These live, pre-conference workshops give attendees a chance to learn from successful authors in small groups, where they receive one-on-one guidance and hands-on experience in specific areas. Check this page for more information about group submission instructions, instructors, deadlines, and other pre-conference instructions.
Write Stupid, Edit Smart
Writing is stupid. On the one hand, you hold the raw power of ultimate creation in your hands—you can do anything! cue maniacal laughter On the other hand, why don’t those blank pages fill themselves? And, oh, great, here comes Writer’s Block, crashing through your plot like the Kool-Aid Man! Now what? In this hands-on workshop, you’ll start with a blank page, write something stupid, and then editor Lisa Magnum will walk you through some revision tips and trick to help you transform your words into something smart.
About the Instructor:
Lisa Mangum has worked in publishing since 1997. She has been the Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain since 2014 and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors.
Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels (The Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello), several short stories and novellas, and a nonfiction book about the craft of writing based on the TV show Supernatural. She has edited several anthologiesfor WordFire Press. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.
The Journey Starts Here
This class is best for new writers or for writers who are ready for a new approach for crafting stories. We’ll break down what makes an incredible story and spend some time brainstorming the stories we’re drawn to experiencing as well as crafting (they’re not always the same thing). We’ll then work together to discover a solid jumping off point for revising an already-written project, or creating something wholly new.
Come with one idea, several, or a work in progress. We’ll meet you where you’re at. We’ll have some handouts to help you map your way toward your next story, to help you re-imagine the stories YOU are best suited to write (excitement and heart, friends), and to give you tools to make drafting and revising go more smoothly. Basically, you’ll be a pre-writing genius with the tools necessary to take your story to the next level. We can’t wait to get to work.
About the instructors:
Jolene Perry began teaching writing in 2011. She’s mentored workshops at The Storymakers Conference, taught on panels at Association for Writing and Writing Professionals (AWP), taught breakout sessions at Alaska Writer’s Guild, Alaska SCBWI, American Night Writer’s Association (ANWA), as well been a special guest at several writing retreats. She spent a year interning at the Bent Agency where she read over a hundred manuscripts, and was the Author in Residence at Alaska Pacific University.
She’s worked as a freelance editor, helped writers find agents, actors/community advocates find their writing voice, and strengthened projects for USA Today bestselling authors.
Megan Clements is an author who couldn’t nail down just one genre to write in so she works as the co-owner and editor at Waypoint Authors and as an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach to satisfy her constant curiosity. She prides herself in being able to predict the ending of a movie within the first ten minutes and can belt out entire Broadway musicals in the shower. Her home is a revolving door of constant craziness with six kids, a dog and a cat, and one very patient husband. Not only does she love helping authors discover their own voice, but you can find her on the volleyball court, coaching high school athletes to reach their potential. She thrives on adventure, people, and books so working with authors is the absolute dream come true.
Step by Step Self Publishing Guide
An intensive class holding our authors’s hands through each step of the self publishing journey (cover designs, marketing placement, ISBN, preorders, wide vs exclusive…etc). Bring your computers and questions, it’s going to be fabulous ride.
About the instructor:
Clarissa Kae founded Carpe Vitam Press and orchestrated bestselling multi author collaborative anthologies Horses, Hounds and Happily Ever After and Once Upon a Fairytale. She is the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director and Conference Coordinator. She’s a former contributor for Equus and editor for Writer’s Digest. She’s the author of Award Winning Once And Future Wife and her Victorian Fairy Retellings, A Dark Beauty and Cinders Like Glass.
Villains: The Catalysts, Caretakers, And Curses Of Story
This class will be a hands-on, in-depth exploration of the roles villains play in our stories. Emphasis will be on defining the villain’s archetype, motivations, strategies, and purposes in the story, all of which will better define the hero. Attendees will benefit most if they have a work in progress. Come with sample chapters and with plans to continue writing and revising during the class.
About the instructor:
Jennifer Nielsen: Things that Jennifer Nielsen considers to be villains: spiders, her postman who has taken to hurling packages into the yard as he passes by, people who give one star reviews because a page of their book was bent. Also, actual villains.
