Three-day Intensive Writing Workshop 2018

July 20, 2018 @ 9:00 am – July 22, 2018 @ 3:00 pm

WHERE:La Quinta Inn & Suites Tacoma
1425 E 27th St
Tacoma, WA 98421

Milford-Style critiques, an agent, panels on writing, editing, self-publishing, and more! Join us for our three-day event this July! Up so far is editor and author John Joseph Adams,author Christie Yant, agent DongWon Song, author Spencer Ellsworth, author Randy Henderson, author John J.A.Pitts,author David D. Levine, author Rachael K. Jones, author Joseph Brassey, author Jaime O. Mayer, author Mindi Welton-Mitchell, and author Liz Coleman.More to come!

Reg is full.

Submissions: This is a Milford-Style critique. You will be critiqued by your fellow group members and leader, and you’ll be critiquing their submissions as well. Word count of 4k max, submissions need to be in standard manuscript format, and if you submit a chapter that isn’t the first, please include a brief synopsis. Novel chapters or short stories welcome. Stories will need to be uploaded to the proboard by JUNE 20TH. Registration Chair has now sent information on the proboard. Programming

Cascade Writers 2018 Schedule *subject to change, though will stay very close to this


8 AM-9 AM: Registration and meet & greet with tea & coffee! – Oak room

9 AM-10:50 AM: Critique group meeting 1:

Christie Yant & John Joseph Adams: Oak room

Dongwon Song: Oak room

Randy Henderson & John Pitts: Alder room

Rachael K Jones & Spencer Ellsworth: CW Suite

11 AM-11:30 AM: Welcome & Itinerary for the Week with Cascade board, president & VP – Oak room

Come hear our schedule, our plans, our mission statement and our code of conduct. ** group photo!

11:30-1 PM: Lunch on your own or

11:30-1 PM: Lunch with the Novel Doctor, Hotel Restaurant, Randy Henderson

If you’re hungry both for novel advice & food, have some lunch with Randy Henderson, author of the Finn Fancy series and fully credentialed Novel Doctor, who is happy to offer support & a listening ear to discuss any story issues you’re having.

1 PM-2:50 PM: Writing Short Stories, Spencer Ellsworth & Rachael K Jones– Oak room

Two experienced short story writers and editors teach the craft of writing short fiction in a massive workshop! Learn how to create characters, scenes and plot in just a few thousand words, learn the ins and outs of short story markets, and leave with a draft—or at least a start—to a short story!

1 PM-1:50: Editing & Being Edited, Alaina Ewing, John Joseph Adams & John Pitts – Alder room

What does an editor do? What’s the difference between a freelance editor & an editor at a publishing house? What do “dev edit,” “line edit” and “copyedit” mean? Our panelists explain editing from all sides.

2:00-2:50: Character, Plot & Worldbuilding & How They Go Together, David Levine & Randy Henderson – Alder room

David Levine, author of the Arabella of Mars series, and Randy Henderson, author of the Finn Fancy series, explain how to make your character, your plot and your setting all reflect each other in a beautiful feedback loop that goes for hundreds of pages.

3 PM-4:50 PM: Critique group meeting 2

Christie Yant & John Joseph Adams: Oak room

Dongwon Song: Oak room

Randy Henderson & John Pitts: Alder room

Rachael K Jones & Spencer Ellsworth: CW Suite

5-7 PM: Dinner on your own

7 PM-7:50 PM: Writing Humor w/ Randy Henderson & Spencer Ellsworth – Oak room

What’s funny? Definitely not Randy Henderson and Spencer Ellsworth. They’ll try to teach you how to write jokes, stay in-character, and define the ways different genres use humor, but we don’t have much hope for them.  Good try, guys. Good try.

7 PM-7:50 PM: Pitches, Query Letters & Standing Out In The Slush Pile w/ Dongwon Song, Alaina Ewing & Jaime O. Mayer – Alder room

Test-drive your pitches! Our panelists explain what gets through that infamous slush pile, from first reader to agent to editor, and will help attendees develop their pitches before pitching or sending queries.

8 PM- 8:50 PM: Outling vs. Pantsing, Randy Henderson, John Pitts, David Levine- Oak room

“Pantsing?” No, not the kind you’re thinking of. “Pantsers” are those who write by the proverbial seat of the pants, while outliners are those who plan extensively when going into a novel or story. Our panelists discuss the reasons for & benefits of both approaches.

8 PM – 8:50 PM: – The Best Resources For Writers, Spencer Ellsworth, Rachael K Jones, Jaime Mayer, Alder room

What websites, groups, and guilds will help a writer learn about markets, money and the grind of submission? How do you find them? How do you stay plugged in & current? Our working writers explain where to go to turn pro.

