pens

This event includes workshops for Aspiring, Active and Accomplished writers of fiction and nonfiction. Each topic offers an educational and inspirational experience in a stream of learning that progresses all week. This methodology allows you to participate and learn at a comfortable level and speed with peers of similar interests and disciplines. We always strive to update and improve the schedule based on the availability of the best educators, agents, editors, publishers, and best-selling authors.

Register Now!Before the conference, attendees will receive a coded password to access the final program and "Link to Event" page for the virtual meeting or webinar.

2021 Expanded Program/Schedule: Rather than the typical multi-track event with workshops concurrently opposite each other, this virtual event will present the program in a consecutive manner. Instead of being limited to attend only of 1/4 of the event, you will be able to attend virtually
everything from February 26-28 + March 01, 02 , 03, 04, 05, 06.

More New Topics • More Speakers • More Agents and Publishers!

February 26 through yesterday's topics and dates
are no longer visible to decrease scrolling time...

Friday February 26, 2021

6:00
(PDT)

How to Use Zoom Technology for the Virtual Conference

A live, interactive tutorial to help you enjoy the conference to its fullest. Learn how to personalize Zoom for the event, and ask questions.


Nic Nelson

Virtual Events Manager

Click to Link to Event

7:00 pm

Welcome and Opening Remarks

And how you can thrive and benefit from this event.


Tony N Todaro
Executive Director

Click to Link to Event

7:30

Writing in the Time of a Pandemic:
What's an Author to Do?

A live conversation with famed literary agent, Ken Sherman, and Executive Director, Tony N Todaro. They will discuss the issues that writers have faced over the last year, and the opportunities for success in 2021 and beyond.

Andy Ross
Ken Sherman

 

Click to Link to Event
Saturday February 27, 2021

8:00 am
(PDT)

Writers Digital Coffee Klatch

A very popular event at our conferences is the opportunity to gather with popular author / editor / educator Howard Hendrix for a round-table discussion + Q&A on the craft of writing. Even though we are meeting virtually, attendees can still participate in this popular event, updated into a coffee klatch. Just click up the link and have a leisurely coffee and networking discussion.


Howard Hendrix

 

Click to Link to Event

9:30

Saturday Orientation and update

Yes, the world can change in a day. So can topics and speakers. Join us for the latest info to help make your event experience the most informative, educational, and enjoyable.

Tony N Todaro &
Event Officials

Click to Link to Event

10:00 

How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher
 You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more?

This panel of agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later any day at the conference.

Sue Arroyo
Paul S. Levine
Steven Hutson
Ken Sherman

Special Guests

Tony N Todaro(M)

 

 

Click to Link to Event

11:45

Wake the Story that Slumbers Inside You

Everyone has a story to tell, but very few actually write it down. In this session, we’ll explore why readers read and writers write and how this creates that wondrous realm where stories come to life. This is not quite a session on craft, although we will be talking about the elements that go into successful storytelling. Instead, this session is meant to offer inspiration and guidance to those who may not trust their ideas or even their desire to tell/write a story. It is meant to assure those who are writers at heart but not (yet) by trade that yes, writing is worthwhile, that success comes in many ways and shapes and forms. It is meant to celebrate our craft. It is meant to honor the process rather than bow to results. For only if we cherish and enjoy the process is quality achievable. Write on!


Helga Schier

(Spotlight Presentation)

Click to Link to Event

1:00 pm

 Finding the Heart of Your Story by Shaping Your Original Idea

This session will help attendees explore the most basic – yet most important – element of the writing craft, the original idea that is the essence of your story. We will first examine how generating this original idea works for both fiction and non-fiction. We will deep-dive into where original ideas come from and then progress to how to shape that kernel of an idea into novel, narrative non-fiction, or even a screenplay.

Attendees will be provided with Online access to workshop material.


George Galdorisi

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

2:15

The Art of Writing Great Historical Fiction

When you’re embarking on a new journey, there’s no greater asset than those who have walked the same path before you. Learn from those who have experienced the same worries and doubts, faced the same challenges, navigated the same tricky questions, and ultimately made a success of it.

Daniel C. Lorti
Deanna Brady
Madeline Sharples
Sarah Adams
Courtney Miller-Callihan

Diana Giovinazzo Tierney(M)
Click to Link to Event

3:30

 

Your Book as a Calling Card:
Branding Yourself with Your Book

A panel discussion with professionals who use their book as a calling card to introduce people to their business or professional work. Topics include establishing oneself as an expert and the benefits of enhancing one’s brand with a book. The session will also cover the ins and outs of writing such a book, using your book as a lead magnet for new business, and advice for those considering writing a calling-card book.

