Since 2007, Northern Colorado Writers has provided support and encouragement to writers of all levels and genres in Northern Colorado and beyond. Through monthly meetings, classes, networking & social events, the annual conference, the monthly newsletter and annual retreat, NCW helps new and established writers navigate their way to success.

2015 Session Descriptions

Northern Colorado Writers Conference TeresaFunkeSessionFRIDAY

2 Hour Sessions 

I, You, Them: How Perspective Empowers Your Story
Have you ever had the feeling that there's a better perspective for your book than the one you chose? Or wonder why you always seem to write in the same POV? This workshop explores Perspective in detail, explaining the differences and functionality of each POV and, most importantly, how to decide which is right for your story. We'll cover 1st, 2nd, 3rd close, 3rd dramatic, 3rd omni [with and without a Narrator], and Multiple, as well as stuff like how interiority works. This is an MFA level craft class that starts with the basics so everyone can play.

Creating Compelling Characters: Why main characters must be round and how to make them that way  
In this interactive session we’ll explore the importance of creating round characters and how that can be achieved using consistent inconsistencies, character contradictions, competing desires, obsessions and occupations, contrasting secondary characters, engaging subplots, and a cat. Character levels and the importance of self-definitions and indirect characterization will also be explored. Finally, we’ll put our characters in motion to see how they behave. Several brief, generative character activities will be given during the session, and participants will be encouraged to apply ideas during the session, share examples, and get feedback on their work. A tip sheet and worksheet on characterization will also be provided during the session.

Finding Success with Travel Writing
Have you always wanted to turn your travel experiences into published articles, essays, or books? In this class, we'll explore the fundamentals of travel writing, including different writing styles and methods,formats that work, and markets that publish travel pieces. Plus, we'll do writing exercises designed to spark your imagination, and you'll leave with some ideas in the queue. Please bring a notebook and writing utensil to class, or a laptop or tablet.


Revising Efficiently, Some techniques to save time
You’ve been writing furiously for months (or years) and that glorious day comes when you write the last sentence. You’ve finished your first draft, you go out to celebrate, the next day comes and you begin to wonder, now what? Often for writers, what follows is a lot of years of inefficient cutting and pasting and rewriting and moving around and moving back. It’s easy to get caught in addressing surface problems rather than evaluating the backbone of the story from a crafting point of view. In this class, we will discuss some solid techniques to make your revisions as efficient and effective as possible to get your book ready to go out the door in fewer drafts.

Self-Publishing with Pring on Demand
Having published his first POD book in 2004 and also having run an Espresso Book Machine operation that provided POD services to authors, Mark shares his own insights not only of the logistics of publishing using available service providers, but how authors might best interact with libraries and bookstores for their POD books.

The Golden Age of Children's Book Publishing
Instructor: LAURA BACKES
The opportunities for new authors to break into the children's book market are more abundant than ever. You can publish traditionally, self-publish, or be a hybrid author. In this workshop, Laura Backes will discuss what's hot in the current markets, how to decide which route is right for you, and ways to make your book rise to the top. She'll also cover Amazon's Kindle Kids' Book Creator software and give tips for how to use it to your best advantage when creating illustrated ebooks for kids.


5 Things you Must Know to Write For Magazines
To increase your chances of finding success writing for magazines there are five key strategies you must know. From learning where to find a media kit, to unearthing the wealth of information found in a magazine’s advertising, this workshop will share unique and innovative ways to gain insight into a publication so you can turn your queries into assignments.

Getting your Mind Around Marketing
Instructor: JON BARD
Does the idea of marketing yourself or your book seem as appealing asroot canal? Worried that opportunity will pass you by because you haveno idea how to promote? In this session, Jon will distill his 30 years of marketing experience into an easy-to-follow approach that will finally help you make sense of marketing. He'll provide a new perspective that will actually get you excited to go forth and spread the word, and will set time aside to work one-on-one with selected attendees to find their marketing "hooks".

Crafting a Short Story
Telling a complete story in 7,500 words or less is easy when you create the key points in advance. This workshop will examine the fundamentals of a short story, such as: plot, point of view, setting, character, dialogue, resolution etc. Participants leave with the complete foundation for a short story of any genre, as well as the knowledge of how to find a market for their work.


Maximizing Your Global Sales with Kobo
Instructor: Mark Levebvre
There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your musings along the world’s longest river. Kindle is great, but there’s a whole world of sales opportunities for authors via Kobo’s global presence in 190 countries. Find out how Kobo can help you maximize your digital rights to finding customers beyond the US borders and in territories of countries all over the globe. Learn tips for getting a merchandiser’s attention and what Kobo staff look for when looking to promote an author.

Say What? A Class on Dialogue
Dialogue is to stories what your spice rack is to your pot roast. Through dialogue you can do a lot to make your story much more interesting. It is a place to ramp up the tension, a place to surprise the reader and to speed up the story. It’s easy to fall into bland dialogue (the malady of almost every first draft) and it’s also easy to go back through and really spice it up. In this class, we’ll discuss and practice all the different ways to do this.

