October 26-28, 2018 | Pasadena, CA

Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference Schedule

Customize your experience by mixing and matching options from the following instructional tracks: Craft, Character, Genre, and Beyond. Four sessions will be offered in every time slot!

We’re putting the finishing touches on what we expect to be our best program yet. Check back often, and be sure to sign up for the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference e-newsletter for session and speaker updates!


Craft & Character

Craft & Character

Honing your craft should be a lifelong pursuit for every writer. Work on the fundamentals, or learn new techniques to keep your writing fresh.
Inspiration & Idea Generation

Inspiration & Idea Generation

Roll up your sleeves and dig in with hands-on, experiential sessions that will help you generate ideas, get motivated and work through sticky spots in your novel.


Sharpen your skills in exciting sessions geared exclusively toward writers of genre fiction. Hook fans of romance, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and more, and they’ll be among your most loyal readers.
Platform, Business & Beyond

Platform, Business & Beyond

What happens once your novel is ready for readers? This track takes you step-by-step from revision to publication to promotion and more.


8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Registration
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot Jane K. Cleland



  Craft/Character Inspiration Genre Platform, Business & Beyond
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Registration & Exhibits
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Compelling Characters Arcs
Adrienne Bell
  How to Keep Thriller Readers Turning Pages
James Scott Bell 
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Ten Ways To Create Compelling Characters (Even Unlikable Ones!)
April Eberhardt
Overcome Writer’s Block and Release Your Inner Muse Everything You Wanted to Know About Writing Sex Scenes (No Matter your Genre!)
Sophie Littlefield 
Self-Publishing 101: The Ultimate Guide on Turning Your Manuscript Into a Published Success
Justine Bylo
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM       Query Letter Panel
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM Lunch on your own
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Read Like a Writer
Mark Spencer
Debut Author Panel   Finances for Writers Sophie Littefield and Rachael Herron
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM A Recipe For Disaster: The Four High Stakes Elements Every Character Needs
Jordan Rosenfeld
How to Listen to Your Muse The Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings
Jane K. Cleland
Agent Secrets
Fuse Literary partner Laurie McLean
4:15 – 5:15 PM Opening Keynote: Robert Crais
5:30 – 6:30 PM Book Signing



  Craft/Character Inspriation Genre Platform, Business & Beyond
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Registration & Exhibits
9:00 – 10:00 AM The Secret of Mission-Critical Storytelling
Larry Brooks
10:15 – 11:15 AM Mary Sues and Marty Stus Need Not Apply
Rachel Howzell Hall
  Science-Fiction/Fantasy Panel
Laurie McLean
Finally – Make Revision FUN
Rachael Herron
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Enrich Your Writing with Vivid Imagery
Jordan Rosenfeld
How to Give a killer Keynote Putting the Me in Chimera! Writing in Multiple Genres
Barbara Poelle and Sophie Littlefield 
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM Lunch on your own / Exhibits
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Writing Great Dialogue Mark Spencer   Young Adult/Middle-Grade Panel Kristen Kittscher,  Isabel Quintero Flores  
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Write Your Novel From The Middle James Scott Bell      
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM Finding the Emotional Heartbeat of your Characters
Désirée Zamorano
    What to Expect When You’re Expecting…a Publishing Career
Barbara Poelle
5:30 – 6:30 PM Central Keynote: Curtis Sittenfeld
6:30 – 8:00 PM Halloween Themed Reception and Book Signing



  Craft/Character Inspiration Genre Platform, Business & Beyond
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM Registration & Exhibits
9:00 – 10:00 AM A Structural Perspective on Story Development
Larry Brooks
  Why YA? What Young Adult Is, Isn’t, and Why You Should Write It (or not)
GS Prendergast
10:15 – 11:15 AM Finding the Right POV and Tense for your Character’s Voice
GS Prendergast
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Closing Keynote
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Book Signing