Online Workshops

Online Workshop Details



LIMIT OF 5 WRITERS PER REGULAR WORKSHOP.  This limit of 5 writers allows the instructor(s) to give each writer more personal attention.

Structure of every regular workshop:

— Each week for six weeks video lectures will be available for the writer to listen and watch in their own time.  (Video lectures will be about 4 to 7 or so minutes long each and there will be about six or so of them per week depending on topic.)

— Each week will include an assignment which will need to be sent as an attached file within five days. We will work personally with each writer or book designer, and send the assignments back to each person before the end of the week. (The assignments are not mandatory, but suggested to get the most out of each workshop.)

— Then each week we will record a short (5 minutes or so) video talking in general (never giving names) about the assignment for everyone in the class to watch. Then the following week’s assignment and lecture will be available.

— Each new video will be released on the same day of the week as the first one for six weeks. So if the workshop starts on Monday, the new weekly video session will be released every Monday.


— The classic workshops used to be regular workshops, but you can sign up for them, and go through all the videos as fast as you would like. The homework assignments are still there, as well as the responses from a previous workshop, but you do not send in any assignments. You just do them for yourself. And you can come back over the years as often as you want without any extra costs.

Standard workshops are all SIX WEEKS LONG.

Classic workshops you can go through as slow or as fast as you want.


Cost of online workshops is $300.00 each. (Payment instructions at the bottom of the page.)

Cost of Classic online workshops is $150.00 each. (Payment instructions at the bottom of the page.)


The workshops have a distinctive web site. The website will have FAQ and comments sections for discussions and other areas of interest for each workshop. About two or three days before each workshop I will contact each writer signed up and get them a password to the class location.

NO REFUNDS. However, your money can be moved to a different workshop down the road if you have schedule or health problems. We will work with you.

My e-mail address for these workshops is Please put only WORKSHOPS in the subject line. Or if I do not respond, please try again. I try to respond fairly quickly, meaning within the same day.


Sign up information at the bottom of the page!


Regular Workshop Schedule

Each regular workshop is 6 weeks long and is limited to only 5 writers. (Classic workshops are unlimited)

Again, it will take you about three hours per week to do each of these if you do the assignments. These are the starting dates of upcoming regular workshops. All have openings at the moment.

Class #51… June 6th … The Business of Writing
Class #52… June 6th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… June 6th … Author Voice
Class #54… June 6th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… June 7th … Teams in Fiction
Class #56… June 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… June 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… June 8th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #59… June 8th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… June 8th … Advanced Depth

Class #1… July 11th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 11th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 11th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 11th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 12th … Character Development
Class #6… July 12th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 12th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 13th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 13th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 13th … Teams in Fiction

Class #11… Aug 8th … The Business of Writing
Class #12… Aug 8th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Aug 8th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #14… Aug 8th … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Aug 9th … Teams in Fiction
Class #16… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Aug 9th … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Aug 10th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #19… Aug 10th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Aug 10th … Advanced Depth


No dates, since you can sign up for these at any point and go through them as slow or as fast as you would like. And as often as you would like.

Science Fiction… Classic
Writing in Series… Classic
Discoverability… Classic
Productivity… Classic
Making a Living with Your Writing… Classic
Genre Structure… Classic
Career… Classic


Workshop Descriptions

Remember, all these REGULAR workshops are limited to 5 writers per month.

Classic workshops are unlimited.


(Starting in June…)


In the modern world of fiction, teams of characters around a central figure play a critical part of the success of any novel or series. From NCIS to Star Trek to Harry Potter and Star Wars, teams form the center of most western fiction and storytelling

This workshop gives all the techniques and methods of building a successful team in your fiction, a team that readers will want to rejoin again and again, story after story.

This workshop will take a comprehensive look at how teams have come into our fiction and storytelling. From Lester Dent with Doc Savage to modern binge-watching shows, they all have teams.

In fact, in our modern world, readers and viewers are often uncomfortable when a team is not built quickly in a story.

And each character in the team plays a set role that you must be aware of as a writer before you can control the team in your own story. Readers are aware of a team member’s role, so being able to use that reader awareness to your advantage in your stories give you a massive advantage in sales.

This is a craft workshop similar to the depth workshop, with many examples of how teams are put together and built to bring in thousands of readers. And an awareness workshop. Once you see the roles of teams in fiction, you will never not be able to see it or use it in your own work.

This workshop will change your writing, just as the depth workshop did. Don’t miss this one.



The modern world of publishing forces writers to become businesses, more than ever before in history.  

And the Business of Writing is all about Control, about you controlling your own work.

This workshop is going to try to be a comprehensive look at the many business factors you must think about as a writer.

