Are you a fiction writer and attending the 2017 Winter Wheat conference? Here is just a taste of the wonderful fiction panels we have planned!


“Beginnings. Where and How Does Your Story Start?” with Brad Felver

This session will aim to differentiate between strong story openings and weak ones. What makes one compelling and the other forgettable? How can you catch the eye of readers (and editors!) without relying on gimmicks? How much pressure is fair to place upon a story’s beginning? We will look at famous beginnings, as well as some lesser-known ones, as we discuss how exactly they are juggling all the various demands. Finally, we will spend some time writing some new beginnings of our own.

Brad Felver is a fiction writer and essayist. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in magazines such as One Story, Colorado Review, and New England Review. He teaches at BGSU.

This workshop will be held on Friday, November 3, from 3:00-4:15 pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select A2 when you register!


“Speaking of Death: Dialogue & Funerals in Fiction,” with Dr. Kasie Whitener

Funerals are cliché and all editors will tell writers to avoid them. However, what if we just did a better job with them? This workshop provides samples of good and bad funeral conversations in fiction. Dr. Whitener will provide a checklist for evaluating effective funeral dialogue and some “shan’ts” and “musts” for novice and emerging writers. Learners will then practice their own. Seasoned and journeymen writers will enjoy this chance to break through clichéd treatments of death in fiction.

Dr. Kasie Whitener is a regular contributor to the South Carolina Writers’ Association Columbia II Chapter where she recently blogged “Writing About Death” and got interested in how to keep our universal death experience from dragging down the drama of our fictional funerals. Dr. Whitener is a member of the South Carolina Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau, an entrepreneur and frequent workshop presenter to the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups Columbia. Her fiction has appeared in The Petigru Review and Spry Literary Magazine. Her short story “Cover Up” won the Carrie McCray Award for fiction and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016.

This workshop will be held on Friday, November 3, from 3:00-4:15 pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select A7 when you register!


“Using Prompts to Create Scenes and Character in Fiction,” with Susanne Jaffe

A prompt is a method to jumpstart your creative juices, and to get you thinking about the possibilities for a story, a character, a plot, or a scene. It is an effective tool whose primary purpose is to inspire a writer’s vision, not replace it. The class will consist of a great deal of writing in response to various prompts—usually short, maybe 500 words—and then reading a few of them out loud.

Susanne Jaffe is a former executive and editor in New York City trade publishing and the former executive director and creative director of Thurber House, a nonprofit literary center in Columbus, Ohio. She has taught at Thurber House and a library learning organization in Columbus. She is the author of several published works of fiction, many of them published traditionally and the most recent two self-published with 5-star ratings on Amazon. For more on Susanne, please go to either: or to her Amazon author page at:

This workshop will be held on Saturday, November 4, from 11:00-12:15 am. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select D3 when you register!


“Brainstorming the Novel,” with Lawrence Coates

“Brainstorming the Novel” will be a discussion/workshop on conceiving and developing your novel idea. The presentation will feature an outline of the seven basic plots, some guided exercises that can be shared, and some questions that can be used to strengthen your idea or the manuscript you’re currently working on.

Lawrence Coates has published five books, most recently The Goodbye House, a novel set amid the housing tracts of San Jose in the aftermath of the first dot com bust. His work has been recognized with the Miami University Press Novella Prize, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.

This workshop will be held on Saturday, November 4, from 1:30-2:45 pm. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, select E1 when you register!