Blogzone

Welcome. I urge you to comment on posts, especially if you’re a new writer. Much of my blog talks about writing. Ask questions and, if I can’t answer them, I will find someone who can. Also, if you’d like to do a guest blog, just let me know. I’ve done a few, and they’re always fun.

Writing Fiction Super Skills


Update: This course is now full!

wvuhouseAs I’ve mentioned earlier on this blog, I teach classes at Writer’s Village Online. Well, I have a big class coming up, starting October 28. We’re capping it at twenty students and we have two seats still available. It’s called Writing Fiction Super Skills.

The Super Skills class is an intensive ten-week course in writing good, solid fiction at a professional level. I’ve scheduled eight weeks of instruction time with a week off at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This course is a one on one student/teacher course. It is not peer critiqued. All your assignments are emailed to me and I will critique them and email them back to you. There is a public forum in the classroom where you can talk with other students and post things if you like, but I won’t be looking at it. So, I suppose, you could use it to vent your anger out about my critiques if you hate them :)

So, you might be wondering: What ARE Super Skills? Super Skills are the little tricks and nuances (and sometimes big things) that you usually learn on your own after ten to fifteen years of writing and being critiqued and wondering if it’s just you or the person critiquing you who has been drinking the moonshine. It’s the stuff that keeps your manuscripts from being 100% professional. Well, we’re going to give you a big leaping head start on this stuff and teach it all to you over the next eight weeks. If you keep at it and follow every lesson and get your work in on time, you will come out of this course a better writer than you are coming in.

I am asking everyone who registers to provide me with something they’ve already written before we get started so that I can gauge how much improvement you actually make. Also, because the class is one on one between you and me, it’s good for me to know where your weaknesses and strengths lie. In some cases I may give out unique exercises just for you because you are lacking in certain areas. It is my goal that everyone comes out of this workshop ready to sell their work. Or at least confident that they can write something that will sell.

Following are some of the things we will be covering:

Refining Your Authorial Voice

  1. What is authorial voice?
  2. How does it differ from dialogue?
  3. How can you quickly develop your own unique style?

Genre

  • What are the different genres that exist?
  • How do they differ from an author’s point of view?
  • What specific tropes do readers expect when reading a certain genre?
  • Which genre does your writing most naturally fall into?
  • Is it possible to combine genres?

Dialogue

  • How do you write believable dialogue?
  • What’s the fastest way to learn to write solid dialogue and give all your characters their own voice?
  • How does character dialogue differ from authorial voice?

Movement & Suspense

  • How can you move your plot along while simultaneously developing your character?
  • How can you make sure you’re constantly building suspense every step of the way?
  • What is the difference between movement and pacing?

Time & Pacing

  • How can you write in and out of different times?
  • How do you write flashbacks and flash forwards properly?
  • When is it all right to do a flashback and when is it not?
  • Can you combine different tenses in the same story? Why would you want to?

Point of View

  • What are the different points of view you have at your disposal?
  • How do they change the way you write your story?
  • Can you shift point of views in the middle of a scene?
  • What is the difference between close, or deep point of view and distant point of view?

Characterization

  • How can you make sure your characters pop off the page in three dimensions?
  • What is the best way to reveal backstory about a character?
  • How does the hero of your story differ from other characters in your story?
  • How do you handle villains, especially if you write from their point of view?

Character Driven Plots & Chapter Cliff-Hanger Endings

  • How do you make readers want to turn the page at the end of every chapter?
  • What’s the easiest way to write mini cliff-hangers?
  • How do you build suspense with a character driven story?
  • What is the difference between a character driven story and a plot driven story?

Structure

  • What is the typical structure of almost every story ever written?
  • How can you write within that structure without giving up any creative latitude?
  • How will using the structure tighten your stories and actually give you more access to story ideas without having to worry about problems that have already been solved a thousand years ago?
  • What is a good way to quickly outline a story in less than an hour?
  • Why should you always outline, even if you don’t use it?
  • How can the outline actually free your imagination instead of constraining you?

Grammar and Punctuation

  • How can you creatively use punctuation without breaking any grammar rules?
  • What is the best way to modify sentence structure to build suspense?
  • How can you make sure your sentences are parallel?
  • What are some nasty grammar traps everyone should look out for?

There will also be chat sessions for going over any problems students are having or to discuss anything that isn’t covered in the curriculum. Attending the chat sessions is not mandatory.:

The course takes place in F2k which is sort of a subset of Writer’s University. This means, you don’t have to be a member of WVU to take the course and the course price includes a free membership to F2k. The price of the class is normally $150, but I have a coupon code if you send me a message before signing up that will give you $50 off.

To register go to the F2k registration page right here.

We only have two open seats left, folks, so if you want on board, tell me sooner rather than later. And if you aren’t interested, perhaps you know someone who is.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

Michael

Mysti Parker’s The Roche Hotel

This is a shameless plug for a good friend of mine who also teaches at Writer’s Village. It’s for her new book which is part of a serial and it comes out October 15.

