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Mix'n'match any of the following to fit any time frame...

The Writer's Voice
1 to 7 hrs

Why are 90-95% of manuscripts rejected without being read? What does it mean when rejections say, "We're looking for a fresh, new voice"? What's voice? How does it differ from style? Tone? Attitude? And how do you get a voice? Enjoy group exercises that lead you to explore the elements of voice and expand your options in ways you haven't considered before.  

(Depending on total time scheduled, this session may be considered a Master Class incorporating several of the following choices, plus this Bonus: 
How to make clichés and twists of language work for you.)

Power Dialogue
1 - 1.5 hrs

Dialogue is not the same as any speech that you enclose in quotation marks. To power up your writing, analyze the 10 keys to stronger dialogue and learn the 10 energy-sappers to scrap — and you'll grab agents' and editors' attention with your skilled use of Power Dialogue and the Resistance Effect™.

Body Language Spoken Here
1 - 2 hrs

Learn to replace the easy-to-spot signs of amateur writing with original, character-revealing behaviors. Concludes with a fun, role-playing game.

Show or Tell? What's the Real Diff, and When Do I Use Each?
1.5 hrs

The second-most common comment scrawled on rejected manuscripts (when comments appear at all) is: "Show, don't tell." Do you know exactly what to do? Where? And when? Enjoy interactive exercises that show, not tell, how to effectively use the 4 levels of this essential writing skill.

The Art of Revision
1.5 to 3 hrs

Congratulations on completing your first manuscript! Don't rush to send it off to the friendly agent you met at the last conference, who is not waiting impatiently to receive it—or any slightly polished first draft. Learn to evaluate your submission the way a first reader does and take charge of boosting your odds of acceptance.

       In any 3-hour master class, attendees may bring their first pages for feedback (write ahead for essential instructions).

Introduction to Book Publishing 
2 to 2.5 hrs
(ideal for a library event that's free and open to the public)

Learn how to find a publisher, whether you need an agent and how to get one, what to send, and a hundred other essentials for surviving today's highly competitive submission process. Session may also include "Beginners' Questions Answered" (below).

Beginners' Questions Answered 
1.5 hrs

How to find and approach an agent, how to format a manuscript, and other essentials. Bonus: The mystery of "that" vs. "which" revealed.

Conference Roundtable Discussions

    1 hr each

One or more 1-hour small group discussions in addition to workshops, limited to between 6 and 10 participants. Each group meets in a classroom or over a meal with Chris, who gives personalized answers to questions about writing and getting published. (Some conferences charge attendees $10 extra to participate.)


  • For writers conferences, a full edit and critique are offered for approximately 6 consecutive opening pages of a novel or short story, when prepared according to the formatting specifications posted on http://writersinfo.info/smf.html), and submitted by its author a month or more in advance of the event to the conference coordinator (who double-checks all entries and mails them to Chris to arrive at least three weeks before the event).
    Some nonfiction is also accepted for critique, though subject matter should be queried in advance.
    Each author receives a 20-minute private meeting with Chris at the conference, the times to be arranged for mutual convenience.
    Dates for next year are booking now>>>

    All workshop handouts and exercises are copyrighted as part of Chris Roerden'
    s registered trademarked programs.

    One exception: Feel free to reprint any or all of the 6 quotations below on the subject of THE WRITER'S VOICE:

    "Finishing a first draft is the easy part. It's how you revise that makes you a writer. . . . Anybody can spit out 80,000 words. It's choosing the right 80,000 in the right order that will get you published. . . .

    "[Voice is] the conversational quality of your writing, the way you “talk” to your reader. It’s as important in writing as it is in conversing aloud with someone or speaking to a group. If your voice isn’t confident, assured, authoritative, natural, and appropriate for your characters and story, the writing will feel stilted, forced, ragged, weak, awkward.

    "Many editors will tell you that the most important thing they look for in manuscripts is the strength and quality of the voice."

    —From "The Mystic Art of Agent Hunting" by Jason Pinter, former St. Martin's Press editor, author of the Henry Parker series.

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there’s nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

    —Antoine de Saint Exupéry


    "In my opinion, 'voice' is the most important ingredient in a successful book. The plot may be clever, but if the voice doesn't engage us, how can we care?"

    —Margaret Maron, author of the Judge Deborah Knott Mysteries. She’s won every major mystery-writing award since the first in the series, The Bootlegger’s Daughter.


    "I think there is a difference [between voice and style], though it’s difficult to get at. To me, voice is closer to attitude and the emotional quality of the prose, reflecting the personality of the author—angry, lost, tough, intelligent, world weary, arrogant, and so on. It’s a deeper quality, connected to who the author is and how he or she sees life and " To me, style is how you put it all together on the surface—fast-paced, spare, elaborate, light, serious, slick, more literary in the use of language and word choice, and so on. In the end, I think, the important thing is not to overthink style or voice or get too cerebral about it, but simply to write a lot.

    "Eventually, you’ll find your natural writing voice and style. . . . There are no hard rules about this. In the end, each writer has to find his or her own way, by doing it."