Dr. Janet Bond Brill, Cardiovascular nutritionist, award-winning author, health and fitness expert

Patrice Brown, Mental health counselor, founder of The Confident Fat Girl’s Movement and author

Nancy J. Hite, Certified financial planner, fiduciary, and author of The Retirement Mirage: Time to Think Differently

Bert Sarkkinen, Founder Arrow Timber, speaker and author of The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing

Debra Eckerling (M) , Author of Your Goal Guide, speaker, and founder of The D*E*B Method and Write On Online

 

 

 

Click to Link to Event

4:45

World Building: Are you ready to play God?

Many Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors want to create interesting stories but have no idea what it takes to create the world around their storyline. This panel helps authors bring their ideas into a full blown well created world around their characters. Some topics include where to begin with the storyboard and characters. Then how to put a world together so the author and reader have a cohesive story. We go through steps to building a long term solution to keeping the built world to be a believable entity.

Christopher Paniccia
Chrome Oxide
Sarah Joy Adams
Laurel Anne Hill
Armen Pogharian

Dennis Cherry (M)

Click to Link to Event

6:00

Plotting vs. Pantsing 

Are you a plotter: a cold, calculating, strategist who doesn’t type a single word without considering the far-reaching implications of every syllable.

Or are you a panster: a free spirit who discover the story and characters as you write. They have no use for the stifling confines of outlines and notes. Writing is art, and art is best explored with pure freedom, with no regard for general narrative structure or a coherent plot.

Have you ever outlined a story in such detail, you no longer have any interest in writing it? Or have you wandered into your manuscript with no particular destination in mind only to wind up in a swamp? Enter The Plot Menu, a solution to produce the best story, including:

  • The basics of the Three Act Structure
  • A quick tip for putting the right character in the right story
  • How to use character arc + story structure to plot tent-poll scenes
  • How to use The Plot Menu, to keep your story on track

Learn how to use what works best for you from this veteran duo.

Greta Boris
Megan Haskell

 

 

 

Click to Link to Event

7:15 - ?

Read and Critique Workshop - Fiction & Non-Fiction

Would you like feedback on your work additional to the quick pitch meeting? What is it like to work with a critique group of good, focused writers?

This is an opportunity for registered attendees to participate in a live, impromptu, editing of their work-in-progress. Fuel up on caffeine, drink and words, and join us for Renegade Late Night Read & Critique.  It is an amazing creative experience — not to be missed.

Have a few pages of your manuscript to read and share, and enjoy the feedback exchange!

Attendees (YOU)

Wayne Welde (M)

 

 

 

 

Click to Link to Event
Sunday February 28, 2021

9:45

Orientation and update

Join us for the latest info to help make your event experience the most informative, educational, and enjoyable.

Tony N Todaro
& Event Officials

Click to Link to Event

10:00 

How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher
 You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more?

This panel of agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later any day at the conference.

Helga Schier
Courtney Miller-Callihan
Sherry Glasser
Toni Robino
Elizabeth Kracht

Tony N Todaro(M)

 

Click to Link to Event

11:45

Structure, Structure, Structure:
How Mastering Story Structure can help you Write Faster, avoid Writer's Block, and make your Writing Look Pro

What separates good novels from bad? What turns a page-turner into a snoozer? What turns your protagonist from someone readers deeply care about to someone they couldn't care less about? Oftentimes the reason boils down to lack of story structure and proven formula elements that could have been easily incorporated if only the writer knew. But where is borderline between your story having proper structure versus seeming formulaic? All of these questions will be explored through the course of the webinar, and by the end, you'll have a firm grasp of story structure that will help push your story forward whenever it feels stuck in a rut. In addition, you'll be clued into tips and tricks that will make your characters come to life like never before. First you must master the structure before you can break it! 


Howard Hendrix

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

1:00 pm

How to Make Your Characters Come Alive!

What is similar about the treatment of such diverse characters as Hans Solo, Ladybird, King Lear, Sherlock Holmes, and Anna Karenina?  They all experience tests, personal challenges, and character shifts through strong decision-making. Working with your own stories, this workshop will help you use such elements to help you create vivid, active characters. We will study models in literature, TV, and film to help you revise and reconceive elements in your own work. 