Here are just some of what will be covered:

— Levels of business and when and why… DBA, LLC, or Full Corporation
— How to safely hire help for your production.
— When and where do you need a contract, samples of basic contracts, and problems with TOS contracts.
— Accounting in all its forms, from the basics to more advanced.
— Tracking sales. What is needed, what isn’t needed
— Cash flow… the most critical element in any business.
— When can you think of going full time?
— Naming your business, pen names, and all the factors of names
— Taxes… the more you legally save is more you have to spend or save.
— Copyrights and ownership and control.
— Dealing with the high sales and low sales and the cycles of publishing sales.
— Spreading out cash streams. The value and the problems.
— Spreading out your business base. The value and the problems.
— How to keep your writing mentally separated from your business as much as possible.
— Organization… a ton of tricks and methods that work for many.
— How to keep from being completely overwhelmed.

— And so much more.

This workshop will not only cover business basics, but advanced business because even a writer starting off can take notes and come back to them later as their business grows. Also knowing options ahead of you can help you plan your business growth.

Don’t miss this one.



This workshop focuses on all the details in writing Fiction Sales Copy that will help your sales.

Boring always hurts stories and when boring comes through in sales copy, no one opens to the story.  

You want your stories to sell more, this workshop gives all the tricks.

Seven major ways of composing sales copy for your novels or short stories or non-fiction works. This workshop goes over it all detail by detail. When to use which technique.

How much plot do you put in?

How do you tell your readers what your book is about quickly, without too much plot.

How to grab a reader from the sales copy and make them want to open the book.

You will be practicing writing on your own work all the way through. So everything you do in this workshop will be able to be used instantly on your own books.

And even better, you will understand by the end of the six weeks why certain techniques work and why others do not. In other words, this workshop will help you understand the reasons behind the sales copy you will write.

You want more sales? This workshop can’t be missed.



This workshop focuses on dialog and advanced character building skills.

Details of the major workshops associated with this Dialog workshop.

Character Voice and Setting workshop focuses on how to make your characters distinct. Basic and difficult character workshop.

Depth and Advanced Depth workshops focus on how to pull a reader down into your character in openings.

Character Development workshop focuses on how to build a character through a book, including secondary characters.

Plotting with Depth focuses on how much depth you need at various points in your novel to hold a reader into the book.

Advanced Character and Dialog now focuses on how to make a living, breathing character that comes alive to your readers.

If you think all dialog is equal, this workshop is what you need. How a character talks, how dialog is structured, and so much more is critical to keeping a reader in your story and believing your character is really alive.

This workshop will also cover a bunch of basics in dialog, including burying your dialog and when to do it and when not to.

As with many of these workshops, this is an awareness workshop as well as a skill-learning workshop. You need to be aware that these techniques are even possible before you can use them in your own books.

Depth Workshop is a prerequisite for this workshop.



This workshop focuses on what it takes to develop your original author voice.

How to help your original author voice come out. Things to do to help. And things not to do that kill an author voice.

Boring always hurts stories. Your original author voice, your personal voice, makes stories interesting and original.  

The Character Voice workshop helps writers understand how to make characters distinct and different. Depth workshop helps you pull readers down into stories using characters.

But what sells stories and makes them memorable to readers often turns on the author voice. And since author voice is our natural voice, we can’t hear it or see it without training. That author voice seems boring to each of us, so writers often take out of their stories the very thing that makes the story original and different and memorable.

Some of the many details about this workshop

— An awareness workshop to start with. The only way to really understand some of these more advanced craft techniques is to become aware of the technique. That goes triple for author voice.

— How to see and identify an author voice, including your own. Once you see another author’s author voice and how it is used, you can see your own author voice much, much better.

— How to know when to use your author voice and when not to. How to even control author voice when you want to.

— How to do more author voice openings to pull readers into your stories. (This is talked about a little bit in Advanced Depth, but mostly Character Voice openings, not author voice openings.)

— How to sustain author voice, when to pull it back, how to spice it through your stories.

— And a ton more. A workshop suitable for a writer at any level. It never hurts to start understanding your author voice.

This might be the most eye-opening workshop we do for writers.



You now know how to get a reader down into the depths of your story. But now, how do you hold the reader in your story through your entire novel?

Depth Workshop is a prerequisite for this workshops.

Once you know how to hold a reader with basic depth in openings, which is what the Depth Workshop focused completely on, how do you use that knowledge for chapter and scene openings later in the book?

When do you need to go back into heavy depth, when can you use light depth, and when should you use almost no depth?

Every book has a different structure, a different plot, but there are patterns, just as there are patterns in openings.

And every genre has a slightly different requirement for depth later in the book. That will be covered as well.

This workshop will cover many of the later chapter and scene patterns with a “if this happens, think about doing this” sort of style.

