Please contact Jodie at about presenting a craft of writing workshop at your conference or writers’ group meeting.

See the list of possible topics. Each topic can be adapted to last from 15 minutes to 2 hours, with audience participation.

Please click on the “Reviews” tab for comments by participants on Jodie’s presentations.

Click on “Dates” for a list of writers’ conferences and groups where Jodie has presented workshops, as well as other activities and publications.


Also, click on “Details” for more information on workshop topics.

~ Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View

~ Revise for Success – A Step-by-Step Plan for Revising & Editing Your Fiction

~ Hook Your Readers with a Riveting Opening

~ Spark up Your Stories – Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue

~ Style Blunders to Avoid in Your Fiction

~ Cut the Clutter and Streamline Your Writing

~ Immerse the Readers in Your Story World

~ Adding Tension, Suspense and Intrigue to Your Story

~ How to Slash 20-40% of Your Word Count – Without Losing Any of the Good Stuff!

~ Info Dumps, AYKB, & Other Author Intrusions

~ Essential Elements of a Bestselling Thriller

~ 21 Tips for Creating a Compelling Short Story

~ Strategies for Showing instead of Telling

~ Bring Your Characters to Life on the Page

~ Pros and Cons of First-Person Point of View

~ Creating Compelling Characters

~ Put Tension on Every Page

~ Every Scene Needs Conflict and a Change

~ 7 Essential Techniques for Switching from Nonfiction to Fiction Writing

~ Tips for Writing Effective Dialogue

~ Expressing Thought-Reactions in Fiction

~ Tips for Picking up the Pace

~ Avoiding Info Dumps and Other Author Intrusions

~ Heightening the Suspense

~ Finding and Working with a Freelance Editor

~ Self-Publishing on Amazon

~ To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

… and more


Below are some workshops Jodie has presented, panels she has participated in, writers’ conferences she has attended, magazine articles and books she has published, and book contests she has judged, starting with upcoming, then most recent, and going back in time:

Upcoming Presentations, articles, interviews:

September, 2014 – Jodie’s article, “Tips on Creating Reader-Friendly Books for Today’s Busy Readers” will appear in The Independent, the monthly magazine for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).


August 8-10, 2014 – When Words Collide – A Festival for Readers and Writers, Calgary, Alberta. Jodie presented two workshops: “Engage Your Readers with Deep Point Of View” and “Spark up Your Story – Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue.”

July-August 2014 issue of Southern Writers Magazine – craft-of-writing article by Jodie: “Let the Readers Tell the Story.”

July 2, 2014:  BC Youth Writers Camp, Penticton, BC. Jodie presented a half-day workshop to young writers aged 8 to 18. Topic: “Spark up Your Stories.”

June 27 & 28, 2014: Jodie attended the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas, where the Awards Ceremony for Foreword Reviews IndieFab Awards was held, and Jodie’s Fire up Your Fiction was a finalist in these awards. Also, Jodie’s books were on display at both the Foreword Reviews booth and the Independent Book Publishers Assoc. booth, where Jodie gave away signed copies of both of her books.

May 2014: Interview with Joey Pinkney on Jodie’s book, Fire up Your Fiction.

April 11, 2014: Cyber Symposium – PD Event for Editors & Writers. Jodie presented a one-hour webinar called “Spark up Your Stories – Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue”.

January 24-26, 2014: San Diego State University (SDSU) Writers’ Conference, San Diego, California. Jodie will present two workshops; one on Deep Point of View and the other on Editing & Revising Your Novel – “Revise for Success”. Contact at SDSU: Erin Quinn.

Sept. 24, 2013: Jodie presented a workshop entitled “7 Essential Tips for Switching from Nonfiction to Fiction Writing or Editingto the Okanagan Editors’ Group in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Contact Jodie Renner, or Arlene Prunkl at

Sept. 19, 2013: Jodie presented a talk to the O’s Own Writers of Osoyoos, BC, entitled “21 Tips for Creating a Compelling Short Story.”

Late August, 2013: Interview of Jodie in Southern Writers Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2013 issue. Mostly about writing and editing compelling fiction.

August 2013: Killer Nashville Conference, Nashville, Tennessee - workshop and panel:

~ Jodie presented a workshop called “Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View.” (Click on the “reviews” tab to see comments about the seminar. Audio recording available.)

