I.S.T. interview elements help you craft meaningful interview questions that fulfill your promise-based topics. And yes, she helps you craft the topics too! Room 233

Nonfiction 101, 201, 301, 401 (NF), Bob Hostetler:
Come and learn about writing all the different forms of nonfiction. Bob will cover nonfiction, from newspaper and magazine to bookRoom 238

Embracing Diversity and Sensitivity in Christian Writing (F/NF), Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes and Edwina PerkinsIn this three-hour class, Christian authors will learn the importance of embracing diversity and sensitivity in their writing. Through interactive discussions and practical exercises, participants will explore how to approach topics related to culture, race, gender, and other identities with respect and inclusivity. The class will cover topics such as the impact of bias on storytelling, strategies for avoiding stereotypes, and techniques for promoting empathy and understanding in writing. By the end of the class, participants will have a better understanding of how to create compelling and respectful stories that reflect the diverse world we live in. Room 237

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.      Workshops:

The BIG Potential in Writing Short (F), Lori Roeleveld: Short pieces we write have more potential than just being stepping-stones to longer projects. There is an art to writing tight and these pieces are necessary at every stage of writing life – even when we’re publishing books. In this workshop, we’ll cover the keys to writing short pieces from articles to ad copy including engaging hooks, creative titles, power-packed sentences, and reader takeaways. The ability to write short pieces quickly will serve any writer. This workshop will equip you with the tools.. Room 223

A Fresh Take on Platform (F/NF), Cynthia Ruchti: Ah, that dreaded word. Let's transform our distaste for platform forever without selling our souls. How? By reframing what it is and isn't, its true purpose, and how to reshape our thinking about what it uniquely means for each one of us. When seafaring ships and air traffic controllers report the number of passengers and crew onboard, they use the word souls. It was a quicker, shorthand way of noting numbers and harkens back to the great sailing ships of the 1800s. What if we jettisoned the word numbers in favor of souls? Room 224

Rich, Real, and Relevant: Writing Devotions for Kids! (C), Tama Fortner: Do you want to write devotions that kids (and grownups!) will run to pick up and read on their own? Then join the writer behind the million-selling Indescribable for Kids series, as well as the ECPA award-winning Roar Like a Lion devotional—as she shares with you her best tips and strategies. This class will explore such topics as the basic structure of a devotion, using the richness of imagination and humor to connect with your audience, staying mindful of the cognitive stages of children, finding your voice (Hint: it’s not a preachy one!), avoiding “church speak,” and making your message rich, real, and relevant to today’s readers. Room 221

Developing Antagonists Your Readers Will Love to Hate, But Not Too Much (F), Kevin Thompson: A good antagonist is just as important as a good protagonist. James Moriarty. Darth Vader. Sauron. Hannibal Lecter. Shere Khan. Agatha Trunchbull. The White Witch. Long John Silver. The list is pretty endless. And it spans across ages, from adult fiction, like Silence of the Lambs and the Sherlock Holmes mysteries to children’s literature, like Jungle Book, Matilda, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. But it also spans the gulf across genres as well. From the intergalactic setting of Star Wars to the shores of Treasure Island, good antagonists become household names, just like their protagonist counterparts. We remember them because within their Grinch-like nastiness, there are human traits and reasons why they are the way they are. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to craft the perfect “bad guy” for your story. Room 222

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.      Workshops:

3 Pillars of a Great Nonfiction Book (NF), Bethany JettIn this workshop, you’ll learn the key elements every nonfiction book should have. Whether you write devotionals or books on leadership, you’ll be able to outline your manuscript with confidence, add the right balance of storytelling, and create nonfiction books that will be read cover-to-cover. Room 224

The Mental Journey From First Draft to Published Author (F/NF), Jean Wilund: In our dreams of publishing, we imagine our path from first draft to published author will resemble a drag race—start to finish in 10.2 seconds. For most of us, though, the journey looks more like a long, winding road littered with hairpin turns. Our mental journey doesn’t have to mirror this trail. We can enjoy the process with peace—or we can bump through it with emotional highs and discouraging lows. In this workshop, Jean Wilund shares seven principles that helped move her from anxious to peaceful as she traveled from first draft to published author.  Room 221

Secrets to Powerful Goals, Motivation, and Conflict (F/NF), Erin Taylor Young: In today’s distractible world, every sentence in your manuscript must be compelling enough to earn your reader’s attention for the next sentence, and the next, throughout your entire book. This interactive workshop will help you avoid common pitfalls that undermine intensity. You’ll get the tools you need to create compelling goals, motivation, and conflict on every page. Room 222

Write a Transformational Bible Study (NF), Carol Tetzlaff: Learn the art of crafting a Transformational Bible Study. Discover how to infuse patterns into your study, creating a daily rhythm that captivates and draws participants closer to God. You'll learn how to develop a compelling theme, create a well-structured outline, and curate impactful content. You will leave with a plan not only to write a study but to market and create resources leading others to engage in your book. 
Room 223.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Workshops:

Relaunch Your Book to Gain New Readers (B), Athena Dean Holtz: 
In this workshop, we offer solutions to reignite interest in recently released books or revitalize stagnant ones. Whether you're a new author navigating unforeseen obstacles or seeking to reinvigorate an older publication, we delve into the top three strategies for relaunching a book successfully. Join us to discover how to tap into new markets and amplify your message for renewed engagement and impact. Room 224

Every Book Needs a Hook (F/NF), Cynthia Ruchti: While you're writing, when you're pitching to an agent or editor, when explaining your project to your neighbors, and when convincing readers to purchase your work of creative genius, a solid and compelling hook will grab and hold attention. In this workshop, we'll talk about the philosophy and how-to's of creating a strong hook, and we'll spend time crafting or sharpening a hook for your current work in progress. Room 223

Reaching Youth Through Fiction (F), Tim Shoemaker: 
This isn’t just about writing for “kids” . . . but about writing for possibly the toughest market out there. Writers for this market also find it to be one of the most rewarding! We’ll share secrets to realistic action and fight scenes. Deepening your point-of-view, when to show—and when to tell, creating stronger scenes, and writing better dialogue. We’ll touch on plausibility and avoiding “hokey” Christian fiction. We’ll cover all these essentials of great fiction—and show you how to use them to boost your story to the next level. Room 222

10 Simple Tips to Help You Save Hundreds of Dollars on Editing, Lori Hatcher. Experts agree that whether we’re self-published or traditionally published, every author should have their manuscript professionally edited. Aside from hiring your high school English teacher or entrusting your precious book baby to a sub-par contracter, is there anything you can do to save money on this expensive process? YES! In this workshop, Our Daily Bread freelance editor Lori Hatcher will share the ten most common errors she finds in manuscripts. Then she’ll show you how to correct these mistakes, thus helping you save countless hours and hundreds of dollars on editing. Room 221

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.      Dinner

6:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.      “Just Deserts” Desserts & Award Ceremony and Book Signing Opportunity and Billy Wayne Arrington Concert. Auditorium


7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.      Breakfast/VIP Breakfast 

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.     Music, Devotional, Announcements, Auditorium                                                  

9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up, there is no Social Media class today)

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.   Communion. Auditorium

12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.   Lunch and Depart