The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference
helped me focus on the tools I needed to refine and finish my first book,
40 Days in the Desert – A Devotional Guide for Uniformed Services.
Thanks to Marlene and her incredible staff.
Paul F. Bauer
1:00 – 4:30 Learning Lab
LL1 How to Craft Page-Turning Novels – Dan Walsh
Dan’s 21 novels combined have received over 7,000 Amazon Reviews (4.7 star avg). By far, the #1 comment readers make goes something like, “Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.” This started with his first novel and continues with his newest release. It’s not just for his suspense books; readers say this even with his more romantic family-life novels and Christmas stories. In this lab, Dan will share the tips and secrets he’s learned to make the pages turn.
LL2 Writing a Nonfiction Book: From Passion to Process – Ava Pennington
You're passionate about your non-fiction project. It could be a devotional, a how-to book, or a Christian living manuscript. Join us as we explore how to process your passion into a manuscript. We'll examine strategy, purpose, and audience. How does your premise tie into your theme and concept? How will you research your topic and organize your material? What style will you choose? What storytelling techniques will you employ? (Yes, even for non-fiction.) When and how will you edit your work? Finally, what is included in an attention-grabbing query? What are the components of an effective book proposal? Lots of questions. Bring your book idea and we’ll find the answers together!
LL3 Writer, Thou Art Loosed! – Beatrice Bruno
Have you not yet published your first book? Or, have you published your first book but still doubt the gifting God has placed on the inside of you to write more books? Beatrice Bruno, The Write Drill Sergeant for YOU, is here to help you be loosed from those infirmities that would hold you in bondage so you can complete God’s mandate for your life. Through interactive exercises, timed writings, and perspective illustrations and exercises, Beatrice will lead you on a 3-hour phased writing experience to show you how to embrace the Writer-You and move forward to accomplish great writing exploits for the Lord. In this mini-bootcamp experience, you will write, laugh, cry, and expand as you sit in a writing atmosphere created for you to receive, believe, and trust God for the writing anointing that is yours! Click here for pre-class writing assignment.
LL4 Develop a Unique Marketing Plan – Karen Whiting
Part 1: Polish your pitch into a power statement that shows the purpose, target audience, benefits, and uniqueness of your book idea, in one sentence.
Part 2: Develop a unique marketing plan that builds your platform and utilizes your strengths. This includes identifying how to reach your target audience, coordinate promotional efforts, follow a promotional timeline, use a spreadsheet to track marketing, and choose where to invest your efforts for maximum impact.
1:00 – 2:00 Workshops
T1 Practical Productivity: 10 Ways to Write More, Write Better & Quash Your Inner Editor – Debbie Maxwell Allen
If the lure of laundry pulls you from your writing, if the fear of the blank page keeps you from your writing chair, if the siren song of social media spirits you away down the visual rabbit hole, this class is for you. We'll figure out your reasons for distraction and how to address each one. Before long, your words on the page will become an unstoppable snowball!
T2 Spiritual Footprints – Chris Richards
We leave many footprints as we travel through life—ink, sand, carbon, dirt, digital, wandering, grass-stained, spinning, and spiritual to name a few. In this workshop we will explore the spiritual footprints from our hearts, through our books and articles, to our readers’ hearts.
T3 Resurrect the Past – JP Robinson
Combining scriptural principles with engaging dialogue, JP will talk about the art of researching and writing historical/biblical fiction, memoirs, or biographies. This dynamic workshop also targets tough questions, such as what to include—and exclude—when writing about the past.
T4 How to Write a Story – Alice Wootson
The three elements you need to write a story. Characters: Who are they? Setting: Where and when will the story take place? Is it contemporary, historical, futuristic, fantasy? How much detail should you use? Plot: The story line, the action, the problem.
2:15 – 3:15
Make the Most of GPCWC – Eric Sprinkle
First time at the GPCWC? Congratulations, and if you feel a little overwhelmed, please know that you’re going to feel much more comfortable and knowledgeable over the next few days. But why wait to be a writer’s conference expert until the day before you go home?
Why not be confident and fully prepared for this amazing event from day 1?
