Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

A Bunch of Things

All Workshops Switched Over…

July online workshop list is now up. But a warning, the workshops that have no one signed up might get either pushed back or switched to classic. We will be announcing two new online workshop starting in July. We will only replace workshops with the two new ones that have no one signed up. And right now, that’s most of them. (Editing, Endings, and Depth are safe.)

Stay tuned for the announcement of the two new online workshops very shortly, plus I will put up the online workshop schedule for September through December..


Cover Workshop is going great!

All but one has their cover template back and are now working on their series covers. I will post all sixteen covers here that Allyson did. They are stunning.

And yes, I said 16. We were going to cut sign-ups at ten, but after one day had we had 12 and before I could shut down sign-ups, four more had signed up. The Series Branding workshop filled in less than two days. But Allyson tells me she is having great fun. I’m trying to convince her to do a mystery series one and/or a science fiction series one. Time will tell.


Finishing A Novel

I will finally finish that novel tomorrow night. Got some work on it tonight after all the workshop stuff. Then I will turn in two Smith’s Monthly editions, take about four days to finish another book that is almost done, and turn in a third issue. Then I want to write a third novel by the end of the month and turn in a fourth issue.


June Short Story Challenge

So far that is going great and a number seem to be on track so far. I have let everyone get a week under the belts before I start responding. I will start tomorrow night on that. No one in May hit the 30 in 30 days, but the four signed up did fantastic!!



Wanted to remind everyone about the great science fiction bundle that is active at the moment. This will end. Some really fantastic summer reading here by some top writers. But if nothing else, grab this to support Ablegamers, a fantastic cause.

The initial titles in the Moonscapes Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Starflight by Ron Collins
  • The Nara Reaction by M. L. Buchman
  • Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Auberon by Blaze Ward
  • In Dreams by Annie Reed

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus five more!

  • Eternity by Maggie Jaimeson
  • Rediscovery by Lisa Silverthorne
  • Climbing Olympus by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Fiction River: Moonscapes by Fiction River
  • Star Mist by Dean Wesley Smith

This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to their gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Trust me, folks, this is some fantastic summer reading. And for $15 and a few bucks to AbleGamers, you can’t go wrong here.



Yes, I said JULY. Wow, time is just flashing past.

All have openings at the moment. Information at

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #1… July 11th … Author Voice
Class #2… July 11th … Business
Class #3… July 11th … Endings
Class #4… July 11th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #5… July 11th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #6… July 12th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… July 12th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… July 12th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… July 12th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… July 12th … How to Edit Your Own Work


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  • Peggy

    Hi, Dean.

    Question unrelated to today’s post: did the old pulp writers suffer carpal tunnel-type problems? Did their fingers or hands ever give out under the stress of a million words a year?


    • dwsmith

      Nope. But banging out stories daily on manual typewriters got their arms to look like Popeye. Not kidding.

      Carpal tunnel is from bad posture and other issues, like not moving around regularly. Anything done for hours at a time without changing position will hurt your arms, back, and circulation in your legs. Because of my eyes, I now move away from a computer screen every thirty minutes now, stretch, look at something in the distance, and sit back down.

      That problem of hands and back at computers is a self-inflicted wound caused by bad posture and bad habits. Old pulp writers, for the most part, knew how to take care of themselves in that aspect of the business.

      • Peggy

        I have one writer friend who plays fiddle and another who knits. They both have muscular hands and credit their non-writing hobbies with keeping their hands healthy.

  • Teri Babcock

    I’m interested in hearing from the May story group about their experience and any learnings, if any are willing to comment.

    • Jessica Baverstock

      I’m from the May challenge. I completed 20 stories in May and I’m finishing off the remaining 10 this month. I wrote 100,000 words in May which I’ve never done before. And it didn’t really affecting my usual work and life routine. I basically just got up a little earlier and watched a bit less TV in the evenings.

      The experience has been phenomenal and I have learned so much, much of it to do with combating my critical voice. The hardest part has been not letting the feedback get into my head. Dean’s been really helpful talking me through some of that and getting my perspective right (though it is a constant game of whack-a-mole).

      It’s been really enlightening to see the points where Dean stopped reading or started scanning, because he always clearly explains why it happened. It’s teaching me about how a reader (and an editor!) experiences story.

      But most of the feedback has actually been about which markets to send my stories to, which is really encouraging and helpful. Seeing someone like Dean speak positively about my stories and sometimes actually get excited about them has just been incredible. I honestly had no idea I was writing at this level until I started this challenge.

      I’m also writing stories I’ve been putting off for years! Before the challenge I searched through my computer files and idea book and made a list of titles I’d accumulated, story ideas I’d filed away, and even stories I’d started but never finished. A few of them I’ve had for over a decade! With this challenge there was nowhere to hide. I had to pull each one out and give it my best. And I’ve been downright flabbergasted at what’s come out.

      I even wrote my first Western based on a title I’ve had for years, and then sent it to Dean (who is like the king of Westerns!) with my stomach churning (and I’d been really grumpy when I wrote it because I was stressed about it). And even that turned out so much better than I was expecting. I hit it! The whole thing worked. I think I actually danced around the house the night I got feedback for that story.

