October 21, 2023


We are excited our 7th Annual Craft of Writing Conference will be held at the OSU Center for Poets & Writers, through their generous partnership! With a wonderful roster of speakers, this event is a great opportunity for YOU to advance your craft, and we hope you join us!

Saturday, October 21st
OSU Center for Poets & Writers
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

$50 TNW Members & Students
$70 Non-Members

What to Expect 

  • Keynote Speaker: William Bernhardt 
  • Expert Presenters
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Networking with Other Writers
  • Genre Specific Lunch Groups
  • Agent/Publishers Pitch Room
     and much, much more


William Bernhardt is the author of over fifty books, including the bestselling Daniel Pike and Kenzi Rivera novels, the historical novel Challengers of the Dust, two books of poetry, and the ten Red Sneaker books on fiction writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writers Center to mentor aspiring writers. The Center hosts an annual writers conference (WriterCon), small-group writing retreats, a newsletter, and a bi-weekly podcast. More than forty of Bernhardt’s students have subsequently published with major houses. He is also the owner of Balkan Press, which publishes poetry and fiction as well as the literary journal Conclave. In 2019, Bernhardt received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for the Book.

In addition to his novels and poetry, Bernhardt has written plays, a musical (book and score), humor, children stories, biography, and puzzles. He has edited two anthologies (Legal Briefs and Natural Suspect) as fundraisers for The Nature Conservancy and the Children’s Legal Defense Fund. OSU named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man.” In his spare time, he has enjoyed surfing, digging for dinosaurs, trekking through the Himalayas, paragliding, scuba diving, caving, zip-lining over the canopy of the Costa Rican rain forest, and jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. In 2013, he became a Jeopardy! champion, winning over $20,000. In 2017, when Bernhardt delivered the keynote address at the San Francisco Writers Conference, chairman Michael Larsen noted that in addition to penning novels, Bernhardt can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, beat you at Scrabble, and work the New York Times crossword in under five minutes.”


Below are our speakers confirmed to-date. 


Here is a list of sessions to-date. 

Writing Dynamic Dialogue - Bill Bernhardt

Dynamic dialogue can turn an otherwise ordinary novel into a delightful read, but dull, uninspired dialogue will cause readers to lose interest and try something else. Bestselling author William Bernhardt, known for his skilled handling of dialogue, explains his techniques for making characters come to life through their words. He explains the importance of matching character and dialogue, of avoiding dialogue that’s “on-the-nose,” and the value of using dialogue to suggest what no one will say aloud. Bernhardt explains how to enrich your story and quicken the pace with dramatic and clever dialogue exchanges, skillful use of dialogue beats, and subtext.

Creating Three-Dimensional Characters - Bill Bernhardt

All fiction is character-driven. If your characters don’t interest readers, even the most exciting plots will fail. “Action is character,” Aristotle wrote, but what does that mean, and how can you use that
fundamental principle to create dynamic fiction that will captivate readers? Bernhardt explains the relationship between character and plot, and how the perfect melding of the two produces a mesmerizing story.

Vivid Imagery - Lara Bernhardt

Feel like something is missing but not sure how to improve your manuscript? Imagery applied with intention and discretion can elevate a reader’s experience by engaging the senses and enhancing comprehension. In this session, we will discuss types of imagery, literary devices, how to improve your manuscript with them–and what to avoid. Bring paper and pencil and come ready to practice some hands-on exercises.

Pitching an Agent 101 - Amy Brewer

In this workshop, Amy will teach the different types of pitches and even how to query. She will walk the group through what important information needs to be up front and why. After learning the steps on how to pitch your work, the class will practice on each other in pairs or small groups. A couple of lucky and brave volunteers will pitch Amy in front of the class for possible presentation. 

Write Your Life Story - Robyn Conley

Many non-fiction writers are interested in penning their memoirs.  They have had interesting careers and want to share what they know. It’s finding a theme as well as a fresh voice for telling their stories that’s the tricky part. In this interactive session, memoir samples are given as well as a checklist for essential necessities included in an embracing memoir.

Writing Great Stories Takes GUTS! - Robyn Conley

Whether creating the shortest of flash fiction to the longest epic saga, layers of internal body building through Character and Plot Arcs are essential.  We will write the step-by-step breakdown of each element using a fun checklist of muscle plumping processes.

The Criminal Mind in Your Antagonist - Merle Davenport

Ever wonder what goes on in the minds of your villains? So do your readers. Based on over 20 years of observation inside state prisons, “The Criminal Mind” will explore 10 common thought patterns in villains. Most criminals process information differently than non-criminals. Since behavior follows thought, a criminal’s behavior is based on unique thinking patterns. Bring your villains to life by showing how and what they think. Both you and your readers will understand not only “what” the villain did, but “why” they did it.