9 PM-Midnight: Night Owl Writing Time! – Oak room


8 AM-9 AM: Meet & greet with tea & coffee! – Oak room

9 AM-10:50 AM: Critique group meeting 3:

Christie Yant & John Joseph Adams: Oak room

Dongwon Song: Oak room

Randy Henderson & John Pitts: Alder room

Rachael K Jones & Spencer Ellsworth: CW Suite

11 AM-1 PM: Lunch on your own

1 PM-2:50 PM: 2-hour workshop/Q&A JJA & Christie – Oak room

Christie Yant edited the Hugo-winning Women Destroy Science Fiction, edits for, and has written a metric ton of fiction. John Joseph Adams has edited The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Lightspeed Magazine, novels for his own line at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and (also) edited a metric ton of other stuff. Come hear our guests of honor tell about their careers, writing, publishing, and why they like metric tons so much.

3 PM-3:50 PM: Slinky, Sweet Sentence Structure, Rachael K Jones & Spencer Ellsworth – Oak room

Do your sentences puddle and trickle? Do they run like a wild horse—right over a sharp, jutting cliff? Do they fragment like a broken heart? Come learn to write not just a correct, but a superb, nay, superlative, nay, supercalafragilistic sentence.

3 PM-3:50 PM: DongWon Pitch Sessions – Alder room

4 PM-4:50 PM: Building Your Best Worlds, David D Levine, Joseph Brassey – Oak room

“Worldbuilding” is a common term in fiction writing, but where does it start? What is needed to write in a convincing imaginary world, and what isn’t need? Come hear the authors of Skyfarer & the Arabella series discuss where their worlds started.

4 PM-4:50 PM: DongWon Pitch Sessions – Alder room

5-7 PM: Dinner on your own

7 PM-7:50 PM: – Writing Fight Scenes with Joseph Brassey- Oak room

If your last fight was that jerk in fifth grade, come learn how to put your characters in literal action. Fight scenes work when they’re about. Joseph Brassey, author of Skyfarer and professional longsword instructor, talks good fight scenes and the ways they apply to all writing.

7 PM-7:50 PM: Mental Health In Fiction: Traumatized Characters, Liz Coleman – Alder room

The best characters, and best worlds, have some trauma to overcome. Discuss your characters’ (and your worlds’) mental health, and how to write accurately and sensitively about trauma and recovery. Liz Coleman brings her mental health practice and writing experience to Cascade.

8 PM-8:50 PM: The Joy of Story Structure – Christie Yant – Oak room

Christie Yant brings her writing and editing expertise to talk about building structure for stories. Discuss the various blueprints for stories, and discover the shapely shape of your own story.

8 PM-8:50 PM: Writing Religion with Mindi Welton-Mitchell – Alder room

Religion is an aspect of our core identity, and of your characters’, whether in an existing religious belief system or one you’ve world built. This workshop focuses on religious representation in fiction and engaging spiritual writing in nonfiction.

9 PM-Midnight: Night Owl Writing Time! – Oak room


8 AM-9 AM: Meet & greet with tea & coffee! – Oak room

9 AM-9:50 AM: Critique group one-on-one meetings:

Christie Yant & John Joseph Adams: Oak room

Dongwon Song: Oak room

Randy Henderson & John Pitts: Hall or Bar

Rachael K Jones & Spencer Ellsworth: CW Suite

10 AM – 10:50 AM: Decolonizing, Diversity, & Issues of Representation In Fiction – Jaime O. Mayer, Dongwon Song

Strongly recommended for all attendees. Dongwon Song & Jaime O Mayer discuss decolonizing and the ways that modern fiction tries to disassemble harmful tropes, give voice to marginalized groups, and make the stable of stories in English more interesting overall.

11 AM-1 PM: Lunch on your own

1 PM-2:00 PM: Workshop wrap-up, board meeting & feedback! – Oak roomGo to top

Location: La Quinta Inn & Suites1425 E. 27th Street Tacoma, WA  98421 –  (253) 383-0146 (Ext. 6 for reservations) – La Quinta Tacoma.Hotel Information


Crit Group One

John Joseph Adams, Editor, Author

John Joseph Adams is the editor of John Joseph Adams Books, a science fiction and fantasy imprint from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is also the series editor of Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, as well as the USA Today bestselling editor of many other anthologies, including Wastelands and The Living Dead. Recent books include Cosmic PowersWhat the #@&% Is That?, Operation ArcanaPress Start to PlayLoosed Upon the World, and The Apocalypse Triptych. Called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble, John is a two-time winner of the Hugo Award (for which he has been a finalist eleven times) and a seven-time World Fantasy Award finalist. John is also the editor and publisher of the digital magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare, and is a producer for WIRED’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. He also served as a judge for the 2015 National Book Award. Find him online at and @johnjosephadams.Go to topChristie Yant, Author

