Here I Write – Conference Presentations

In addition to the presentations listed below, the following Q&A panels will be offered during the conference:

  • Journalism/Blogging Panel – Roy S. Askins, Cheryl Magness, Anna Mussmann, Holly Scheer, Katie Schuermann
  • Christian Studies Panel – Roy S. Askins, Sharla Fritz, Kirk Meyer, Mary Moerbe, Donna Snow Pyle
  • Education Panel – Julia Habrecht, Katherine Kramer, Heather Smith, Anna Mussmann
  • Fiction Panel – Sarah Baughman, Katie Schuermann, Naomi Stephens

Presentations on the craft of Writing:


“Back to Basics (Professional Writing 101)” by Cheryl Magness

Reading is hard work. It’s the writer’s job to assist that hard work by making compositional choices that facilitate the reader’s understanding. This workshop will present global principles for ensuring that your writing doesn’t get in the way of your content. We won’t focus on details of grammar and mechanics but on questions of audience, tone, style, emphasis and coherence. Grab your red pen and come prepared to use it. We’ll make poor writing good and good writing better because—let’s be honest—it can always be better.


“Rhetorical Architecture 101” by Heather Smith

For centuries the greatest authors used classical rhetoric to build their masterpieces. Today the art of rhetoric remains the most comprehensive and adaptable blueprint for strong writing. In this crash course we will address how to design, construct, and embellish any type of writing using the two pillars and five canons of rhetoric, the three modes of persuasion, the glorious plethora of schemes and tropes, and more.


“Reporting News and Writing Commentary” by Holly Scheer

Ever wonder how writers take current events and turn them so quickly into articles? This presentation will cover how to take an idea, craft a pitch, and then submit an article to a publication on breaking events. Also included are ideas on how to provide Christian commentary on today’s most troubling cultural topics.


“Should I Write a Book, an Article, or a Recipe?” by Katie Schuermann

Not every word is meant for every medium. Let’s talk about what medium best serves your written words and vice versa.


“How to Craft a Story” by Sarah Baughman

Good stories do not write themselves. Stories are crafted by hard-working authors one word at a time. World-building, character creation, and plot development are just some of the author’s tools we’ll examine in this session.


“’Hey, Google, How Much for a Victorian Boot Cleaning?’: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Historical Fiction” by Naomi Stephens

When it comes to writing historical fiction, formal research is only half the battle. This presentation walks fledgling writers through the whole messy process—from collecting sources, to deciding which information to keep or cut, to working historical details subtly and seamlessly into a work of fiction.


“Writing the Stories that Children Need” by Anna Mussmann

If we want to serve our youngest neighbors through our writing, we need to know what they really need. In order to do that, we must ask what makes a story good, true, and beautiful. In this session, we will look for the good (and the bad!) in the story patterns of both classic and contemporary children’s literature.


“A Writer’s Guide for the Blocked, Burned-Out, and Bewildered” by Sharla Fritz

We write because we feel called to share God’s truth in books, Bible studies, stories, and songs. But how do we get the job done without compromising our health, relationships, or sanity? This workshop will offer practical ideas for taking care of your body, mind, and spirit while meeting those pesky deadlines!


“The Author as a Speaker: Engaging Your Audience” by Donna Snow Pyle

Words may read well on the page, but engaging a live audience is a whole different ballgame. Writers tend to be introverts, but who can speak about the words that God inspired you to write better than you? Learn how to put your audience at ease, include humor, structure your topic, add memorable moments, evoke emotion, include personal examples, and end with a power-packed conclusion. You may be an introvert, but with these tips your audience will never know it.


“The Fundamentals of Teaching Children to Write” by Katherine Kramer

Rooted in the classical concept of the progymnasmata (literally: fore-exercises), the education of every child should include a gradual and incremental approach to learning how to write well. This presentation will cover the essential elements necessary to prepare children from age 4-14 to write fluently and beautifully.


“Networking Readers & Writers” by Mary J. Moerbe

There are both challenges and blessings to finding community as a writer. This presentation will offer suggestions, allow time for brainstorming and discussion, and highlight how Lutheran sensibilities can come into play.


Presentations on Editing and Publishing:


“Children’s Books from A to Z” by Kirk Meyer

What goes into publishing a children’s book? Discover the ins and outs of picture books, including research, editing, illustration, layout, printing, marketing, and finance.


“The Art of Illustrating” by Kelly Schumacher

Kelly will be discussing her personal inspiration for creating religious artwork, childhood influences, and becoming a professional illustrator. When she was little, she loved fairytale illustration, and as she grew up, she loved medieval art and architecture and early church history.


“Tales from the Slush Pile: Working with an Agent in the Traditional Publishing Process” by Naomi Stephens

Securing representation for a manuscript can be a long and arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be discouraging. Working from an author standpoint, this session workshops strategies for finding agents, writing query letters, and working constructively together to sign with a publisher. As a bonus perspective, Adria Goetz from Martin Literary Management will be highlighting the agent side of the author/agent relationship.


“Matchmaking: The Author-Reader Relationship” by Katie Schuermann

All a book wants is to find a reader who will love and appreciate her for who she really is, but not every read is a meet-cute. Let’s talk authenticity in marketing, weathering reviews, and how to get your book in the hands of your intended audience.


Presentations on Christian Study:


“Abiding in the Word” by Roy S. Askins

Writers live by words. They scribble them on paper, punch them out on typewriters, and tap them into 1s and 0s on the computer. Christians live by the Word. The Word become flesh. Christian writers in particular must stay deeply rooted in the Word, hearing the Word of God proclaimed from the pulpit, shared in Bible class, and reflected upon in daily life. This presentation will offer suggestions for regular study and reflection on the Word of God for those who seek to share God’s Word in their writing.


“Truth in Fiction: How Literature Informs Faith” by Heather Smith

Lutheran theology is founded on the efficacy of the word, but what does this mean when we journey beyond the Scriptures and Confessions into the realm of literature? In this session, we will first discuss how we as Lutheran readers can appreciate literature—sacred or secular—for its potential to strengthen and inform our faith, and then we will explore how we as Lutheran writers can convey the truths of the faith in ways that are fresh, provocative, and winning.


“Keys to Crafting a Bible Study” by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller (Video)

“The opening of Your word gives light.” We’ll consider a few “whys” and “hows” of a good Bible study, and end with encouragement from the Scriptures themselves on the fruit of studying the Bible.


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