Also, there are many, many more tools in depth when it comes to later chapters and later scenes in a novel. You need to train your subconscious with these tools. That’s what this workshop does.

In other words, this workshop will give you an awareness of the tools and techniques you can use to make sure that once you have a reader down in a book, they will not leave.

This is made to follow Depth Workshop. You do not need to have taken the Advanced Depth workshop to take this workshop, but you need to have taken the basic Depth Online Workshop.

This workshop also goes nicely with Adding Suspense. But is not the same in the slightest. This workshop focuses on the structure of a book and when to use Depth tools and when to go light.

Plotting with depth is a critical skill to learn to hold a reader through a book. Or at least be aware the skills and techniques are there.


Adding Suspense to Your Writing Workshop

If a person comes up to you and asks you how you add suspense to your writing and you don’t automatically know the four or five main ways, this workshop is for you.

Suspense is a major plotting and craft tool to keep readers from leaving your books. And suspense can and often should be part of every type of fiction. Romance, science fiction, thriller, mystery, you name it, any book can be improved with knowledge about how to add suspense to your writing.

Suspense is where plot connects to craft.

And yes, we will talk in passing about the small sub-genre of “suspense” one week.

But this new workshop is about adding suspense to all your books to hold your readers in your story. Don’t let another reader stop on one of your books. Learn how to add in suspense.


Character Development Workshop

After you set up a great character in your opening, then what? How do you develop the character into a living, breathing, memorable character?

This workshop fits with the Depth Workshop and Character Voice Workshop. All three work together and you can take them in any order. Or even all at the same time.

Instead of focusing on only the openings, this workshop will focus on the development of a character through a story. All kinds of characters in every genre.

Characters make a story memorable. We all describe books by the memorable character. A Travis McGee novel. Or a Jack Reacher novel. Or an Alex Cross novel. Or a Dirk Pitt novel. Or a Smokey Dalton novel. Or a Poker Boy story. And on and on and on.

Memorable characters, well-developed characters, are why publishers put the character names on the covers of books. Readers want to read more by those characters.

Among the many areas worked on in this workshop:
— Character background without information dumps that bore.
— Know how to do characters that become the emotional heart of a story.
— Know how to make a character memorable.
— How to make a character become larger-than-life.
— How to make a character come off the page and actually live in reader’s minds.
— Character Pacing
— How to develop memorable, living characters while writing into the dark.
— And so much more, including many, many professional writer tricks of the trade.

There are only seven basic plots. What makes a story unique is the character development. That development is what this workshop is all about.

Important for all genres.

In the Depth Workshop, writers learned how to get readers down into stories with character depth.

In Advanced Depth, the focus is how to open chapters and scenes in different ways, as well as alternate openings.

In the Character Voice Workshop, the study concerned on how to make characters different.

The new Character Development Workshop now takes the character work into the first third and middle of the books, to make characters round and alive and memorable to the readers when they finish your story or book.

Along with the Depth Workshop, this is a don’t miss workshop.

(Limited to 12 writers per workshop as normal. Information on how to sign up under the online workshop tab above or at )

Note: I will hold this strictly to the limit of 12 writers because of the difficulty on my side of reading and working with each writer on this topic.  So don’t wait to sign up to the last minute on this one.



Making a Career

With Your Fiction Writing 

(Offered only as a Classic Workshop)

Fiction writers are plagued with so many rules that is seems at times almost impossible to make sense of them all, let alone know which way to go to build a career with fiction writing.

Long term professional fiction writers have weaved their way through the rules over years and years, adapting some, ignoring others, and getting sidetracked for years by others to get to making a career.

Making a Career is a six week workshop designed to save you years of wrong roads, wasted time, and wasted emotional energy. This workshop will give you the clear information to make your own choices about the rules you hear and the path it takes to get to a career.

This may very well be the most important workshop we have ever done.

In six weeks, this workshop will cover both craft  and business in fiction writing. Over fifty different rules and suggestions to help you make smart choices and build a career.

That’s right, over fifty. And there are many more. You may be just accepting as fact some of the rules and choices while hurting your work and your business.

The goal of this workshop is to save you years of heartache and headache and missed opportunities with your fiction writing.

The structure will be this for every rule talked about:

— What is the craft or business publishing rule?
— How and why did the rule originate.
— The value of the rule, when to use it, when to ignore it in building a career.
— How to get around the rule if you need to in building your own career.
— How to find more information about what to do in certain areas.
— And lots of suggestions to help you make decisions in your career building.

Among other things, the five assignments will be focused to help you understand how to see a rule you may be following, how to analyze a rule to see if it is something you feel is needed to help build a career, and how to fight the critical voice that forces us all to make bad rule choices in building our careers.

Writers of all levels need this workshop.

Kris and I are constantly working to create workshops that we wish we would have had at different points along the way. This workshop may fit that goal better than any we have done.

