Writing Workshops & Other Events

Sandra loves to share her writing and research adventures in presentations filled with humorous anecdotes, and eye-opening insights.

Through a variety of lively workshops, she also loves to help aspiring fiction writers develop their craft. Or to ignite the imagination of those who think they could never write fiction.

Sandra Orchard speaking at a writing workshop

  She is available for community and church events, bookstore events, writers’ groups, book clubs, and library or classroom guest visits to discuss writing, the writer’s life, topics related to any of her books, her personal journey and testimony or to engage in a Q&A session.

To schedule a speaking event or writing workshop

please email Sandra Orchard

Scroll down for topics and a workshop video clip.



Writing Process – (20-30 minutes) In a lively presentation, filled with humorous anecdotes, Sandra discusses how she develops and researches her stories from first idea to finished book. Pairs well with a Q&A session about writing.

Journey Toward Publication – (20-30 minutes) Sandra’s personal story of becoming a published author and beyond. Pairs well with a Q&A session about writing in general or a specific book.

So You Want to Be a Writer? – (1 1/2 hour workshop) Join award-winning, mystery and romantic suspense author, Sandra Orchard, as she walks you through a whirlwind tour of novel-writing and helps you to unleash your own creative talents in a lively group collaboration.

Q & A – (from 20-45 minutes) Sandra will answer questions about the hilly road to becoming a published author, about publishing in general, or writing in general.

Sandra is available to SKYPE with groups, if desired.

Suggested fee: Sandra doesn’t charge for speaking at events for non-profits. She requests reimbursement, however, for travel expenses outside of Niagara, Ontario, Canada.



Writing Journey as a Christian Fiction Author – (20-30 minutes) Sandra’s personal story of becoming a published author and beyond. Pairs well with a Q&A session about writing in general or a specific book.

Writing to God’s Glory – (20-30 minutes) Sandra offers inspiration and insight to aspiring writers on how God can and is using their writing in ways they might never have imagined or realized.

Open to requests for other topics.

Suggested Fee: Sandra doesn’t charge church groups, except for travel expenses. If she is speaking as part of a larger event, she requests that registration fees or other expenses she’d incur to attend the event, be waived or offset proportionally.



Fiction Basics – 1, 2, 3 or 5 hour programs are available.

-Interactive, lecture format with hands-on examples and an image-intensive powerpoint presentation and extensive handouts to aid retention

In this comprehensive continuing class, participants learn the essential components—goal, conflict and disaster—of a scene and how to choose them wisely and write them well. Next, they learn how to structure their novels scene by compelling scene, in a way that will grip readers from beginning to end. Thirdly, they learn how to story board their novels, and gain a deeper understanding of the importance and role of major turning points and how they’re used to propel characters toward their goal and inner growth. Finally, participants will gain tips for choosing the best pov for a scene, how to fix pacing and avoid episodic writing, and how to avoid the most common plot and writing problems.

(lengths under 3 hours will not cover all topics)

Subtext – (90 min – 2 hr)

Readers crave an emotional reading experience. But many manuscripts fall flat because they lack consistent use of subtext. Subtext is what hooks your reader page by page, engaging them in the story to a much greater depth than on-the-nose writing. Through an interactive lecture format, including hands-on practice (for the longer session), this workshop helps writers understand how to utilize subtext in their stories.

How to Write a Selling Synopsis – (1 hour)

Learn how to write a concise synopsis that will convince an agent or editor that your novel both tells a compelling story and has the essential elements they seek. Or discover what your story is missing and learn how to fix it, before sending out queries. We will look at several models for writing a synopsis, as well as, study examples of synopses that sold. Learn what a synopsis is, and what it isn’t, and how it is used in the publishing process.

Writing Romantic Suspense – (1 hour)

This workshop identifies the difference between mysteries and romantic suspense, and the expectations of its readers. Writers that aspire to excel in this genre need to be able to write both a satisfying romance, and a suspense plot full of twists and turns and… intertwine those two heart-pounding plots from beginning to end without sacrificing pacing. To that end, this class gives writers a deeper understanding of the essential components of a romantic suspense and how to utilize them to better meet readers’ high expectations. It’s presented in a lecture format with an image-intensive power point presentation and extensive handouts to aid retention. 

What Do I Write About? – (1 1/2 hours or more; for groups from 5-30 people)

Following a brief review of story genres, Sandra guides participants through the brainstorming process to develop a plot and characters. This interactive session provides tremendous insights into the creative process and how to tap into your imagination. Participants will leave with take home resources they’ll use again and again.

Masterclass Intensive – Essential Techniques to Master the Craft of Writing Compelling Fiction 

  • taught in 3 one hour virtual sessions plus critiques at Write Canada 2021

Brainstorming Session – ( time varies)

This session can be appended to an event at no extra charge. Sandra will work with groups of 20 people or less, assisting in brainstorming individuals’ stories.

SUGGESTED FEE FOR WRITING-RELATED WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS: $125/hr teaching time + travel expenses if the location is outside Niagara, Ontario, Canada. 

Click to view a Workshop Clip

(requires Quicktime; right click to open link in new window to allow time to load)

Former Events include:

Community: Lincoln, Pelham, Fort Erie and Thorold Public Libraries; Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Dinner, Hospice Niagara day program, Hospice Niagara Volunteers’ Retreat, various churches and Christian schools

Conferences: Write Kitchener, Write Canada, Q&A at CLAO conference,

Webinars: ACFW Chapters: Colorado Springs, Pennsylvania; Write Canada 2020 & 2021

Retailer Events: Heritage Christian Bookstore, Living Books, Summer in Paris event hosted by David C Cook Distributing, The Gospel Lighthouse Bookstores, R&B Novel-Teas, 

Retreats: Women’s Creativity for the Soul Retreat; Finding and Sharing God in Unexpected Places