|2017 Master Class, Presentation, & Panel Descriptions|
Below you will find the descriptions for Master Classes, Presentations, and Panels. As you look through the schedule, you can come here to read the descriptions. This will help you when choosing which sessions to attend during the conference.
Fair warning: You won't be able to attend everything you want to attend. (Unless you have Hermione's time-turner.) So you will need to make some tough decisions. Consider teaming up with some friends to divide and conquer.
Brand Me Till It Hurts
Presenter: Linda Kay Silva
Description: Branding and marketing is not for the faint of heart and most writers wait until after they publish to start this all-important task of carving out their brand and determining who they are. Who you think you are and who your readership thinks you are could be two different things. So how do readers find you if you don't leave a trail? Branding is that trail. If you want to sell more books (and who doesn't, right?) then this class is a must see. You'll not only learn how to create your brand, but why it is vital to your financial success as a writer...success comes from the next step, which is marketing your brand. Five-time award winning author of over 30 novels, Alex Westmore/Linda Kay Silva/Storm will share with you the steps needed to know your brand and the marketing techniques she's learned from her publisher, Broad Winged Books, that brings her in 5 times more royalties than ever before. You will walk away from this class with a game plan on how you can increase sales and create the cash flow you deserve as a writer.
Creating Authentic Conflict: Developing Memorable Characters Who Drive the Plot
Description: From the basics to beyond: a sequential approach to defining the multi‐layered character; how to use archetypes; and tools for creating organic goals/motivation and conflict. This didactic class is geared for authors of all levels and will include a Q&A.
May I Live In Your Bones? Psychic Distance and POV
Presenter: Karelia Stetz Waters
Description: What makes the difference between a comic mystery and a hard-hitting thriller? A sweet and innocent romance and a work of erotica? You’re tempted to say plot, but equally important are the changes in tone created by different applications of point of view (POV) and psychic distance.
In the first half of this class, we’re going to explore psychic distance. Psychic distance denotes the distance between the narrative voice of the story and the character’s experiences. Is the reader in the protagonist’s mind and body or floating just behind her shoulder? Does the author narrate the story from afar? Dose an authorial voice comment on the unfolding events or does the author disappear? There are no wrong choices, but each choice creates a different novel. A good understanding of psychic distance and its application will help you craft believable characters, descriptions that reveal character, and sex scenes that advance plot. It will help you bring emotion, humor, and suspense to the page.
In the second half of this class, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of different POVs. We will also experiment with writing exercises that use different POVs to help you uncover your story and your characters (regardless of whether you plan on changing the POV in the final manuscript.) From there we will look at some common POV errors and why they matter even if your readers aren’t immediately aware of them. If possible, bring a page or two of your own writing to work on in class. Also, if available, bring a phone with a camera and an action figure to play with. (Additional action figures will be provided, but you might get stuck with headless Barbie.) NOTE: Discussions of these topics usually start with POV and move on to psychic distance, but I would argue that the question of psychic distance comes first. Talking about psychic distance first helps new writers discover their voices.
Seducing the Reader: 4 Elements of a Strong Opening to Intrigue the Reader
Presenter: Karin Kallmaker
Description: Readers can decide in a few paragraphs if they're going to stick with a book - sometimes less than that. Learn basic elements to seduce readers so they are your willing captive from cover to cover.
This class will focus on 4 elements of a strong opening: 1) Orient the Reader in Time and Space 2) Arouse Empathy and Emotion 3) Set Atmosphere with Tone 4) Make Your Story Promise to the Reader.
Introductions to concepts for each element will be followed by opportunity to ask questions, consider examples from familiar writers, then participants will be given a selection of writing prompts to practice that element. Participants will have several minutes to work then volunteers will be encouraged to read. Wrap-up includes a final "put it all together" writing prompt.
The Ruthless Red Pen
Presenter: Lori L. Lake
Description: You’ve heard it said before that most writers have difficulty editing and revising their own work. When we write, we get so immersed in our story worlds that we don’t always have clarity of vision or enough distance to see what could be done to improve a manuscript. But there are tactics you can use to get around that issue.
Lori Lake’s presentation will help you develop a fresh eye for your project and decide upon methods that work for you personally to allow for an orderly revision process that you can repeat in the future. The goal is to correct as many – or all – weak aspects as possible so that the nuts and bolts process of editing will be easier. Careful revision will ensure the effective use of plot, structure, and perspective. You’ll also find ways to balance action vs. rumination and scene-making vs. exposition, which results in a satisfying revelation of the climax and final resolution.
