October 3-5, 2014

Conference Schedule

2014 conference is sold out.

 The conference schedule is below. Printable PDF pages: Saturday | Sunday 


October 3
10:00am- 5:00pm






October 4



Class   Content Key:
  F – Fiction | NF – Nonfiction | Poetry
  B – Beginner | I – Intermediate | A – Advanced

8:00 – 8:30 am
8:30 – 8:50 am




9:00 – 10:15 am

DEEP CHARACTERIZATION (B. Johnson | I, F ): Some writers struggle because they unknowingly create a main character for a novel that is an extension of the author’s issues in life. This workshop is designed to help writers gain a deeper appreciation of the inner lives of their characters, and how that can translate into dynamic, vivid storytelling.

LAUNCHING YOUR FREELANCE WRITING CAREER (D. Williams | B, I, NF): Would you like to get paid to write? Do you like to learn new things, then write about them? Learn how to break into the magazine markets, discover who they cater to and why they need you. Acquire the concrete steps necessary to get that first freelance assignment and build your portfolio.

(Z. Carter | B, NF): Even the most fascinating, scandalous, action-paced tale will fall flat on the page if not told artfully. Learn the nuts and bolts of memoir, including structure, multiple time lines, scene vs. exposition, and the all-important issue of where to begin and end.

THE HAPPY AUTHOR PANEL: HOW TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN   PROMOTING AND CREATING: (I. Emerick, A. Dunlop, L. Miller| B, I, F, NF, P): Much of the onus falls on the author to market their own work. Learn how to combat the “ick” factor of self-promotion and discuss how to bring attention to your work through community involvement. We’ll discuss the lifecycle of a book and how to find time to make promotion a part of it.

10:30 – 11:45 am

SIX STEPS TO CREATING MEMORABLE VILLAINS (P. Binder | B, I, F): We’ve all heard that a story is only as good as its villain. But how do you create a villain who proves a real challenge for the heroes, impacting his or her life, without stealing the stage? In this interactive workshop you will learn the characteristics of the great movie villains, from Voldemort in Harry Potter, to Khan in Star Trek’s The Wrath of Khan.

LITERATURE IN LETTERS—WRITING EPISTLES (S. Bender | B, I, F, NF, P): The letter form is an old and increasingly popular for writers of poetry, personal essay, creative nonfiction and fiction. Participants will sample work in letter form, have fun with in-class exercises to create their own writing in letter form, and learn about publishing in this form.

BRIDGING FAMILY HISTORY AND HISTORY: FINDING, RESEARCHING  AND WRITING SIGNIFICANT PERSONAL NARRATIVES (D. Laskin | I, A, NF): History has touched all of our families in deeply significant ways—but teasing out the essential stories of our families requires a delicate balance of research, narrative finesse, empathy and grounding in history. Laskin will discuss how he faced and resolved these challenges while researching and writing his most recent book.

J. Thomsen | B, I, F, NF, P): Think you’re ready to submit or publish? Take one more look at that manuscript before you push the button. Three professional editors share the most common mistakes they see and help writers take their writing to the next level.




LUNCH BREAK: On your own, dine at nearby restaurant, or prepaid box lunch.



1:00 – 2:15 pm


“The Writing Life: Past, Present, and Future”
Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N. 


2:30 – 3:45 pm

20 WAYS TO MAKE IT BETTER (J. Reeves | B, I, A, F, NF): From crafting opening sentences to developing pumped-up verbs, this workshop presents 20 methods to livelier, more authentic writing, including how to ferret out passive voice, how to take more risks, choose the “telling” detail, craft a shapely sentence, revise with passion, and much more.

CHARACTER IS CONFLICT (E. Witchey | I, A, F): In this seminar, Witchey will demonstrate how agenda-opposed character choices and behavior allow the reader to form their understanding of the psychology of your characters. Students will walk away with a clear, three-stage process for developing character-driven scenes that demonstrate psychology and change in character.

