6 hours of teaching over the course of two days–take a deep dive into some intensive topics.
Teen Track, taught by Daniel Schwabauer
Novel Magic: Writing a Timeless Story
Great stories transform us. The journey can have so much imaginative power that we can’t see how the author did it. But what feels like a magical spell or a feat of genius is something you can learn to do, too! The magic of these stories operates according to principles anyone can understand: emotion, conflict, dilemma. Over these three days, we’re going to look behind the wardrobe, dig beneath the Shire, take apart the light saber—not to spoil the beauty but to demystify the process so you can follow it yourself. Your guide to these overlooked and misunderstood novel-writing techniques will be the beloved fiction instructor and award-winning author Daniel Schwabauer, best known for the One Year Adventure Novel program for teens. You will see stories—including your own—with deeper insight and more hope.
Adult Continuing Session 1, taught by Will Wight
The Common Pitfalls of Self Publishing and How to Avoid Them
Most attempts at self-publishing on Amazon fail for common reasons. Will Wight will address the most common issues with self-published genre fiction , suggesting how to avoid those issues, and teaching writers how to reach a broader audience.
Adult Continuing Session 2, taught by Sharon Hinck
Faith-Infused and Faith-Fueled Fiction
Part One: Faith-Infused
Speculative fiction offers unique opportunities to explore faith themes. Discover practical ways to organically weave spiritual questions and experiences into our stories – whether our characters are on spaceships or dragons. Learn ways to avoid the dreaded “preachiness” while daring to offer authentic expressions of our walk with God. Some are called to write overt Christian allegories and tales with direct Biblical themes. Others weave subtle symbolism, or compose stories that avoid specific spiritual themes and focus more on human experience. Wherever we fall on the spectrum, we’ll explore ways to invite our readers to grapple with authentic and universal questions while also being entertained and captivated.
Together, we’ll dig into eight key issues that inform how faith infuses our stories. We’ll look at writing that is Spirit-led, relational, motivated by love, unashamed, creative, accurate, authentic, and inevitable. We’ll also talk about how these issues are reflected in world building, characterization, dialogue, description and other elements of our craft.
Part Two: Faith-Fueled
The writing life presents opportunities that test our faith, and we often long to refuel. The second part of the track will offer oodles of ideas for overcoming obstacles and roadblocks that are unique challenges for writers of faith and writers of speculative fiction. Come with your greatest difficulties (No time? Insecurity? Discouragement? Rejection? Lack of response/apathy from others? Unfair judgment? Tiny or non-existent income? Etc.) and create a support plan to rekindle joy and productivity in the midst of the hard work of creating stories that touch hearts. We’ll focus on ways to recognize, embrace, nurture, and protect your unique calling.
Adult Continuing Session 3, taught by Allen Arnold
When Chaos & Creativity Collide
Writers love throwing chaos at their characters. It keeps the pages turning. But as creatives, chaos can have the opposite effect on our lives and our art. When chaos hits – and it always does – we tend to fear it, run from it, or simply shut down and try to wait it out. None of which is helpful to the Story we are living or the stories we’re telling.
Chaos is part of this reality. We can’t change that. But we can change how we respond…and in the process, change the very essence of chaos. What if these destructive distractions can become our canvas for creative breakthrough? Allen Arnold’s brings this revolutionary concept to Realm Makers through a mix of teaching, video, interactive exercises, and engaging conversation. He begins with God’s original Chaos Theory. Before the events of Creation (Genesis 1:2), God encounters chaos and does something beyond belief He transforms it by bringing order, beauty, and life from it. Is it possible he invites us to do the same as his sons and daughters?
Rather than be used by chaos, discover how to use it as fuel for changing the atmosphere as we co-create with the Creator in brave, wild, intimate ways. For every writer who has ever felt overwhelmed, stuck, defeated, or in a holding pattern, this class is a catalyst that can jumpstart your heart and your art.
How to Pitch Your Book without Sounding Like a Robot, taught by Nadine Brandes
We’ve all heard the different advice, the different techniques, the dos and don’ts of pitching. But a pitch goes beyond a 15-minute appointment with an agent. It goes beyond just speaking clearly to your dream publisher. A pitch means being able to talk about your book in an interesting way to anyone. Your reader, your agent, your grandmother, your librarian. Not only is pitching your book in a concise way to industry professionals a critical skill when attending a writer’s conference, but it’s even more important in stimulating word-of-mouth interest for your writing. This class will look at how to craft a pitch that is informative, but doesn’t sound robotic when you share it—a pitch that you can use for the rest of your life.
This is hands-on and you will be crafting a pitch for your current WIP during the class.
Everything You Need to Know About YA, taught by Nadine Brandes and Mary Weber
No matter what genre you write or age group you write for, Young Adult (YA) literature is defining our present and future world of reading. In this workshop we’ll explore everything you need to know about the books, the readers, the industry, and the marketing behind YA, and discuss how best to reach that audience through the art of storytelling.
This class will examine
– The “genre” of YA literature (is it a genre? Or is it an age group? And what does that mean/change?)
– The history of YA (where it came from, where it is today, and why that matters)
– The current audience of YA
– The struggles of your reader
– How to write for this age group and what struggles you might face.
– Trends, market, and future of YA.
FightWrite: Before Blood Gets on the Page, taught by Carla Hoch
A fight begins long before the first blow – both off the page and on it. Learn what three things have the greatest impact on a battle and what every fighter knows and every writer should before entering the fray.
Creating an Out of This World Book Proposal, taught by Steve Laube
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Theology and Philosphy as Found in Science Fiction and Fantasy, taught by Steve Laube
Beyond the Panels: Introduction to the Business of Graphic Novels, taught by Diana Pho
Editor Diana M. Pho of Tor Books talks about the business of graphic novels, from content-creation 101 to some insider knowledge about how the comics publishing industry works today.
The Heart of the Story, taught by Wayne Thomas Batson
As Christians who write speculative fiction, we can sometimes find ourselves caught in a sales-smacking catch-22: too Christian for secular readers and/or not Christian enough for Christian readers. So what do we do? A good story needs thematic “take-home value.” In this session, I’ll show you 7 ways to weave themes into your story to honor God with your craft and still subtly reach the sensitive secular reader.
What’s Hidden Behind that Locked Door in the Attic? taught by Wayne Thomas Batson
If you want to find out, take my class. In real estate, it’s all about location. In professional writing, it’s all about suspense. Suspense. Suspense. Suspense. In this session, I’ll unpack a variety of tried-and-true strategies that you can use immediately to get readers turning the pages and begging for more.
The Successful Christian Speculative Novel, taught by Jesse Doogan of Tyndale House Publishers
Voice: Making Your Manuscript Sing, taught by Lisa Mangum, editor, Shadow Mountain Books
Authors, editors, readers–everyone seems to be clamoring for a book with “voice.” But what is it? And how do you get it? And how do you know if you have it? Come learn the answers to all those questions–and more–as we talk about the four elements that can help strengthen your voice and make it S.I.N.G.
How to Write an Ending That Doesn’t Suck, taught by Lisa Mangum, editor, Shadow Mountain Books
First pages are important, sure, and many authors have probably workshopped those first five pages to death. But what about the ending the story? Isn’t that just as important as the beginning? YOU BET IT IS! Come learn about foreshadowing, symbolism, pacing, and plot twists and how to use these tools and techniques to lead your reader to a satisfying conclusion.
Over the coming weeks, check back as we update with more elective teachers, topics, and titles, so that you can start deliberating which classes to choose. We know it’s agonizing not to be able to attend them all, but don’t worry! There will be conference audio to help with that.