~ Jodie participated in a panel on revision and self-editing, called “Be Your Own Editor: Make Your Book the Best it Can Be.” (reviews below)

August 2013: Jodie’s article, “Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue to Your Story” appeared in Suspense Magazine, August issue.

July 18, 2013: London Writers Society: Jodie presented a workshop on “Self-Publishing on Amazon.”

July 13, 2013: Thrillerfest, NYC. Jodie participated in a panel entitled “How to Become a Masterful Editor—of Your Own Work” on Saturday, July 13 from 9:30 am – 10:20 am.

May-August 2013: Judge for Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Books Contest. Category: YA & Middle-Grade Fiction.

June 2013: Trade paperback version of Writing a Killer Thriller is published.

May 15, 2013: Jodie presented a workshop entitled “12 Don’ts and 10 Do’s for a Compelling Opening” for the London Writers Society, London, Ontario, Canada.

May 2013: Jodie attended Grub Street’s The Muse and the Marketplace Writers’ Conference, Boston, Mass.

March 2013: Left Coast Crime Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, “Where Murder is the Last Resort.” Jodie participated on two panels:

~ “Ask the Editor” – Q&A with four editors: Deni Dietz, Diane O’Connell, Terry Bischoff, & Jodie Renner

~ Truth is More Violent than Fiction – Or is it?” by six members of Crime Fiction Collective blog, including Jodie.

July 2012: Thrillerfest/Craftfest, NYC – attendee and volunteer

June 2012: Jessica Morrell’s Summer in Words writers’ conference, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Jodie gave a short talk on “Info Dumps, AYKB, and Other Author Intrusions.”

May 2012: Tallahassee Book Festival and Writers Conference, Tallahassee, Florida

January 2012: SDSU Writers’ Conference, San Diego, California.

July 2011: Thrillerfest & Craftfest in New York City (International Thriller Writers)

May–August 2011: Judge for Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Books Contest. Category: Genre Fiction.

May 2011: CanWrite! 2011 – Writers’ Conference, Grand Bend, Ontario. Jodie gave a talk on “The Pros and Cons of First-Person Point of View.”

March 2011: The Big Chile – Left Coast Crime’s crime fiction writers’ and readers’ conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jodie participated in a panel: “Industry Professionals on Publishing.”

February 2011: San Miguel Writers’ Conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Jodie’s proposal was accepted to present a 90-minute seminar on Point of View for the Feb. 2012 conference.

October 2010: Bouchercon (mystery and thriller writers fan convention) in San Francisco

July 2010: Craftfest at Thrillerfest, International Thriller Writers’ Conference, New York City

March 2010: Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, Arizona

June 2009: Editors’ Association of Canada annual conference, Toronto. Jodie was a presenter.

June 2009: MagNet Conference, Toronto (magazine writers and editors)





Learn practical techniques for bringing your characters and story to life and effectively drawing the reader in to your story world by using deep point of view, or close third-person POV.

This workshop will start with a brief discussion of point of view and the pros and cons of first-person POV vs. third-person POV (if time permits – depending on time allotted). Then the concept of deep point of view will be discussed, followed by practical tips for spotting point-of-view problems, like hovering above or bouncing from one viewpoint to another (“head-hopping”) within a scene. Jodie will give practical advice, with examples, on how to fix these problems in order to bring characters to life on the page and deepen reader engagement, resulting in a more compelling story that will appeal to readers, literary agents, and acquisition editors.

Some hands-on exercises will be provided, with POV problems to spot and correct, and participants are encouraged to bring a page or two of their own writing for help and guidance with POV issues. These can be presented anonymously, if you prefer. (Can run from 30 to 90 minutes long.)


This is a hands-on, interactive workshop. Jodie starts by presenting “before” excerpts from fiction manuscripts she’s edited, but with the names and circumstances changed, and asks the participants what could be improved in each passage. It might be point of view issues, a slow opening, excessive wordiness, logic problems, “telling” instead of “showing,” stilted dialogue, “talking heads,” slow pacing, awkward wording, style gaffes, poor word choices, and so on.

Students volunteer reasons why the passage is weak and ways to improve it, and Jodie elaborates and fills in anything they didn’t think of.