How about sitting down with Eric Sprinkle, a “veteran” of both the Philly and Colorado conference? He can give you a detailed overview and share all the tips and tricks to help you navigate the three big areas you’ll encounter while here—Networking, Craft-Sharpening, and Potentially Selling your Work.
3:30 – 4:30
T5 Scrivener for Beginners: Get up and running—and writing—with Scrivener TODAY – Debbie Maxwell Allen
Scrivener writing software: everyone says they love it, but what writer has time to learn something new? And most writers using Scrivener miss out on some of the program’s best elements. This workshop will help you start, literally, at zero, and get up and running right away. Even long-time users will learn to take advantage of features they didn’t know were there. Learn to navigate stunning elements to make writing—and research—faster and more efficient, no matter what genre. This workshop is for both fiction and nonfiction writers. Bring your computer with Scrivener already downloaded (you can try it free for 30 days).
T6 Writing Books for Children – Michelle Lazurek
Many people want to write for children. But how do you write engaging content that not only tells a story but also keeps a young audience engaged despite the instant gratification world in which we live? In this workshop, Michelle will address the following aspects of children’s writing:
T7 Write to Hold the Reader's Attention – Rob Cook
Everybody has a story. The challenge is getting people to care about yours. What makes your story compelling? Where do you start? How do you draw in the readers? How do you keep them turning the pages? This workshop will teach you how to grab the readers’ attention like a blockbuster movie.
T8 Turn Your Preaching or Teaching into Writing – Dave Fessenden
Are you a preacher or teacher? Do you do public speaking of any sort? If so, you no doubt have wondered how to put the content of your messages, lectures, etc. into written form. This workshop helps you move beyond a mere transcript to a polished piece.
4:45 – 6:00
T9 Customizing Scrivener: Advanced Techniques for the Motivated Writer – Debbie Maxwell Allen
In this workshop, writers already familiar with the basics of Scrivener will discover the many ways Scrivener can be configured for novels and non-fiction projects. Find out how to customize Scrivener to your particular needs and take advantage of little-known elements to make your writing life easier to manage. Learn to plot your book with virtual index cards, how to manage scenes (and your own motivation) with the outliner, and how to fly through revisions with features most Scrivener users have not yet discovered.
T10 Academic vs. Popular Writing: Navigating the Terrain – Dr. Charles W. Christian
This workshop gives characteristics of each type of writing and assists writers who may want to venture further into academic writing (i.e., writing for specialized academic publications). It also gives ideas about writing for a variety of popular magazines.
T11 Make a Scene – Darcie Gudger
Learn how to craft scenes that keep your readers flipping the pages.
T12 Inside Your Characters’ Personalities – Lynne Babbitt
Shape your fictional characters according to their personality direction. Create richer characters who act out of their innate traits, quirks, and motivations—and who resonate with your readers more powerfully. Better understand your favorite character, and maybe yourself too!
T13 The Brave New World of Indie Publishing – Dan Walsh
When Dan’s first novel was published by a major Christian house in 2009, self-publishing was looked down upon throughout the industry. Bookstore chains reigned supreme (ebooks accounted for less than 3% of his sales then). Ten years later, EVERYTHING has changed. Millions of readers buy their books on Amazon. Hundreds of retail bookstores have closed their doors. After publishing 13 novels traditionally, Dan made the successful leap to indie publishing in 2015. He’s since released 8 indie novels under his own imprint (over 500,000 copies are in print or downloaded as ebooks). In this session, Dan will talk about all these trends.
T14 Get Out of the Boat – Angie Bass Williams
Step out of the boat of political correctness and "walk on the water" of Spirit-led writing that expresses the truth of God's Word. Tackle sensitive subjects such as abortion and euthanasia, from a Biblical perspective. Motivate without manipulating people—especially Christians—to reconsider the consequences of wrong choices.
