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Writer's Hourly Workshop

Writer's Hourly Workshop 2017 with Michael A. Stackpole

The seminars cover everything from the very basics and writing in a franchise universe, up through plotting and characterization, and even cover presenting your manuscript and strategies for success in the age of digital publishing. Why hope for success when you can learn from working writers and guarantee it?

    To sign up for all of the seminars please click here or contact the Dragon Con Office @ (404) 669-0773.

    Cost for ALL seminars:

    • $140 + tax (member price)
    • $240 + tax (non member price)

    To sign up for individual seminars please click here or contact the Dragon Con Office @ (404) 669-0773.

    Cost for individual seminars:

    • $8 + tax (member price)
    • $108 + tax (non member price)


  • Individual sales at show $10 + tax per session (member price)
  • Individual sales at show: $110 + tax per session (non member price)\


Seminars List

Friday, September 1

10 AM Before You Write: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole will walk you through all the things you want to consider before you sit down to begin your writing career. This will cover everything from how to plan projects, how to make time for writing and the plethora of mistakes writers make which hold them back from becoming the best writers they can be.

11:30 AM Alternates: An exciting look into how to craft alternate realities, alternate histories, and time-travel fiction. Historian Bethany Kesler will outline the rules, do's and don'ts, as well as equip you with the all the tools needed to craft historically authentic worlds for all your fiction needs.  What research is good research, how to avoid the rabbit hole of too much research, and how to pick your cascade points.

1 PM Build and Break a Character or Two: In an interactive seminar, New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole will work you through the rigors of creating realistic characters and show you how to make them grow within a story. He’ll share many of the advanced techniques he uses for creating characters of depth, intrigue and humanity, who manage to grow in realistic but seldom predictable ways. You’ll learn how to create the sort of characters that can carry whole sagas and keep readers locked in and waiting for each new book’s release.

2:30 PM 101 Ideas In an Hour: Ever wonder where writers get their ideas? Join New York Times bestselling author Timothy Zahn Timothy Zahn as he guides you and your fellow workshop attendees on the path to creating characters, aliens, magic systems, and societies that you can use as jump-off points for literally hundreds of stories, novels, and even multi-book sagas.

4 PM So You Think You Want to be a Writer? Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, prolific author of over 70 novels and the winner of the 2014 World Fantasy Conventions Lifetime Achievement Award, will acquaint you with the realities of the writing profession, including the daily grind, and how to treat writing like a job, dealing with rejection, editors, publishers, agents, critics, fans, and those near and dear to you. Also, how to cope with the uncertainties of the business, how to keep your writing batteries charged, and the hazards of success.

5:30 PM Women at War: Writing realistic female characters in a male-dominated occupation. Tired of seeing military women portrayed as “dudes with boobs” in your speculative fiction? Join author and United States Marine Janine K. Spendlove as she teaches you how to portray your female military characters as well… women. Aside from her 17 years of military experience (with multiple combat deployments), Janine has written (and sold) many novels and short stories with military women at heart of them, to include most recently her Star Wars story “Inbrief.”  

7 PM-9PM After Hours Writing Sprints First day of workshops are over, and you're probably brimming with new ideas. Let's get them out on paper before the weekend hits. Hosted by Alison Richards, this is a chance to bring your notebook or laptop and meet in Hanover A-B for two hours of writing sprints. Get some work done, as well as take time to mingle, meet your fellow workshoppers, and have some fun brainstorming ideas with a bunch of other writers. Go snag supper to go, and get some words down.
Saturday, September 2
10 AM Like, Love and Lust: We've said it over and over again - it is essential that all stories have some form of romance in them.  The percentage of the story depends on your plot, but writing it is not as easy at it seems.  Join novelist Alison Richards to learn the basics of how to build different kinds of relationships between characters, and the dos and don'ts on writing those passionate love scenes.

