Two great craft of writing workshops


Two amazing, intense workshops
focused to develop your skills
Each workshop is limited to 20 Writers.
(less than 10 places left for either workshop)

Both workshop instructors have the resumes and street creds to show you how to improve your manuscript and develop professional-level skills. Founding instructors at the 805 Writers Conference, Toni Lopopolo and Shelly Lowenkopf bring decades of experience that is fine-tuned each day through their continued work in publishing and working with new writers.

4a50bd28-400b-48f9-917d-dcb6e1d8424aToni Lopopolo, on the left, and Shelly Lowenkopf

Attend one or both workshops
Or purchase a Craft of Writing Weekend Pass: only five passes left.
Details below.
The Five Skills You Must Master to
Write a Viable Novel or Memoir

Saturday, November 5, 9 am to noon
with agent/editor/writing mentor,
Toni Lopopolo

This workshop presents the five most important skills that writers must master in order to write viable novels/ narrative nonfiction, which includes memoir. The course covers the importance of mastering Fiction Techniques for all types of narrative writing: Narrative= story. Bring the first 2 pages of your novel/memoir for Toni to read aloud, time permitting, and a list of questions to ask Toni.

The Skills in this interactive workshop include:

  • Voice—how to achieve the best voice for your character(s)
  • Point of View (all-important for voice)
  • Dialog differentiation, dialog vs conversation
  • Character—quick methods to establish character in one or two lines.
  • Self-Editing – includes: why in your scenes, chapters, novel/book you must come in late, leave early, Plus a list of important tips for today’s fiction and nonfiction to cover best self-editing techniques.


How to Open a Story, Close a Scene, and End a Novel

Saturday, November 5, 2:15 to 5:15 pm
with author, editor and USC masters of
writing instructor, Shelly Lowenkopf

Story opens in ways that plunge characters into chaos and the consequential need to make choices. Readers look for cues of something unexpected or destabilizing as they crash down on someone they can relate to, attempting to cope, followed by hints of which character will be the guide through the resulting chaos. How, for instance, Dorothy sought ways to get out of Oz and back to Kansas.

This three-hour session stresses the need to start the dramatic narrative with significant, relevant action, emphasizing with an analysis of several effective beginnings the necessary elements to engage and hold the reader’s focus, including editorial guidance for things to avoid.

Customize the conference just for you.
Buy a full weekend pass, one-day pass or individual sessions.
Only 5 special Craft of Writing Weekend passes left which includes both workshops and full Sunday conference pass.

Individual workshop – $99 until October 1
Craft of Writing Weekend – $349 until October 1
(includes lunch both days with Ask the Experts)



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805 Writers’ Conference: Saturday & Sunday, November 5 & 6


Speakers and Program Announced for the Sixth Annual
805 Writers’ Conference in Ventura, CA
Hone your skills, sharpen your tools, develop your craft
THRIVE as a writer.

The conference is returning to a focused topic for each day so you can have your business hat on one day and your creative beret the next.

Saturday sessions focus on the Business of Writing, and Sunday’s focus on the Craft of Writing. Additionally, the conference offers half-day workshops for fiction, narrative nonfiction/memoir, poetry, and writing articles for publication.

Early bird discounts on registration are now available, but end August 31st. Discount hotel room rates are $149 a night.

Saturday Speakers and Topics:

Demystifying the Publishing World, with Zhena Muzyka, Enliven Books Publisher, an Atria/Simon & Schuster imprint

What Independent Publishers Want from New Writers, with Ms. Muzyka, Mark E. Cull of Red Hen Press, and Christopher Meeks of White Whiskers Books

Legally Speaking—What writers need to know to protect themselves, with Dana Newman, Literary Attorney and Agent

Super Fans—The Secrets of Selling More Books, with Penny Sansevieri, best-selling author, NYU instructor, and CEO of Author Marketing Experts

How to Write the Grabber Query Letter, with Toni Lopopolo, Literary agent, former Executive Editor at Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press, and writing instructor at Temple University

A beachside reception for all attendees and speakers follows this session.

Sunday Speakers and Topics:

Master Self-Editing: The Important Check-points for Fiction and Memoir, with Toni Lopopolo

The Magic of Editing: What Turns Writers into Authors, with Emily Heckman, former Simon & Schuster Executive Editor, now freelance editor and author

The Big Three of Fiction—Dialogue, Interior Monologue, and Narrative, with Shelly Lowenkopf, Author of over 35 books, former Executive Editor, and 30 year Masters in Writing Professor at USC and UCSB

The Swiss Army Knife: Tools for 21st Century Writing
Toni Lopopolo and Shelly Lowenkopf

And a special keynote speaker to be announced soon.

