Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Writer's Toolbox: Classes to EMPOWER Your Fiction

Are you ready to go crazy?

If you’re a writer, you probably already are.

No offense, it’s just the fact of a writer’s life. :-)

And if you are a crazy writer who wants to expand their craft and learn some great tools, sit up close for a moment. I’m going to share a writing-world secret.

You’ll probably guess my point before I get there, because truth is, this secret isn’t much of a secret.

But play along for a minute, okay?

I’m constantly searching for help in making my craft stronger. I’ve tried freelance editors (helpful, yes, but not quite there yet). I’ve taken copious classes and multiply how-to books (again very helpful, the pieces to the puzzles are coming together).

But I still don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Something isn’t clicking and when I sit down to edit I can’t SEE the physical errors in my writing besides the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face obvious. (cliché alert) Worse I don’t know how to fix them.

(HINT: there was a clue. Did you catch it?)

Hand me a class I can afford and most likely I am going to jump in feet first and see how wet I can get.

This time around, I was DELUGED.

In a very, very good way.

Photo Curtesy of Flickr
I took a class this month on powering your characters emotions, which turned into way more than I ever expected. This class took the power of an editor and put it into my hands. Through the month long class (with 10 lectures total), the most helpful thing I think I learned is the EDITS system. Basically a system of highlighting different aspects of your writing.

Put into layman’s terms, I learned what each color represented and what they represented on the PAGE and what it most likely meant for my story.

(Do you know who I’m talking about yet? I’ll keep going for a few more paragraphs.)

Chock full of examples from superb fiction, you SEE what these authors have done right. It’s all broken down and by the time the final lessons have rolled around, I’m looking to find these concepts in other books.

You learn by doing. The assignments stretched my brain and took me another step down this journey. In-depth advice from the instructor and the help of my edit partner brought concepts home.


Let me say that one more time. It needs to be over-stated.


(Figured it out yet? Answer’s coming!)

Suddenly (or probably not-so-suddenly) I can SEE what is wrong with my work. It hasn’t made it perfect, but when all you see is blocks of yellow (gotta take the class to know what I’m talking about :-)-you know you most likely have a problem.

And instead of just KNOWING you have a problem, you are given the tools and the power to go and FIX it.

It’s more than just staring at a block of words and knowing in your gut you’ve got something that needs fixing. This is actively investigating that block of words and actually making changes that will forever change how you view your fiction.

Can you tell I’m a proponent of this class?

No, I wasn’t paid to write this post. I just paid for the class. Which is worth every penny of the $30 I spent. (and I would have spent three times that)

Are you still with me?

Think you know who it is?

If you guessed Margie Lawson, you guessed right. Check her website out. I’m serious. You won’t write the same again and she puts her classes into terms you can UNDERSTAND. You will grow and stretch, plus we read many examples from Multi-Margie grads that are now published or in the stages of publication. :-)

EMPOWER YOUR FICTION. It’s guaranteed.

Questions? Comments? Do tell… :-)

To Celebrate Our 300 Followers (YOU!) I’m Hosting a Giveaway:

Leave a comment for a chance to win Home Another Way by Christa Parrish

Winner will be announced in the Weekend Edition and please be sure and leave an email address so I can contact you. :-)


Jillian said...

Casey, I knew you were talking about Margie from the beginning of your post. :) She is awesome! I have an entire three ring binder packed with great info from that course. Definitely worth the $30 and more!

Casey said...

LOL Jillian, I figured a bunch of people would and for those who haven't then they can learn about a fantastic resource! I plan to take a bunch more of her classes. :) Thanks for coming by today!

Saumya said...

I want to take this class! I've found certain courses so helpful for my fiction. Thanks for sharing :)

Debra E. Marvin said...

I am doing a final polish on my MS before submitting to Beta Readers and agent.
So, after messing as much as possible with 'the big picture' (the hope that my plot is working and interesting) I am going through each chapter with EDITS system. The Highlighter pen is my best friend! I can SEE where I need to ramp up emotion and description.
I had the opportunity to go a Margie Lawson EDITS workshop in person. I don't think I would ever call any fiction finished until I run it through the color test. And using highlighter is so much fun!

Casey said...

SAUMYA, you are welcome! You would find this one very helpful. And it's the first in her series of EDITS workshops I think. Empowering Character Emotions. :)

DEBRA, oh another Margie Grad! :) Yes, I just went through another chapter the other day and it just brings the page to life.

Thanks for coming by today ladies! :)

Beth K. Vogt said...

I'd heard someone else say how she relied on her colored markers, thanks to Margie Lawson. Now I'm more intrigued than ever.

Keli Gwyn said...

I've heard such great things about Margie's class. Since I love editing, I'm sure I'd learn heaps and have a blast.

How much time did you have to spend on homework, Casey? Does each participant work at her own pace, or are their deadlines for completing each assignment?

Christine Long said...

I have been looking for online writing courses that are strong yet affordable. Thank you for posting this today. I am on my way over to check out her courses.

Would love to win the book.
teaching by writing [at] yahoo [dot] com

Casey said...

BETH, LOL, yes those colored "markers" have been, I truly believe, a lifesaver for my writing. :)

KELI, I like editing, but this made it enjoyable for me. Lectures come out every three days and you can lurk or do the work (which Margie gives FANTASTIC advice and help to empower your work).

I would do the work right away and it usually takes me total (reading and do the assignments) a couple of hours over those three days. I would say that includes working with my edit partner and the emails we have exchanged. Not all the lectures have assignments. I tried to get my assignments in before the next lecture came out, but I don't think there were really "strict" deadlines. I saw on a couple different places during the class that we had up to two weeks to get them in. Margie never stressed it.

Hope that helps! :)

Casey said...

CHRISTINE, they were both that and so much more! Hope you find something that interests you. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

A friend once sent me a bunch of colored highlighters. She didn't realize how much of a gift that was.

Sounds like an excellent class. I'm glad you took the opportunity to really learn from it.

~ Wendy

Casey said...

Highlighters are always great for writer, huh Wendy? :)

YES! So am I. I will definitely be taking more. :)

Pam said...

It sounds like a great class. Thanks for the info. I'd like to be entered to win "Home Another Way."


Casey said...

That you are Pam! Best wishes in winning. :)

Joy Tamsin David said...

Wow, Debra, you got to take it in person!? What I wouldn't give for that opportunity!

I know I mentioned it before, but Margie is by far the most helpful piece of writing advice I've ever found.

I'm not done working my way through her packets yet, but I've done ECE and the Psychologist one. I plan to do them all.

Casey said...

Hi Joy!! I know me too, I hope I can take her online class in May. Just FANTASTIC help and advice. I feel I've grown about two inches writing wise this month. :)