3:45 – 4:45
1A Give Purpose & Intent to Your Writing – Terrence Clark
1B How to Handle the Word of Truth – Michael Klassen
God’s Word changes lives. Knowing how to rightly handle the Word of Truth enables you to change lives without being misguided, mistaken, or manipulative. Michael will help you steer clear of common word-study mistakes, interpretation errors, and logical fallacies. He’ll also explain the differences in Bible translations and review software and websites that will help you dig deeper into God’s Word. The good news is, you don’t need to be a seminary graduate to incorporate God’s life-changing Word into your writing!
1C Middle Grade and YA Fiction – Linda Howard
Middle Grade and YA fiction have been among the top-selling books across the board for the last 20 years. Series like Harry Potter, Dog Man, Twilight, Hunger Games, and Diary of A Wimpy Kids have collectively sold multi-millions of copies. Come learn about the latest trends, hear what publishers are looking for, and come away with the tools to track what is happening in the industry for yourself.
1D Using Fiction Techniques in Your Nonfiction – Barb Haley
Story—what a wonderful tool! Story connects emotionally with readers and illustrates our message in a visual way. We might use story as a beginning hook or to reinforce points throughout our writing. When discussing an especially tense subject, a humorous story provides welcome relief. And ending with a story is an enjoyable and memorable way to wrap up what we have to say. This workshop will introduce you to valuable fiction skills you can use IMMEDIATELY to successfully further your nonfiction!
1E Creating a Book Proposal – Karen Whiting
The proposal shapes the book and marketing, and that makes it a valuable tool even if you go indie. The workshop will cover:
1F Marketing into Ministry – Michelle Booth
No one wants to hear about you and your book after the third week of your book's release, so how do you market your book without talking about your book? Come learn the proven strategy that turns marketing into ministry AND that sells books.
1G Writing for Focus on the Family – Stephen O'Rear
Focus on the Family produces four magazines, books on marriage and parenting, multiple websites, and the beloved radio drama “Adventures in Odyssey.” If you write biblical content for any age, we want to see it! This class reviews the submission guidelines and content needs for Clubhouse and Brio magazines, Boundless.org, and other Focus properties.
5:00 – 6:00
2A The Burden of the Watchman – Michael Gantt
There are some who see what others do not see, hear sounds others do not hear, and discern danger before danger reveals itself. Should he sleep, the loss of the city will stain his hands forever.
2B Your Writer's Voice – Edwina Perkins
Voice is style, plus theme, plus personal observations, plus passion, plus belief, plus desire. Voice is bleeding onto the page, and it can be a powerful, frightening, naked experience. In this session, we will address techniques to help you developing your writer’s voice.
2C The Heartbeat of Inspirational Romance – Susan Baganz
What constitutes an inspirational romance, and how far can a Christian writer realistically go with the romance between a man and a woman?
2D Theological Accuracy in Nonfiction – Catherine DeVries
Errors can creep into publications due to lack of theological attention. Catherine DeVries shows examples of this and offers ways to raise awareness and increase accuracy.
2E What Do Editors and Agents Want? – Linda Glaz
I’m SO confused! How to look professional right from the start.
2F Facebook Live 101: Five Elements of a Successful FB Live Program – Patricia Durgin
Do you have what it takes to host a FB Live program? You can simply activate the “Go Live” button and share from your heart. Or you can host a regularly scheduled program and become a trusted resource for your target market (particularly useful for pastors and ministry leaders). But why bother in the first place? Because Facebook “pushes” a FB Live post out to more people than any other type of post, so if you’re looking for organic marketing (meaning no paid ads!), a FB Live program might be your answer. You’ll leave this class with the 5 foundational answers needed to host any successful FB Live program. (Laptop not required. This is not a technical class.)
2G Writing for Young Children – C. Hope Flinchbaugh
This workshop will focus on the ministry and business of writing for children. You’ll discover how to improve your book publishing savvy and your craft. Hope wrote more than 250 stories in early education readers for pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. She has published 50 plus articles for children’s magazines such as Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., God’s World Publications, PrayKids!, Campus Life, and collaborated on curriculum for Samaritan’s Purse, Life Today, Union Gospel Press, and The Association of Christian Schools International.
