Indiana Faith and Writing Conference - October 21

Workshop Descriptions

Daniel Bowman: Epistolary Techniques for Fiction Writers: A practical craft talk
From The Screwtape Letters to The Princess Diaries, many novels feature epistolary elements that explore their characters’ innermost thoughts and feelings and tell their stories in a unique way. Epistolary novels can include letters, emails, journal entries, tweets, texts, and more. For example, Steven King’s first published novel, Carrie, is told mostly through letters, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and excerpts from books. It is a remarkably effective strategy for fiction writing.
Even if you’re writing a novel using traditional scenes and dialogue, incorporating even a few epistolary elements can help you both reveal character and advance the plot forward in a compelling way, keeping your reader engaged by both the content and form of your novel.
Using some well-known examples and also gaining insights from the instructor’s own epistolary novel-in-progress, we’ll discuss the benefits of epistolary techniques for novelists of all types, from literary to young adult to speculative fiction.

Michele Israel Harper: Writing Fantasy for a Christian Market
Do you write fantasy? Is your dream to be the next Tolkien, Lewis, Thomas Locke, or Patrick Carr? What exactly are Christian Publishers looking for? Or should your goal (gasp!) be the secular marketplace? Join Michele Israel Harper as she discusses Fantasy subgenres and takes you deep into discussions on whether your story should focus on building up those of faith or reaching others with a message of hope.

Angela Jackson-Brown: POV: The Power of Point of View
Who tells your story is just as important as the story you tell. This workshop will explore the variety of types of point of view in narrative fiction to help determine what kind of narrator will make your story sing. You will learn about:

  • The different types of point of view
  • The advantages of disadvantages of each
  • Unreliable narrators
  • and more


Nathaniel Lee Hansen: Write it Brief(ly): Flash Fiction & Flash Creative Nonfiction
This generative workshop will provide participants with basic principles for crafting brief prose works. Participants will read sample successful pieces and then begin drafting their own flash narratives.


Carly Gelsinger: Characterization in Memoir
To write good memoir, we must tell the truth. To tell the truth, we must know ourselves. Not the packaged image we put forward, but our truest, deepest selves. In this workshop, we will use honest self-reflection and the Enneagram to capture ourselves as compelling, nuanced protagonists in memoir. Learn to identify five signs of a "flat protagonist," and replace it with a robust and deep character readers can relate to.

Panel Discussion: Transforming Pain Through Memoir
Tania Runyan and Daniel Bowman

Everyone suffers. Everyone endures painful experiences that help shape who they are. But writers have been given a gift: the ability to find words that help them process their suffering.
Have you experienced trauma you need to write about? So have we. Join instructors Dan Bowman and Tania Runyan in a workshop about entering into our toughest stories and coming out alive, maybe even better. You’ll have the opportunity to do some reflective in-class writing, which could turn into that essay or memoir that keeps calling to you.

Amy Peterson: How to Be Harrowing
In this session, we will deconstruct the myth that the best personal writing is born out of dramatic or traumatic experiences. Solo acts of sensational disclosure might get the most clicks and page views, but you don’t have to have a “harrowing” story in order to construct a compelling essay. Here we’ll look at strategies for writing powerfully about ordinary life.


Marci Rae Johnson: Publishing Your Poetry
Sending poetry out for publication can feel like an overwhelming task! This workshop will equip you to submit your poetry to journals and presses. Learn about what editors are looking for, as well as strategies for writing a good cover letter, selecting journals and presses that are the right fit for your work, keeping your submissions organized, and more.

David Wright: Hacking Your Poem: How to Take a Bad, Good, or Nearly Perfect Poem and Make it Better
Bring along a working draft of your poem (or two) to this workshop, where we'll crack it open and make it better, using a handful of useful "hacks" that can help you enter the poem where it most needs attention. As we revise together, we'll also discuss the struggles between micro and macro level revisions. You'll leave with a better understanding of your own poem and a set of practical, quirky, inspiring tools to keep revising your work. Appropriate for poets at all levels.


Angela Doll Carlson: Show and Tell and Show Around: On Learning How and When to Submit Your Work
Most writers dream of publication but the process can seem overwhelming and cumbersome. How do we begin? Where do we look? Who should we approach? In this session we explore topics such as determining publishing markets, protocol for submitting work and how to know when a piece is ready for submission.

