To invite Andy to speak to your writing group, email him at
Dynamic Dialogue Structure
Learn ways to make sure the mechanics of your fiction dialogue don’t slow the pace, lapse into telling, or distract readers from immersing themselves in your novel. We’ll examine dialogue tags, action tags, assorted problems, and handy solutions—then show how they apply when self-editing.
Ten Tests for Your Novel
Fiction demands a seamless blend of many techniques that remain in the background unless they go wrong.We’ll examine ten critical aspects: Hook; Characterization; Plot; Conflict; Dialogue; Scenes; Setting; Mechanics; Showing vs. Telling; Writing Quality.
Ten Tests for Your Book
Popular nonfiction, like the rungs of a ladder, depends on interconnected techniques that spell success or failure. We’ll examine ten key aspects: Titles/Subtitles; Distinctiveness/Targeting; Opening; Approach; Scripture Use; Examples; Fulfillment of Promises; Author Qualifications; Writing Quality; Mechanics.
Fast Format Fixes
Is your manuscript dressed for success? Learn the essentials of professional manuscript formatting (including easy ways to correct a document that’s been typed differently).
Off to a Great Start
Whether you write articles, nonfiction, or novels, you need to attract and hook readers —in the first minute. Learn to invite and engage people with the most important words you write: your title and opening paragraph.
Seven Secrets of Vigorous Prose
Is your writing lean and lively? Extra words can creep into prose—then go unnoticed as you edit. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, they add up like verbal flab. Learn seven places extra words accumulate—and how to say what you mean with vigor.
Is Your Manuscript Ready to Edit?
Copy-editing is vital, but that’s your final step. Whether you’re writing novels or nonfiction, first comes a ruthless checking of what the article or chapter seeks to accomplish, that the presentation suits the purpose, and that no key ingredients are absent. Then comes the polishing.
A Way with Word: Manuscript Formatting Shortcuts
Discover easy ways to set up a document so it automatically uses correct professional formatting. Also, how to use and customize features on your toolbar, what’s under the dropdown menus, and the quickest ways to cut, paste, italicize, search, replace, print, and more.
First-Page Editing Clinic
Do you find self-editing a mystery? I’ll show how I’d edit the first pages of five manuscripts ― and explain the reasons for each change. (The clinic is open to all; evaluation is limited to the first five registrants who submit a first-page prose sample to Name@ThisWritersConference.com.)
Book Proposal Essentials (fiction/nonfiction/or both)
Your pitch or your query has caught an agent’s attention. Now it’s time for your proposal to go to work. Learn to avoid the ways that too many proposals fall short: through hasty preparation or not understanding what questions a proposal must answer—and in how much detail.
Explore the Jungle of Indie Publishing
Publishing has changed. With cutbacks in traditional publishing has come a boom in independent publishing. How do you decide if indie publishing makes sense for you — and how much to try to do on your own? We’ll explore the opportunities, as well as expose the challenges of this rapidly evolving publishing model.
Why Write for Periodicals
Discover the broad opportunities in newspapers, magazines, and websites. Learn the benefits of writing shorter pieces, the wide range of markets, and strategies to get started and succeed.
Two Easy Articles for Fast Publication
In this fast-paced session, learn principles and practices for writing two kinds of high-demand articles: how-to’s and reviews.
Teaching with Your Story
Personal narratives can do more than just inspire. You can also use your story to craft articles that attract more readers ― and teach more memorably. This workshop will coach you to write engaging accounts that use personal examples as a key element of teaching biblical application.
Query Letters That Work
While there’s no secret formula for a successful query letter, it does need to capture an editor’s attention and answer the key questions an editor asks. We’ll examine samples of actual queries to discover common mistakes to avoid and ways to convey the information editors need.
Where Do I Go From Here? (also offered as keynote)
You’ve attended the conference. Now how do you move forward on your writing journey? We’ll offer perspectives and key diagnostic questions to help you make the most of the resources at this conference — plus what’s available afterward — to pursue your calling as a writer.
Nonfiction First-Chapter Boot Camp (four to six hours)
Learn what your first chapter and especially your opening page must accomplish so potential readers will want to buy your book. You’ll get help in identifying your target audience and their motivations for wanting what you’ve written. (Bring your first chapter, plus a laptop or a copy of your chapter on a flash drive.)
Make Your Manuscript Shine (four to six hours)
Learn and practice the principles of self-editing: from shaping the big picture to fine-tuning the details. Includes in-class critiques of the first pages of ten class members’ fiction or nonfiction manuscripts for adult or YA readers.
Periodical Power (four to six hours)
Discover the world of opportunities in writing for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Find effective ways to gain a periodical editor’s attention. Learn how to write two kinds of easy articles for fast publication ― and also publishable articles based on your life experience.