Summer in Words

Writing Conference

Summer in Words 2012 Schedule

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Refinement, Resonance, & Renewal

 Friday, June 15

8:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00-10:30 Bring Down the Fire: Add emotional resonance and depth to your stories, Jessica Morrell

Ever write a story, but find it’s still missing something? Perhaps you wrote a sad story, but no one cried. Or you wrote a comedy, but no one laughs. Or, you wrote a scene, but your readers cannot visualize what you’ve tried to describe. In this workshop we’ll learn how to create layers of meaning and potency in your writing so that readers feel—and laugh and cry. Emotions in the reader are stirred by rendering the emotional lives of people and characters with clarity and complexity. We’ll look at essays, fiction, and memoir examples to analyze how authors add layers of resonance to their work.

10:45-12:15 Invention Techniques for All Writers, Bruce Holland Rogers Some writers know that they already have more ideas than they will be able to use in a lifetime of writing. This workshop is for the rest of us. There are at least four main ways to gather new ideas for novels, stories, poems, plays, articles and other writing projects: Recognition, Accretion, Combination, and Playing Out of Bounds. In this session, we’ll practice techniques derived from all four types, and a handout will invite you to explore (and create!) a wide variety of exercises and practices that will stop you from ever saying, “I can’t think of anything to write!” The presenter is a fiction writer and will mostly provide examples from fiction, but these principles can be adapted to any kind of writing.

12:15-1:30 Free Time/Networking

Walk on the beach, bring a lunch and meet other participants, or eat out at Cannon Beach’s many fabulous restaurants.

1:30-3 pm Wax On Wax Off—the Repetitive Art of Making your Words Shine, Naseem Rakha What makes writing shine? What makes it stand out and live in your mind long after you read the passages? What makes people talk about what they have read, or cry while they are reading, or never, ever want a book to end? How does the written word, symbols on a sheet of paper, move people to react with emotion and fervor? These techniques include timing, layering, positioning and bridging. In addition, Naseem will dissect her own work to show what an author must consider when building while refining scenes. All participants will bring 2-3 sample pages to work on skills in class.

3:15-4:45 Working with Ideas, Structure, Strategy and Modes of the Short-Short Story, Bruce Holland Rogers The shortest of stories―whether you call them short-shorts, flash fiction, micro fiction or drabbles― have lately enjoyed a renaissance, with magazines and web sites devoted to narratives of very few pages. Short-shorts present the writer with special challenges and opportunities, and this session will focus on understanding how these narratives allow the writer to succeed with techniques that simply don’t work in standard short stories. We’ll look at narrative strategy from a “theory of mind” perspective, and you’ll come away with a long list of different ways to approach fiction that goes by in a flash…yet still lingers.

6:30-8:30 Writer’s Circle Reception

Snack, sip a glass of wine and listen to Sage Cohen talk about The Productive Writer Archetype Could your preconceptions about what it means to be a successful writer actually prevent your success? Sage Cohen will help you untangle from stories that don’t serve you and attitudes that keep you stuck. She believes that a satisfying writing life is available to all of us at any moment. And we do not need graduate degrees, poverty or addiction, or wildly unusual lives to tap into it. What we do need is to accept that the suffering writer archetype has played itself out, and a new writing paradigm has arrived. Sage calls this new archetype The Productive Writer. She will share the virtues and values that anyone can cultivate to create more satisfaction and success as we bring our best writing––and our best lives––forward.

Saturday, June 16th

9:00- 10:30 Book Publicity: The Lowdown for Authors, Jessica Glenn

Agents and publishers don’t just want a good book; they want a book that will sell. Creating a publicity plan before approaching publishers helps resonant the strength of the pitch.  A good publicity plan also maintains an author’s resolve for the success of his or her eventual book release regardless of the mode of publication. Once a plan is in place, authors will understand the timing for publication and the necessary steps for publicity.  In this class, Jessica Glenn will lead participants through the 3 phases of book publicity from six months before the date of release to three weeks after the book release. Come away with a self-created outline which can be used as a guide for external pitches or for your own campaign.