Join Lori to get new ideas for ways to strengthen your manuscript and improve your chance of having it accepted for publication!
Challenging Our Assumptions: The Ladder of Inference
Presenter: Ann Roberts
Description: Writers, do you enjoy creating complex characters who are often not what they seem? Readers, do you delight in plot twists? Have you ever jumped to conclusions and thought, "Whoops! I guess I got that wrong!" The Ladder of Inference, a thought process used by education professionals, can be a valuable tool for writers, readers...human beings. Join us as we explore this thought process and its connection to literature and life.
How To Be An Effective Moderator
Description: Moderating a panel presentation is one of the most important and difficult jobs at the conference. It involves wrangling and herding a group of people with strong opinions, and engaging the audience in the discussion. The continuum of experience among moderators ranges from novice to highly experienced. It isn’t fair to the panelists or the audience if the moderator is unprepared or if she hijacks the conversation. Melissa Brayden will help moderators avoid pitfalls and will offer excellent resources for those in need of support or affirmation.
Educational Opportunities with GCLS
Presenter: Beth Burnett
Description: The Golden Crown Literary Society offers a diverse array of educational opportunities. From the in-depth instruction of the Writing Academy to the mentoring program to the video libraries, GCLS is wholly dedicated to providing the best information and education to new and established writers alike. Join us to learn all about the education opportunities and be sure to come with questions. Our team is ready to make your writing dreams come true.
How to Quickly Come Up With More Ideas Than You Know What To Do With
Presenter: Elizabeth Andre
Description: “Where do you get your ideas?” is the most common question writers get asked. It usually triggers a snarky response, but the truth is that idea generation is a skill that can be learned and taught. This interactive presentation will explore some core ground rules that allow writers to consistently generate excellent ideas and include several interactive exercises. Participation is not required, but those who do participate may win prizes. Note: This is not an idea critique group. All ideas are welcome and encouraged.
How To Write and Publish Reviews
Presenter: Velvet Lounger
Description: This presentation is a two-part session on how to write and publish reviews. The first section is on how. Topics covered will include ARC, Characters, Style, Editing/Formatting etc., and also how to write critical reviews without being personal, allowing for diversity of opinion while being able to identify what the reviewer didn't like etc.
The second section on how and where to publish them, and why they are so important to authors. (i.e. Amazon, Goodreads) What are the rules, such as Amazon’s new $50 spend requirement and why 50 reviews make a difference.
It's Complicated: A Character Who Works in the Media
Presenter: D. Jackson Leigh
Description: News media -- especially today's confusing blend of internet bloggers, news commentators and even legitimate media pushed beyond their sworn ethics in the push to publish instantly -- is mostly misrepresented in fiction and on television. Thinking of writing a character who works in the media field? Here's an examination of common misconceptions about different types of media, news journalists vs. news entertainment, public relations media vs. news journalists, and why it's really hard to successfully sue for libel.
Legacies of Lesbian Literature Project
Presenters: Marianne K. Martin & Cheryl Pletcher
Description: Provide an update to the community on our Legacies Project progress. We will review interviews completed, show a few clips from them, give an update on the project funding, and review the project timeline for the documentary. It is our goal that attendees will leave the presentation with knowledge of the status of the project and funding.
Self Care for Writers and Those That Love Them
Presenter: Beth Burnett & Karen Richard
Description: Authors and empowerment coaches Karen Richard and Beth Burnett are back with their positive take on overcoming self-doubt, moving through writer's block, dealing with rejection, and making healthy changes that lead to more confidence and creative passion.
The Art of the Fight
Presenter: Barbara Ann Wright
Description: Whether you have two characters engaged in a bare-knuckle brawl or a shoot-out involving many players, this presentation will help writers successfully navigate writing a combat scene. Learn the difference between realistic and fiction fighting, how to judge a character's level of combat expertise, what language to use to make a combat scene pop, and how to pace the scene so that readers are always immersed in the action.
“Go Where You are Loved”: Creating Sustainable Writing Communities for Lesbians of Color
Presenter: S. Andrea Allen
Description: This presentation will focus on strategies for building writing communities for lesbians of color. We will discuss challenges to writers of color (particularly microaggressions and other forms of exclusionary practices), strategies for overcoming isolation in mainstream writing communities, finding and creating supportive and nurturing writing communities, and increasing LOC visibility in literary communities.
