Conference Schedule - Write on the Sound
Conference Schedule

Below is the 2017 schedule. The 2018 schedule will be announced in the spring

Call for 2018 Presenters:


Pre-conference | Friday October 6

9:00 am | Full-Day Check-in
Plaza Room, 650 Main St

9:30 am - 5:00 pm | Full-Day Workshop with Mary Buckham - Power Up Your Writing 

Whether you are a new writer, or have been working on a draft of your story for a number of years, or want to expand your understanding of writing craft, this full-day session will provide the tools needed for a well-crafted publication. Popular writing instructor, Mary Buckham, will teach attendees how to create strong characters; the power of hooks and the ten universal hooks to master; how to strengthen the impact of scenes; control of pacing; and how to spin boring descriptions into engaging prose. Attendees are asked to bring the opening page of a work in progress; the ending paragraph of any chapter and the opening paragraph of the next chapter; one scene deeper into your story; a single paragraph description of the setting in your story. Session includes 1 hour lunch break.

12:00 pm | Half-Day Check-in
Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St

1:00-4:30 pm | Half-Day Sessions

James McKean - The Shape of Time in Memoir
According to Sven Birkerts in his The Art of Time in Memoir, “the manipulation of the double vantage point in the memoirist’s single most powerful and adaptable technique.” This workshop will illustrate how to employ time to shape memoir. The focus will be on several areas: fashioning the narrative past; reflecting on that past by looking through the lens of “now”; and examining how the “past” and “now” relate in trauma memoir. We will talk about the kinds of research that help us access stories from the past and provide historical context, as well as examine how other authors use the double vantage point. Finally, we’ll discuss how memoir of trauma, or any intense experience, can conflate time, allowing the past to encroach on and influence the present. As time allows, attendees will have a writing exercise to help think about time markers.

Rachel Weaver - Creating Sustained Momentum, Tension and Conflict
So often drafts start to lose steam after the big bang of the beginning and then slow to a crawl somewhere in the middle, which is when readers will put a book down. High tension is probably the number one reason readers keep reading. If you can keep your reader on the edge of his or her seat by creating and maintaining tension throughout scene after scene, that reader will stay up way too late reading your book and tell all his friends to go out and buy it. This workshop will review crumb dropping, significant objects, like the red purse in Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy, intrigrants and position changes from Jerome Stern's Making Shapely Fiction. We will delve into the interplay of all the elements that raise tension and create conflict, exploring how to craft your story to capitalize on each within scenes as well as across your entire plot line.

Beth Jusino - Marketing for Writers
Marketing is something that every author today must do, whether they self-publish or partner with a traditional publisher. And good marketing starts long before a book releases. This workshop shows you how to create a marketing plan that’s based on your own strengths and passions. We'll talk about how to build a platform and grow your audience no matter where you are in the publishing journey. We’ll also look at specific promotional projects and tools that sell books, including social and traditional media, events, influencers, giveaways, and more. By the end of the workshop you’ll have an action-focused plan that you can start to implement immediately to promote a new release or put life back in a book that’s been out for a while. Come prepared with an “elevator pitch” of 15-30 seconds that answers three questions: What is the book about? Where would I find it on a bookstore shelf? What makes it unique or unusual?

5:00 - 5:45pm | Reading by Poet Elizabeth Austen
Edmonds Library, 650 Main St


Conference | Saturday October 7

8:00 am | Check-in and Refreshments

8:30-9:00 am | Orientation and Writing Contest Awards

9:15-10:30 | Sessions

Ann Hedreen - Claiming Your Voice, Writing Your Life: Tools for Memoir Writers  [Nonfiction - All Levels]
What makes a good memoir unforgettable is the memoirist’s unique voice. But finding your own voice can feel like the most daunting challenge you face as a writer. We’ll look at examples from powerful memoirs, tips, tools and best practices (including a few brief exercises) for claiming your own authentic voice. 

Sarah Cannon Kishpaugh - Start Small, Start Indie [All Genres - All Levels] 
This session will review smaller presses, both new and established, where writers can bypass agencies and submit partial manuscripts directly. We will start by looking at presses in the Northwest, then spread our search to the west coast, finally looking at small presses across the country. Participants will learn about sites where they can submit writing to help build their platforms. 

