Writing Classes

I offer writing classes and workshops both through Cabrillo College Extension and in my home in Felton, CA (near Santa Cruz). If you’re in the Bay Area, I’d love to see you in class!

Writing Class for 2018

So You Want to Write a Novel

Have you always wanted to write a novel, but you don’t know where to start? Has your idea has been running through your head for a while now, but you’re not sure where to start? How do you turn your brilliant idea into a completed manuscript? Maybe you have started, and it’s not quite what you want it to be, or you’re not sure how to finish it. This class is designed to give participants the tools they need to plot out and complete the first draft of their novel.

During this class we’ll review popular and familiar stories from movies and books, then we’ll break down the components of the story into its essential elements so students can see how the story is put together, piece by piece.

We’ll cover character development, plot, the three-act structure, point-of-view, scene building, and dialog. We’ll discuss the point of view (POV) you choose for your novel, how to write characters readers will fall in love with, the do’s and don’ts of dialog, and the plot, pacing, and structure that will have your readers turning the pages.

Coming soon!

I’ll be leading a writing workshop through Cabrillo College Extension where students will share work with me and other students, and we’ll all offer helpful suggestions on improvements. This kind of workshop is an excellent way to take your writing to the next level. Not only do you leave from the suggestions you receive for your own work, but you’ll learn just as much or even more by helping others improve their work. I’ll have more details soon, but this will probably take place starting in February 2019. For more updates, sign up for my newsletter below!

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.