Monday, September 8, 2014

John DeDakis Workshop in Montello on Oct 11

From Novice to Novelist
A Workshop for Aspiring and/or Struggling Writers

Overview:  A step-by-step guide on how to write a novel -- and how to sell it. This workshop is for struggling and/or aspiring writers. We'll go from how to get the nub of an idea all the way through to getting your novel into the hands of expectant fans. Along the way, you'll learn how to stay organized, how to write in the voice of the opposite sex, how to conduct effective research interviews, how to rewrite, how to get an agent, how to market your work, and how to face your writing/marketing fears. By the end of our time together, you will have started your novel and you will be equipped with the skills you'll need to perfect it.
Workshop Leader:  Writing Coach John DeDakis is a veteran Emmy-award winning journalist and former Senior Copy Editor for CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."  During his 45-year journalism career (25 years at CNN), John has been a White House Correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.  John is the author of three mystery-suspense novels, teaches novel writing at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland and journalism at The University of Maryland - College Park.  

Morning Session: 9 a.m. to noon

From Journalist to Novelist (Or How I Learned to Start Making it Up).
This session focuses on how personal experience is the grist of fiction. My sister's suicide, a car-train collision I witnessed as a kid, and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru are all experiences that led to the publication of my three mystery-suspense novels, Fast Track, Bluff, and Troubled Water.  To show how real life influences fiction, I also trace the arc of my nearly 45-year journalism career -- from getting tear gassed covering an anti-Vietnam War riot at U.W.-Madison in 1970 to my job as a Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." 

How to Write a Novel
A practical 15-point plan that takes you from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to transform the nub of an idea into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent and marketing the finished product.

How to Write in the Voice of the Opposite Sex 
Forget about Venus and Mars.  Emotions are not gender specific.  We all have them.  It just takes a little work (ok, a LOT), to get into the head of the opposite sex.  But it can be done.  In this session, we'll explore how. I write from the point of view of a twenty-something young woman in my three novels in the Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series. Journalist/Author and Syndicated Columnist Diane Dimond has this to say about my writing: "How John DeDakis can write so compellingly about the world of journalism is no surprise.  But how he can write so convincingly about a woman in the field is astounding!"  And there's this from Reporter Jenna Troum of WSPA (CBS), Greenville, SC: "As a young female journalist, I spent most of this novel wondering how John DeDakis got into my head. Troubled Water is sharp, suspenseful and, most importantly, utterly believable."  

How to Stay Organized - Creating Order from Chaos

There are a lot of moving parts in a novel. The trick is to keep track of them as you do your writing work. In this session, we'll explore strategies for how to avoid getting discouraged when your creativity feels chaotic.

Lunch:  Bring your own or pay extra for catered (see contact info below)

Afternoon Session: 1 - 4 p.m.

Buffing and Polishing - The Art of Rewriting
You've finally finished your manuscript and now you're ready to tell Oprah all about it. Not so fast. The best writing is REwriting. In this session, you'll learn practical ways to put your writing on a flab-burning diet so that your copy is tight, trim and hot -- and all without even having to step onto a treadmill. A big chunk of this is a writing lab, so be sure to bring pen and paper.

Getting an Agent...and Getting Noticed
Writing's the easy part. The hard part is stepping out of your solitary comfort zone and trying to convince someone else that they should read your book. In this session you'll learn how to attract an agent and how to market yourself using strategies that are tailored to your personality.

Facing Your Fears
Not only is writing a lonely process, it can be downright scary. And, when it comes to mustering the courage to share our work with others, fear can turn to terror. In this session (suitable for a keynote address to end a writers' conference), we'll look at understanding what frightens us -- and how to get beyond those fears.  

Registration: $50
To Register, contact:

Readers Realm Book Store
147 E. Montello Street
Montello, Wisconsin 53949
Phone: (608) 297-2200

Hope to see you there (and bring -- or tell -- a friend, or two, or ten).

John DeDakis 
Author/Writing Coach
Former CNN Senior Copy Editor ("The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer")

-Author, Fast Track, Bluff, Troubled Water (Mystery-suspense)
To order, click here 

-Adjunct Faculty, Journalism -- University of Maryland-College Park (Since Fall 2013)

-Web site:


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