PLUS: ASK THE EXPERTS, a luncheon event INCLUDED IN THE PRICE of full day and weekend passes where you join different speakers at the lunch. And, MEET AN EDITOR, free meetings with book editors to review your first 10 pages and discuss their ideas to improve your writing.

Review full session descriptions or REGISTER NOW!

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Sebastian Junger: By the Book

Excerpt from The New York Times MAY 12, 2016. Click here to read more >>

Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — working today do you admire most?

The last really well-written book I’ve read was “Empire of the Summer Moon,” by Sam Gwynne. Michael Lewis is also an extraordinarily good writer. Whatever the genre, I look for someone who is precise and economical in their style and hard-working in their prose. By that I mean they take the time to choose words that surprise me; they use metaphors that I’ve never heard before; and they avoid clichés like “The mortars slammed into the hillside.” I don’t want to read anything — not even a clause — that I’ve seen before. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

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SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning Writer’s Workshop June 11 & 12

A multi-session conference designed to support the emerging writer in a variety of areas including:  writing skills, developing a novel, articles and essays, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, the business of writing, and publication.  Guest speakers are featured in interactive workshops 


A closer understanding of the contemporary book and journal publishing systems, an awareness of the expectations book and journal publishers have of authors, the author’s responsibility to a project, a deeper appreciation of the editorial process, and a more sophisticated approach to reading fiction and nonfiction. How to write a book proposal a publisher will read all the way through. Scheduled Guest Presenters Toni Lopopolo, former editorial director, St. Martins Press, Macmillan Books, currently a literary agent Fred Klein, former national sales manager, Bantam Books, now editorial consultant, Bantam Books. Brian Fagan, the most widely read archaeological writer in the US and UK Kathleen Sharpe, award-winning writer of nonfiction case studies John Wilder, novelist, screenwriter, TV showrunner Shelly Lowenkopf Nationally Renowned Book Editor.


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Fiction/Narrative Nonfiction Intensive Class: Improve Your Writing … Now!

Toni Lopopolo at West Coast Writers Conferences
Sunday, June 19th, 2016 • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm ±
Los Angeles Valley College, Campus Center
(parking is free)

Do You Want to Take Your Writing to a Higher Level
And Increase Your Chances for Publishing Success?

Learn what it takes from veteran literary agent and former New York publishing editor, Toni Lopopolo, who will bring the experience, insider connections, and all-important story insight.

Ms. Lopopolo is a professional editor, seasoned instructor, and a successful literary agent since 1991. For twenty years before she opened her agency, Toni served as executive editor at Macmillan, then at St Martin’s Press in New York City. As an acquiring editor, Toni reviewed the best projects sent to her by agents.

When Toni opened her own agency, she realized, by what writers sent to her agency as “finished” manuscripts, that most had not mastered the required skills. Agents are the great “filtering” system, the “gate-keepers” who send only the most sophisticated writing they find, to editors in publishing houses. So Toni  has developed proven methods to help writers learn those skills, practice those skills, and master them.

Through this exclusive workshop you will get a select portion of your manuscript read by a literary agent / veteran educator in advance, which she will review with you in class, and you will revise during your time together.


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Boot Camp Extreme: Sunday, February 28, 10 am-2 pm, Los Angeles Valley College

BCX Boot Camp Extreme Logo
Have you written a novel, or are you actively working on one?

Would you like to have it reviewed by a leading professional editor / literary agent ?

Are you open to critical analysis of your work by a veteran
who makes her living inside the publishing industry?

Boot Camp Extreme™ is a unique opportunity to learn from literary agent and professional editor, Toni Lopopolo, who will teach the steps necessary to improve the quality of your writing skills and techniques. This development takes place in a small group of dedicated active writers who can survive and prosper from an intensive training session. Thus, the name, Boot Camp Extreme. If you really want your work critically analyzed and get the tough love needed to polish the manuscript for publication, this is unique opportunity to get ahead of the game.

workshopYou will raise the quality of your writing, learn where your story really starts , learn to identify “habit” words and how to kill them, discover the right point of view (POV) to tell the story, learn to break the story into scenes, learn to listen to your own work and keep yourself as an author out of the work, discover how to develop a voice appropriate to the novel at hand, get rid of “hack” habits, as well as learn the reality of the book publishing market as it exists today.

