Schedule: 2024 Workshop

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in Atlanta on March 16, 2024. See you there.)



Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. Finding Your Voice. What do you uniquely bring to the page? How might a reader spot your beautiful words as original and different from another writer? Finding your writing voice is as simple as examining your origins and your early inspirations, and doing a lot of writing to fine-tune the exquisite details that make your writing yours. In this talk, learn how to identify your voice, how to deliberately and expertly finesse it, and how the best way to sharpen your voice is to write, write, write!

2. How to Hook an Agent. This workshop, taught by a literary agent, will examine the new publishing landscape, and what that means for you, and for agents. This session will discuss how to research agents, how to submit, what an offer of representation will look like, the role of an agent in your query, and how to make a good agent-client relationship last.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults. You still need great characters in interesting situations doing meaningful things. However, there are some genre specific things to keep in mind when crafting books for those readers under 18. In this session, attendees will learn tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Building Your Author Brand & Marketing Plan. While most writers would far prefer spending their time writing than managing the business of their author career, both are necessary to succeed. This session will share how to create a compelling author brand and the secrets to creating an easy-to-enact book marketing strategy that won’t distract from your writing time. Learn how your author brand makes it easier for you to show up online and in the world in a consistent and compelling way, how an articulate author brand teaches your audience how to engage with you, and a savvy strategy makes it easy to market not only you as the author, but all the beautiful books you plan to put in the world.

2. Out of This World Writing — Tips on Speculative Fiction. Have you always wanted to create worlds where anything can happen: technology runs amuck, magic is everywhere, or maybe demons are lurking where we’d least expect them? Learn how to create intense believable worlds that allow for fantastic events. Come create compelling plots and characters that will have your readers thinking about them long after they’ve laid your pages down. In this class, you’ll learn the basics of combining plot structure, world building and character development to create truly extraordinary writing.

3. Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision. Writing your manuscript’s first draft is a huge step, but only a primary one. Now it’s time to look at your creation and slowly make it amazing through overhauls, self-editing, and revision. Remember that good writing is rewriting. In this class, you’ll learn to identify your writing’s flaws (and fix them) — such as tense and POV issues, when to cut and shorten your length, and what makes some writing crackle.

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

You have 85 minutes on your own to break and eat.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2.  Nonfiction Intensive: Book Proposal Tips. If you are writing nonfiction, you will need a book proposal. Editors acquire nonfiction books on the basis of a proposal, not a finished manuscript. Why? Because for an editor to acquire nonfiction they need to know about the author’s expertise and experience with the topic. They need to know if there is an audience for the proposed book and how large the audience might be. They need to know how you plan to market the book and if you have a social media platform to support the marketing. And they need to know if you have media contacts or appearances that will help sell the book. A well-executed proposal shows the editor and acquisition team at a publishing house that you are the person to write the proposed book, that you know who your audience is, and that you know how to reach them. And, it includes sample chapters to show that you have the chops to write the book you are proposing.

3. Intro to Writing Picture Books. We know what happens if you give a mouse a cookie. But, what happens if you give a writer an idea for a picture book? Well, that depends on whether they understand the intricacies of that unique art form. There’s a significant amount of craft that goes into creating an endearing picture book. This course provides an introduction to the key components, including: structure, plot, character development, word choice, rhyme, pacing, themes, humor, and layout.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from ATLWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

2. Knock ’em Dead: Tips on Writing Mystery, Thriller, and Crime. You have an idea for a thriller/suspense novel that you think will be a winner. Now what? This class is designed to help you get from concept to published book. Beginning with understanding the kind of novel that will be the best vehicle for your idea (mystery vs thriller?), this workshop will help you develop your own best process to write your book, offer tips on staying focused, and give pointers on effective editing. Finally, you’ll learn how to describe and present your work to get the attention of agents and publishers.

3. Plotting Magic. Are you ready to transform your writing career with a writer-tested, writer-approved plotting tool? It’s no coincidence that certain writers can craft page turning novels that make people laugh, cry and wait in line for that writer’s next piece. What do these writers know? How to craft a kick-ass plot! Using the wisdom of Aristotle, Joseph Campbell (The Hero’s Journey) and writing gurus across the country, the 15 Plot Spots will let you in on you the secrets of plotting from the masters.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. How to Write a Great Query Letter for Your Novel. This workshop is a thorough crash course in writing an awesome query letter. What things should you avoid in query writing? What beginnings are overused and don’t work? How to compose a great pitch? How do you whittle down a long query? This session will cover all those questions and more.

2. Find Success Writing Romance. Romance novels make up 46% of all books sold in the United States; they sell more than mystery and science fiction combined. The voraciousness of the reader base makes writing romance potentially lucrative, but you need to know what readers want and you can’t skip on craft. We’ll talk about plotting and publishing a smart and successful romance novel, what’s selling, and what the market looks like today.

3. Writing Life Productivity Tips & Tools. Very few of us writers are lucky to be able to write full-time. So, the vast majority of writers need to squeeze the most productivity out of the few available hours they have. In this informative session, we’ll cover tips and tools that help you do just that.

5:00: The Day is Over

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We will actually send attendees extra FREE pre-recorded classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s classes to enjoy live and in person, we will also send you 5 more free recorded classes on the side, from amazing instructors. In the week leading up to your in-person conference, we will send all confirmed attendees these classes below, some of which will aid in your pitching efforts:

  1. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an In-Person Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber
  2. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an Online Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber
  3. “Talking Dollars and Cents — How Authors Make Money,” from our Tennessee Writing Workshop
  4. “Publishing Options: Pros and Cons of Both Traditional and Indie Publishing,” from our Atlanta Writing Workshop
  5. “Overcoming Failure: How to Strive for ‘Yes’ in the Face of a Hundred Nos,” from our Florida Writing Workshop