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Available Classes

All Workshops are available for customization (from One Hour to Two Weeks). If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just contact me.

The Emotional Arc:

An emotional arc is a purposeful construct that enables you to take your story to another level, to connect with your readers, to make your story linger far beyond the last page. In this workshop, we’ll drill down into the different facets of your characters’ emotional arc and how it is both the spine (structure) and heart (feelings) of your story.

The Missing Puzzle Piece: Core Wounds:

Core Wounds sit in the heart of every person – both real and fictional. An understanding of these deep-seated, harmful “truths” we believe can lead to the creation of three-dimensional characters and emotionally impactful narratives readers will never forget.

This workshop will explore what a Core Wound is, how it goes into the building of a deeply felt and memorable character, and how it influences their actions and reactions in a story. Further, we’ll discuss “matching” Core Wounds, in which a pairing (lovers, hero/villain) have the same wound but manifest it differently – and the potentially perfect complications it creates.

Finally, we’ll talk about plot. How we construct a narrative to explore these Core Wounds is a vital part of harnessing this intense emotional connection. It can make the difference between a memorable story and one that falls flat.

Hero’s Journey for Lovers:

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” — Paulo Coehlo

You can write two spectacular protagonists but if the “hero’s journey” of the relationship isn’t strong the story falls apart because the reader cannot connect with why these two people are together. A good love story will map out along a journey, taking the reader through the building blocks to a “happy ending.”

The Hero’s Journey has several essential parts, each part dealing with another set of challenges, defeats, and victories, and each build on the last until the hero (or in this case, the relationship) reaches the end of the story. Each stage – once navigated – proves they have learned the lessons their journey taught them and can use them in the real world.

In this workshop, we’ll talk about the structure of the romantic journey (based on the Hero’s Journey framework) and how it is the bones of a solid relationship story.

Making a Good First Impression: The First Five Chapters:

Your opening chapters are a book’s first date with a reader! They’re going to make decisions on if this is the right match for them based on their first impressions. So how do we write engaging, enticing, informative first chapters that set up your story, your characters and keep readers reading?

In this workshop, we’ll discuss all the factors that go into creating a smart and effective start to your book.

How much information is too much? Not enough?
Are you starting in the right place in your timeline?
What are genre expectations?
How are your readers emotionally engaging with your story and your characters?

We’ll also touch on additional topics such as POV, red herrings, worldbuilding and more!

Stuck in the Middle:

This class focuses specifically on the middle of your story, the bulk of the action that takes place after the set-up and builds up until you reach your “disembarking point” and the book’s ending.
How do you crank up conflict and emotion without writing yourself into a corner?
How do you fulfill the promise of your beginning (and your blurb), to deliver the book you’ve promised readers?

How do you keep readers emotionally engaged without having to use tricks and red herrings to make sure those pages keep turning?

Whatever your process—from highly detailed outlines to seat-of-your-pants writing, and everything in between—this class will help you build a framework for a successful, satisfying book. We will map out the high points (and low points) of the middle of your book. We will discuss how your “midpoint” is not exactly in the middle, nor does it indicate one moment in time. And we’ll help you decide precisely how to shake up the world you’ve created (so you can fix it in time for the end).

The Last Three Chapters:

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What best sells your next book? The ending of your previous book! A satisfying ending ties together all the pieces of your novel – the character arcs, the relationship arcs, the plot, the carefully laid out details – and gives the reader a feeling of completion and satisfaction. They have trusted you with their time and emotions and have been rewarded with an ending that makes them sigh (and recommend your book!).

The journey resulted in a positive experience and they will be open to taking that trip again with you, with your next book. A good ending feels like a story never ends in a reader’s mind and heart, and that means a continued satisfaction that you are responsible for. What better marketing is there?!

We’ll discuss all the parts of your story that need to be considered as you end your book – everything from major character arcs to little details. We’ll consider the big and small in concluding your story in a satisfying way to make your readers happy!

Writing Your ID:

Our Ids are all about instant gratification! It’s very specific and primal, and we want what we want…now.

So what does that have to do with being a writer?

Why we write what we write – say that three times fast – matters as much as anything else. Our passion, our satisfaction and our contentment with our stories can mean the difference between an idea that sparks and dies, and a finished manuscript to be proud of.

