The collection: Retreats & Workshops

Larry Brooks to conduct an all-day writing class in Boise November 8th, 2014

Event Details

Larry Brooks

Here is what best-selling novelist, Larry Brooks, has to say about his November 8th all-day workshop in Boise:

“This no-frills workshop (artful rhetoric will not be part of the curriculum) will take what you’ve been taught about “The Basics” and turn it inside out.  Because those basics too often lead to “good” novels, when in today’s highly competitive and rapidly shifting market only original and truly “great” novels get published and have a real shot at finding a readership.  “Great” is no accident, there are specific differentiating factors, criteria and benchmarks that enable greatness over and above the so-called “basic elements” of good fiction… which is what everybody else is shooting for.  Bring a crash helmet, this will be intense.”

Brooks has developed and taught workshops around the country since the mid-1980s. Check out his blog at to read more about him and his two blockbuster writing books, Story Engineering:  Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing, released in 2011 from Writers Digest Books, and Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling.

Spend a day with this phenomenal teacher and learn why his six core competencies not only work, but can also be found in virtually every successful piece of fiction ever written. He’ll break down the process of storytelling into specific developmental criteria, from concept to character to sequence and theme, and give you a vision for how all the parts of your story can become a whole in excess of their parts. You’ll come away with a new perspective on your own work and the pathways that can make it not just a good story, but a great one.

No matter where you are in your writing career, no matter what you write, you do not want to miss this workshop. Seating will be limited, so sign up now! Click here to register.

SCBI Annual Writing Conference

SCBWI Annual Writing Conference

Tell Me a Story

2014 Regional Conference

April 25th -26th, 2014

Don’t miss our annual writing conference for readers, writers, teachers, and librarians of children’s literature. Sponsored by Boise State Department of Literacy, SCBWI, ICIRA.

Featured Speakers:

Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince, The Runaway King, and Book 6 of Scholastic’s Infinity Ring Series.

Melissa Miller, Associate Editor at Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Gregory Taylor, librarian at Hillside Junior High School in Boise, Idaho.

Kelly Gallagher, literacy education expert, full time English teacher at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California, author of Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, Reading Resources: Motivational Mini-Lessons for Middle and High School, Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12, and more.

 When and Where:

Book signing by authors: Friday, April 25, 2014, 4:00-5:30 pm at Rediscovered Bookshop, 180 N. 8th Street, in Boise.

ICIRA Reception, Awards Dinner: Friday, April 25, 2014, 5:30-8:30 pm, BSU Student Union Building, Bishop Barnwell Room with dinner and keynote speaker, Kelly Gallagher.

Conference: Saturday, April 26, 2014, 7:45 am-5:00 pm

Boise State University, Student Union Building, Lookout Room, 1910 University Dr, Boise, ID 83725

Manuscript critiques and graduate, undergraduate,

and in-service credit available.

 Register at SCBWI (Utah/Southern Idaho Chapter, Events)


Editing Workshop in Boise Nov. 9

logo SCBWIIdaho Writers Guild and SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) will be sponsoring “Editing: A Survival Tool for Writers” on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, from 8:30 to 5:30 at the Riverside Hotel, Northstar Room.


  • Troubleshooting: Three top editors discuss the need for editors, what they do for authors, and why manuscripts are rarely ready to publish until and editor gets their hands on it.
  • Allies in Creativity: Three published authors will talk about their relationships with editors and why they’re almost always a necessary part of the process.
  • Fixer-Upper: After lunch break, the editors return for hands-on demonstrations of how they make authors’ words mean more.
  • One-on-One: Round out the day with an optional manuscript evaluation. Have the first 10 pages of your manuscript edited and discussed. You’ll receive a copy of the edited manuscript including any additional notes.

Admission and registration

Prices are $95 for the general public and $75 for Idaho Writers Guild (IWG) or SCBWI members. Optionally, the One-on-One Manuscript evaluation is $35 (see important notes below) and a maximum of five people can dine with a presenter for $25.

Manuscript evaluation requirements

If you choose this option, you must submit your manuscript electronically no later than October 27th (the deadline has been extended from the 18th to the 27th). Further instructions are provided when you register.

8:30 – 9:30   Registration

9:00 – 9:30   Welcome, Announcements

9:30 – 10:45   Troubleshooting – To start off the day, three top editors, Mary Kelly McColl, Stacy Ennis and Donna Cook will discuss the need for editors, what they do for authors, and why manuscripts are rarely ready to publish until an editor gets their hands on it.