This workshop can run from 60 to 90 minutes long, as Jodie has a lot of examples of poor writing techniques (well-disguised, of course, to protect the writers).


You’re already confident with writing or editing nonfiction, so making the transition to fiction should be no big deal, right? Not. There’s actually a significant learning curve to recognizing and mastering the essential elements of writing fiction that captivates readers, sells well, and garners glowing reviews.

Jodie’s talk will discuss critical elements for writing or editing fiction as opposed to nonfiction. She’ll talk about concepts such as effective point of view, showing instead of telling, relaxing the language, avoiding info dumps and other author intrusions, adding in lots of conflict and tension, writing snappy dialogue, and avoiding neutral narration.

This talk assumes the story already has a strong, charismatic protagonist with some inner conflicts, a significant problem, and a compelling plot, but Jodie can discuss those, too, if time permits.

This presentation is interactive, and comments and questions are most welcome. Feel free to bring a short piece of writing to share for critique on loosening up the language or engaging the readers more.


We all know that thrillers and other fast-paced popular fiction need lots of tension, conflict, suspense, and intrigue to grip readers and provide a riveting, satisfying reading experience. But so does any other compelling story that will create a buzz and take off in sales. No matter what genre you write, it’s all about hooking your readers in, engaging them emotionally, and ensuring they keep eagerly turning the pages.

Editor and author Jodie Renner presents a checklist of essential elements and effective techniques for ratcheting up the “wow” factor of any novel or short story.

~ OTHER WORKSHOPS Jodie has presented to writing groups (details supplied on request) include the following topics:







“Jodie Renner presented a webinar called ‘Spark up Your Story – Adding Tension, Suspense, and Intrigue’ at our Cyber Symposium - A PD Event for Editors and Writers, in April 2014. Jodie’s webinar was excellent and her content was terrific for our writer and editor audience. Very well received and great information for writers of all genres to keep those pages turning!” 

– Caralee Hubbell, President, Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE)

I attended a workshop presented by Jodie Penner at When Words Collide conference recently. It was called “Spark Up Your Fiction”.

The material was presented in a clear and concise manner. The points Jodie made were clear. Keep your reader curious. Don’t tell your reader too much. Every scene needs conflict and change. As she was talking I was seeing the issues in my story. I have work to do. Thanks Jodie for sharing your expertise to help us reach our potential.

~ Leslie Johnson, The River Bottom Writers, Aug. 12, 2014

“Thank you, Jodie, for a very informative and practical session on adding suspense, tension and intrigue to writing at When Words Collide. I loved your session so much I bought your book, Fire Up Your Fiction. Thank you so much.”

~ Constantine Kaoukakis, Aug. 9, 2014

“At WHEN WORDS COLLIDE 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, I was able to attend two of Jodie Renner’s sessions, ‘Spark Up Your Story’ and ‘Engage Your Readers With A Deep Point Of View.’ I was captivated by all the awesome and useful information, and my notes didn’t do it justice, so I had to buy both of her books. Jodie is a very pleasant, approachable, and knowledgeable woman, and I would attend her workshops in the future.”

~ Shannon Still, Aug. 13, 2014

“Hi, Jodie. I enjoyed your presentation Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View at When Words Collide. I ended up deleting over 5000 words from my manuscript. I rewrote them using your advice, and my story is very much improved.  Thank you for the great advice!”

~ Janice Hillmer, Aug. 15, 2014

“I was looking for help writing my thriller and was lucky enough to attend Jodie’s webinar, ‘Spark up Your Story: Adding Tension, Suspense and Intrigue.’ Jodie has an uncanny ability to demystify the mysteries in writing a killer thriller. I have both of her books, Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller, and they are coffee-stained and dog-eared, kind of like my favorite cookbooks. Today I feel like I got to hear a great chef sharing more of her secret recipes, and thanks to her, I’m inspired to go cook up some new plot twists.”

~ Pinny Bugaeff, April 11, 2014

“Jodie Renner made my time a huge success at this year’s SDSU Writers’ Conference in San Diego. Her presentation on revision, titled “Revise for Success,” was thorough, informative, and succinct. As writers, we often forget some of the rudimentary parts that make a book enjoyable to the reader. Writers also need to always learn more of the subtle nuances that go into great writing. Jodie covered the full range. Her book, “Style that Sizzles,” delves into how to write books that are powerful to the reader. Jodie Renner was a true find at the 2014 San Diego Writers’ Conference. I intend to stay current on whatever future projects that include Jodie Renner.”

