Writing on the Door:
Young Writers Conference
Full Schedule & Workshop Descriptions
March 18-19, 2022

Conference Registration
Early-Bird Price: $125
Until Jan. 15, 2021
After 1/15: $150

Full Schedule:
Young Writers Conference 2022

Friday, March 18

11:30 am

Check-in/registration opens

Noon - 12:45 pm

Keynote Address by Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Wisconsin Poet Laureate

1:00 - 2:30 pm

For middle school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Poetry Session" Mike Orlock

Option 2: "Be Heard!  Your Voice Matters!" Liza Wiemer

For high school students, choose from:

Option 1: "World Building" Julialicia Case

Option 2: "More Than Words" Dasha Kelly Hamilton

 

2:30 - 3:00 pm

Snack/movement break

3:00 - 4:30 pm

For middle school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Parody On!" LaurA! Force Scruggs

Option 2: "How to Find a Story Anywhere" Sarah Hammond

 

For high school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Be Heard!  Your Voice Matters!" Liza Wiemer

Option 2: "Songwriting" Cathy Grier

 

5:00 - 5:45 pm

Performance by singer/songwriter Cathy Grier.

Parents and guardians of registered students are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Saturday, March 19

8:30 am

Check-in/registration opens

 

9:00 - 9:45 am

Keynote presentation by award-winning author John Coy

 

10:00 - 11:30 am

For middle school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Write Your Own Story" John Coy

Option 2: "Indigenous Poetics" Angie Trudell Vasquez

 

For high school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Writing Dialogue to Bring Your Fiction to Life" with Kim Suhr

Option 2: "Freelance Writing" with Alex Paniagua

 

11:30 - 12:30 pm

Lunch Break (bring your own lunch)

 

12:30 - 2:00 pm

For middle school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Magical Realism" with LaurA! Force Scruggs

Option 2: "What Should I Write About? Fun Exercises to Get You Started on Your Next Poem or Story" with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and Janet Jennerjohn

 

For high school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Write Your Own Story" with John Coy

Option 2: "Indigenous Poetics" with Angie Trudell Vasquez

 

2:00 - 2:30 pm

Snack/movement break

 

2:30 - 4:00 pm

For middle school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Faces: An Exercise in Character Development" with Sarah Hammond

Option 2: "A Picture AND a Thousand Words" with Kim Suhr

 

For high school students, choose from:

Option 1: "Journalism" with Myles Dannhausen, Jr.

Option 2: "What Should I Write About? Fun Exercises to Get You Started on Your Next Poem or Story" with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and Janet Jennerjohn

 

4:15 - 5:00 pm

Writers Showcase!

Workshop Descriptions
Young Writers Conference 2022

FRIDAY WORKSHOPS

 

Afternoon: 1:00– 2:30 PM

For middle school students, choose from:

 

Pulling Poems Out of Thin Air with Mike Orlock

Poems are made of words, obviously, and everyone—old or young, rich or poor—carries around lots and lots of words. Hundreds of words! Thousands of words! We have so many words, we give them away to friends, family, complete strangers, even, without thinking twice. Yet few people consider themselves to be poets. The “hands-on” activities in this session will give you an opportunity to find those words that will make you a poet—if just for a day. You’ll make puzzles of words, pictures of words, and (dare I say it?) poems of words just by playing with the words you already know.

Be Heard!  Your Voice Matters! with Liza Wiemer

Are there issues you care about, but you’re not sure how to speak up so that you’re heard? Whether you’re shy or can’t wait to debate a topic, this workshop will help you find your voice and be a positive force for change. If you would like to express yourself on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram, write free verse poetry, lyrics, stories, graphic novels, or write for an online paper or magazine, this writing workshop will give you the ability to discover your voice and express what truly matters to you in an effective, positive manner. Be your best ally and be an ally for others. Possible topics include cyberbullying, LGBTQ+ youth, equality, climate change, environment, and peer pressure. 

