Discovery Year, March 2010-2011

Do you like the new header? Su Kopil at Earthly Charms did it for me, based upon the bookmarks she designed for me. I love it!

Last year, March 5th marked my last day at my Regular Day Job (as opposed to my Part Time Day Job). Since that time, I’ve taken more online classes (some concurrently) than I have in the previous five years. And I’ve learned a lot.

The classes that stood out for me were the following:

Deep Story Technique by Carol Hughes – she gave me a comprehensive road map to follow – it’s got everything in it from the Hero’s Journey to the Five Emotional Turning Points. It helps me plot (which I hate doing), it helps me with the synopsis, and it helped me reshape the book that ultimately netted my first sale.

The Tiny Art of Elevator Pitches by Carrie Lofty She helped me whittle down further and further my one sentence pitch until I understood it was the kernel of the story that belonged in the pitch – not the detail. Now if only I could keep her on retainer to help me with ALL my book pitches.

The Logline, Premise, Query and Synopsis by Elle James and Delilah Devlin This, in conjunction with the other two (all of which overlapped) solidified how important the ancillary writing is  that surrounds the actual novel. Truly a revelation and an excellent class by excellent instructors. They gave thoughtful and genuine critiques to everyone who participated.

Writing the Query Letter by Julie Rowe Are you seeing a theme here? I knew my query letters sucked as I was getting form rejections from my queries. Julie’s class helped me build on knowledge previously gained. (I think I need another class, though. My query letters still suck.)

A Cop’s Life by Kathy Bennett This was my first breather class – tons of information, and I’ve saved it all. I’ve got a cop coming up in a novel, so I wanted to be prepared. Luckily, Kathy is in my local RWA Chapter so I can ask her questions when I need to.

Book Factory by Kerri Nelson I, too want to write and sell as much as Kerri does. Now if only I can discipline myself to use her techniques! (Hint: it’s all in the way you manage your time.)

Writing Love Scenes by Shayla Black Great info, bad timing on my part as just days after the class ended I went in for surgery. But I saved all the lessons and you can be sure the next time I write a love scene, I’ll be re-reading them.

Holly Lisle – I’m going to stop there. Holly Lisle is awesome. Any class of hers that you choose is terrific.

Warrior Writer by Bob Mayer I took this class again in 2010 after taking it in 2009 because my local chapter gave it as an all-day workshop. Even though I have the book, even though I’ve done the work from the book, I still learned something about me as a writer. In 2009, I wrote a review about the class that basically said I felt stalled as a writer and I knew something had to change. What I hadn’t been aware of was that I needed to change.

I’m currently getting ready for the Henry Miller Writer’s Workshop, focusing on children’s, middle grade, and YA books and presented by the Andrea Brown Agency. It starts tomorrow – I’ll be there, with my YA book in my sweaty palms, ready to find out why it’s not generating the interest I know it should be.

I’ll post about more classes that I took during the past 12 months, plus how the workshop goes, when I return next week. Till then, write well!