By Stephanie Wenning / Special to the Triplicate

College of the Redwoods Del Norte is hosting the 17th annual North Coast Redwoods Writers Conference.

The two-day event begins with a panel discussion 6 p.m. Friday on the theme of “A Writer’s Space.” The discussion will be followed by readings from Caroline Gill, Roy Parvin, and Ken Letko.

A question and answer segment will cap the readings. Refreshments will be available in the college lobby. This portion of the conference is free and open to the public.

Saturday, events kick off with a continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m. Keynote speaker Steve Wasserman will welcome attendees at 8:45 a.m.

Wasserman is a publisher and the executive director of Heyday Books and his past roles include editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, publisher and editor of Hill & Wang and editorial director of Times Books/Random House. Additionally, he was a principal architect of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and has served on both the fiction and nonfiction nominating committees of the Pulitzer Prize.

Workshops presenting useful information and tools for authors and aspiring writers begin at 9:45 a.m. Presenting authors include: Caroline A. Gill, author of several fantasy novels; Julie Christine Johnson, award-winning author of “In Another Life” and “The Crows of Beara”; Erik Mertz, freelance editor, ghostwriter, and screenwriter; Ken Letko, an English professor at CR and author of several books of poetry; and Roy Parvin, whose work has been widely anthologized and included in the “Best American Short Stories.”

The morning’s workshops will be divided into two sections. The first block of concurrent workshops includes: “The Art and Craft of the Query Letter,” a hands-on workshop about how to articulate what you are writing about with particular emphasis on your book’s hook; “The Difference Between Money and Rewards,” a workshop discussing topics like creating community and finding humor in missteps; and “Five-Point Plan to Telling a Story,” a workshop offering a critical toolbox helping writers raise the narrative above an anecdotal level, meant to inspire new ways of looking at one’s work.

The next workshops to choose from include “Covers that Sell,” a lecture-style workshop discussing the elements of composition, wording, and font use to make or break a book’s sales; “Characters that Breathe: Crafting Character Sketches,” a hands-on workshop with character-building exercises, writing prompts, and examples from published works to show participants how to create memorable characters; and “When All Lines Gray: The Work Life Balance,” teaching the realities of freelance writing from toddlers to taxes, lunch breaks to long-term planning, giving those struggling the best chance for success.

There will be a lunch served 1 p.m.-2 p.m. with more workshops available after lunch.

The final block of workshops include: “Marketing 101: Simple Rule to Find Readers,” a discussion about websites, blogs, newsletters, personal assistants, social media, and advertising; “What Gets Me Going, What Keeps Me Going,” a hands-on writing exercise with open discussion of strategies and activities, which stimulate writing projects along with ideas related to maintaining writing flow; and “Writing from White Space to White Space,” a craft talk teaching how to advance the plot of your story on a constant incremental basis.

The conference concludes with an open mic session for participating writers wishing to share their talents.

Books by the authors will be available for sale throughout the conference. Registration is $95 for the entire event.

A limited number of scholarships to attend the conference are available, as well. In order to be considered, you must submit a scholarship request letter addressing why you should receive the scholarship and explaining your interest in the conference. Please submit these to Ruth Rhodes at by 5 p.m. Monday.

For more information, contact College of the Redwoods, Del Norte Crescent City, CA at 707-465-2303 or visit the conference website at For further information contact Lynne Durkee or Ken Letko at 707-465-2303.