Writers Track

Centered on you — the writer — the writers workshop track will build your relationships with other writers and professionals in the writing community while you learn practical tips and techniques to improve your writing and its reception. This will be an experience to stimulate your intellect, enlighten your spirit, and delight and refresh your imagination.

Come join us for our lectures, workshops, and group sessions for the jump-start, dusting off, or home-stretch encouragement you’ve needed to move forward with your writing. We all know that writing well is, in part, a talent. But moving from God-given gift to a finished — and perhaps published — product requires self-discipline and dogged perseverance, as well the encouragement and feedback of others.

We offer an affirming atmosphere for learning from respected authors, reading and commenting on one another’s work, and discussing specifics for creating a writing life that is more than a rainy-day hobby. Writers of all expertise levels are welcome to come celebrate the creative life — and the privilege of working in community.

Writers Workshop Track Program

Early Arrival Writers Sessions – Friday afternoon*

  • Registration opens at 1:45 p.m.
  • Two writers sessions on Friday afternoon, starting at 2:40 p.m, with
    • Lancia E. Smith, “Serving the work by loving the reader” – Many writers have loved Madeleine L’Engle’s classic book on arts and faith, Walking on Water, yet wrestled with the meaning and application of her famous phrase: “serve the work.” Jonathan Rogers, acclaimed editor and writing teacher says the key to effective writing is to “love your readers.” What exactly is “the work”? What does it mean to “love your readers”? Where do these two admonitions for writers and artists intersect? Author, Speaker, and Executive Director of the online magazine CultivatingLancia E. Smith, gives us an inside view of what it means to serve the work and love your readers, examining calling and vocation at all levels of the writing craft.
    • Patti Callahan Henry, “The Soul of the Story” – How to identify, capitalize and perfect the human journey/motivation of your character.  Soul of the story is the emotional journey of transformation. How do we allow plot to affect change in the  internal life of both fictional and historically real characters?

*Note: these two sessions are for those who sign up for the early arrival add-on. All of the sessions below are open to all those signed up for the main Retreat.


‘Sprinklings’ Groups – Friday evening

  • Facilitated by Melanie Stiles, these small groups are for sharing and feedback for prose writers and poets.

Writers Breakout Sessions – Saturday

  • Three writing sessions on Saturday morning through mid afternoon, with
    • Christin Ditchfield, “The Writer’s Journey — A Creative Quest”
      Much like the hero’s journey, the writer’s journey begins with a call to adventure and leads to a series of challenges, trials and temptations — all to be overcome for the promise of victory and reward. Drawing on decades of experience as a professional writer, Christin offers practical tips, tools, and techniques to help you succeed in your own creative quest!
    • Melanie Stiles, “Community Connections Every Writer Needs”
      A prominent quote from Lewis’ work, The Weight of Glory, reads, “We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” If we were to read on, we would learn the reference is intended to increase our focus on the God-image residing within each individual we encounter. All people can be considered unique, purposeful and extraordinary in some way.With an eye for detail and an innate curiosity, most writers can’t help but recognize at least some type of beauty in every human. The real challenge comes in their attempts to recognize and find a specific community that supports, inspires and furthers their own particular creative pursuits. Not everyone can meet that criteria. Join Melanie in an interactive session to identify the critical community connections you need to achieve your specific writing goals. Isn’t it time to gather your tribe?
    • Jason Smith, “Past Watchful Dragons: A Writer’s Guide”
      Lewis & Tolkien are famous for authoring modern genre fiction that brims with smuggled theology. As anyone who has picked up a book by one of their unsuccessful imitators knows, that’s more difficult than the Inklings made it look! This session explores their techniques for introducing readers to Christ through subcreated worlds where He is “known by another name.”

‘Sprinklings’ Groups – Saturday evening

  • Facilitated by Melanie Stiles, these small groups are for sharing and feedback for prose writers and poets.

Thank you to our sponsors!

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