Major Morning Tracks

Major Morning Tracks

Choose one of ten comprehensive courses to attend all three mornings: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (unless you’re participating in a Morning Mentoring Clinic). Receive in-depth instruction and guidance from top-notch industry professionals.

FICTION WRITING: Keys for Unforgettable Storytelling

Bill Myers

Bill Myers see bio

We’ll cover how to come up with unforgettable concepts and characters, structure, plots, writing habits that work, discovering your voice, and how to use comedy.

NONFICTION WRITING: The Nuts and Bolts of Nonfiction

Janet McHenry

Janet Holm McHenry see bio

So you've experienced some life knocks and learned some lessons along the way . . . and now you want to write a nonfiction book to help others. Excellent! This track will teach you how to study various nonfiction forms, how to structure your book, how to draw a reader in, how to prepare a winning proposal, how to develop your audience, and the various features of nonfiction subgenres such as Christian living, Bible studies, and gift books.

WRITING FOR CHILDREN: Fabulous Basics for Writing Fabulous Picture Books and Articles for God’s Fabulous Kids

Christine Tangvald and Rondi DeBoerJesse Florea

Christine Tangvald see bio | Rondi DeBoer see bio | Jesse Florea see bio

Picture books. Board books. Concept books. Novelty books. What are they and how do you write them? Should you do a story book? A holiday book? A counting book? A prayer book? How do they differ? How are they the same? Join us in a fun writing adventure as we cover the aspects of concepting, word counts, page layout, page breaks, formats, story framing, special features, novelty ideas, and a whole lot more you need to know to write FABULOUS books and articles for God’s FABULOUS kids. We’ll even write a book in class! And we’ll help you make your book the very best it can be. You bring your questions, we’ll provide the bubble gum. (You can chew it in class! POP!) 

SCREENWRITING: Screenwriting Basics

Bob Saenz

Bob Saenz see bio

This track will get you started in the right direction for screenwriting. We’ll cover all the basics: concept, research techniques, outlining, character development, transitions, action, dialogue, world building, format, protecting your intellectual property, settings, setups and payoffs. Tips to ease your way into screenwriting and mistakes you can avoid.

EDITING: The Profound Power of Self-Editing

Erin TaylorGinny Yttrup

Erin Taylor Young see bio | Ginny Yttrup see bio

Have you ever:

  • Received a rejection that says your manuscript is close but not close enough?
  • Wished you could pinpoint the weaknesses that seem to sabotage your writing?
  • Longed to refine your craft and take your manuscript to a whole new level of wonderful?
  • Worried that, though you’ve done your best on your manuscript, it just isn’t as strong as you know it should be?

If so, this track is for you!
In this teaching and hands-on track, Erin Taylor Young and Ginny Yttrup will use their knowledge and experience as professional editors to train you how to edit your own writing— not on the surface (such as addressing punctuation and grammar), but to dig deep into your manuscript and address hidden weaknesses. These self-editing tools will help you to not just identify and break down the weaknesses in your craft but to eliminate them altogether. Using your work in progress, we’ll help you develop an editor’s eye and understanding. And we’ll help put together your own Style Sheet to help you ensure that each manuscript you write is stronger than the last. As an added bonus, we’ll also equip you to find and work with a freelance editor should you decided you want to do so.



SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE WRITER: Labyrinth: The Path of Questioning for Writers

Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson see bio

Often, as writers, we run to God with questions, concerns, and pleadings. When is this going to happen? When is that door going to open for me? Why her and not me? Should I take this road to publication or that one? The whole thing can be exhausting, especially if we feel God is either ignoring us or refusing to answer. But what if God is waiting for us to hear His questions? And what if we could dig into those questions and discover the answers we’ve been waiting on all along … or perhaps find a different path? In this track, Eva Marie Everson reveals the method God used to bring her writing to a deeper level, her role in Christian publishing to a higher place, and her heart to a new understanding of what God wanted from her. Bring a Bible, journal, pen, the book that inspired you to be a writer, and the book you’ve returned to time and again on your journey. Come prepared to listen, write, and share. In the end, you will not only know the hows of writing but the “why for” as well.
Pre-registration for this track is strongly suggested so the instructor can provide tips on preparing your heart and mind for this session. To pre-register, email Eva Marie at with “Mt. H. Labyrinth Practicum” in the subject line.

PUBLISHING TRACK: Publishing in the 21st Century

Kay Marshall StromLinda Clare

Kay Strom see bio | Linda Clare see bio

The publishing industry has evolved dramatically over the past decade. With new opportunities come new rules, new strategies, new paths to success. This track, led by industry veterans Kay Marshall Strom and Linda Clare, will teach you how to take full advantage of those abundant opportunities. We'll explore what was once standard writing advice and protocol—but we won't leave you there. Through examples, in-class writing, discussion times, and maybe a goofy skit or two, we'll bring you up to date with the many industry changes. With advice we've gleaned from several agent and editor interviews, we'll compare writing styles of then and now and highlight the differences. And we'll tackle the major shifts in advice for navigating agents and editors, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and marketing/promotion. 

