The Writing Summit Series: A Collection of the Greatest Hits

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The Writing Summit Series: A Collection of the Greatest Hits

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A welcome message from your host, Daniel

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A few comments about the spirit of these events

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Have you ever mumbled to yourself, "I know what I want to say, but I don't know how to say it"? Of course you have. The "How" that you are missing is the style of your writing, and the style of your writing is largely determined by the structure of your sentences and paragraphs. Don Stewart will show you an amazing system to bring those crucial elements alive, by examining the best sources possible—the great authors themselves. Imagine learning how to write like J. K. Rowling, Harper Lee, David Halberstam, Malcolm Gladwell, or Tara Westover. This talk will inspire you to go back to your drafts and write infinitely better.

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Award-winning author Ira Sukrungruang offers guidance on narration and point of view in both fiction and memoir: learn about all the voices you didn't know you could write in.

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Want to see -- and try out for yourself -- examples of amazing, outrageous, show-stopping sentences? The author of How to Write Stunning Sentences and The Translator will guide us through some great examples of prose style -- and help us design our own

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Author and podcaster Sacha Black teaches us how style helps to create character. Learn how the "hero lens" and other tools can allow you to create vivid, specific characters with real personalities.

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Grammar columnist and podcaster June Casagrande will teach you to pay more attention to the words you place on the page. Learn the benefits of deliberate focus on word choice and sentence construction.

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In this talk, Jeff will help attendees rebuild their understanding of character voice, show them how to create an engaging and diverse cast of characters, and provide them with tools to use when they write.

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Here's one of the most tried and tested ways to improve your writing: what the ancients called "imitation." Daniel will explain how to create a regular practice of imitation to improve your writing skills.

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Professor Paul Butler literally wrote the book on style for writers, and here he shares his deep expertise to help you construct your own distinctive style. The talk focuses on the benefits of the "loose" style or cumulative sentence for novelists, but Paul points out half a dozen other techniques that you can use without any fancy grammatical knowledge. This interview culminates in a stylistic analysis of the recent sci fi analysis of Tasmyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, pointing out the amazing construction of Muir's sentences.

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Among short story writers, William Trevor is known as a master of point of view. His choices illustrate the power of picking the right POV for your novel. Writer and editor Julia Brown will guide us through an analysis of Trevor's great applications of POV in fiction -- and suggest ways that we might apply these techniques to our own writing.

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What are the most common POVs in contemporary fiction, and what are the benefits risks attached to each? Professor Lisa Zeidner's new book, Who Says?, offers us an insightful guide to the critical choice of POV in our fiction. In that book, she makes the bold claim that POV is more important than plot: it is through a story's narration and its shifting perspective that the reader learns to care about the plot.

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Watch Daniel's writing partner, Michael Noltemeyer, review the first draft of a new sci fi story Daniel has written. You'll watch Michael extract from that story the parts that he feels are working best on a style level, and then use those moments to design a plan for Daniel's second draft.

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Everyone knows about POV and person -- first, third, second -- but what about distance? Distance is often the most overlooked but critical element of POV.

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A conversation with Maya Deane on her highly anticipated Wrath Goddess Sing, a trans re-imagining of the legend of Achilles.

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You've heard of BookTube...but what about AuthorTube? There are hundreds of authors, both traditionally and indie/self-published, with thriving YouTube channels. YouTube is an incredible platform for writers at ANY stage in the process, whether you've just started writing your first book or you're a seasoned pro. In this talk, Michelle will explain why she believes YouTube is more effective for marketing than any other social media platform (sorry not sorry, Insta and TikTok), what she did to grow her channel to over 3,000 subscribers and 130,000 views after starting from 0 in March 2020, how to know whether starting a YouTube channel is right for you, and some transparent talk about monetizing your channel and earning a little side income (real numbers will be shared!).

