Spokane Writers Conference workshops offer inspiration, ingenuity, and empowerment

Posted on October 4, 2018 at 6:00 am

Writers can find new ways to spark their imaginations and sharpen their writing skills in a dozen free writing workshops at the 4th Annual Spokane Writers Conference, a two-day event at North Spokane Library on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21.

You can meet local authors and connect with other writers in the area who are interested in learning and improving their craft. Explore your poetic voice, hone your interviewing techniques, learn about self-publishing, and discover your unique literary identity.

This free conference boasts a lot of regional and local writing talent, including workshops led by published authors Danielle Annett, John Bladek, Kelly Milner Halls, Cindy Hval, Alexis M. Smith, and Brooke Urbaniak, who writes under the pen name Anne Lutz. The collected works of these six authors include dozens upon dozens of books for children, teens, and adults, both fiction and nonfiction.

Also leading workshops are local writers Kailee Haong and Chris Maccini and the multicultural millennial poets of Power 2 the Poetry, Bethany Montgomery, Afaria McKinney, and Charles K. Chuckenspire.

With a dozen workshops to choose from, you will find a lot of inspiration and discover the tools and tips to improve your craft. Registration is required for each workshop, and you can register for the workshops on our online calendar.


Saturday & Sunday, October 20–21


The heart of the matter: The art of the interview

Maybe you have this amazing grandfather who served in WWll and you want to preserve his story, but he gives you one-word answers. Perhaps you know a fabulous woman who is quietly helping homeless teens, but she’s loath to talk about herself. We’ll discuss interviewing methods that focus on having conversations that allow the speakers’ natural light to shine. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to ask the questions that will give you the information you need. And you’ll learn how to glean information from body language and how to use the context of a story to help you pinpoint the direction you’d like to go.

Presenter: Cindy Hval

Session 1A
Saturday, Oct 20, 10:15–11:30am | REGISTER

Getting your writing into libraries

We discuss the criteria that book buyers at libraries use when selecting new titles, the best practices for contacting the library about your writing, and the online eBook and publishing platforms that work with library collections.

Presenter: Carlie Hoffman

Session 1B
Saturday, Oct 20, 10:15–11:30am | REGISTER

Ideas to paper: What do I do with all my awesome ideas?

We talk about ways of generating ideas for your writing, choosing the right genre for your ideas, and developing those ideas into written works with an audience and genre in mind.

Presenter: John Bladek

Session 2A
Saturday, Oct 20, 12–1:15pm | REGISTER

Writing on the margins

Grappling with and understanding marginalized identities can be a difficult and complex process. Writing and storytelling are excellent ways to understand who you are and why that matters. If you’ve ever walked around a bookstore or library and wished there were more books and stories with characters like you, then this is the workshop for you.

Presenter: Kailee Haong

Session 2B
Saturday, Oct 20, 12–1:15pm | REGISTER

So you want to be a freelance writer

Bad news, paper publications are shrinking across the country. Good news, those still alive are hiring more freelance writers as their staff numbers dwindle. If you’ve ever considered being a freelance writer, now may be the time to join the game. I’ll show you how.

Presenter: Kelly Milner Halls

Session 3A
Saturday, Oct 20, 1:45–3pm | REGISTER

Seeing your story: Imagery & characterization in fiction

Evocative images and peculiar details help fill your stories with vivid scenes and authentic characters. In this generative workshop, we will look at examples of stories with effective imagery and practice “seeing” your own scenes through a series of freewriting exercises. You will walk away with new characters, surprising new details, and a different way of looking at descriptive imagery.

Presenter: Chris Maccini

Session 3B
Saturday, Oct 20, 1:45–3pm | REGISTER

Self-publishing for success

Self-publishing gives authors more choices and opportunities to earn a livable income. And at the same time, self-publishing isn’t easy or the right fit for everyone. This workshop is designed to help you determine if self-publishing is right for you. The workshop covers writing to market, building your tribe of professionals, managing your release schedule with indie expectations, advertising and marketing, releasing wide vs. Kindle Unlimited (KU), pricing your book to sell, getting blurbs that hook and back matter that matters, deciding on your author platform and brand, and managing your career for long-term success.

Presenter: Danielle Annett

Session 4A
Saturday, Oct 20, 3:30–4:45pm | REGISTER

Express, expose, ignite!

This workshop will focus on using spoken word to promote freedom of expression and provide a platform to underrepresented demographics. We look at ways of raising awareness of social, cultural, and political issues, infiltrating consciousness by expressing truth, shedding light onto subjects that expose legitimate issues, and being the spark that ignites the flame to stand up and be the change—all with the words you speak. Express, expose, and ignite!

Presenters: Bethany Montgomery, Afaria McKinney, and Charles K. Chuckenspire of Power 2 the Poetry

Session 4B
Saturday, Oct 20, 3:30–4:45pm | REGISTER


Writing and publishing YA… when you’re a teen

Learn how to write a book and get it published, even if you’re under twenty. With a unique focus on using Wattpad, the online reading and writing platform, this workshop will give you all the information you need to get serious about your writing—write the book, build the platform, and publish the novel.

Presenter: Brooke Urbaniak (Anne Lutz)

Session 5A
Sunday, Oct 21, 1:15–2:30pm | REGISTER

Starting a novel & finishing it

This workshop is for anyone who has an idea for a novel but doesn’t know where to begin, and for those who have started a novel but are stalled out. We talk about the novel-writing process from start to finish: organizing your ideas and research, recognizing and using your own best writing practices, outlining a plot and sketching characters, overcoming writer’s block, and setting achievable goals to reach the final chapter. You’ll learn how to be the project manager of your novel!

Presenter: Alexis Smith

Session 5B
Sunday, Oct 21, 1:15–2:30pm | REGISTER

Everything you wanted to know about writing for teens and kids

During this workshop, we take a look at the different genres in children’s books, including picture books, graphic titles, nonfiction books, and young adult novels. Learn about manuscript lengths and audiences for each genre, along with how books are sold. We also try out writing prompts to help you uncover ideas for the genres. You’ll leave with an understanding of this field and whether you would like to write for kids and teens today.

Presenter: Kelly Milner Halls

Session 6A
Sunday, Oct 21, 3–4:15pm | REGISTER

Recognizing and using your power to step up and step out

This is an interactive session about fully comprehending oppression placed on marginalized groups and understanding how we, as the community, need to resist all types of discrimination against anyone at any time or else we are part of the problem. This is a highly intense workshop addressing privilege and using poetry as a tool for change that will likely include moments of vulnerability and passion.

Presenters: Bethany Montgomery, Afaria McKinney, and Charles K. Chuckenspire of Power 2 the Poetry

Session 6B
Sunday, Oct 21, 3–4:15pm | REGISTER

You can learn more about the workshop presenters in Engage, our programs & events guide, available at our libraries and online.



Your library card gives you access to digital resources and online apps at no charge. Check out these resources for writers.

Self-publishing with SELF-e

Share your writing with libraries and submit your eBook to Indie Washington and Library Journal’s SELF-e Select with SELF-e.

Indie Washington from BiblioBoard

Enjoy titles from local, independently published authors from Washington at Indie Washington from Biblioboard.

STAFF PICKS: Writers’ Resources

Strengthen your writing skills, discover different writing processes, and learn how to publish your work with these staff picks for writers’ resources.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,