First pages workshop
With a 3:1 student-teacher ratio, this fabulous workshop is always popular. You will share your first ten manuscript pages with an established author instructor and other members of your group before the workshop. Then, during the workshop, you will meet with your assigned group and receive specific feedback on those pages from your instructor and group. You will be expected to review the pages of each group member prior to attending the workshop.
The Best Ever Social Media Workshop
Welcome to the best ever social media class! In this fun workshop we will learn how social medial works, how to build a platform, and learn photo and video techniques for both Instagram and TikTok that you can use to build a platform or market your stories. Come away from this class with the confidence of Hercules to post and the ability of a wizard to promote your books on social media!
About the Instructors:
Serene Heiner is the creative soul behind the growing Instagram and TikTok accounts @magicalbooknook. When she’s not writing, drawing, sewing, taking book photos, making videos, or crafting, (deep breath) she can be found participating in her workout group or training for her next Spartan race. Serene is a diehard fantasy reader but can be caught cheating on the genre from time to time. She’s a proud mother to seven little readers and lives with them and her husband in their home in Idaho where books are stacked to the ceiling. Serene has a degree in visual arts and has taught classes at BYU. She’s also attended the Storymakers Conference every year since 2015 and after seven years of trying, she finally placed in the first chapter contest.
Jolie Taylor (@endlessfairytales) has 50K+ combined followers on Instagram and TikTok. She found her future audience before publishing a book. She uses social media to connect with readers and writers. She’s worked with publishers (such as Scholastic, MacMillan, Penguin, Workman, Shadow Mountain, Running Press, etc.) to promote books on her accounts. She spent over a year as a representative for Tiny Humans Read and has interviewed on the podcast Books for Kids and Two Babes and a Book. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in English and is a sucker for books with magic and romance.
World building for beginners
In this workshop, we will go over the basic elements of world building and magic systems and discuss incorporating them into your beginning chapters. Afterward, we’ll break into groups to provide feedback on your first chapter, world building, and magic system (if applicable). There will also be a Q&A portion, so bring any questions you may have.
About the instructor:
Tricia Levenseller is the New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, Warrior of the Wild, The Shadows Between Us, and the Bladesmith duology. She writes young adult high fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.
Tricia grew up in Oregon, where she spent her childhood climbing trees and playing make believe. She now lives in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy, where she writes full time. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing Overwatch and Sea of Thieves on her Xbox, and finding tasty restaurants to frequent.
Writing Refreshing Retellings
Readers love the familiarity of fairytales and the promise of “Happily Ever Afters” in their fiction. But they also adore seeing those sentimental “Once Upon a Times” completely re-imagined. How do you balance reader expectations while pulling your audience along in a plot that won’t be spoiled before they even read the first page? (Because face it, we all know the slipper will fit in the end.)
Come and learn how to honor the universal allure of classic tales, set your retelling in a thriving genre market, and create an un-put-downable new novel for fairytale readers.
About the instructor:
Rachel Huffmire is an award-winning author who writes futuristic fairytale retellings with twisty plots and happily-ever-afters. She believes there is courage in compassion and writes about optimistic heroes who change the world. She has worked in the book and publishing industry since 2007, managing bookstores, acquiring and editing manuscripts for publishers, directing a marketing department for a small press, and co-founding Author Capital Conference, an online educational resource for authors. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband, three children, and a library of books that is slowly overtaking their house. When she’s not writing, Rachel enjoys baking apple pastries, taking long naps, and wearing warm cardigans.
The ABCs of Writing Picture Books
Whether you’re a seasoned picture book writer or just getting started, this workshop will help you take your manuscript to the next level. As we review and critique, we’ll cover the basics of what makes a great picture book and build from there, addressing some of the most common questions along the way, including word count and word choice, page count and pacing, rhythm and rhyme, story and structure.
About the instructor:
Elaine Vickers is an award-winning author of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels that aim to help readers of all ages find connection and belonging. She grew up in a small town in the Utah desert, where she spent her time reading, playing basketball, and exploring. Several years and one PhD later, she found her way back to her hometown, where she now spends her time writing, teaching college chemistry, and exploring with her family.