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Email marketing is by far the best way to communicate with your subscribers and turn curious strangers into your number one fans. However, 'writing updates' or 'sending out a newsletter' isn't the best way to connect with your audience. In this training you'll learn: Why you being 'professional' can actually work against you in your email copy How to get people interested in you BEFORE they've read any of your work Discover the art of weaving your words so that your readers read your emails all the way to the end AND eagerly await your next instalment!

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Award-winning author Jennifer Steil talks about building her reputation and audience via writing contests: how to enter, what to look for, and how to have a better chance of winning.

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Twitter Pitch Events like #PitMad and #DVPit are ways authors are connecting with agents. But what are they and how do you get your pitch to stand out amongst thousands? I’ll talk about my own experience in how I got my agent through a Twitter Pitch Contest and show you a formula to make your pitch memorable to agents.

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​After I finished writing my strange little gothic novel, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching the best way to publish it. What I found is that the current model—publishing through a Big Four publishing house—is not the best option. Publishing houses are looking for one thing: books that are going to sell more than 100,000 copies and generate them a profit as a result, but only 0.01 percent of books do that each year. By far the more likely thing is to sell less than 10,000 copies, and 96 percent of books do that every year. But somewhere in the middle lies a sweet spot: books that sell between 1,000 and 100,000 copies—that are loved by a small but devoted few. That might not sell enough to make it in the big world of publishing contracts and screenplay options, but could sell enough to be profitable—if only creator economy technologies are used. After all, it only takes 1,000 fans spending $8/month to earn a living of $100,000/year. In this session, I'm going to talk about platforms that could disrupt the publishing industry—like Substack, Patreon, Wattpad, and Kindle Vella—where writers can build a following for their work and then monetize it by allowing readers to subscribe to their book as they are writing it. After all, some of my favorite novels were written as serials—including my beloved The Count of Monte Cristo—and they were wildly successful. Let's bring serial novels back, and earn a better living while we're at it.

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Are you nervous about getting your stories in front of editors? Prolific fiction writer and poet Jonathan Duckworth will talk about researching, organising, and keeping up your submission process. He discusses red flags to watch out for, mental traps to avoid, and ways to find the perfect publication for your latest story.

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Does developing a readership from scratch sound like a daunting endeavor? The process doesn't have to be as painful as you might think. In this session, author and creative writing mentor Kristen Kieffer of Well-Storied.com will break down: • The four cornerstones of a successful author platform • How (and why!) authors should use an email list to gauge the strength of their readership • The simple automated system that authors can implement to cultivate new readers on autopilot With a little patience and persistence, these foundational book marketing strategies can help you connect with your first 100 readers, sell more books, and ultimately begin to thrive in your career (or side hustle) as a self-published author!

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One powerful technique for email newsletters: a welcome sequence (four or five emails that go out automatically when people sign up). Daniel will show you how to teach new subscribers about your writing project, book, or interests -- via a free "mini-course" that goes out automatically to every new email subscriber.

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During my 20+ years as a small-press editor, I have learned much about the soliciting, editing, publishing, and promoting sides of the literary world, and I have found that there has been one constant to the folks whose books sell best--strong literary citizenship. Whether it's promoting others' work on social media, writing book reviews, attending readings, or working with presses and literary journals, giving back to the community is rewarding in numerous ways. In this discussion, we'll be talking about ways that you can excel at being a good literary citizen and how that can help to further your network of readers and supporters.

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Have you ever considered becoming a freelance writer? Or perhaps you've already dabbled in it and you're wanting to make it a full-time gig? Austin L. Church finished his Master’s in Creative Writing, got a job at a marketing agency, and got laid off. He became a freelancer overnight but quickly discovered that freelancing gave him more freedom and a higher income. He has consistently made six figures as a freelance writer and brand strategist. He now splits his time between client work and coaching other freelancers. In this Q&A Session with Daniel David Wallace, Austin shares practical tips for getting writing clients, charging more, and carving out more time for his own writing and passion projects.

