Recent and Upcoming Events
Knoxville Writers’ Guild
Edit Like a Pro (Workshop)
June 10, 2023 | Knoxville, TN
Blue Pen Writers’ Conference
February 1–2, 2025 | Knoxville, TN
Knoxville Writers’ Guild
June 15, 2024 | Knoxville, TN
Talks & Workshops
Creative to CEO: Turning a Passion into a Business (Talk)
I only ever had one answer to the question of what I wanted to do with my life: “I want to write.”
And I always received the same response: “That’s great, but what are you going to do for money?”
Like many creatives, I believed that my only choice was to pick the least offensive of the options spit out by the career-aptitude test.
Then, during my senior year of college, a brain injury derailed all the plans I’d made.
Forced to think beyond the standard vocational labels, I used my passion for writing to build a business in the publishing space.
In this talk, I share my personal story of growing from a directionless college student to a business owner—the obstacles I faced, the lessons I’ve learned the hard way, and the incredibly rewarding career I never would have had if my life had gone as planned.
What would our world be like if creatives were encouraged to explore ways to market their passions, instead of sacrificing their dreams for a 401(k)?
I aim to empower creatives to apply their skills and talents to their career track, without requiring a head injury to jar them off the beaten path.
Edit Like a Pro: Self-Editing Fiction and Memoir (Workshop)
Although the self-editing process varies for each writer and each manuscript, understanding the basic structure and tools for self-editing helps writers create stronger, more polished manuscripts. Knowledge of the universal editing process serves as a foundation for writers to develop their own personal editing style and to adjust the process for each project.
In this workshop, we will discuss the basic levels of editing, including developmental editing, line editing, and proofreading. Attendees will learn about topics including structure and pacing, character development, voice, and adherence to style guides. We will also explore the purpose of line editing and methods for improving the clarity, concision, and consistency of prose.
The workshop will cover roadblocks and pitfalls writers commonly experience during the editing process, and we will discuss how to productively combat such problems.
Writers will learn about common issues professional editors see and how to correct. Attendees will leave with a blueprint for designing their personal editing process and an understanding of key elements to look for at each stage of self-editing.
From Start to Signed: Querying Literary Agents (Workshop)
The process of querying literary agents is based on trial and error for many writers. This workshop will help attendees simplify the process and avoid common mistakes. We will discuss how to write an effective query letter that gets agents’ attention, resources and methods for researching literary agents, and how to navigate the submission process in a professional way.
We will begin by discussing the anatomy of a query letter and breaking down the query-writing process into manageable steps. At each step, we will explore common mistakes and methods for identifying and including the strongest aspects of a manuscript. I will explain tactics and exercises writers can use while drafting their query letter.
We will then move onto the research phase of the querying process. Writers will learn about crucial characteristics to consider when selecting agents to query. We will explore various resources for locating and learning about literary agents. We will also compare professional online behavior with unacceptable behavior and discuss how this may impact an agent’s perception of a writer.
Writers will learn how to submit query letters to literary agents. We will explore formatting requirements, how to submit additional materials, common faux pas, and procedures for responding to partial and full requests. We will discuss questions to ask during “the call” and considerations that can impact a writer’s decision to accept or decline an offer of representation.
Attendees will learn how to write a query letter that highlights the strongest aspects of their manuscript. Writers will leave the workshop with confidence in their ability to find and select literary agents who would be a good fit for their manuscript and professional goals. Attendees will be able to navigate the querying process without making common mistakes.
Craft Your Query (Workshop)
This workshop focuses on the query-writing process, helping writers learn how develop a query that highlights the critical elements of their story.
We will review the anatomy of a query. Then we’ll discuss the crucial elements that successful queries emphasize, including conflict and stakes, and how writers can highlight these important elements while authentically representing their voice and story.
Additional topics include how to write a hook that grabs agents’ attention, what to include in a bio and what to leave out, and how to select the perfect comp titles.
Writers will have opportunities to share aspects of their own writing as we work together to explore how full manuscripts become engaging one-page queries.
We will also review examples of successful queries.
Compared to From Start to Signed, this workshop provides an in-depth exploration of the query-writing process. Attendees will also have opportunities to apply concepts to their own writing and can expect to leave the workshop with a draft of an enticing query.
Home Talk: Writing Dialect in Fiction (Workshop)
Appalachians have a unique way of speaking. From our word choice to our pronunciation to our colorful idioms, our language is part of our identity.
Unfortunately, that unique part of our culture is often interpreted as signifying a lack of intelligence or education. Many Appalachian writers intentionally include their regional dialect in their work to challenge this stereotype.
But such work cannot be only for Appalachian readers, and unfamiliar accents and dialects can impede readability. So how do we balance authenticity with accessibility?
To address this question, we will explore the recommendations of The Chicago Manual of Style—and how to effectively break the rules. We will also discuss:
- The impact of POV choices
- Imparting dialect and accent in dialogue
- Identifying when your audience may need more context
- Phonetic spelling options
- Balancing veracity and readability
- Ways to imply dialect
While this workshop references Appalachian dialects, the concepts apply to writing any dialect or unique speech pattern.
For in-person or virtual speaking requests, email victoria [at] victoriagriffin [dot] com.