Ray Rhamey - Crafting a Killer First Page [Fiction/Nonfiction- Beg/Int] 
This session is “immersion” training in seeing the shortcomings that cripple a manuscript’s first page. Attendees can submit a first chapter or prologue in advance of the conference. During the session, their first pages will be read and discussed. Attendees will see what stops a reader from turning the page, learn how to recognize storytelling and craft problems, and build analytical skills to apply to their own writing. In addition, a “First Page Checklist” with guidelines for crafting a compelling first page and a discussion of the vital “story question” element are included.

Rachel Weaver - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Setting in Your Story or Novel [Fiction - All Levels] 
There are two main reasons writing an effective story setting hooks the reader: 1) It creates a visceral experience, placing the reader right there with the main character, seeing what he’s seeing, doing what he’s doing; 2) It allows the story to play out in the mind of the reader like a movie, which enables them to get lost in the story. We’ll discuss the point where setting and characters intersect, how to use setting details to pull a reader in more effectively and how to avoid common pitfalls when working with setting. Participants are invited to bring in 3-5 pages from a work in progress from some part where you feel the setting could be improved. 

10:45-12:00 | Sessions

Janet Lee Carey - World Building: Create Compelling Fantasy and Sci-fi Worlds [Fiction - All Levels] 
Real or imagined, World Building is a demanding process, but doable when you set the foundation and create from your story’s dramatic structure. Discover the techniques authors use to build believable worlds, from terrain, weather, ecosystems and life forms, to unique social, political, religious, and economic systems.  The session will look at openings that draw readers into the world of the novel, explore story sources, and discuss ideas and approaches to create the inevitable conflicts and tensions each novel demands.

Waverly Fitzgerald - How to Write a Novel Synopsis [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels] 
This session will be helpful for those who are just starting a novel, revising a novel or seeking publication for a completed novel. Developing this marketing piece required by most agents and publishers is often difficult for an author. How does one distill the complexity of a novel into one to three pages? But writing a synopsis will help you identify and describe your novel’s various plot layers, subplots and characters in an enticing way. You will leave with a rough draft of your synopsis.

Iris Graville - The Profile Essay as Genre---Telling Other People's Stories [Nonfiction - All Levels]  
There is quite a market for profile essays—a subgenre of literary nonfiction centering on a certain person, place or thing. This session will explore various forms of profiles, craft elements, and publication possibilities. Iris is an experienced profile essayist and author of two books in this genre.

David Paul Williams - Contract, Copyrights and Taxes, Oh My! [All Genres - All Levels]  
This is a course for all writers who want to get paid for their writing and are looking to prepare themselves to take their writing from being a hobby to being a business. Attendees will gain practical information about creating a writing life, selling their work and treating writing as a business. Attendees will leave with a thorough handout.

12:00-1:00 pm | Lunch Break

1:15-2:15 pm | Keynote: A Conversation with Kristin Hannah, facilitated by Megan Chance
Edmonds Theater, 415 Main St

2:30-3:45 pm | Sessions

Elizabeth Austen - Demystifying the Line Break [Poetry - Beg/Int] 
Whether we break our lines deliberately or haphazardly, the right margin has enormous effect on the way our poems move, mean and sing. We'll look at a few examples and conduct experiments on our own poems in order to expand our range of possibilities. Those interested are asked to bring two poems-in-progress.

Nancy Bartley - Raising the Dead: Supporting Story with the Skeleton of History [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels]
Whether it's your memoir, your great-grandmother's story or a novel, it can be enhanced by placing it in an historical context. Too often writers focus merely on the facts of the tale without explaining how it may relate to history. By adding the backdrop of history a creative project takes on a wider appeal. This session will provide information on how to research history and where to go to find the best material, as well as providing tips on weaving your research into a story.

Shirin Bridges- Finding Your Middle Grade or Young Adult Story [Fiction - Beg/Int] 
Even experienced authors can get confused as to whether they are writing middle grade or young adult. Find out what makes your story belong more to one genre than the other (it's not the age of the protagonist!), and how to develop plot, character, and setting to maximize your story's appeal once you've identified your target audience. This workshop will improve your mastery of both genres, whether you are writing or editing.

Kerrie Flanagan - Build Your Author Platform with Magazine Articles [All Genres - All Levels] 
Regardless of your genre, writing and submitting magazine articles is a great way to reach a larger audience and build your author platform. Through a combination of instruction and guided activities, participants will leave with the basic knowledge of writing for magazines along with ideas for future articles.

