Writing Classes

I offer writing classes and workshops in my home in Felton, CA (near Santa Cruz). If you’re in the Bay Area, I’d love to see you! Depending on the weather, we’ll either sit outside under the redwood trees or inside next to the fireplace and talk about writing in a supportive, encouraging environment. Keep scrolling to see what’s coming up for Fall 2017.

Writing Class for Fall 2017

Due to an illness in my family, I’ve had to cancel or postpone some of my fall classes. Thank you so much for your understanding. I’ve updated the dates below, so if you’ve been here before, the dates may be different now. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

So You Want to Write a Novel

When: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (full day)  CANCELLED (Will reschedule soon.)

Where: My home in Felton, CA (I’ll send you directions after you register)

You’ve had that idea running through your head for a while now. But where to start? How do you turn your brilliant idea into a completed manuscript? Or maybe you’ve started writing, but you’re stuck or the writing is not quite what you want it to be. This class is for you. I’ll give you an introduction to these things and much more:

  • The point of view (POV) you choose for your novel (first/third person, past/present tense, close/omniscient)
  • Writing characters readers will fall in love with
  • The do’s and don’t’s of dialog
  • Plot, pacing, and structure that will have your readers turning the pages
  • Scenes that have movement and propel the characters through your story
  • Methods of working and how to manage your life when you’re writing a novel

All fiction genres are welcome!

This class includes a continental breakfast and light lunch.

Price: $250

Social Media Strategy for Writers (Advanced Workshop)

When: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (half day)
Where: My home in Felton, CA (I’ll send you directions after you register)

You probably have several social media accounts to promote your work, but chances are you may not know what to do with them. This workshop for writers with published work who want to have a deeper relationship with the readers they have and to find new readers via social media. It’s very hands-on, so come prepared to get busy. In this workshop, you’ll walk away with a strategy for your social media that answers questions like:

  • What social media sites should you be on?
  • What should you post? When? How often?
  • Should you pay for ads/sponsored posts?
  • How does your website fit in?
  • When do numbers matter?

This is an advanced workshop meaning that you should already be at least somewhat active on social media and looking for ways to leverage the work you’ve already done to connect with readers. If you’re just getting started with social media, I suggest starting with a beginner class at your local community college or online.

This class includes a continental breakfast.

Price: $125

Writing Scenes That Pop

When: Saturday, November 11, 2017, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (half day)

Where: My home in Felton, CA (I’ll send you directions after you register)

Is your story dragging? Do you feel like it’s not keeping the reader’s interest like it should? Your scenes may be the problem. Scenes are more than just description of action. They are the building blocks of your story and what propels your reader from one chapter to another. In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use story elements such as setting and dialog to create tension and movement through your story
  • How to diagram a scene to see where the trouble may be
  • Analyze scenes from great short stories and novels to understand how the scenes work
  • Write sex scenes without you dying from embarrassment and your readers rolling their eyes

This class is for writers of fiction, both novels and short stories, though creative non-fiction and memoirists may find it helpful as well. All genres are welcome!

This class includes a continental breakfast.

Price: $125

Writing Dynamic Dialog

When: Saturday, November 11, 2017, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (half day)  CANCELLED (Will reschedule soon.)

Where: My home in Felton, CA (I’ll send you directions after you register)

Dialog does more than create conversation between characters. It builds character. It moves plot. It represents the culture, history, and personality of your characters. It can also be dull as dry toast. In this workshop, we’ll talk about:

  • When to use dialog
  • How to leverage language to deepen our characters
  • Building a vocabulary for characters
  • How to respectfully represent accents, age, and other aspects of characters in dialog
  • What to do with the mechanics of dialog beyond “he said” or “she said”
  • How to correctly punctuate dialog

This is a workshop with exercises, so come prepared to work and bring lots of questions. This class includes a continental breakfast.

Price: $125

One-on-One Manuscript Consulting

In addition to classes and workshops, I also provide one-on-one manuscript consulting for short stories and novels. At the beginning, we’ll have a conversation about your manuscript, and I’ll ask you a lot of questions. Then I thoroughly read your manuscript and provide developmental notes on structure, plot, pacing, characters, scene-building, etc. Then we discuss my suggestions for taking your manuscript to the next draft. Cost: I charge $.03 per word. So an 80,000-word manuscript would be $2400.

“The problems with my manuscript were many, but I was too close to see them. I needed someone who could see the big picture but was also able to drill down into each chapter and character.  Shelly started with the most basic but necessary of questions: Just what kind of book are you writing?  I thought I knew but it turns out I was writing two different novels.  Resolving this most basic of issues allowed me to move forward much more quickly and with more purpose. She doesn’t shy away from what might be considered sensitive subjects particularly if it means helping the writer improve the product and his or her skills. In our follow-up meeting Shelly produced written documentation of all her observations and recommendations, as well as suggested reading. She’s also a pleasure to work with.  I could go on, but I’ll just say I can highly recommend her to anyone looking for editing assistance, advice and input.  By the way, do it sooner rather than later.”

Steve D.

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