Nangie Writing Workshop 101

One of the best things I did when I first started writing was to attend the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and participate in the Nangie Writing Workshop taught by Angela Hunt and Nancy Rue. Because the workshop offered hands-on coaching to each writer participant, the classes were designed to be small and intimate. In my class for example, there were 13 writers, and that was considered maximum capacity. If you’re a writer and you have the opportunity to take the Nangie Workshop, I would really encourage you to do it.  

 The only regret that I have is that I didn’t take the workshop sooner. By the time I participated in the class, I had almost finished writing the first draft of my novel. To say that I had an eye-opening experience in the workshop would be a behemoth of an understatement. 

 Before I dive in, let me set the stage. Prior to participating in the workshop, each writer was required to read the chapters submitted by their fellow classmates. By being prepared, each of us could participate in the critique discussion with Angie and Nancy (A&N), and learn from each other’s mistakes. 

In my naiveté as an inexperienced writer, I was thoroughly convinced that my novel was so spectacular that editors would be lining up to buy my book. I was also certain that A&N would read my chapters and herald them the best work in fiction today. Stop laughing! I told you I was deluded. So…let me tell you what really happened. 

I knew I was in trouble when A&N did the first round of critiques, and I studied the writing styles of the other participants, and their effectiveness in using craft techniques. Several stories were so well written that I wondered why the writers were in the class. Their stories were engaging from the first sentence and their prose danced on the pages. 

On the second day I received my critique from A&N. I flipped open the blue folder Angie gave me and read the notes as I listened to her feedback. Let me give you some of the highlights:


  1. The submitted manuscripts were supposed to be double-spaced – mine was single-spaced.
  2. Each new chapter should have started half way down the page – mine started at the top.
  3. Each scene should have been from one character’s point of view (POV) – mine was…heck, I didn’t even know what point of view was.
  4. In each scene the POV character should have had a goal – mine was…uh….goal you say?
  5. A header with the title of the book and the writer’s name should have been at the top of each page – mine was…oh wow, there was supposed to be a header?
  6. Each new paragraph should have been indented – mine was…you guessed it. I hadn’t even heard of the indentation rule. 

A&N deserve a medal for the way they delivered my critique. They pointed out enough weaknesses to make me want to try harder without breaking my spirit. 

When you think about the coaches, instructors, teachers, or professors who helped you developmentally, who comes to mind?


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11 Responses

  1. Sharon, the lady that leads our small writer’s group here in central NC went to this conference last year and has just insisted that we must all go this year. I haven’t made my decision yet, but thank you for giving me another point of view to take into consideration!

  2. You’re so welcome, Sarah. I try to attend one or two conferences a year, if possible, because I find the experience so valuable. Several of the writers in my class are now published. Christa Parrish has a new book out titled Home Another Way, and Nancy Toback has written two: Anna’s Journey and Love Online. Not bad at all. 🙂

  3. Oh dear. I was laughing when I read “Don’t laugh”. So funny. Single spaced, editor lining up. Very funny and so typical.

    The class sounds like something I need to do. I could use a writing coach. Well, I kind of sorta have one, but she’s so busy. She mentors me, but a next level class would do me some good.

    Angela Hunt – sounds like a great opportunity. Did you read The Elevator?

  4. Hi Sharon –

    This brought back so many memories. I also had a wake-up call during Nangie 101. My writing needed a whole lot more work.

    I’m glad many of us have stayed in touch. For those of you sitting on the fence, the Philly Conference provides many opportunities to grow as a writer.

    Susan 🙂

  5. Rhonda, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I love Angela’s books. I didn’t read The Elevator, but I followed her blog and at least felt like I understood the story. I also enjoyed the buzz when the book was released.

  6. Susan, I couldn’t agree more. The Philly Conference is wonderful! I chatted with Nancy Toback and she got a kick out of my article as well.

  7. I took the Nangie clinic at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Wonderful! Lots of good stuff learned there.

    I appreciated your candidness in sharing…as usual you made me laugh.

    Keep up the great writing, girlfriend. Can’t wait to read your finished book one day!

  8. I second and third what sharon and susan and others have said about the Nangie clinic. It really stretched me as a writer, and I would encourage anyone who possibly can to try to attend. As an added plus you will meet great like-minded writer friends like sharon and susan who you can keep in touch with and share each other’s highs and lows and prayer requests! What a great bonus!

  9. I learned so much in the Nangie Clinic too. (Thanks for mentioning my books here, Sharon.) Of course, I loved rooming with Rose McCauley. We had so many laughs, especially when Terry Whalin heard Rose’s sweet voice and my New Yawk accent and asked, “Now, how did you two say you got together to write?” LOL Best of all, I’ve met forever friends in that Nangie group. There’s just something about getting critiqued together that bonds writers…and what a talented group. Diamonds in the rough, all.

  10. hi all ~ please don’t be disappointed, but Nangie will not be at the Philly conference this year. There are, however, two clinics that will benefit either not-yet-published writers or published-writers. Both teachers are excellent. The continuing sessions are also excellent. The information and brochure are now on Marlene’s website: Check it out soon! The editor/agent line up is also very strong.

    Nancy Rue is my mentor, and Sharon, I know exactly what you mean about her critique pointing out my weakness, but encouraging enough to want to keep going. I would have given up years ago if it weren’t for Nancy.

  11. Pam, thank you so much for the updates. I can’t say enough great things about the Philly conference and I’m sure the two clinics will be awesome. Thanks again for sharing the information.

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