For high school students, choose from:

 

Collaborative Worldbuilding for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing with Julialicia Case

The task of designing a world can seem overwhelming and daunting, but worldbuilding is a crucial part of fantasy and science fiction writing. Through collaborative worldbuilding, writers work together to create a world that is even more complex and detailed than what they might be able to develop alone. This session will give a brief introduction to the collaborative worldbuilding process, and writers will work together to craft unique speculative worlds that they can use in their own creative pieces.

More Than Words with Dasha Kelly Hamilton

More Than Words is a story-building workshop about communicating mission and meaning through authentic narratives. This hands-on experience will shape a set of shared messages, broker a dialogue on values and goals, and craft natural, purposeful narratives. 

 

Afternoon: 3:00 - 4:30 PM

3:00 - 4:30 pm

For middle school students, choose from:

Parody On! with LaurA! Force Scruggs

This session will involve theatre games, acting out, and singing various parody examples (some written by other middle schoolers), analyzing the examples and determining what makes a good parody. We’ll then write our own parody skits and/or songs. 

How to Find a Story Anywhere with Sarah Hammond

One of the first questions an author is asked is, “Where do you get the ideas for your stories?” In this workshop, using a mixture of playful writing prompts, techniques used by professional authors, illustrative literary excerpts, and story craft principles, students can develop their creativity in an experimental and supportive environment.

For high school students, choose from:

Be Heard!  Your Voice Matters! with Liza Wiemer

Are there issues you care about, but you’re not sure how to speak up so that you’re heard? Whether you’re shy or can’t wait to debate a topic, this workshop will help you find your voice and be a positive force for change. If you would like to express yourself on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram, write free verse poetry, lyrics, stories, graphic novels, or write for an online paper or magazine, this writing workshop will give you the ability to discover your voice and express what truly matters to you in an effective, positive manner. Be your best ally and be an ally for others. Possible topics include cyberbullying, LGBTQ+ youth, equality, climate change, environment, and peer pressure. 

Songwriting with Cathy Grier

Cathy discovered Sturgeon Bay in 2016 when she was invited to collaborate in the annual Steel Bridge Song Festival held at the Holiday Music Motel. A songwriter, performer and recording artist since 1978, Cathy was also known as NYCSubwayGirl for busking in the NYC metro stations for 15 years. Cathy and her band The Troublemakers released album "I'm All Burn" in 2020 and were on the Blues charts worldwide, including #1 in Wisconsin. They will be representing Wisconsin and the Paramount Music Association at the International Blues Competition in Memphis, TN in January 2022. More info at cathygrier.comThis workshop is geared for all levels of writing and musicianship. Exercises will include discussion of lyrics, melody and compositional structures. Emphasis on how to allow wild creativity to flow, while fine tuning specific areas into more meaningful songs. And for further consideration, tips on how to get unstuck and liberate your muse. The workshop will be followed by a live performance by Cathy and some of her Troublemakers band. Instruments welcome but not necessary and a notebook encouraged.

 

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS

Morning: 10:00 AM – 11:30 PM

 

For middle school students, choose from:

 

Write Your Own Story with John Coy

In this session, we’ll think about our lives now and how we want them to be to be in the future. We’ll brainstorm and write down ideas. We’ll work on fast first drafts. We’ll ponder, reflect, and explore. We’ll go back and revise adding details, dialogue, and depth. We’ll watch our writing change as we stretch and consider new things and different perspectives. We’ll work hard and have fun. And at the end of the session, we’ll have the opportunity to gain new insights into ourselves and what we want our story to be.

 

Indigenous Poetics with Angie Trudell Vasquez

We will read poems by Native poets who have lived and currently live in the state of Wisconsin, and poems by Native poets from across the entire country; including poets I studied with at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). We will cross time by reading poems written in the current century and the previous one. We will also engage in some free writing together, sharing is optional but encouraged. Students will leave with a list of contemporary writers to look up on their own time and suggested books to read.