    —John Morgan Wilson writes the Benjamin Justice mystery series, winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award (“the Edgar”) from Mystery Writers of America and three Lambda Literary Awards.


    "There’s a lot of stuff out there and much of it sounds familiar."

    —Jim McCarthy, literary agent


    "If you're not sure about your voice, begin by learning to recognize—and get rid of—the ineffective writing habits you've picked up over the years, which you don't even know you reveal to editors. Each habit smothers your natural voice and makes your writing sound the same as most beginning writers sound. Such habits are instant clues to what editors call amateur writing. I call it average writing. Whatever you call it, average writing is rejectable writing. But you have options, and you can learn how to use them."

    —Chris Roerden helps writers uncover their voice in her workshops and through her books:
    Don’t Sabotage Your Submission
    — 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award; Florida Writers Ass'n Royal Palm Award for Best Educational Book; FWA Royal Palm Book of the Year Award; and ForeWord Magazine's Bronze Medal for Writing Book of the Year 2009 —
    Don’t Murder Your Mystery
    — Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2006; Anthony finalist; Macavity finalist; Writer's Digest Book Club alternate selection; inclusion by Mystery Writers of America on its MWA-University recommended reading list.

Comments on Chris's Workshops:

“I encourage anyone who has the chance to attend Chris's workshops. Very informative, educational and interesting. The attendees raved about her presentation. Chris
opened my eyes!”
Christy Tillery French,
author of The Bodyguard series plus Chasing Horses and Wayne’s Dead
•2006 Reviewers' Choice Award for The Bodyguard and the Show Dog
•Finalist, Heart & Scroll Madcap Contest for Best in Romantic Comedy
•Named one of MyShelf's Top 10 reads for 2002
•United Authors Ass'n Manager’s Pick for September 2003

* * * * *
Chris's books have gotten me past some bumps in the writing road, that's for sure. And I went to one of her classes--which was SRO. There were so many questions, the audience barely let her get away.... Her classes benefit both newbies and oldbies. Even writers who think they've heard it all come away with new techniques and new ideas and new ways to think.
It's not only an effective jump start but also fuel for the future.

—Hank Phillippi Ryan,
investigative reporter for
WHDH-TV, Boston,
•Winner, 24 Emmy Awards +
10 Edward R. Murrow Awards
for investigative and
consumer reporting
author of Prime Time, Face Time, Air Time, and Drive Time
•Agatha Award for Best 1st Novel
Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice
•Finalist, Daphne Du Maurier Award
•Double Nominee, RITA Award for Best First Novel & Best Romantic Suspense
Boston Globe bestseller
and author of the Jane Ryland series
The Other Woman, The Wrong Girl, Truth Be Told:
•Agatha Award (twice) for Best Contemporary Novel
•Mary Higgins Clark Award
•Daphne Award
•Library Journal Best Book of 2014
and editor of the anthology
Writes of Passage
•Agatha Award for Nonfiction

Latest release: hard cover from Forge, the 5th thriller in Ryan's second series: Say No More

* * * * *
I had the pleasure of hearing Chris Roerden speak at a Sisters in Crime meeting in Los Angeles. She was one of the most knowledgeable speakers I've ever heard on the subject of avoiding that dreaded instant rejection letter. Impressed by her no-nonsense approach, I bought Don't Sabotage Your Submission and was able to apply many of her suggestions immediately.... I spotted a few faux pas in a manuscript I just finished and began to re-edit a few sections. And I thought it was ready for submission!
—Morgan St. James,
author of the Silver Sisters Mysteries:
A Corpse in the Soup
, and
Seven Deadly Samovars.

•Best Mystery Audio Book 2007 from
USA Book News

* * * * *
"Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is a local group I joined primarily because I crave those breaking bread moments. Plus they have some really good workshops. When I learned Chris Roerden was putting on a workshop, that did it.
I sent in my dues."
—Peg Brantley,
"Don't Close Your Eyes"
* * * * *

"Chris Roerden presented at the Tennessee Mountain Writers 2009 Conference. So far, her book is the best reference for submitting a manuscript I've found. I took her advice and finished my rough draft before beginning the level of editing her book describes. I attended her dialogue workshop and was impressed with the way she could describe bad writing and convey how to fix it. It's in the book, so check it out."
—Wanda White,
developing writer
* * * * *
She's worked in and with commercial publishing for more than 55 years. Authors she's
edited are published by:

St. Martin's Press
Berkley Prime Crime
Oceanview Publishing
Perseverance Press
Walker & Co.
Midnight Ink
Forge (Macmillan)
and many others

Chris has traveleled widely to share the
insider info that helps writers learn why the majority of manuscripts are not read past the first few pages, paragraphs, or sentences ... and learn how you can get a fair shot at having your manuscript actually READ.

She's presented more than 360 workshops and taught adult classes in 144 cities in
3 countries, and at regional, national, and international writers' conferences.

To arrange a program or workshop for your group:
email patmeller@aol.com

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or the
please note that each bears the
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