4:00-5:15 pm | Sessions

Mary Buckham - Primal Branding: Take Your Marketing to a Whole New Level [All Genres - All Levels] 
What compels you to buy one book (or product) over another? We’ll review what this means for authors, examining the eight codes of “primal branding” and how it impacts how we choose a book, where we eat, or what we buy. You’ll also learn what Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Stephen King have in common, how to target your brand for your readers and how key words can differentiate your brand in a good way. After this session, you’ll look at branding in a whole new way.

Megan Chance - Finding the Writer's Voice [Fiction - All Levels] 
How often have you heard an editor or an agent say, "I’m looking for new voices?" Publishers love to tout new discoveries as new "voices." Voice is the single most important thing a writer can bring to her work. It is the genius of the writer and the controlling consciousness of the book. The question is: How do you find it? In this workshop, Megan reveals tips and exercises to help you discover your own unique writer’s voice.

Kristin Hannah - Revising Your Writing [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels]
Revisions are a vital part of writing. Most of us know we need to revise our manuscripts, but it can be difficult to judge one's own work and daunting to attack a work we feel is special.  This workshop is designed to give writers--beginning or advanced--a structured approach to revising a work in progress.  You'll learn about both revising and re-imagining your work to make it shine.

Eric Witchey - What's in a Scene [Fiction - All Levels] 
This session demonstrates how the scene functions as an emotional and dramatic building block in story. Participants will walk away with a sense of classic scene structure, a sense of how classic structure can be modified for dramatic effect, a couple of methods for building or revising scenes, and an understanding of how conflict transforms character emotion in ways that connect each scene to the reader’s overall satisfaction with the story as a whole. Come prepared to have fun making characters miserable.

5:15-6:30 pm | Book Signing Reception
Plaza Room

6:30 pm | "Dine Around Edmonds" and After Hours Writing Groups with EPIC Group Writers


 Conference Sunday October 8

8:30-9:00 am | Check-in and Refreshments

9:15-10:30 am | Sessions

Windy Lynn Harris - Five Steps to Publishing Short Stories and Essays [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels] 
Getting your short stories and essays published in magazines is easy—if you have the right strategy. You don’t need an agent to help with the process; you just need to send your work to the right editors, at the right time, and in the right way. Learn the five-step process for publishing success and see your work in print!

Nick O'Connell - The Art of Interviewing [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels] 
Interviewing is an essential skill for all writers, whether a memoirist seeking to flesh out a scene from her early childhood, a novelist conducting research for a setting, or an investigative journalist on the trail of a big story. Those who shy away from conducting interviews lose out on great quotes, amazing details and a clear window into other peoples’ lives. This session will walk you through how do you set up interviews and how to prepare for it. We’ll review the best interview process (record or take notes?), editing the finished product, and craft secrets that turn mediocre interviews into great ones.

Rachel Weaver - The Bare Bones of Your Novel [Fiction - Beg/Int] 
When you get deep into the writing of a novel or memoir, it’s easy to lose sight of where you’ve been and where you’re heading. In this session we will discuss and apply Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet from his book, Save the Cat, in an effort to regain control over our unwieldy books, or to diagnose weak spots and trouble areas in an otherwise tight plot. Once you’ve got all those sturdy bones in there working as they should in unison, you have a strong foundation from which to make your book distinct from all the others.

Eric Witchey - Irreconcilable Self [Fiction/Nonfiction - Beg/Int] 
This energetic session investigates emotional impact and the reader’s sense of satisfaction. Participants will learn how to develop characters who have complex belief systems that make change believable and that drive the climax and resolution of the story. Additionally, Eric will demonstrate how character beliefs are inextricably connected to the development of the overall thematic power of story. 

10:45-12:00 am | Sessions

Jessica Barksdale Inclán- Writing Effective, Realistic Dialogue [Fiction - All Levels]  
When we write dialogue, we sometimes forget that it is not simply “real” conversation transcribed onto the page. Dialogue is an approximation of what people say. The language is crafted, shaped, and concentrated to reveal character, move the plot along, add to the setting, and create mystery, tension and intrigue. But how to do this and still give the impression this is exactly what these characters would say  This session will review the basic rules of dialogue format and punctuation, outline the types of dialogue (direct, indirect, summary) and demonstrate new techniques to “fix” bad dialogue.  We’ll also take a look at examples that work and some that don’t. 

Kerrie Flanagan - It's All About You: Writing and Selling Personal Essays [Nonfiction - All Levels] 
Using the storytelling elements of fiction, personal essays weave together pieces of the writer’s life to create a story that resonates with readers to make them laugh, cry, reflect or be inspired. This workshop will cover the components of writing and submitting an effective personal essay.