  • This workshop is limited in size, so you receive a maximum amount individual attention in a workshop environment. This class has sold out in the past, so don’t miss this opportunity.
  • In addition to registration, you will also submit a sample of your writing before acceptance
    to: masters (at)

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to improve your skills and master your manuscript!

Pre-registration tuition is only $99
{for a limited time.*)
Walk-up registration is $149.*

The next BCX Boot Camp is being held:

Sunday, February 28th, 2016 • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm ±
Los Angeles Valley College, Campus Center
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Intensive Memoir Workshop: Sunday, October 25th 10 am – 2 pm, Los Angeles Valley College,

Intensive Memoir Workshop
A Four-Hour Special Event
Do you want to improve your writing skills and
your chances of authoring a successful memoir?
$99 before Oct 18/$149 after

Now you can! Literary agent Toni Lopopolo will help you craft your manuscript into a marketable book. A former executive editor at Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press, Toni knows what it takes to get a book published. During this intensive workshop, you will work together on the skills necessary to author a successful memoir by facing what is meant by “the truth” and how to achieve “personal honesty” while pulling together the bits and pieces of memory into a dramatic narrative flow.

classToni’s methods help you master the skills necessary to become a successful published author in today’s competitive market. Fiction and today’s narrative nonfiction, which includes memoir, must grab publishing editors’ attention, keep them riveted so that they’ll read the entire manuscript and not stop when the story falters. Learn special techniques for creating extraordinary stories, in both fiction and nonfiction, to help you achieve your goal to produce a manuscript with irresistible writing that editors in publishing houses will want for the three-season lists they must fill with high-concept, marketable books.

You will practice writing scenes to break up long narratives as well as dialog recreation. You will learn how to use vivid detail, active voice, active verbs to entice and draw the reader into your story.  Then we will find the defining moments that made real life spin on its axis and change one’s life forever

You will hear your writing read aloud by the instructor with comments by other attending memoirists.   We’ll discuss the impact of your story, the sense of drama or lack of. And we’ll discuss what publishing editors look for in a memoir.

You will receive a reading list that will grow as you become a better narrative nonfiction writer.


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Writing Advice from Annie Dillard

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, give it, give it all. Give it now…some more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.

Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful; it is destructive. Anything you did not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”  – Annie Dillard (From page 245 of Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling by Cheryl St.John)

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805 Writers Conference, Oct 31-Nov 1, 2015, Ventura CA

The Craft and Business of Writing

805 Writers’ Conference delivers the skills and knowledge writers need to succeed.
Perfect for novelists, nonfiction, magazine, and screenwriters.

More sessions – 35 professionals to hear and meet

15 Authors, 7 Literary Agents, 7 Book Editors, 2 Screenwriters, 2 Book Publishers,
7 Magazine & Newspaper Editors, 5 Book Marketers, 4 Writing Instructors,
3 Social Media Experts, and America’s most read archaeologist!

Registration now open!
Discounted prices end August 31st  

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Shelly Lowenkopf to Read From ‘Love Will Make You Drink’ and More on May 28 at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara

Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out at Night by Shelly LowenkopfSanta Barbara author Shelly Lowenkopf, best known as the author of the popular The Fiction  Writer’s  Handbook,  will read at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28. The event is free and open to the public.

Lowenkopf recently won the Los Angeles Book Festival Award for Best Collection for his newest book, Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night, a gathering of short stories. The book brings a number of Lowenkopf’s  previously  published short stories together in a single volume. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they’ve burned out in San Francisco and L.A. Yet there’s no safe haven anywhere.

Interwoven  into  Santa  Barbara’s  picturesque  setting,  the  people  in  these twelve  stories   reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another.

“Shelly Lowenkopf is a master of  the  art  of  stealth  in  fiction,”  says  author  David  Gillham   (City of Women).  “His writing draws you in and then, ka-pow! Here comes the sucker punch that flattens you.”

Lowenkopf’s The Fiction Writer’s  Handbook is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they talk about a work. The book helps new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and seasoned writers can dive into a refresher course with new angles. That came from Lowenkopf teaching in the Master of Professional Writing program at USC for 34 years. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

White Whisker Books is a small press with four authors based in Los Angeles. To see more of what it offers, go to Its books are distributed by Ingram.

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