Mid-Winter Conference Preview

The Florida Writers Association’s Mid-Winter Conference West and Reading Festival is coming up next month. I’ll be teaching three classes:

© Thomas Bethge—Fotolia.com
© Thomas Bethge—Fotolia.com

Friday, January 10

Time Management for Writers — 9:30-11 a.m.

Most time management systems are created by and for people who are natural list-makers and schedulers. Unfortunately, lots of creative people resist that kind of structure, so some of these methods are more useful to creative types than others. This session will cover how to adapt time management structures to creative endeavors like writing a book. We’ll discuss both high-tech tools like smartphone apps and low-tech options like 3×5 cards, and why each is better for different purposes.

Saturday, January 11

How to Give a Useful Critique: 11:15 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Writers need critique partners. As well-meaning as beta readers may be, only another writer can really tell us what we need to know about our work. This workshop will equip writers to find or form a critique group, and provide suggestions on how to give meaningful critiques that identify problems without hurting feelings.

Elements of Fiction: How to Edit Your Novel Like a Pro — 2:15-4 p.m.

Professional editors have a long list of items we expect to see in a novel: sympathetic characters, engaging plots, realistic settings, and more. So much more that we use a checklist as we edit, to ensure every element is done well. Using a professional editor’s checklist for novels, I’ll review each element in turn, explaining what acquisition editors and readers look for. This allows writers to take a targeted approach to self-editing that will give them an edge, whether they are pursuing traditional publication or self-publishing.


Of course, there will be lots of other great faculty there, too, including novelist and ghostwriter Larry Leech, freelance editor Ally Machate of Ambitious Enterprises, and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin of Morgan James Publishing. For a complete faculty listing, workshop schedule, and registration information, see the FWA website.

I hope you’ll join us if you’re in the area, or if you’d just like to visit a coastal town where the average high temperature in January is 71ºF.

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