Difference between revisions of "Preparatory Workshops"

Line 15: Line 15:
[https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KwERtUV-Mf0tuuHr2kwvlnsSnOog3yFKHCLhjvz1i-M/edit?usp=sharing Slides] and [http://naperwrimo.org/nano_workshop_201017 zoom video recording]
[https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KwERtUV-Mf0tuuHr2kwvlnsSnOog3yFKHCLhjvz1i-M/edit?usp=sharing Slides] and [http://naperwrimo.org/nano_workshop_201017 zoom video recording]
[[Notes from the Love Languages workshop - 201017]]
=== Saturday, Oct 24, 1-3 PM - Sarah Vu - How to Avoid Your Inner Editor and Write ===
=== Saturday, Oct 24, 1-3 PM - Sarah Vu - How to Avoid Your Inner Editor and Write ===

Revision as of 15:00, 17 October 2020

The NaperWriMo region has delivered quite a few preparatory workshops since its inception in 2005. Here are pictures, presentations and notes from our workshops. Note that you can find event information for upcoming workshops.

2020 Workshops

Due to privacy and the policy of our library partners, zoom links will not be posted publicly. Instead, they'll be posted in this NaNoWriMo forum thread, which is secured behind NaNo's registration and log-in page. For info about our other events, check out our calendar on our event page (naperwrimo.org/events).

Saturday, Oct 10, 1-3 PM (Sam McAdams, Story Wall Party)

Do you have no idea what to write for Nano 2020? Is your novel idea only half-baked? Do you have plot holes you don’t know how to solve?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to the Story Wall Party, a brainstorming event designed to help participants come up with ideas for their novels, get advice, and iron out potential story issues. If you don’t have an idea for a novel yet, you’ll walk away from this workshop with several.

Sam McAdams has participated in NaNoWriMo for over a decade, completing 8 novels and claiming NaNo victories as a rebel on 4 other occasions. He has enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a regional ML, since 2015. His everyday life as a mild-mannered telecommunications engineer, devoted husband, and father of two “adult” children keeps him busy, but in his spare time he writes and edits his BarnYard Heroes novels.

Saturday, Oct 17, 1-3 PM (Jenny Johnson, Love Languages)

Creating characters can be hard. Join us as Jenny Johnson introduces the group to the concept of love languages, how they can be used to create characters, and how they can be used to develop (or destroy) character relationships.

Slides and zoom video recording

Notes from the Love Languages workshop - 201017

Saturday, Oct 24, 1-3 PM - Sarah Vu - How to Avoid Your Inner Editor and Write

Alternate title: "What is an inner editor, and why is it a problem?"

Do you think that quality matters more than quantity? Do you not worry about hitting your word count, and are instead interested in writing good stories? Or maybe you do want to win NaNo but struggle with staying on target? Then this workshop is for you! Learn what an inner editor is, how it sabotages your story writing, and how you can turn it to your advantage! Whether you're a meticulous plotter or a complete pantser, your writing can benefit from putting your editor in the back seat.

2019 Workshops


  • Robyn Bachar
  • Title: 8 Easy Hacks to Help You Write Page-Turning Prose
  • One sentence summary: 8 Easy Hacks to Help You Write Page-Turning Prose teaches both beginning and intermediate authors simple ways to sharpen and strengthen their craft to create winning contest entries, queries and submissions.
  • In this workshop Robyn Bachar addresses the eight most common problems she encounters in contest entries and critique submissions. Robyn covers simple fixes like knowing when and how to use dialogue tags to more advanced skills like using active language to make your pitches and prose pop. Robyn employs practical examples inspired by real contest entries she has judged as well as feedback she has received from editors to help authors identify common weaknesses in their writing and discuss methods to improve them.
  • Author Bio: Robyn Bachar writes romance with swords, sorcery, spaceships and submersibles. Bachar's novels feature action and adventure, danger and suspense, found families and happily ever afters. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in rpgs. She is a developer with Girded Rose Games.


  • The scene is so common, it’s almost cliché. A person sets out to write a book. They develop a full character with few good traits, a few bad traits, and something to learn. They have a plot or at least a premise. But then the only thing the character seems to do is go for a drive or eat breakfast.

