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Write on the Red Cedar 2017 will feature in-depth workshops in both craft and career topics relevant to writers of all experience levels.

We listened to your feedback! Based on surveys from the 2016 conference, we restructured our conference for 2017 to feature fewer BUT LONGER workshops--giving you more time with each speaker and greater opportunities to dig into your own work during sessions, ask questions, and get to know your fellow writers.

For dates and times of each workshop, please visit our SCHEDULE page.




If you want to elevate your screenplays and novels to the highest possible level, this event is a must.*

During this advanced, six-hour seminar, Write on the Red Cedar headliner Michael Hauge will present his unique approach to creating compelling stories for film and fiction. Drawing on his decades as a Hollywood script consultant, author and lecturer, he will show the most powerful methods for eliciting emotion in your readers and audiences through story concept, plot structure, character development and theme. Michael will then reveal his proven method for getting the people in power to read your manuscript or screenplay.

You will learn:

  • The primary goal of all stories
  • Turning plot structure from a complicated concept into a simple, powerful tool you can easily apply to every story
  • The power of desire, need, longing and destiny
  • The essential conflict all characters must face
  • Novel structure vs. movie structure
  • The single key to creating character arc and theme
  • The secret to creating unique, believable and fulfilling love stories
  • The most effective process for adapting novels into film
  • The single biggest mistake writers make while pitching their work
  • The key components of a powerful pitch

*This workshop is not included in the regular conference registration. To attend, you must purchase the "full conference" package.

creating powerful scenes

Great scenes – in both scripts and novels -- have to achieve several things:

  • Draw the reader into a unique reality
  • Create empathy and identification with the characters
  • Bring compelling desires and insurmountable conflicts to life
  • Contribute to character growth and theme
  • Weave magic with words
  • Elicit bigger-than-life emotions

How can a writer craft scenes that do it all? With an abundance of examples, Write on the Red Cedar headliner Michael Hauge will reveal the elements of action, description and dialogue that will insure the overall success of your story. In this two-hour workshop, you'll learn: 

  • The 10 essential components of a well written scene
  • What every scene MUST accomplish
  • The path to mastering action, description and dialogue
  • The secrets of effective editing


Writing a book has been your dream for a long time and now you’re ready to take it seriously. You try to move forward, but you’re just spinning your wheels. You don’t understand how to make the leap from dreamer to author. You think, “I just can’t find the time.” Most published authors are just like you. They have the same 24 hours in each day and the same obligations—families, homes, full-time jobs, and furry friends. So how do they do it? The difference isn’t time. It’s mindset—one you can adopt, too. In this interactive FTDB workshop, prolific author Elizabeth Heiter shows you how to reach your writing goals and Finish the Damn Book, like the pro you’ve always known you can be.

Plot the Damn Book

Novels are like road trips, and it's a writer's job to convince readers to come along for the ride. But that's a hard sell if you can't promise readers a smooth trip with a destination in mind. That's where plot comes in. Plot is your road map, your internal GPS. The stronger the plot, the smoother the ride (and the happier your readers will be). But how do you "plot" your novel? How do you create an efficient, layered road map for your book? In this workshop, author, editor and “plot doctor” Louise Knott Ahern will teach you easy plotting techniques that will add depth to your story, keep you focused, help you write your way out of tight spots, and -- most importantly -- teach you how to know what should happen next! This workshop is appropriate for all experience levels -- whether you're just starting your first book or in the middle of your tenth. Bring your work-in-progress to this session! Louise will have you dig into your own book with a series of writing exercises that will let you walk away with concrete ideas on how to move forward in your novel.


All of the greatest writers of past and present have one thing in common: they rewrite—sometimes dozens or even hundreds of times—until their work is the best it can be. But in a culture of instant results, we can be tempted to neglect the kind of slow, dedicated tweaking that is a necessary part of writing. We unconsciously believe that the greats simply wrote out their masterpieces on the first try in a heady wave of inspiration. But that’s simply not true! Revision and editing may not be sexy, but if neglected it will make a writer’s chance of getting noticed and getting published much smaller. From big picture rewriting to targeted revision and savvy editing, writer and editor Erin Bartels will teach you lots of useful tips, tricks, and techniques to make the whole process as effective—and enjoyable—as possible.


Ever wonder how authors landed their agents? In this special lunch panel, you'll learn from several authors how they found the right agent for their work and get tips on writing queries that sell. This lunch panel is a conference extra. You must purchase the lunch option on the registration form to attend.

The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing

The publishing world has been turned upside down in the past five years with the giant surge of indie publishing. But indie publishing is not for the faint of heart! "Hybrid" author Colleen Gleason, who has been both traditionally published as well as indie published talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly of indie publishing v. traditional publishing, as well as the nuts and bolts of the process for those brave enough to take the indie route. She's the co-author of The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing and will bring many of the wisdom shared in her book to this workshop. It's a can't-miss for anyone wondering if indie is the right career path!

The Knock-Out Author Brand: What Does and Doesn't Matter in Today's Publishing Market

The publishing landscape has changed dramatically over the past several years--has your approach to Author Branding changed with it? This hands-on, fast-paced clinic with branding expert and author Jenn Stark will help you understand what matters (and what doesn't!) to a knockout Author Brand. With real-world examples and worksheets to assist you as you create or refine your Brand, Jenn will take you through an in-depth look at branding your books, your packaging, your online and offline promotions and every reader or industry professional interaction in between. You'll take away a plan of action for the coming year--and beyond!

Memoir and the Mundane: Telling your story in a way that matters to others

 Your lived experience is uniquely yours. No one else can tell your story as well as you. You are the expert on your life. These statements are all true. However, there's one issue we all have to accept: Sometimes, your story may be full of experiences – mundane and inspirational – that actually mean much more to you than they do to others. In writing, there are those moments we just want to capture. The steam rising from your coffee cup the day before your dog dies. The thick humidity in the air when you realize you're completely alone. The scent of Eucalyptus surrounding you as say goodbye to the ones you love for a very long time. So how do we work to make these moments that mean so much to us, matter to everyone else? In this session, writer and researcher Suban Nur Cooley will lead you through exercises toshare pieces of our stories while refining, strategizing and learning to make the mundane matter. We'll ask the hard questions and dig into as many important and not so important moments and memories to find/refine the story that needs to be told.