Writing Queer Crime and Mystery Fiction
Presenter: Ann Aptaker
Description: This presentation will explore the Queer point of view in crime and mystery fiction where LGBTQ characters are at the center of the action, either as crime solvers or as criminals themselves. We will explore these literary issues: (1) Why is writing crime & mystery fiction from a Queer point of view different than a mainstream/hetero point of view? (2) Relationship to the Law (3) Relationship to society in general (4) The Queer voice vs. the mainstream voice (POV, language) (5) The heightened sexual tension inherent in some crime genres and how this sexual tension differs in Queer crime and mystery literature.
Ramifications of the above: (1) Different and/or additional definitions of courage (2) Different expectations for "cooperation" with authorities (3) Additional threats to the Queer protagonist (4) The emotions of crime and/or crime solving as experienced by Queer characters
Across the Genres: Why I Write the Books I Write
Authors from various genres will discuss what drew them to write in their particular genre(s). Readers could also be invited to discuss why they like what they like. What are the similarities between genres? Where is there overlap?
Barbara Grier: Her Legacy and Influence
With the release of Barbara Grier's autobiography, INDOMITABLE, it's clear that her groundbreaking role in founding lesbian literature is both undeniable and unparalleled. Publishers and authors who have been heavily influenced by Barbara's legacy share their "Barbara Grier" stories and share the impact Barbara has had on their life, careers, and the future of lesbian publishing.
Book Reviews: For What and Whom?
Book reviews matter to readers. They can be powerful, influencing which books readers pick up and the mindset with which they approach what they read. Good reviewers can play an important informational and educational role for readers as they promote, critique, and provide filters. What are the elements of a really good review? How can authors have their book noticed by a reviewer? During this panel, members will discuss reviews from their various roles in the industry: reviewer, publisher, reader and author.
Breaking the Mold and Finding an Audience
We all know that romance sells and readers enjoy delving into the fantasy, but what about the call for Lesbian Fiction that doesn't follow the formula? How can we ignore the readers who ask, why are there no books about someone like me? The books are out there, but not in great abundance. This panel will explore how we can break the mold and still be successful. We promise a lively discussion on how to reach those readers who are crying for something different.
Circling the Wagons: Lesbian Literature in a Time of Hate
Subtitle: Lesbian literature in the time of hate. A discussion of the ways racism, anti-feminism and homophobia under the new government affects us as writers, readers, and lesbians in general. Will we write differently? Choose different subjects and themes? Will we focus on or try to avoid political subjects and themes? Can we write as before, as patriotic supporters of the White House, the military, the American Way of Life? Implications beyond our writing: will the gradual integration of Lesfic into the general literary pool now be reversed? Will we find ourselves fighting the old pre-Ellen battles? Will we need to re-affirm our loyalties to lesbian products and visibility? Youth outreach: will this become more urgent in the government-sanctioned atmosphere of ignorance and homophobia? Should we all just run away to Sweden?
Authors discuss tips and tactics to embrace the age-old romance formula, while at the same time putting their unique stamp on its execution. How do we keep the formula fresh in the face of millions of already written books? Is it possible to re-invent the wheel? And what about that happy ending? Is it the only way to make romance readers happy?
Herstory in the Making
Readers don't finish historical fiction novels that read like textbooks but also hate sheroes from past eras using modern terminology. How do you strike the right balance to keep from being so accurate with your research that descriptions and dialogue sound like professorial speeches, yet weave the fascinating elements of a time-period seamlessly into your story? Join our panel of outstanding historical fiction authors to learn how they do it.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Narration. Description. Setting. Writers often grapple with anything that isn’t dialogue. What’s important to include? What’s not? How do we create eloquent prose to keep our readers interested between conversations?
Juggling Romance With Kids
The widow, the aunt, and the single mom: women with kids want love, too! This panel will explore the specific conflicts that arise when a romance is built around a woman with a child. Panelists will discuss their decision to give a romantic lead a child, how they built the character of the child, and what they most liked about writing a story where the romantic lead is a package deal.