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The Roche Hotel
Season One

A serial romantic comedy by Mysti Parker

After her husband ditches her for a blonde actress wannabe, Jane Seymour needs a job that pays the rent. The struggling Roche Hotel needs a miracle. With the former owner’s wife butting her nose into the renovations and new owners who are in way over their heads, Jane may be the answer to their prayers. Sure, she can handle The Roche Hotel’s quirky staff. But, can this skittish divorcee keep it all together when handsome Henry the Donut Guy makes his first delivery? This collection of serial fiction stories is a Tudorific romantic comedy that will leave you laughing out loud and hungry for more.

****

The Story Behind the Stories

THEY say a lot of things, don’t they? Like don’t wear white after Labor Day or don’t fry bacon with your shirt off (that’s probably good advice, come to think of it). Most of what THEY say goes right in one ear and out the other. But, in terms of writing, when THEY say “write what you know”, it makes a lot of sense. So, that’s where The Roche Hotel got its start—from my own experience working in a hotel way back in the ‘90s.

Many of these first 10 episodes are based on some very real incidents that happened during my days as a front desk clerk in a little mid-priced hotel. Sure, a lot of stuff’s made up purely from my crazy imagination, but there were 5:00 AM donuts—delicious being fresh from the bakery. Henry the Donut Guy—not real, but I wouldn’t have argued one bit if he had been! Among the many other true-to-life items that appear at the Roche Hotel are a popcorn machine, a Muzak (think elevator music) that never played at the right volume, at least one “lady of the night”, and a dead body.

To discover all those things for yourself, from now until release day on October 15, you can pre-order your copy of The Roche Hotel, Season One for just $0.99 on Amazon Kindle! After that, the price goes up to $1.99, so make your reservation now and save a buck!


Click HERE to re-Order The Roche Hotel, Season One

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Because I like parties, I’m also inviting all of you to the release day party on Facebook, October 15 from 6-9 PM EST.

You’ll get a chance to win a hotel-themed gift basket which includes:

  • Robe
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Tiny soap bars (so cute!)
  • Ghirardelli chocolates
  • Signed postcards

We’ll also have some fun and games, so I hope you’ll join me. And please bring a friend!


Click HERE to Join the Facebook Release Day Party!

Thanks so much for your support! Happy reading! ~Mysti Parker

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Mysti_FaceMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series. Her other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, Christmas Lites II, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and EveryDayFiction.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s seven week online course, F2K. She finished her first historical romance this spring and has one children’s book (Quentin’s Problem) soon to be published, with one more waiting for illustrations, and many more stewing in her head.

When she’s not writing fiction, Mysti works as a freelance editor and copywriter. She also reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Subscribe to my blog, Unwritten 

Visit my webpage: www.mystiparker.com (in construction)

LIKE my fan page on Facebook! 

Follow me on Twitter @MystiParker

Shakespeare

So, I have a confession to make.

I have always had a very tough time reading Shakespearean English. And it’s not that I haven’t tried. Oh sure, I took Macbeth and Hamlet in school like everyone else and managed somehow to get through it, but that’s it. I want to be able to read it all on my own… yadda yadda yadda… along with Dante the entire Western canon… yadda 12thNightyadda yadda, you know.

Well, a few days ago, I went to Shannon’s neice’s production of the Twelfth Night at UBC. She’s an incredible actress and the show was great and I discovered something. I can completely understand Shakespeare if I am watching it as a play the way it was bloody intended.

So, from now on, instead of banging myself over the head with a hammer trying to get through a Midsummer Night’s Dream I am going to start seeking these things out at places like Bard on the Beach and attend more UBC presentations. I was just floored at how easy it was to understand the English when you’re watching it and not just relying on reading it. My guess is, once I’ve watched enough, I will be able to read it. I have suffered through Dante and Milton and even Homer, so it’s not like I’m stupid or anything. It’s just that Shakespeare’s always been some sort of hurdle.

By the way, if you want to go to a great show, Shannon’s niece’s name is Jenna Mairs and she’s a darn good actress.

Michael out.

New Short Story Collection

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I am currently in the midst of putting together my second short story collection, Unbroken Horses.

This is turning out to be a big book. Over 150,000 words. It may, in fact, be so big that I have to put it into two volumes. I am hoping this is not the case. I wish to get this finished before Christmas, but that may be a pipe dream.

Some of my favorite things I’ve ever written are going to be in this book. I will also be doing a rerelease of my first short story collection Sometimes the Angels Weep at the same time (with a new cover… I’ve never really liked the cover of the current version), along with ebook versions of both. Again, Christmas seems to be looming pretty close, so I don’t know that I will make my target date. It may be more like March.

I want to thank all my readers who continue to read my work and follow my career. You guys are great.

Michael out.

SIWC

tyoewriter

I will be attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this year (like I do most years). If you wish to discuss writing with me or get a book signed, feel free to approach me with either.

I look forward to meeting you!

Michael out.