Workshop notes from the Mountain Valley Writers Conference

20 Mar

I just spent a lovely two days at the Mountain Valley Writers Conference in Lake Guntersville, Alabama. It was a much-needed (albeit brief) getaway with nature, new friends, and lots of inspiration.

I did a session on writing query letters, which evolved into talking a lot about how we come up with ideas to write about and then how we do something with those ideas in a practical, marketable way.

Since you didn’t get to attend the conference with me, how about some “virtual handouts”? (I may trademark that term. Virtual handouts. They could become a thing.)

Here’s what I talked about in the first portion:


First, let’s consider the reader’s needs. What does a reader need from a feature article?

  1. Readers want to be entertained.


  1. Readers want to know how to make their lives better (physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc.).



  1. Readers want to be informed.


  1. Readers want to be inspired.



Sources of article ideas:


What You Know

Personal Experiences

Personal Interests and Passions

Areas of Expertise


What You Don’t Know…Yet

Personal Interests/Dreams

Publications’ Needs



Other People

Well-known people

Ordinary people with extraordinary stories

People in the news

Family and friends


Things you Read


Newspapers and Magazines



Seasons, Holidays and Anniversaries


Evergreen topics


Trending Issues


Creative Exercises







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: