2015 Preliminary Conference Schedule

New in 2015: The Wisconsin Writers Association will be sponsoring a book fair on Saturday, May 9th. Click here for details!

Friday, May 8

Noon to 4 p.m.
Convention Center Lobby

1 to 1:50 p.m.
Richard Thomas (Thistle)
Short Story Mechanics

Do you struggle with the basic structural elements of the short story? Do you have plenty of ideas and a strong voice, but can’t seem to put it all together? Is something missing—impact, fulfillment, or coherence? Then you’re in the right place. We’ll cover the essential elements of crafting a successful short story—finding your voice, seeing the big picture, employing narrative hooks that work, building tension, developing theme and mood, understanding your conflict, expanding your setting, and writing powerful resolutions that have impact.

1 to 4 p.m.          
Barry Wightman and Jane Wypiszynski  (Henrietta)
Professionally Present your Work

Barry Wightman wrote the critically acclaimed “Pepperland” and took the bookstores in America by storm, reading from his novel from California to New York City.  He learned a lot about what works with an audience and what is not so successful, and he is ready to give tips to other authors on how the process works.

Jane Wypiszynski coached national literature interpreters and taught the art of oral interpretation of poetry and prose for many years.  She will work with Barry to give ideas about technique, nervousness, and the joy of making people hear from you what you heard in your head as you wrote your work.

There will also be plenty of time for attendees to get up and read, with constructive comments and lots of encouragement from Barry and Jane.  This will be informative and fun….a great way to increase your confidence when you turn the reading public into your fans.

1 to 3 p.m.
WWA Board Meeting (Boardroom)

2 to 2:50 p.m.
Thomas Cannon (Thistle)
It’s Easy to Self-Publish: A Promise/Warning

 “The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself.”  ~ Lori Lesko

Indie-publishing is as easy as 1-2-3. However, doing it well requires many more steps. In this session, Tom will discuss the reasons to self-publish; the different platforms for self-publishing; and how to create a well-made product.  Tom invites you to bring your questions. Better yet, email them to him: tcbcannon[at]gmail.com

Ellen Kozak (Thistle)
Legal Matters Every Writer Should Consider

What's a copyright and why should it matter to you?  How is copyright different from plagiarism?  When should you worry about what it says in a publishing contract (or whether you have one at all)?  What are the legal pitfalls of working with another writer?  Of hiring an illustrator? Of using a photograph?  Milwaukee media lawyer Ellen M. Kozak, a much-published author in her own right, will take you on a tour of these and other problems writers ignore at their peril. 

6 to 8 p.m.
Contest Awards Ceremony
Oshkosh Public Library

Join us to congratulate the winners of the 2015 Lakefly Writing Contests. Free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. Use the entrance on Washington Ave. (flanked by the lion statues).

Saturday, May 9
Convention Center Lobby

8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Author Showcase
Paul L.

Free and open to the public!

8:30 a.m.
Carl Strong (Paul L.)
Is too early to laugh? Let's start the day with some comic relief!

9:30 to 10:20 a.m.
Tara Meissner (Henrietta)
Mining Memories: Inspiration for the Art of Memoir Writing

Memoir writing has a healing ability to help one understand self and gain insight of the world around us. Reading memoir helps connect us to others and grow in empathy and compassion. Learn the history of the genre and its evolution, and find ways to incorporate fiction techniques to strengthen your story. Participants also will be encouraged to consider the purpose of their memoir work: does it serve the greater good, is it cathartic, and who will be the audience for the narrative?  Bring some paper and a pen for a few short writing exercises. With disregard for perfection, participants will find pieces of self through the practice of reflection.

Scott Lynch (Thistle)
The Vivid Illusion: Practical Techniques for Bringing Imaginary Worlds to Life

The author of the internationally bestselling "Gentleman Bastard" sequence will give you a whirlwind course in using telling details, little touches, and situations of immediate emotional interest to bring the vast tapestry of an invented world to life-- without halting the story or boring the reader!

Frankie Mengeling (Hutchinson)
So…You Want to Blog?