10:45-12:15 Becoming Fierce in Your Writing Life, Sage Cohen

Fierce writers have the courage and clarity to set goals and strive for them. They have the fortitude to fail and the passion to persist. Author Sage Cohen invites you to inhabit your fierce writing life—where you define your own guidance system and commit to following it. Sage will share tools, strategies and systems you can use to:

  • Articulate your writing and publishing dreams and intentions
  • Identify and eliminate obstacles (attitudes, behaviors, habits)that limit you
  • Accelerate results so your writing (and your writing life) can flourish

Get ready to define your own blueprint for an authentic, empowered writing practice––so you can become your own best expert and succeed on your terms.

12:30-1:30 Lunch and Keynote by Chelsea Cain How to Murder People for Money.
Getting away with murder is hard.  So is writing.  Both require preparation, unyielding resolve, high self-esteem, and a creative spirit.  Best selling thriller writer Chelsea Cain will discuss how she learned to murder people (on the page) for profit.  All of her thrillers have been NY Times bestsellers and have been translated into 30 languages.  Now Chelsea will offer her secrets to prying that million-dollar idea out of your head and onto the page.  Bring safety goggles.  This might get bloody.
1:30-3 Free time/Networking

3:00-4:30 Defining & Refining a Character Cathy Lamb

This is a step-by-step workshop where you’ll learn how to sketch a character, and track his or her life back to the important events that shaped the character. This crucial back story influence your storyline and be the basis for your character’s emotional complexity. You’ll be unearthing the important and sometimes murky truths so that once brought into the light, your characters become relatable. The exercises will also help you shape the story people who surround your character along with the setting influences.  Not only will you uncover your character’s starting point in the story, but this workshop will also help define the character’s arc.

4:30-6:30 Free Time/Networking

 6:30 Out Loud Participants read from their work in a supportive, relaxed atmosphere.

Sunday, June 17th

9:00-10:00 Continental Breakfast

9:15:00-10:15 Subtext: The River of Emotion Beneath Your Story, Jessica Morrell

For most writers subtext is the most elusive of all writing techniques. However, life is often lived between the lines, and scenes often simmer with the unspoken beneath dialogue and action. In this workshop, subtext will be explained with examples from various genres. We’ll also discuss nonverbal communication and how to render it onto the page and how to hint at lies and secrets in scenes so that dialogue scenes are enhanced. We’ll cover how metaphor and visual clues create subtext.  Mostly we’ll investigate all the ways to insert subtext—the unspoken, innuendo, gestures, pauses, misdirection—in other words, the nuanced moments that are not directly represented.

10:30-11:30 Page by Page: Creating a Writing Life and Other Hard Truths, Cathy Lamb Listen to Cathy Lamb describe how she shifted her focus in her writing career that eventually led to her success as the author of six novels and five novellas. She’ll talk about the steps she follows from first drafts to final proofs; the techniques she uses to make each draft stronger, how she stays mostly sane when a deadline looms; how she achieves her writing goals and blends a writing career with a family.

11:45-12:15 Q & A Risk It to Get Published  Last chance to ask questions of your instructors about getting published and other topics that came up over the weekend.

 12:15 Wrap up & Raffle Drawing


Author: jessicapage2

Jessica Page Morrell lives near Portland, Oregon where she is surrounded by writers and watches the sky all its moods and shades. She’s the author of Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life, Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: Master The Subtle Elements Of Fiction Writing; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell works as a highly-sought after developmental editor because if your characters are a bundle of quirks and inconsistencies, or the plot stalls and the scenes don’t flow, these problems need to be unriddled before you submit it to an agent or editor. She also works on memoirs and nonfiction books with a special focus on the inner logic and voice of each manuscript. She began teaching writers in 1991 and now teaches through a series of workshops in the Northwest and at writing conferences throughout North America and lectures to various writing organizations. She is the former writing expert at which was voted as one of the best 101 sites for writers. She formerly hosted a series of writing conferences and is now focusing on creating online classes and workshops. She hosts a Web site at, and she wrote monthly columns about topics related to writing since 1998. She also contributes to The Writer and Writers Digest magazines Her former Web log is at

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