Just a Few Tiny Tweaks…Navigating the Editorial Rapids Without Drowning
Join editor Lynda Sandoval and several authors for an "ask us anything" panel about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hilarious about the author/editor relationship. This is your chance to ask about some editor pet peeves, some author pet peeves, and anything at all about the way we work together and sometimes, inadvertently, against each other. Part entertaining tell-all, part information, part how-to, the panel will have something for everyone, from readers to authors to others within the publishing world.
Mystery & Mayhem
Kate Delafield. Jane Lawless. Kinsey Milhone. Whether it’s a whodunit, a police procedural, a cozy, or a thriller, a strong detective is at the center of a mystery. Join this panel of authors as they discuss the most necessary ingredients of a good detective, one who must often thrive and grow throughout a series of novels.
Navigating the Long-Term Career
Listen in as veteran writers offer tales from the trenches and dish on what it takes to keep a writing career on track and fruitful. Learn what pitfalls they’ve experienced and what homeruns have elevated their careers to the next level. Longevity is key. How can we attain it?
Not Your Mama’s Paranormal Fantasy
Thinking outside the box is what the paranormal and fantasy genres are all about. But what does it take to stand out in a world already populated with werewolves, shapeshifters, and wizards. What’s next?
Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave
Creating strong subplots and memorable secondary characters is an art, especially in a mystery novel where everyone is a suspect. How does an author create secondary storylines that don’t wind up as a tangled mess? Join these authors for a discussion of all that is necessary to keep the plot organized, the characters straight (figuratively), and the reader sane.
Profanity, Vulgarities and Obscenities, Oh My!
A discussion of how and when an author can best use profanity in all its varied gradations to create a memorable story. Some characters need to spit out a few obscenities now and then to make their persona believable. How can we craft a better character or scene with it? Come to the panel that has put social media in an uproar and is bound to be a h*ll of a lively discussion!
Romance Mad Libs
Join us for a new panel game from GCLS! Romance writers test their quick-witted response ability when given some of our most interesting romance vocabulary—submitted by the audience members.
So, I Had This Idea…
There is no right way to transform an idea into a finished book. Proof of this can be found in this diverse group of panelists who will describe where they got their initial inspiration for a story and how they ultimately wrote and published their first work. Note: Panelists are usually chosen 1-2 months ahead of the conference based on registration of debut authors with a goal of diverse representation of publishers, publication story and panelists themselves.
Teach It/Preach It
Most lesfic work is more than meets the eye. The underlying message, sometimes referred to as the theme, the moral, or the main idea, can leave readers with powerful reflection or a call to action. Join these writers in a discussion of powerful writing—what it means to them and how it shaped their lives.
The Badass With a Heart of Gold
Take some action, sprinkle in a little mystery, and ice it with a layer of romance and you’ve got a heady mixture that readers love to get lost in. But writing a badass character with a soft, heart-of-gold center can be a challenge. Authors discuss the ins and outs of writing characters who are edgy, singularly focused, and often hard to like—and making readers fall in love with them anyway.
The Magic Elixir for Creating Unique Characters
Everyone has a favorite literary character, all of who share the distinct trait of uniqueness. How do authors create characters that last generations? Join these authors for a discussion of strategies for making characters unique, memorable and non-traditional.
When We Collide: The Intersection of Identities
This panel will explore ways to create engaging, nuanced characters and stories that combine themes including gender and identity, mental health, race and more. We’ll discuss the challenges inherent in writing about our own identities and those of others—plus the added layer of difficulty when these intersect. How do we avoid taking the easy way out and make real characters with overlapping identities?
Women in Uniform
What is it about a woman in uniform? Is it power? Confidence? Do you see the woman warrior or the trustworthy authority figure? Is she one who’s happy working within the system or does she prefer coloring outside the lines? Panelists will examine what is compelling about a story featuring a woman who is a part of something bigger than herself, and what role, if any, the larger “organization” plays. Drawing on a wide range of roles—from a Mountie to a paramedic, from a fledgling Air Force pilot to a cop, a World War II WAC, an ER nurse, and more—authors will also discuss the researching and crafting of these characters, and the effect of their duty on potential relationships.
Writing Our Religions: Writers of Faith Speak Out
There has been much work done on LGBT people breaking away from religious communities or creating their own paths, but little work has been done around the people who choose to maintain ties to their formal religious organizations in the hopes of shaping them for the better. In this panel, authors of faith will talk about how their religious communities shape their work as well as the challenges they have faced from publishers, readers, and fellow authors.