Classes 2018-04-23T17:06:05+00:00

2018 Classes (subject to change)


At Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Retreat, we offer fiction and nonfiction continuing classes and workshops. A continuing class runs three days, with new material  each day. Workshops are one or two days.

Our classes are designated at different levels so you can choose the right one for yourself. A beginner’s class (B) is for new writers who are getting started or want to learn more about a topic. An intermediate class (I) is for writers who have some experience and desire to hone their craft or learn more about a particular area of writing. An advanced class (A) is for experienced writers who are published and furthering their careers.

You may register for classes when you check in on Wednesday.

Michelle Adams

Writing for Children Bootcamp (Continuing Class, B/I)

From getting started to getting published to getting the word out about your children’s book, we’ll cover it all! It will be high energy, non-stop fun—and Michelle promises to bring the chocolate!

*The many different types of children’s books—from board books to picture books to middle grade fiction—and where your story fits best, as well as non-fiction versus fiction.
*The “make or break it” building blocks that your story must have to keep an editor’s attention and a child’s enthusiasm.
*The process—from idea to finished story…
*The myths and truths of children’s writing, answering those lingering questions you’ve been dying to ask, like, “Do I need an agent?”
*The various venues for your children’s stories—from magazines to websites to anthologies to curriculum to library books.
*The best ways to format your board and picture books for successful submissions, as well as the keys to building a killer book proposal for your tween and teen fiction and non-fiction books.
*The elements of an intriguing query letter and the most effective ways to get your foot in the door with publishers today.
*Finding great article/book ideas and what to do with those genius ideas once you have them…
*Methods for marketing your published children’s book(s) once you enter “The Published Author World.” (Getting TV interviews, newspaper articles, celebrity endorsements, etc.)

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 3-5, 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson

Fiction Practicum
 (Continuing Class, I/A)

Limited to eight fiction writers.

Eva Marie uses her love of leading others to mentor conferees on a one-on-one basis. This ongoing class looks at first pages, opening chapters, character arcs, plot dynamics, dialogue, self-editing, and proper formatting. Participants will glean skills in critique and its value they will use long after the conference ends. You must email Eva Marie at with “Blue Lake Fiction Track” in the subject line. You will receive information about what to bring a couple of weeks before the retreat.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 3-5, 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Some People Walk Into A Room: The Importance of the Senses in Writing (Workshop, B/I)

Abstract is fine in art, but detail is necessary in writing. In this active, hands-on workshop, Eva Marie discusses the five senses and their connection to each other, and–with one line “some people walk into a room”–helps the class develop a descriptive scene and, quite possibly, a story to build on.

Thursday, May 3, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

The Power of the Self-Edit (Workshop, B/I/A)

What is self-editing? How is it different than proofing? What are the most common mistakes writers make when it comes to their own work? And how do you “kill” your babies when you love them all? In this workshop, Eva Marie uses her 21 years of editing work to show the power of the self-edit while pointing out those most common mistakes and what really happens when we “kill our babies.”

Friday, May 4, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Bob Hostetler

Your Best Book Now! (Workshop, B/I)

Two part workshop about  conceiving, crafting, completing—and selling—the best nonfiction book(s) you’ve got in you.

Part 1: Thursday, May 3 – 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Part 2: Friday, May 4 – 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Susan King

How to Become a Best-selling Author writing Devotions and Articles (Continuing Class, B/I)

It’s not hard cover and you’re not the only author on those pages, but when a magazine publishes your work, you reach thousands more people with your message than most books do—and with a much faster turnaround time. This class will focus on analyzing magazine and devotional markets and writing and marketing your non-fiction devotions and articles.

Typically, the shorter the piece, the harder it is to write. And publishers expect much from the 250-word length of a typical devotional. The practice of writing devotionals also provides great spiritual discipline. After all, connecting God’s Word to the experiences of our lives is what Christians should be doing every day. So why not write about this connection and publish for a magazine likeThe Upper Room that reaches millions of readers worldwide?

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 3-5, 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Making it Look Easy: Achieving Writing Excellence Workshop  (Workshop, B/I )

Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors?  Do you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and then clamoring for anything you might propose to write in the future?

A crash course in the essential elements of good style for any genre, this workshop focuses on the essentials for writing for any market. Readers don’t care what you write if they can’t tolerate how is it written.  They’ll just stop reading because it’s the easiest thing for a reader to do. It’s certainly easier than trying to plow through poorly written material. Participants will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will broadcast to editors and readers alike that they are consummate professionals.

