Beachside Winter 2014

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Next session: Feb. 28-March 2, 2014.

Times: Friday 6:30 p.m.-Sunday 1 p.m.

Location: Yachats Commons, Yachats, Ore.

Teachers: Bob Welch, Register-Guard columnist and author of 15 books, of Eugene; Jane Kirkpatrick, novelist and author of 20 books, of Bend; and Roger Hite, expert on self-publishing and author more than 20 books, of Eugene.

Purpose: To affirm participants as writers and go intensively into the nuances of good fiction (Kirkpatrick) and good non-fiction (Welch). To explore publishing possibilities. To gain confidence and literary discernment through reading aloud. And to do all this in a relaxing, affirming atmosphere while smelling of campfire smoke from Friday night’s s’moresfest.

Focus: Inspiration from Bob and Jane Friday night in an all-group setting. Workshops Saturday and Sunday with read-aloud sessions Saturday night. (Note: Reading aloud is encouraged, not required.)

Attendees: First 50 to register. Writers of all levels will feel comfortable at this workshop. Often we hear, “Oh, I’m no writer. I’ve never been published. I’ll be out of my league.” Experience suggests you’ll fit in well regardless of how far along the writing path you are.

Food: Friday night coffee and snacks, followed by traditional Beachside S’moresfest at session’s end, about 9:30 p.m. Saturday breakfast and Oregon Coast lunch, the latter for which your guests are invited. (Dinner on your own Saturday night.) Sunday brunch.

Tentative schedule:


6:30 p.m. Registration, settling in, munchies and saying goodbye to real life for the weekend.

7:00 p.m. Who we are: Ever-so-brief introductions from Jane, Bob and you.

7:30 p.m. Session 1: “What I’ve Learned About the Writing Journey Since Last Year.” (Jane and Bob)

8:20 p.m. 10-MINUTE BREAK

8:30 p.m. Session 2: The Annual “Surprise, Surprise” Writing Assignment.

9:00 p.m. Session 3: Readings: Bob and Jane offer exclamation points of inspiration with words from their respective books.

9:20 p.m. Campfire s’mores out back in the covered (and Plexi-glassed) picnic area.

10:00 p.m. Wipe that gooey marshmallow off your face and shuffle into the night for a night of surf-accented sleep.


7:00 a.m. Village Bean coffee shop opens half a mile north of the Yachats Commons.

8:00 a.m. Coffee, hot chocolate, tea at the Commons amid talk of bad nights of sleep, burned marshmallows and other writers’ laments.

8:20 a.m. Breakfast is served, courtesy of Ann Schar and her able-bodied assistant, Sally (“She Who …”) Welch.

9:00 a.m. Session 4: 

“Researching and Writing your Family History.” Jane. Gym. You’ve got a great family story. Your brother doesn’t remember it that way and your sister thinks no one will be interested but this story will not let you go. How do you decide what your story is really about? Do you have a book or an article or even a series? Do you have a memoir or a novel or a non-fiction research project? Whatever you have, where do you start? Drawing on the work of public historians and her own methods of research and writing, Jane will provide you with next steps to get that story off your back and onto the page.

“Five Steps to Changing Your Writing Life.” Bob. North Room. If you want to finish this year in a different place than you started, what’s a process that can help get you there? Welch shares five steps that will help you gain perspective on escaping any writing doldrums you might be experiencing and set sail for more glorious horizons beyond.

10:00 a.m. 10-MINUTE BREAK

10:10 a.m. Session 5: “The Wonder of Print on Demand.” Roger Hite. South Room. Recent trends in POD book publishing technology, including success stories from the May-September 2013 Memoir Workshop.

“Nine Points to A Novel.” Jane. Gym. What makes a great story, one that readers remember and that helps them discover truths for their lives?  Jane shares the three components she thinks are critical along with the three top things named by novelist Joyce Carol Oates and theologian and novelist and non-fiction writer Frederick Buechner. Helping participants claim those nine elements within their work is the theme of this workshop.

The 10 Best Things I’ve Learned from Writing Nonfiction Books.” (Please note, Jane could only come up with nine points.) Bob. North Room.  With 17 books to his credit, Bob shares nuggets of wisdom he’s learned along the way. They range from “No matter how hard you think it will be, it will be harder” to “It’s not only about the final product, but the journey, too.” Bottom line: Non-fiction is more triathlon than sprint, but can be deeply satisfying.

11:10 a.m. 10-MINUTE BREAK

11:30 a.m. Session 6: Writing Assignment #2.


