Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 8, 2019

Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2019: Day Two

Day Two of the 2019 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, held at the Wyndham Hotel in Philadelphia, PA (full schedule below)! I always like the atmosphere on Saturdays. People have started to bond and make friends, but we’re not yet all fried with the huge amount of information we’re inhaling.

Much to my surprise, yesterday’s theme of perspective carried over into today, but with a secondary theme added: freedom.

Nowhere was freedom more literally discussed than in my first class, Legal Issues for Writers. Workshop leader Tim Law deserves an extra shout out because the person who was supposed to lead the workshop couldn’t and he stepped in at the last moment. Tim gave us a great deal of information, including—but not limited to—the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech and the exceptions placed on it.

Shirley Hailstock’s Elements of Plot was up next, and we discussed the climax and other elements that come toward the end of the book. We also talked a bit about process and about learning by reading other writers. She made the point that sometimes what makes a book or writer successful is that writer’s voice, which is an element of writing almost impossible to copy. We all have our own voice unique to us, because our worldview—our perspective—is not the same as theirs.

For lunch J. Thomas Ross and I once again visited the Bourse Food Court, but many people participated in the Open-Mic Lunch where writers got to read their works in front of an audience. I am told there were some powerful pieces presented.

After lunch, I headed back to the Franklin Room for Jonathan Maberry’s Social Media Branding session. While many people find social media to be a time suck or a rabbit hole we fall into and can’t escape, just by changing our perspective on it we can control it rather than it controlling us. Jonathan advised thinking hard about what we want to get out of social media use, and that will guide us in how long we engage on it, what we post, and who we engage with.

Kathryn Craft returned with the next installment of her Character class: Setting Story Fuel Aflame in the Here and Now. Yesterday we spoke about how the backstory sets up the perspective our character has, and today we examined how that perspective drives the character in the present of the story, and how we can use multiple characters to explore multiple perspectives on an issue.

Finally, I rounded out the day with The Personal Essay, taught by Ferida Wolff. Ferida pointed out that you are the only one who knows your story. No one can write your story but you, because no one else has the same perspective as you.

Ending on a class that was all about perspective certainly kept that theme alive. But in each class I also heard the theme of freedom, about doing this writing thing in our own unique way, and that doing it differently does not mean we are doing it wrong. There are many different processes to write a book. There are many different ways to be successful on social media. There are many different ways to explore an issue or question through your characters. And there is no wrong way to tell your own story.

Our unique voices, unique perspectives, and unique paths all combine together to create the vibrant writing world we inhabit. Tomorrow is Day Three of the conference, where we will all revel in the camaraderie of the Quest for one more day before returning to the Ordinary World.

Saturday’s Full Schedule

9:30 AM
Building a Platform – Lauren Sharkey
Getting Your Foot in the Door: Publishing in Literary Magazines – Meg Eden
Legal Issues for Writers – Tim Law
MASTER CLASS: Writing an Action Scene – Jonathan Maberry
MASTER CLASS: Poetry Color Study – Yolanda Wisher

Three Day Workshops

11 AM
Elements of Plot – Shirley Hailstock
Creating a Series for Network, Cable, or Streaming – Dianne Walsh
Erasure Poetry and Power – Jennifer McCreary
Writing Inspiration for Tweens and Teens – Donna Galanti
MASTER CLASS: The Pit and the Page – Elizabeth Mosier

12:30-1:30 PM – Open Mic Lunch

1:30 PM
Size Does Matter: Writing Romance Fiction Across Lengths and Intensities – Terri Brisbin
The Writer’s Business Plan: Social Media and Personal Branding – Jonathan Maberry
Magazine Writing – Debra Wallace
Short Story: I Wanna Know What Love Is – August Tarrier
MASTER CLASS: Playwriting – Quinn D. Eli

3:00 PM
This is the Year You Write Your Memoir – Lori Tharps
Setting Story Fuel Aflame in the Here and Now – Kathryn Craft
Screenplay Writing – David Greenberg
The Poem as Algorithm – Warren Longmire
The Deadly Art of Writing Horror: What is Horror? – Brian McKinley

Single Day Workshops

4:15 PM
The Personal Essay – Ferida Wolff
Write a Story in 30 Minutes – Andres Cruciani
MASTER CLASS: Make it Weird, Make it Your Own: Experiments in Voice and Form – Mike Ingram

6:00-7:00 PM – Keynote Happy Hour

8:00-9:00 PM – Keynote Address – Jonathan Maberry
Awards Ceremony



  1. […] cannot wait to see what new perspectives on writing—and on life—Day Two […]


  2. […] by chance, chose most of the same sessions. Since Kerry did such a fine job of summing up Day One, Day Two, and Day Three of the conference, I’m going to give you a pictorial […]


  3. […] you missed our coverage of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, here are Days One, Two, and […]


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