How to Craft Kickass Heroes & Superbad Villains:

Do you want to create heroes and villains that keep your readers turning the page long into the night? Learn the most common mistakes writers make when creating characters as well as how to fix them. This session will help you craft the perfect hero and villain duo that when pitted against each other will send book sparks flying.
By the end of this session you’ll:

  • Understand the most common character errors writers make
  • Have tools to fix those mistakes 
  • Have an outline for your ideal hero and villain
  • Leave with the tools you need to enrich your character outlines with depth and style

Sacha Black is a bestselling author, rebel podcaster, and professional speaker. She writes educational nonfiction books for writers and fantasy books for both Young Adult and adult audiences. She lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her wife and son.

Demystifying the Process:

If traditional publishing is a goal of yours, Rob Firing of the Transatlantic Agency is uniquely poised to clarify the query process for both non-fiction and fiction manuscripts. In addition, his extensive experience on the publishing side of the “gate” gives him insight on the technical end of the business. Learn about how agents review submissions, the steps toward becoming agented, refining your manuscript, outreach to acquisition editors, and how agents go to work for you during the publishing stages. Get the whole picture, ask your burning questions, and arm yourself for battle.

Before joining the Transatlantic Agency as a literary and speakers’ agent, Rob Firing had been working as a promoter and publicist for more than 20 years, 15 of those at HarperCollins as their Senior Director of Publicity, Communications and Speakers’ Bureau. Rob has worked closely with everyone from JK Rowling to Tom Wolfe, from Margaret Trudeau to Margaret Drabble — literally hundreds of writers across many genres. He has won awards for his work from the Canadian Marketing Association and other marketing and PR organizations. He is also the co-author of The Everyday Squash Cook (HarperCollins, 2014), and the author of STEAK REVOLUTION (HarperCollins, 2018), which was a Gourmand World Cookbook Award finalist.  

Mastering Digital Marketing to Sell Books:

How do authors use digital marketing to sell books? What do authors need to know to maximize their online marketing? In this workshop we’ll look at what digital marketing has to offer, map out the opportunities and pitfalls in the learning curve, and take a guided tour of what’s working for authors now. We’ll look at strategies for little and big authors because there’s room for everyone in digital marketing. Authors will leave this workshop with a game plan and insight into what’s possible for their books.

Michelle Fox has used marketing to procrastinate on her word count goals for the past eight years. She’s helped authors hit bestseller lists, spearheaded a genre mash up boxed set that hit the USAT list, crashed the Instafreebie (now Prolific Works) site with one of the first freebie cross promos in the industry, and she’s coached multiple authors into six figure incomes. As an indie author herself, she’s had short stories go viral and sold hundreds of thousands of novels. She lives in Ohio with her husband, a homeschooled teen, and two labs who steal her socks and take up all the space on the couch. 

Story House: A Memoir Mastermind

So, you’re thinking about writing a memoir? What’s holding you back, let me guess…

First draft intentions! We’ll take a look at:

  1. Where’s Your Content?
    • Mine Your Memory
    • You Are the Character
    • The Nose on Your Face 😉
  2. Tools that will Support the Work
  3. Stories from the #Memoiraholic (because you have to read in order to write)

Be prepared to write!

Patti M. Hall is a writer, book builder, memoir coach and publishing manager for extraordinary leaders, influencers and transformational coaches. An experienced non-fiction and memoir editor, and sought-after ghostwriter, Patti has shepherded two dozen books to publication in both traditional and self-publishing. She is the creator of The Story House, an exclusive memoir mastermind. Patti is the author of Loving Large: a mother’s rare disease memoir, published in 2020.

Self-editing Tips, Tricks, Techniques:

Self publishing may be an inexpensive way to publish a book, but without a thorough proofread and good editing it can turn out to be an embarrassing disaster. Save much of the cost of publishing your manuscript by using your talents as a self editor. Because editing fees can be expensive, my intention is to give you, as a writer, sufficient skills to do a good edit on any manuscript in any genre.