11:30 AM Better Diversity for a Better Story: The demand for writers to embrace diversity in their stories has never been greater. There are a lot of great reasons for including diverse casts and addressing legions of challenges in your stories. Perhaps the best is one of the most simple: considering and exploring diversity will make your stories better. Author and filmmaker Bryan Young will guide you on how to approach this tricky, timely subject successfully, no matter your experience at writing or the genres in which you write.

1 PM 21 Days To A Novel: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole presents his three week program for preparing yourself to write a novel. This set of 21 exercises is broken down to give you everything from character creation to world building, practical plotting devices, dialogue development and character voice creation tools. This program is a practical, kick-in-the-pants place to start your career.

2:30 PM Okay, I've Got My Idea… Working from an idea generated on the spot, author Timothy Zahn will guide the participants in laying out an entire story. We’ll construct a storyline, find the protagonists, sketch out the character arcs, play with plot twists, and point the way to a satisfying resolution.

4 PM Crafting a Short Story Telling a complete story in 7,500 words or less is easy when you create the key points in advance. This workshop will examine the fundamentals of a short story, such as: plot, point of view, setting, character, dialogue, resolution etc. Participants leave with the complete foundation for a short story of any genre, as well as the knowledge of how to find a market for their work. Presented by Chantelle Aimée Osman, author, freelance editor, and owner of A Twist of Karma Entertainment, LLC.

5:30 PM Plotting: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole unravels the mysteries of creating compelling plots. A novel is a huge undertaking, written over weeks or months, and the plot has to hold it all together. From creating an outline to maintaining flexibility, this seminar gives you the insider knowledge that will separate you from all of your peers.

Sunday, September 3
10 AM Finding The Story: New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole takes you through a series of exercises that will let you build a story from the barest spark through twists and turns. He’ll give you several story recipes and show you how you can work from them to create delightfully complex and engrossing stories.

11:30 AM The Business of Writing: Publishing in the Digital Age You've written your book and now you're ready to publish. Are you going to self-publish or submit your work to a publisher? Whatever decision you make, understanding the business of publishing in the digital age is important to controlling your destiny as an author. Ron Garner of Silence in the Library Publishing will discuss the many facets of publishing in the digital age. From the economics of publishing, through the steps of preparing a book for publishing, to the relationship between publishers and authors, Ron will lead you on a guided tour of the publishing industry. If you are interested in getting your work out to an audience, this seminar will provide you with information and tools that will help you keep a hand on the steering wheel of your professional development.

1 PM Social Media 101 for Creative People: You've heard of Facebook and Twitter, but did you know beyond checking on the lives of your friends and stalking celebrities, you can use these, and many other social websites, to help support your career? Novelist and social media expert Alison Richards will take you through the tangled jungle of networking. Learn all about the basics on how to set up professional accounts on these sites, as well as at least another dozen to showcase your work, interact with followers, and create a loyal fan base eager to know all about your next project!

2:30 PM Perfecting Your Pitch and Query Letter (novels & screenplays - interactive) Learn how to write (and deliver) the perfect elevator pitch. Most authors know how to write—until it comes to writing about themselves. We’ll go over the key points in both in-person and in-writing pitches and how to make yourself and your work attractive from the word go. Presented by Chantelle Aimée Osman, author, freelance editor, and owner of A Twist of Karma Entertainment, LLC.

4:00 PM Courage, Coercion and Conversion—the use of power in fiction All stories need conflict or they go no where. Power, be it social, political, physical or material fuels conflicts. New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole will walk you through the various types of power, identify their sources, and show you how to use them to drive and deepen the stories you tell and the worlds you create.

5:30 PM Is Your Story Ready to Sell? New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole gives you the “mission checklist” to make sure your novel is ready to publish. He’ll cover the basics from how to know if you want to do one more draft, on through how to produce and package your book for sale. If  you think you’re ready to pull the trigger on publishing, or if you want to make sure you’ve got all the pieces in place, this seminar will provide you with answers to all your questions, and some you didn’t even know you should ask.