What the Novice Author Needs to Know - Jude Bayton

You’ve just typed, ‘THE END’. You thought writing the book was hard, but now the ‘real’ work begins! A cursory guide on starting out as a new author. Learn to navigate your way into the publishing world, without falling into an abyss of conflicting information, and what happens next!

Editing: Less Equals More - Renee LaViness

In this session you’ll learn that word counts rule an author’s world. You’ll learn how to cut the excess and strengthen your story at the same time. Handouts included.

First Pages & Opening Scenes in Children's Books - Barbara Lowell

First Pages and Opening Scenes in Children’s Books: Hooking your readers right away is as important in children’s books, from board books, to picture books, to novels, to nonfiction, as it is for writers of books for adult readers. Learn how in this talk that uses the best examples from children’s authors.

Poetry - Phetoti Mshairi

Session description coming soon. 

POV Distance | Close, Medium, Far - Ally Robertson

Learn the meaning of POV Distance and how to ensure you are using it correctly. This workshop will show you examples of Close, Medium, and Far distance and why it’s best to use ‘Close’ (or “Deep POV”) whenever possible. Ally Robertson will share examples of each and provide tips on identifying and correcting POV Distance issues. Time permitting, attendees will be allowed to share snippets of their writing and receive on-the-spot feedback regarding how well they’re utilizing ‘Deep POV.’

Villains to Love & Hate - Bill Wetterman

Psychopath and sociopath are popular ways of describing the violent monsters born of our worst nightmares. Think Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, Norman Bates in Psycho, and Annie Wilkes in Misery. Most of us, fortunately, will never meet a Hannibal Lecter in real life, but psychopaths and sociopaths certainly exist. And they hide among us—sometimes as the most successful people in society because they’re often ruthless, callous, and superficially charming while having little or no regard for the feelings or needs of others. Now, how do you write a psychopath, sociopath, or narcissist into your work in progress.

The Vertical Page - Pacing Your Screenplay as A Movie - Michael Wright

When I did coverage for MGM and American Playhouse in New York, reading hundreds of scripts, I quickly discovered two key elements that combined to create outstanding screenplays: excellent action narrative and a vertical page. In the class I will share samples of screenplays that have structures that create the sense that the movie is spooling out on the page. A topnotch screenplay moves and generates the energy of the film it intends to be.

Cultural Sensitivity & Accuracy - Kat Lewis

The demand for realistic, inclusive world building is at an all time high for writers yet the credible resources are far and few between. Come hangout with me as we unpack the nitty, gritty of creating dynamic, red blooded characters of all colors, affiliations, and orientations that readers resonate with and applaud.

Writing Romance - Amy Lillard

Session description coming soon. 

Preventing Chaos: Establish Processes to Avoid Roadblocks to Writing - Joy Don Baker

The chaos that occurs when roadblocks interrupt the creative writing process can be overwhelming. Preventable roadblocks can be identified, and strategies put in place to avoid them. Dr. Baker will provide tools that establish a firm foundation for authors to achieve their writing goals. Preventive strategies must be flexible to adapt to any situation. Whether an author is a plotter or a pantser, this session will arm participants with strategies to prevent stumbling blocks along the road to success.


Amy Brewer
Ally Robertson
Wild Rose Press
Lara Bernhardt
Bernhardt Books
Sharon Tyner
Bush Publishing
Laura Denmark
Yorkshire Publishing


If you are coming into town for the conference, we have a block of rooms at the Courtyard Tulsa Downtown at the rate of $159. Rooms must be booked by September 26th for this rate. 

Courtyard Tulsa Downtown
415 S Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Parking Fee – $16/day



OSU Tulsa Conference Center 
700 N Greenwood Dr.
Tulsa, OK 

The first session of the day kicks off in the Auditorium, which is just in front of the Conference Center. The closest parking lot is Lot E, with Lot D being just across the street. 


Heirloom Rustic Ales Meet Up

Friday, October 20th
7:00pm – 9:00pm
2113 E Admiral Blvd.

If you’re in town for the conference, come hang out for a little bit with us at Heirloom Rustic Ales and meet each other. 

Tulsa's Oktoberfest

October 19th – 22nd 

Named a Top Five Oktoberfest by USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler Magazine and Orbitz, Oktoberfest Tulsa is an experience you won’t want to miss!


While you’re in town for the conference be sure to check out one of our awesome local bookstores! 

Fulton Street Books & Coffee
21 N. Greenwood Ave.
(New Location Opening Soon)


Whitty Books
2306 E Admiral Blvd. 

Magic City Books
221 E Archer St.

“It’s not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them.”

T.S. Eliot