Handouts will be posted as they become available.
Not all presenters provide handouts.
NOTE: Hotel WiFi is not available in the session rooms. You will need to download your handouts before you attend any of the classes. Hotel WiFi is only available in the lobby, restaurant, and bar areas.
Entries for ZZ Conference Workshops
|Theme: What It Is and Why You Need It||Angie Hodapp and Aaron M. Ritchey||
Myth: Theme is for literary fiction, not commercial fiction. Fact: Theme is universal, and you probably know more about it than you think. We’ll show you 100+ thematic pairs and how to use them to define your story arcs and elevate your fiction.
|Novice||Sunday||11:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|The Anti-Hero: Our Fatal Attraction to Bad Boys, Femme Fatales, and the Unsavory||Mario Acevedo and Warren Hammond||
Our fatal attraction to bad boys, femme fatales, and the unsavory. What is it about rogues, bad girls, and the disreputable that draws us to a story? Why do we prefer our heroes to have a dark side? We’ll review famous villains and anti-heroes and discuss how an outlaw can make for a more compelling protagonist.
|Novice||Saturday||02:30 pm||Cotton Creek I|
|Deep-six the Stereotypes: Writing Characters from Another Culture||Rudy Ch. Garcia, Mario Acevedo||
How can writers diversify their fiction with vibrant characters from a different culture or background so their writing attracts 21st Century readers? Insights into what hooks / turns off agents from authors writing outside their cultural experience.
|Intermediate||Sunday||09:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Etiquette for Success: Be the Writer Who Attracts Professionals||Karen Lin||
Making the right impression is essential in the publishing industry. This workshop addresses professional dos and don’ts. What it means in the writing world to be a courteous, businesslike, trustworthy, go-to author.
|Novice||Sunday||10:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|It’s a Mystery, It’s a Romance ... It’s Romantic Suspense!||Sharon Mignerey||
What could be more compelling than a couple falling in love while saving the world? Simple right? Except for character development, sexual tension, believable motivations, accurate details, and building to a climax.
|Intermediate||Saturday||01:30 pm||Cotton Creek I|
|Introduction to eBook Publishing||Mark Coker||
This is a great primer that provides newbies the foundational knowledge they need to publish like a pro. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords will provide detailed information and techniques for successful eBook publishing practices for the indie author.
|Novice||Saturday||09:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Life After Publication: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly||Dr. Kristi Helvig||
You’ve got the book deal, your books are out in the world and....now what? Published authors experience a lot of ups and down throughout the publication cycle, from the rush of their first book to mid-career doubts after flattening sales. This workshop will deal with how to handle the rollercoaster ride without losing one’s sanity. It will address the many similarities between many published authors, such as the midlist author doldrums, staying relevant in a quickly-changing industry, continuing to grow your readership, balancing private life versus public accessibility, and effective time management with marketing one book while writing your option book/contracted book. Learn how to effectively address issues such as self-doubt, author jealousy, and negative reviews so that you can get back to doing what you love...writing the next book.
|Professional||Saturday||08:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Self-Publishing Best Practices||Mark Coker||
This workshop is a great follow-on to Mark Coker’s workshop Introduction to eBook Publishing. In this workshop Mark identifies the top 15 best practices of the most commercially successful indie authors.
|Novice||Saturday||11:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Websites and Social Media||David Wilk||
Concrete info on creating and maintaining author websites, and how to effectively and meaning-fully participate in and ever-changing social media platform, and how it works best for authors. What and how often do you post, and where should you be most active and still have time to write. An introduction to statistics and how to manage them and learn from them.
|Professional||Saturday||10:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Writing Worlds That Work||Carol Berg||
A different slant on fictional world building. Learn to look beyond cliched images of clothing, technology, and transportation for rich details. History, overlapping culture and migration, economics, mythology and religion build depth. Such rich details can be used in varying ways that avoid long passages of description.