Please bring a brief story outline so we can better understand and utilize these active writing tools.

 


John Henry Davis 

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

2:15

Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I First Started Writing

Becoming a writer and then a published author is a steep, steep learning curve. Even for those with prior experience and previously published books, the rapidly changing landscape of the industry means you can easily make mistakes; in your writing, pitching, marketing and certainly when it comes to finding and signing a deal with a publisher or entering the shark-infested waters of the self-publishing pool. The aim of this session is to keep you safe, strong and smart as you progress in your work and career. 

(We cover this topic regularly, each time with new authors and voices of professionals.)

Deanna Brady
Brandie June
Chrome Oxide
Neil V. Young (M)


 

Click to Link to Event

3:30

The Secrets Behind Every Successful Novel

While there is no one-size-fits-all for writing a successful novel – one that people will pay to read – there are some commonsense steps that that majority of successful writers use to ensure success. While some have written and published novels without using a mental checklist to follow these rules, they likely did follow them, they just didn’t do it deliberately or consciously. Some writers may completely ignore these best-practices, but they do so at their peril.


George Galdorisi

(Spotlight Presentation)

Click to Link to Event

4:45

Short Stories for Fun and Profit

"The last man on Earth hears a knock on the door." Most skills you need to write your novel/trilogy/series can be developed while working on shorter pieces.Writing short stories is the best place to perfect your craft and start your career as an author. Whether it's a high school column, or an epic fantasy short, it's important. Listen and learn from these veterans as they discuss what worked for them, and figure out what works for you. You can also earn money, fame and fortune in the process.

Laurel Anne Hill
Chrome Oxide
Gary Phillips

 

Click to Link to Event

6:00

Read and Critique Workshop - Fiction & Non-Fiction

Would you like feedback on your work additional to the quick pitch meeting? What is it like to work with a critique group of good, focused writers?

This is an opportunity for registered attendees to participate in a live editing of their work-in-progress. Fuel up on caffeine, drink and words, and join us for Renegade Late Night Read & Critique.  It is an amazing creative experience — not to be missed.

Have a few pages of your manuscript to read and share, and enjoy the feedback exchange!

Attendees (YOU)

Katherine N. Friedman (M)

 

 

 

 

Click to Link to Event
Various days & Times 1 on-1 Pitch Meets with Agents, Scouts, Editors, and Publishers

Subject to
individual
availability

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. Consult the wcwriters.com website for details.

We recommend you attend the "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professionals for your individual genre and work.

Reserve an appointment
by calling the
"1-on-1 Desk"
at 310.379.2650

Meetings are held via Zoom or phone
in confidence.

Monday March 01, 2021

5:00 pm
(PDT)

Crafting Villains Readers Love and Heroes They Hate
(or An Author's Guide to Understanding Great Villains and Antagonists)

Heroes aren’t always good and villains aren’t always evil. Understanding the nuances of both can lead to incredibly memorable characters guaranteed to attract a dedicated fan base. “Evil” comes in more shapes and sizes than you might realize! Andy Peloquin dissects a list of all the classic villain and antagonists types to help inspire writers to craft thrilling new characters for their stories. Learn how to make the enemies your heroes face truly memorable.

Andy Peloquin
Andy Peloquin

(Spotlight Presentation)

Click to Link to Event

6:15

Ask The Lawyer

Avoid costly mistakes and legal errors. Bring your literature-related legal questions to this Literary Legal Potpourri, "Ask The Lawyer". Publishing and IP lawyer Greg Victoroff, Esq. www.victoroff-law.com will provide answers to legal questions related to writing and publishing in a one hour question and answer session covering all aspects of contracts, copyrights, collaboration, and related subjects. Attendees should come prepared with concise questions.

Due to the group Zoom format, questions and answers are not confidential and confidentiality is waived for anything disclosed in the session.


Greg Victoroff, Esq.

Click to Link to Event

7:30

The Genius of Mary Shelly

 

Documentary

 

 

Click to Link to Event
Tuesday March 02, 2021

5:00 pm
(PDT)

You Don't Have to Make It Up: Breaking Into the Non-Fiction Market

This session opens the door to the non-fiction market - a more diverse and far-easier market to enter than fiction. It's all about content and platform, and convincing a publisher or an agent what you are selling is interesting, timely, and better than looking up the same subject matter on Wikipedia. Attendees will learn the secrets of success including: What subject areas to pick, how to get started becoming an expert in a field, how to do market research, how to structure a non-fiction book proposal, and how to put together a query letter that will sell.

