Classes include:The Best Writers Conference in the West

  • instruction
  • writing
  • editing
  • feedback
  • critique
  • a push to a completed project 

We have hired our most honored and skilled instructors to teach these modules. Our Master Classes for 2019 are:

Navigating Hollywood from Outside of L.A. with Jeanne Veillette Bowerman

"WAIT! Let Me Rephrase This" with Laure-Anne Bosselaar

How to Write a Page Turner: Writing Tension with Jordan Rosenfeld 

The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing with Catherine Ann Jones

The Secrets to eBook and Self-Publishing Success with Deborah LeBlanc

Contemplative Memoir: Remember Being. Being Remembered with Peter Dunne

The Publishing Process, From First Draft to Book Shelf with Jonathan Maberry

How to Earn a GOOD Living From Your Writing with Sam Horn

Crafting a Best Selling Young Adult Fiction Novel with Mark Parsons and Wendelin Van Draanen

NEW: Honing Your Pitch with Doug Richardson and Chantelle Aimée Osman (11:00am - 4:00pm)

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman - Navigating Hollywood from Outside of L.A.

Location: Room 4730

Jeanne Veillette BowermanWhen screenwriters ask an industry insider for advice, the most common response writers hear is, “Move to L.A.” But Jeanne Veillette Bowerman says, “Not so fast.” Jeanne has built a strong network for herself right from her country home in New York State while only making a handful of trips to L.A. a year. Before you pack those bags, learn the secrets to preparing for a successful trip to L.A. and how to continue building those relationships after you’re back home.

When you live far from L.A., networking is crucial. Learn the enigma surrounding networking —and find out how to create a strong community of support. Traveling to networking events like pitchfests requires both time and money. Learn how to get the best bang for your buck at a pitching event and turn a five-minute pitch meeting into a relationship that lasts years.

Watch Jeanne's webinar

Register Online for Navigating Hollywood

Laure-Anne Bosselaar - "WAIT! Let Me Rephrase This"

Location: Room 5402

Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Many poets find it challenging to revise their work without the help of a workshop, group, or mentor. This interactive workshop will focus on how you can acquire the tools you need to revise poems on your own. We’ll work on strengthening those new skills which will — systematically and in depth — address all the elements of a poem: form, syntax, tone, metaphor, line-breaks, etc. You will leave this class with a brand new toolbox full of tricks and strategies to rework your poems and see them in a new light.

IMPORTANT! Each participant should bring 15 blank index cards (preferably 5X7), one poem of theirs that feels “stuck,” a notebook, and a solid sense of humor!

Watch Laure-Anne's webinar

Register Online for WAIT! Let Me Rephrase This

Jordan Rosenfeld - How to Write a Page Turner: Writing Tension

Location: Room 4760

Jordan RosenfeldTension in novels, stories, and even memoirs is like the connective tissue that allows muscles to attach to bones and thus flex their might. It’s the heart of conflict, the backbone of uncertainty, the hallmark of danger. It keeps readers guessing and characters on their toes. When it’s present, stories leave readers breathless and wanting more. When it’s missing, scenes feel inconsequential, plots drag, characters meander.

Just learning the basic building blocks of story craft is not enough to write a page-turner; you need to master the art of tension on every page and within every element of the story. In this daylong workshop with Jordan Rosenfeld, author of How to Write a Page Turner and five other books on writing craft, participants will learn: 

  • Four key elements of page-turning tension
  • Strategies for building character tension: character flaws, inner conflict, reversals, power     struggles, and more
  • Essentials of creating plot tension: How to ensure you've got a tense inciting incident, tension within the pacing of your plot, and tension at the big plot energetic markers
  • How to balance scene elements for maximum tension
  • Compelling ways to create sentences that sing
  • How to build powerful images that layer in subconscious tension

Watch Jordan's webinar

Register Online for How to Write a Page Turner - FULL

Contact conference director, Teri Bayus, for recommendations on alternative master classes 

Catherine Ann Jones - The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing

Location: Room 4750

Catherine Ann Jones

The Way of Story offers an integrative approach to writing narrative, combining solid craft with experiential inner discovery. Craft alone is not enough. No other writing workshop offers the solid craft to guarantee a good story along with the intangible inner dimensions of writing.

For writers of all levels & all narrative forms including plays, screenplays, stories, novels, and non-fiction including memoir.