The “accidental” blogger of the popular “Riding the Beer Trail” blog relates her experience as a blogger.  She’ll explain how she got into blogging, where she gets her information and the do’s and don’ts’ of blogging.

Kelli Dunham (Henrietta)
Just Hit Send: What Death Teaches Us About The Writing Life

When Kelli Dunham's partner was dying, she refused to weigh in on whether she wanted to be ventilated or not. However, she did give detailed instructions about what should be done with her unsubmitted manuscripts. As one of her writing friends observed later, “She just wasn't ready to hit send. “  In this interactive workshop Kelli draws on this experience as well as her own challenges in finding both the confidence and the right publishers to help writers work through their own internal and external blocks to "hitting send" (i.e. submitting work).  Although the title might sound a tad bit morbid, Kelli promises it will be a useful and even fun experience for those who participate.

Kimberly Blaser (Thistle)
Poetry Reading

Kim Bleaser was selected to serve as Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2015-16. Drawing on literal observation and the power of metaphor, Blaeser’s poems create complex harmonies between the vibrant natural world and the resonant human imagination.

Carl Strong (Hutchinson)
The Funny Business of Writing Comedy

Professional comedian Carl Strong will discuss developing an idea into a well-written comedy piece and the variables that go into creating successful comedy, such as knowing your audience and doing the necessary research.

Lunch (Paul L.)


Heather Schroeder (Henrietta)
Let's Play a Game 'F'rases (A Cure for Writer's Block and much more)

"Writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things - thoughts, ideas, opinions." ~ Paulo Coelho

Writing is a way to be creative without drawing and words can give as much beauty to a scene as a painting. Yet, certain circumstances leave some with the dreaded Writer's Block issue. With the game 'F'rase, Heather has created a system to help with writing short stories to persuasive essays for school. Join Heathe and learn about this new and fun game that may one day become an app.   

Det. Jeremy Wilson (Thistle)
The Perfect Murder

Nothing loses credibility with fans of murder mysteries more than an inaccurate murder scene investigation. Det. Jeremy Wilson will share tips and techniques used by police in analyzing a murder scene, including how to properly secure a crime scene, gather evidence, interpret blood splatter and more!

John Walser (Hutchinson)
Chords I'll Never Be Able to Play: Poetry, Mystery and Glee

The closer you get to your art, the more you appreciate what you cannot do and what you must push yourself to become.   (The great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt once said, “I hear chords in my head that I’ll never be able to play.”) In this presentation, John Walser will explore the connection between poetry and the Japanese aesthetic concept yugen, the subtle awareness of the world around us, of its profundity, and how that awareness triggers emotional responses within us that seem too deep and powerful, too dim and mysterious to be captured by words.  He will discuss how he views this as the key to writing: a hunger for those words that may not come, for that understanding that may not be captured, for the music that may never be played.


Richard Thomas (Henrietta)
Writing Dark Fiction

What does it mean to write horror—to write transgressive fiction, to focus on the grotesque? How do you create tension? What scares you, and how can you put that into your writing? What’s the difference between horror and terror? If you write dark fiction, what other markets are there besides classic horror—such as neo-noir, fantasy and science fiction, crime, and other genres? We will talk about how to take risks on the page and other elements of great dark fiction: plot, setting, mood and tone, revelations and twists, as well as how to create characters that your audience will care about, and root for, as the darkness creeps in closer.

Tracey Kathryn (Thistle)
Chasing Plot: On Plot and Structure

"Chasing Plot" will be a thrill ride that zooms from emotion to pacing, and from conflict to characters. Writer-attendees of this workshop will study secrets for developing great plots and work on an engaging plot exercise. 

Krystal Maloney (Hutchinson)
Personal Branding and Promotion

Do you know what your personal brand is? Are you living your personal brand every day? Fact is, less than 15% have defined their brand and less than 5% are living it. Before you can work on self-promotion tactics, you must first establish your personal brand. Krystal Maloney will take you through the process of developing, understanding, growing and living your personal brand.

2:20-3:00 p.m.
Paul L.
Autograph session, refreshments, door prizes

3 to 3:50  p.m.
Michael Perry (Paul L. )

4 p.m. Conference closes
Thank you for coming and have a safe drive home!