Schedule: 2023 Workshop

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 WWSF is an Online Conference, on April 14-15. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

The schedule here is on Pacific (West Coast) time.



Friday, April 14, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: From Idea to Bestseller, taught by Beth Marshea. Explore the life cycle of a book from creation, to query, to publication, to publicity, to sales. We will have an interesting discussion about the various ways that agents and authors come together and how they work as a team to shape a career, especially when they team up after a first book is already with a publisher. Beth will discuss a range of topics, such as contrasting “the dream of a book deal” with the reality, how the “niche” markets of queer or POC have evolved (or not), writing/selling in multiple genres, and how to parlay small press success into a Big Five deal for the follow-up book.

10:45 – 11:45: Info-Dumping vs Infolding, taught by Keir Alekseii. Anna Keesey coined the term “infolding” to refer to that process by which we deepen our characters through reflection and recollection, creating a pause in the passage of time on-page. It’s a beautiful and interesting way to learn about characters and discover their wounds, ideals and dreams. Unfortunately, many people conflate this process with infodumping, which interrupts the natural flow of storytelling and breaks character. In this presentation Keir goes deeper into these definitions and demonstrates the difference between the two, leaving you with pointers on how to figure out if you’re infolding, or just infodumping.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Query Dos and Don’ts, taught by Eva Scalzo. The query letter is often the first point of contact between writers and agents. In this session, agent Eva Scalzo will present the query letter basics every writer should know. From what to include and the reasons those things are important to what not to include and why you shouldn’t include them, this workshop will help you hone in what will work best for you when crafting your query.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Write a Winning Book Proposal, taught by Jennifer Chen Tran. Learn about all the components of a book proposal and how they work in concert to create a compelling argument for your book. We will discuss the Overview, Competitive Titles, Sample Chapters, among other important aspects of the book proposal. Real examples from books that have been sold will be shown. Bring your questions!

4:00 – 5:00: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Understanding Both Paths, taught by Anjanette Barr. Instructor Anjanette Barr has experience in both publishing spheres and will talk about the pros and cons of each, as well as the option authors have today of being a “hybrid author” by utilizing both worlds.

* * * *

Saturday, April 15, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Unwrapping the Story: Using Layered Subplots and Mythical Themes for Rich and Satisfying Storytelling, taught by Gabrielle Pendergrast. This session explores the use of subplot by examining three basic plot types–The Quest, Unrequited Love and Good vs Evil– and how they can be used together to create fully formed plots and characters. The session will also include a discussion of using fairytales and archetypal stories such as myths, legends, biblical stories and even seminal modern works to inspire and frame stories. Gabrielle will discuss her latest book Zero Repeat Forever (which bears a Beauty and the Beast theme) as well as her screenplay for the 2001 film Hildegarde (which bears a Wizard of Oz theme). Attendees will leave with several tools they can use in adding depth to their storytelling in screen, novels, memoir or short fiction.

10:45 – 11:45: Tricks to Creating a One-Page Synopsis, taught by Kelly Thomas. Agents often ask for a synopsis along with a query letter, but so many writers have no idea where to begin. This class will teach you what should and shouldn’t go into a synopsis and how it differs from a summary. You’ll learn how to craft a successful synopsis that captures all the essential plot points of your story without being too verbose. You’ll gain the tools needed to critically dissect your story and put it back together in a concise, succinct, and exciting manner that will have agents clamoring to read the full manuscript.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from WWSF attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Your Novel Could Be a Movie: Adapting a Book to Film, taught by Trai Cartwright. 80% of what Hollywood produces these days is an adaptation from an intellectual property, but how does a novelist make this leap to film successfully? This class will give an overview of the principle adaptation development elements, including what makes an adaptation a success (or a failure), how to narrow (or widen) the story and the cast, how to think visually for the screen, and of course what “kind” of adaptation is right for your book.

* * * * * * *


Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)! With an in-person conference, attendees would miss snippets of classes because they leave the classroom to pitch, or make a phone call, or anything else. But the 10 classes happening April 14-15, 2023 are all recorded, which means we will send the days’ recording following the event. You can watch classes as many times as you want during the next six months. This is an exciting new element that we couldn’t include before. Also, we will be sending out all handouts for all classes to attendees in advance.

Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 10 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. “Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing,” taught by literary agent Leonicka Valcius at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  2. “Voice — and How to Hone Yours,” taught by literary agent Kaitlyn Katsoupis at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  3. “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes,” taught by literary agent Lesley Sabga at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  4. “Improve Your Fiction – How to Master Self-Editing and Revision,” taught by literary agent Elizabeth Kracht at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  5. “From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Any Kind of Fiction,” taught by literary agent Laurel Symonds at the 2022 Florida Writing Workshop.
  6. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  7. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  8. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  9. “Social Media Promotion Secrets for Authors,” taught by author Erik Deckers at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  10. “The Power in Choosing Your Dream of Writing,” taught by author Brittany Thurman at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.