How to Write that Script
Instructor: Chantelle Aimée Osman
We’ve all said: “that would make a great movie”, but few of us have had the nerve to sit down and actually try to write it. This workshop will provide the fundamentals of formatting a screenplay, as well as some basic tips on the common mistake new screenwriters make and how to avoid them.




Creative Cafe


How to Write a Great Chicken Soup Story
Instructor: LeAnn Thieman
Share your story with millions! LeAnn Thieman, author of thirteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books, will teach you how  create action, develop character, convey emotion, use dialog, develop scenes, and hone your message to impress publishers and readers. This session will also teach you how to prepare your work for queries, proposals and publication. Lots of Q&A time will assure that you leave with everything you need to know to write and publish your personal story!

Common Mistakes in Writing for Children
Instructor: LAURA BACKES
In 25 years in the children's book industry, Laura Backes has seen authors make the same handful of mistakes over and over. She'll discuss how to avoid these pitfalls for the different age groups, and how the "mistakes" can differ if you're self-publishing or submitting to editors or agents.

Creating Conflict: Exploring characters through plot
Writers often talk about increasing conflict, but what exactly does that mean and how can it be done effectively? In this interactive session, we’ll approach plot as a way to engage readers while revealing characters. Topics covered will include: the differences between a story and a situation, the three most important things to know about your characters, and ways to manifest the internal through the external. The goal of this session is to give participants fundamental tips and approaches for writing gripping stories.


Literary Agent Panel
Panelists: Kimiko Nakamura, Michelle Richter, Mark Gottlieb
This is a chance for you to hear what agents are looking for, the best way to approach them and common mistakes new authors make. 

Intro to Writing for TV 
It’s the golden age of TV! Not only has the quality of television risen but so has the demand. If you’ve ever been curious about writing for TV, now is a great time to get started! Teleplay writing is significantly different from screenwriting, and this class will provide an overview of the craft and formatting. Plus we’ll look at how character and structure are developed specifically for TV, and you’ll get a list of resources for beginning your own exploration into writing for TV.

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal
Do you have an idea for a nonfiction book and would like to query agents or publishers? One of the best things you can do is compile a book proposal. In this session, we'll break down the steps. Topics include the benefits of compiling a book proposal, the different sections of a successful proposal, and resources for success. Participants will leave with the information they need take their nonfiction book idea from seed to fruition.


Making Your Agent/Editor Love You

Unleashing your Creativity
Instructor: JEFF FINLIN
And open forum and discussion about the creative process
Sometimes academically the creative process looks one way. To the Artist it can look another way. Where do the two processes meet? Do they ever meet? In this simple open forum and discussion we will attempt to dissect the creative process by revealing are own experiences with it. What works for you? What doesn't work for you? We’d like to know. We will make an attempt to bring out into the open and share our experience strength and hope in relationship to the creative process, in the hope that we may enlighten each other to the creative gifts we have been given.

Building Your Author Platform with Magazine Articles
Whether you’re writing novels or are trying to position yourself as an expert for your nonfiction books, writing and submitting magazine articles is a great way to reach a larger audience and build your platform. This presentation will cover the basics of magazine writing including coming up with ideas, finding your target market, writing an effective query and getting more assignments. In addition, it will cover the reasons why writing for magazines is an important and effective marketing tool that many authors do not take advantage of.



Author Marketing - A New Perspective
Instructor: JON BARD
The same old marketing tactics just won't do the job anymore. It's time for a new look at author marketing and, in this session, Jon will provide exactly that. Learn how to grow a fanbase that will support you and your work for years to come. Discover your brand, and start cutting your way through the clutter to gain more awareness for you and your work. Come prepared to share your biggest marketing challenges and let Jon help you find a new path to success.

All Query, No Bite
Instructor: Kimiko Nakamura
Not getting bites from the agents you’ve queried? What can writers do to increase their chances of getting “the call?” Learn how to attract the attention of an agent by removing red flags from your submission materials that could be misrepresenting your work.

Perfecting the Elevator Pitch
Mark Gottlieb's class is an intensive on hook-writing, also known as the elevator pitch. The class will lend participants a feel for comfortable public speaking in the fashion of selling a book idea to an agent, editor or publisher. Rarely is such an industry insider craft shared.




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Online Classes


10/12 5:00pm MST



A big thanks to these sponsors:

Kobo Writing Life


WarrenFederalCreditUnion NCWC Sponsor 


2014 Conference Comments

"I will remember best the feeling of the conference, one of inclusiveness and warmth. Yes, the seminars were excellent, but I felt good there and left with an overall positive impression."

"The kindness and approachability of the faculty/agents/editors; meeting new friends; catching up with old friends; top-notch speakers/sessions."

Special Lodging Rates


The Hilton is offering a special lodging rate for NCWC attendees. Make it a writer's weekend for yourself and stay at the Hilton on Friday evening (and maybe even Saturday). Then you can fully enjoy the event, participate in the gentle yoga session Saturday morning at 7:00 and maybe squeeze in time for some writing.