~ William Patterson, San Diego, Jan. 31, 2014

On Jodie’s workshop on Deep POV at the SDSU Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Jan. 2014:

“Jodie Renner took 15 minutes to knock five years of bad writing habits out of me. Thank you.”

~ Lauren Monahan, Jan. 29, 2014

“Jodie Renner knows fiction writing and editing. I attended her ‘Deep Point of View’ workshop at this year’s Killer Nashville conference and was impressed with the depth of her knowledge. She was able to pinpoint common problem areas using specific examples, practical and common-sense fixes and how to avoid the mine fields of POV. One of the workshop participants chimed in at the end of the workshop, saying, ‘This was the best and most useful session I’ve attended in the whole conference.’”

~ Parker Francis, author of the Quint Mitchell Mystery series,, August 28, 2013

I attended Jodie’s seminar on Deep POV at Killer Nashville writers’ conference. Jodie’s a very skilled teacher, with excellent delivery – never a dull moment. I know that what I learned from her session will greatly improve my writing. Thank you, Jodie!

~ Lynn Mann, author of Mr. Smith’s Errand 

“After attending Jodie Renner’s seminar on Deep Point of View at Killer Nashville and putting her tips, tricks and advice to work, I am able to identify and correct scenes and passages guiding my reader to really get into my characters’ skin, as well as their heads. Jodie brings examples of the do’s and don’ts and keeps the discussion lively with interaction, personality and passion. After reading her books, it is clear to me that Jodie is the go-to person for anyone writing in the thriller and suspense genres who want to grab their reader and keep them turning the pages all night long. Jodie provides an abundance of knowledge that, when utilized, will bring your writing to a higher level. If you have the opportunity to attend a seminar given by this dynamic professional, I would highly recommend it.”

Lisa Mork, author, Gurnee, Illinois, Aug. 27, 2013

“At Killer Nashville 2013, I moderated a panel called ‘Be Your Own Editor – Make Your Book the Best it Can Be.’ Jodie Renner and two other editors/writers answered questions aimed at helping fiction writers revise and self-edit their work. Jodie’s answers were insightful and practical, with a lot of excellent tips for self-editing. When it comes to writing and editing fiction, Jodie obviously knows her stuff and communicates her ideas with enthusiasm.”

~ Jaden (Beth) Terrell, Executive Director, Killer Nashville & Shamus Award nominee

“Sitting in on Jodie Renner’s workshop on point of view was one of the best decisions I made at the recent Killer Nashville Writer’s Conference (which is a stupendous event). Actually, it was called Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View. Ms. Renner dove into some of the most common bugaboos that haunt many a manuscript-seeking publication, such as avoiding ‘head hopping’, including too many POVs, and making sure the character doing the thinking / describing / ruminating is the correct one to choose.

“Jodie used many examples from manuscripts that she has edited over the years (names and details changed to protect the innocent, or guilty) as a means of reference. Those tidbits helped to clarify the do’s and don’ts and provided the ‘ah hah’ moments.

“Jodie also provided us with a couple of pages of problematic POV examples for us to identify. Catching those POV snafus certainly helped to heighten the awareness of where a problem could sneak into to my writing…and has. I thought that I pretty much had POV down. I mean, it’s simply go with first or third (rarely second), but Jodie got me going back into my work in progress once I got home and combing through it to get a little deeper into what works best with POV.”

Ricky Bush, author,

“I moderated a panel with Jodie at Thrillerfest, July 2013, called “How to Become a Masterful Editor – of Your Own Work,” and immediately I could tell she knew her stuff. That conference tends to attract serious students of the craft, and I saw a lot of pens moving as she talked. Especially for writers who are right on the cusp of doing publishable work – but are maybe one or two steps away – Jodie was offering the kind of practical, insightful, concrete advice they need and crave.”

Brad Parks, Shamus-, Nero- and Lefty-winning author of the Carter Ross Thriller Series (St. Martin’s/Minotaur), July 2013

“Jodie Renner’s workshops and panels on writing and revising your fiction don’t just tell writers how to engage their readers with deep point of view or how to avoid style blunders in our fiction – she shows us how with concrete, clear examples. Jodie, herself, is engaging and her workshops are a valuable experience.”