BUILDING A MYSTERY NOVEL FROM THE GROUND UP (L. Adkins, B   Kirchner| B, I, F): Join Leslie Adkins and Bharti Kirchner as they discuss their respective new mystery novels-in-progress and how they got their stories off the ground. They’ll talk about how to raise the stakes, maintain high tension, and round out the characters.

HOW TO USE REPORTING AND RESEARCH TO ENRICH YOUR FICTION (J. Lynch | B, I, F): No amount of research can make up for a poorly imagined story, but interviewing and research skills can inspire your imagination and enrich your stories with realism and material that you couldn’t invent. Lynch will share research and interviewing tips that will spark ideas on how to bring your stories to life on the page.

4:00 – 5:15 pm

DIALOGUE IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS (K. Galbraith | B, I, F ): Whether you are writing picture books, chapter books, or novels for children, good dialogue is a crucial element to their success. Luckily there are guidelines and suggestions that can help. This workshop will include plenty of examples, plus hands-on exercises.

EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWNS—SET UPS AND PAY OFFS (C. Kahonek | I, NF): This workshop is a writing process focused on tracking story movement through emotive transitions and turning points. The method utilizes set ups and pay offs to engineer emotional responses. Participants will learn how to identify these emotional turning points, set them up and ensure they pay off further in the story.

POETRY AS PRACTICE (H. Hughes | B, I, NF): Jane Hirshfield writes that poetry is an act of attentiveness, of learning to see clearly, to be in the world with the full range of our perceptions. This act of paying attention moves us more deeply into our own lives and into the world, so that writing poetry itself becomes a form of practice. We’ll look at poems that reveal this attentiveness, then write our own poems.

A THEMATIC APPROACH TO SCIENCE FICTION (R. Sawyer | I, F): Science fiction is often called “the literature of ideas,” and with good reason: the fresh central idea is often the defining characteristic of a science fiction novel. Join Sawyer for a discussion of how to come up with and develop a high concept for your own science fiction novels by finding the theme that will give rise to your plot and characters, and enthrall your readers.


5:30 – 6:30 pm




October 5



Class   Content Key:
  F – Fiction | NF – Nonfiction | Poetry
  B – Beginner | I – Intermediate | A – Advanced


8:30 – 9:00 am




9:15 – 10:30 am

WORLD BUILDING (T. Persun | B, I, A, F): World building is one of the most important elements in writing any novel, because it is what makes any story ring true to the reader. Even in contemporary novels, the characteristics of the immediate world depends on where the novel takes place and who the characters are. This class will focus on the seven most important items to consider when world building.

PLOTTING THE PICTURE BOOK (C. Meeker | B, I, F, NF): The best picture books combine strong visual plots with simple, clear language that invite readers to participate in the story. Learn how to create a strong plot using a 3-problem approach to story structure that will hook your reader from the first word to the last.

B, I, F, NF
): Sometimes a writer skims on top of a subject. Or the story moves along
from plot point to plot point, but the piece is a shallow wading pool. This workshop suggests ten ways to take a deep breath and dive in.

FLASH NONFICTION (J. Baugher | B, I, A, NF): “To write short nonfiction,” says Bernard Cooper, “requires an alertness to detail, a quickening of the senses…until one has magnified…what it means to be human.” In this class, we’ll discuss the power and pleasure of the form, study masterful examples, and begin writing our own flash nonfiction pieces.


SEVEN NOVEL WRITING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM (J. Thayer| B, I, A, F): New writers often make mistakes so profound early in their manuscripts that literary agents or publishing house editors won’t read beyond page three. These mistakes are easy to avoid if the writers know how. This presentation will set out seven big mistakes and show the ways to avoid them.

WRITING THAT RESONATES: EDITORIAL PERSPECTIVES ON PROSE THAT SINGS ABOVE THE CROWD (H. Jacobs, S. Reitman | I, A, F, NF): Editors rejoice when we find writing that’s not only well crafted but also resonates with deep beauty or significance. We will examine specific qualities that make some writing stand out and offer techniques for creating resonant prose.

