How to Host a creative argument

Here are five steps to hosting a creative argument. whether it is about word choice, story direction, editing, or translating ideas into a visual media, you can apply some of these principles when you need to resolve aesthetic decision making conflict with a minimum of bloodshed. I have worked these out over decades of experience in Academia, design work, and critique groups. We are talking about argument in the classical sense, and not the Internet sense where you try to infuriate and burn people. I thought it would be useful to post this as we get the retreat frame of mind. Here We go..

1-establish common cause

2-set the context of the conversation

3- Socratic method

4- Four dynamic opposition

5- citing successful precedent

Lets go into a little more detail in each step.

Establish common cause– Start with the view that problems are perceptual or technical- not personal. Establish where your interests are aligned, and unified towards the same broader goals (we both want to sell a million books, and win the Oscar) -. Work to establish a mentality of solving a problem collectively when you sidestep the false ego constructs people use to validate their own worth.

Set the context of the conversation – Begin discussing what best represents a certain, mood, idea or theme. Focus the conversation on a specific manageable problem to be resolved- preferable in in a descending order of consensus- start with the most agreed upon trouble areas first.

Socratic method- Let people have their say- examine viewpoints and expose biases or motivations with exploratory questions

Dynamic opposition – giving the illusion of choice (unsuccessful precedent)- now that the hoovy groovy free love part of the conversation is done, and we are all pals, lets break that down a little and remember we are here to improve our works even in painful ways.

Five this is worked before– lets compare on an upbeat note to affirming examples.

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Programming announcements round 4

Know Thou Character: How to create a strong first appearance with any character is about learning who your character is. I will go over a couple of examples of published authors characters that make an excellent first appearance. The importance of backstory and how to use it without info dumping. There will be five activities where participants will learn by doing.
Making Time to Write: New writers often say “I can’t find time to write,” as if it rolled under the couch or something. Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses time management and how to carve out time to get those words cranking.

Navigating the Submissions Minefield: Okay, you just finished your story or novel. Now what? Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses the many options and routes to publication.

It’s A Career Whether You Make Money or Not: A professional writer is also a single-person small business. Keith R.A. DeCandido explains what that means, what the pitfalls are, and how you have to manage your career as a writer, regardless of whether or not you make your living at it.

Playing in Someone Else’s Sandbox: Keith R.A. DeCandido has been writing and editing licensed fiction and shared universes for 25 years, and he shares insights on how the creative process differs when someone else created the world you’re writing in.

Top 20 Ways to Market Your Book: Book marketing can range from $0 to $tratosphere. So how do you know what is best for you, and when it’s just chasing the shiny gold objects? The beauty today is that not only are there oodles of ways to market your book, but many of them are FREE! In this class Top 20 Ways to Market Your Book we’re going to review the most proven and cost-effective way to get your book into the hands of your readers. PS: We’ll also review the Top 5 ways NOT to market your book. Oy, what a waste of money.

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The latest programming additions

The Nuts and Bolts of Blood and Guts: Trauma Tales and Q & A with an ER Nurse
What damage does an iron maiden inflict on the human body? How long will you live after a psycho cuts off your arm with a chainsaw? When it comes to blood and guts, fact can be juicier than fiction. Get inspired, ask your most grisly questions, and enjoy some chilling tales and gallows humor from the ER.
Catherine Spader is a registered nurse who specialized in ER and trauma care for twenty years in Illinois and Colorado. She is also medical writer and editor and has published over 1,000 articles. She is the author of the critically acclaimed dark fantasy, Feast of the Raven. Book two in the series, Return of the Wulfhedinn, will be released this summer.

Event Marketing: How to Make Your Book the Star of the Show
Book signings, shows…it’s really about how to get you and your books in front of crowds of your readers, make bigger sales, and get even more results from events. We will talk about picking the right events for you and making them the celebrations people want to attend – and buy your books.
Dr. Ingrid Pyka is a TEDx Speaker and currently serves as President of the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association. She consults for corporate, non-profit and entrepreneurs. Her special niche is helping authors reach their audience.

Researching the Myth: Tracing Legends, Rumors & Half-Told Stories
Researching the Myth: The odd, quirky, and outright bizarre provide great inspiration and can often be found in our own local stories and little-known history. And the truth is often stranger than the fiction that has grown up around it. So, how do you research the stuff with gaps you can’t fill from the Internet, staid history books, and memories? Charmaine Ortega Getz, journalist and author of “Weird Colorado: Your Travel Guide to Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets,” will show you where and how to dig.

