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 Cadby Auditorium 

9:00 – 10:30
Finding Your Story Purpose: Using Conflict and Resolution to Leave a Big Impact

Have you ever found yourself halfway through a story you’re writing and asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It’s good that you’re asking yourself that — because every story needs to have a purpose, or else there’s really no point in telling it, is there? This course will explore how you can figure out what your message is and use that to create high-stakes conflicts, set believable obstacles (both internal and external) for your characters to overcome, motivate your protagonist and antagonist to act, and ultimately build to a climax that will leave your readers feeling changed by the experience of reading your story.

DYLAN ROCHE is a novelist, playwright, journalist, copywriter, blogger, editor, and creative writing coach with years of professional experience in a breadth of writing-related endeavors. Whether he’s writing magazine features about fitness and nutrition, farcical sitcoms for the stage, or ad copy for small businesses, he loves connecting with and resonating with readers. His first novel, The Purple Bird, a YA fantasy adventure, debuted in 2019. He lives in Annapolis with his dog, Tyrion the corgi, and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found going on long-distance runs.


10:45 – 12:15
Plan a Series with Ease

Nothing like starting what you feel is a stand-alone title, only to find out there are at least three, maybe even six more books to be written connected to the first one. Writing a series is hot business these days. Readers love to visit with all the iterations of a single-family saga, glimpses of characters they have fallen in love with, siblings who made cameo appearances, extended family, and friends, all who add to multi book-length problems. Even prequels are just more fodder of “where it all began” and excellent to explore as well. Avoid the headache of not correctly documenting vital components of your books, avoid naming issues and redundancy, plotting disasters, and an entire list of other potential pitfalls to help participants gear their series from the get-go.

TRACEE LYDIA GARNER is a 20-year veteran author and publisher of more than 14 titles. She is both traditionally and self-published in fiction and is a person of color with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Tracee loves helping other aspiring writers finish and publish their books. She has coached more than 15 writers who have worked with her to complete their projects and held their hand through the maze of publishing and marketing options until their book is available for sale on Amazon and other bookseller sites.  Tracee resides in the Northern Virginia area with her family while pounding her keys in only pockets of time committed to her craft, all while maintaining an almost fifteen-year career as a case manager for a DC-based nonprofit organization.

1:45 – 3:15
Flash Flash Stories

We’ve heard of flash fiction, a story told in less than 1000 words. Flash Flash is a way to create a story by focusing on specific moments, the way you flip through a box of photographs. We’ll try our hand at writing stories that are not based on chronological order, with playfulness, imagery, and imagination. You can use either fiction or memories as the raw material for this process of priceless is more. We’ll shake up the usual ways of following a story line in order to bring aha! moments into focus.

WENDY BROWN-BAEZ is the creator of Writing Circles for Healing and author of the writers’ guide Heart on the Page: A Portable Writing Workshop, a novel Catch a Dream and a poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit. Her poetry and prose appear widely in literary journals and anthologies, including Mizna, Wising Up Press, Poets & Writers, Talking Writing, Water~Stone Review, Peregrine, Duende, and Tiferet. Wendy leads creative writing classes in community spaces such as healing centers, prisons, libraries, and churches. She is a member of Mn Prison Writing Workshop, Writing to Wholeness Collective, and The Loft Literary Center.  

3:30 – 5:00
Lights, Camera, Action: Bringing Your Story to Life with Captivating Scenes

The building blocks of fiction are scenes, and this interactive workshop will share how to write scenes so vivid, your readers will picture them as though they’re playing out on the big screen. Discover how to incorporateand ensure a proper balanceof the four essential elements of the scene:

  • Action
  • Dialogue
  • Internal Dialogue
  • Description
This workshop will take you through guided writing exercises to help you develop the first draft of an effective scene.

LINDA BUDZINSKI is the author of four young adult novels, including EM & EM, which has been optioned for development as a TV series and was named a “Must Read for Teens” by Your Teen Magazine, as well as THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, winner of the Romance Writers of America YA Chapter’s Rosemary Award. Her short story The Merrifield Affair appears in the BEACH SECRETS anthology published in November 2021 by Cat & Mouse Press. When she’s not writing, Linda works in nonprofit communications and outreach.

Session Summaries by Track:

Fiction I  |  Fiction II  |  Poetry I  |  Poetry II  |  Publishing & Editing  |  Marketing  |  Craft  |  Specialty Writing




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