Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Even I Am Overwhelmed With Good Stuff…

But Things Will Calm Down…

First off, those letters and stuff from two of my posts making it to sure stirred up the young-writer hornet’s nest. Fun letters and comments. Only had to hold back three insulting comments this time. And some very good points, well spoken, in the comments both here and on Worth reading. Thanks for the discussion, folks. It’s been fun.

I am really overwhelmed at all the fun stuff happening at the moment. We announced our new coast workshops for the year, on the 18th a Branding SF Covers workshop will be starting, we have a brand new online workshop called Novel Structure starting in November, we have a fantastic Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Kickstarter going with a special workshop offer (see below), and it is the last days of a bundle I helped curate.

So figured I would do a summary post right here to make sense of it all. For me. (grin) And to make it easy for all of you to see if you missed anything.

First, the new coast workshops:

Here are the dates of the coming coast workshops.

ANTHOLOGY WORKSHOP… Feb 24th through March 3rd, 2018.  Six spots open. (Start writing early December.)

FANTASY WORKSHOP… April 14th through the 21st, 2018.  Taught by Kris. Completely full.

THE GREAT BUNDLE WORKSHOP… May 5th through the 12th, 2018. A completely new and original idea for a writing workshop. See the details on the Coast Workshop page. This one will start writing in late March. Still a few spots open.

CROSS GENRE WORKSHOP… September 15th through the 22nd, 2018.  Taught by Kris.  How to write cross genre stories and make them work. Taking sign-ups now. Limited to 14 writers.

MASTER BUSINESS WORKSHOP… October 20th through the 27th, 2018. Taking sign-ups now. First paid, first in the Anchor.

ANTHOLOGY WORKSHOP… February 23rd through March 2nd, 2019. Taking sign-ups now. First paid, first in the Anchor. (Start writing early December 2018)

Write me if you would like to sign up and payments for the workshop can be sent through Paypal to get you confirmed into the workshop and a spot reserved in the Anchor Hotel. First paid, first into the hotel.

Full workshop descriptions at the Coast Workshops tab above.


New Online Workshop Starting in November…


Understanding the basic structure of a modern novel helps make writing novels so much easier and enjoyable.

And each major genre has a structure that can be learned. And when you are writing between genres, understanding the basic structures of each genre’s novels will help you know where to put the book when finished.

This is not a three-act structure or a hero’s journey structure or anything like that. This is real modern-fiction structures that readers come to expect in their books.

This class will be full of techniques and awareness of how a form works.

And more importantly, why a certain form works for a certain genre.

This workshop will incorporate elements of cliffhangers, character development, secondary plot lines, endings, teams and more.

If you fear the novel length, or wonder why your novels you wrote didn’t work the way you wanted, this might be the workshop for you.

And if you get stuck in the middle of novels, this might be the workshop for you.

This is NOT an outlining or planning a novel workshop. This workshop is designed to help you understand at a deep level the structures of the books you are writing so that when writing into the dark on a book, you have confidence the book will be in the right form when finished.

If you have taken the Writing into the Dark workshop, you know I say at one point to trust the process. This workshop will help with that more than you can ever imagine.

Taking sign-ups now!



We did a form of this workshop back in May for four weeks that filled almost instantly and another one on Fantasy Covers in July that also filled.

So Allyson had fun on both workshops and I didn’t get killed by the writers, so I talked Allyson into doing the workshop for branding a science fiction covers and series. Any type of science fiction.

So here are the details…

Allyson Longueira, the publisher of WMG Publishing has offered to design a cover and help brand a science fiction series for a limited number of writers. For those of you who don’t know her, Allyson is an award-winning designer who also happens to have a masters degree in design.

Over the years, Allyson helped writers with cover design in coast workshops here and for a short time we did a basic cover design workshop to help writers learn how to do covers.

But this one-time short workshop on branding science fiction covers is different. Working with you, Allyson will design a brand for your books and give you a cover template for your series when you are done.

That’s right you get the template. And she will help on the other books in the series as well.

