Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Christian Novelist
Retreat for beginning and published novelists
October 14-17, 2012
October is the peak season for leaf color in the mountains of western North Carolina and the perfect time for novelists to come together for inspiration and improving on the skills and gifts God has made available to us. We suggest that you have a novel in progress.
All novelists are welcome to come and learn the craft that applies to all novel writing. The faculty is Christian and some emphasis will be directed to the
Enrollment limited. Please register early. –
Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center,
(twenty minutes east of
—home of the famous Biltmore House
and Gardens) Asheville
All sleeping rooms and classes for the Novel Retreat are in
Program Fee - $295 per person when staying on campus.
Deluxe Accommodations- $69 per night
Meal Package - $96 per person (begin with dinner on Sunday and end with Lunch on Wednesday.)
CONTESTS - $0-$15 entry fee (DEADLINE:
Send entries to email@example.com
- Best title (no fee) (receive certificate)
- Best first sentence (no fee) (receive certificate)
- Best opening paragraph ($5) (receive certificate and critique)
Best proposal ($15) Email a synopsis (up to 2 pages, single-spaced) and first 20 pages of the manuscript (double-spaced) – recognition in various categories – state historical or contemporary romance, mystery, suspense, women’s fiction, speculative, mainstream, other (certificates for places, Best-of-All receives tuition scholarship to 2013 Retreat)
- Best Finished Unpublished Novel ($15) (tuition, meals, lodging scholarship to 2013 Retreat)
- Best First Published novel by a former Novel Retreat attendee ($15) (Plaque)
Winners will be recognized Tuesday Evening after supper.
CRITIQUES - $30 each - RULES: - Critiquer will post when no longer receiving material for critique
1. You may enter the same material in the Contest and for Critique but only your original UN-critiqued material will be considered in the contest.
2. Email a synopsis (up to 2 pages, single-spaced) and first 20 pages of the manuscript (double-spaced)
3. Send a cover sheet with your name, contact information, novel category, title
4. Ask your critic where to send the $30 check
5. Select one (or more - $30 each) of the critics:
Deborah Raney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynette Eason, email@example.com
Ray Blackston, RayBlaxton@aol.com
Ann Tatlock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Mynheir, email@example.com
Yvonne Lehman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramona Richards, Ramona@ramonarichards.com
Your critiques will be returned by email. If you and/or your critic desire to meet face-to-face, you may arrange to meet at mealtimes or at the convenience of the student and faculty member.
October 14, 2012
REGISTRATION – Pritchell Hall
FACULTY MEETING – Mountain Laurel – Level 1 #5512
– Jim Henry Auditorium – in Mountain Laurel
WELCOME – ANNOUNCEMENTS -Yvonne Lehman, Director
PRAISE MUSIC – Janet Powers Roller
KEYNOTE – Mark Mynheir
Meet the Faculty: Ray Blackston – Lynette Eason – Yvonne Lehman –
Mark Mynheir - Deborah Raney – Ken Raney
Ramona Richards - Janet Roller – Ann Tatlock
October 15, 2012
- BREAKFAST (Rhododendron Hall)
Mountain Laurel Auditorium
PRAISE & WORSHIP
Janet Powers Roller
Cinderella vs. Trinity: Two Sides of the Same Heroine
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MONDAY AFTERNOON & EVENING –
OCTOBER 15, 2012
- WRITING TIME
3: - FACULTY-LED WORKSHOPS (see descriptions)
(Mountain Laurel Rooms 1-5,
Suite 5512, and Jim
1. Keys to Characterization: Make your minor characters come alive via quirks, habits, and speech patterns - Ray Blackston (ML 1)
2. Dueling Dialogue – Lynette Eason (ML 2)
3. What’s the Big Idea? And how do you develop it? – Yvonne Lehman (ML 5512)
4. Second Draft: Whipping Your Story into Shape - Mark Mynheir - (JH Auditorium)
5. Writing Cinematically - Deborah Raney (ML 3)
6. 10 Tips to Winning an Editor’s Heart (and Signature on a Contract) – Ramona Richards (ML 4)