|Intermediate||Saturday||03:30 pm||Cotton Creek I|
|Slush Pile Success: The Nuts and Bolts of an Exceptional Query Letter||Anita Mumm||
For many writers, mastering the art of the query letter is more daunting than writing a novel. By focusing on the most vital elements of a query, especially the all-important hook, this workshop will teach participants to craft the kind of query letter that makes it through the slush pile and leaves agents clamoring for more. Participants are invited to bring their query letter (if they have one) for discussion during the workshop.
|Novice||Sunday||08:00 am||Cotton Creek I|
|Finding the Yin to Your Yang||Mary Biliter, Dana Volney||
Critique Partnerships that Lead to Publishing Contracts. How to build a successful critique partnership by finding the balance between honest edits without stripping the writer’s voice in the process.
|Novice||Sunday||10:00 am||Cotton Creek II|
|Guerrilla Marketing: Skip the Monkey Marketing||Julie Kazimer||
Learn low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results to sell more books and yourself. We explore how others sold thousands of books, and brainstorm ways to do the same. An interactive workshop in which attendees will come out with a marketing plan that can be put immediately into effect.
|Professional||Saturday||10:00 am||Cotton Creek II|
|How to Manage Your Author Social Media Platform in 30 Minutes a Day||Frances Caballo||
In this session, we will bust the myth that social media has to be time-consuming endeavor. Learn a four-step strategy that will help you to economize your time while enabling you to meet your marketing goals.
|Novice||Saturday||03:30 pm||Cotton Creek II|
|How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon||Penny Sansevieri||
Amazon is a great place to sell books, but most authors don’t know about the sales machine that will actually help you market your book, for free, if you trigger it. It’s called their internal algorithm and, not dissimilar from ranking on Google, once the algorithm kicks in, you could see a boatload of free promotion.
|Novice||Saturday||01:30 pm||Cotton Creek II|
|The Loaded Exchange: Tension - Packed Dialogue||Warren Hammond, Angie Hodapp||
What affects what your characters say to each other...and, more importantly, what they hold back? Let your scene's context and subtext guide you in writing great dialogue, and learn what to do when you don't know what a character should say next.
|Intermediate||Saturday||08:00 am||Cotton Creek II|
|Plot Devices: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly||Karen Duvall||
A plot device is anything that affects a story situation to ultimately drive the plot in a desired direction. Most popular fiction incorporates one or more plot devices. In this workshop we'll explore ways to use them to strengthen your story.
|Intermediate||Saturday||04:30 pm||Cotton Creek II|
|Up Close and Personal: Making Third Person POV Pop!||Pam Nowak||
Third Person POV, we all know what it is but using it effectively is a whole separate skill. Telling what HE or SHE did relates a story. But letting the reader inside their heads allows the story to come alive . Making it work for you can mean the difference between a ho-hum story and an award-winning novel that readers cry about and can’t put down until it’s done.
|Intermediate||Saturday||11:00 am||Cotton Creek II|
|Pitching Publication||J. Ellen Smith||
Learn tips and techniques needed to give your submitted manuscript the attention it deserves from acquiring agents, editors and publishers. J Ellen Smith discusses how to craft your submission package including the pitch, the query letter, and formatting your manuscript.
|Novice||Saturday||01:30 pm||Meadowbrook II|
|Being a Hybrid Author||Nina Bruhns||
You've decided to continue with traditional publishers while trying your hand at self-publishing. But how to you juggle both worlds? Should you expect any pushback from your traditional publisher? Where does your agent fall into the mix? What works and what doesn't? How will your fans receive it? Are there any questions and concerns to consider before you make the jump? Are there reasons for keeping one foot in each world?
|Professional||Sunday||08:00 am||Meadowbrook II|
|Contract Law: Where You Can Make a Difference||Susan Spann & Terri Bischoff||
Published before but negotiating a new contract or switching publishers? Nervous about negotiations? Having a contract quandary? This session, run by industry pros, will teach you which parts of publishing contracts are—and are not—typically open for discussion, as well as strategies for getting the best deal possible. If you understand the basics, but need to know where and how to negotiate publishing contract language, this is the class for you. Targeting for professional authors who already have some contract savvy.