An understanding of our journey from consumer to creator can have a major impact on a career. From choosing projects to understanding and moving through blocks to creating an authentic and unique brand, your writer’s ID is a roadmap through good times and bad, feast and famine. We will track what excites your inner writer, how it translates into your work, and what that means for your career!

Writing Effective Dialogue:

Dialogue is an important part of books—whether it’s lighthearted banter revealing character or stoic words hiding real feelings. Characters must sound real and yet talk in a way that conveys their feelings, thoughts and moves the story along—and the truth is, that can often be at odds!

How do you write dialogue that seamlessly blends everything together?

Great dialogue starts with a deeply drawn character. As we build these fictional souls, we cannot leave out how they communicate and how it varies from person to person, emotion to emotion.

We’ll discuss a character’s dialogue profile, including how they handle themselves with friends, loved ones, enemies and strangers. We’ll discuss things like accents and regionalisms, slang (among other things) and the ways they impact HOW a person speaks.

And finally, we’ll talk about the rhythm of writing dialogue, and how we can vary that from scene to scene, to get the most from every word.

What Fan Fiction Gets Right (And How We Can Learn From It):

Many writers in publishing have made their way from the world of fan fiction, either as readers or writers. What does fan fiction get right – why does it hold so much attention and what can writers learn from its creation, its tropes, its emotional power and its passion?

We will take a journey through the differences between fan fic and “published” works, the differences between tropes here and tropes there, and also what the secret ingredient is that can make your writing pop directly into the hearts and minds of readers.

You Can’t Copyright Tropes, But You Can Make Them Your Own:

Tropes are both the building blocks of our writing and the magical potion that can take “been there, read that” to “omgincomprehensablewordsofhappy.” How do we take something that’s been done before and make it our own?

First, we need to work out why certain tropes attract readers and what their expectations are. Then this workshop will discuss subverting tropes and reinventing approaches, without losing emotional buy-in from the reader.

Ripping Hearts and Engaging Minds: How to Write Angst Effectively:

Some people are angst junkies. They like their stories chock full of heart-ripping drama and trauma. Others like their angst just a delicate sprinkling on their story, nothing too intense. What do these two extremes have in common? Angst (at whatever level) only works when it fits your characters, and your story, and the resolution rewards your reader for their journey to the end!

In this workshop, we’ll talk about internal and external trauma, how much is enough/too much, what tone you’re going for and how to use angst effectively, and most importantly, how to write a satisfying ending.

Gut Punch: Using Emotional Conflict as Plot:

When we start writing, we have an idea of how our readers will react to our stories. Do we want them to laugh? Cry? Gasp? Compose angry letters in their heads because how dare we? And what is the key to making that happen in the story? We create our characters and their internal journeys with this in mind, then we place them in a plot that we hope will get the point across. (And get everyone – them and the readers – to the satisfying end of the book.)

Your plot is the vehicle your characters use to experience and move through their Arcs. The plot is about how they learn and grow (fall then rise) or lose their way (rise then fall). Even if your book is about People Feeling Things, there has to be some plot that ignites the change they go through.

This workshop will discuss the ways to use Emotional Conflict – your characters’ inner life – to plot your story. How do we select the right vehicle for these characters? How do we use their internal conflicts to reflect an exterior plot to get them where they need to be? We’ll examine the difference between internal conflict and external trauma and how they can bring a reader closer to the character – or drive them away. The end goal as always is – to gather the tools you need to write your best book!

It Takes a Village: Writing Supporting Characters:

An exploration of world-building, development of plot and main characters through secondary characters.

At the end of the day, no matter what the genre or trope, whether it’s happening in Alabama or on Mars, we are all trying to create the best possible characters to tell our story.

Writers spend a lot of time on their main characters – our heroes, our villains. We want them to be unique and memorable, leaping off the pages or screen to grab the reader and pull them into the world.

But that world needs to be populated. By names and faces (and the nameless and faceless) who bring forth information, distractions, difficulties and even just color and commentary. They are the supporting characters and to forget to give them the attention and depth they deserve is to short-change both yourself and your readers.

We’ll talk about the different types of supporting characters, their function, the do’s and don’ts to making them memorable (and how not to let them take over) and how to tell the difference between a supporting character and a misplaced main character.