      It’s been the most amazing experience and I’m blown away that Dean has taken the time to offer it. It’s been an incredible and unique learning opportunity on many levels.

      Thank you, Dean!

      • dwsmith

        Thanks, Jessica.

        And folks, don’t let the word count scare you. You don’t notice until it’s over. (grin)

        Looking forward to reading the last ten. I think I have a few lined up already in the file.

    • Karen

      Hi, I’m Karen and I’m a May 2017 short story challenger…. Wow, what a wonderful month it was. Fun… and hard. As Dean said, I didn’t get 30 stories in 30 days. I got 25 stories done with greater than 104,000 words.That’s a win in my book. It’s more than I’ve written in a year…EVER! Some stories were ready to sell. Some, I got the word that they were parts of books, and either change them or write the book. And in all of those, the emphasis was more on writing the book.
      The first part of the month, I mainly revamped story starts or book ideas that I’d done previously but not completed. But by the end of the second week, I realized that, and decided to try something new. So, I came up with an idea that just seemed to flow. It flowed so much that I wrote eight stories in a series. Only one of those stories didn’t stand by itself…Yep, you guessed it… write the book! And Dean, just so you know, the story ideas for that series are still coming, so I’m not done with it yet!
      Like Dean said when he did the challenge, a lot of stories wouldn’t have been written without the challenge. I had some physical issues during the month. Not anything major, as long as I took care of them.
      What did I learn? Well, I am not a natural short story writer. BUT I learned that I CAN write publishable stories in a day. And that’s a good thing. I had done the SPEED workshop before taking this challenge, and I’ve been keeping track of time spent writing as well as how many words each day. I’ve got a lot of work to do to get up to where I thought I was before, but i’m faster than I was when I started the challenge. And the stories are cleaner. I learned that I’m a NIGHT WRITER. I’ve suspected as much for years, but thought that was mainly because of the day job. Now that I’m retired, though, it’s even more so.
      And I learned that if I’m going to write for many hours, I need to have chairs to switch out for my physical health. I wrote between 32 and 41 hours a week during this challenge, which is a full time job. That took a bit to get used to again. I may have to adjust my plans to include either a day off each week, or one every other week. I opted out of the challenge at the end of the month, choosing not to go into the second month for two reasons. 1. I signed up for the June Novel writing challenge. and 2. I’m taking the Cover Branding workshop. Even though I only had a few more stories to do, having all three of those goals at the same time didn’t seem like a good idea to me.
      I’ve taken these challenges to jump start my writing in my retirement. I’ve enjoyed the May Challenge, and am enjoying the slightly slower pace of the Novel challenge.

      If you have any questions, and I can answer them, I will be glad to do so.

      Karen F.

      • dwsmith

        Thanks, Karen. It was wonderful seeing that series develop and cool about the cover as well. Birth to full series with cover (a really, really nifty series, folks) in less than a month.

        See why I say I am having fun with this? (grin)

  • Thomas E

    Hmm… Fourth writer here…

    I learned that I’m not a natural short story writer:) Bur in the process of the month I created three great novel series ideas, and about a dozen other novel proposals that I plan to write. So it’s basically set me up with novels for the next few years…

    Plus I learned my progress has been wrong. Deans feedback was consistently that I was writing thinly when I wrote using my normal style; when I cycle back to add depth he tended to like the stories alot better.

  • Sheila

    Hey everyone. I’m in the June group. Aiming for the 30 in 30. I do not generally write short stories, so this is a stretch for me on a bunch of levels. The point of doing the challenge for me was to force myself to write clean copy. I tend to fall into the trap of writing sloppy, a habit I mean to break.

    Like some others, I’m finding I’m having some trouble with length. Lots of novel ideas coming to the surface. And I find myself easily trapped into writing for several hours only to realize that what I have on my hands is a novel and not a short story (2 for 8 so far actually appear to be novels). If not for the challenge, I would just go with that and write the novel. But instead, I’m forced to butcher it up and try and force it into a short story. Sigh.

    Another interesting discovery is that I appear to have a 2300 word daily limit. No matter how many hours I sit in my writing chair, two or six, that seems to be my ceiling. More hours do not add up to more words on page. If we are using the running analogy, that seems to be my wall. Which means, in the context of the challenge, I am forced to write very tight, contained stories with small ideas. Not something I’ve practiced much. Steep learning curve. (If you have any suggestions for breaking through that wall Dean, I’d be most grateful for the advice).

    Still, its only the first week. I keep reminding myself that they don’t have to be good. They just have to be done. The whole point, for me, is to explore what I can do, push myself, write every day in the hopes I learn to trust my little two-year-old creative voice. Writers write, right?

    • dwsmith

      Exactly, Sheila, exactly!

      And on the stories that should be novels, keep a draft of the start of the novel. Don’t worry so much about trying to twist it into a short story. Just send it to me. Worst thing I can say is “Write the novel.” And anyone who has been to the anthology workshop knows I say that a bunch. (grin)