Classes2020-03-12T21:45:42+00:00

Classes

The schedule will be revised to reflect the October dates once those have been finalized.

(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.

New for 2020

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP

How to Sell 1000 Books in Three Months.

This class will show authors how to increase the sales of their books through savvy marketing techniques. Susan sold over 5000 copies of her book, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, in fourteen months. In this workshop, Susan will teach the strategies she used in the pre-publication foundation and post-publication marketing strategies, so your book sales will soar.
Taught by Susan U. Neal. Cost $50.

Wednesday 2:30pm – 4:45pm

Laurel Blount

Help! I’m stuck! How to get your story moving again.  (Workshop)

Are you a procrastinator when it comes to your writing? Does your inner perfectionist have a stranglehold on your creativity? Are negative thoughts and self-doubt crippling your progress? Come to this workshop and learn some creative and practicalmethods to chisel through writer’s block and rev up your productivity! You’ll leave with a personalized set of strategies specifically designed to keep you—and your story—moving forward.

Thursday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Room 249)

Crafting Newsletters Your Readers Will Love

Sending out a regular author newsletter can be a fun and effective way to build strong connections with your readers. Getting people to subscribe is only the beginning—you also have to keep ‘em clicking! Whether you’re juststarting up a newsletter or scouting for ways to take yours to the next level, this class can help.We’ll discuss some tried-and-true techniques and brainstorm new ways to spark interest among your readers!

Friday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Lounge)

Tessa Emily Hall

How to Sell Your Book to an Agent: What to Do and What to Avoid – (Workshop)  New for 2020

It’s no easy feat to attract the attention of a literary agent, especially when it seems as though they’re searching for a reason to reject your manuscript. (Which isn’t a far stretch from the truth!) How can your submission stand out in the midst of an agent’s slush pile? What you can you do to avoid having your submission deleted as soon as the agent opens your email? Come to this workshop and discover how you can increase your chances of signing with a literary agent.

Thursday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Room 249)

YA Christian Fiction: What Teens Really Want to Hear—and What They Don’t – (Workshop)  New for 2020

Books are powerful tools when it comes to reaching lost youth. However, teens aren’t searching for a sermon when they pick up a novel; they’re seeking a story and escapism. In this workshop, Tessa will discuss how you can deliver a story that appeals to the heart of youth, all the while avoiding major pitfalls that YA Christian fiction writers tend to make.

Friday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Room 249)

Bob Hostetler

Put Your Best Foot Forward (Workshop, B/I)   New for 2020

A writer’s “bio” is an important part of nearly everything we show to a prospective agent, editor, publisher, or reader. But how do we write a great bio that will garner sales without bragging, lying, or sounding lame?

Part 1: Thursday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Assembly Room)
Part 2: Friday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Assembly Room)

Ten Simple Exercises to Improve Your Craft (Workshop, B/I)   New for 2020

A highly practical session prescribing self-editing exercises to help writers develop themselves into craftsmen.

Thursday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Assembly Room)

Should I Self-Publish or Not?  (Workshop, B/I)   New for 2020

Self-publishing is readily available these days but jumping in to self-publishing too quickly—or for the wrong reasons—could become your Achilles heel as your career progresses. This class covers the realities, options, and expectations of self-publishing today, wrong and right reasons to self-publish, what to know and how to do it.

Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Assembly Room)

Proposals that Sell Your Books – Everything you need to know to make your proposal perfect (Continuing Class) New for 2020

This three-day continuing class will take you step-by-step through all the parts of a proposal. From cover letter to synopsis and everything in between, we will talk about the elements of a proposal and how to put them together. The first two days will be instruction (and homework!). The third day will be hands-on — taking each piece of the puzzle you’ve acquired the first two days and constructing a proposal. Bring your book idea (both fiction and non-fiction) and you will have a proposal drafted at the end of the class.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10:30am – 11:45am   (Assembly Room)

Susan King

Writing Great Queries (Workshop)  (New for 2020)

First impressions are everything.  For many magazines, the query is your first —and last — chance to seal the deal.  Come learn the mechanics of writing queries that will have editors lining up to publish what you write.

Friday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Room 247)

The Unique Potential of Poetry  (Workshop)    (New for 2020)

If the shorter the work, the greater the craftsmanship required, then writing excellent poetry is the greatest possible challenge, and mastering this skill will strengthen our prose as well.

This session is designed for those who love poetry and would like to start writing it and for those who have started but haven’t yet published.We’ll talk about what poetry can do better than any other genre, how to tell good poetry from bad, and how to make sure that the poetry we write is excellent.

Thursday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Room 247)

Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message – Part 1 of 2  (Workshop)    (New for 2020)

Editors, writers, and publishers all acknowledge that writing devotionals is one of the best possible disciplines a writer could have.  Most devotionals are very short, and editors expect much from those few words.

But beyond mastering—and continuing to exercise—the skill of writing tight, devotional writers also benefit from the great spiritual discipline this genre provides.  After all, connecting God’s Word to the experiences of our lives is what Christians should be doing every day.  So why not learn how to write about this connection and then submit your piece to one of dozens of devotional magazines that publish freelance devotionals?

Thursday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Lounge)

Turning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message – Part 2 of 2  (Workshop)    (New for 2020)

Editors, writers, and publishers all acknowledge that writing devotionals is one of the best possible disciplines a writer could have.  Most devotionals are very short, and editors expect much from those few words.

But beyond mastering—and continuing to exercise—the skill of writing tight, devotional writers also benefit from the great spiritual discipline this genre provides.  After all, connecting God’s Word to the experiences of our lives is what Christians should be doing every day.  So why not learn how to write about this connection and then submit your piece to one of dozens of devotional magazines that publish freelance devotionals?

Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Lounge)

Julie Lavender

Writing for Guideposts Magazine – (Workshop)  New for 2020

Wanna write inspiring, true stories for Guideposts Magazine and have your words join other pages that have been read by millions of people for the past seventy years? Come learn tips and techniques for getting your story accepted for Guideposts Magazine and other Guideposts publications by Guideposts contributor Julie Lavender.

Thursday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Lounge)

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! – (Workshop)  New for 2020

Have you ever dreamed of seeing your byline on the front page of a newspaper? More than 1300 daily newspapers and other weekly ones fly off the presses in the wee hours of the morning, and your local newspaper needs fresh content with every issue! With that necessity for constant content, breaking into newspaper writing is often easier than getting other writing gigs, and you can build writing credits quickly. Find out how to write for newspapers and how to share faith-based, God-stories in the pages of your local paper and earn valuable writing credits along the way!

Friday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Room 247)

Jill Lord

Picture Book Secrets – (Continuing Class, 3 Sessions)  New for 2020

In Jill’s classes, you’ll learn how to turn your fabulous children’s story into a publishable children’s book! We’ll discuss the basics of picture books, the methods of lay-out, how to add sparkle/gusto to your story, how to write query letters, one sheets, and the all-important children’s book proposal. If you want to get your children’s book published, then you need to know the secrets to impress an editor and get your stories noticed.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10:30am – 11:45am    (Lounge)

Rhythm and Rhyme Workshop – (Workshop)  New for 2020

The only thing worse than writing bad rhymes is reading bad rhymes. Nothing makes a children’s editor cringe more than having to sift through bad rhymes. Jill’s class will teach the science of rhythm and the art of rhyme so that verses come out perfect every time.

If you want to write in rhythm and you want to write in rhyme.
There’re secrets you should know so that it’s perfect every time.
So, if this is your passion and it’s all you want to do
Then slip into Jill’s class for a fun rhyming rendezvous!

Thursday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Room 249)

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, Friday, Saturday 7:00am – 7:30am  (Lounge)

PRE-CONFERENCE PROPOSAL WORKSHOP

How to Sell 1000 Books in Three Months   New for 2020

This class will show authors how to increase the sales of their books through savvy marketing techniques. Susan sold over 5000 copies of her book, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, in fourteen months. In this workshop, Susan will teach the strategies she used in the pre-publication foundation and post-publication marketing strategies, so your book sales will soar.  Cost $50.

Wednesday 2:30pm – 4:45pm  (Lounge)

Kim Vogel Sawyer

A Novel Idea (Workshop)  New for 2020

Story writing is taking a character through a series of cause and effect events that change him in some way. Story ideas grow from inspiration and imagination, and the writing is the “work” part of the process. This workshop will explore techniques that strengthen one’s writing for more relatable characters, deeper emotion, and greater reader impact.

Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Room 247)

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.

Friday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Assembly Room)

Kathi Macias

James Watkins

Correctly Handling the Word in Writing (Continuing Class)  New for 2020

Learn tools to accurately present the true meaning of Scripture in your manuscripts, as well as tips for reaching the general market with God’s truth, taught by an ordained minister who has won nine industry awards in using God’s Word in both the Christian and general markets.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10:30am – 11:45am  (Chapel)

A Lexicon of Literary Lingo  (Workshop, B/I)  New for 2020

Lexicon n. the special vocabulary of a particular field. Literary n. writing with high artistic qualities Lingo n. words and phrases one group understands, but that outsiders might not. So, learn about rights, POVs, headers, galleys, kickers, kill fees, bleeding in the gutter, etc.

Thursday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Room 247)

Denise Weimer

Historical Fiction Research Techniques: Creating a Frame for Your Character’s Story (Workshop)  New for 2020

Research tips for all genres, but especially historicals that will provide a strong framework for your fiction.

  • Using traditional channels (print, interview, and internet)
  • Saturation/immersion
  • Making your research easy to visualize and consult
  • Sprinkling in real history
  • Creating characters
  • Speech, language, and writing style

Thursday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Lounge)

Creating Heroes Readers Fall For: Building and Relating from the Male POV  (Workshop)  New for 2020

We all know men think, speak, and act differently from women, but are we as authors successfully capturing that in our writing? If we want our readers to find our hero believable, much less swoon over him, hours of research and planning should happen before he ever sets a boot on the page.

I. Building a Hero:

  • Research
  • Back story
  • Internal goals
  • External goals
  • His tools

II. Relating a Hero:

  • The way he thinks
  • The way he speaks
  • The way he feels
  • Romantic conflict
  • Leave room for the unexpected

Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm  (Room 249)

Writing Novellas (Workshop)  New for 2020

Fully-developed characters and plot lines with a satisfying conclusion in only 25K words.

Friday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Room 249)

Lenora Worth

Emotional Suspense  (Workshop, B/I)  New for 2020

Emotional Suspense is the quiet suspense that needs to be set up from the first scene of your story. It’s not about chasing bad guys or blowing up buildings. Emotional suspense involves the conflict needed to keep your story moving, even in quiet books that are all about relationships rather than thriller-type action and suspense. Suspense is needed in stories to keep the reading in the story. We’ll talk about how to set this up and why it’s so important in making your stories strong and exciting.

Thursday 3:45pm – 4:45pm  (Room 247)

The Twelve Step Program to Writing a Book  (Workshop, B/I)  New for 2020

Getting a book written and published is a long, tough process but we’ll discuss this process from beginning to end and go over some of the best tools to help. Let’s get you started on having a complete book written over the next year!

Friday 1:15pm – 2:15pm  (Lounge)

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