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My Talks

I love the craft of writing and adore talking about the ins and outs, sharing the hard-earned lessons I’ve learned and hearing those of others. I’ve attended various writing workshops over the years, including Viable Paradise, Clarion, and more. For two years, I ran Wellspring, an intensive, one-week novel workshop.

I’ve been a guest at writing conventions to speak about writing. I’m a long-time speaker at the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium. I’ve also been invited to speak at New York Comic ConPhoenix Comic ConWorld FantasyWorldConGenCon, and more. I’ve given more in-depth talks at the League of Utah Writers Conference, the UW Madison Writers’ Institute, and various libraries, including the Macmillan Memorial Library.

Over time, I’ve developed writing talks on various topics. I’m comfortable speaking to a small crowd or a packed room. I have nine pre-made presentations in my Mastering Fiction series, from the structure of scenes to worldbuilding to plotting and brainstorming. The topics are ones that I felt were both crucial skills for the writer and underserved in the market.

The talks are planned as 50 minutes each, with roughly 40 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of question and answers, but I’m happy to present at different lengths, with adjustment to the topics if given enough lead time to prepare. Just let me know what changes you’d like to see and I’d be happy to work with you.

My Talks

Brainstorm Your Way to a Breakout Novel

Novels begin with an idea, and the bigger the idea, the more likely you are to attract the notice of agents, editors, and readers. In this seminar, learn techniques that can help you generate your Big Idea from the start, which will help to guide you to writing a novel that will stand out from the crowd.


Whether it's fantasy, science fiction, or horror, worldbuilding is one of the most crucial skills for a writer of speculative fiction. This talk provides a detailed discussion of the ins and outs of creating a compelling, vibrant world from scratch, extrapolating from history, or shading our own world slightly differently to create a unique setting for your novel.

Plotting Techniques of the Professional Writer

Plotting is one of the more difficult disciplines to master in writing, and even discovery writers will benefit from learning basic plotting techniques. This seminar focuses on various plotting techniques, from basic structural concepts, initial plotting and eventual refinement, how to break the dreaded writer’s block and how to avoid it in the first place.

The Structure of Scenes

Well-structured scenes make for compelling storytelling. How can you construct powerful scenes? And how do you string scenes together to create a vivid and stirring piece of writing? In this seminar, you’ll learn how to structure scenes that work, whether you’re writing a short story or the next breakout novel.

Tension on Every Page: The Path to a Page-Turning Novel

Tension is one of the basic building blocks of modern day fiction. If you know how to lay the seeds of tension, and how to coax them, you can transform your fiction from merely noteworthy to exceptional. In this seminar, the different types of tension are discussed, as well as ways to maximize them to keep your reader glued to the page.

Connective Tissue: Creating Stories that Engage

In writing, there are many different techniques that are rarely discussed together. Foreshadowing, parallel threads, theme, tone, character building, and more. In this seminar, these topics are discussed from the viewpoint of strengthening the story as a whole, taking a story that feels loose and directionless and working with the material that’s already there to make it strong and vibrant.

Pattern Recognition: Creating Stories that Compel

The ability to recognize patterns is a basic human trait. We use it over and over again in our fiction. This seminar discusses how to use patterns to your benefit by both setting and breaking expectations. Learn how to draw your reader in by challenging their expectations, and take character building, plot progression, plot twists and setbacks, and world building to the next level.

It's All Entertainment: Creating Stories that are Fun to Read

It’s easy while writing to focus on the mechanics of writing and forget that fiction is a form of entertainment. Writers can become lost in topics of theme, characterization, plotting, or even the line-by-line writing, while forgetting to accentuate the things that make people want to read books in the first place. This seminar focuses on the entertainment value of writing, and discusses techniques for maximizing the pages for a more engrossing, emotional, page-turning read.

The Business of Writing

Learn about the state of writing, how to find the right agent, contracts, career management, publicity and marketing, self-publishing, and more. This talk starts with a general discussion of how to navigate the field of writing as a new writer, but gives preference to the question and answer session, where attendees can ask questions that pertain to their unique situation.