WRITING TOPICS

*Topics offered for writers groups, writers conferences, or other events. Contact Shellie for availability and rates at:  shellie@shelliearnold.com.

FIND YOUR MESSAGE AND USE IT!: For Fiction Writers Who Believe They Have No Message (Platform) and Non-Fiction Writers Who Can’t Articulate Their Message

 

Nowadays, fiction and non-fiction writers alike are expected to master marketing and have vibrant platforms. But what can fiction writers blog about? Speak about? And how can a non-fiction writer target his or her message for today’s please-entertain-me, I-have-no-attention-span audience?  

 

Part I: Find your message. Through a series of questions and teamwork, attendees will find the central theme or message which permeates their work.

 

Part II: Target your message. Using cutting-edge marketing techniques, attendees will hone their message into a premise or tagline, which speaks to the “why” behind the needs of their particular audience.

 

Part III: Use your message. Using a series of prompts, attendees will brainstorm blog post topics. Attendees will also learn a template for speaking, a three-part plan for consistently connecting with their audience. 

Duration: (short) three hours to (extended) four to five hours.

 

HELP! I’M STUCK!: For Fiction Writers With A Dysfunctional Manuscript Or Story Idea

 

Do you have an idea for a novel but don’t know where to start? You need great characters. Are you stuck in your story and don’t know why? The problem might be your characters. Knowing their hair color or pet’s name isn’t enough. You have to know what makes your characters tick and why they are who they are (back story), before you can translate it to the printed page. And, you have to create an inner and outer journey for those characters. Come learn what you need to know about your characters, to create a gripping and unique experience for your readers.

Duration: (short) 1 hour 15 minutes to (extended) 3 hours.

 

 

WHEN THE WRITING GETS TOUGH

 

If you’ve ever been discouraged as a writer, or if you’re completely overwhelmed by what you feel called to do, this class is for you. This class is not about jump-starting your creativity, but rather re-energizing your spirit, your spiritual connection to writing, and how that relates to God’s call on your life. We will look at our strengths and weaknesses, how those influence our “first love” of writing, and how to maintain an attitude of obedience to God about every aspect of our creativity. Come be encouraged and rejuvenated.

*Great as a devotional, opening, or closing session at a writers conference

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes.

 

 

PLOTTING AND STORYTELLING

 

What makes some stories weak, while others seem to grab us by the throat? The “grab you by the throat” stories are the ones we don’t forget. They’re unforgettable because they’re relatable and believable and take an honest look at our humanity. We all know life doesn’t only happen outside ourselves, but also inside. That’s why our characters must have an inner journey and an outer journey. But weaving those journeys together can be tricky. In this teaching, I walk writers through a repeatable process they can customize to create great, unforgettable stories.

Duration: (short) 1 hour 15 minutes to (extended) 2 hours 30 minutes.

 

PREMISE: The Secret Ingredient to Great Writing

 

What it is, why you need it, and how to use it to maintain your book’s focus. This teaching applies to fiction and non-fiction. Premise can be THE key to keeping your book on track and producing a quality product. Attendees will learn how to identify the premise in each of their projects and produce tighter, more focused writing. No more wandering plots or useless rabbit trails in narrative.

Duration: (short) 1 hour 15 minutes to (extended) 2 hours 30 minutes.

 

EMOTION & IMPACT IN FICTION: The Care and Feeding Of Your Readers

(This teaching is a great sequel to PREMISE—mentioned above—but can stand alone.)

 

At the heart of all writing is this goal: connection. We want to connect with our readers and have them connect with us. As writers, we have a responsibility to honor the fragile trust given us by readers when they open our books and read our work. This teaching joins the theories of great storytelling with actionable tools to improve craft. We look at the why, how, when, where, and what  it takes to connect with our readers, establish trust, and be a faithful steward of that trust to the very last page.

Duration: (short) 1 hour 15 minutes(extended) 2 hours 30 minutes.