  1. When to self edit
  2. What types of editing does a book require?
  3. What to watch for
  4. Examining your writing for Content and Continuity
    • Watching your POV, character, dialogue, tenses, and style
  5. Copy editing
    • Grammar
    • punctuation
    • adverbs and adjectives
    • spelling
  6. Using People
    • Use of Beta readers
    • Writers and critiquing groups
  7. Other
    • Using invisibles in your editing process
    • reading aloud
    • Tell your readers the important stuff
  8. When to use a professional.

J. M. Tibbott, aka Marilyn Kleiber, is a prize winning author, a writing instructor, an editor, and the Acquisitions Director for Sun Dragon Press Inc. J. M. is also a past prize winner in the Alice Munro short story contest. Her studies of literature and the English language have been ongoing, and even today she still adds to her education regarding the skills and challenges of writing, editing, and marketing. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Her works include magazine and newspaper articles, newsletters, online blogs, and story collections. The most recent book, The Pleasure Seekers, Book 4 of The Pridden Saga, a myth/fantasy series, was published in March of 2021. Book 5 of the series is currently in the works. J. M. believes strongly that the well-being of any author is maintained by belonging to a number of writer’s groups. Since early 2020, her groups have morphed into virtual ones.

Making the Short Story Shine:

Writing contests, anthologies and literary journals are vital opportunities for writers, but it can be notoriously hard to get noticed among the sea of entrants. Writers may end up frustrated after many rejections, confounded by what the underlying issue may be.

In this workshop we’ll explore ways to investigate what lies at the heart of our stories, how to bring a sense of cohesion to them, pick great details to focus in on, as well as how to hone and de-mystify that most vital of tools: the writer’s voice. Through this exploration, we’ll uncover how to bring short stories to the next level so they stand apart from the crowd and express the writer’s unique vision.

Maria Mutch is the author of the novel, Molly Falls to Earth (Simon & Schuster Canada, 2021), the story collection, When We Were Birds, and the memoir, Know the Night, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. She is a GrubStreet instructor in Boston, and lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons.

Speculating Disability:

In this interactive workshop, we explore the complexity of disability. We will be examining problematic tropes of disability, the assumptions  underlying the way that disability is written about, and ways of imagining and thinking about disability differently. As a disabled person as well as disability studies scholar and creative writer, Derek Newman-Stille will lead you through deconstructing societal assumptions about disability, while inviting you to reimagine disability. 

Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD (They/Them) is a Disabled, Queer, Nonbinary activist, author, artist, academic, and editor. They edited the anthologies Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins (Exile) and We Shall Be Monsters (Renaissance Press) and are the 9-time Prix Aurora Award-winning creator of the digital humanities hub Speculating Canada. Derek has published in fora such as Uncanny Magazine, The Playground of Lost Toys, Quill & Quire, Fireside Magazine, Diamond Book Shelf, The Town Crier, Exile Quarterly, and Nothing Without Us. Derek’s art work has been published in fora such as Feminist Space Camp, Lackington’s, Postscripts to Darkness, and Aging Activisms.

Memo to Reader ~ Power of Personal Papers:

A letter home from the front lines, a cryptic postcard, a grocery list, a crumpled mess of personal ads, a wedding RSVP with a NO written in red and underlined…there are stories behind, between and beyond the words on paper.

The epistolary form is responsible for some of the best classic and contemporary fiction, poetry and non-fiction around – either as inspiration or through writing in that form. Join Ruth E. Walker in a dip into the ink of creating new work from personal papers.

A popular workshop leader, Ruth is a partner in Writescape, delivering hands-on workshops and retreats for writers at all levels. Author of “Living Underground” a literary novel that was a top ten with the Canadian Authors’ Association and co-author of “Inspiration Station” a resource handbook for self-guided retreats, Ruth lives and writes in Durham Region and Haliburton County. Come prepared to explore, write and be inspired by personal papers.

This is our complete line-up of speakers for the 2021 virtual conference! Be sure to check out our Guest Speakers, the BDO Writing Contests, our Open Mic and much more listed below.

View the YWC Registration Page

View the Keynote & Honorary Patron Page

View the Short Story Contest Page

Visit the Glimpses Flash Fiction & Poetry Contest Page

View the Conference Schedule Page

View the Muffin Fund Page

View the Open Mic Night Page