New Online Workshops

Starting the first week of February we have five craft workshops that still have room if anyone is interested, or know of any writer interested. The online workshops are open to anyone with a desire to learn.

These workshops take about four hours per week of your time people tell me.

And we are announcing two new ones as well.  They are

How to Plot Your Novel

and

World Building

These are both novel workshops on craft that last six weeks.  They will start the first week of March and the descriptions are below.

Here is a full list of the workshops and descriptions.  All have openings at the moment. Feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested.  Sign-up information under Online Workshops tab above.

February starting workshops

CLIFFHANGERS Workshop #9 Starting Monday Feb 4th.
How to keep a reader reading from chapter to chapter and from scene to scene. There are many ways besides the standard “hero hanging from a cliff” that the name of the technique is named after. In fact, there are six major cliffhangers and each week in this course will cover another way to keep your readers hooked into your stories. It will also cover how to speed up your stories and even understand when a scene or chapter should end. Understanding how to use the major cliffhanger techniques will jump your sales and keep readers coming back to your work.

PITCHES AND BLURBS Workshop #10 Starting Tuesday Feb 5th.
Maybe the most important workshop we do. This workshop will teach you how to write great ad copy for your stories and novels. Name value, then covers, then ad copy are the top three things readers look at before sampling your book. This course will teach you how to write ad copy for electronic sales, for cover letters to editors, for catalog copy to bookstores, and also back cover copy for your books. This skill that takes time to learn and this workshop will get you on the road to selling more books and stories.

GENRE STRUCTURE Workshop #11 Starting Wednesday Feb 6th
Writers seldom know what genre they write in. Every wonder why your book isn’t selling well? Maybe it’s because you put your book on the wrong electronic shelf. Not only will this workshop teach you how to identify genres, but also will teach you the structure of all the major genres. That way if you decide to write a story or a novel in a certain genre, you will understand what you need to do.

OPENINGS Workshop #12 Starting Thursday Feb 7th
Readers, if they make it through your cover and your ad copy, they open your book and sample your story or novel. And if you don’t know how to open a story, no reader or editor will buy it. There are ways to write openings of stories that will grab the reader and this course will teach you that. Also, every time you start a new chapter or a new section, you must grab the reader and keep them reading with the opening. This course will teach you how to do that and work with you on the tricks and writing techniques of professional fiction writers.

FROM IDEA TO STORY Workshop #12a Starting Friday Feb 8th.
How to generate ideas for stories and then how to turn the ideas into solid stories. Professional writers never wait for the muse. We know how to take anything and make it into a story. This workshop will get you over all the fears of starting and give you an entire bag of tools and tricks to take almost nothing and turn it into a story that sells. From basic opening tricks to story structure, this will cover it all. And there is a lot to cover.
———-

March starting workshops

—- COVER DESIGN Workshop D5 starting Monday March 5th
Everything you need to know about book cover design, from basic layout to fonts and which fonts work together. This will include how to design covers for both electronic and print books, including spines and back covers. Make your books look professional.

—- COVER DESIGN Workshop D6 starting Tuesday March 6th
Everything you need to know about book cover design, from basic layout to fonts and which fonts work together. This will include how to design covers for both electronic and print books, including spines and back covers. Make your books look professional.

—- INTERIOR BOOK DESIGN Workshop D7 starting Wednesday March 7th
Everything you need to know about designing an interior of a book from basic front page layout to fonts and which fonts work together and which fonts are good for reading. You will learn margins, leading, running headers, masters for page counts, and so much more. This class is for the interior of print books. Make your books look professional.

—- HOW TO PLOT YOUR NOVEL Workshop N1 starting Thursday March 8th
Everything you might think you need and a ton more about how to plot a novel, from idea to finished plot. Includes such topics as plot threads, viewpoints, pacing, and a ton more. This will take you from an idea to a full novel outline and teach you how to do it any time you want without fear.

—- WORLD BUILDING Workshop N2 starting Friday March 9th
How to make the worlds in your fiction seem real, including how to build science fiction worlds, mystery worlds, fantasy worlds and so much more.  And how to present the worlds in a way that readers can follow them without huge information dumps. Hundreds of tricks and details about how to put a world together and make it real in any genre.

———

April starting workshops

CLIFFHANGERS Workshop #13 Starting Monday April 1st.
How to keep a reader reading from chapter to chapter and from scene to scene. There are many ways besides the standard “hero hanging from a cliff” that the name of the technique is named after. In fact, there are six major cliffhangers and each week in this course will cover another way to keep your readers hooked into your stories. It will also cover how to speed up your stories and even understand when a scene or chapter should end. Understanding how to use the major cliffhanger techniques will jump your sales and keep readers coming back to your work.

PITCHES AND BLURBS Workshop #14 Starting Tuesday April 2nd.
Maybe the most important workshop we do. This workshop will teach you how to write great ad copy for your stories and novels. Name value, then covers, then ad copy are the top three things readers look at before sampling your book. This course will teach you how to write ad copy for electronic sales, for cover letters to editors, for catalog copy to bookstores, and also back cover copy for your books. This skill that takes time to learn and this workshop will get you on the road to selling more books and stories.