Trade Secrets for Successful “Independent” Publishing of YOUR Book to meet YOUR Goals.

Learn the essentials necessary to “professionally” publish your book from a tenured industry expert who knows how the game is played within every facet of the business. You’ll learn the difference between independent, subsidy and traditional publishing and whether one or another is the best fit for you and your book. In addition, regardless of which path you choose, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to expect and look for from a designer, editor, printer (digital or offset), eBook converter, audiobook producer and/or agent and who, if anyone, you should engage to market your book based on what they can and actually will do for you. You’ll also gain a sense of what you should pay for these services and how to get the most bang for your buck based on your needs, goals and budget. Once armed with the information and tools required for successful independent publishing you can win the game by strategically and creatively playing your hand and Mike will offer some ideas on how best to do that as well.

Critiki Party

Join the hosts of the Critiki Party Podcast Saturday, August 5, at 4:00 for a special live recording of our Georgetown episode! For this episode, we will be doing live, anonymous reads of participants’ first two pages. If you would like to participate, bring a printout of the first two pages of your work in progress (double spaced, 1″ margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier New, 24-25 lines of text on each page). We will collect the pages before we begin recording, and then during the recording, we will draw submissions at random to read aloud and critique on the spot. Depending on the number of participants, we may or may not have time to get through all the submissions. Questions? Please email Travis Heermann at


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Programming details round 2

Here is the first part of round 2 of programming and event descriptions
Steampunk Worlds: Do I Have to Set My Book in Victorian London?
Join Shelley Adina and Mario Acevedo for a discussion of steampunk and alt-history world-building in places other than the crowded London of Queen Victoria. While this is a popular setting, it’s not the only one. What would steampunk look like in 19th-century India or Africa without the British Empire? What do South Asian writers think it looks like? Can we write the Weird West without colonialism lurking in the background? A journey to the horizons of our imaginations awaits!
Steampunk Library: Where Did All These Books Come From and Where Does Mine Fit?
Lots of readers have never heard of steampunk, but they’re familiar with Frankenstein, with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the books of Jules Verne. Join Shelley Adina to compare notes about how steampunk fits into the gothic tradition and its focus on and value in creating emotion in the reader. What books do this best? What can writers today take from those who have gone before? How can we put a fresh twist on our own work? What has the female sensibility brought to the table, especially in the work of Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger, and Lindsay Buroker? Let’s decide together on the essential steampunk library, and make our own books part of it!
An Intimate Moment with Stephen Graham Jones
We dim the lights, and play soft music for a no holds barred Question and answer with the author of Mongrels, and Flushboy. Pajamas and bix wine optional
Writing the Insane and Demented
Our Panel discusses how to get in, and out of damaged characters without staying there yourself. We will site examples from fiction, and select case studies
Most Twisted Writer Championship
Writers attempt to produce the most disturbing tale in 10 minutes, and our judges pick the winner. The champion gets mentioned in the following years program, and gets to drink form the skull of glory at the closing ceremonies.
Creature design challenge- improbable yet possible
After an introduction to creature design concepts, and rules, you will work with your team to create the most original creature. The winning team gets special pins for their badges, and mentioned in the following years program
Supernatural World building
Get ideas on creating lively and layered stories by choosing the use of magic, and the supernatural in your world. our panel will discuss methods, and examples
Introduction to the Fate Core system for writers
The Fate core system is the gold standard in RPGs that keep the rules out of the way of story. It can be used as both a tool in collaboration, and enriching supporting characters
Game Night RPG 1: Spores and Stores
Fallout, and spores from the impact of an alien device have begun to alter man and beast. desperate strangers find them selves seeking shelter in a shopping mall. This game uses the fate core system, experience is not required to play.

Ghost Tour
Experience the haunted past and seedy underbelly of old Georgetown, one of the most haunted towns in Colorado. Jilted lovers, whorehouse madams, lynched scallywags, unfortunate miners, titans of industry, and many others, all haunt the quaint mountain town.

Live Music
Plume Varia, a noted darkwave band from Denver, will be playing for your entertainment at Alpine Restaurant and Bar . They will have their new album, Fact|Fiction, produced by David J of Bauhaus, for purchase. Free admission.


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Programming announcements round 1

This comes to just about 12 percent of the total activities going down over the retreat, if you had a suggestion, or idea we didn’t get to, the  odds are We will in the coming weeks

1-Building your Author Platform Through The Art of Social Media and Publicity
One of the most influential ways to make a splash in the literary scene is by word of mouth. But how do you reach some of the most voracious readers and book buyers online when the very task of targeting so many outlets and managing social media is so overwhelming? The trick is to learn how to manage your approach to get the most out of your time and hard work.

