Tag Archives: classes

Craft your characters’ arcs with me at Savvy Authors!

Struggling with showing your character’s emotional journey? I’ve got just the thing for you: A two-week in-depth class on character arcs I’m teaching through Savvy Authors!

Join me for Character Arcs: all dressed up and nowhere to grow starting Monday, April 17, 2017. We’ll be digging deep into creating our character’s internal journey of growth and showing it on the page, from backstory to beginning through the climax.

The course lasts two weeks and covers brand new material (even if you’ve been in previous character arcs classes and read my book!). Here’s the syllabus:

  • Week 1—Building the arc
    • Discovering your character’s arc
    • Digging into your character’s past
    • Arcs for other characters (including antagonists & romantic interests)
  • Week 2—Structuring the arc
    • Creating the “illustrating” incident
    • Two steps forward and one step back through the middle
    • The climax of the character arc

Cost: $35 ($25 for premium members of Savvy Authors). I hope you can join us!

Register now!

Photo credits: character arc logo—Ruth and Dave

Join me this week!

Hey! I’ve got two awesome events this week, and I hope you’ll join me:

Meet SIX local authors!

Even if you couldn’t come for the murder mystery dinner, we do have fun FREE events tomorrow:

6 PM – 7 PM
Meet & greet with authors Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore, Sarah M. Eden, Jordan McCollum, Lisa Mangum, & Josi S. Kilpack

And, oh yeah, this will be your first chance to get a print copy of my next book!

Northampton House
198 W 300 N
American Fork, Utah

And then . . .

Hone your writing craft!

I’ll also be teaching THIS SATURDAY at a FREE writers conference. YES, FREE!

Saturday, October 24
Writers Building Community Conference, presented by the United Authors Association with the Springville Library
Classes 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Author signing 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

I’ll be teaching on approaching POV problems through character voice (and “voice” versa).

Read more & register!

And yes, I will have copies of my new novel there, too (unless I sell out first!).

Springville Public Library
45 South Main Street
Springville, UT 84663

New online class coming up next week!

Want some hands-on help understanding how structure will help your story and crafting your revision plan? Sign up for my next online class, starting Sunday!

Structural Self-Editing: GPS for Your Story Jordan McCollum

28 September – 25 October 2015
taught at SavvyAuthors.com

Sign up today!
After a first draft, do you have a solid story or . . . not quite? A structural edit enables you to refine your individual scenes and guide your work on the highest level. Discover how to build strong narrative structure, create a resonant theme, and craft an unputdownable story through the structural self-editing process.

This hands-on class will give you the tools and guidance necessary to understand good story structure and apply it to your story. Before you start polishing your prose, tap into the power of these vital editing tools to get your whole novel on the right course.


Level: Mixed/Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced
Where: The Savvy Forums
Cost: Premium Savvy Author Members $30 / Basic Members $40


Week 1: Crafting your character arc & thinking about theme
Week 2: Strong story structure & solid scene structure
Week 3: Common pitfalls of story and scene structure
Week 4: The Scene Chart–find weak spots & craft your revision plan

Sign up today!

Writing with class(es)

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Writing resources

If you subscribe to enough writing blogs, you’re sure to see at least one workshop or course recommended. I see a few every week, and most of the time, I dismiss them easily. “Not writing a query,” I tell myself. “Not going to LA. Not spending $375.” Plus, I’d only have the recommendation of that one blogger (who might even be teaching the course).

Finally, there was a course where I ran out of excuses. The blogger posting about it included dozens of testimonials, I’d heard of the teacher before, it was online and it was $30 (which I consider affordable). So I signed up.

From the first lesson, I have found ways to improve my writing and push myself more. The course concepts—portraying character emotions vividly—pushed me to examine my writing, pointing out patterns and opportunities for improvement.

I think the most interesting thing I’ve learned so far is that some of the things I’ve tried to avoid are actually things that best-selling authors do—and do a lot. They’re things that readers actually like, and not violations of those “immutable writing laws” we can only break once we’ve sold 50,000 books.

For example, I actually avoided using more elaborate body language descriptions (although those can take away from a scene and should be used with care) or telling how the dialogue was said (not using adverbs, mostly: sentences like “She used the same patronizing tone she’d use with a two-year-old.”). Some best-selling authors, however, use those to portray emotions powerfully and vividly—and they have more than one of the “dialogue cues” per page.

Something else I love about this class is that it encourages us to look at our manuscripts so we can customize the lessons to our writing—the assignments almost all instruct us to go to our manuscript, so we can analyze how we work, and how we write, so we can discover where we need improvement individually.

About halfway through the course, I was so excited about what I was learning that I went on a big “sign up for classes” kick. I found some free classes online and . . . maybe I’ve gone a little overboard. By April 9, I’ll have been through seven classes. I’m taking classes on things I feel I already do well (can never hurt to get better, right?) to things I want to do better. I’ll let you know if that’s a little excessive—if I live through them all 😉 .

What do you think? What classes have you really enjoyed? What topics have you taken classes on?

PS: the class I’m taking is Empowering Character Emotions from Margie Lawson. Loving it! In addition to an online class, you could also take this as an “independent study” course—it’s $22 for the lecture packet (and no, I don’t get a cut or anything else for this endorsement). The free courses (with a $30 membership), mostly week-long miniworkshops, are on substantive editing, dialogue, revisions, marketing, POV and story structure.

Photo by Dave mcmt

Getting resourceful

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Writing resources

While we like to hear stories about prodigies and untaught geniuses who magical write perfectly poetic prose (and always on the first draft!), the reality is that for pretty much everyone, writing takes a lot of practice, effort, time—and learning.

Writing resources are really important in that learning process. Everything from craft books to conferences can help us improve our writing craft (not to mention learning about the the business side of publishing). From the mechanics of writing to story-level technique, writing resources can help us every step of the way.

And yet sometimes, it’s still hard for us to take that help—for me, it’s often either the expense (of money and time—I’d rather be writing!), or debating whether I really need to work on that area (answer: probably). Can’t I figure this out on my own? Shouldn’t I?

Maybe, maybe not. No, a critique group or a class can’t teach you how to write—at least not if you’re not willing to listen and learn and try new things, and apply them in your writing. But finding those new things to try, identifying your weaknesses and finding ways to improve them all take a lot longer (and may not be as effective) if we don’t seek that outside help.

So this week, we’ll be looking at writing resources, and how they’ve helped us learn and grow as writers!

What writing resources have helped you in your writing journey? (If you’re interested in joining the series with a guest post, I still have openings!)

Photo by Fabrice Clerc