9:45 – 10:45
3A Writing Out of a Broken Heart – Michael Gantt
It is not likely that we will survive this life without being wounded by adversity. In fact, it is our adversity that truly shapes our character and best equips us to step into the brokenness of others to bring them comfort, hope, and healing. “We may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NKJV).
3B Skittles & Editing – Susan Baganz
Tools Susan uses to make her manuscripts shine before ever sending them to an editor. They are things you can do as well along with using critique partners to make your novel shine. Susan will feature and talk about the benefits of AutoCrit in the process but provide you with tools so you can do without it as well.
3C Ethnic Diversity in Fiction – Catherine DeVries
As a push for diversity is reshaping the publishing landscape, the need for sensitivity awareness and sensitivity readers is on the rise. The number of books about ethnic characters has risen over the last few years. From 10 percent in 2013 to more than a quarter of young adult and children’s books featured characters of color in 2016. This workshop will address questions such as What is a sensitivity reader? Does my project need one? What does a sensitivity reader do?
3D Writing Articles and Getting Them Published – Dr. Charles W. Christian
This is a basic overview for beginning writers, but it also includes creative ideas for experienced writers in regard to overcoming obstacles.
3E Turn Your Writing into a Business – JP Robinson
What happens after your book rolls off the printing press or you hit "publish" on KDP? These days, both traditionally published and indie authors are expected to market and sell their own books. Every author has a message and the potential to reach the masses. Discover free to affordable strategies that will help you market to your full potential.
3F Attending to Your Audience – Emily Chase
The importance of knowing your audience well. This means going beyond the usual "Christian women between ages 20-50." It means learning what they already know (don't bore them) and what are their needs (challenge them to grow). And then, using this information, how does it impact my writing?
3G Poetry Packs a Powerful Punch – Angie Bass Williams
Poetry is a powerful way to communicate your Christian message. Use "poetic ponderings" to teach the Word, to offer hope and encouragement in the ups and downs of life in an entertaining and enlightening way. Keep the reader engaged by using rhythmic flow and cadence to write poetry that is easily converted into song lyrics or greeting cards. You don't have to be a Dr. Seuss to write impactful poetry.
2:45 – 3:45
4A Writing from the Heart – Linda Glaz
What are you called to write, and how does it fit in today’s industry?
4B Add More Humor to Your Writing – Karen Linamen Bouchard
You don’t have to be a stand-up comic to win with humor. Whatever you are writing—fiction, nonfiction, how-to articles, blog posts, stand-up comedy, sermons, or speeches—humor keeps readers engaged and on your side. The author of a dozen humorous, inspirational books for women, Karen has also written a humor column for Women of Faith, and was named “The queen of good humor and common sense” by The Literary Guild. Join her as she shares inside secrets to delighting your reader with humor, regardless of your style or genre.
4C How Much Christian Should Be in Your Christian Fiction? – Dan Walsh
In the last few years, the Christian fiction publishing world has been turned upside down. Sadly, so many retail bookstores are no longer in business, due to the majority of readers buying their books online. Have these dramatic developments changed the nature of Christian fiction? How should they change the way Christian authors write their novels? Or . . . should we be changing anything at all? Dan shares his perspective on all this, and how he’s navigating through these uncharted waters.
4D Confidentially Yours: Ethics in Nonfiction Writing – Emily Chase
Is changing the name of an individual sufficient to protect his or her privacy? And how many details can you change without compromising the truth? When do you need a signed release? And does Scripture give us any guidelines in this area?
4E Heading Home with a Plan – Karen Whiting
Don’t leave the conference without a plan or goals. Learn how to continue taking advantage of the conference long after it ends.
4F Redesign Your Social Media Plan – Patricia Durgin
Learn how to keep your audience engaged with social media content that applies directly to their lives (even if you don’t write all of it). Your answer to a single pivotal question I’ll ask will revolutionize everything . . . forever. Never be afraid to post social media content again! You’ll leave this workshop with a redesigned social media plan. This session focuses on SM content only. It does not include how to create SM images. (Laptop helpful but not required.)
4G Write Devotionals and Get Published – Debbie Hardy
Learn to write concisely, share your experiences, and, most importantly, touch hearts and change lives through devotionals.