July Workshop Schedule
All July workshops have room. All are limited to five writers max.
Class #1… July 5th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 5th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 5th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 5th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 5th … Character Development
Class #6… July 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 6th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 6th … Teams in Fiction
Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.
Topic of the Night: Some New Workshop Ideas
We saw a movie tonight called Money Monster. Now it was a damn fine movie, and we both liked it. On the hour-long drive home, Kris asked me what I thought of the movie and I said “It was right on the rails, just perfect.”
She agreed. Great characters and a plot on the rails makes for a very, very satisfying movie.
And then Kris said, “That would make a good workshop. Teach people how to write on the rails and make the story work.”
So that was workshop idea one. Let me explain.
Every genre has reader or viewer expectations. If you, the writer, understand those expectations, you can really, really please your readers or viewers by telling an original story yet keeping it inside of viewer expectation. That’s what Kris and I call “On the rails.”
On the rails means reader expectations are met. And in every genre there are a bunch of reader expectations that if you follow, you sell more copies and get readers telling others about your book. Doesn’t mean the book isn’t original, not at all. It means that in your original story you gave readers what they wanted.
Reader expectations for me are so ingrained now, I don’t even much think about them and never as I write.
With Money Monster, that movie delivered exactly what I wanted when I went to see it. Great characters, a light message, a plot that wasn’t deep but still kept you on the edge of your seat at times because you cared about the characters.
The second workshop idea came when Kris and I were discussing that I sometimes can’t get off the Analog couch. The Analog couch term came about in one workshop when all the scientists who wrote science fiction in the workshop sat on the same couch every day and wouldn’t let a science detail go by without question.
With time travel, I am firmly on the Analog couch. I love time travel, have written so many forms of time travel, it scares me. And even though time travel is not yet science, I try to keep the ramifications of traveling in time in place in my stories.
You know the loop in Groundhog’s Day Movie? Well, I am serializing my first novel that came out a decade before that movie and that novel has a time loop in it like that. I have yet to find a place in science fiction where a time loop was used as a prison before I wrote that book in 1987, but I am sure it was done somewhere. So since my first novel, I’ve been writing time travel and studying it.
And yet, I know there is a place in stories for someone to go up and touch a stone and some magic takes the person back into time. Or have a character duck into that special closet as Stephen King did with a recent book to get the character back in time.
Kris is going to teach a coast workshop this fall (which is full) on Alternate Worlds, Time Travel, and Historical Fiction. So we thought it would be fun if I did a workshop on how to write time travel stories and novels, from ducking through a closet to multiple timeline problems of physics. A time travel workshop I teach will be nothing at all like what Kris is going to teach. Nothing.
There are a lot of tricks and ways to look at time travel that will keep your readers happy as you build great characters in the process.
The third workshop we talked about me teaching is mystery. We have a classic SF workshop and a thriller workshop. So we both thought it might be time to help some people understand how mystery can be part of any kind of novel, from young adult to science fiction or in one of the many sub genres of the mystery genre.
I have written a lot of mystery stories and novels over the years and I would have a blast teaching a mystery workshop.
And me having fine is honestly the reason I am mentioning these possible new workshops. I’ve been keeping myself focused and interested in workshops by starting new workshops this year. And retiring or putting into classic structure some of the older ones.
I want to keep learning. I learn when I teach and create these workshops. They cause Kris and I to have wonderful discussions about craft and business when we put them together.
So I need some feedback. I do not have any of these on a schedule, so no worry about signing up for any of them. In fact, some or all of them might not happen. Just let me know if any of them interest you.
#1… Workshop 1… Reader Expectations (Writing on the Rails)
#2… Workshop 2… Time Travel workshop. (How to write it.)
#3… Workshop 3… Mystery. (How to write it and use it in all genres.)
#4… All of the above interests me.
#5… None of the above interests me.
Or if you have another idea for a workshop that interests you, write me.
Feel free to leave your comments in the comments section, or write me privately. Both ways are fine.
Thanks for the help and remember, just because you say you are interested does not commit you to taking the workshop. This is just an interest poll. Some or all of these workshops might never happen.