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Sessions & Speakers 2018

Craft of Writing Sessions

 Viewpoint/ Point of View

Viewpoint / Point of View (POV) may be the most confusing technique to understand when writing fiction. Viewpoint is the identity and emotional focus of the person who relates the events of a story, i.e. the narrator. It is an important part of the relationship between writer and reader. It is about whose “eyes” we use to witness the action of the story. Point of View, on the other hand, is the manner in which the narrator relates the story, i.e., voice (first person, third person) and tense (present, past). Often confused, these two techniques are separate, but joined at the hip. We’ll talk about each and how they related to each other, and how they carry the story.  
Judith Reveal is a freelance editor who has been providing editorial assistance for 10 years for authors of fiction, nonfiction, and essays. Many of her clients have gone on to publish both traditionally and through self-publishing. She is a published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her historical fiction, The Brownstone, set in New York during World War II, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest 2013, finishing in the top 100 of 10,000 submissions. She has won awards for two of her short stories and many of her stories have been published in local, regional, and national magazines.

Her most recent nonfiction book, The Four Elements of Fiction: Character, Setting, Situation, and Theme is a guide for writers on writing creative fiction; her memoir, Growing Up Middle Class in Post WWII America takes the reader through life in the 1950s. She wrote Around Greensboro, a nonfiction historical book published by Arcadia Publishing. Judy is a book indexer and as a past member of the American Society for Indexing, she served the organization for five years as the Editor of the quarterly journal, “Keywords.” She also writes book reviews for the New York Journal of Books and her reviews can be found on their website: Judy is a past president of Eastern Shore Writers Association as well as Maryland Writers Association. She has taught creative writing at Chesapeake College and several arts organizations throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. She has presented workshops at Bay To Ocean Writers Conference, Vine and Vessels Writers Conference, Harford County Writers Conference, and at numerous local and regional arts organizations. She lives in Greensboro, MD with two dogs and a cat.    

ROBERT BIDINOTTO – Fill Your Story With Irresistible Suspense 

The main measure of any story’s success is its ability to captivate readers and keep them immersed inside your Story World. And regardless of category or genre, the most important element that keeps them turning pages is suspense: doubt and worry about the tale’s outcome for important characters.

Robert Bidinotto is author of several bestselling thrillers, including HUNTER—heralded as “a masterwork of thrills and suspense” by NY Times bestselling spy author Gayle Lynds, co-founder of International Thriller Writers. In this presentation, he will identify the keys to creating and building riveting suspense, including: developing relatable characters; establishing the “story question”; crafting plot structure and dramatic pacing; raising the stakes—and the obstacles; offering “teasers” and insufficient information; creating doubt, suspicion, anxiety, and/or foreboding about the outcome; manipulating point of view; and much more. If you learn and employ these time-tested tactics, you’ll create a true “page-turner,” and your happy readers will say: “I just couldn’t put it down!”

JANET BODNAR – How To Write -- and -- Sell Articles That Inform and Columns That Entertain

Non-fiction writing can take the form of factual articles that deliver unbiased information or personal opinion columns that present a point of view. How can writers practice their craft in each of these very different genres in a way that appeals to both editors and readers? Learn from Janet Bodnar—magazine editor, columnist, book author—how to adapt your writing to any audience while maintaining your voice.  

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the award-winning magazine. Bodnar has been honored by Folio, the magazine publishing organization, as one of its Top Women in Media. She is a nationally recognized expert in the field of children’s and family finances, financial literacy and women and money. In addition to her role as editor, she is the author of several books, including Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she will continue to write her “Money Smart Women” column for Kiplinger’s. She is also a regular contributor to WTOP radio in Washington, DC. She lives in Silver Spring and Oxford, MD.

​– Plotting for Panzters, Or, How to Get to The End 

Pantzer or plotter, having a roadmap can help you navigate an exciting path to The End. You’ll find this workshop helpful in moving you forward, even if you don’t like to plot. Jeanne Adams will share active tips and tricks to keep your story moving forward, to help you work faster and more effectively, and how to add key elements to the opening of your book that will have readers turning the pages. Bring your story idea and we’ll play with several methods for plotting YOUR book! 
Jeanne Adams is the author of more than ten books in multiple genres. Published by a New York Publisher, Jeanne also publishes independently. A popular teacher and speaker, Jeanne knows a thing or two about getting rid of the evidence, but in order to write faster, and on multiple deadlines, Jeanne realized she had to learn to plot, even if she didn’t like it. So, she learned to plot. Her suspense books have been consistently hailed as among “…the best suspense of the year!” by Romantic Times (2007, 2010, 2011), and she’s been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Red Hot Reads. Find her at or on social media.

​– The Ups and Downs of Writing a Fight Scene 

Any story built around action and adventure, whatever its genre, needs a fight scene. For such a scene to be effective, the author must write it so that it seems believable, pulls the reader into the action, and affects the characters or the plot. This workshop looks at ways to do that, including consideration of various factors that make the scene believable. We will discuss the differences between a small-scale confrontation and a battle and will contrast effective fight scenes with ones that snap the suspension of disbelief. The program combines a lecture presentation with discussion, including questions and answers. Participants are encouraged to discuss books that include fight scenes they find effective. 

 Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the magic, romance and high stakes she loves in the books she writes. Genres she has explored so far include contemporary paranormal romance, historical fantasy, romantic suspense, and space opera. All her books include action-adventure elements, using various combinations of hand-to-hand, magic, and/or weapons such as firearms, longbows, bladed weapons, and quarterstaffs. Library Journal gave her debut novel, Renegade, a starred review, calling it “genre fiction at its best.”

SYL SOBEL, TIM YOUNG, JACQUELINE JULES   PANEL: The Craft of Writing for Children  

Think you have a children's book in you? Learn from three experienced authors how they have plied their craft.  Jacqueline Jules shares how working as a school librarian inspired memorable characters and ideas for two continuing fiction series.  Syl Sobel began writing children's non-fiction books at the request and with the help of his own children. He describes how thinking like a child at any age aids a writer's thought process, especially when explaining sometimes dry, complex topics.  Timothy Young, an author/illustrator, explains how he originates his ideas as well as his experiences working with both large and small independent publishers. Each panelist will speak and then field questions.

Syl Sobel is an author of children’s books on U.S. government and history. He is the former director of publications and communications for a federal government agency, an attorney, and an award-winning newspaper reporter. He has appeared on C-Span’s Book-TV and was the featured guest on The Book Guys on National Public Radio and on The Children’s Book Show on Internet Radio. He has also appeared at events at the National Archives, Georgetown University, at book fairs and festivals, and at schools and bookstores in the Maryland/DC/VA area and throughout the country.

Jacqueline Jules is the award-winning author of 40 children’s books, including Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off, (CYBILS Literary Award, Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Honor Book) Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation (Library of Virginia Cardozo Award), Duck for Turkey Day (NCSS Notable Book), Never Say a Mean Word Again (Aesop Prize Accolade, Sydney Taylor Honor Book), Sofia Martinez: My Family Adventure (NAPPA Silver Award winner). Also a poet, Jacqueline is the author of three poetry chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in over 120 publications, including Cricket, Cicada, Germ Magazine, and The Poetry Friday Anthologies. Visit her online at

Timothy Young has been an animator, puppet maker, toy designer, sculptor, art director and graphic designer. He’s designed for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the Muppets, The Simpsons, Disney, and Universal Studios. Tim is the author/illustrator of picture books including I’m Going To Outer Space!, Do Not Open The Box, the highly acclaimed I Hate Picture Books! and the how-to-draw book, Creatures and Characters. His popular book, The Angry Little Puffin is getting a sequel titled If You Give the Puffin a Muffin in early 2018. He lives with his family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

​– Mauled Men, Drowned Dames, and Crispy Critters, A Body Disposal Primer for Writers  

In your newest plot, you absolutely have to kill someone. In order to tangle the hero and heroine up over funerals, murder, mysterious death or serious mayhem, someone’s got to go. Once you’ve axed, shot or otherwise silenced that nagging character, then what? You have to do SOMETHING with the body. Even if the forensics, murder, or death aren’t central to the story, there is that annoying dead guy to dispose of. So, decisions, decisions. Is an autopsy necessary? A funeral and burial? Lots of plot possibilities, but the details! Did you know that it’s impossible to bury a body in Maine in February? Most states require “two containers” for burial, do you know what they are? And what about timing? If a body’s found on Friday, can you bury them on Sunday? Do you know the difference between a coffin and a casket? And then there’s cremation...  

Jeanne Adams is the author of more than ten books in multiple genres. Published by a New York Publisher, Jeanne also publishes independently. A popular teacher and speaker, Jeanne knows a thing or two about getting rid of the evidence, but in order to write faster, and on multiple deadlines, Jeanne realized she had to learn to plot, even if she didn’t like it. So, she learned to plot. Her suspense books have been consistently hailed as among “…the best suspense of the year!” by Romantic Times (2007, 2010, 2011), and she’s been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Red Hot Reads. Find her at or on social media.

KATHRYN JOHNSON  ​– Everything You Need to Know to Write Your First (Or Next) Novel 

Writing a first-ever novel can be intimidating, not to mention confusing. Where do I start? Should I develop a plot outline? What kind of structure should I use? How many characters do I need? Am I insane to even try this? Join us and grab a virtual toolbox of proven tips and techniques from veteran authors and writing coach Kathryn Johnson.

Kathryn Johnson's 40+ popular novels (nominated for the Agatha Award, and winner of the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller's Best Awards), include Victorian thrillers (writing as Mary Hart Perry); Affairs of State (a suspense series); and The Gentleman Poet, wherein William Shakespeare escapes to the New World aboard a ship bound for disaster. Her most recent book (nonfiction)—The Extreme Novelist—is based on her popular courses as taught at The Smithsonian (Washington, DC) and The Writers Center (Bethesda, Maryland). Kathryn is the founder of a writer's mentoring and editorial service: She loves troubleshooting for authors and can be reached here:



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