Speaking

Keynotes, Lectures, Workshops

I'm available to speak at libraries, schools, book clubs, writers' groups, writer's conferences, and other venues. 

Notable Past Venues:

Regular instructor at the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Annual Summer Conference since 2010

- Regular workshop instructor at Annie Wright Schools since 2015

- Workshop instructor (and 2018 keynote) at Rivers Of Ink since 2016

- Keynote and workshops at Whidbey Island Writers' Association Conference in 2014 and 2015

- Keynote and workshops at Write On! Young Writers Conference in 2014 and 2015

- Other past workshops and lectures at Write on the SoundCentrumWriter's Workshoppe, Skagit Valley Writers League, Write on the Sound, and many more. 

I am able to teach writers of all ages and skill levels. Want to hear what I sound like? Listen to the example audio from my most recent interview, on the Blondie and the Brit Podcast, below! To get an idea of the topics I'm willing to cover (and there are many!), please review the descriptions below. If you are interested in having me speak at your venue, please submit your request via my contact form.

Pricing:

Speaking fees vary by location and venue

Testimonials

The world building and character building that Nicole and Terry [Persun] taught us...has definitely impacted my writing in the way that it’s the biggest thing on my mind when I write, and it’s what I notice in books.

I learned so much, and actually had fun taking my 13 pages of notes—I want to do it again! It was so cool to actually have published authors that close to us, have them give feedback on our stories, and have them work with us.

I think that for me, the most effective field trip/activity we had was the first one when we went and spoke with Terry and Nicole Persun. They taught me a lot about writing books and helped me have a better understanding of things including world building, character development, and publishing.
— Annie Writers middle school students at Annie Wright Schools

Topics

Classes I have taught in the past, listed by topic

 

Structure

These classes aim to help writers create a solid foundation for their stories. Writers will come away with a better feel for how to structure their novels, whether they outline or not. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks:

- The Hero's Journey/Three Act Structure

- Exploring Non-Chronological/Non-Linear Structures

- The Art of Time and Pacing in Fiction

- Structure Informed by Character

- Cause and Effect: Making Your Story Make Sense

 

Setting

These classes aim to help writers understand that setting is an experience, not a backdrop. Writers will come away with ways that they can deepen their setting into a three-dimensional interactive world. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks:

- Setting as Character

- World Building Strategies for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

- The 7 Essentials for Establishing Setting

- Using Language to Enhance Setting

- Setting as an Interaction: Revealing Your Setting Through Character

- Less is More: 5 Ways to Reveal Setting

- Saying A Lot with A Little: How to Imply Setting

 

Publication

These classes focus on what is right for each individual author, often discussing various options. Some classes are purely factual, while others delve into my personal experience. Writers will come away with a better understanding of their publishing options, know what to do next, and hopefully feel uplifted. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks:

- Types of Publication: The Basics of Publishing a Book

- Types of Publication: The Basics of Publishing Short Fiction

- Nicole's Path to Publication

- The Synopsis and Query Letter

- Agent Etiquette: When it's Time to Start Submitting Your Novel

- I Got Published And You Can, Too! (For Young Authors)

- Being A Young Writer in the Book Business

 

Point of View

These classes not only discuss conventional viewpoints, but also cover perspective, character influence, and other nuances. Writers will come away with a better handle on the power of viewpoint within a story. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks:

- Point of View: An Overview 

- When the Viewpoint Character Isn't the Main Character

- Viewpoint and Perspective: From Who and When Is Your Story Told? 

- The Unreliable Narrator

- Third Person: Where Writer Meets Character

- Unconventional Viewpoints: Exploring New Perspectives

 

Marketing

These classes center on my extensive experience in online marketing, from basic SEO to Social Media. Writers come away with a better understanding of how to establish their online presence—without feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks: 

- Three Steps to Social Media Success

- S-E-O and Y-O-U: Getting Started, Analytics, and More

- What to Post: Ideal Content for Your Social Platforms

- An Introvert's Guide to Being Social: Social Media Strategies for Writers

- Networking for Writers

 

Dialogue

These classes include just as much information on what characters don't say as on what they do say. Writers will come away with a better sense of how dialogue can reveal character, move plot, and even add to the setting of a story. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks:

- What Your Characters Don't Say: The Art of Internal Dialogue

- How to Write Slang, Dialect, and More

- A Discussion on Dialogue Tags

- Blah, Blah, Blah: When Dialogue Falls Flat (And How to Fix It!)

- Between the Quotations: Writing Realistic Dialogue

 

Craft

These classes are perhaps my favorite ones to teach. They're all about the love of words, from etymology to sentence structure and more. Writers will come away with a better understanding of how to use their words smoothly, effectively, and to enhance all the elements of story. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks: 

- Breaking the Rules of Fiction: Common Rules and How to Break Them With Success

- Where Viewpoint and Word Choice Intersect

- Intentional Writing: How to Use Your Words to Enhance Plot, Character, and More

- When Language Mirrors Scene

- Bad Grammar, Good Writing

- The Perfect Sentence

- Moving Beyond "Show, Don't Tell": Working with Scene and Summary

 

Character Development

These classes center on the idea that every story comes down to character. Writers come away with a better understanding of how to develop strong characters and allow them to drive the story. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks: 

- Character Development Strategies

- Character = Plot: The Art of Cause and Effect

- When Character Meets Setting

- Managing Your Cast of Characters: Walk-Ons to Main Characters

- The Character Hierarchy: Questions to Ask Each of Your Characters

- What Your Character Remembers: Uncovering Your Main Character's Memory

- From Info-Dump to Rich Back Story: How to Fold Your Character's Past into the Present

- Motivation, Motivation, Motivation! How Your Character's Desires Shape Story

- Interviewing Your Characters: Asking the Hard Questions

- The Unchangeable Character: Writing Stories Where the Main Character Doesn't Change

 

The Career Writer

These talks aim for inspiration. Writers come away feeling confident and energized, with the building blocks to become a writer for life. These can be aimed at beginning writers wanting to get a better sense of the writing life (I've taught new writers ages 5 to 75), or geared toward more advanced writers wanting to get more published and make more money. Here are a few titles of my most recent talks: 

- So You Want to Be a Writer. Now What?

- Enjoying the Journey: Thoughts on the Writing Process

- Why Young Writers are Badass (specifically for teens)

- Balancing Between Hard Work and Luck

- When You Can't Not Write

- The Magic of Making Stuff Up

- Making Sense of The Writing World

- The Career Writer: Discipline, Perseverance, Joy