|Professional||Saturday||03:30 pm||Meadowbrook II|
|Creating Killer Conflict||Kay Bergstrom||
Conflict starts with characterization and a back story that gives the hero/heroine a reason to fight. Developing the conflict and raising the stakes depends on goal, motivation, genre and a worthy villain, mwa-ha-ha.
|Intermediate||Sunday||10:00 am||Meadowbrook II|
|Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing||Peter Senftleben||
Now’s your time to ask. With social media, the process of publishing—getting an agent, a book deal, cover reveals, blog tours, marketing—has become more public, but it’s still a big mystery to a lot of writers. What does an editor even do? In this Q&A workshop, I’ll outline the process I go through from submission to shelf, my daily routine, and address any questions related to the book business. There are no stupid questions, nothing too basic, so ask anything. Come prepared with a healthy curiosity and something you’ve always wanted to know. Please refrain from asking about your specific project; this isn’t a pitch session.
|Novice||Saturday||09:00 am||Meadowbrook II|
|Foundations of Fiction: Everything You Need to Write a Solid Novel||Peter Senftleben||
In this workshop, I’ll go over all of the fundamentals of writing a story, focusing on the elements I often see misused, botched, or ignored in submissions, like tense, point of view, conflict, characters, and dialogue. I’ll touch briefly on the basics that every writer needs to know and remain aware of as they write their novel, and give specific examples and tips of how to avoid getting caught in these traps. A Q&A session will provide writers with the opportunity to get my advice on problems they frequently find themselves encountering.
|Novice||Friday||02:00 pm||Meadowbrook II|
|Literary Pulp: What It takes to Write Literary Genre Fiction||John Blair||
Is it literature or is it mind-candy pulp? What's the difference, should you care, and how do you write genre fiction that passes critical muster? We will consider what aspects of composition and plot tend to lend literary merit to genre writing.
|Intermediate||Sunday||11:00 am||Meadowbrook II|
|Rejection Is Not a Four Letter Word||Mike Befeler||
The world of writing is full of rejection. Rather than being only a negative, it can strengthen writing and lead to improved query letters, synopses and manuscripts. This session will describe techniques to help deal with rejection and learn from it.
|Intermediate||Friday||04:00 pm||Meadowbrook II|
|Setting||William Kent Krueger||
What is setting? How do you create it? When and where do you use it? New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger will discuss the this critical aspect of creating a novel.
|Friday||01:00 pm||Meadowbrook II|
|Building a Sticky Digital Readership||Courtney Milan||
This workshop offers effective strategies to rise above the digital midlist. For the author making the jump from print to digital, this is very different than rising above the print midlist. Some strategies are much, much easier for self-published authors to implement, but the digital author working with a publisher can break out in the digital world.
|Professional||Saturday||10:00 am||Standley I|
|Don't Panic! Don't Panic! Breaking Blocks and Hanging Tough in the Course of Your Writing Career||Robin Owens||
Breaking Blocks and Hanging Tough in your writing career. A writer can face terrible deadlines, dry spells, thinking-and-staring-at-the-ceiling time instead of new words, real life drama, etc. Or sit at the computer and stare at a blank page. Practical Techniques to get out of the panic and into the zone.
|Professional||Sunday||08:00 am||Standley I|
|Engage Your Writer 4-Wheel Drive||Mario Acevedo, Warren Hammond, Aaron Michael Ritchey||
How to unstick both the creative process and personal motivation. As a writer it’s easy to get mired in uncertainty and doubt. How do we get out of the rut and move forward? In this workshop we’ll discuss why we get stuck and what we can do to charge ahead on all cylinders.
|Intermediate||Friday||01:00 pm||Standley I|
|Hit Me With Your Best Shot||Janet Lane||
When self-publishing, you have one shot at catching a reader's fancy and persuading them to buy your e-book. What should you include, leave out? Janet applies the principles practiced when she wrote copy for her own Ad/PR Agency.