Attendees will be provided with online access to all workshop material.


George Galdorisi

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

6:15

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal that Sells

Nonfiction authors have a special task of developing a Book Proposal that actually speaks for them -- even before the book is written. This panel will explain the elements of the proposal, and how to structure a successful one. Learn the essential steps to conceptualize and plan a nonfiction book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy.

Tom Allbaugh,
Paul S. Levine,
Steve Hutson

Nic Nelson(M)

Click to Link to Event

7:30

The Genius of Phillip K. Dick

 

Documentary

 

 

Click to Link to Event
Wednesday March 03, 2021

5:00 pm
(PDT)

Why A Synopsis Is Notoriously Hard to Write
(and Ways to Do It Right)

Veteran editor Nic Nelson explains the three types of synopses, when you'll need each one, and how to write them. Once you understand what each one entails, you'll stop confusing them and start getting them right!

This workshop will include detailed outlines and writing prompts for each kind of synopsis, and real examples of at least the first two kinds... you'll discover why the third kind is so rarely shared!


Nic Nelson

(Spotlight Presentation)

Click to Link to Event

6:15

Where Writers, Agents and Publishers Meet

Do writers really need an agent to find a publisher? Does an agent's work end when a publisher is on board? How does a publisher turn that manuscript into a book? And how do writers and publishers work together to continuously market the book? Join authors Brandie June (Gold Spun, YA fantasy) and Susan Ouellette (The Wayward Spy, spy thriller), agent Steve Hutson, and publisher Sue Arroyo (CamCat Books) to discuss how to make that triangular relationship between writer, agent and publisher work to your advantage. 

Sue Arroyo
Steven Hutson
Brandie June 
Susan Ouellette

Helga Schier (M)

 

Click to Link to Event

7:30

The Genius of Issac Asimov

 

Documentary

 

 

Click to Link to Event

Thursday March 04, 2021

5:00 pm
(PDT)

Fundamentals of Author Platform

What is an author platform, and why do you need one? Your personal author platform, no matter what it looks like, rests upon six fundamental ingredients. If you’re having trouble fitting into a standardized author platform, or your own author branding feels anemic or just plain ineffective, this workshop is for you. You will learn how to understand and strengthen these domains in your own unique ways, so you can increase the effectiveness of everything else you are doing.


Nic Nelson

(Spotlight Presentation)

Click to Link to Event

6:15

Self-Publishing Basics

Many authors have no idea where to start, including support for just beginning a manuscript. Chris will take these authors through the beginning ideas through, cover design, and all the way to Kindle or Draft to Digital. Also so many self-published authors have no clue about having a social media presence and Chris will offer advice on building web sites and author pages.

Christopher Paniccia

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

7:30 pm
(PDT)

The Genius of Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke CBE FRAS was an English science-fiction writer, science writer, futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, Rendezvous with Rama, and many other books. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke predicted the Future of Remote and Flexible Work in 1964 when he was able to predict (with astonishing accuracy), the future of remote and flexible work some 50-plus years ago. This documentary explores his life and writing.

Documentary

 

 

Click to Link to Event

Friday March 05, 2021

5:00 pm
(PDT)

The Genius of Robert Heinlein

 

Documentary

 

 

Click to Link to Event

6:15 

YA Tropes: Know them, Use Them, Innovate Them

YA has been a booming market for so long now that it is high time to discuss which staples work, which ones have become stale, and how we can innovate them without losing what works. Join YA fantasy authors Brandie June (Gold Spun), Armen Pogharian (Penny Preston and the Raven’s Talisman, and other books in the Misaligned series) and Bryan Prosek (The Brighter the Stars, A Measure of Serenity) to discuss what makes great YA stories lived by strong characters that don't rely on stereotypes and cliches.

Armen Pogharian
Bryan Prosek
Brandie June
Helga Schier
(M)

 

Click to Link to Event

7:30

Writing Young Adult and New Adult Fiction: How Does Today’s Turmoil Impact Readers Tomorrow?

A conversation with YA and NA writers about the impact of these times on their readers. What stories and themes are resonating with the YA and NA fanbase? With nearly a year of social distancing happening during young readers’ formative years, how can authors make an impact in their world? What trends can writers for a young audience prepare for or influence?

