2018 Workshops

Check our schedule page to see when your favorites are being held! Many workshops are offered more than once during the week so everyone will have a chance to make the most of the conference!

Fiction Writers’ Retreat with Eva Marie Everson (Limit 8 participants)
Looking to dig deeper, stretch further, and get your current manuscript in publish-ready condition? Join CBA best-selling author Eva Marie Everson in this intensive fiction writer retreat. Limit of 8 writers. Attendees will have the opportunity to bring along their current fiction manuscript in order to strengthen and discover the areas that require improvement. Pre-conference emails will be sent explaining formatting requirements and critique procedure.

SuzyQ Author Boot Camp (Saturday One-Day track; 4 sessions)
Author Boot Camp, hosted by Suzanne Kuhn of SuzyQ, provides insight into the world of branding, book sales, retailer relations, and effective engagement through live and virtual interactions. Discover what every author needs to know to be effective when it comes to promotion, social media, and retail strategies. Suzanne will offer practical tips, key insider information, and a lively Q&A opportunity.

  1. YOU Are Your Brand
    Often people think of branding as a clicker pen with your logo across the side. But branding means much more than pens, mugs, and key chains. YOU are your brand. In this session, Suzanne will lay out how to create visual association through color scheme, tag lines, and logos. You’ll learn how to broaden your audience and provide additional connection points — simply by being your brand.
  2. Using Social Media to Reach and Expand Your Audience
    Suzanne takes you behind the scenes to share the secrets of crafting our social media so that we reach our intended audiences.
  3. Book Promotion Basics
    If book promotion were easy, everyone would be doing it! In this workshop, Suzanne will help you answer the all-important questions of So What? Who Cares? and Why You?
    Answering these three questions will help you identify who will read your book, craft an immediate plan of action, and initiate action steps to carry out your promotion plan long-term.
  4. Insiders’ Guide to Retailers: What Every Author Should Know
    With more than 30 years in book-specific retail, Suzanne provides a rare insider perspective of how retailers think and operate, and how you can use that knowledge to make your book and brand more attractive to book sellers.

Communicate to Change Lives (Continuing Session) with Jim Watkins
A six-part series providing practical biblical and behavioral principles for changing lives through writing and speaking. For Christian writers, speakers, executives, ministers, church and parachurch staff.

Keeping Your Dreams Alive (Saturday morning General Session) with Jim Watkins
An inspirational talk using the story of Joseph as an example of a dream received, the dreamer refined, the dream redefined, and finally, the dream realized in relationship to writing.

Writing Devotions the Christian Devotions Way with Cindy Sproles
Learn the Hook, Book, Look and Took method of writing devotions that strike the heart and move the soul.

Writing as a Ministry (Thursday morning General Session) with Cindy Sproles
Every one wants a book on the shelves, but few understand the real ministry behind writing. Explore the avenues God can use your writing talents besides a novel. Learn to listen to the call and, if you accept, how to show up for work.

The Ten Most Common Writing Blunders with Cindy Sproles
This class teaches new writers how to look for and how to correct the ten most common errors in writing. Covering point of view, resisting the urge to explain, dialogue, and more, The Ten Most Common Writing Blunders is the perfect way to hone your writing.

Becoming a Social Media Maven with Tonya Wilhelm
You poured yourself into your latest project. It’s edited, the cover is designed, and you are ready to show it to the world. You hit social media with the big news and…crickets chirp.

Marketing is the key to the success for writers, speakers, and artists who are pursuing their trade professionally. Social media is a must, but it can be overwhelming and discouraging if you don’t know how to establish your brand on the various sites available. Join me as I demystify popular platforms, decode hashtags and algorithms, and turn you into a social media maven!

Creating Three-Dimensional Characters for Short Stories and Novels with Dr. Dennis Hensley
In this workshop, Doc Hensley explains how to build primary and secondary characters from the ground floor up—how to choose their names; how to determine their function in the story; how to dress them, educate them, employ them, and describe them. The goal here is to create characters who are bigger than life so that they woo readers, yet realistic enough to make readers believe in them.