Whether a person is a pantser or a plotter, if they’re writing romance, horror, mystery, or action and adventure, it is an author’s job to send their characters on a journey where they struggle, discover, and change while they solve a crime, find true love, conquer a monster, or outwit the bad guy. The question is how?

  • This practical workshop uses a hands-on approach to apply the principle of show don’t tell at the level of the scene. We’ll work through several examples where we’ll use a character’s actions and reactions to move from one plot point to the next, and in so doing maximize emotions on the page.
  • K.D. Garcia is a veterinarian by day and an author by night. She shares a home in the Chicagoland area with her usually wonderful children, mostly obedient dogs, an incredibly supportive husband, and then there's the cats. An active member of RWA and the Windy City Chapter, her contemporary and young adult romantic suspense stories have finaled for or won a number of awards including the Emerald City Opener, The Catherine, The Suzannah, and the prestigious Maggie. She is represented by Terrie Wolf of A.K.A. Literary Management.


  • Focusing on the core of NaNo - putting words on paper to get a first draft done - learn about what, other than plot, can drive a story. Filled with brainstorming tips and ways to help you push through blank pages, this pantsing 101 workshop helps you get words out of your head and onto paper even if you have no idea where your story is going. Sometimes, discovering where it's heading is the best part.
  • Bio: A six time NaNoWriMo winner and two time regional ML, Jenny Johnson is fueled by coffee, chocolate, and computer ink. A self-identified bookworm and discovery writer, she's published various speculative fiction as Gwen Tolios.


  • Sam McAdams
  • Title: Story Wall Party 2019
  • Do you have no idea what to write for Nano 2019? Is your novel idea only half-baked? Do you have plot holes you don’t know how to solve? If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to the Story Wall party, a massive brainstorming event designed to help participants come up with ideas for their novels, get advice, and iron out potential story issues. If you don’t have an idea for a novel yet, you’ll walk away from this workshop with several.
  • Bio: Sam McAdams has participated in NaNoWriMo for over a decade, completing 7 novels and claiming NaNo victories as a rebel on 4 other occasions. Over the past 4 years, he has enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a regional ML. His everyday life as a mild-mannered telecommunications engineer, devoted husband, and father of two “adult” children keeps him busy, but in his spare time, he frequents local cafes writing and editing his BarnYard Heroes novels and satirical holiday letters.


  • Eleanor Roth
  • Title: Using Descriptions to Enhance Theme and Mood - 2019-10-19 - Eleanor Roth
  • Description: When every word counts (and they always do!), make your descriptions work on multiple levels to enhance theme and mood in your scenes. We’ll look at several examples from published works and discuss how authors use sensory description to make a scene come to life, and how especially good descriptions can help you write so much more between the lines.
  • Bio: Eleanor Roth has been a member of the Writing Journey since NaNoWriMo 2014. She reviews and blogs for Booklist, and is the assistant to the president at Browne & Miller Literary Associates. Hard at work on a speculative thriller, she’s also an alumna of the FutureScapes workshop and is currently enrolled in the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension. Find her on Twitter @ellie_roth

2018 Workshops

Four workshops are planned for 2018: see the event calendar for logistics

  • October 6th, 1-3 pm, Nichols Library in Naperville: Allie Pleiter, Sam McAdams (ML) - Allie Pleiter’s innovative Chunky Method offers practical, real-world productivity advice in an easy to read and inspiring workbook. Follow a step-by-step plan to identify your unique writing “Chunk” and wield it to create a solid plan that works “even when life gets in the way.” No matter what your writing style, The Chunky Method Handbook will help you chart an individualized path to your creative writing goals.

Although slides or notes from this session aren't available, you can see this 2015-10-07 blog article about the Chunky Method or watch this youtube interview with Allie Pleiter by Cathy Fyock.

