Northwest Christian Writers Renewal
May 19-20, 2022  

Continue to check back on this page for updates to workshops being confirmed for our conference

You can view the Teaching Faculty 2023 biographies.


Morning Tracks

Morning tracks are 4-hour intensives delivered across the two mornings

by these award-winning authors.

Fiction Track - How to Start Strong and Finish Well (Without Losing Heart)

Alton Gansky

Every successful fiction writer understands four things: 1) They understand themselves, 2) They understand their reader, 3) They understand the industry, and 4) They understand that victory goes to the persistent. Knowing these 4 things greatly increase the chance that your work will get done, be done well, and make an impact. Conferees will learn how to start a project, how to stick with it, and how to finish strong.

Children's Track - Keys to Writing Favorite Children’s Books

Deb Gruelle

Have you considered writing a children’s book? Do you dream of hearing a parent say, “Your book is my child’s favorite”?

In this morning track, you’ll learn:

  • what young readers, their parents, and publishers are looking for in today’s children’s books,
  • an overview of the categories for children’s books, from board books to young adult, and what’s needed for each,
  •  the most important thing in a children’s book,
  •  a nuts and bolts example of one author’s writing process (at the picture book level, with transferrable principles for all age groups),
  •  how to edit your children’s book to make it sing,
  •  acceptable ways to pitch a children’s book to publishers, and
  •  how to draw closer to God through the process of writing for children. 

Come join us for this morning track to learn about writing children’s books that readers will love! 


Publishing Business Track - From Spark to Success: Navigating the Publishing Landscape When All You’ve Got Is a Dream

Kathleen Kerr

Pitch: You’ve got an idea. Great! But when you first dip your toes into the waters of the publishing business, you realize how vast that ocean is. What’s a query? What’s a proposal? How do you create a pitch? Do you need an agent to get a contract? 

Join Kathleen Kerr, a literary agent with a wealth of experience in the publishing industry, to learn the answers to these questions and more. You’ll… 

  • receive guidance on developing your proposal
  • learn what to expect financially as you build your writing career
  • equip yourself with the knowledge that will attract partners to your business

Whether you’re just getting started or have already published, come eager to learn and ready to put your knowledge into practice!


Non-Fiction Track - Writing a Non-Fiction Book

Joanna Weaver

From conceptualizing your book to building a platform online, this class will help you get the message God’s given you out of your heart and onto the page. We’ll cover things like: 

  • Envisioning the book from tone to content
  • Mind-mapping the chapters 
  • Crafting a compelling proposal
  • Clear chapter summaries that help you write the book
  • Weaving biblical truth and personal stories using fiction techniques
  • Research tools and writing hacks that move things forward
  • Viewing social media as ministry vs look-at-me
  • Tools to help you show up consistently and meaningfully online

One-Hour Workshops


Creating Memorable Characters
Kate Breslin, Award Winning Author

Join award-winning author Kate Breslin for a hands-on workshop on how to develop complex, engaging characters in your work of fiction that will invest your readers in the journey and keep them turning the pages. Kate will share her toolbox of experience: building great story conflict, honing point of view, creating good dialog, and establishing strong motivation to breathe new life into your story cast. Recommended: beginner/intermediate level writers.

Writing Romance in Christian Fiction
Kate Breslin, Award Winning Author

Whether you write Christian contemporary, historical, speculative, or YA fiction, you can craft a romance-themed novel by learning and honing the basic skills. In this workshop, award-winning author Kate Breslin shares “how-to” tips for creating sweet, faith-filled romance between a hero and heroine, using basic writing craft elements—conflict, viewpoint, dialog, and motivation—to reveal the ways in which God brings two hearts together as one.  Recommended: All level writers.

How to Secure of Lose and Agent

Blythe Daniel, Agent, Blythe Daniel Agency

Writers who want to secure an agent have expectations of what an agent does and what they are looking for. On top of expectations, add in some hearsay about agents and perhaps a lack of understanding what agents do, writers sometimes don’t pursue the best agent for them or are able to keep their agent. How do you secure the right agent for you? What would make an agent turn you away, or after you have signed with an agent, let you go? This workshop is designed to help you see how you can secure or lose an agent, from an agent’s point-of-view, and what you can do to show yourself and your work to the best of your ability to an agent who wants to partner with hard-working writers.


Trends in What Publishers Are navigating and Publishing

Blythe Daniel, Agent, Blythe Daniel Agency

Publishers have always had to calculate decisions on publishing what’s best for their company and for the readers they serve. How does this affect writers? What do writers need to know about what publishers are anticipating, navigating, and having success with so that writers can weigh this into their writing models? This workshop will look at a few trends, facts, and practices that publishers are employing and give an overall landscape into publishing from an agent’s perspective who pitches both fiction and non-fiction. We will look at some of what goes into the financial models of traditional publishing and how you can make the best decisions for your writing given the information shared.


Story Question: The Missing Link

Ocieanna Fleiss, MultiPublished Author and Speaker

Is your plot sagging? Has your protagonist lost her direction? Your problem may be the lack of a story question! Discover what a story question is, how to create one, and when it should show up. Plus, write your own story question to give your novel a boost.


