2019 Workshops

Workshops are listed in
alphabetical order by title.

Keynote—Selma Wilson

Don’t Add and Don’t Take Away: The Christian Editor’s Challenge

Revelation 22, the final chapter of the Bible, offers some key life lessons for those of us given to the creative work of words. The power of words has never been more evident than in the culture we live in today. So what is the Christian editor to do with the opportunities and challenges?

A Short Course on Permissions—Robert Hudson

Editors and proofreaders alike are often the stop-gap for critical issues of permissions and copyright. Just because the author says, “I got it off the internet, so I’m sure it’s okay,” doesn’t mean that it’s okay. In this workshop, learn the basics of when permission is needed to quote a poem, song, article, etc.

Coffee with Selma (Q&A)—Selma Wilson

Would you like to chat with Selma or ask her some questions? Attend this informal Q&A workshop right after her keynote.

Crazy Spelling: How to “Catch What Others Miss”—Christy Callahan

Some editors see the forest; others look at the trees. This workshop will focus on the individual leaves—words themselves. Spelling errors are easy to miss because Word will assume open compounds, hyphenated words, and foreign words with missing accent marks are correct. Editors and proofreaders alike will learn how to develop an eagle eye for spelling—including a better handle on The Chicago Manual of Style’s hyphenation guide—so they can spot commonly misspelled words.

CWMS Q&A—Robert Hudson

The author of our favorite reference guide is holding an informal Q&A to answer questions about The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. Come with questions or just listen to the discussion. (General Session)

Don’t Become a Digital Dinosaur! Adapting to the Changing Publishing World—James Watkins

Not only is the form of writing changing from paper to pixels—books to ebooks, newspapers to news sites—but the actual style of writing is changing as well. Learn how to keep up with the changes so you don’t become extinct.

Editing for Suspense in Fiction—Joel Armstrong

Suspense is necessary for every fiction genre, whether your author wants to create romantic tension, lead up to the surprising endgame of a mystery, or even make the punchline of a comedic moment land just right. This session helps editors define suspense clearly, describes different types of suspense and techniques for achieving them, and offers examples in distinct genres (romance, mystery, and speculative). A 15-minute workshop at the end gives editors an open space to discuss best practices for integrating suspense in a novel’s structure at the macro level.

Faculty Q&A

Our last general session of the conference includes all faculty members for an informal time to ask questions. Come prepared with questions or write them on the list in advance. (General Session)

Fiction Techniques to Make Your Nonfiction Book Stand Out—Joel Armstrong

Whether you’re editing Christian living, memoir, or Bible studies, story is an integral part of every nonfiction book. But storytelling must be done well or it will only detract from your author’s message. In this session, we’ll dig into storytelling techniques—such as “show don’t tell,” metaphor, story arc, dialogue, and narrative tension—and look at how to apply these techniques to specific nonfiction genres. With these examples on hand, we’ll conclude with a workshop and discussion time to start making your author’s book stand out from the crowd.

From Stage to Page—James Watkins

The spoken word and the written word are two very different animals. They’re both forms of communication, but that’s like saying in the cat family you have Siamese kittens and sabertooth tigers. This workshop is a practical look at the differences and similarities between speaking and writing so your clients can go smoothly from platform to publisher.

Letting Your Creative Juices Flow—Ken Walker

A lot of nonfiction editors think of their job as revising and proofing a manuscript—and much of it involves those tasks. But we sell ourselves short if we fail to ask some key questions along the way. Adding various creative touches, historical details, and even interviewing the author to glean additional insights can add depth and flair to a book. Not only will authors not mind you making them look better, but these steps also offer two major benefits: word-of-mouth referrals and more intrinsic satisfaction as an editor.

Nerds Love Easter Eggs: Series Editing in Speculative Fiction—Amy (A. C.) Williams

People who read science fiction and fantasy are always looking for Easter eggs, the hidden clues that appear from book to book that give away hints about the final series installment. But Easter eggs don’t happen accidentally, and sometimes authors don’t know the best way to integrate them. So how do we, as editors, work through a large speculative series and integrate those fun moments of foreshadowing? How do we connect individual books in a series but still make each individual book compelling? Using popular examples from entertainment, we’ll break down what a series needs and how we can transform a disconnected group of stories into one, cohesive series.

Order in the Book: How to Prepare a Manuscript for Publication—Christy Callahan

Do you get projects in need of some polishing before they’re ready for self-publishing or submission to agents? Most of the manuscripts I get (from self-publishing authors to subsidy publishers to traditional publishers) need many changes in terms of formatting according to Chicago style (not AP) as well as The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. Let’s discuss the best way to prepare the manuscript before it goes out.

Scheduling Your Time for Effective Editing—Ken Walker

After the loss of several key pieces of business caused a 23 percent decline in revenue in 2013, freelance writer and book editor Ken Walker searched for ways to reorganize. After cleaning up his desk and following up on old leads, he started scheduling his work days on a spreadsheet. Work started showing up—enough that he saw a 27 percent increase. This workshop will discuss how to set a time schedule for various projects to increase productivity and help you handle numerous projects simultaneously.

Starting Your Freelance Editing Business—Christi McGuire

Are you just starting out as a freelance editor? Learn the tricks of the trade about how to set up the business aspects of freelance editing, such as setting rates, creating contracts, communicating with clients, and managing your workload. Learn the answers to these questions plus more tips that will put you ahead of your competition and, more importantly, help you become a competent, confident, and professional editor.

Substantive Fiction Editing—Karin Beery

Substantive editing can be brutal. Most manuscripts that need it need a lot of work. Substantive fiction editing requires a special blend of honesty, encouragement, and instruction that not only helps clean up authors’ manuscripts but also encourages them to keep writing while providing them the tools they need to write well. This workshop will give editors the tools they need to provide better substantive edits.

The Physiology of Proofreading—Robert Hudson

Learn time-tested proofreading techniques to maximize focus, relieve fatigue, and find proper pacing for efficiency. Included are helpful (sometimes hilarious) examples from history—and recent psychological research.

Understanding Genres—Karin Beery

Many authors fail because they don’t understand how to write for their genre. Editors who know the differences between genres (and how to edit for them!) provide an invaluable service to their clients as well as agents and publishing houses. Helping authors properly identify their genres and write for those audiences will not only improve their chances of attracting an agent or publisher, it will save everyone time (and preserve your clients’ reputation) by not submitting to the wrong people.

“You Don’t Say: Good Editing for Bad Words”—Robert Hudson (second keynote)

Taboo language, coarse jesting, profanity, scatology, whatever you want to call it, those words are sometimes a challenge for editors. This talk not only gives practical advice for handling taboo language, it does so with humor and a light touch. No one is more interested in this topic that Robert Hudson, who formulated Zondervan’s official profanity policy—and the story behind it is worth hearing!

Your Baby Is Ugly: 10 Tips to Effective Communication with Your Clients—Amy (A. C.) Williams

When you deliver the bad news to your client—”You need a rewrite!”—it can be like telling someone their baby is ugly. How can you communicate the truth and help your clients create a manuscript that is excellent without damaging your professional relationship beyond repair? This workshop provides ten tips to speak the truth about an ugly manuscript in love.

Workshops are subject to change.