This workshop will save you years in wrong turns, and help you advance faster toward your writing and publishing goals. That we can promise.



Learn even more ways to keep your readers from ever leaving your stories.

Requirement: You must have already taken the Depth Online Workshop to take this one. (Information on that below.) This advanced workshop takes off where the Depth workshop ended.

And here are just some of the things we are going to cover in this workshop.

— How to hold readers in chapter and scene openings, once you have a reader down at depth.
— Shortcuts of depth.
— How to set character mood to help depth.
— How to use suspense to increase the power of depth in a story.
— How to use the correct levels of depth in different projects.
— Character voice and character attitude in creating depth.
— Depth with tags of all sorts, including character tags and setting tags.
— Depth increased by the correct use of pacing.
— Character pacing to increase depth. (If you don’t think characters inside stories have different pacing levels, just sit in an airport and watch people.)
— Depth killers to avoid. Things that will knock readers out of books faster than anything, such as too many names for the same character (among many other killer problems).

And so much more.

This workshop will also talk regularly about reader expectations in stories. It will be taught in the same style as the first Depth workshop with examples of each concept and assignments to test your skills in certain areas.

If you want to know what levels are possible to take your writing, this is the workshop for you.

It will be an eye-opening workshop, we promise.



Learn How to Help Your Books Get Found By Readers

(Offered only as Classic)

In other words, this is the workshop you need to take when you are all done writing and your book is either coming out indie or traditional. How do you get your work into more reader’s awareness?

What can you do to get your book out there so that readers who love it will find it? That has always been the question in publishing and this new world is no different.

However, in this new world, writers are in control of this part of the business for the most part and now have a thousand choices to make on helping their books get found. And sometimes those choices vary from book to book.

You can do passive marketing such as pricing and branding covers and active blurbs, things that need to be done right no matter what else you do.

But how much time do you want to spend on websites, blogs, social media, and going after reviews for your books? And how to do all that effectively so that the marketing time does not eat into your writing time.

It has always been the case that writing the next book is the best promotion for your last book. But we all want to do more. So how much do you want to do? What is the value, and so on? This workshop will cover all that as well.

The point of this workshop is to give each writer choices in marketing. One choice for one writer might be perfect and work while the same choice for another writer would hurt their writing and not be who they are as a writer. And one choice for one book would suck as a choice for the very next book. You, as a publisher, a marketer, need to know when to do marketing, what kind works for that book, and when not to and go back and write the next book instead.

Outside of the craft workshops to help you write better books, this may be the best workshop we will do. It’s taken a village to put it together, that’s for sure.



(Offered only as Classic)

Turn your dream into reality (without ever having to have a bestseller).

Every writer works and thinks differently. In this new world, no one road will get you to that dream of making a living with your fiction. But knowing how to set up goals and knowing which path to walk remains critical to success.

This workshop will help you find the right path for your fiction writing.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I both made a living for decades in the old system, and four years ago we moved to the new world, to the indie world of publishing. And now we are making even more money.

We now bring that knowledge to this workshop to help others.

Sometimes using parts of both traditional and indie systems might be right for some writers. Other writers only want to go indie. This workshop will cover both those paths and many others.

And this workshop helps you avoid wrong turns and bad decisions as much as possible.

So for a six week workshop online, we are going to help writers figure out how to get from dreaming of making a living with fiction to knowing it can be possible and how they can get to the dream.

This is a nuts and bolts business and money workshop, not a craft workshop. This workshop will work for you if you are just thinking of writing your first novel or if you have twenty novels written and want to finally make a living with the work.

And this workshop will be blunt, clear, and straight forward, as everyone has come to expect from me and Kris.

If you want to learn how to sell a few more copies of one book, take the Promotion workshop. If you want to learn how to build a career and make a living with your fiction over decades, this workshop is the one for you.



(Offer only as Classic)

Kris and I are two of the most prolific long-term writers working today. And we have done that year-after-year for thirty years. Well, finally we decided to tackle the one area we have been avoiding in teaching.


That’s right, we’re finally going to teach that skill. And in this new indie world, productivity is a critical skill to have.

If you followed my blog last year and watched me write twelve novels, three nonfiction books, and thirty-plus short stories while working a day job with WMG Publishing and workshops, you know what productivity is. Kris and I can teach you how to do that and a lot of other ways of being productive.

If you are tired of looking back at a year and wondering why you didn’t write more, this workshop is for you.

If you think you just write too slow, this workshop is for you.

So for a six week workshop online, we are going to help writers become more productive and learn habits and techniques that will keep you productive for years to come. Six weeks of videos, five assignments. If you want an extra book per year, or just more stories, and can never seem to make it happen, this new workshop starting in September is for you.