Andrew Rogers: The Essential Elements of a Book Proposal
This workshop is for any writer (fiction and nonfiction) who wants to learn about crafting a book proposal for editors and agents to review. We'll focus on practical, encouraging advice that can be applied immediately. We will debunk a few myths, steer clear of minutiae and time-wasters, and focus on the essential elements that make book proposals sing. Writers are encouraged to bring a notebook.

J. Wolf Scott: Self-Publishing: The Nuts-and-Bolts of Building Your Book
Ever wondered what’s involved in self-publishing your book, or if it’s really for you? This workshop will cover the process from the completion of your manuscript to holding the finished book in your hands. There are countless options available in the independent publishing marketplace, and whether you’re a well-intentioned control freak or simply wish to create your own book for posterity, this will help you navigate the path to becoming an indie publisher and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls in the process.

Terry Whalin: 10 Publishing Myths.
Each year, the number of books published grows exponentially. Yet much of that growth is from self-publishing. Repeatedly writers have an unrealistic picture of the publishing world and will waste thousands of dollars of their resources without getting the perspective of someone seasoned in the industry. For over 20 years, Terry Whalin has studied publishing and been a prolific force in the industry writing for more than 50 magazines and publishing more than 60 books. Besides his own writing, Terry has acquired books for three publishing houses and had his own literary agency. He speaks on this topic of publishing with authority and insights.


Panel Discussion:The Writing-Parenting Balance
Tania Runyan, Angela Doll Carlson, Chris Smith, Aaron Housholder

Workshop Description: Is it possible to write and parent well at the same time, or does something–or someone–have to give? How do you carve out the time to produce work, let alone balance the emotional needs of family and projects? Our panel includes moms and dads; poets, fiction, and nonfiction writers; and people working in a variety of fields, including teaching, ministry, and self-employment. We will discuss the rewards and challenges of writing while parenting kids of all ages and needs, working through grief and loss, and, most importantly, how to make time for it all.

Angela Doll Carlson: Telling the Truth: Balancing Memory, Integrity, and Relationships
In memoir and essay writing it is nearly impossible to tell our story without threading the stories of our friends, family and acquaintances into our work. Even works of fiction touch upon the relationships we have in our daily lives and inspire us. Writer Anne Lamott once said, "If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better” and while a harsh response, it does hold some wisdom for us as writers. In this session we will consider how we can approach our writing when it includes people we know with some care and gentleness and integrity as well.

Ed Cyzewski: The Slow Build of a Sustainable Writing Career
Can authors develop publicity plans and marketing platforms that leave enough time to write? Author Ed Cyzewski shares strategies for evaluating book marketing options, developing a sustainable writing schedule, and creating systems to repurpose content. Authors will learn how to effectively use their writing and publicity time without losing touch with their readers.

Ann Kroeker: More Than a Platform: Using Social Media to Make a Difference Right Away
Experts urge writers to build an online following on places like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but a lot of us find the whole idea annoying, self-promotional, or overwhelming. This session presents creative ways to re-imagine the use of social media and view it as a simple, powerful, immediate storytelling vehicle. No middleman, no two-year wait for a book release. Through social media platforms you may already use, you can impact lives for the Kingdom right away.

Jody Powers: Writing with Vulnerability
Writers often have the greatest impacts when we take the brave acts of sharing our true selves with readers. Letting down our guards, putting ourselves out there, taking the risk of criticism, and trusting God is big enough to handle it all are all parts of being vulnerable. Attend this breakout session to find encouragement in starting your own journey of connecting deeper with your readers, yourself, and God.

Andrew Rogers: Panel Discussion – Faith and Writing on the Edge
Writing about faith to people on the edge of Christian culture is a unique challenge. It's even harder when you feel like you don't fit in with mainstream Christianity. How do you write authentically and honestly when you have doubts? How do you write about faith to people who have seen the church perpetuate societal wrongs? How does your commitment to the ways of Jesus influence what (and to whom) you write? These questions will be explored in a discussion format along with Q and A from the audience. The panelists are contributors and editors of

Mary-Alice Trent: Courageous Composing at the Cross(roads): Reconciliation, Race, Privilege, and Empathy
This presentation explores the roles of the writer, the text, and the audience at intersections of race, class, and privilege, as well as empathy and reconciliation.  The format will include PowerPoint, small group discussions on courageous questions, and a writing activity.