And it will be a workshop as well to help you learn the theory and details of cover branding so you understand the concepts of how branding works with covers.


Here are the details:

4 Week Online Workshop (that will last for about six weeks)
Starts Wednesday, OCTOBER 18th.
Cost: $300. Limited to ten to twelve writers. First in, first served. There are still five spots open.




For those of you who are getting workshop credits through Kickstarter, for every workshop credit, you will also get a Classic Workshop credit.

That’s right, a $150 value workshop.

I just finished putting into classic status Genre Structure workshop. I have about five workshops more to get up, bringing the total of Classic Workshops to around ten or eleven by December. With more to follow.

So say if you get three workshop credits through the Pulphouse Kickstarter, you also get three Classic Workshops for free.

And yes, if you took a Classic Workshop when it was a regular and want to look at it again, just write me and I’ll tell you how to get into the workshop.

You can see the lectures and classic workshops at Again, there are five or so Classic Workshops there now, more coming every three days or so. (takes that long to load them.)

I had one question. If you want to get more than three workshop credits through Kickstarter to use at any time in the future, just go to the three workshop reward and pledge more in units of $250.  So say you wanted to buy four, that would be a $1,000 pledge on that $750 level and we will take care of it when all done.

And you would get four classic workshops as well, also taken care of when all finished, not counting the subscription to Pulphouse.



Science fiction readers all know that the main theme of all science fiction is the alien among us. Early on, when science fiction was a genre only read by science geeks and kids who built their own telescopes, readers felt that they were the aliens in the larger real world.

School was an alien place, other humans felt alien. Science fiction felt safe.

And science fiction stories and novels helped explain so much of what they were feeling.

I was no exception. I always felt different, a little odd, never really fitting in. In other words: alien.

And I loved science fiction and grew up reading it and then eventually writing it.

Now, science fiction has grown into this wonderful place of sharing ideas and stories worldwide, no longer just reserved for the science geek. But aliens and being alien is still the major theme of most of the books and stories.

So, when I got the chance to help curate this wonderful bundle with Allyson Longueira, I jumped at the chance because Aliens Among Us described so many great books from my past and many, many great stories and novels being publishing today.

Get this today at


  • Amy Laurens

    Hi Dean,

    Quick question on the Kickstarter. I am currently backing at the $250 level for one workshop. I’d really like to upgrade, but I can only afford one other workshop, not two more, and I see that the options have a $750/three workshop level, but not a $500/two workshops level. Should I do as you’ve recommended for the over $750 crowd and just upgrade my $250 pledge to $500?

    Thank you so much for the amazing bonus of the classic workshops. I am SO excited 😀

    • dwsmith

      Yes, just update the $250 one to $500 and we’ll get you two workshop credits. And two Classic Workshop credits.

      And almost finished getting up on Teachable the Classic Workshop “Writing with Depth”

      Thanks for the backing on the Kickstarter. Really appreciated.

        • Amy Laurens

          Oh, is that the traditional workshop which runs each month as Depth in Writing? That complicates my decision making somewhat… Good complicated, of course 😀

          • dwsmith

            The Depth workshop is the regular workshop that runs each month. Correct. The Plotting with Depth which will be a classic shortly uses what you learned in that workshop to help in holding readers in books. You would need the regular depth workshop before taking the Plotting with Depth. Otherwise it would make no sense at all. (grin)

      • Gnondpom

        Dean, I guess you meant “Plotting with Depth” instead of “Writing with Depth”? Otherwise your reply sounds like you wanted to put the “Depth in Writing” as a classic, which wouldn’t make much sense since it’s the only one that runs every month, and is the basis for so many other workshops…

        Anyway, thanks again for offering so many high quality workshops. No wonder so many people support you on Kickstarter: we know the magazine is going to be great with such an enthusiastic editor, and the workshops are amazing value for money, especially with the extra free Classic workshops!

        • dwsmith

          Yes, my bad. I meant Plotting with Depth is going to Classic. Depth in Writing is staying regular and will for the future.