We can all find extra time, but most writers don’t know how to convert that extra time over months and a year into more stories and novels.

This is a nuts and bolts workshop, not on craft workshop. This workshop will work if you want to write a first novel or just add more novels and stories to your yearly output. The techniques and methods we will teach in this workshop will work for all levels.




In this new world of publishing, short stories suddenly became critical to the success of any writer.

This workshop functions as a business and a craft workshop. We will show you how you can make a lot of extra money from short fiction, and how to write major short stories for any genre.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who helped set this workshop up (even though I do the talking) is the only writer in history to be in all four Dell Magazines (Asimov’s, Hitchcock’s, Analog, and Ellery Queen). She has done that in the same year four times now. She won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award six times, and reader’s choice awards for Analog and Queen as well.

Kris also is the only person on the planet to win the Hugo Award for best professional editor and for her short fiction.

I was also on the Hugo Award five or six times for my editing. Kris edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Pulphouse. I also edited for Pulphouse, for VB Tech, and for Pocket Books, all in short fiction. Kris and I also won a World Fantasy Award for our editing of short fiction work.

Kris and I both have written well past 400 short stories each. And been professional short fiction editors.

We now bring that knowledge to this workshop to help others learn how to write and sell short stories.

Short stories play a major role in our new world of publishing. Any writer wanting to make great money needs to know how to write short fiction, even if they only write one for an invite anthology or a promotion. Discoverability is everything these days, and short stories help in more ways than possible to imagine.

This is a nuts and bolts business and craft and money workshop. All three. We will cover it all.

And this workshop will be blunt, clear, and straight forward, as everyone has come to expect from me and Kris.

If you want to learn how to write and sell short stories and improve your discoverability and make more money with your writing, this workshop is the one for you.



Taught by Dean Wesley Smith, author of at least two dozen thriller novels under various names. First taught here at the coast, this workshop will help you not only learn how to write a thriller, the hardest genre of them all to write, but this workshop will help you speed up all books when you want to.

This workshop combines a lot of different areas of how to relay to the reader to keep reading. From plotting to pacing to character and so much more. Some people call thrillers “big books.” That’s because thrillers often require scope, multiple characters, and other skills this workshop will help you get a handle on.

If readers can put your books down while reading them, if they stop along the way, if they give reviews that it was slow, this workshop will fix those problems.




(Offered Only as a Classic Workshop)

Put together by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Kris is the only person to have won the Hugo Award for her writing and her professional editing of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Dean edited as well at Pulphouse and Pocket Books, writing and editing Star Trek for over ten years. He also wrote Men in Black original novels and many, many other very popular science fiction books.

Right now Dean is also writing two science fiction series under his own name and Kris is also writing two science fiction series under her own name as well as have short stories appear regularly in Asimov’s and Analog magazines. In fact, she’s won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award five times and the Analog one a few times.

Kris and Dean, with Dean doing most of the talking, will lead you through how to write science fiction short stories and novels. You’ll learn all the sub-genres of the field, as well as how to write in each and what is required of each.

How to do science fiction series? That’s included, as well as some study of the classics and what made them classics in the field.

How to come up with ideas, how to build your science fiction worlds without needing orbital mechanics, and so much more.

Again, this will cover both short fiction and novels. Science fiction is such a huge genre, but we’ll try to pack it all in a short six weeks.




(Offered only as Classic)

Taught by Dean Wesley Smith with the help of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. For both of them, many of their hundred plus novels each have been in series. And there are many, many skills to writing successful series books that hold readers from one book to another.

This workshop will cover series in all genres, from fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and even romance, which is a genre difficult to write series in. This workshop will talk about character threads through novels, plot arches, setting threads, and so much more, including how to even see that you might have a series idea. And with this new indie world, series are popular and sell better when a writer can do it correctly.

So everything you need to know about writing a successful series.




If you want to learn how to get down inside character’s heads and stay there, this workshop teaches you that and so much more. And if critiques tell you your setting seems thin, you need this workshop.

An intense craft workshop that will help you learn how to develop memorable characters, memorable settings, and learn how to write multiple characters that can be told apart. Gain control over your own characters and learn the techniques that make a character and the setting around each character come alive to a reader.

Taught for six years here on the coast, but now has moved online.




A sentence-by-sentence, clause-by-clause look at how you can write fiction, characters, settings, and plots with depth. Your writing, your characters, your fiction will take a huge jump forward with this workshop.

This workshop goes hand-in-hand with the Character Voice workshop and the Pacing workshop. Writing With Depth workshop adds in a third and final part to the puzzle of making characters and stories have real power that holds readers in your stories. And you can take the workshops in any order. They all just add to each other.