Here are quotes from previous workshop attendees:
"Implementing the Chunky Method has charged my writing with confidence, quadrupled my productivity, organized my days, and enhanced my enjoyment of life. Allie is my hero!"
"I was overwhelmed, but now I feel fantastic”
“I’m only one day into putting your processes into action; but wow, what a difference in my productivity and happiness.”
"Some of the most valuable, and applicable information I've received in over fourteen years of conferences and online classes.”
Award-winning bestselling author of over thirty books, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four novels at a time. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced a seventeen-year career with over 1.4 million books sold.In addition to writing, Allie maintains an active writing productivity coaching practice and speaks regularly on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her very favorite topic—The Chunky Method of time management for writers. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com to learn more.
  • October 13th, 1-3 pm, Nichols Library in Naperville: Jennifer Smith, Tim Yao (ML) - Outlining Your Novel, A workshop by Jennifer Smith. Find out how and why to create an outline for your novel. Learn tips, tricks and see a demo of a useful software application to help with the process. There will be several exercises and examples to illustrate the topics presented. Bring an open creative mind, paper, pencils, and/or a laptop. Slides: Powerpoint, Keynote file, PDF file, Notes from 2018-10-13
  • October 14th, 1-3 pm, Glen Ellyn Public Library, Daniel McCullough, Jenny Johnson, ML facilitator, The Part Where They Talk to Each Other (A NaNoWriMo Prep Workshop). notes. What is dialogue? Its the part of the story where the characters talk to each other. Come join this interactive workshop on how dialogue can be used in stories and learn tips for writing it.
  • October 20th, 1-3 pm, Nichols Library in Naperville: J. Leigh Bailey, Jenny Johnson (ML) - Show and Tell: It’s not just for Kindergarten. One of the most widely spread “rules” of writing is the infamous “show don’t tell.” In this program, we break down the hows and whys of this important guideline, and also discuss situations in which it’s better to tell than to show. This session will provide some quick and dirty tips to ensure readers experience the story through action, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through exposition, summarization, and description. See Tim's notes from the workshop
j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of 8 Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She’s spent decades—first as a reader, then as a writer—chasing that vitally important Happily Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

2017 Workshops

Four workshops are planned for 2017: see the events calendar for logistics

  • October 7th at 1pm at the Nichols Library in Naperville, Worldbuilding & Character (2017) run by Anna Gabrielli. Worldbuilding is often viewed as a necessary evil that can frustrate many, though it is an important part of stories of every genre. Learn tools that will help you focus your creative efforts and show you how to weave worldbuilding with character development.
  • October 14th, 1pm, at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. Sam McAdams will lead a Story Wall party, a massive brainstorming event designed to help participants come up with ideas for their novels, get advice, and iron out potential story issues. If you don’t have an idea for a novel yet, you’ll walk away from this workshop with several.
  • October 15th, 1pm, at the Nichols Library in Naperville and is led by Jenny Johnson. Structuring without a Plot Designed to help those without an outline to still give structure to a story, this workshop dives into what drives a story and how to write a novel when you have no plot.
  • October 21st, 1pm, at the Nichols Library in Naperville. Join writer Kira Swanson for Writing Emotion. We’ve all heard the adage to show not tell in our writing, but author Donald Maass says it’s an old paradigm. What’s truly critical is that the reader feel emotion when reading your work. Learn techniques to help your reader experience your story in a visceral way.

2016 Workshops

  • Oct 2nd, Woodridge Public Library, Kat Stepp - What The Heck is an AGONIST? - You can always develop characters through their actions and relationships with each other. Antagonist vs. Protagonist, age old story. What about developing them with scenery? Paint a picture so vivid with your words that the reader won't just understand, but actually empathize with your characters. Your characters deserve so much more than good vs evil.
  • Oct 8, Nichols Library (Naperville), Sarah Johnson - This isn’t your story’s final form. There’s a lot of advice in the world about how to be a better author, how to create a more compelling story or more relatable characters, and it’s all designed to encourage you to write, but the truth is, none of this advice will actually help you on your first draft. What will help? Pure writing. This workshop will help authors and authors-to-be prepare for the insane festival of NaNoWriMo by helping them embrace terrible writing and motivating them to finish their first draft as they remember: This isn’t their story’s final form.
  • Oct 9th, Glen Ellyn Public Library, Sam McAdams - Story Wall Party - Do you have a great idea for a novel, but are looking for help on how it should start? Have you created an amazing new world and a long list of interesting characters, but are in desperate need of a plot? Is there a story burning inside you, but you’re not sure how to turn it into a novel? Is your story mostly planned, but there are still a few nagging issues you want resolved before you start writing? If you answered yes to any of these questions or are looking for ideas to help complete your novel planning, come out to the Story Wall Party. During this brainstorming event, participants will present their novel plans/ideas and receive advice on anything they’re struggling with.
  • Oct 15, Nichols Library (Naperville), Melinda Borucki - Who are your characters? -You’ve have a general idea of what you want to write about, and perhaps sort of know who your characters are, but how well do you really know them? Come get to know your characters even better with this character building workshop. Here we’ll do exercises to better understand our characters and get those creative juices flowing.
  • Oct 22, Nichols Library (Naperville), Brian Cable - Strategies for Success in NaNo - November's coming up, and the ideas just aren't coming. You're starting to worry that you'll have to put off writing your novel until next year. Well tell those worries to go hide in a corner because it ain't over yet! Get some last minute tips for planning your novel (or learn how to wing it), get plot and character ideas from the group, and learn some strategies to help you overcome any roadblocks you might encounter during November.