The first session will be held from 12:00-2:45 and the second session will be from 3:15-6:00. All classes will be offered during both sessions except for “The ABCs of Writing Picture Books” which will only be in the first session, and “Writing Refreshing Retellings,” which will only be in the second session.
If the Thursday Workshop you wanted to attend is already full, please return to your registration and you will be given the option of joining a waitlist.
- January 20: Storymakers Conference Registration
- February 10: Survey Responses Due (First Pages only)
- March 20: Last Day for Cancellation Refund
- April 1: Group Assignments/Submission Instructions Sent Out
- April 20: First Pages Due
- May 1: First Pages Given to Instructors & Members
- May 11: Thursday Workshop Day
All Thursday workshops will be live only this year. There will not be a virtual option. Workshops will be just $50 per session. You can’t beat these deals!
Attendees will receive their group assignments after Saturday, April 1, 2023. They should be prepared to submit required materials no later than April 20, 2023. The last day to cancel Thursday Workshops and receive a refund is March 20, 2023. No refund can be given after this day.
Emails with information about your Thursday Workshops will be sent out closer to the conference. Please watch for this email in your inbox (or spam) folder. If you have any questions, you can reach out to our Thursday Workshops team.
What day are the workshops?
Thursday, May 11th, 2023.
Can I sign up for more than one workshop?
Yes! You can do just the first session, just the second session, or both.
I’ve registered for a workshop but haven’t received an email. Help?
All initial instruction letters are posted on the website under our Thursday Workshop page. It is each attendee’s responsibility to go to the site and follow the instructions pertaining to their workshop. Once that is done, if further instructions are needed, they will be emailed to you. All due dates are listed under each workshop on the website.
We will reply with an acknowledgment of receipt within three business days after you send us your materials. If you don’t receive acknowledgment, please contact us at the Thursday Workshops email.
How long is each workshop?
2 hours and 45 minutes.
Where will the workshops be held?
Workshops will be held on the 3rd floor of the Utah Valley Convention Center in downtown Provo, Utah.
May I wear pajamas?
Sure. Come prepared to interact and work in whatever makes you most comfortable. It is a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater, or to dress in layers, since each person responds to temperatures differently.
Can I bring my kids to the workshop(s)?
We love children, but having them with you during a focused workshop will be a distraction to you and others in your group. If you have a nursing infant, you may bring him/her, however, we strongly suggest bringing someone to care for your infant while you are in session.
What if I don’t get my materials to my mentor by the date?
If you miss your deadline, your instructor is no longer required to read your materials before the conference. Our instructors are offering their valuable time to help us, and our dates are chosen to give them enough time to complete their preparations before the conference. Please be considerate of your instructor(s) and send your materials in on time.
Is there a wait list once a workshop is full?
Yes. A link to the list will be published on this page once it’s available.
Will attendees be able to transfer their workshop spot to another person?
No. If cancellation occurs before the refund deadline, a refund will be issued to you and we will offer your spot to the next person on the waiting list. If your cancellation comes after the refund deadline, you will forfeit your registration fee and your spot in the workshop.
Can I request my instructor?
With all of the factors that go into creating our groups, accommodations cannot be made. However, please rest assured that we match you as closely as possible to your instructors.
Do I have to do work before the workshop?
Maybe. Some workshops require you to fill out forms, quizzes, or submit pages to group members before the conference. If you are in one of these workshops, you will be given instructions beforehand. Please check for emails the Thursday Workshops committee in your spam/junk folder if you are not receiving emails about your workshops.
Will there be snacks provided? Can I bring my own?
We will have a thirty-minute break between workshop sessions and will provide a snack to those attending in-person. Snacks may contain gluten, dairy, or nuts, and none of them will be certified allergy free. The convention center does not allow us to bring in outside food. There is a small concession stand inside the center for your convenience, as well as places to purchase food near the venue.
Will there be a ramp for wheelchair access?
We have elevators that reach the third floor, which is where our Thursday Workshops are located. You will need to use the elevators that are located near the escalators, as the other elevators only reach the second floor.