Last fall, Kris and I did a workshop called “Strengths” that looked at writers’ work up close and helped them, we hope, understand where they are strong, and where they need work. Almost everyone who took that class needed work consistency developing characters at a deeper level. But how?

In the Character Voice workshop, both here at the coast and now online, I often told writers they were just skimming over the surface and they needed to stay down in character’s heads more. But how?

The Writing With Depth workshop shows you exactly how.

Kris and I have finally worked out a way to get down into the details to show you exactly how to add depth to your characters and your work without hurting your plotting or your pacing.

Not a theory workshop. We show you directly how to do it and you practice it and get feedback from us on how to make your work even deeper.



Ever wonder how a writer makes you stay up all night reading? And sometimes when the story doesn’t really hold you? This workshop teaches you the tricks and skills that will keep your story moving at the pace you want it to move.

From writing slow family scenes to fast action scenes, you will gain the control of the reader that you always wondered about.

This will cover a vast amount of information and writing techniques. From short stories to novels and series novels, this class applies to everything you will need to know about how to keep a story moving and the readers turning pages.




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.




(Offered only as Classic)

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.

This workshop goes down inside the structure of each genre and many subgenres. You will understand genre when you finish this workshop.


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 workshop covers it all.



Step One: In an e-mail or snail mail letter, answer the following questions. Please number each answer.

  1. Full Name
  2. e-mail address

Step Two: Also in the letter include the following:

1.  Pick the workshop number and name of the workshop you are signing up for. Classic workshops just give the name.

(You can sign up for more than one if you like. We had a number of people do that and they seemed to do fine. In fact, we had one great writer who did five regular workshops at one time, but I would not suggest that. (grin))

Classic workshops you can do all five because there is no schedule on them. And you can go and come from them as often as you like into the future.

2.  List an alternate workshop or date in case the workshop is full by the time you get signed up. I will e-mail you if that is the case to work out a solution. (That has seldom happened in the last seven months, so no real worries about that.) No reason to list an alternate on the Classic Workshops.

Step Three:

1. Send answers to: with the subject header WORKSHOP only in the subject line. Or mail to WMG Publishing Online Workshops, PO Box 479 Lincoln City, OR 97367
2. Send full payment of $300 for each regular workshop or $150 for each classic worksho. Payment can be sent by check to the above address or by Paypal to Checks should be made out to WMG Publishing and please put the workshop number and workshop name on the check.

(If a regular workshop is full and you have paid for it, I will refund your money, so no worry there either.)


  1. Karen Fonville Karen Fonville
    September 11, 2015    

    Hi, Dean,

    If your two new kitties came from a single person home, and that person never had anyone over except maintenance people or movers, there would not be any chance for them to have been socialized other than to their human. That’s what I’m facing with my two now… I tried to board them when I came out for one of the workshops and it did NOT go well because of that fact… My boys are just fine with me, but let there be a knock at the door, or people in conversation walking past the windows, and those two hide inside the chair or head upstairs for safety. Hopefully, when they do meet Ella, Gally and Sir Duke, they will bond with them. Sometimes it takes observing trust to generate trust….


    • dwsmith dwsmith
      September 11, 2015    

      They came from a house with a massive amount of cats. Forty or more, sort of a hoarding situation, or a collector of cats gone over the top. No real human contact at all. And from what I understand, they were isolated in a basement area and only brought food. They are going to take time to socialize in, that’s for sure.

      • Donna Donna
        December 8, 2015    

        If anyone can help these babies along, it will be you and Kris. Your love of and devotion to furbies is one of the reasons you two are some of my favorite people.

  2. October 6, 2015    

    Since I would like your workshops to succeed and do well, so that they stick around long enough for me to take the several I’m really interested in taking, (Just finished Depth last month, would like to take Suspense, Character Development, Advanced Depth, Cliffhangers, Thrillers, etc.) I thought I would pass along a tip.

    I’ve begun listening to Joanna Penn’s podcasts again last week (listened to several episodes as I drove to and from work and on lunch breaks), and she has found good success with targeted facebook ads for her non-fiction work. You might try the same. Take a small percentage of your income from the workshops or non-fiction books and put it toward marketing efforts.

    I know you and Kris always talk about how the best marketing you can do is to write the next book, but for your non-fiction work, you might try dangling a fishing line in some new fishing holes to see if you can snag some new people. 🙂 Your classes are great, I’d like to see them filled to capacity so that they stick around long enough for me to afford to take them all.


    • dwsmith dwsmith
      October 6, 2015    

      Took me a moment there to follow you, Melissa, but I finally got what you were saying through my thick skull. You were suggesting we market the workshops. We do all sorts of marketing on our books but have always left the workshops to just word of mouth. Pretty sure we might just leave them that way.

      The problem isn’t the money coming in, the problem is my interest. As long as I keep coming up with new stuff and also am challenged by the teaching of an ongoing workshop, they will keep going.