2015 Workshops

Four workshops are planned for 2015: see the events calendar for logistics

  • NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-03: Story beat points and genres - Are you a planner or pantser? Don’t know! Then join us for an introductory NaNoWriMo session on story beat points, discuss genres and learn how NaNoWriMo can support your writing. Let's have some fun! Join us on our adventure as we discuss the basics and challenges of writing. Anastasia Zoldak / Todd Hogan
  • NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-08 - NaNoWriMo In A Nutshell - Tim Yao and Catherine Brennan lead this preparatory workshop. The whys & hows of writing a novel in a month. Bring your laptop or notebook and pen to this highly interactive and entertaining workshop to gain a better understanding of how NaNoWriMo works and how you can succeed in writing your novel this November. There will be (small) prizes and even an example word war! Tim Yao / Catherine Brennan
  • NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-10: Visualize Your Novel - Whether you’re a plotter strategizing your battle plan or a pantser curious about investing in a Nanowrimo road map, this session will help you visualize your novel rather than writing blind. Led by Sam Brown, aka “Basil Cliffside,” you will learn how to turn your story idea into 30 bite-sized pieces so you can avoid that deer-in-the-headlights feeling every day you’re faced with an empty page Sam Brown
  • NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-17: Characterology 101: Heroes, Villains, Lovers, and Amigos - Join us for an introductory session on NaNoWriMo focusing on your Characters. A look at Characters' roles in your stories. The difference between Stereotypes, Archetypes and your own characters. Two Break-out sessions: Explore Character Development and their Motivation / Mindset Use Characters’ Conflicts and Motivations to Create Scenes Dress as your favorite Character. Prizes will be given! - Kathryn Strepp / Todd Hogan

2014 Workshops

Four workshops are planned for 2014: see the events calendar for logistics

  • Preparatory Workshop - Tim Yao and Kaden Patrick - 2014-10-02: The Stone Soup Method for NaNoWriMo Success - will help you explore some of the essential ingredients of any successful novel: plot, narrative, setting, and a good ending.
  • Preparatory Workshop - Frank Dahlman - 2014-10-04: Genres - Tropes and Cliches - will focus on genre and the creative process. Frank Dahlman will lead this workshop and talk about key characteristics and common tropes found in the most commonly read genres, discussing what works, and identifying common clichés to avoid. After this brief discussion, participants will brainstorm a possible plot line in the genre of their choosing. This workshop is designed to fill the well of creativity in preparation for NaNoWriMo.
  • Preparatory Workshop - Todd Hogan - 2014-10-11: Fiction Improv - Todd will be leading a Fiction Improv, and discussing NaNoWriMo's goal of 50,000 words in 30 days, finding your story, overcoming challenges in telling your story, and miscellaneous ideas to succeed. Participants should bring paper, pen and/or other writing devices and a willingness to explore some personal ideas. There will be time for questions and discussion during the presentation.
  • Preparatory Workshop - Jen Moore - 2014-10-18: Surviving NaNoWriMo With Your Sanity (Mostly) Intact - In this preparatory workshop for NaNoWriMo, Jen Moore will talk about ways to prepare yourself for this epic endeavor. You’ll determine your goals, establish your support strategies, and psych yourself up for the challenge ahead. Bring all your last-minute panic - and leave it behind when the session’s over.

2013 Workshops

Four workshops are planned for 2013

2012 Workshops

2011 Workshops

2010 Workshops

2009 Workshops

2008 Workshops

Our first year doing workshops

2007 Articles

No workshops this year