Mystery Writers of America University (MWA-U) is a full-day, low-cost writing seminar designed to teach participants the essential skills needed to write a novel, from the idea stage to the final editing. The focus is on the craft of writing, and the college-level courses are taught by published writers and experienced teachers. The core curriculum includes (click on hyperlinks for articles that have appeared in The Third Degree):
- After the idea
- Dramatic structure and plot
- Setting and description
- The writing life
MWA-U is offered throughout the country, initiated by MWA chapter presidents who contact MWA national to request a session in their region. The full-day writing seminar is primarily designed as a member benefit but is open to the general public and applicable to all genres of fiction writing.
Currently scheduled MWA-U sessions:
Register NOW for MWA University – Florida
Date: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Location: Delray Beach Marriott – Salons A, B, C, & D
10 N Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach, FL 33483
What: An entire day of top-notch classes. Novice or pro, you will benefit from hearing the experts discuss their strategies for all facets of writing and publishing.
Below is a schedule preview (subject to change).
8:15 - 8:50: Check-in
8:55 – 9:00: Welcome – MWA's Executive Vice President – DANIEL J. HALE
9:00 – 10:00: After the Idea
Teacher: Jess Lourey (Jess Lourey is the author of the Murder-by-Month mysteries and a tenured professor of English and sociology at a two-year Minnesota college.)
"If you wish to be a writer, write." But how? You've got the great idea, the one that won't let you go, that embellishes itself as you walk around your day. But how do you grow that kernel into a compelling story, and where do you find the time? This class gives you the tools to turn a good idea into a great novel. Bring a notebook and writing utensil.
10:15 -11:15: Dramatic Structure & Plot
Teacher: Michael Wiley (Michael Wiley is a Shamus Award-winning writer and University of North Florida English professor.
Since Aristotle, the three-act structure for storytelling has reigned supreme, but does it still hold true for modern crime writers? Is it the best way, or the only way, to tell your tale? Is plotting simply sequencing your scenes or is there more to it? This class will teach you the art of storytelling and plotting so your manuscript will attract the attention it deserves.
11:30 – 12:30: Setting & Description
Teacher: Daniel Stashower (Daniel Stashower is a two-time Edgar award winner, and a recipient of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing.
"I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday," Raymond Chandler once said, and this seemingly tossed-off remark has much to teach us about the gentle arts of setting and description. This class will guide you through the process and potential pitfalls of choosing a setting, and explore the ways in which descriptive passages can be honed to illuminate characters and themes.
12:30 – 1:30: Lunch Break (On Your Own)
1:30: - 2:30: Character
Teacher: Harley Jane Kozak (Harley Jane Kozak is a writer, screenwriting instructor, and sometimes actress who lives with her family in southern California)
From Agatha Christie's Miss Marple to Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlings, character is arguably the most memorable element of a mystery novel and a series. How do you create a full-realized unique protagonist that leaps from the page? How should you develop secondary characters as well as the protagonist's nemesis? This class will challenge you to eliminate cardboard characterizations and create something new and fresh.
2:45 – 3:45 pm Writing as Re-Writing
Teacher: Reed Farrel Coleman (Twice nominated for the Edgar® and a three-time winner of the Shamus Award, Reed Farrel Coleman is an adjunct professor of English at Hofstra University.)
If editing was good enough for William Shakespeare, it's good enough for you. More often than not, it's the things you remove, the tweaks you make, and the tinkering you do, that are the difference between another slush pile manuscript and a new book contract. There are some easy methods to learn and follow to help you develop an editorial ear. Give us sixty minutes and we'll give you a better chance with agents and editors.
4:00 – 5:00: The Writing Life
Teacher: Hank Phillippi Ryan (Winner of two Agatha Awards as well as the Anthony and the Macavity, Boston TV reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan has won 27 Emmys for her investigative journalism.)
"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning." That's how Peter DeVries balanced art and craft. What's the reality of the writing life? The journey from your great idea to 90,000 words will mean hours of solitude. Days of self-doubt. Revision. Rejection. And then--rejoicing. You'll often say: "I wish someone had explained this to me!" In this class, they will.
Cost: $50 for both members and non-members of Mystery Writers of America. Must register by Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Registration is limited to 100 people.
We have also arranged for a small room block at the hotel - the rate of $159/night is available for the nights of June 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2013. You may use this link to make your reservations: http://tinyurl.com/cm8xgna
The rate will only be available until May 20, 2013.
We have also arranged for a discounted parking rate (self-parking) for the conference attendes of $12 for the day - you must mention you are attending MWA University.
Here is a map of the area: http://tinyurl.com/bl5hy2e
August 2010 - Bethesda, Maryland
June 2011 - SE Wisconsin Festival of Books, Waukesha, Wisconsin
August 2011 - New York, New York
October 2011 - New Orleans, Louisiana
October 2011 - San Francisco, California
February 2012 - Boston, Massachusetts
June 2012 - SE Wisconsin Festival of Books, Waukesha, Wisconsin
August 2012 - Denver, Colorado
October 2012 - Charlotte, North Carolina
For questions about MWA-U, email: firstname.lastname@example.org