The Writer Unboxed OnConference

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The Writer Unboxed OnConference

An innovative, comprehensive online event that honors our busy lives, advances our craft, and uniquely connects our writing community.

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About this event

Time + Community + Craft = the Writer Unboxed OnConference

The Writer Unboxed OnConference is an innovative, comprehensive virtual event that honors our busy lives, helps to advance our craft, and uniquely connects our writing community.

Here’s how:


Built to work with your home life, our 18 sessions stretch over several weeks, and run one at a time, late in the day. If you miss a session you'd wanted to attend, you'll have up to two weeks after sessions end to watch it on our platform.


Writer Unboxed has had three successful in-person conferences, cementing professional relationships and true friendships. Finding meaningful ways to come together is a priority for us, which is why we've chosen a platform designed to encourage connection.


Our 90-minute sessions feature Writer Unboxed's signature deep dives into story craft and the writing life, and are led by 14 of WU's esteemed contributors--published authors and industry professionals.

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Our platform's unique community-centric features:


The lounge is where you'll begin whenever you sign in. Join any virtual table or find one that might be designated with a label (e.g. "brainstorming," "craft talk," "mystery writers," "writing sprint"), and enter a video meetup with whomever else is there. Create a table of your own and invite others to join you; you can seek out friends old and new using the search bar, or put out a general call to the group over chat. You can even change the number of available chairs at your table as desired.

Our 24/7 online lounge will be open for four months.

We'll open our lounge doors in early September, so you'll have time before sessions begin to fill out your profile and genre interests, watch our orientation video, and become acclimated to the space. We'll keep our doors open throughout the remainder of 2022, so you can continue to connect with other writers socially or further your writing goals however you'd like. Participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Gather through the month of November for accountability or to cheer one another on as you meet your daily word counts.

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Questions for the session leader are isolated on our platform, not lost in a jumble of comments from a group chat. Upvote questions, so those with the most group interest are addressed first. If you have something vital to add, raise a virtual hand and you may be invited to join the session leader on the "stage."

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Community Activities

In addition to the 18 sessions on deep craft and the writing life outlined below, we'll host several community activities to help you get to know one another--and have fun.

The Speed-Meet. Get to know your community members in this fun randomized pairing event with prompts that relate to storytelling.

Genre Meetups. A favorite event at our in-person UnConferences, genre meetups are a great way to get to know others in your genre. You write in three genres? Hop between tables. WU meetups have led to finding a mentor, building critique partnerships, sprint-writing buddies, and more.

Book Therapy. Talk about your manuscript's craft issues at Book Therapy, where others will be on hand to offer suggestions and encouragement.

Bedtime Stories. Sidle up to a table and share a page or two from your manuscript — just don’t let anyone fall asleep.


We're proud of our well-rounded program, which runs from 9/29/22-10/16/22 and was built to help you and your work-in-progress reach the next level:

Part 1 of THE BONES OF THE GODS master sequence, with Donald Maass featuring new material from a book-in-progress: Timeless Characters

Certain characters linger in our minds not just for days but for decades. What components of character create that effect? In this hands-on workshop, learn what not only brings characters alive but also makes them people that we can never forget. Every character can create an archetype once you know how.

On Voice, with Elizabeth Huergo

We all know what it means to “voice” an opinion. What does “voice” mean when it comes to writing? In our conversation, we will be defining this elusive quality, exploring revision strategies meant to enhance how sound works hand-in-hand with sense, as well as considering why “voice” matters. Attendees are welcome to bring any 3 sample paragraphs (one sample per page/about 600 words total) of their writing for hands-on practice. All writers, all levels are welcome.

Experiential Description, with Ray Rhamey

This interactive workshop details techniques for emotionalizing the descriptions of action, people, and place. You can not only enhance your overall story but create a deeply immersive experience for your readers by sharing a character’s singular perspective. Brief writing and class exercises will explore the craft of creating a rich sense of character through artful description.

The Dynamics of Opposition, with Desmond Hall

We need to create meaningful challenges for our protagonists, and many times we don’t create enough of them or those challenges lack the complexity needed to bring out a protagonist’s real character. Digging into the negative side of our stories as well as the protagonist’s perspective can create solutions. In this workshop we’ll explore different ways of generating obstacles for our protagonists. Come with a one- to two-sentence description of your story. Be ready to work on a 15-minute exercise where you will create obstacles of opposition that will make your plot more compelling.

I, Writer, with Julie Duffy

Reframe your writing life and you’ll see there are lots of opportunities for success and fulfillment at every stage. In this session, you will explore seven realms of writing that ascending writers must manage—including generating ideas; drafting and revising; engaging with other writers, readers and the publishing industry; learning to celebrate your tiny wins; and putting systems in place to keep yourself on track. You’ll learn to identify your next step based on your stage and any strengths or weaknesses, and in this way can make meaningful progress, step by step.

Losing the Plot: Writing by the Seat of Your Pants, with Gwen Hernandez

The writing world is full of plotting methods, but what if none of them work for you? You’re not alone—and you’re not lazy or doing it wrong!—you might just be wired differently. Join this seasoned writer-without-a-plan for tips on figuring out what type of writer you are, why knowing matters, and how to make not plotting a manuscript less stressful.

Part 1 of FROM CRISIS TO CHARACTER with David Corbett: The Dramatic Past

Explore your character’s formative backstory in this session -- their moments of helplessness, the habits those moments create, and how your character views their needs and desires because of them. Once you are secure in this formative backstory, then what?