Friday, May 4, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Susan Neal

“Rise and Shine with Scripture Yoga™, a great way to start your day!”

Scripture Yoga™ is a Christ-centered alternative to secular yoga where theme-based Bible verses are recited while participants hold a yoga pose. In fact, it is like a mini-Bible study. Meditating on verses while in the postures creates a very tranquil time for God to penetrate one’s heart so you can hear from him. Finally, you are away from all the distractions of life and in His presence.

 This is a beginner yoga class that anyone can perform. If you can’t get on the floor, pull up a chair and do the postures in a seated position. Seniors love my class because it improves their flexibility. Taking care of the glorious body God gave you allows God to be honored and glorified in a personal way.

Thursday, May 3, 7:00 am to 7:30 am
Friday, May 4, 7:00 am to 7:30 am
Saturday, May 5, 7:00 am to 7:30 am

Kim Vogel Sawyer

Building A Strong Story Foundation (Fiction Continuing Class, B/I/A)

Part 1  Characters That Walk Off the Page (Into Your Reader’s Heart)—Gingerbread men are wonderful treats at Christmastime, but no reader wants to find cookie-cutter characters in a story. Participants will explore the elements needed to bring characters to life on the page and will practice using their own works-in-progress as the basis for study.

Part 2  Plotting for Seat-of-the-Pants Writers—A seat-of-the-pants writer enjoys the surprise of creation (who knows what will happen next?), but the downside of such writing is that it’s easy to write yourself into a corner. By employing a few simple techniques of planning roadblocks involving all three story threads, a map guides the SOTP-er to a satisfying conclusion for both writer and reader.

Part 3  Settings That Live and Breathe—A writer’s goal is to transport the reader into his story world. Creating a setting that is as rich and real as the characters provides this experience. Writers will examine their current work for sensory imaging and work together with the facilitator to build in the sights, sounds, scents, textures, and emotions that bring the setting to life on the page.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 3-5, 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Building a Professional Speaking Ministry— (Fiction and Nonfiction workshop)

Writing and speaking often go hand-in hand, but on what topics should a writer speak? How much should he charge? How often should he schedule speaking events? These questions and more, including how to stay on the right side of the IRS, are addressed in this practical, thought-provoking workshop that guides the writer in connecting more intimately with his readers.

Thursday, May 3, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Weaving the Spiritual Thread (workshop B/I/A)

Christian fiction is expected to include a spiritual thread, but no reader wants the story stopped so the author can preach a sermon. This workshop examines ways to weave in spiritual elements so they become an integral part of the story’s fabric without overpowering the plot or characters.

Friday, May 4, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Connie Stevens

Connie Stevens

Seize the “What If?” (Fiction Workshop, B/I)

Brainstorming your story—where do you begin? Start by asking questions and creating circumstances to twist your plot, layer the threads, and complicate your characters’ lives.

Thursday, May 3, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Fire the Narrator (Fiction Workshop, B/I)

Take Showing vs Telling one step further. Whose story is it? Weed out that pesky narrator’s voice and let your characters tell their own story. Get a grasp on how to focus the narrative portion of your story into the POV of one character, and dive into the deep feelings, emotions, attitudes, and responses of that character.

Friday, May 4, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Kathi Macias

James Watkins

Three Things Today’s Book Author Must Have: Part 1 and 2 (Workshop, B/I)

In today’s publishing world, a book author must have a “brand,” a “platform” and an “online presence.” This two-part session will demystify these terms and provide practical ways to develop these essential tools for the would-be book author.

Part 1: Thursday, May 3, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Part 2: Friday, May 4, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Just Added
Lenora Worth

From Dream to Reality: How to Have a Steady, Successful Career Writing Category Romantic Fiction and Suspense.  (Workshop, B/I)

Bestselling inspirational writer Lenora Worth will discuss how she made her dream to become a published writer come true and how she’s managed to maintain a successful writing career for twenty five years. Learn tips from an experienced commercial fiction author who writes for both traditional and Indie markets, from writing a query letter to sending in a proposal to finishing a complete manuscript and on to writing a multi-book contract proposal. Tips on what publishers are looking for and how to target your writing market. Bring your questions and we’ll discuss the answers.

Thursday, May 3, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

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