-ESSENTIALS OF A FICTION WRITING CAREER Workshop #15 Starting Wednesday April 3rd
This will cover all the basics of being a fiction writer, from how to make money, how indie publishing works in this new world for writers, and six craft exercises to get each person to a certain place in their writing career. The exercises will help each writer understand where they are strong and where they need work to sell more stories and books. Also, this will help writers understand the role of traditional publishing in this modern world as well as how to combine the two. If you ever wanted to be a professional fiction writer, this is the course that will show you how to get to that goal and what you need to work on.

—- FROM IDEA TO STORY Workshop #16 Starting Wednesday April 4th
How to generate ideas for stories and then how to turn the ideas into solid stories. Professional writers never wait for the muse. We know how to take anything and make it into a story. This workshop will get you over all the fears of starting and give you an entire bag of tools and tricks to take almost nothing and turn it into a story that sells. From basic opening tricks to story structure, this will cover it all. And there is a lot to cover.

—— GENRE STRUCTURE Workshop #16a Starting Friday April 5th
Writers seldom know what genre they write in. Every wonder why your book isn’t selling well? Maybe it’s because you put your book on the wrong electronic shelf. Not only will this workshop teach you how to identify genres, but also will teach you the structure of all the major genres. That way if you decide to write a story or a novel in a certain genre, you will understand what you need to do.

————

May starting workshops

—- COVER DESIGN Workshop D8 starting Monday May 6th
Everything you need to know about book cover design, from basic layout to fonts and which fonts work together. This will include how to design covers for both electronic and print books, including spines and back covers. Make your books look professional.

—- INTERIOR BOOK DESIGN Workshop D9 starting Tuesday May 7th
Everything you need to know about designing an interior of a book from basic front page layout to fonts and which fonts work together and which fonts are good for reading. You will learn margins, leading, running headers, masters for page counts, and so much more. This class is for the interior of print books. Make your books look professional.

—- HOW TO PLOT YOUR NOVEL Workshop N3 starting Wednesday May 8th
Everything you might think you need and a ton more about how to plot a novel, from idea to finished plot. Includes such topics and plot threads, viewpoints, pacing, and a ton more. This will take you from an idea to a full novel outline and teach you how to do it any time you want without fear.

—- WORLD BUILDING Workshop N4 starting Thursday May 9th
How to make the worlds in your fiction seem real, including how to build science fiction worlds, mystery worlds, fantasy worlds and so much more.  And how to present the worlds in a way that readers can follow them without huge information dumps. Hundreds of tricks and details about how to put a world together and make it real in any genre.

— (new workshop to be announced in March)

—-

Workshop Schedule

Each workshop is 6 weeks long and is limited to twelve people. (Again, it will take you about four hours per week to do each of these.) These are the starting dates of upcoming workshops. All have openings at the moment.

Class #9… February 4th, 2013… Monday… Cliffhangers
Class #10… February 5th, 2013… Tuesday… Pitches and Blurbs
Class #11… February 6th, 2013… Wednesday… Genre Structure
Class #12… February 7th, 2013… Thursday… Openings
Class #12A… February 8th, 2013… Friday… Idea to Story

Class #D5… March 4th, 2013… Monday… Covers
Class #D6… March 5th, 2013… Tuesday… Covers
Class #D7… March 6th, 2013… Wednesday… Interiors
Class #N1… March 7th, 2013… Thursday… Plot Your Novel
Class #N2… March 8th, 2013… Friday… World Building

Class #13… April 1st, 2013… Monday… Cliffhangers
Class #14… April 2nd, 2013… Tuesday… Pitches and Blurbs
Class #15… April 3rd, 2013… Wednesday… Essentials
Class #16… April 4th, 2013… Thursday… From Idea to Story
Class #16a… April 5th, 2013… Friday… Genre Structure

Class #D8… May 6th, 2013… Monday… Covers
Class #D9… May 7th, 2013… Tuesday… Interiors
Class #N3… May 8th, 2013… Wednesday… Plot Your Novel
Class #N4… May 9th, 2013… Thursday… World Building

Class #17… June 3rd, 2013… Monday… Cliffhangers
Class #18… June 4th, 2013… Tuesday… Pitches and Blurbs
Class #19… June 5th, 2013… Wednesday… Genre Structure
Class #20… June 6th, 2013… Thursday… Openings

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15 Responses to New Online Workshops

  1. Jonathan says:

    I have a question about the “How to Plot Your Novel” workshop. The description mentions outlining, but I’m more of a pantsier. I’ve tried outlining a few times before and every time it ended up killing the story. (By the time I finished outlining, even the barebones outlining you mentioned in the ideas to story workshop, I was was bored with the story and couldn’t write it.) The closest I can safely get to outlining is to have some vague notions to where I might like it to go as long as I don’t write it down. Will the “How to Plot Your Novel” workshop focus on outlines or will it work with both outliners and pantsiers?

    • dwsmith says:

      Jonathan, both. It’s to help understand the basic novel structure so you can feel more confident either outlining or flying into the dark. It’s stunning how there is a basic structure under novels. Like a skeleton under a human. We all look and act different, but the skeleton structure is there and that’s what this workshop is all about, getting those who take it a deeper knowledge of the bones of any novel so they can write from an outline or into the dark. That make sense?