      But also, you are right. For example, we have a couple workshops in October that have no one signed up. I do tend to look at those, even though I am still interested in keeping them going, as a “what’s the point.” So sort of between a spot here.

      And yes, Joanna’s postcasts are great. We know marketing, just never thought of doing it for the workshops. Thanks, but I kind of doubt we will. Word of mouth is good enough for now and when it isn’t, the workshops fade away.

      • October 7, 2015    

        Dang! Sorry for completely dropping the context on that one. Yes, I was referring to you letting workshops fade away.

        I can totally see your points, of just doing what interests you, while keeping the WMG flotilla of boats heading downstream. Totally justifiable and reasonable, no objections here. But, I have to admit that a lightning bolt of panic shoots through me each time you mention dropping a workshop. (It happened again when I read your reply above, ha ha, I know, stupid.) I worry that you’ll drop one that I’m planning/hoping to take in the future.

        My comment above was me jumping in with an alternative suggestion to save the drifting workshops that you were considering cutting loose, with the hopes you’d add an oar through marketing–or an off-board motor–to give those little, magic-bakery boats of knowledge a chance to build or regain momentum before you completely let them go.

        For example, I’m really, really interested in taking your suspense workshop, but I need to focus on the more foundational workshops first: Character Development and Advanced Depth. And then there are all the other workshops that would help round out my writing…. See, little lightning bolts of worry shooting through me as I wonder if I have enough months to take all these classes before you sink them, or be able to show interest in a new class while it’s being built.

        Okay, I just had an idea spark in my desperate, plea filled mind. What if you turned the workshops you decide to scuttle into books? I know how much you like to write writing books, and you already have an outline for the structure of the book, and the content you would want to go into it. (Maybe this existing outline would be a deterrent?) Would it be interesting enough for you to convert the workshops that bore you into books? This way, we could still learn those topics from you, but you wouldn’t have to do a thing with them other than collect a check every month?…

        I’ll shut up now, no more begging, I promise. I’ll deal with whatever you decide to to. 🙂
        Looking forward to signing up for one of your classes in November.

        • dwsmith dwsmith
          October 7, 2015    

          Melissa, no worries. We’re hanging around for the moment. (grin) But thanks. Very kind comments.

  3. Patrick R Patrick R
    January 3, 2016    

    Kicking off 2016, I thought to share that I’m having way more fun in writing after doing the Depth online workshop (and nearing the end of Plotting with Depth). So, there are big opportunities for more output. All up to me now.

    Great workshops. Dive in.

    Thanks Dean, Kris. All the best in 2016 – and to all.


    • dwsmith dwsmith
      January 3, 2016    

      Thanks, Patrick.

  4. B B
    February 5, 2016    

    Hey Dean,

    Are you guys no longer offering pitches and blurbs after March? It’s not listed at any point after that. I was considering taking it after I got through all the craft related workshops first.

  5. February 18, 2016    

    Loved the “Hex in the city” title!

  6. March 14, 2016    

    Hello, Dean. I have a question concerning your workshops. As a beginning writer I want to improve my craft and I’m thinking on taking some of your workshops. As english is not my native language I’m a little worried. Have you ever had a foreign writer in your workshops? How did they fare?

    • dwsmith dwsmith
      March 14, 2016    

      All the time and they fare just fine. And from how you typed this question, you won’t have an issue at all. Lots of overseas writers take the online workshops and this year at the Anthology workshop we had two from Europe and one a French-speaking Canadian. All three did great.

  7. March 19, 2016    

    Hi Dean! I’ve been trying to write a short story every Monday, but I don’t seem to be able to stick to the program. I’ve ended up with two novellas instead. It’s messing me up. I think the problem is, I got so invested into writing rich, deep openings, it’s become hard to let go of the depth and make the plot move forward. This is so frustrating. And with the anthology workshop next year, I need to write shorter than 8 K (my minimum length record so far.) Do you think your short story online workshop would help with that?

    • dwsmith dwsmith
      March 19, 2016    


      First off, don’t learn something like this for a conference. Artificial. But learning to write shorter has advantages in your career. Many, actually, in selling. But more so, I find it interesting you are blaming depth for length. It really doesn’t work that way if depth is done right. 400 words or so is more than enough, more than that without movement forward means you are plowing the readers into the bottom of the lake and readers will hate that and leave just as much as they do without depth. So writing with depth should have nothing to do with length. I can write a very deep short story in two thousand words without an issue. So you are looking first off, in the wrong place for the reason you are writing long.

      There are many actual reasons a person writes long. One is walking to plot points instead of trusting the reader and jumping. That always adds in boring stuff. Or basically coming up with ideas that don’t contain into a short story but must be longer. Those two are the main reasons writers write longer than they want. Never depth done correctly.