1:30 p.m. Session 7: 

“A Round-Robin of Writing and Editing Tips.” Jane. Gym.  Tips from two bestselling authors and Jane’s own in this fast-paced workshop meant to help you write  a 75,000 word novel (in 30 days); or cut 20,000 words out of a manuscript that’s too long (in a week); or do final clean-up in your manuscript so it’s ready to send for self-publishing or when that agent/editor you meet with at a conference says “I’m interested in your story. Send me the first three chapters.” 

The Active Verb: The Unsung Hero of Writing That Rocks.” Bob. North Room. For years, Welch has emphasized what he calls “painting with words,” often with a strong emphasis on metaphors and similes. Now, for the first time, he highlights the oft-overlooked verb — and how using active, not passive, ones can pump new life into your prose.


2:40 p.m. Session 8: Writing Session #3

3:30 p.m. Session 9: “Genre Groups”

This final half an hour of the day will be spent with people funneling into what we hope to be at at least six special-interest groups. During this time, you’ll just get to know each other a bit and talk about where you might want to go with a one-hour meeting of your genre group on Sunday.

Self-publishing buffs, for example, will use this half-hour to meet again with Roger Hite for more hands-on-(the-mouse) experience in going the POD route. Possible other groups: Memoir writing, sci-fi, essay/blog, non-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, poetry and children’s books.

4:00 p.m Relax. Dinner on your own.

7:00 p.m Session 10: Reading aloud from your work.

Optional. Five-minute limit, strictly enforced! Sign up at the registration desk starting Saturday morning. Given a two-hour time limit, if we have more than 20 people sign up we will use a lottery to choose who gets to read aloud. (Either that or hold a marathon rock, paper, scissors contest.)

9:00 p.m. End of the day. Whew.


7:00 a.m. The Village Bean opens.

8:00 a.m. Coffee, hot chocolate and tea at the Commons.

8:20 a.m. Session 11: 

“I Would if I Could… but I Can’t.” Jane. Gym. Ninety-nine percent of the people who say they want to write a book never do. They would if they could…but they can’t. Or so they tell themselves. Jane leads this session celebrating those who step over the barriers of I can’t and enter the world of I did!  She’ll identify the creative ways writers sabotage themselves and offer practical solutions to move forward with whatever project you’d write if you could knowing that — you can.

Daring to Write With Emotion.” Bob. North Room. Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s good advice for authors. Join Bob Welch as he challenges you to be vulnerable as an author to awaken emotions within your readers.

9:20 a.m. Oregon Coast Brunch.

Honoring of the Fourth Annual “Metaphors Be With You” contest winner by Mari or her sister Mary from Mari’s Books.

10:00 a.m. Session 12:

Wild Card Session. Over the years, Jane and Bob have sometimes found themselves frustrated by a lack of flexibility in the schedule. Thus, we’re building in a session where we can go where you all want to go!



11:10 a.m. Session 13: Genre Groups. Roger’s POD group will meet in the South Room and other groups will huddle wherever they choose. (Yes, you can even take a walk and, thus, have “a moveable feast” of learning.)


12:15 p.m. Session 14: Final questions for Bob, Jane and Roger (15 minutes); final thoughts from each of you. (Thirty seconds each to tell the key lesson you’re taking home with you.)

1:00 p.m. Group photo at the Yachats Commons sign out front. (Weather permitting!)

Goodbyes (sniff, sniff.)

Cost: $319 before Jan. 1, $329 after. (Includes workshop, notebook, three meals, snacks, Beachside book bag, live lunch-time music and, of course, our famous Friday Night S’moresfest. Lodging on your own.)

Doc Stenstrom Scholarship: For the first time, we are offering a full $319 scholarship to an individual for the Feb. 28-March 2, 2014 event in Yachats. It is named in honor of Dr. Bill Stenstrom, 90, of Vida, who died Feb. 18, 2013. At the time of his death, Stenstrom had attended a record seven Beachside events and had registered for an eighth. A long-retired physician, Doc was a gentle soul who seldom spoke but commanded attention when he did, who endeared himself to many and who correctly diagnosed my case of shingles during the 2012 event. He  punctuated his final years with Beachside by publishing one family history book and getting well through a second.

The scholarship will be given to a person who, in an essay not to exceed 400 words, expresses a passion for writing, a thirst for learning and a legitimate financial need. Essays must be sent as Word attachments or e-mail text to by midnight Dec. 31, 2013. Write “Doc Stenstrom essay” in the e-mail’s subject box. A five-person panel — including Stenstrom’s daughter, Milly Gagnon, of Minnesota — will make the decision, which will be announced by Feb. 1.


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