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MWA Northwest Craft Seminar For The New Year

February 11 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm PST

Mystery Writers of America – Northwest invites you to attend the first seminar of 2023 – two workshops covering suspense, voice, and theme.


9:30-10:00am Welcome, Intros, Brags with MWA-NW president David Schlosser

10:00-11:30am Increasing Pace & Suspense with Intentional Rewrites, presented by Elena Taylor

11:30am-12pm Break

12:00-3:00pm Writing Essentials: Voice & Theme, presented by Briana Lane

Increasing Pace and Suspense with Intentional Rewrites

Mysteries revolve around not just whodunit, but also the rising stakes of solving the crime. When to drop clues, introduce suspects, and put the sleuth—amateur or professional—into more danger can be just as important for building suspense as the information itself. Using intentional rewrites to clarify objectives, grow obstacles, and increase the stakes can push the pace and create a manuscript that keeps agents, editors, and readers turning the pages. Discover the role of intentional rewriting to edit any work in progress.

About Elena

Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays.

Writing Essentials: Voice and Theme

1. Finding Your Unique Voice (for novels and short stories, and for diverse media): What is the single most important factor in writing success? Every editor and publisher and agent will tell you: VOICE. This is what defines you as an author. Let’s learn what this means and how to find and develop your voice.

2. The Passionate Search for Theme and Meaning in Your Work: As an author, What do you want to say? Why do you want to say it? How are you going to choose your medium, your genre, your format, your style for this piece?

Time-permitting, this seminar will include in-class assignment, reading, analysis; but, no matter what, at course conclusion attendees will leave with assignment prompt and upcoming mutually convenient appointment to connect with Prof Lane one-on-one by ZOOM or phone for critique once assignment is completed and submitted by attendee. ALSO, attendees of this course will have first opportunity to contribute to the MWA Northwest Serial Novel! All the above will be best explained at the session on Feb 11.

About Briana

Briana Lane (formerly Brian Alan Lane), BA, MFA, JD, is a novelist, nonfiction writer, media commentator, attorney, professor, and screenwriter, whose bestselling book, “Cat and Mouse”, was described as “A masterpiece… that could have been concocted by Vladimir Nabokov” (The Boston Review, by a reviewer who otherwise detested Prof Lane and her Hollywood history.).

Speaking of that hideous Hollywood history whose primary purpose was to pay off exes and cover party trips to France, Prof Lane very much enjoyed writing and/or producing more than one hundred television pilots, series, episodes, feature films, and omnimedia exhibitions. Series include “Remington Steele”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Hart to Hart”, “Hunter”, “MacGyver”, “In The House”, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (yes, the “Elementary, Dear Data” episode), and many others. Her diverse short fiction and media commentaries are published in literary journals and periodicals worldwide. Now actively retired to the Kitsap Peninsula, Washington, Prof Lane enjoys a lovely artist-wife, 3 dogs, and 1 kidney. You do the math.


February 11
9:30 am - 3:00 pm PST


Mystery Writers of America NorthWest Chapter