|Professional||Sunday||10:00 am||Standley I|
|Hit the Bestseller List with eBook Preorders||Mark Coker||
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords discusses how indie authors can leverage preorders for increased discovery and sales. If you want to be a successful indie author or revamp your backlist this is an important workshop to help you sell.
|Intermediate||Saturday||02:30 pm||Standley I|
|It’s Not Personal—Taking the Sting Out of Rejection||Sue Brower||
Rejection is a frustrating reality and often feels like a personal attack from some unknown critic who holds your career in her hands. Acquisitions editor and agent, Sue can tell you from experience that an editor opens your proposal with all the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning. What happens next is up to you.
|Novice||Saturday||01:30 pm||Standley I|
|The Joy of Writing Great Sex||Andrea Catalano||
You know you want it, love to read it, but you cringe at the thought of writing it. Keep it real and join a brutally frank discussion of what works and what doesn’t when writing sex/love scenes in your novel.
|Novice||Sunday||11:00 am||Standley I|
|Making Marketing Fun for the Introverted Writer (Yes, Seriously)||Dr. Kristi Helvig||
Do you love writing but the idea of marketing makes you cringe? Do you have several published books but should be doing more to promote them? We’ll address some common struggles of introverted writers. Learn how to navigate speaking engagements and conferences with confidence, be successful, and even thrive on
|Professional||Friday||02:00 pm||Standley I|
|The New Golden Age of Short Fiction||Thea Hucheson||
There are more markets out there for short fiction writers than there has been for years. Get the skinny on how taking advantage of this golden age brings you new fans as well as more money, and how to balance exposure against income.
|Novice||Sunday||09:00 am||Standley I|
|Victorian Violence||Terry Kroenung, Janet Smith||
A survey of fighting techniques of the Victorian period, with emphasis on documented examples and writing authentic scenes for all genres, including historical fiction, Steampunk, and Westerns.
|Novice||Friday||03:00 pm||Standley I|
|When Authors Become Publishers: Understanding Marketing and Distribution||David Wilk||
In the jump from traditional to self-publishing, authors must themselves become publishers. Aside from the business of publishing, they must learn about digital book production, cyber marketing strategies and social networking, and so much more. How should an author best navigate this sea of new information? Where do you start? How can an author successfully remake a career in this new world where she must be a publisher, distributor, and a marketing expert as well as a good author?
|Professional||Saturday||08:00 am||Standley I|
|When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books||Raelene Gorlinsky||
We all want every book to be successful. The cover plays a key--sometimes the primary--role in grabbing reader attention. How do you attract the right readers? What makes a cover "good" for a particular book? What can you as an author do in the rare case of a cover disaster? And what's going on with Amazon and covers?
|Intermediate||Saturday||03:30 pm||Standley I|
|Airships, Corsets, and Brass Radium Guns. Steampunk Essentials for Curious Authors||Terry Kroenung and Janet Smith||
Steampunk Essentials. A brief overview of the components of the science-fiction sub-genre of Steampunk. Topics covered will include its history, traditional tropes, seminal books and authors, and its design aesthetic.
|Novice||Saturday||08:00 am||Standley II|
|Dying to be Here: Techniques of Murder and Mayhem||Mario Acevedo, Harriet Hamilton||
Gunshots, poisons, stabbing, vampire fanging—dramatic ways to kill someone. How long it would take to die? What are the forensic clues left behind? Let’s discuss the details of homicide and give your story more punch.
|Novice||Friday||04:00 pm||Standley II|
|From Here to There: An Alternative to Outlining||Carol Berg||
Worried that you must know every detail before touching your keyboard? Hear the advantages and pitfalls of real-time plot and character development, and how to combine other techniques to create a dynamic story.