    • Mark says:

      What worked for me is reading the works of other authors…multiple times. Take Dean Koontz. Not an especially complex author (except perhaps “From the Corner of His Eye), he has a lot of great short stories you can study. After the third reading, I saw visual markers relating to pacing, plot, mood, setting…almost like reading a map, or musical composition (or poetry, I suppose).

      I learn the most about plotting by re-reading my favorite stories. It is all about timing for me at least.

  2. Zelah Meyer says:

    Hi Dean,

    Oo! New workshops! :)

    I’ve been wondering – how much of a part does craft play in the Essentials course? Also – is it ‘craft’ in terms of things like: dialogue, setting, openings, etc. – or is it ‘craft’ in terms of: layout, formatting, cover design, etc.?

    • dwsmith says:

      Zelah,

      Actually, the essentials is just that, a ton of details about everything in publishing, but every week there is a craft assignment to turn in. And a bunch of help with craft and writing things as well as all the publishing stuff. Essentials is sort of the “kitchen sink” of publishing details.

  3. I have a few questions as well. Does the Idea to Story workshop focus on short stories, novels, or is it applicable to both? And what level of writer are these workshops geared toward? I’m thinking of either taking Idea to Story, or Genre Structure. I’ve read articles and taken workshops on these topics before, but sometimes a different take can set off light bulbs. I’ve been writing toward publication for 15 years, and have three indie-published books out, so I’m interested in intermediate to advanced topics. Thanks!

    • dwsmith says:

      Jennette, the Idea to Story focuses on both, actually, and you end up doing both and now to take a simple idea and make it into a novel. These workshops tend to have levels. I would say they tend to run toward intermediate, but beginners do fine and a few writers I would call more advanced took it last time and said they learned a ton. Ideas is an area that writers of all levels seem to have troubles so it is geared that way. Same with genre structure. Writers of all levels have trouble understanding structure of each genre. Let alone even knowing what they are writing at times. So that workshop is also fine for any level of writer. That help?

      And these are very different workshops than anything you have taken before, I promise. (grin)

    • Cora says:

      Jenette, I’ve taken them both and found them to be motivating and full of excellent information. Because I write in different genres, I found that the Genre Structure course really helped me get a better grip on what’s important and what the focus is in the different genres. On the other hand, the Ideas workshop left me with terrific ideas for a bunch of new novels and short stories. Between the 2 workshops I now have more than a dozen starts waiting to be gotten to. I think that no matter what you take, you will be satisfied.

  4. Hi, Dean,

    How is the new How to Plot a Novel workshop different from From Idea to Story, which I understood to basically be about how to plot?

    • dwsmith says:

      Richard, the idea is focused on how to get ideas and convert them into story. Yes, there is a little about plotting, but it is more about how to get an idea and get it going into a story and what an idea even is.

      How to Plot a Novel is a ton more. From character threads to how to break chapters to pacing to openings and closing and so much. Kris and I worked it out and honestly, we’re going to have a tough time cramming it all down into the six weeks, there is so much. But writers will come out it never worrying about novel plotting again, that much I can promise. (grin) Just like coming out of the idea workshop you will never worry about finding another idea again.

      • Rob Cornell says:

        I can attest to this for the idea workshop. I will never again worry about having an idea to write. Honestly, I could dump all the ideas I have right now, and still know if I wanted to write something, I could come up with something on the spot and write it.

        And Dean is a patient teacher. He answered my one-billion questions without gripe. :)

        Well worth it.

  5. Ken says:

    Is Kris doing any of these, or is that still (hopefully) in the works?

    • dwsmith says:

      Actually, Kris is involved with all of these. She and I plot them all out and detail them and fix assignments and all that. She has her devious fingers in them all. Except for maybe the covers and interiors workshops, which was me and Allyson.

      However, Kris and I are also starting up a lecture series that will start with us and move to many others as time goes on. Kris recorded one called “Read Like a Writer” that will be announced shortly. I have recorded a longer lecture on Heinlein’s Rules. These are not workshops, just lectures. Done in eight-to-ten minuted video segments. Kris’s is over an hour and will be $50.00 and Heinlein’s Rules is over two hours and will be $75.00. They will be on a protected web site like the workshops and can be listened to at a writer’s own schedule. We have other lectures scheduled, including Think Like a Publisher and audio lectures on all sorts of audio stuff. Stay tuned. I will announce it as a front page post in a week or so.

      So Kris is involved with all of it. In fact, she was the one who convinced me that we should do the “Plot a Novel” and “World Building” workshops and we worked together over many hours to detail out what needs to be in each week of that. You don’t think I could come up with all this myself, do you? (grin) I just get to do the talking and stuff on the classes. Although at times she looks at the homework assignments. (I think more to keep me on track. (grin))

  6. Dean,

    The text description for the March classes is off by a day. For example, it says the Plotting class is on Thursday the 8th. The schedule at the end says it’s Thursday the 7th; and yes, the 7th is a Thursday, not the 8th.

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