Early registration for the upcoming Colorado Christian Writers Conference, May 12–15 is building. I’m really excited at the lineup we have for this year’s CCWC. It is one of the strongest all around writing conferences I’ve seen.

I admit that as Marlene Bagnull’s, the director, assistant, I have a bit of vested interest in the conference. But this is a conference I look forward to attending all year. I’ve made some of my best friends there, and I’ve gained valuable information about writing, both fiction and nonfiction. And if it weren’t for this conference, I wouldn’t be published in nonfiction at all. The contacts I’ve made and the people I’ve met are truly some of the best in the business.

If you’re thinking about coming, please check out the Web site. However, I’d like to highlight a few clinics and continuing sessions and workshops that have piqued my interest.

Starting with the earlybird workshops on Wednesday, May 12, there’s something in that list for everyone. Already some of these workshops have a healthy count, but a couple need some extra promotion. So . . . If you write for kids, fiction or nonfiction, check out the two workshops Mona Hodgson is leading:

E5 – Story Building Blocks for Children’s Writers: This class provides a hands-on exercise in creating characters and story problems that appeal to the intended audience.

E13 – Writing Books for Young Children: Come to this workshop for an overview of how to write and sell board books and picture books.

If you’ve ever struggled with Microsoft Office (and who hasn’t?), David Rhoades is doing a workshop to help us less computer savvy people learn to use these programs effectively with less frustration.

Or if you need help brainstorming possible article ideas, join Julie Dearyan to gain some help and walk away with more ideas you can work up into that next best-selling article.

As I look at the preliminary counts for the workshops, I’m noticing an interesting trend. Interest seems high in the A – F workshops, but when it comes to the specialty/niche workshops, there’s a drastic drop. I’ve found that these markets can be very lucrative and rewarding because few people want to commit time to something that may not be a high profile as fiction writing or the latest trend in article topics. Don’t ignore these special markets, and definitely pray about your choices as you make decisions. Remember that you are not locked into your preliminary choices. So even if you’ve made your choices, you can change your mind and explore what the Lord may have for you in these specialty markets.

The continuing sessions are always a highlight of CCWC for me. These sessions focus on specific areas of the writing experience. And they are always chock-full of great information. Do consider each session before making a decision. Again, if you get to the class and feel that it isn’t for you, you are not locked into that class. And you can change your mind beforehand, too.

Right now, the numbers for a couple of the continuing sessions has me a little surprised. Ted Baehr’s Breakthrough Scriptwriting class got rave reviews at Philly last year. For the fiction writer, studying the craft of scriptwriting is a must in learning story structure. And Ted is an excellent teacher, someone who knows his craft well and can communicate that knowledge to others.

Another continuing session that has caught my attention is new this year: The Lightbox Method. Have you ever struggled with including a spiritual thread in your fiction? Or in nonfiction? How much does our spiritual walk with the Lord have to do with our writing? Well, lots, actually. If you have ever struggled with this, check out this continuing session. I’m hoping to have some time to slip into a couple of the sessions and glean what I can.

Here are some quotes from people who have attended John Wiuff‘s Lightbox Method retreats:

I’ve been involved in the writing community and conferences for the last twenty years and I can honestly say this method is different than anything else out there and is one of the best tools I’ve discovered in writing either fiction or nonfiction.
Sandy Cathcart (who has taken John’s classes in the past and is co-teaching with him at CCWC)

With fingers poised above the keyboard and my mind frozen, my characters remained equally frozen. Two characters existed in a setting and one expressed meaningful inner thoughts, but both existed as cardboard cutouts, neither moving nor interacting. Then I attended a Lightbox Retreat and experienced three days of aha-moments. When I applied The Lightbox Method frame by frame (segments within a scene), both women came to life. I saw each frame clearly and applied meaning to what I saw. I highly recommend The Lightbox Method to any writer who desires to create plots with reader-grabbing clarity and intriguing characters with depth.
Lynn Leissler, March 2010

If you are looking to deepen your writing and find the meaning and truth behind your words then this workshop is for you. The tools John presents are designed to allow each individual to discover for themselves how to take their stories to a heart level and how to bring their readers along on the journey. I came to Lightbox expecting a miracle. I was not disappointed.
Eddie Janisch
Medford, Oregon 
March 2010

Please prayerfully consider taking this continuing session. It will not be recorded, so the only way you’re going to get something from these sessions is to attend the conference.
Finally, I would encourage you to consider applying for a clinic. We have a wonderful lineup of clinics again this year. Two specifically for fiction writers, the clinic with Jim and Tracie Peterson for beginning novelists, and one for advanced novelists with Bob Liparulo.

Jim and Tracie Peterson are not new to CCWC, and I’ve taken a couple of clinics over the last few years with them. In fact, the very first clinic I took at CCWC was their clinic for the beginning novelist. Both Jim and Tracie have a heart for writers, especially in encouraging and building up new writers. I’ve gone away from those clinics totally excited about the projects I’m working on. Their combined knowledge of the Christian publishing world is wonderful, and they create an atmosphere that puts to rest the anxieties we all have when starting out in this “new world.” I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get feedback from professionals in the industry on your own writing. And you won’t find more empathetic clinic leaders than Jim and Tracie. While you will turn in a few pages of your wip for them to critique and help you with, there won’t be any extra homework while you’re at the conference.

I’m also excited about the clinic for advanced novelists with Bob Liparulo, author of several adult thrillers and a series for YA, The Dreamhouse Kings, series. This is a very intensive clinic, with lots of homework during the conference. So only apply if you are truly serious about getting yourself to the next step on the publishing ladder.

For any of the clinics, you must apply by April 10 for the right to submit and attend. These are not open to just anyone like the workshops, continuing sessions, and general sessions.

I highly recommend both of these clinics. And the entire conference. Not enough can be said about the spiritual impact of the general sessions and the overall atmosphere of the conference. So if you’re still wavering on whether this is the year to attend, do check out the Web site for all the details and latest information on the conference.

I hope to see you there!

Marjorie Vawter serves as the ACFW Colorado Area Coordinator, and is the director’s assistant for both the Colorado and Greater Philadephia Christian Writers conferences. She lives in Westminster with her husband, adult son, and a four-month old kitten named Sinatra.