7. Painting the Landscape: Senses and Setting – Ann Tatlock (ML 5)
4: - FACULTY-LED WORKSHOPS (see descriptions)
1. First Person Voice: Key elements of crafting your novel in the first person voice - Ray Blackston (ML 1)
2. The Tapestry of Backstory: How to Weave it Without Tangling the Threads – Lynette Eason – (ML 2)
3. Raise the Stakes: Create and Sustain Tension – Yvonne Lehman (ML 5512)
4. Get Your Cops Right! - Mark Mynheir (JH Auditorium)
5. Surprising Secrets of the Writing Life - Deborah Raney – (ML 3)
6. Perfect Pitch: 10 Tips on Selling in 50 Words or Less – Ramona Richards (ML 4)
7. Putting up the Frame - Ann Tatlock (ML 5)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
- SUPPER (Rhododendron Hall)
October 15, 2012
- FACULTY-LED WORKSHOPS (see descriptions)
1. Crucial Edits before You Submit: Editors and agents are looking for reasons to reject your work, so give them as few reasons as possible –
Ray Blackston (ML 1)
2. Subtext – What your Characters are REALLY Saying – Lynette Eason (ML 2)
3. First Sentence, First Paragraph, First Page – Yvonne Lehman (ML 5512)
4. Writing Mystery/Suspense – Mark Mynheir (JH Aud)
5. Checklist for Writing a Winner – Deborah Raney (ML 3)
6. Ebooks & Covers - They’re Not What You Thought – Ken Raney (ML 5)
October 16, 2012
- BREAKFAST (Rhododendron Hall)
Mountain Laurel Auditorium
PRAISE & WORSHIP – Janet Roller
Plot, Structure, and Character Arc
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
TUESDAY AFTERNOON & EVENING –
OCTOBER 16, 2012
- WRITING TIME
3: - FACULTY-LED WORKSHOPS (see descriptions)
1. First Person Voice: Key elements of crafting your novel in the first person voice - Ray Blackston (ML 1) Repeat
2. Writing Suspense: How to go from Bad to Worse and Make Your Reader Beg for More – Lynette Eason (ML 2)
3. The Picky Stuff: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive – Yvonne Lehman (ML 5512)
4. Get Your Cops Right! – Mark Mynheir (JH Auditorium)
5. The Business End of Writing - Deborah Raney (ML 3)
6. Shoot Someone: Ten Tips on Turning Your Middle from Muddle to Magnificent – Ramona Richards (ML 4)
7. “What’s Happening, Dude?” - Plots and Sub-plots – Ann Tatlock (ML 5)
4: – FACULTY-LED WORKSHOPS (see descriptions)
1. Crucial Edits Before you Submit - Ray Blackston (ML 1) Repeat
2. Developing Dialogue – Lynette Eason (ML 2) – Repeat
3. The Picky Stuff: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive – Yvonne Lehman (ML 5512) Repeat
4. Personality Profiles: Building your Characters from the Ground Up – Mark Mynheir (JH Auditorium)
5. Ebooks & Covers: They’re Not What You Thought – Ken Raney (ML 3)
Finishing Your First Draft in 30 Days or Less – Ramona Richards (ML 4)
7. Plan Ahead for Promotion: One-on-One Without a Delete Kay – Janet Powers Roller (ML 5)
– Jim Henry Auditorium – Mountain
AWARDS CEREMONY for Contest Winners
Followed by FACULTY BOOK SIGNING
(Get your books ahead of time at LifeWay Boostore)
October 17, 2012
- BREAKFAST (Rhododendron Hall)
Mountain Laurel Auditorium
PRAISE & WORSHIP – Janet Roller
Wishing you a safe trip home, blessings in your personal and writing life, and look forward to seeing you again.
Yvonne & faculty
BIOS & WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS - 2012
RAY BLACKSTON – www.rayblackston.com
Ray Blackston’s quirky and comic writing style has been entertaining readers ever since the publication of his award-winning debut novel, Flabbergasted. Released in 2003, Flabbergasted was first noticed at the 2000 Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and was later chosen as a finalist for a Christy Award. Five novels later, Ray is now a frequent speaker and teacher at writers conferences and loves to share what he's learned, whether in the classroom or one-on-one.
Quirks, habits, and speech patterns - Your main characters should talk and act in ways that make them jump off the page. Here's how to do it without Pogo sticks!
CRUCIAL EDITS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT: Editors and agents are looking for reasons to reject your work, so give them as few reasons as possible!