      So would the short story workshop help you? Maybe, but not for the reason you suggested. Other than I would be able to tell if you are going overboard on depth. Or just walking to plot points, or what. But don’t do it for an artificial deadline like a workshop. Do it to improve your sales and writing.

      • March 20, 2016    

        Your reply made me smile, Dean! When I learn something, I tend to overdo it for a while (In any discipline, not just in writing.) It’s quite possible I plow the reader into the lake bed sediment, yeah. Also, the walking? I can see myself doing that. I’ll be mindful of that and see what happens. Regarding the seminar, I’ll wait till summer or fall and see if you offer it again. Aside from saving up for the Anthology workshop, I’ve been really busy writing and publishing and making book covers. Workshops slow down my RAM a lot and I tend to drop projects, and this would be a bad time. But I”d like to do it this year, it’s a good skill I don’t have. Thank you!

  8. Julie Julie
    April 15, 2016    

    Dean, in your new business workshop, how much of the course is on US-specific things? I live in the UK and am wondering how much of it would apply to me (certainly the kinds of business you can set up here are different – limited company, sole trader, etc.).

    • dwsmith dwsmith
      April 15, 2016    

      Julie, some would be US specific, but most would be the idea, the principle behind it. The structures, the reasons for doing something, what writers in general need to know. Not being a tax accountant or lawyer, I can’t get into specifics much at all. But the principles behind doing a task will work for all countries and businesses. How to do them exactly will different slightly is all.

      • Julie Julie
        April 16, 2016    

        Thanks – that’s useful to know.

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Online Workshop Schedule

These are the starting dates of upcoming online workshops. Limited to twelve writers. All have openings unless I say closed below. For sign-up and more information about each workshop, click the Online Workshop tab at the top of the page.

Class #51… June 6th … The Business of Writing
Class #52… June 6th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… June 6th … Author Voice
Class #54… June 6th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… June 7th … Teams in Fiction
Class #56… June 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… June 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… June 8th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #59… June 8th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… June 8th … Advanced Depth

Class #1… July 11th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 11th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #3… July 11th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… July 11th … Plotting With Depth
Class #5… July 12th … Character Development
Class #6… July 12th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 12th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 13th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 13th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10... July 13th … Teams in Fiction

Class #11… Aug 8th … The Business of Writing
Class #12… Aug 8th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Aug 8th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #14… Aug 8th … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Aug 9th … Teams in Fiction
Class #16… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Aug 9th … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Aug 10th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #19… Aug 10th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Aug 10th … Advanced Depth

Sign-up and more information under Online Workshops tab at the top of the page.

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You can sign up for these and start at any point. They are the regular workshops, only you don't send in the homework and you can take them as fast or as slow as you would like.

They are half the price of a regular six week workshop.

Classic Workshops offered.

Making a Living... Classic
Productivity... Classic
Discoverability... Classic
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Career... Classic

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More information on these lectures under the Lecture Series Tab above.

#1... Heinlein's Rules... Dean Wesley Smith 15 videos... $75.00

#2... Read Like a Writer... Kristine Kathryn Rusch... 8 videos... $50.00

#3... How to Write a Short Story: The Basics... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 7 videos... $50.00

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#7... Pen Names: Help With the Decision... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#8... Motivation: Starting Easier and Writing More... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#9... Practice: The Attitude and Methods of Practice in Fiction... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#10... Master Plot Formula: How and Why It Works Today... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#11... Prolific Lecture: How to Become a Prolific Fiction Writer... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#12... The Stages of a Fiction Writer: How to Know Where You Are In Learning and How To Move Upward... Dean Wesley Smith.... 11 videos... $50.00

#13... Starting Writing. Or Restarting Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#14... Endings: How to Write Them and Understand What Makes a Good Ending... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#15... Audio Narration Lecture... Jane Kennedy.... 9 audio lectures... $50.00

#16... Your Writing as an Investment Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#17... How to Get Your Books into Bookstores Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#18... How to Think Like a Science Fiction Writer Lecture... Kristine Kathryn Rusch....11 videos... $50.00

#19... Why Some Books Sell More Than Other Books... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#20... How to Write a Page Turning Novel or Story: Basics and Tricks ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#21... The Basics of Designing Science Fiction Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#22... The Basics of Designing Mystery, Cozy, or Thriller Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#23... Paying the Price: A Working Writer's Mindset ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#24... Writing into the Dark: The Tricks and Methods of Writing Without an Outline... Dean Wesley Smith... 12 videos... $50.00

#25... Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#26... Organization... Allyson Longueira... 8 videos... $50.00

#27... Confidence... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#28... Stories to Novels... Dean Wesley Smith... 9 videos... $50.00

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