Maria Alexander, Multiple award-winning author of both adult and young adult dark fiction

Kevin Groh, Author of The Omni Legend Series with the first book, The Commander: Guardian of Utopia releasing in the United States as an Amazon #1 Bestseller

Adrienne Monson, Award-winning hybrid author of the Blood Inheritance Trilogy and vampire expert

AmyLea Murphy, Author of debut novel Fine, attorney-turned author who writes about life-changing moments that unearth the resilient beauty of the human spirit

Dan WatanabeDeborah Zara Kobylt(M) 
Award-winning journalist best known for work on CNN, Fox11 LA, KCAL9 News, Turner Entertainment and her podcast Deborah Kobylt Live

 

 

Click to Link to Event

  1 on-1 Pitch Meets with Agents, Scouts, Editors, and Publishers

Subject to individual
availability

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. Consult the wcwriters.com website for details.

We recommend you attend the "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professionals for your individual genre and work.

Reserve an appointment
by calling the
"1-on-1 Desk"
at 310.379.2650

Meetings are held via Zoom or phone
in confidence.

Saturday March 06, 2021

8:00 am
(PDT)

 

Writers Digital Coffee Klatch

A very popular event at our conferences is the opportunity to gather with popular author / editor / educator Howard Hendrix for a round-table discussion + Q&A on the craft of writing. Even though we are meeting virtually, attendees can still participate in this popular event, updated into a coffee klatch. Just click up the link and have a leisurely coffee and networking discussion.

Howard Hendrix

Click to Link to Event

10:00

 

Powering Your Story Through Inciting Incidents

What are the triggering events that make your story compelling? Like pushing a ball down a hill, the first inciting incident sets your story in motion, while later events motivate important action. This workshop will help you identify key inciting incidents throughout your story and help you construct plot points and character experiences that will revitalize your work. In this process we’ll also study important story points in a variety of media as models.  

Please bring in a brief synopsis of your story so we can help you generate and identify your best inciting incidents. 


John Henry Davis 

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

11:15 am

The Perfect Ending

The end of your story can be just as important as the beginning. You at least need to keep the promise that you made to your reader from the very first page. Is the only solution to writer your opening and last pages first, or are there a variety of paths and methodologies to write a great book and satisfy yourself and your audience?

Sara Anne Fox
Mike Robinson
 Dan Watanabe
Madeline Sharples


Click to Link to Event

12:30

Successful Authors Know Their Business

When you finally finish your book and earn the title of author you may not realize it, but you are actually opening your own business. Accounting, taxes, marketing, promotion, sales, distribution and even legal are all important things you need to think about.

In this informative webinar, Author Learning Center President Keith Ogorek will provide insight on how to think about these critical areas and suggest where you can find help so that along with a great book, you will also have a well-run business.

Paul S.Levine
Keith Ogorek

 

Click to Link to Event

1:45

Discover Your "Author Personality”

What’s your author personality? The answer might surprise you. There’s no single right way to write and publish your work. There’s only the best way for you and your project. Which is why understanding your author personality is so important. In this class, we’ll help you: Discover your Author Personality; Sort through the pros and cons of Traditional and Independent Publishing as they apply to each Personality Type; Get a tool box of tips and tricks for your unique publishing path This workshop had a valuable mix of information on both indie and traditional publishing for those who might be on the fence about which direction to go.

Greta Boris
Megan Haskell

 

Click to Link to Event

3:00

If You Are an Author, Why Aren’t You Blogging?
A blog is one of the best ways for writers to share their expertise, events, and news; test out ideas; and develop their audience. A blog is especially important for authors who aspire to be published, whether they plan on going the indie or traditional route. So why haven't you started one? In this session, Debra Eckerling, author of Your Goal Guide and Write On Blogging, will share the five things that stop most authors from blogging, along with solutions - and goals - to set you on the path to success. 


Debra Eckerling

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

4:15

Writing: A Skill for Everyone, But Can It Truly Become A Career?

Writing is a passion most take up, but not everyone is prepared for all that will go into following through to turn it into a career. Hear successful authors reveal everything new authors need to know about transforming their love of the written word into a genuine source of income.

Andy Peloquin
Stevie Collier

(Spotlight Presentation)

 

Click to Link to Event

5:00

Closing Remarks, Drawing for Prizes

 

Click to Link to Event

 

 

 

Your fellow writers at WC2 wish
you the greatest success
with all your literary endeavors!
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