Melody Jones (Social Media Management) and Sami Lien (Roger Charlie) will focus on different strategies authors can use themselves to support their release with publicity, as well as the four key ingredients to building your social media platform and how it can support your efforts. You’ll leave with tips and resources you can use right away to up your own promotional and social media game!

No matter the genre, characters often end up in a physical fight. These blatantly conflict-driven scenes deserve the same care and consideration as any scene: they must show the world, reveal character, and further plot. This session will cover everything to consider when writing physical combat, and inform our (mostly) peaceful writers what they need to know to write a realistic fight. created and conducted by Betsy Dornbusch
Giving Your Book a Voice – Audiobook Creation
If you are considering creating an audiobook, this session is for you! You will get the critical elements on what steps you need to take; what costs to expect; how to produce your audiobook; a variety of resources; how to work with Amazon’s ACX and other providers; and of course, plenty of insider tips and tricks of the trade including · Essential steps to create an audiobook, Reducing the costs of producing an audiobook, The History of Promoting and marketing your audiobook.

3-Mary/Shelley’s Mad Tea party
Learn about The history and etiquette of tea with Authors Shelley Adina and Mary Sangiovanni. this event takes place at the Dusty Rose Tea House– consumables purchased at additional expense as desired.

4-Tossin’ one back with Brian Keene and Mario Acevedo
Hangout with our faculty members as they shares the recipes for some of their favorite beverages, and tell the story of the trouble they caused, Drinks are optional, and the Bar will be expect compensation. This event takes place in the basement of the Lucha Cantina

5-Podcasting for Authors
Learn the basics od producing a quality podcast in terms of equipment, software, hosting, and marketing. We will take audience questions

6-Working with Artists
Our panel discusses what it takes what it takes to start and maintain a productive and mutually rewarding relationship with artists. hear horror stories from the artists perspective.

7-Old Time Radio for Dark Authors
For half a century Radio was the dominate form of entertainment, now it is an often forgotten treasure of of inspiration for writing. This panel will get you started with some of the best series, ideas for using some of the techniques in audio books, and the legacy of the medium

8-World Horror Denver
Come and learn about our plans for bringing the world horror convention to Denver, and bring all your pitches and ideas for a lively discussion about how best to put Colorado into the Horror Spotlight.

9-Rememberin’ Ed
Join our panel as they discuss their favorite memories Of author and mentor Ed Bryant. Ed was a giant of the Colorado genre fiction scene who mentored such luminaries as Connie Willis, and Dan Simmons

10-All the Colors of the Dark
Your introduction to all our weekends events, and a discussion of the importance of the spectrum of dark fiction

11-Lake Monsters, Feathered Serpents, and Obsidian Mirrors–Aztec Myth and Magic: explore one of the most complex and diverse mythologies of the Americas, and how it influenced everything from the politics of the Empire to the daily life of every citizen from birth to death.

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Top twenty reasons to attend the Ghost town writers retreat today

1- Every full membership gets a copy of the conference book, and Mile High Writers Guide

2- Every full membership gets an attendee gift bag
3- Georgetown Colorado is one of the most preserved historical sites in the nation with a unique feel
4- Every Full Membership includes admission to the grill and greet with Bison and vegetarian option
5- Don D’ Auria is one of the top horror editor of the past 30 years with over 500 books published, and will be helping attendees all weekend
6- Steam train rides through the Rockies with a mine tour.
7- Editor and agent pitch sessions
8- If you opt for double occupancy rooming, the entire conference and lodging will cost you less then just admission at many similar events.
9- Tuition and lodging for a recent retreat with Award winning author Stephen Graham Jones went for $3500. He will be with us all weekend.
10- Our attendance is capped at 150 to insure an intimate event- tickets are limited
11- Learn book marketing tips form multiple successful pros
12- There is a store with 150 types of beef jerky in Georgetown
13- Companionship of other dark genre writers
14- Attendees get to vote on programming
15- The opportunity to have Guest of honor Brian Keene bartend with his favorite bourbon, and talk stories about the business
16- Our tributes to Colorado authors of the past including Hunter S. Thompson, Ed Bryant, and post humous Guest of Honor Thomas Picirilli.

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Blog Post Title

What goes into a blog post? Helpful, industry-specific content that: 1) gives readers a useful takeaway, and 2) shows you’re an industry expert.

Use your company’s blog posts to opine on current industry topics, humanize your company, and show how your products and services can help people.

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