Part 2 of FROM CRISIS TO CHARACTER with David Corbett: The Dramatic Present

Consider how story can evolve from your character’s formative backstory, those “mistaken desires and misbegotten yearnings,” and how to build a plot that demonstrates “success through failure,” as the character makes the inevitable errors and blunders required as she moves from misunderstanding to clarity—or stubbornly rejects the opportunity to change.

I’ll Buy That: Encourage Your Reader to Suspend Disbelief, with Kathryn Craft

Circuses that arrive by night, meteors hollowed out for low-tech space travel, literary characters that narrate their own births—stories are born from imagination. But how can we make our readers believe? With examples from genres across the board, we’ll analyze concrete techniques that best-selling authors use to navigate the implausible.

Part 2 of THE BONES OF THE GODS master sequence, with Donald Maass featuring new material from a book-in-progress: Timeless Story Elements

Buried beneath familiar plots are the hidden structures of story, enduring patterns and elements that have captured the human imagination for millennia. They work because they enact human struggles that remain constant through time. Older than the hero’s journey and as immediate as the latest trend, learn the methods of building enduring stories in this hands-on workshop.

Searching for “The One”: Excavating the Story Hiding Inside You, with Keith Cronin

An interactive series of prompts, questions and challenges that probe your hot-buttons, fears and insecurities, aimed at sparking your imagination to unpack the story that lies deep within you. The one that’s burning to get out, but there’s something standing in the way. We’ll explore processes and criteria for figuring out which story is “the one,” and how to take that kernel of an idea and let it morph and grow without losing control—or killing your passion.

Seamlessly Weaving in Backstory: How to Incorporate Context, Memory, and Flashback, with Tiffany Yates Martin

Master how to glance backward while always moving your story forward. In detailed, example-filled lessons, this course offers clear, practical guidelines for lacing in backstory to deepen and develop your characters and their surroundings; shares the three main ways of weaving in backstory with examples from published books; and presents practical techniques for creating three-dimensional stories by developing and revealing who your characters were and are without stalling pace and momentum.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: Dialogue Workshop, with Dave King

The Dialogue Workshop, which will cover both the mechanics of dialogue and techniques to make dialogue flow naturally, will present material from Dave King’s classic book on writers, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, along with material that will appear in the book’s not-yet-published updated edition. Participants are invited to submit two pages of dialogue, from which Dave will draw examples.

The Building Blocks of a Story: Crafting Scenes with Purpose and Power, with Barbara Linn Probst

This interactive, step-by-step workshop will guide participants through the components of a well-crafted scene: how they relate to each other and to the larger narrative that the scene must serve, and why each is important. Using examples, we’ll look at eight core elements of a purposeful and effective scene; learn to identify and address potential weaknesses such as gaps, false cues, fuzziness, “doing too much,” and “doing too little;” and explore ways to strengthen a scene’s impact and cohesion. Attendees will then have several hands-on opportunities to apply these principles to one of their own scenes-in-progress.

Inclusive Storytelling, with Grace Wynter

Too often, stories welcome some readers at the expense of others. But inclusive storytelling strives to move beyond stereotypes and outdated language and archetypes by creating stories that come to life for all readers. In this session, Professional Editor and Authenticity Reader Grace Wynter provides insight into language, cultural shifts, and resources that will help authors tell stories that more accurately and authentically reflect the changing world around them.

Draw Your Next Draft, with Arthur Klepchukov

Still staring at the same words for your next draft? Learn how to revise in this playful, hands-on workshop by experimenting with techniques that go beyond writing–like creating movie posters, floor plans, caricatures, mind maps, and typography bombs. Your next draft needs you to dream bigger. Bring at least 1,000 words to revise, and plan to practice and discuss various techniques. Let’s draw your next draft!

Get That Story Moving, with Kathryn Craft

At the first indication you can’t keep your story moving, your busy reader will move it for you—right off of her nightstand. Even go-to scenes that are chock full of movement, like explosive action, combat, and sex, may not be able to salvage a stalled story. With examples from popular novels, this look at story movement—what it is, why it begs reader investment, and how to create it—will show why this specialized “movement” should be central to your storytelling efforts.

Part 3 of THE BONES OF THE GODS master sequence, with Donald Maass featuring new material from a book-in-progress: Universal Human Experience

Beyond character arc there is a journey that ties together all of humanity, through all time. What have humans always searched for? What makes the journeys of your characters the journeys of us all? In this hands-on workshop, discover the methods of capturing in your current novel the greatest treasure of timeless fiction: universal human experience.

Deep craft and sessions on the writing life.

Time to take all of them.

Features that make it easy for you to connect, and an extended period during which to do so.

We hope you’ll be all in with this year’s OnConference.

Write on!


Why are there fees associated with this event?

Eventbrite charges 3.5% of the price of the event + $1.59 per registration processed for residents in the United States. They charge an additional 2.5% to process credit cards. We simply opted to pass along these fees rather than increase the cost of registration to reflect absorption of those fees. Fees will differ depending upon country of purchase. All of the details are available HERE on Eventbrite.

What is your refund policy?

If you cancel on or before August 31st, you will be refunded all but the Eventbrite and credit card processing fees.

Cancellations after September 1st are not eligible for a refund.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You can email our dedicated email account at