|Novice||Sunday||10:00 am||Standley II|
|It's Not What You Say: Body Language for Writers||Cassiel Knight||
No matter your career stage, It’s Not What You Say goes beyond body language basics and provides authors with techniques to show a character's emotion through the creative use of words to describe body language.
|Intermediate||Friday||01:00 pm||Standley II|
|Metaphor Magic||Michelle Crystal, Stephanie Kelley||
To stand out in this competitive industry, you need to have a strong theme founded in metaphor. The right metaphorical image creates a vivid picture, enthralls the reader, and keeps them turning pages.
|Intermediate||Saturday||10:00 am||Standley II|
|Self-Publishing Your Backlist—The New Reality||Nina Bruhns||
You have a backlist and you want it out there. Should you go with an e-publisher or do it yourself? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? What do you need to know to do it yourself? And how, with so many fish in the pond, do you get noticed? Learn why some of the big name authors who self-published have moved back to traditionally published and discover why others say self-publishing is the best thing they ever did for their career.
|Professional||Saturday||03:30 pm||Standley II|
|Verbs, Verbs, Verbs||Angie Hodapp||
Writers often struggle with verbs, slipping in and out of tenses, lapsing into passive voice, and dangling their participles. This workshop is all about verbs: learning how to use them to your best advantage.
|Novice||Sunday||09:00 am||Standley II|
|What the Heck Is a Kickstarter?||Jeff Seymour||
Gauging interest can be one of the hardest parts about being an indie author. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter allow writers to do that before production begins. We’ll discuss what it is, how it works, and how you can set yourself up for success. Crowdfunding offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and they’ll love you forever for giving that to them.
|Professional||Sunday||11:00 am||Standley II|
|Suspense: More Than a Ticking Bomb||William Kent Krueger||
Learn tips and techniques for writing suspense with NYT bestselling author and RMFW Keynote Speaker William Kent Krueger.
|Novice||Saturday||01:30 pm||Standley II|
|Writing with Scrivener 101||Debbie Maxwell Allen||
The Do-Everything Tool for Writers and Self-Publishers. You've heard of Scrivener, but are afraid of the 'learning curve'. Or you have it, but know you’re not using all the best features. Learn how Scrivener makes you a more organized writer. Contain 'writer clutter' and simplify your life.
|Novice||Friday||03:00 pm||Standley II|
|When is it YA?||Lucienne Diver||
Agent Lucienne Diver discusses what makes a book part of the young adult genre, how dark you can go in YA, and what the current market is like for YA.
|Novice||Saturday||02:30 pm||Standley II|
|Etiquette and Promo Tips for the Published Author||Shannon Baker, Christine Goff, Linda Joffe Hull||
Whether you are newly published or working on your one-hundredth book, presenting and promoting are two things we all need to do. Your success is often measured by how well you present. These authors can't wait to share their hard-earned tips.
|Professional||Sunday||08:00 am||Standley II|
|Brain Sex||Jax Daniels||
Men and women are different because their brains are different. When you know the physiological differences between the sexes your characters will ring more true on the page. And in real life, well, you'll never look at Mars and Venus the same way again.
|Characters and Their (flawed) Development||Christine Jorgensen||
All stories are based in character. The difference comes through the emphasis on interior and exterior battles, the depth of relationships, the level of the stakes and the arc of the characters' development. Intended to help writers understand the basics of character development regardless of the genre in which they are writing.
|How to Be Hook-y: Short Stories||Lesley Smith, Betsy Dornbusch||
Have you ever tried to write a short story and ended up meandering to nowhere? Or do all your short stories end up being the beginning of novels? Or, do you not know how to start a short story? Learn the process of crafting a short story.
|Not Your Mummy's History: Breathing Life Into Historical Fiction||Heather Webb, Andrea Catalano||
Whether swashbuckling pirates, ancient lands, or the roaring twenties, historical fiction should be vivid, alive and palpable—and marketable. Andrea Catalano and Heather Webb break down how to choose relevant topics, balance story with facts, and infuse narrative with lively details to transport readers in a time machine built
|Sexy Science for your Science Fiction||Lesley Smith||
What is science fiction (SF) anyway? What differentiates SF and Fantasy? What's hot in SF? How much science do you actually have to know? I'll answer all your questions including tips on the sexiest new science readers want and future resources.
|Sherlock Whose? Create a Compelling Series Protagonist||Susan Spann||
Everyone loves a mystery, but the success of a series depends upon the protagonist, not the crime. Examine the clues and discover what makes a series protagonist compelling. Ideal for mystery writers in any genre.
|Show and Tell, Magic vs. Magick: Tools of the Craft||Najah Lightfoot||
Witchcraft is a popular topic. But what do you really know about the Craft and the working tools of Conjure? Covers the Pagan Wheel of the Year, a Witch's Esbat, common tools of Conjure, also known as Hoodoo.
|Whose Story Is This Anyway? All About Point of View||Cindi Myers||
From omniscient narrator to deep point of view, the perspective from which you tell a story matters. This workshop will show you how to use various POV to make your story dynamic, compelling, and engaging.
|Read It And Weep!||Barry Wightman||
We can write a fabulous novel, a great short story, a wonderful poem or a straight-to-the-heart memoir but too many of us have trouble reading our stuff aloud, putting it across to an audience. Let's improve this important marketing skill.
|Birds of a Feather: Mystery||Christine Jorgensen and Chris Joff||
Thinking about a new direction? Struggling with a concept, a scene, an opening that isn’t quite there or a plot that is twisting on you instead of in the story? Or questions about how much sex, or if any, or how much violence, action, adventure? Here’s an opportunity to pick the brains of other published authors in your genre or the genre you’re considering. Join Christine Jorgensen and Chris Goff in a facilitated discussion and exchange of ideas. Professional/published author level.
|Birds of a Feather: Romance||Cindi Myers||
Ready to jump genres but wondering what in the world is up with romance novels these days? Is it really all about 50 shades of kinky sex, or is there room for a relationship novel where the bedroom door stays firmly closed? Is category romance dying, or has the ebook revolution given these stories a new life? Who are the movers and shakers in romance publishing today? Are vampires still hot? What about historical romances? What are the trends? Where do romance novels fit in the changing publishing paradigm? Armed with facts, statistics, opinion and the experience of more than 50 published romance novels in a variety of formats for publishers large, small and independent, author Cindi Myers will lead this discussion about the genre of fiction that still commands the largest market share for all types of publishers.
|Birds of a Feather: Speculative Fantasy-Epic/Urban/Heroic/Mythic and Every Other Kind||Carol Berg||
Are you wrestling with how to take a new direction, while still producing what your readers love? Do you need some ideas for differentiating your Kick-Ass Urban Fantasy Heroine from other K.A.U.F.H.s? Are you curious about how much sex is showing up in popular epic or heroic fantasies? Are you thinking about writing a fantasy detective who does not live in Chicago? Are you trying to figure out how to end one overarching story arc in your long-running series and start up another one? Maybe the other published authors at the fantasy BOF can help. Please submit your topics of interest to Carol in advance via email: carolberg at sff.net
|Ins and Outs of Erotic Romance||Alisa Schreibman & Katriena Knights||
Learn what Editors are begging for! In this workshop we’ll discuss the anatomy of a sex scene (hopefully you already know the anatomy of the characters!) with an eye to impressing your new editor!
|Screenwriting Form and the Visual Narrative||Machael Catlin||
This craft workshop is on the fundamentals of screenwriting. What are the basic elements of scene writing? How do you create a visual narrative through place, action, and dialogue? Bring in the scenes that are troubling you, and we'll drill down into what is making them work, and/or fail. This workshop is geared toward any screenwriter, new or experienced who wants to polish their craft and tighten their script.
|Writer's Idol||J. Ellen Smith, Cassiel Knight, Peter Senftleben||
Bring two pages of your work in progress. A moderator will read your anonymous pages to the panel who will give their immediate responses to your work. For writers of all levels.