Programing Note:

Due to the current pandemic situation, we have moved our monthly meetings online using Zoom. An invitation will be announced to our members in good standing each month via the RWA forum. The meetings will open at 9:30 a.m. for technical assistance and the program itself will begin at 10:00 a.m.


July Program

Building Stronger Stories



Sheila Athens

Sheila Athens is a traditionally-published author and a book coach who specializes in mainstream fiction, women’s fiction and romance.  After getting her start as a book coach at Author Accelerator, she founded her own private coaching and editing business, where she’s edited dozens of manuscripts. Her clients have gone on to gain agents, Big 5 publishing contracts and successful sales in the self-publishing realm. Her schedule stays full due to word-of-mouth advertising from her many satisfied clients. Her debut novel, The Truth About Love, was a finalist for the 2013 RWA Golden Heart Award before being sold to Montlake. She has stayed current on the publishing landscape by serving as chairperson for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Agent Pitch Events.  For more about Sheila, visit


In this session, we’ll talk about two important parts of the storytelling process.

First, we’ll talk about the big picture story elements—how a writer can and should identify the point and shape of her story before she starts writing. We’ll examine how to identify the important scenes that amplify your protagonist’s character arc. 

Secondly, as GRW members prepare to submit their work to the Maggies, we’ll talk about those all-important first few pages—how a manuscript can grab the reader by the collar and pull her into the story. Those first few pages are valuable real estate. Let’s use them wisely. 

Get ready for a fast-paced and lively discussion as Sheila Athens shares her knowledge from having edited dozens of manuscripts in the romance genre and beyond. 

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