Holistic Chiropractor and Author Erika Putnam
Friday, September 29
10:00 am – 4:30 pm
With lunch break on your own
Limit: 25 Participants
The Craft and Business of Memoir and Narrative Nonfiction Writing
What makes a memoir compelling to read? What makes a publisher say “yes” to publishing
a memoir? As a literary agent, Julie has worked with many writers and publishers over the
years to develop compelling and saleable memoirs – from Senator Jon Tester’s memoir to
Ryan Busse’s memoir Gunfight and many other books of narrative nonfiction and essay
collections. In this workshop, Julie will share her thoughts on what tools writers can
employ to write a saleable memoir or work of narrative nonfiction and how to keep a
reader's attention from start to finish. We will look at craft elements such as story
structure, narrative tension, scene and character development, the use of composite
characters, how writers approach the “truth” of memories. We’ll also talk about the
importance of a writer's platform and how writers can develop a platform. We will take an
in-depth look at the nonfiction proposal and discuss what elements editors expect to see
when a proposal lands in their in-box.
Saturday, Sept. 30
8:00 - 8:25 AM - Opening and Welcome with Kathy Dunnehoff
8:30 - 9:20 – Mark Sullivan Keynote Address: Writing from the Heart Not the Head
Sullivan will chronicle how he moved from writing from the head to writing from the heart
and how that has made all the difference in his career.
9:30 - 10:30 – Glenn & Barbara Schiffman: Moving From Page to Stage
Sharing book excerpts, short stories, poems or true-life essays out loud at book signings or
storytelling events is a different experience than when your words are read silently on the
page. Learn easy ways you can be more confident and engaging as a writer-speaker when
presenting your work to audiences by using listener-focused editing tools and simple
10:45 - 11:45 – Zach Honey: Suspense in Story Telling
A deep dive into the nature and definition of suspense and a discussion on how to use it to
serve and strengthen your story.
Noon - 1:15 – Lunch Break (lunch is not provided, many restaurants nearby)
1:15-1:30 – Dr. Erika Putnam: Easy Neck & Shoulder relief for Writers
A group mini class to stretch your writing muscles and focus on the health of your neck and
shoulders. Participate, feel good, and gain helpful tips.
1:30 - 2:30 – Mark Sullivan: The Power of Intent and the Pursuit of Mastery in a Long
Sullivan will detail how writing with a specific intent in mind changed his outlook and his
success. He'll also talk about why the pursuit of mastery versus book sales make all the
difference in a writing life that spans decades.
2:45-3:45 – Chris La Tray: Observation and the Daily Practice
Silence and observation are key to the creative process, particularly writing. This 60-
minute workshop will discuss the practice of observation and transferring it to the journal
... even if only one sentence at a time.
4:00-5:00 – Mark Leichliter: Envisioning Revision
The writer Leich Bardugo said, “I think the hard work of writing is just how long a book is
terrible before it's good.” Revision is how we get from terrible to good, and it’s where we
spend most of our time as writers. Revision starts with RE-VISION, re-seeing the
manuscript, learning to listen to it, asking the right questions of it. This workshop will give
you more tools for learning how to “re-see.”
Sunday, Oct. 1
8:30-9:30 – Zach Honey: Revisions: Tips, tricks, and Tactics for Revisioning your
A look into ways to improve your completed draft and strengthen your manuscript and
prepare it for querying.
9:45-10:45 – Chris La Tray: The Writing Life
How teaching workshops and saying yes to opportunities – combined with a reasonably
successful newsletter and a refusal to ever give up on a book – has enabled writer Chris La
Tray to make a living as a writer.
11:00-12:00 – Julie Stevenson: Literary Fiction
What are the differences between literary fiction, upmarket fiction and commercial fiction?
Literary agent Julie Stevenson will discuss the many ways in which the publishing industry
categories fiction, what she looks for when taking on literary and upmarket fiction, and
how a writer can develop understanding for what niche best fits their work.
12:00-1:00 – Catered Lunch
1:00-1:20 – Dr. Erika Putnam: Back Pain Relief for Writers
A group mini class to relieve your backside and reduce the strain of prolonged sitting.
Recommended and taught by a chiropractor. Engage in safe movements and learn
preventative self-care for your back.
1:30-2:30 – Mark Sullivan: Relying on Your Body and Your Mind to Write with Deeper
In a lively "hands-on" class, Sullivan will show how adopting certain body positions can
trigger the mind and heart to write with deeper meaning and more impact.
2:45-3:45 – Julie Stevenson and Zach Honey: Navigating Publishing
A brief overview from both presenters followed by open questions from conference
4:00 - 5:00 - Julie Stevenson and Zach Honey: First Impressions
One page of an anonymous manuscript is read out loud with instant feedback from the
Fifteen-minute author visits with Agent Stevenson or Agent Honey (limit 12 each)