NextGen Writers Experience

Welcome to the NextGen Writers Experience, a Florida WritersCon 2024 event filled with workshops and presentations designed exclusively for the next generation of writers!

  • An event for Middle & High School writers
  • Come meet new writing friends
  • Learn from the pros!
  • Receive a free copy of FWA Collection 16: Metamorphosis
  • Celebrate NextGen Writers at the NextGen Awards Luncheon


  • $50. includes events, meals, snacks and a free copy of Florida Writers Collection 16: Metamorphosis
  • Members only. Not a member? Join here.
  • Parents, teachers & chaperones are welcome, but must be registered and paid
  • Space is limited; Registration closes 9/25/24 (or when capacity is reached)
  • NO onsite registration
  • For info about special pricing for large groups: [email protected]

Schedule of Events

  • All events will take place in the Royal Palm Ballroom.
  • Each workshop will be 45 minutes with a 15-minute Q&A.
  • Schedule is subject to change without notice.

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
NextGen Writers Check-in (Royal Palm Foyer)

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Event Welcome
NextGen Program Chairperson Michael Farrell welcomes attendees to the NextGen Writers Experience and shares what’s in store for the day, as well as how to make the best of FWAY's program benefits.

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Hooked from the Start: Crafting Dynamite Story Openings – Ken Pelham
The adage, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression" holds true in the writing of prose. Many readers will read the first page and decide to buy or promptly put the book back on the shelf. Learn how your favorite novels pull you into the story with just a few paragraphs. Participants will learn what makes great openings tick, and will evaluate their own openings against those of accomplished novelists.

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Know the Rules Before You Break Them – Patricia Charpentier
“Rewriting is the essence of writing well, where the game is won or lost,” says noted journalist and professor William Zinsser. Editing helps you convey your message and improves the reader’s experience. In this workshop, learn how to apply tricks professional editors use. We’ll also discover how MS Word and other systems can help you edit, and you’ll receive one of a writer’s most important tools—an editing checklist.

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Special Honor for NextGen Collection & RPLA Finalists
Selected NextGen writers will have their work recognized and celebrated as they read an excerpt of their work live. Parents, get your cameras ready to record this special moment!

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
NextGen Awards Luncheon
Celebrate our NextGen Royal Palm Literary Awards Winners and great writing as they receive awards, including the NextGen Writing Excellence Award.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Make Your Fiction Sparkle – Carol Post
What makes some writing leap off the page and other prose fall flat? Learn how to grip your readers with stories that radiate energy and emotion using vivid description, dialogue that pops, proper pacing, effective word choice, and other techniques. Participants will learn: how to bring out a character’s unique voice, how to create description that transports readers into your world, and how to spot and slash lackluster writing and replace it with sparkling sentences.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Plotting for Pantsers – Sylvia Whitman
I once looked down on plot, but teaching a plot class raised my appreciation for story structure. This workshop will offer techniques that put writers in charge of key moments when their characters take action, suffer consequences, and show who they truly are. Participants will leave with an overview of such devices as Freytag’s pyramid to Robert McKee’s quest, and the three-act structure, tips for twists, turns, tension, and prompts for home plotting.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Wrap-up, Photo Op, and Farewell
We’ll wrap up the day with pictures and goodbyes as the event comes to a close.