Pre-Conference Fiction Writing Workshop

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The Pre-Conference Fiction Writing Workshop is new this year and will happen on Friday, June 5th 2020 just prior to the Spring Conference which happens on Saturday.  This event is not included as part of your membership and so it has a separate fee.   Your UPPAA membership must be renewed for 2020 before you can register for the pre-conference event.

UPPAA Fiction Workshop
June 5, 2019,  10:00 – 5:00 at the Women’s Federated Clubhouse, 104 W Ridge St #4227, Marquette

Instructor: Bethany Leonard, Red Ore Writers (Crystal Falls, MI)

Bethany Leonard, Red Ore Writers

This six-hour workshop for writers of fiction will actively engage participants in the content and with one another for an enjoyable experience that strengthens their writing.    You will review key concepts, engage in writing exercises, share pages for critique, and edit your writing with support from authors and educators, Bethany and Doug Leonard of Red Ore Writers. You will receive feedback on six of your written pages–three through group critiques and three through written edits and comments from Bethany and Doug. You will get to know other writers as you engage in learning activities on showing vs. telling, less is more, building characters, dialogue, and giving and receiving feedback. Doug has extensive background in teaching college writing, corporate workshops, and editorial coaching.  He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  Bethany is also a published author and educator. She has delivered presentations at numerous state, national, and international conferences.

You will get to know other writers as you participate in learning activities on showing vs. telling, less is more, character development, dialogue, and giving and receiving feedback.  These topics will be explored through a variety of methods engaging you with the large group, small groups, in pairs, and individually.  Plan on bringing your laptop or your favorite pen as there will be time at the end of the day for you to concentrate on your own writing to apply the workshop concepts and the critique feedback. Facilitators Bethany and Doug Leonard, in combination, are published in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, have many years of experience teaching including college writing, corporate workshops, and editorial coaching, and have presented at state, national, and international conferences.

Enrollment is strictly capped at 20 people and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. You will register for the workshop at the same time that you renew your 2020 UPPAA membership because only active members can participate. Workshop registration is non-refundable after May 15th, 2020.  Lunch will not be provided at the UPPAA Fiction Workshop so please bring a bag lunch


Submit up to three pages (double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman, one-inch margins) by 11:00 pm on May 16 to receive edits and written comments from Red Ore Writers. You will also need to bring three photocopied sets of three additional pages to share during the workshop.  These additional pages should be different from those submitted in advance.  You will get feedback on the photocopied pages from other participants during a guided activity.  Bring your laptop if you prefer to type during the workshop writing time.

Fiction Workshop Modules

“*” means that writing exercises are included with these topics.

Showing vs. Telling *

Participants will practice identifying sentences that show and the words and phrases in them that make use of the five senses.  They will then generate their own showing sentences in response to a visual prompt.  This activity will close with a description of appropriate uses of telling.

Building Characters *

Each participant will write two or three sentences about a person shown in a photograph.  Participants will build the character using a mind map to develop personality, appearance, fears, desires, etc. They will then rewrite the brief set of sentences based on their expanded concept of the character. They will share their character and sentences with group partners.

Dialogue *

Participants will explore the uses of dialogue, of tags, and will practice using action with tags to develop cadence and other effects.

Less is More *

Participants will practice reducing words by replacing weak verbs and adverbs, choosing one strong adjective out of two or more, exchanging adjectives for strong nouns, getting rid of needless information, and taking out redundancies. Using telling and active voice will also be identified as ways to reduce text. Participants will rewrite a passage to tighten passages using methods discussed.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Participants will learn a process for giving supportive, useful feedback.

Feedback Session – Critiques

Each participant will share three pages of his or her own writing and receive feedback from a small group using the process explained during the workshop.


Participants will individually revise their pages or write new material based on the feedback received from table mates and on the writing principles reviewed during the day.  Doug and Bethany will assist and answer questions.

Facilitator Bios 

Doug and Bethany Leonard of Red Ore Writers bring a unique combination of expertise in writing and teaching.  They enjoy working with both beginning and experienced writers.  Doug has a doctorate in American Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has had a long career teaching college writing and legal writing. He also served as a consultant in written communication for government agencies, universities, business, and industry. Besides publishing his own poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Doug has assisted authors and publishers as ghostwriter and copy editor.  He is an authority in English usage, grammar, and punctuation.

Also a published writer, Bethany has expertise in instructional design and teaching. She holds a Master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. One of her strengths is designing engaging lessons for specific groups based on the science of learning.  She has conducted sessions at numerous state, national, and international conferences and recently partnered to design and deliver a teacher-training program for new college instructors.  Her book, Pat the Great Cat, about a real jaguar injured in the wild and rescued by naturalists, was placed in every fourth grade classroom in the country of Belize by its national department of education.  The State University of New York, Cortland, conducted a summer teaching institute in Belize based on the book.

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