Writing A Memoir to Remember

Ocieanna Fleiss, MultiPublished Author and Speaker

God has brought you through incredibly difficult life struggles, and now you want to share the truths He taught you. What are the steps to telling your story in a powerful way? At "Writing a Memoir They'll Remember," we'll walk through what a memoir is, how to sketch your life's storyline, molding your story using tools from fiction, and making it shine.or sagging? Has your protagonist lost her direction? Your problem may be the lack of a story question! Discover what a story question is, how to create one, and when it should show up. Plus, write your own story question to give your novel a boost.


The Art of the Query Letter

Adria Goetz, Agent, KT Literary

Writing a great query letter is an art and a science. This workshop examines the core elements every strong query letter has; you’ll learn how to add the extra pizzazz that will capture the attention of an agent or editor. Real examples from the instructor’s inbox, both good and bad, will be shared, as well as a specific formula workshop attendees can plug their information into in order to generate a great query letter.

The Christian Kid Lit Landscape

Adria Goetz, Agent, KT Literary

This workshop talks through what the current landscape looks like for Christian children’s books, in terms of how the market is changing, what publishers are prioritizing in acquisitions, and other current trends agents are noticing.

Tips from A Podcast Pro

Athena Dean Holtz, Publisher, Author, Advocate, Podcaster 

Join Athena Dean Holtz as she walks you through the intangibles of a powerful podcast. Sharing from her radio and podcasting background, Athena will cover the five practical aspects of podcasting as well as five important traction-gaining action steps to make the most of your podcasting opportunity. 


Publish and Reach Your Readers

Athena Dean Holtz, Publisher, Author, Advocate, Podcaster 

So many ways to publish these days…it can be super confusing! Join industry pioneer, Athena Dean Holtz and learn the difference between Self-Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, & Traditional Publishing – and then discover some of the best ways to reach your readers once you have a book in hand. Facebook Live, virtual events, 5-day challenges, private Facebook groups or communities, and more. Adding value wherever you can will set you apart from the crowd!


Writing Devotions for Children

Courtney Lasater, Agent, Keys for Kids

As a writer, you can use your storytelling skills to teach kids about Jesus and encourage them in their faith. You don’t need to be a parent or a youth ministry worker or even consider yourself a “devotional writer.” You just need to be willing to share God’s story with kids, one chunk at a time. Learn the dos and don’ts of children’s devotional writing and how you can make a difference in the spiritual lives of kids ages 6-12.

Book Adaptations — Film options, rights, & development

Nova McBee, Award-winning Author, Screenwriter with Chelsea Bobulski, Contemporary Fantasy Novel Author 

You have a book that everyone agrees would make an awesome film. So, what does it take to get that book to the screen? What do you need to know now to help that process later on? How can you prepare for it? This class is an in-depth walk through with the behind the scenes steps of a book getting optioned for film and what it take to make it to the screen.

How to Create Suspense, Tension, and Mystery in Your Novel

Nova McBee, Award-winning Author, Screenwriter  with Chelsea Bobulski, Contemporary Fantasy Novel Author  

A great novel doesn't need to be fast paced, but it does need to be laced with mystery, tension, suspense and unanswered questions to drive the plot forward.  Learn specific techniques on how to craft these elements into your story.


Secrets to Screen Writing and Story Telling

Nova McBee, Award-winning Author, Screenwriter with Chelsea Bobulski, Contemporary Fantasy Novel Author 

You have an awesome concept that everyone agrees would make an awesome book or film, but it just isn’t coming together. Regardless of the form— screenplay or novel—storytelling is KEY. Come learn the secrets to storytelling that apply to both screenwriting and novels, study the structures that are unique to each, and discover how to tell stories that  captivate readers and movie-goers of all ages.

Writing as an Image-Bearer: How God Uses Your Passion for His Glory 

Emma Saisslin, Editor, Harvest House

Your passion for writing is a gift God picked out especially for you, a gift that provides you a uniquely personal opportunity to delight in His breathtaking creativity, design, and intentionality. This Bible-focused workshop examines how your faith can influence your writing, as well as how your writing can impact your faith. You’ll celebrate the Creator’s heart for creatives while reflecting upon the multitude of ways God can use your knack for wordsmanship and storytelling to glorify His name. Encouraging and spiritually uplifting, this session will also help you pray for yourself as a writer, asking God for blessing and aid in using this talent He has given you while making Him your life’s foremost priority.  

Your Editor and You: What to Expect from the Editorial Process

Jessica Sharpe, Bethany House 

Geared toward publishing beginners, this course walks writers through the average editorial process at a publishing house from start to finish and provides guidance on what to expect from your relationship with your editor. 

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers 

Jessica Sharpe, Bethany House 

This course walks fiction writers through some common pitfalls, such as stilted dialogue and awkward exposition, so they can avoid them in their own writing. We’ll focus more on sentence phrasing than overall plot or structure, with the goal of helping authors smooth and polish their writing so that their voice truly shines.

Don't miss the opportunity to learn from these dynamic workshops.


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