Writing on the Door:
Mystery Conference Full Schedule
& Workshop Descriptions
October 22-24, 2021

Full Schedule: Mystery Conference 2021

Friday, October 22

8:30 – 9:00 am

Registration and Coffee

 

9:00 – 9:10 am

Welcome and Orientation

 

9:15 – 10:30

Panel Discussion

with Pete Hautman, Mia Manansala, Patricia Skalka and Bianca Sloane

 

10:45 am – 12:30 pm

Morning Workshop 1: One Mystery, Six Epiphanies with Pete Hautman

Morning Workshop 2: Self-Publishing Lessons Learned with Bianca Sloane

 

12:30 – 2 pm

Lunch

 

2:15 – 3:45 pm

Afternoon Workshop 1: How to Get Your Novel ‘Pitch’ Perfect with Mia Manansala

Afternoon Workshop 2: Want Your Writing to Sparkle? Here’s How with Patricia Skalka

 

4:00 – 5:15 pm

"What Readers Want" Panel Discussion

 

5:45 pm

Reception at Write On, Door County

Saturday, October 23

8:30 – 9:00 am

Registration and Coffee

 

9:00 – 9:10 am

Welcome and orientation

 

9:15 – 10:30 am

Panel Discussion

with John DeDakis, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Mary Logue, Marcie Rendon

 

10:45 am – 12:30 pm

Morning Workshop 1: What’s at Stake: Suspense in Storytelling with Mary Logue

Morning Workshop 2: The Cozy Kitchen: Writing Cozy Culinary Mysteries with Sandra Jackson-Opoku

 

12:30 – 2 pm

Lunch

 

2:15 – 3:45 pm

Afternoon Workshop 1: Character and Setting with Marcie Rendon

Afternoon Workshop 2: How to Write a Mystery Novel (and Get it Published) with John DeDakis

 

4:00 – 5:15 pm

"Whatever Happened to Karl Janko?": A Conversation with Matt Zembrowski

 

5:45 pm

Reception at Write On, Door County

Sunday, October 24

8 - 9 am

Coffee at Write On, Door County

 

9 am – noon

Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery Trolley Tour with Patricia Skalka

(add-on experience: $40 conference attendees, $55 non-conference attendees)

Workshop Descriptions
Mystery Conference 2021

FRIDAY WORKSHOPS

Morning: 10:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Friday Morning Workshop 1: One Mystery, Six Epiphanies with Pete Hautman

In this session, we'll discuss point-of-view, the single most important element in mystery and suspense writing. We talk about character: consistency, believability, evolution and motivation. We'll also talk about trusting your reader and clearing up your parenthetical thinking.


Friday Morning Workshop 2: Self-Publishing Lessons Learned: Or the Five Things I've Learned, Screwed Up or Wish I'd Done Differently on my Self-Publishing Journey (and a Few of the Things I Did Right) with Bianca Sloane

Congratulations! You've written a book. Now comes a big decision: publish traditionally or go the indie publishing route? In this session, Bianca Sloane, author of suspense novels about the Dark Side of Love, will share her indie publishing journey. Bianca will take a deep dive into why she went indie as well as some of her pitfalls, from pricing to promotion. She'll also share how she changed course and will provide practical tips and tricks to help you navigate the indie publishing landscape.

Afternoon: 2:15 – 3:45 PM

Friday Afternoon Workshop 1: Want Your Writing to Sparkle? Here’s How with Patricia Skalka

This workshop challenges you to view your manuscript with a critical eye and provides the tools needed to make your writing sparkle. I’ll share several simple techniques that will improve the flow and rhythm of your work; help you write sharp, effective dialogue; and add energy to your mystery. Bring a couple copies of a scene from a work in progress or several pages from a completed manuscript and try out the suggestions on your own work as we go through the session.

 

Friday Afternoon Workshop 2: How to Get Your Novel "Pitch" Perfect with Mia Manansala

You've finished a novel. Congrats! You may have even sent out a few query letters. Double congrats! But now you wonder...what comes next? For this course, we'll start by making sure your novel is query-ready. We'll then go over query letters and the dreaded synopsis to make sure you're catching agent and editor attention from the get-go. We'll briefly talk about how to research publishing professionals so you can separate the real ones from the "shmagents" looking to take your money. And finally, I'll help you polish your pitch for when you inevitably have to talk about your book to other people.

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS

Morning: 10:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Saturday Morning Workshop 1: WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Suspense in Storytelling with Mary Logue

At some point in the story—usually in the first third of the book— the reader should understand what’s at stake, whether it’s as simple as a friendship, winning the race, or as big as saving the world. The reason the reader will want to read your book is that they will care about what’s at stake, it’s important to them. All good stories have suspense—we always want to know what will happen next.  In this talk you will learn about ways to create suspense in your story and how to up the ante on “what’s at stake.”  You will learn how to write a book that no one can put down.

 

Saturday Morning Workshop 2: THE COZY KITCHEN: Pairing Food with Murder with Sandra Jackson-Opoku

Cozies are domestic mysteries set in close-knit communities where an amateur sleuth solves the crime. One mainstay of this genre sets these stories in restaurants, bakeries, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, noodle shops, and other eateries. This session will examine the conventions, structure, and basic elements of the cozy culinary mystery.

 

Afternoon: 2:15 – 3:45 PM

Saturday Afternoon Workshop 1: Listening Deeply and Writing the Story Waiting to be Told with Marcie Rendon

How do you listen deeply to the characters and stories that are roaming in your brain waiting to be told?  How do you silence the inner critic that keeps you from writing those stories? How is place - the landscape, the city, the buildings - important to your story and how do you incorporate it into the story you are telling?  In Rendon's novels, Murder on the Red River and Girl Gone Missing, her character Cash Blackbear has readers invested in her continued success and well-being, to the point where they write Rendon and ask how Cash is doing. The Red River Valley, the land and water itself, is brought to life and is a central character in the storyline also.

 

Saturday Afternoon Workshop 2: How to Write a Mystery Novel (and Get it Published) with John DeDakis

A practical 15-point plan that demystifies and deconstructs novel-writing -- from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to tap into your subconscious and life experiences to transform them into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent, marketing the finished product, and facing your writing and marketing fears.