MWA-U – Chicago

MWA University Chicago is sold out!


Register NOW for MWA University – Chicago

Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014

Location: Westin Michigan Ave Chicago

909 N Michigan Ave – Chicago Ballroom

Chicago, IL 60611


What: An entire day of top-notch classes. Novice or pro, you will benefit from hearing the experts discuss their strategies for all facets of writing and publishing.

Below is a schedule preview (subject to change).


8:15 – 8:50 AM:                        Check-in

8:55 – 9:00 AM:                       Welcome – MWA’s Executive Vice President – Ted Hertel, Jr.

9:00 – 10:00 AM:                       After the Idea

Instructor:                               Jess Lourey (Jess Lourey is the author of the Murder-by-Month mysteries and a tenured professor of English and sociology at a two-year Minnesota college.)

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” But how? You’ve got the great idea, the one that won’t let you go, that embellishes itself as you walk around your day. But how do you grow that kernel into a compelling story, and where do you find the time? This class gives you the tools to turn a good idea into a great novel. Bring a notebook and writing utensil.

10:15 -11:15 AM:                      Dramatic Structure & Plot

Instructor:                                Hallie Ephron is the author of eight mystery novels including There Was an Old Woman and Never Tell a Lie. She reviews crime fiction for the Boston Globe, and wrote the Edgar-nominated Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel.

Since Aristotle, the three-act structure for storytelling has reigned supreme, but does it still hold true for modern crime writers? Is it the best way, or the only way, to tell your tale? Is plotting simply sequencing your scenes or is there more to it? This class will teach you the art of storytelling and plotting so your manuscript will attract the attention it deserves.

11:30 – 12:30 PM:                    Setting & Description

Instructor:                                Daniel Stashower (Daniel Stashower is a two-time Edgar award winner, and a recipient of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing.

“I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday,” Raymond Chandler once said, and this seemingly tossed-off remark has much to teach us about the gentle arts of setting and description.  This class will guide you through the process and potential pitfalls of choosing a setting, and explore the ways in which descriptive passages can be honed to illuminate characters and themes.

12:30 – 1:30 PM:                       Lunch Break – Box Lunch

1:30: – 2:30 PM                          Character

Instructor:                                Sara Paretsky (Sara Paretsky’s character, V I Warshawski, appeals to readers as diverse as President Clinton and out-of-work steelworkers.)

From Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlings, character is arguably the most memorable element of a mystery novel and a series. How do you create a full-realized unique protagonist that leaps from the page? How should you develop secondary characters as well as the protagonist’s nemesis? This class will challenge you to eliminate cardboard characterizations and create something new and fresh.

 2:45 – 3:45 PM                          Writing as Re-Writing

Instructor:                                Stan Trollip (Stanley Trollip and his co-author, Michael Sears, are the Barry-Award winning writing team known as Michael Stanley, whose novels are set in Botswana and feature the rotund Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu.)

If editing was good enough for William Shakespeare, it’s good enough for you.  More often than not, it’s the things you remove, the tweaks you make, and the tinkering you do, that are the difference between another slush pile manuscript and a new book contract.  There are some easy methods to learn and follow to help you develop an editorial ear.  Give us sixty minutes and we’ll give you a better chance with agents and editors.

4:00 – 5:00 PM:                         The Writing Life

Instructor:                                Hank Phillippi Ryan (Winner of the 2013 Mary Higgins Clark Award as well as two Agathas, the Anthony and the Macavity, Boston TV reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan has won 30 Emmys for her investigative journalism.)

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” That’s how Peter DeVries balanced art and craft. What’s the reality of the writing life? The journey from your great idea to 90,000 words will mean hours of solitude. Days of self-doubt. Revision. Rejection. And then–rejoicing. You’ll often say: “I wish someone had explained this to me!” In this class, they will.

COST:  $50 for current MWA members and $75 for non-members of Mystery Writers of America. If you join MWA within 30 days of the event, the difference will be taken off your membership dues. You must register by Thursday, September 4, 2014. If you need to cancel, there will be no refunds after September 8th. Registration is limited to 115 people.

We have also arranged for a small room block at the hotel – the rate of $229 per night is available for the nights of September 12 – 14, 2014.  The reservation must be made by August 13, 2014.  Click on this link to book your hotel reservation.

MWA U – Chicago 2014 Registration Form

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