FIRST-PERSON VOICE: Key elements of crafting your novel in the first person voice - Add depth to your story and bring entertainment to your readers by writing skillfully in first-person. Ray has penned five first-person novels, and he will share what he has learned and take any and all questions.
Lynette Eason has written/contracted twenty-three books since 2007. She has thirteen Love Inspired Suspense books on the shelf with more due to release soon. Lynette also writes for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her current release, WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS hit #8 on the
bestsellers list this year. Currently, she is working on her third series for
Revell. She has been teaching for more than ten years and is very happy to make
the transition from teaching school to teaching writing whenever the
opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives in Spartanburg, SC.
SUBTEXT – What your Characters are Really Saying
Come learn how to build your characters from the ground up. Lay your foundation to create a character readers will love. What does an editor mean when she says your characters aren’t sympathetic? Why should I give the villain a redeeming quality? What do I do when my characters just won’t do what I need them to do? If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions and more, this is the workshop for you. I look forward to seeing you there!
Who says what, how to say, when to say and why they say it. Readers want to fall in love with the characters in your book. Come learn how dialogue can make that happen. Or turn a reader off. With hands-on exercises, writers will enhance beginning or advanced skills as they grow to understand their characters and the dialogue they use.
THE TAPESTRY OF BACKSTORY: HOW TO WEAVE IT WITHOUT TANGLING THE THREADS
Writers learn how to weave backstory throughout their story by using a character chart. They will also learn tricks to including backstory in dialogue, setting, and narrative.
WRITING SUSPENSE: HOW TO GO FROM BAD TO WORSE AND MAKE YOUR READERS BEG FOR MORE
Learn what elements make up a rocking, edge of the seat, suspense story. Come prepared for a hands-on experience that you can take home and implement immediately. Workshop will include topics such as: OPEN WITH A BANG - writing the best opening line ever, USE ALL FIVE SENSES: why you need this to carry your suspense forward, DIALOGUE: yes, even your dialogue is important what to say and how to say it, INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CONFLICTS: how to carry the suspense from beginning to end, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IN SUSPENSE: learn how to really mess your characters up only to rescue them by the end of the story—most of the time and only if you want to, END EACH CHAPTER WITH A HOOK and much, much more.
YVONNE LEHMAN – www.yvonnelehman.com
Yvonne is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, who founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is now director of the
Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat (www.lifeway.com/novelretreat). She
mentors for the Christian Writers Guild. She earned a Master’s Degree in
and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her latest
releases include eight ebooks for Barbour’s Truly
Yours line, A Knight to Remember
(Heartsong), Let it Snow (Heartsong,
November 2012), and her 50th novel, Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC (Abingdon). email@example.com Western
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
You will discover into which genre your idea or work-in-progress fits. There is a process to finding and developing your ideas. In the first few pages of your story, the groundwork is laid for the entire book. We will talk about setting, characters, descriptions, conflict, theme, plot, and faith. You’ll discover how to be aware of those ingredients and include as many as possible in that all-important first sentence, first paragraph and first page.
RAISING THE STAKES (Tension)
The stakes are the meat or the heart of the story. The stakes are what captures the editor’s attention, keeps the reader interested, and makes your book a page-turner. We’re told that we need to raise the stakes in our writing. We have no story without stakes (plural!) In this workshop we will define what is not, and what is a stake. You not only need to establish the stakes in your novel, but discover what is at stake for you, the author, and what is at stake for your reader.
THE PICKY STUFF: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive – Submit your pages to Yvonne at firstname.lastname@example.org by
October 1, 2012
and we’ll look at the picky stuff that makes an editor see you as an amateur.
We’ll look at grammar, punctuation, tags, attributions, unnecessary words, adverbs,
names, and end up with a polished piece of writing.
FIRST SENTENCE, FIRST PARAGRAPH, FIRST
PAGE. We know
the importance of the beginning of a book. How do you capture the attention of
the editor/reader in that first sentence? What goes into that first paragraph?
Then, you’re ready to go! But… to…where? (For
best results, submit your first page to Yvonne at email@example.com by October 1, 2012.