 

For high school students, choose from:

 

Writing Dialogue to Bring Your Fiction to Life with Kim Suhr

Show don’t tell. Character development. Plot development. Conflict. All these elements of story are enhanced by vivid dialogue, but there’s more to writing dialogue than just putting words in our characters’ mouths. In this workshop, we’ll practice various techniques that take your dialogue from ho-hum to fantastic. 

 

Freelance Writing with Alex Paniagua

From the flexibility to choose from a variety of exciting projects to writing from the comfort of anywhere, the growing field of freelancing is a terrific way for writers to make a living doing what they love. This session will focus on the different forms of freelance writing available across many unique industries as well as the key benefits and challenges that come with a self-employed writing career. Whether your passion is writing fiction, posting engaging social media posts, or crafting articles for publications, there’s a freelance opportunity available for every writer waiting to be discovered.

 

Afternoon: 12:30 – 2:00 PM

 

For middle school students, choose from:

 

Magical Realism with LaurA! Force Scruggs

Magical realism includes fantastical elements in seemingly realistic fiction. We’ll discuss examples we have read of magical realism. Then, using theater games, we will act out scenes involving magical realism. Students will ultimately write their own magical realism skits.

 

What Should I Write About? Fun Exercises to Get You Started on Your Next Poem or Story with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and Janet Jennerjohn

All writers experience writer’s block and have asked themselves the question, “What should I write about?” In this workshop, we will allow ourselves to play to answer this question. Using writing exercises that encourage us to experiment with voice, character, dialogue, and scene, we will write texts that will open our imaginations to new ways of seeing and imagining the world. 

 

 

For high school students, choose from:

 

Write Your Own Story with John Coy

In this session, we’ll think about our lives now and how we want them to be to be in the future. We’ll brainstorm and write down ideas. We’ll work on fast first drafts. We’ll ponder, reflect, and explore. We’ll go back and revise adding details, dialogue, and depth. We’ll watch our writing change as we stretch and consider new things and different perspectives. We’ll work hard and have fun. And at the end of the session, we’ll have the opportunity to gain new insights into ourselves and what we want our story to be.

 

Indigenous Poetics with Angie Trudell Vasquez

We will read poems by Native poets who have lived and currently live in the state of Wisconsin, and poems by Native poets from across the entire country; including poets I studied with at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). We will cross time by reading poems written in the current century and the previous one. We will also engage in some free writing together, sharing is optional but encouraged. Students will leave with a list of contemporary writers to look up on their own time and suggested books to read.

 

 

Afternoon: 2:30 – 4:00 PM

 

For middle school students, choose from:

 

Faces: An Exercise in Character Development with Sarah Hammond

As Stephen King said, “Writing is at its best -- always always always -- when it is a kind of inspired play for the writer.” Faces is a story-game for students as they work collectively and individually to create a cast of new fictional characters. This exercise helps young storytellers to develop their communication and imaginative skills with like-minded students. They will also learn new craft techniques and are coached towards continuing and developing their own stories.

 

A Picture AND a Thousand Words with Kim Suhr

The best photographs tell a story, and the best stories create pictures in the reader’s head. In this workshop, we’ll explore the power of photographs as inspiration for writing and as a tool within our writing to move our reader and create an effect.

 

 

For high school students, choose from:

 

Journalism with Myles Dannhausen, Jr. 

Description Coming Soon!

 

What Should I Write About? Fun Exercises to Get You Started on Your Next Poem or Story with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and Janet Jennerjohn

All writers experience writer’s block and have asked themselves the question, “What should I write about?” In this workshop, we will allow ourselves to play to answer this question. Using writing exercises that encourage us to experiment with voice, character, dialogue, and scene, we will write texts that will open our imaginations to new ways of seeing and imagining the world. 

Afternoon: 4:15 – 5:00 PM

 

Writers Showcase!

An opportunity for participants to share the work they have created during the conference. Parents, guardians, and family members of registered attendees are welcome and encouraged to attend.