10 Ways to Improve Dialogue in Short Stories and Novels with Dr. Dennis Hensley
This workshop concentrates on how to make fictional characters sound unique, original, and story-appropriate. Drawing examples from his own published works and those of other authors, Doc Hensley provides ten systems for making dialogue hit the reader’s eye and ear in an appealing way. He will explain how to use repartee, arguments, debates, conversations, cross examinations, and soliloquys so that they enhance character development and stimulate plot progression.

Making Your Fictional Settings Vivid with Dr. Dennis Hensley
This workshop by Doc Hensley will explain how to develop settings for short stories and novels that will help the readers step into the environment and fully experience the action that takes place there. The instructor will show how to use ecology, weather, architecture, culture, religion, politics, oral expressions, clothing, foods, and history as ways of acclimating readers to the setting of the story.

Understanding How to Use Literary Devices in Fictional Writing [Parts I and II] with Dr. Dennis Hensley
In this two-part session, Doc Hensley will define such literary terms as foreshadowing, flashback, irony, object symbolism, color symbolism, name symbolism, and narrative drive and will show how writers can incorporate these devices into their writing. Using Jack London’s short story “War,” Dr. Hensley will reveal how classic writers have used these writing vehicles to give depth to their stories.

18 Rules for Contemporary Writing with Dr. Dennis Hensley
In this humorous, fast-paced workshop Doc Hensley provides 18 techniques to make writing appeal to 21st century readers who are used to screens, bullet points, graphics, and sound effects. This distinctive method of writing has enabled Dr. Hensley to have a 100% publication success rate with all of his Taylor University students for the past 20 years.

The Confrontation that Causes an Alteration (Friday morning General Session) with Dr. Dennis Hensley
In this devotional time of sharing, Doc Hensley offers insights on how coming directly in contact with the teachings of Christ causes an alteration of an individual’s behavior, attitude, focus, and outlook on life. Drawing from scriptural references and personal illustrations, this talk inspires Christian writers to read, study, and memorize God’s Word.

Self Publishers’ Boot Camp with Susan Lower
Let me guide you on your journey in self-publishing. From a professional indie author with aspirations just like you, this course will give you all the skills and information you need to publish your own book. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a first-time novelist, we’ll cover: reasons to go indie (versus traditional publishing); cover creation; formatting your manuscript; releasing your book; and marketing options.

Children’s Writers’ Boot Camp with Taryn Souders
Are you interested in writing board books, picture books, or novels for children? The children’s writing track will run writing gamut from board books to novels. We’ll cover word choice, humor, characters, plot, themes, and much more. If you are interested in writing for children, please join us for fun and chocolate (because class is always better with chocolate).

Poetry – 3 continuing workshops with Nationally Awarded Poet Barbara Crooker
POETRY—WRITING IN THE WILD. Via hands-on prompts, participants will explore writing poetry using their senses, exploring the natural world. All the techniques in this poetry workshop can also be used by prose writers, so everyone is welcome. For writers of all levels. All new assignments.

Creative Walk with Roberta Gore (Thursday and Friday at 1:30 PM)
(This is not a workshop, but an optional 45 minute nature walk to inspire creativity.)
Enjoy a Creative Nature Walk at St. Davids! We’ll aim to “write into the wild,” carrying journals, music, and God’s word, as we take a walk on the beautiful Grove City campus this summer 2018. At each station stop we’ll ponder a piece of Scripture, especially as it relates to the creativity of God, and give our minds and spirits time to journal whatever poetry, prose, or prayers happen to waft onto the page. Sometimes, yes, the Holy Spirit emboldens us while we sit poised at our keyboard, but sometimes we do truly need to step “into the wild.”

Writer’s Colony option
If you only wish to attend conference as a writing retreat, you may choose our Writer’s Colony option. A writer may use the class and workshop times at St. Davids to work on an important manuscript or a current project under deadline. With this option, you may attend plenary sessions in the evenings, plus all meals, but will not be allowed to attend any workshops or classes during the day. Instead, use those slots to do the writing work you need to finish. This option is for serious writers who need the time to work but who would still like to join everyone else for daily group gatherings that are not classes. Space limited to 5 conferees.