In my time as a writing instructor, I’ve led seminars at conferences including the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute, WisCon, and AllWriters’ Workshop. I’ve also recently joined the University of Wisconsin’s Division of Continuing Studies in Writing and will begin teaching classes through that department in the fall of 2019.
Below you’ll find a sample of my course offerings. For a complete list or to inquire about my availability to teach at your upcoming conference or event, get in touch with me here.
Write Your Novel Now – Plotting Your Way to Success
“How’s that novel coming?” A tough question, but never fear! After attending this course, writers will have strengthened their concepts, explored various plot structure models, and outlined their novels scene-by-scene. Not only will attendees then be empowered to take to the page, they’ll never fret answering that dreaded question again!
Enrollment is now open for this class for the fall of 2019.
“I don’t know what to do with my hands.” – Touching Up Scene for Characterization, Theme, and Backstory
As writers, sometimes it feels like we can do everything “right” and still be left with scenes that don’t quite click. Why is that, and what can we do to make those scenes pop while also enriching characterization, backstory, and theme?
In this seminar, attendees will explore how the use of the five senses—in a direct, intrusive way—can be used to flesh out a scene while enhancing character and theme.
Podcasts as Portals: Platform, Publicity, and Passive Learning
Platform, platform, platform. Writers hear this all the time, but gone are the days where a writing-related blog alone is enough to stand out from the crowd.
In this seminar, attendees will learn about the opportunities podcasts present as portals into expanding their platform and publicizing their work. We’ll also explore how listening to podcasts can be a great way to bring mini-writing-conferences into a writer’s daily life!
Writers interested in starting a podcast of their own, using them for promotion, or who are looking for a new avenue to continue their writing-related learning throughout the year are sure to leave this seminar with new strategies for all of this and more!
The Dreaded Sag: Facelift Your Scenes with the Five Core Components of Scene Structure
Sensing some droop on the page? Is a lack of direction weighing your characters down? Then you might have a case of scene sag!
In this seminar, writers will learn how to inject goal-oriented storytelling into their pages in order to keep scene sag from setting in. After this exploration of scene at the molecular level, writers will leave this seminar ready to put the five core components of scene structure to work for them and cure that scene sag for good!
Yes and— Improvisation and the Page
Whose line is it anyway?
As writers, it’s sometimes difficult to know who’s really writing our stories. Is it us as the author or our characters?
For writers who prefer to outline, uncooperative characters can jam a scene’s flow and chase us from the page, whereas those who prefer to write by the seat of their pants might feel as though there’s sometimes just not enough to work with in order to build momentum.
In this seminar, writers on either side of the pantser-outliner coin will learn how to improv their way through their scenes by using age-old axioms of improvisational acting, including the fabled “yes, and—”
Hit the Road, Jack: the Highs and Lows (and Dos and Don’ts) of Taking Your Book on Tour
Congratulations! Your book baby has been born, and now it’s time to show it off. You dream of long lines winding down a bookstore’s block, every patron eager to watch you put pen to page as you dedicate a copy to them. But how does one even go about setting up a bookstore event? How can we generate interest in markets beyond our local community? What happens when we travel across the state—or country—for an event, and no one shows up? In this seminar, we’ll explore the benefits and pitfalls of taking your show on the road. Complete with how-tos and coping mechanisms for events gone awry, this seminar is a “must attend” for anyone who’s dreamt of a book tour all their own.
Let’s (Not) Do Lunch: Pushing Our Settings Past Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes
We as writers already have enough on our plates; do we really have to worry about setting, too? We do, yes, lest we wind up overfeeding our readers on humdrum scenes that take place in the most typical of places—namely bars, restaurants, and cafés. Why do we so often fall back on invoking these locales? What might we stand to gain by swapping in more unique settings? And are there times when wining and dining our characters is, in fact, in the best interest of our story? In this seminar, we’ll examine how we can keep our readers from saying check, please! by properly catering to our manuscript’s settings.
Why Are We Yelling? Conflict and Tension as Fuel for Momentum
A lack of conflict or tension can be a common critique from beta readers, but what do they mean by this, exactly, and what are they really after? In this seminar, attendees will do a deep dive into conflict and tension: what they are, why they’re important, how they differ, and how we can use them to fuel our stories. Writers will leave this workshop with a greater understanding of goal-oriented storytelling and its role as the source of conflict and tension, including mystery, suspense, and dramatic irony.