(W. Kenower | I, F, NF
): Using Bill Kenower’s unique inside-out approach to writing, we will look at how to tell the fine difference between telling a story about your life, and using your life to tell a story.


I, A, F): This fast-paced, dynamic exploration of point-of-view, voice and characterization will be facilitated by award-winning writer Eric M. Witchey. The session includes audience brainstorming, which will be used to demonstrate the tricky and fundamental relationship between character, narrator, voice and plot.


12:15 – 1:45 pm


LUNCH BREAK | TABLE TOPIC DISCUSSIONS: Lunch on your own, dine at nearby restaurant, or prepaid box lunch. Table Topic Discussions locations in Plaza Room and other locations.



12:45 – 1:10 pm


ARTIST PRESENTATION: “The Art of the Story” with author/artist Robyn Chance


1:45 – 3:00 pm

FEAR IS GOOD (C. Kohanek | I, F): From fairy tale monsters to chainsaw wielding cannibals, zombie kings to vampire cults, Horror has never been more popular. Horror, as a genre, helps society navigate an unrelenting real world of terror, fear and uncertainty, by placing our fears and anxieties between the pages of a book, theater or TV screen. Explore Horror storytelling techniques and monster making devices, utilizing psychology, symbolism and myth to enrich your horror and thriller writing skill set.

THE VOICE OF THE STORY (J. Leegant | B, I, A, F, NF): It’s hard to describe and even harder to force. Yet voice is one element writers of narrative say they absolutely can’t do without. Explore way to coax out the voice in your story and what you might be doing to get in its way.

ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR (P. Binder, G. Russell, S. York | B, I, A, F): Whether you write a lighthearted boy-meets-girl romp, mysteries, historicals, inspirationals, young adult coming of age novels, or create fantastical worlds in which magical creatures are the norm, romance will add a rich layer to your story. Join three romance authors as they discuss trends, industry news, and the key scenes necessary to help your characters find their happily ever after.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MARKETING FOR AUTHORS: (I. Emerick, A. Dunlop, L. Miller | B, I, A, F, NF, P): Between the ever-growing number of books being published and the shrinking opportunities to promote them through traditional print and broadcast outlets, the onus increasingly falls on authors to promote their own work. We will help you navigate the social media landscape and come up with a doable and effective strategy to promote your work.

3:15 – 4:30 pm

COMEDY WRITING (J. Bender | B, I, A, F, NF, P): This workshop will explore tried-and-true comic strategies designed for generating funny material in any medium. Students can expect to come away with one short, stand-alone piece as well as several exercises for strengthening beyond the conference. The session will close with a discussion of publishing opportunities.

TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH PERSONAL STORYTELLING (I. Ricks | B, NF): Ricks will share how writing her story transformed her life and discuss how she’s using personal storytelling to help teenagers find their voice and power. She’ll provide techniques to help attendees identify and write their stories, and discuss how electronic publishing and other mediums can ensure their voices are heard.

(R. Stevenson | B, I, NF
): Everyone loves the glamor of being a travel writer. However, getting your articles into print magazines is challenging. Learn how to get your first travel articles into print and online media, and how to use your assignments to get low cost travel.

BE A FICTION MAGICIAN! CARD TRICKS FOR WRITERS (D. Lund | B, I, A, F): Writers are magicians. We pull rabbits from hats, heroes from certain death, and stories from thin air. Watch manuscripts magically transform as you almost instantly amp-up emotional impact, suspense, and conflict in your stories. No struggle? No story! Magic wands included.


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Conference Information

Looking forward to its 30th anniversary in October of 2015, this unique and affordable conference offers over thirty sessions on craft, marketing, publishing and specialty writing topics. The conference covers fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It is also a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow writers. Presenters and participants come from all around the Northwest, U.S. and abroad.

Contact Us

Write on the Sound Conference

Frances Anderson Center
700 Main Street   
Edmonds, WA 98020

Information: 425-771-0228 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The WOTS Conference is easily accessible by public transportation. Please check websites for current transportation schedules.

By Bus:  Community Transit   
By the Sounder: Sound Transit
By Train: Amtrak