Christie Yant writes and edits science fiction and fantasy on the central coast of California, where she lives with a dancer, an editor, two dogs, four cats, and a very small manticore. Her stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines including Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011 (Horton),  Armored, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9,and Wired.comand has received honorable mentions in Year’s Best Science Fiction (Dozois)and Best Horror of the Year (Datlow). In 2014 she edited the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of Lightspeed Magazine, which won the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. She is presently hard at work on a historical fantasy novel set in 19th century Paris, and is learning more about architecture and urban planning than she ever thought she would need to know.Go to top

Crit Group Two – Led solely by DongWon

DongWon Song, Agent

DongWon Song is an agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adults, and representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adults, and middle grade audiences. He also handles select non-fiction. His clients include bestsellers and award winners including Scott Lynch, Sarah Gailey, Max Gladstone, Emily Suvada, Mark Oshiro, and Amal El-Mohtar. Previously, he was an editor with Orbit and ran product at ebook startup Zola Books. He is also an adjunct instructor at Portland State University. He lives in Portland, Oregon.Go to top

Crit Group Three

Rachael Jones, Author

Rachael K. Jones grew up in various cities across Europe and North America, picked up (and mostly forgot) six languages, and acquired several degrees in the arts and sciences. Now she writes speculative fiction in Portland, Oregon. Her debut novella, Every River Runs to Salt, will be out with Fireside Fiction in late 2018. Contrary to the rumors, she is probably not a secret android. Rachael is a World Fantasy Award nominee and Tiptree Award honoree. Her fiction has appeared in dozens of venues worldwide, including Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, and PodCastle. Follow her on Twitter @RachaelKJones.Go to topSpencer Ellsworth, Author


Spencer Ellsworth has been writing since he learned how, starting with the sweeping epic “Super Tiger” in crayon on scratch paper. His short fiction has been published at Lightspeed Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other places. He is the author of the Starfire Trilogy, a series of short space opera novels coming from in fall 2017 and early 2018. He lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife and three children.Go to top

Crit Group Four

Randy Henderson, Author


Randy Henderson is an author, milkshake connoisseur, Writers of the Future grand prize winner, relapsed sarcasm addict, and Clarion West graduate.

His “dark and funny” contemporary fantasy trilogy published by TOR (US) and Titan (UK), includes: FINN FANCY NECROMANCYBIGFOOTLOOSE & FINN FANCY FREE, and SMELLS LIKE FINN SPIRIT.  http://www.randy-henderson.comGo to topJohn (J.A.) Pitts, Author


John (J.A.) Pitts resides in the Pacific Northwest where he hunts dragons, trolls and other beasties among the coffee shops and tattoo parlors.

Check out his award winning Sarah Beauhall series from Tor books, or his short story collection, Bravado’s House of Blues, from Fairwood Press.

johnapittswriter on Twitter

johnapitts on FacebookGo to top


David D. Levine, Author

David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon.Go to topLiz Coleman, Author

Liz Coleman has been published in Lightspeed Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies and is a graduate of Viable Paradise. She has an MA in Existential Phenomenological Psychology and uses that extremely pretentious degree to work in community mental health.
Go to topMindi Welton-Mitchell, Author

Mindi Welton-Mitchell is an ordained minister in Seattle, is active in interfaith dialogue, and is a contributing author to The Christian Citizen. She also writes science fiction and fantasy under the name Melinda Mitchell. She currently serves on the board of Cascade Writers.Go to topJaime O. Mayer, Author

Jaime O. Mayer is a Korean American adoptee who writes, drinks tea, and collects hobbies. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and their two cats. Her fiction has appeared in Cast of Wonders and Cicada Magazine. Her nonfiction can be found at The Learned FangirlDisabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and the anthology Invisible 3. You can find her online at and on Twitter as @JaimeOMayer.Go to topJoseph Brassey, Author

Joseph Brassey has lived on both sides of the continental US, and has worked as a craft-store employee, paper-boy, factory worker, hospital kitchen gopher, martial arts instructor, singer, and is currently an author and stay-at-home Dad (the last is his favorite job, by far). His novel Skyfarer–first in the Drifting Lands series–is published by Angry Robot Books.

Joseph was enlisted as a robotic word-machine in 47North’s Mongoliad series, and still trains in – and teaches – Liechtenauer’s Kunst des Fechtens in his native Tacoma.