TEEN TRACK: Go Teen Writers! 

Jill Williamson

Jill Williamson see bio 

Why do you write? Is it a creative outlet? Are you looking to make an impact on the world? Or did another story inspire you to tell your own? And what do you want to do with your writing? Is it just for you, simply for fun? To share with family and friends? Or would you someday like to publish a book? This track will be a combination of discussion, lecture, and hands-on learning. We’ll critique one another’s stories, taking a good look at character, plot, story world, theme, and voice. We’ll also discuss some of those nitty-gritty writing craft issues and what it means for a story to be marketable. Attendees may email one ten-page chapter in advance to These will be shared with the class so we can all learn from each other. (This is optional, but we hope everyone will participate.) Come create with us! Jill Williamson will show you how to discover the One Thing that will allow you to write stories for the rest of your life.


Susy FloryLaura Christianson

Susy Flory see bio | Laura Christianson see bio

Whether you want to begin a career as a writer, blogger, editor, writing coach, or consultant, or take the next step toward that goal, you need to create a business strategy. While that might sound intimidating or overwhelming, it’s doable and you can start right now! Susy Flory and Laura Christianson transitioned out of careers and stay-at-home parenting into thriving full-time businesses in the writing world—Susy as a New York Times best-selling author, coauthor, and book coach; Laura as a website-branding-blogging-marketing expert. During this track, you’ll be equipped with tips, tools, systems, and strategies to successfully launch your writing-related business or take your business to the next level. 

  • You’ll learn how to manage your finances, time, and online presence.

  • You’ll come away with practical ideas for how to organize your office, your writing tools, your deadlines and work flow, and your “people.” 

  • With Susy and Laura’s guidance, you’ll create a simplified working business plan tailored to your unique skills, experience, and goals. Creating a business plan and working that plan will help take the worry out of the work and will enable you to design a path where you can both grow your business and live out your calling. 

Laura and Susy will facilitate mini-mastermind sessions on Saturday and Monday afternoons for any Career Growth Track participants who wish to attend.


Randy IngermansonJames Rubart

Randy Ingermanson see bio | James Rubart see bio

Are you completely happy with your writing career? Is absolutely everything going swimmingly for you? Are you earning way more money than you think you should? 

If so, the Pro Track is not for you.

But if you’re unsatisfied with some area of your career and you’re willing to spend three insanely fun days at Mount Hermon working on it, we want you in the Pro Track. 

Here’s how Randy Ingermanson and Jim Rubart can help you  reboot your writing career:

  • We’ll start by talking about four crucial factors that determine success, which we call the Success Equation. 
  • Then we’ll talk about vision. We won’t waste your time with airy-fairy buzzwords. We’ll work with you to make sure you’ve got a clear vision statement that will drive your career for the rest of your life. 
  • We’ll cover branding. Branding is not a tagline. It comes out of your vision statement for your life. We’ll get you rolling and show you how to keep rolling.
  • We'll help you create a strategic plan for the rest of your career, custom-designed for you. We’ll show examples of successful plans and give you hard numbers on how they’re working out. And we’ll make one-on-one appointments with you to help you polish your individual plan.
  • We’ll also talk about tactics. Why some marketing ideas work and others fail—and how to know if yours is working. We’ll also talk about how to be more productive without putting yourself on a treadmill that crushes your soul.

 The Jim-and-Randy Professional Writers Reboot Camp will transform your career and your life.

Prerequisites: You must have at least one book published and be planning to publish more. It doesn't matter when you published your book or whether it’s traditionally published or indie. We don’t care how much or how little you’re earning. If you have a burning desire to make some changes to ensure that your writing career will be more successful, we'd love to have you join us! 

Attendance in this track is by application only. To apply, fill out the application form on SurveyMonkey here.

Deadline to apply is March 23, 2019. You will be notified of whether you’ve been accepted within one week of applying. If you are accepted, you’ll get a link to a form where you can tell us more about yourself before the conference.



Major Track Schedule

Saturday, April 13

Sunday, April 14

Monday, April 15


Lecture & Guided Writing

Lecture & Guided Writing

Lecture & Guided Writing


Lecture & Guided Writing


Lecture & Guided Writing

Other Morning Options

If you have some writing and publishing experience and are ready to deepen your skill in a small-group setting, consider signing up for a Morning Mentoring Clinic instead of a Major Morning Track.

Writing Retreat

If neither of those options is right for you, why not make the Mount Hermon writers’ conference a writing retreat? Start your day in a Prayer & Praise session, or take a prayer walk along one of the beautiful redwood trails, or seek divine guidance in the Mount Hermon chapel. Join us for a delicious, healthy breakfast. Then spend the rest of the morning writing whatever God lays on your heart to work on. After lunch, do more writing or take some workshops, meet with the Critique Team, have appointments with faculty members, or enjoy some of the recreational opportunities available to conferees. If you get stuck, spend some time with our Prayer Partners in the chapel. After dinner, be inspired by our evening worship and keynote speaker … or do more writing. You’ll be amazed at how much quality work you’ll get done in this inspiring atmosphere!