11:00 – 12:15   Allies in Creativity – Then, three published authors, A. K. Turner, Rick Just and Amy Cook  will talk about their relationships with editors and why they’re almost always a necessary part of the process.

1:30 – 3:00   Fixer-Upper – After the lunch break, the editors return for hands-on demonstrations of how they make authors’ words mean more.  And through it all, the panelists will answer all your questions.

Round out the day with a 20 minute, 1 on 1 manuscript evaluation.  One of our three agents will edit the first 10 pages of your manuscript and discuss it with you personally.  You will receive a copy of the edited manuscript and any additional notes from the editor.


Mary McColl

  • In 2001, Mary Kelly McColl left the field of nonprofit management to focus on her twin passions: writing and editing.  Eight years later, McColl and Laurie Parker started, providing writing, editing, and manuscript evaluation services. Working in fiction and nonfiction, McColl has guided many authors’ writings from rough drafts to published books.

Stacy Ennis

  • Stacy Ennis is a book and magazine editor, writer, book coach, and speaker, as well as the author of The Editor’s Eye: A Practical Guide to Transforming Your Book from Good to Great. Stacy was the founding managing editor of a lifestyle magazine and later became the executive editor of Healthy Living Made Simple, a Sam’s Club magazine that reaches over 8 million readers. Her role at the publication involved writing around 50 percent of the magazine’s content, including a cover feature on Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. She now works with a wide range of clients, from celebrities and corporate clients to independent authors and small book presses and also ghostwrites magazine articles, web content, and books, often reaching national and international audiences.

Donna Cook

  • Donna Cook works as a freelance writer and editor on everything from research reports to web copy to books. Donna is professionally trained in desktop publishing and book formatting and has produced a variety of publications for her clients, including novels and manuals. Her most recent editing projects include copy-editing A Million Steps, a memoir by Kurt Koontz; and editing Guidelines for Airport Sound Insulation Projects, a full-length book published by a division of the FAA. She is the author of Gift of the Phoenix, and a related novella, Nashua’s Choice. Gift of the Phoenix was a semi-finalist for the national Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Award.

A. K. Turner

  • A.K. Turner is the bestselling author of This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor StoreMommy Had a Little Flask, and a coauthor of Drinking with Dead Women Writers and Drinking with Dead Drunks. She is a former humor columnist, writer-in-residence for the city of Boise, and the creator of “The Writers’ Block” on Boise Community Radio. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including ArtocraticCloudbankFolio Literary MagazineBoise City RevueIdaho Magazine, and Travelers’ Tales anthologies. Learn more at

Amy Cook

  • The youngest of seven kids, Amy has been writing stories since she first learned to make her letters face the right way. Her work has appeared in Family Fun, Stories for Children and A Fly in Amber. As an architect, she spends her days remodeling hundred year-old homes in Boise’s North End and is hoping someday to find a house with a secret passageway to…anywhere. Amy likes to travel the world, run through sprinklers with her son, and google ‘little stone houses for sale in Europe.’ She also takes Improv classes because they help with the voices in her head. Amy is represented by Danielle Chiotti, of Upstart Crow Literary.

Rick Just

  • Rick Just is a writer, editor and artist who lives in Boise, Idaho. His books include the award winning Idaho SnapshotsKeeping Private IdahoWizard ChaseWizard Girl, and Wizards’ End. Rick served as the editor of the national award winning literary magazine Cold-Drill. Rick served as editor of 100 Years, Idaho and its Parks, the centennial history of Idaho’s state parks.

Sign up

Register here beginning Oct. 1, 2013.

Garden Valley Writer’s Retreat – A Great Success!

This past weekend Elaine Ambrose and Mill Park Publishing sponsored their third annual writing retreat, “Write by the River”.   Tony Doerr taught us to take a closer look at our language.  Amanda Turner told us how to lay the first bricks of a platform,  Alan Heathcock demonstrated steps we can take to add relevance to our writing.  Gretchen Anderson brought humor to the page and Elaine Ambrose gave us some auditory inspiration.   A great weekend of lively discussion and helpful feedback.

Stay tuned to the IWG Blog for more info on upcoming retreats.

Write by the River – Writer’s Retreat

Register now for the “Write by the River” Writer’s Retreat in Garden Valley, September 17-19.  This year’s speakers include Anthony Doerr, Alan Heathcock, Gretchen Anderson, Amanda Turner and Elaine Ambrose.  You don’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity to learn, network, and write!  Garden Valley is a one-hour scenic drive from Boise.  For more information about speakers, activities, or to register, visit