Molly MacRae, author of The Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries & other cozy mysteries,

“Jodie Renner gave a wonderful presentation on ‘Do’s & Don’ts for a Compelling Opening’ to the London Writer’s Society on May 16, 2013. She discussed first pages and their importance and provided not only a list of Do’s and Don’ts, but discussed examples and fixes, something often missing in other workshops. There was a lively discussion with a lot of input from LWS members. Jodie talked on this and a variety of other subjects for almost two hours, and it would have been great to have had her for another hour since we were actually late getting out of our room at the library. I’m glad Jodie offered her services to LWS and I know the members were thrilled at her presentation. She’s an excellent speaker and knows her stuff.”

Pat Brown, President, London Writers Society,

“On Thursday, July 18, 2013, editor Jodie Renner gave a presentation on Self-publishing on Amazon to the London Writer’s Society. The meeting was packed and the discussion was well received and very informative. Jodie is an excellent speaker and very knowledgeable in publishing. She’s the consummate professional, and I highly recommend her for presentations as well as for her editing.”

P.A. Brown, President of the London Writer’s Society and author of the L.A. Crime series 

“I recently attended my first Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. While all the panels and workshops were informative and entertaining, a writing craft workshop by Jodie Renner called ‘Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View’ really stood out.

Renner captivated her audience by explaining why using deep point of view or close third-person POV helps draw readers in. She also provided examples from manuscripts she had edited, changing names and circumstances to point out POV mistakes new writers make and recommend ways to change them. The old adage “Show, don’t tell” really came alive with Renner’s examples.

I’m sure Jodie’s books, STYLE THAT SIZZLES & PACING FOR POWER – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, and WRITING A KILLER THRILLER – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction will be just as entertaining and helpful!”

~ Ruth M McCarty, author,

“On Sept. 24, 2013, Jodie Renner presented a seminar called ‘7 Essential Techniques for Switching from Nonfiction to Fiction’ to the Okanagan Editors’ Group and some area writers. Jodie’s talk was aimed at editors and writers who are accomplished at editing and writing nonfiction and now want to try their hand at fiction. As Jodie emphasized, there’s quite a learning curve, which writers are often unaware of, to writing compelling fiction that captivates readers. Engaging storytelling is quite a leap from information sharing.

“Jodie’s talk was enthusiastic and informative, and included an interactive activity at the end and also a handout for attendees, who all went away with some valuable advice and important techniques to consider when writing or editing engrossing, entertaining fiction. We look forward to hosting Jodie for another of her talks in 2014.”

~ Arlene Prunkl, Okanagan Editors’ Group, Kelowna, BC, Sept. 26, 2013

“At Osoyoos, B.C., on Sept. 19, 2013, I sat in on Jodie’s presentation, “21 Tips for Creating Compelling Short Stories.” Not only her knowledge of the topic, but her energy and enthusiasm made me want to rush home and complete those two short stories that have been idling in the drawer. Jodie offered everyone a typed copy of her list of 21 tips, and she brought extra interest to her presentation by using examples from her editing work. There’s always more I can learn about refining my writing skills, and I’m glad Jodie’s skills and tips are so available.”

~ D.F. Barrett, author of prize-winning short stories

“Last month, Jodie Renner was a special guest speaker at the regular meeting of O’s Own Writers in Osoyoos, B.C.  She gave a presentation called “21 Tips for Creating a Compelling Short Story.”  She was prepared with handouts containing an outline of her talk.  This meant we were able to focus on her presentation instead of being busy making notes.  Some of us were familiar with Jodie’s reputation as an editor and writer, and some had also read at least one of her books and some of her on-line posts.  She certainly knows her “stuff.”  As a professional editor, she gave concrete examples of how to make a short story better and to write with contests or publication as a goal.

Jodie was concerned that she didn’t want to monopolize the whole meeting, but we were happy to listen to her, and we had lots of questions for her as well.  Too bad she lives so far away.  It would be great to have her as a regular at our meetings.  Maybe she’ll come see us again the next time she’s in B.C.”

~ Jody Chadderton, unofficial secretary and long-time member of O’s Own Writers, Osoyoos, B.C., Oct. 18, 2013