Hey writers!

If you’re a writer living within driving distance of Chicago, here’s something just for you:

I’m a part of the team coordinating this year’s 14th annual Karitos, the Christian Arts conference to be held July 31-August 2 in Bolingbrook, IL. Last year, nearly 500 people attended Karitos, and attended workshops taught by expert instructors in creative disciplines including literary arts, dance, vocal performance, the music business and worship. You can learn more about the conference here.

This year, we’re expanding the offerings in the literary arts/writing track. This is a unique opportunity for writers to focus on the calling, craft, ministry and business of writing – in the context of the conference’s rich creative environment. There are literary offerings targeted at those wondering how to break into print, those with a couple of chapters of an unfinished novel stashed in the back of a drawer, and those with a sizeable list of published writing credits.

Karitos Literary Arts instructors:

Patricia Hickman, M.F.A., is a Christian communicator and an award-winning author. Patty earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at Queens University. She is currently at work on her sixteenth book for Random House. Her fiction is branded as “Storytelling Divine!” http://www.patriciahickman.com/

Travis Thrasher is a novelist who has written in many genres including suspense and romance. Having worked in the publishing industry for over thirteen years, Thrasher is now a fulltime writer and speaker. He and his wife, Sharon, have a daughter and live in a suburb of Chicago. http://www.travisthrasher.com/

Betsey Newenhuyse is the Editorial Director at Moody Publishers. She formerly served as managing editor at Moody magazine and was one of the founding editors of Marriage Partnership magazine at Christianity Today International. Betsey is the author of eight books.

Michelle Van Loon is author of 3 non-fiction books as well as plays, articles, curriculum and more, Michelle Van Loon brings her passion for nurturing the writing voices of others, a commitment to skilled craft and a worshiper’s heart to her workshop sessions. http://www.theparablelife.com/

Two different workshop tracks are available for writers at the conference:

Option 1: Select the literary arts workshops that meet your needs
Attend one or more of the workshop sessions listed below. Build the conference experience that fits your needs by mixing and matching these sessions with the other Karitos workshop offerings in drama, dance, visual arts and more.
- Panel Discussion
Learn about the publishing business from these industry professionals. Bring your questions! – Betsey Newenhuyse, Travis Thrasher
- Nurturing the Artistic Soul
Learn about spiritual challenges for writers and artists, explore how to refresh yourself, boost creativity and intuitive powers, and basically learn how to recharge. – Betsey Neuwenhuyse
- The drive and determination to be a writer
The most essential ingredient an author needs on their way toward publication is not talent but perseverance. Being published is about being patient, having thick skin, and working hard. – Travis Thrasher
- Marketing and promo for authors
The best way to market and promote your book is to do it yourself! Here are some tips and tools for helping sell yourself and your book. – Travis Thrasher
- Writing Your Story, Telling His
This workshop offers you a look at how you can share the story of God at work in your life in fresh, creative ways. We’ll also explore a variety of print/web venues you can explore in order to share your story with readers. – Michelle Van Loon
- Discovering Your Writer’s Voice
What makes you…you? A writer’s “voice” – that beautiful brew of personality, language, imagination and craft – is the single ingredient that makes your writing unique. This interactive session will help you identify what “voice” is, and offer a look at how you can learn to cultivate and capture your writer’s voice on paper – Michelle Van Loon

Option 2: Fiction intensive
If you have a novel burning in your soul, you’ll want to avail yourself of this unique opportunity to be mentored by author and teacher Patricia Hickman. This set of workshops is meant to be experienced as an entire package, though you’re free to sample a session or two if you prefer. Choosing the entire Fiction Intensive series of workshops means you’ll be committed to this “conference within a conference” throughout Karitos. You’ll still be able to participate in the main sessions and experience the rich creative environment of the conference, while working with Patricia and others to develop your ideas.
- Session 1: Fiction 101—Getting Started for the Beginning Novelist
Learning to efficiently make decisions regarding your story structure, POV, and setting will help launch your story from raw idea to sellable book. This workshop focuses on the starter tools needed to lay down your first draft.
- Session 2: Creating Characters I—Giving Story People Life
The key to intricate storytelling is developing characters that breathe, cast shadows, climb mountains, and fall headlong into peril—all in a believable manner, of course. If you’ve ever felt stuck, you might be trying to create story from plot rather than allowing story to spring from character. In this workshop, writers learn how to develop believable characters and how to kill your “puppet complex”.
- Session 3: Creating Characters II—Giving Story People Life
Continuing where Creating Characters I left off.
- Session 4: Creating Characters III—Emotional Architecture: How Stories Rise From Average to Art
Describing the character, the setting, interior monologue, what the reader is supposed to hear, see, feel, smell, or taste is typical writer’s ammo. But to move from average to art means leaving behind the conventional listing of observable life to embrace the elements that often go unnoticed.
- Session 5: Creating Characters IV—Sidekicks: Effectively Populating the Fictive World
Peripheral characters can lend more than support to the central character’s world. In this workshop writers will learn the secrets used by professional writers to deepen the human layers of their story.
- Session 6: Creating Characters V–Creating The Story Environment—Social Codes and Eroding Landscapes
The story’s setting is the emotional womb from which the central character emerges. Here are the secrets writers can learn to develop setting as more than pasted on description.
- Session 7: Creating Characters VI–Writing Successful Dialogue
. . . is not a simple task. Successful dialogue should reveal character without telling too much. In this workshop, writers will not only learn how to write dialogue but will be given the opportunity in class to show off your newly acquired skills.
- Session 8: Writing True–Beliefs and Faith in Today’s Fiction
This final session will top off the weekend’s immersion in character building by showing the writer how to approach faith and beliefs in fiction using compelling and convincing methods. Gone are the days of staid telling, preachy messages tucked like a device into the folds of a novel. Learn how faith can be powerfully portrayed in the quiet whisper of a story.

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About Michelle Van Loon
  • L.L. Barkat

    Hey, I just met Betsey at Calvin! What a sweet, intense woman.

    Too bad I don’t live near Chicago.

  • Michelle Van Loon

    I’m looking forward to connecting with her again. She spoke at last year’s Karitos, and I really enjoyed hearing her.

  • Anonymous

    I just attended the Lillenas Conference in Olathe, Kansas. You should have Lauren Yarger from Masterworks Productions teach at Karitos. She was excellent.

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    What made Lauren’s presentation special/helpful?

  • Resilient Hawk

    Let me invite you, and your readers, to jump in on our official blog:

    http://karitosarts.blogspot.com

    Anthony Trendl
    Karitos Blog Editor

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Thanks, Anthony!


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