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Hiring experts to help you out in the various stages of your author journey is key. However, there is no 'one-size-fits-all'. Where is your money best spent when you are just starting out? And whom should you hire if you already make a decent income from your books? In this talk, Brian Berni shares his experience working with hundreds of writers, giving you tips, saving you money and ultimately pointing you in the right direction!

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This will be a craft-based talk, detailing the following: 1) how to craft your story's hero as an evolving version of you, 2) how to select story-worthy material from your own life (and exclude material without regret), 3) how to shape a page-turning plot, and 4) how to make every life-to-fiction decision for "the good of the story" After we discuss craft, I'll offer some mindset exercises to help you step confidently into your roles as both AUTHOR and the story's HERO!

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The Art of Close Reading (Reading Like a Writer) and the Importance of Small Details

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Plotting it important, but only if readers can't guess what's going to happen next. It's critical to remove key information and avoid backstory infodumps that bore readers, while keeping tension high. But with these simple rules, you'll be able to create a page-turner and keep readers hooked in every scene.

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If you don't earn the story events that come late within scenes, chapters, or your novel, readers will be pulled out of your story and have the impression that it is contrived or forced. In this session, we'll learn the essentials of "earning" story events so that your payoffs are surprising but inevitable. Handouts available here: https://www.stormwritingschool.com/plot-summit/

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Frank H Jordan chats with Daniel about his action adventure series featuring Aussie heroine and ex-special forces soldier, Jo Modeen. The Brits have James Bond, America has Jack Reacher, and Australia has Josephine Dakota Modeen.

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A good way to create a multi-layered and nuanced narrative is to tell it from more than one point of view. Different POVs can clash, or compensate for each other's blindspots, or reveal a hidden facet. I'll describe techniques for making sure your different POVs actually do feel different. I'll also discuss why multi-POV fiction just might save the world.

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Writers generally worry a lot about not boring the reader; instead, we should worry more about not confusing the reader. It is far easier to leave a reader unsure what is happening than most craft guides suggest. Here's how to design a great chapter for your novel that will keep your reader on board.

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Many writers are their own worst bosses: bullying themselves, full of criticism and inflexible standards. What if we instead could re-connect with the joy and discovery with which we began the writing journey? This session will give you practical tips on how to be a better manager of your own writing life.

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Four-act structure, three-act structure, the Hero's Journey, Save the Cat--all are excellent tools for structuring your plot. But here's a little-known secret: You really can't know WHAT happens in your novel until you know WHY it happens, and that deep "why" is a function of character arc. In this class, participants will learn how to use the protagonist's internal journey to structure, develop, and troubleshoot their novel's plot--and, in the process, develop a story that's not only propulsive, from the first page to the last, but meaningful as well

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Level up your speculative fiction with the mystery writer's toolbox. This session will teach you how to create tightly plotted, twisty genre fiction with strong central driving action by identifying and deconstructing great mystery subplots.

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Hey there, fellow scribe! Have you ever worried that readers will saddle your novel with a DNF (Did Not Finish)? It’s one of the worst outcomes for a writer. Fortunately, there are different storytelling tools you can use to avoid this—like structure and stakes. But…these powerhouse tools hinge on something else. Something basic: the plot (specifically your protagonist’s goal and the actions your protagonist takes to achieve this goal). Even though plot is a storytelling basic, it’s easy to go astray—and end up with a story that lacks a strong foundation, forward momentum, and narrative drive. In other words…a story that readers won’t want to finish. But fear not, writer friend. With the simple strategies shared in this presentation, you will know how to develop the plot in a way that will keep readers where you want them—glued to your pages! Can’t wait to see you there, H. R. D’Costa Story Structure + Stakes Expert from scribemeetsworld.com

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You have to outline a mystery in advance, right? You can't just start writing and see what happens? Well, in this engaging session, mystery writer Michelle Schusterman teaches a character-based approach to building an organic plot: no outlines required.

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Genius writer Maurice Ruffin talks about using narration to keep the pace and passage of time moving in your stories.

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About the teacher

Daniel

The host of these summits. 

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