“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” , “They said my writing was ‘clunky’, but I don’t know which parts are going clunk!” , “I don’t know how to plot out a WHOLE BOOK. What if I change my mind?!” , “How do I make my characters “more interesting”?!”
Writing is the easiest thing in the world to do. Writing WELL, is … well, more difficult. Especially when you don’t know what you need to improve, and sadly, your mom’s “It’s not bad, honey!” isn’t helpful. [Duck! Pitch incoming!] If you’ve got three weeks and $300, I’m offering an online-only workshop that will teach you how to approach your writing, and learn to recognize mistakes, places to improve, and provide you resources and information so that you can go on to further your own education!
Week One: Finding your Style – We’ll discuss the different types of fiction and the common styles per genre, write, submit, read and review class submissions (anonymously!) to hone the editorial eye, — YES YOU HAVE TO WRITE IN THIS CLASS. There will be daily writing assignments. — discuss active vs. passive styles and how to use them appropriately, pacing, tension, and the Scene – Sequel method of writing paragraphs. This is NOT a creative writing course. This is a course on studying the structure of your writing.
Week Two: Finding your Voice – We’ll be applying Week One lessons to discussing World-Building, Character building, Themes, the Hero(ine)’s Journey, and pulling the details out of your ideas. There will be daily writing assignments, which we will go over during class time, because we can all learn from each other.
Week Three: Putting It Together – This week we will be working on building outlines, writing synopses, discussing writing software and investments, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing vs. hybrid publishing, marketing, websites, and brand building.
“Can I just take one of the three weeks?” – No, because the three classes are planned to build upon each other and it’s unfair to waste other people’s class time re-explaining something that was covered in a previous week.
“What age of writer is this workshop intended for?” – I would say serious teen to adult. I would not be comfortable with children under the age of 13 taking this class without an adult present at all times.
“How long is the class going to be?” – My plan is for the teaching section of the class to run about 30-45 minutes, the review section of the writing assignments to be 30 minutes, and then a 15 minute Q&A session as needed. We’ll be meeting every day M-F. Most writing assignments will be short.
“If I miss a day, are you recording things so I can catch up?” – Mmmmnope. One, recording people requires all sorts of paperwork and liability stuff I’d have to keep, and there is already enough crap in my desk. Two, I don’t want to state that I will, forget one day, and be unable to fulfill a promise. But I will send you a link to the slide show so that you can review the material covered, on your own time, if you want.
“I don’t like your class or can’t finish it! I want a refund!” – Nope. One, this is a limited size class, so if you signed up, you may have taken a spot that someone else wanted. Two, This is not something I am making money on. This workshop is going to take me about 4 hours of my time every single day at minimum. 4 hours a day * 5 days * 3 weeks = 60 hours. Divide 300/60 = $5 per hour per student. This is something I am offering because I want to pass on the things I’ve learned over the last ten years and four books to my fellow new authors, but only if the interest is there.
Can I get a discount because I am your friend? – Only if you’re an ‘I’ve seen you naked’ friend.
What are your credentials? I’ve published three books, had two short stories published in award-winning anthologies, am a member of Sisters in Crime, and I read books and know things. Also, I like cats, which implies the optimistic fatalism required to be a writer, but if you’re looking for harsh literary criticism, a Bostonian accent, and in-depth discussions of Chekhov vs. Pushkin over clove cigarettes and cheap Pinot Noir, then you should check elsewhere. But leave the Pinot Noir.
“I’m scared you’ll tell me my writing is trash… “ – Nope. My job is to teach you how to judge your own work and how to check for common weaknesses, give you information, and improve your ability to get your work published and out there.
“I’m concerned you won’t appreciate my PURE GENIUS and will suggest I CHANGE THINGS instead of lavishing me with praise and admiration!” – I probably won’t. Don’t take this class.
“Can I just send you the manuscript I’ve been working on and you tell me how to fix it?” – Nope. Because that won’t make you a better writer if you don’t understand HOW and WHY to fix it.
What times and days will the classes be? – At the sign-up form, there will be three choices for times. Please indicate your preferences, (1st, 2nd, 3rd), but if none of those work for you, don’t email me and ask to change them. There will be a comment where you can indicate a desire for full-day Sat. / Sun classes, but that will not be offered unless it fills up with five students as their first choice, because it is more difficult for me to read and review the writing submissions appropriately in that set-up, and I want to make sure everyone gets the same amount of attention.