Mystery Panel with Scotti Andrews, Thomas Hopp and James Ziskin: Putting the "D" in Dastardly Deeds [Fiction - All Levels] 
Whether you are writing traditional mystery--from noir to cozy--a tale of suspense, or just want to add a little more mystery to your fiction, this panel discussion is for you to learn about dynamic characters, devilish villains, deadly conflict, deft plotting, devious clues and dramatic stories. Moderated by Leslie Adkins-Hall.

Jeffrey L Smoot - Guidebook Writing: From Pitch to Publication [Nonfiction - All Levels] 
Jeff will review guidebook writing and publishing basics, including developing a pitch or book idea, deciding whether to self-publish or not, how to gather information, create or acquire photos and illustrations, copyright issues, publication and distribution.

12:00-1:30 | Lunch 

12:30-1:00| Artist Talk with Illustrator/Author Andrea Gabriel
EAFF Gallery [Frances Anderson Center]

1:45-3:00 pm | Sessions

Terry Persun - Moment to Moment Character Development [Fiction - Beg/Int] 
Even the smallest "walk on" character needs depth and context. This session will review many examples from literature how easy it is to create facts about your characters, and how almost everything about a character, from career to setting, can easily be written into one sentence. We'll explore character flaws, small revealing details, objects of affection, character arc and more.

Leslie Adkins-Hall - Preparing for NaNoWriMo [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels ] 
Think you can’t write 50,000 words in 30 days? You can! Use Nano to write a workable first draft and push yourself to write more than you ever have before. Participants will create a writing plan and get prepared to join thousands of writers in the thrilling adventure that is NanoWriMo.

James McKean - To Show and Tell in Creative Nonfiction  [Nonfiction - All Levels] 
Using images and texts, this presentation will address three areas: defining the scope and methods of showing and telling; finding a useful balance between showing and telling when we fashion our nonfiction, and finally, recognizing what effects we might achieve by combining narration and reflection.

Ryan Petty - Craft an Author Business Plan in 10 Easy Steps [All Genres - All Levels]
Success in the publishing world isn’t easy, but authors can increase their odds dramatically if they take a pragmatic, business-like approach. This workshop emphasizes a simple 10-step process based on two of the presenter’s how-to books on author business planning. Attendees will learn how to clarify their mission and vision; identify and secure business assets; pick their best writing and publishing projects; think about marketing strategy.

3:15-4:30 pm | Sessions

Barrett - Writing Beyond Good [Fiction/Nonfiction - Beg/Int]
Most work submitted for publication is good — competently executed, interspersed with well-turned phrases, and fine story why is it so hard to get to “yes” with gatekeepers? Let’s help you get to yes: Mastering these key elements will take your work beyond ‘good.’ 1) Surprise the reader; 2) Ensure your characters stay in the reader’s mind; 3) Enlarge the scope of your story; 4) Leave room for reader participation; and 5) Develop that elusive quality, “voice.”

Shirin Bridges - Pitch Practice [All Genres- All Levels] 
Are you just about ready to send your work out into the world? Before you do, get an inside scoop from a publisher as to how best to arm yourself. Learn key tips on how to prepare your elevator pitch, how to write a query letter, and how to pitch your book not just to the publishing industry, but to the media and public in general. Come armed with a notebook and be prepared to participate in some group exercises.

Elena Hartwell - Story Structure: From the Ground Up [Fiction/Nonfiction - Beg/Int]
Through quick exercises, lecture, and examples from published material, participants will develop a greater understanding of how stories are structured and why story structure matters. Learn the common components to most stories regardless of genre, and come away with an understanding as to how structure helps first drafts, rewrites, and polishing compelling stories.

Laura McGee Kvasnosky - Writing with Pictures [Fiction/Nonfiction - All Levels]
Storytelling basics appear at their sparest in picture books for children, so all the elements must sing: beginning/middle/end; pacing; cause and effect; transitions, twists and turmoil, voice and language. We’ll survey the many genres of kids’ illustrated books and zero in on picture books. Hands-on exercises and homemade cookies included. 


Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds WA

Contact Information

Write on the Sound

City of Edmonds Arts Commission

700 Main St.

Edmonds, WA 98020


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-5:00PM (PT)

Write on the Sound is a program of the City of Edmonds Arts Commission with funding support by community sponsors.

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