Learn How To Write A Novel - Writing Classes and Workbooks

Starting to Write?

40 video/audio lessons that take you step-by-step from idea to finished novel, taught by an award-winning, best-selling novelist and nationally acclaimed writing teacher. Easy, understandable, foundation elements essential for every genre. Learn Skills, Secrets and most of all... Story.

Rewriting and Editing?

A great book isn't written. . .it's rewritten. Learn how to analyze and fix your novel’s problems with this unique “self-editing” system. . .then arm yourself with over 40 Advanced Fiction Classes and rewrite your story into publication.

Ready To Publish?

You’ve worked too hard to quit now. Your story is nearly ready, but now it’s time to sell your novel. Learn the steps to creating a powerful proposal, secrets to pitching, the key elements to your marketing plan, a social media primer and how to create rabid reader fans. It’s time to ignite your career.
Lies concept.

If You Give a Character a Lie …

If You Give a Character a Lie …

 If you give a character a Lie that is tied to some Dark Moment in his past … he is going to believe it.

 And if he believes it … he is going to act certain ways in both his relationships with people and with God.

 And if his relationships with people and with God are influenced by a Lie he believes, than he’s going to make mistakes – both with the people he loves and the God who loves him.

With that brief nod to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by children’s author Laura Numeroff, let’s talk about why lies can be good things – at least within the context of writing compelling characters.

We are taught early and often that it’s wrong to tell lies, but it’s not until much later in life that we are taught not to embrace lies. But by then, it’s too late – we’ve listened to lies about ourselves and believe them to be true.

While we often carry around a multitude of lies-that-we-believe-are-true, there is usually one lie – the LIE – that affects us more than all the others. This Lie is created by some sort of Dark Moment in our past – an experience that wounded us emotionally and possibly physically.

In Catch a Falling Star, my 2013 release, my heroine Kendall believes the Lie that she will never be picked. Why? Because she had severe childhood asthma, and was one of those kids in school who was never picked in gym class. Her Dark Moment, which involved her high school hopes for romance, proved the “I’ll never be picked” Lie in the worst possible way.

Why is it good for Kendall to believe this Lie? Our fictional characters need to believe a Lie – and as the author of their stories, we need to know what their Lies are.

Your characters’ pasts – who they were before they appeared on page one of your manuscript – determines why they say certain things. Why they make certain decisions. Why they stiff-arm God. Why they want nothing to do with love.

Think of wrapping a thin piece of rope around a wooden top and then releasing it to spin, spin, spin … and topple. The rope represents your character’s Lie. The Lie influences your character’s choices and beliefs because they believe the Lie is true.

When you are crafting a story, forget the adage not to tell lies. As an author, you want to craft characters that readers care about. One key to doing that is to create the Lies your hero and heroine believe. You understand how one major Lie affects them – emotionally and spiritually. Use the Lie to deepen your story. Then weave in the spiritual truth and allow God to heal the Lie. You’ve created true-to-life fictional characters. After all, we’ve all believed lies about ourselves and about God because of our own Dark Moments in our pasts. And we know the release – the freedom – in discovering and embracing the truth.

What about you? Are you telling your imaginary characters Lies?

Continue Reading 0
Social Media Minute copy

Social Media Minute—8 Tips for Those with Social Media Commitment Issues

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We all know it’s important for writers to have a solid presence online.

But many of us struggle with Social Media commitment issues. We have good intentions, but our follow-through may be less than stellar.

So today I’d like to share some tips to help you stay on track.

Stay Committed to Social Media

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations. I think this is the most important piece of advice I can give you. When I first started blogging, I wanted to excel at it. So my inclination was to set the bar high, posting at least five times a week. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I might not be able to keep up. So instead I started slow, posting once a week, and only adding more days to my schedule when I knew I could handle it. It has been the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve managed all my social media this way, and I believe it’s the one thing that has contributed the most to my success.
  1. Don’t try to do it all at once. Along with reasonable expectations, don’t try to jump into everything at once. I began with blogging, moved into Facebook, and then into Twitter. Taking things one at a time helps you establish good habits without overburdening yourself.
  1. Don’t try to do it all. It’s important to find a few things that you like with social media and stick with those. As I’m writing this, there are approximately 123 social media platforms. Five minutes from now that number will change. We can’t all do everything. Find the networks that work for you and concentrate on those instead of chasing every new things that comes up.
  1. Diversify. Yes, stick with only a few. But make sure you are spreading your social media time between several networks. We all know that things change, and that’s true with social media. If you have all your social media eggs in one basket, you can get burned when those changes occur.
  1. Give yourself a break. Trust me, life happens. There are going to be days when you won’t be able to give the time you want to social media. Relax, it will be fine. Kids get sick, deadlines appear, and tragedies strike. Keep your priorities reasonable and learn to be gentle with yourself.
  1. Set a time limit. Remember social media is the means to an end. It’s the way to connect to your audience. Use it as a tool, but don’t spend all your time on it. Most of all, don’t let it interfere with your commitment to writing.
  1. Celebrate your successes. It’s easy to get discouraged when the numbers move slowly. But small consistent steps will get you where you want to go. So celebrate the process.
  1. Remember they’re people, not numbers. Yes, we want to improve our platform, but don’t focus on the numbers, focus on the relationships. After all, that’s why we’re doing this.

These are the things I use to help overcome my social media commitment issues. I’d love to hear your tips, too. Be sure to leave them in the comments section below.

Continue Reading 0

Highlights from the Deep Thinkers Retreat

Rachel HauckI’m sitting in my room at Destin Florida a day after the My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers Retreat.

Susie and I har hanging out. Shopping. Watching Property Brothers. And talking about this 6th fabulous retreat.

We had about 17 attendees with 4 staff. Which is wonderful for the intense help and training we give.

This year Susie revealed her secret equation to great story telling.

The SEQ — The Story Equation.

The SEQ focuses on the essentials of a story, starting with character, and fashioning all of the elements needed to make a powerful story.

In short the SEQ is the Dark Moment plotting –> wound, lie, fear, secret desire/greatest dream journey.

We took all of the SEQ elements and fitted them into the four act structure. Act 1, Act 2a, Act 2b, Act 3.

The writers loved the SEQ — those with experience as well as the newbies.

The SEQ is such a great way to start every story, get it on track, and off to a solid start.

This works for both pantsers, plotters, and everything in between.

After a morning teaching session, we broke into groups: Team Susie. Team Rachel and Team Beth.

In the groups, we worked out the SEQ and stories for each of the writers-in-retreat.

Remember, stories are about people facing odds, their fears, the failures, and overcoming.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Evenings were spent watching movies, then breaking them down to learn story, motivation, and pacing.

We watched We Bought A Zoo and 100 Foot Journey. I highly recommend both.

By the time the retreat ended, each writer left with their story formed and reformed, and ready for writing.

One of the biggest tips from Susie was to remind the writers that sometimes we have to remove “all the furniture” from our stories.

Meaning, when a writer comes to the retreat with a story already formed, he or she has to be willing o not only to change elements, but to remove them completely.

Using the SEQ, it’s easy to see if the character journey is in right alignment.

One of the beauties of My Book Therapy is we don’t just teach you what to do but how to do it. Yet, leaving each writer plenty of room to “write like you write.”

Deep Thinkers is quickly growing into a “must attend” retreat.

It’s intense, fun, lots of laughter, and even more learning.

Stay in touch with My Book Therapy to learn more about the SEQ and next year’s Deep Thinker’s retreat.

The Premium Membership is only $24 a month and chocked full of resources: video lessons and articles.

Now, go write something brilliant.

Continue Reading 0