Mark Mynheir is a twenty-four-year law enforcement veteran and former homicide detective whose career has included serving as an undercover narcotics agent and a S.W.A.T. team member. Mark has parlayed his police experiences into a successful speaking and writing career. He has written articles for Focus on the Family’s Breakaway magazine, Lookout magazine, and Christianfictiononline.com. He is the also the author of five mystery/suspense novels: Rolling Thunder, From the Belly of the Dragon, The Void, and The Night Watchman, which was a Christy Award Finalist, and The Corruptible.
Understand the essential elements of Plot, Structure, and Character Arc and how they interweave to strengthen your story.
SECOND DRAFT: WHIPPING YOUR STORY INTO SHAPE
Get advice and worksheets from some of the top editors and writers in the
CBA on everything
from grammar to POV that will help keep your manuscript off of the dreaded
The Cliché Cop in literature and on television—alcoholic, divorced, cynical, and mildly disturbed—has, unfortunately, a strong basis in reality and is the direct result of subjecting a normal human being to ten, twenty, or even thirty years of law enforcement. Learn the psychological stages police officers go through in their career and how that knowledge can be used to make compelling, believable police characters in any story.
PERSONALITY PROFILES: BUILDING YOUR CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP
Learn the four basic personality types—Feeler, Driver, Analyzer, and Elitist— and how to incorporate their traits into your characters by understanding how the different personalities think, act, speak, dress, and react under stress.
DEBORAH RANEY - www.deborahraney.com
DEBORAH RANEY is the author of more than twenty novels. Her books have won the
RITA Award, HOLT
Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World
Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her newest books, the Hanover
Falls Novels, are from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken
Raney, have four children and enjoy small-town life in Kansas.
By starting every scene with a dynamite sentence, you can make your novel come alive for your reader. Using this trick, Deborah will explore how writing a novel that reads like a movie changes telling to showing, deepens characterization, makes your settings a character in themselves, and facilitates many other secrets of strong writing.
SURPRISING SECRETS OF THE WRITING
Little-known facts about what a working writer's daily life is really like. Did you know that much of a writer's day is spent doing things besides writing? Do you know why your agent earns his/her keep? What are the pitfalls of fame and the myths of fortune? How do you deal with the green-eyed monster––yours and fellow writers'? How does becoming a writer threaten your family life and life as you knew it before you were a writer? All this and much more, including what to do about it all!
CHECKLIST FOR WRITING A WINNER
Ten tips from contest judges for writing a book that’s destined to capture a loyal reader following—and find favor with contest judges.
THE BUSINESS END OF WRITING
A flourishing career as a writer necessitates a business-like approach to your work. Beginning with tips for an “attitude adjustment,” Deborah will reveal some basic steps that can help you move from dabbling as a hobby writer to being a successful working writer. Topics for discussion include scheduling writing time, organizing office space, record keeping, perfecting the craft, self-promotion and a Q&A session to answer your specific questions (NOTE: This is not a business accounting or tax law class.)
Ken Raney is president of Clash Creative, Inc., a producer of illustration and graphic design. He also owns Clash Entertainment, Inc., producer of www.clashentertainment.com, an entertainment portal website for Christian teens featuring media news, reviews, and interviews for books, comics, music, movies, careers, and gaming. Raney is the author/illustrator of two children's picture books and has over 35 years of experience in graphic design, illustration, advertising and marketing. He and his wife, novelist Deborah Raney, have four children and make their home in
PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN FOR WRITERS
Every writer will eventually need to either hire a designer or learn to be one. This session will help writers understand some basic design principles for designing professional looking business cards, newsletters, blogs and websites, bookmarks, postcards, e-mail signatures, ads, and much more. We will also explore some of the easily accessible online resources for writers such as templates, themes, stock photography, fonts, photo-manipulation programs, etc. This is designed to be very practical and user-friendly even for non-techies.
EBook COVERS – THEY’RE NOT WHAT YOU THOUGHT
Cover designs for eBooks require some key considerations vs. the typical print book cover. Whether you're hiring a designer or attempting to design your own cover, make sure yours get noticed for the right reasons! Join illustrator/designer Ken Raney as we look at the design considerations for a compelling eBook cover that gets noticed, communicates well, and looks as professional as the writing inside. We will look at typography, stock photography, illustration, and other considerations including some case histories for a strong eBook covers. This class will prove helpful to all levels of writer–from beginner to seasoned pro.