“At last, a working, professional writer who teaches writing!” –  Joe S., San Francisco

“Your structure gave my story wings. I’ve never been so clear on what I want to write.”  – Linda L, Ann Arbor, MI

“A spiritual experience as well as practical.”  –  Gard J., Nevada

Watch Catherine's webinar

Register Online for The Way of Story

Deborah LeBlanc - Ebook Extravaganza: The Secrets to Ebook and Self Publishing Success

Location: Room 3311

Deborah LeBlancThere’s a book burning inside of you, and it’s begging to be set free! But where do you start? How do you make your characters believable? What should you use for your setting? How do you make your dialogue ring true? And what are you supposed to do about pacing and points of view? Then the questions get bigger from there—How do I turn my work into an ebook? How do I sell it? How long should it be? What price should I ask for it? What platforms do I use to launch my book? How do I get heard over the thousands of writers who are already out there touting their books?

If this sounds like your world right now, come join our Master Class, Ebook Extravaganza, where all of your questions, from soup to nuts, will be answered!

Watch Deborah's webinar

Register Online for The Secrets to Ebook

Peter Dunne - Contemplative Memoir:  Remembering Being.  Being Remembered.

Location: Room 4720

Peter DunneWriting stories from our life is a serious undertaking. It might be the most consequential writing we will ever do. But it is worth every hour, every word. What makes writing our stories important isn’t simply the disclosure of all the wonderfully interesting things and amazingly stupid things we did, but that we can look back on that person, young me, young you, as we grew up, with real affection. Not with accolades or excuses, but with genuine admiration for the reality we faced and the fight we took on. That is what life is about - that fight - because the fight developed our character. And this becomes especially meaningful when we fully understand how the power of contemplative memoir can change our lives.

This is not autobiography. Autobiography is the chronicle of the storms we pushed through. Contemplative memoir is the study of the storms that pushed through us. The former is the battle with the world. The latter is the battle with our selves. While autobiography is informative, contemplative memoir is formative. Beneath its events lies each person’s unique articulation on matters of character, trust, consequence, fairness, loss, and love.

Combining lecture, writing exercises, lively discussion and debate, laughs and tears, this Master Workshop is designed to refine each writer’s humanity and writing potential.

Watch Peter's webinar

Register Online for Contemplative Memoir - FULL

Contact conference director, Teri Bayus, for recommendations on alternative master classes

Jonathan Maberry - The Publishing Process, From First Draft to Book Shelf

Location: Room 5401

Jonathan Maberry


Jonathan is the author of over 25 novels and will share the truth and the tips that will take you from an aspiring author to a published one. His road map will be shared with honesty and humor. This class is perfect for anyone serious about learning everything you need to know to ensure your success as a published author.

Watch Jonathan's webinar


Register Online for The Publishing Process

Sam Horn - How to Earn a GOOD Living From Your Writing

Location: Room 4116

Sam HornNot only is it possible to earn money from your book(s), but if you're smart and strategic, you can leverage them into a meaningful, financially-rewarding career. And yes, this can be done in integrity by fiction AND non-fiction authors.  Find out from someone that has earned a good living from her books for 20 years how to get paid to do work you love that matters. Bring your notepads because Sam will be sharing real-life examples and step-by-step instructions on how to diversify your business so your writing projects pay off.

Watch Sam's webinar

Register Online for Earn a GOOD Living

Mark Parsons and Wendelin Van Draanen - Crafting a Best Selling Young Adult Fiction Novel

Location: Room 4117

Mark ParsonsWendelin Van DraanenThis master class is for anyone who is serious about writing and publishing a Young Adult novel, from initial concept to writing to revising to polishing to agent/editor/publisher. There will be writing exercises to help you brainstorm ideas and develop them as we discuss plot, theme, character, description, dialogue, pacing, and the all-important question of “What is YA and what are today’s editors looking for in the Young Adult market?” Come with questions!!! 

**Every attendee to this Master Class will get two free autographed books (one of Wendelin’s and one of Mark's).

Watch Mark and Wendelin's webinar

 Register Online for Young Adult Fiction

Doug Richardson and Chantelle Aimée Osman – Honing Your Pitch – 15 available at $50 each

Location: Room 5100

Everyone knows that pitching is one of the key facets to a writers conference. However, being that this is both a scary and (sometimes) challenging feat, we’re offering a chance to hone your pitch before the craziness of the conference commences. Sit with a professional editor or script doctor and share your pitch for your project. This independent 20-minute private session will offer feedback and ideas to get your writing project noticed by the right people. 11:00am - 4:00pm

Watch Doug's webinar

Register Online for your 20-minutes