Ramona Richards, Senior Acquisitions Editor for Fiction at Abingdon Press, has more than 25 years experience in magazine and book publishing. She has been an editor for Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals. The author of seven novels, two books of devotions, and numerous magazine articles, Ramona is a frequent workshop speaker. In 2011 she taught at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Write to Publish, the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, and the Oregon Christian Writers Conference. Information about Ramona and her work can be found at www.ramonarichards.com.
CINDERELLA VS. TRINITY: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME HEROINE
Ten reasons that Cinderella and Trinity (from The Matrix) aren’t that different and how those similarities can turn a heroine into a character that will win the hearts of readers and editors alike.
10 TIPS TO WINNING AN EDITOR’S HEART (
AND SIGNATURE ON A
This “Top Ten” countdown focuses on what editors and agents look for in a prospective writer’s work and attitude. Drawn from 30 years’ experience as a professional editor, this is practical advice presented with humor and (I hope) wisdom. (novice)
PERFECT PITCH: 10 TIPS ON SELLING IN 50 WORDS OR LESS
Ten suggestions that will help you perfect your “elevator pitch.” These will help you refine the high concept in your book and suggest ways to practice. Finally, they’ll help you eliminate those inevitable nerves when approaching an editor and make the best of your ten-minute session. Bring those pitches with you! (novice & intermediate)
WHAT “DO” THEY WANT? - EDITING YOUR INSPIRATIONAL NOVEL FOR PUBLICATION
Editors don’t look for a reason to buy the novel you’ve struggled with for months—or years! They look for a reason to reject it. Don’t give them one. This workshop provides a glimpse from behind an editor’s desk: what they look for, why talent is not enough to get your manuscript published, and traps to avoid in such areas as format, presentation, and the development of character and story arcs. (intermediate & advanced)
TEN TIPS ON TURNING YOUR MIDDLE FROM MUDDLE TO
Every novelist struggles sooner or later with a “middle malfunction.” In this workshop, I offer ten work-horse tips and writing exercises for revitalizing a droopy middle or jumpstarting a stalled one. Included are such suggestions as: Shoot Someone. Literally, if you have to. Chart Your Course. Get out that spreadsheet program . . . Fight Club. In other words, up the stakes on the outcome of conflict. (intermediate & advanced)
MARATHAN: FINISHING YOUR FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS OR LESS
If you’ve ever thought, “I can write better than that!” then this workshop is for you. A lot of people have great ideas and start a book, but never finish. Some even enter “book in a month” contests, then stall out after only a few chapters. This workshop will provide readers interested in writing as well as experienced authors the guidelines necessary for finishing the first draft of a novel in 30 days or less. (all levels)
JANET POWERS ROLLER (PRAISE
Janet Powers Roller has been a Christian speaker, singer and writer since being named Miss South
1997. Her testimony and
talent has afforded her many opportunities with audiences of all sizes. A
recent transplant to Carolina , Janet and her husband enjoy the
adventures of parenthood with their two children, Sam and Darby. She is a
Music Director, PTO President and stay-at-home mom (who rarely stays at home). Forest City, NC
PLAN AHEAD FOR PROMOTION: ONE-ON-ONE WITHOUT THE DELETE KEY will cover some of the basics of self-promotion. From websites and business cards to getting and leading an interview, Janet will cover some basic (and not-so-basic) ways to build presence and get your message "out there". Writing the book is great; getting people to want to buy it is another! Get ready for a fun, informative and eye-opening session with tips everyone can use.
Ann is a novelist whose books have received numerous awards, including the Christy Award and the Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media. Most recently, her novel Promises to Keep was named by Booklist Magazine as one of the top ten historical novels of the year. Ann lives with her husband and daughter in
PUTTING UP THE FRAME: DECISIOINS TO HANG YOUR STORY ON
Even if you're a "seat-of-the-pants" writer, you'll need to make some definite decisions before you jump into the story. We'll talk about such aspects of novel-writing as genre, theme, POV, and outlining, and why these are important to pin down before you begin.
PAINTING THE LANDSCAPE: SENSES
To write a novel is to create a world. Learn to use your senses to create a vivid setting for your readers to “live in.”
“WHAT’S HAPPENING, DUDE?” PLOTS
Novels contain not only plots but sub-plots, all of which are woven together to create a compelling story. In addition to learning the major plot models, you’ll learn the basics of sub-plotting and how to use these interwoven story lines to strengthen your novel and keep your readers reading.