Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Fun Reading Time

Great Stories and Stuff…

I am at a fun time I go through every year. I have a massive number of really good short stories to read for the anthology workshop. I actually look forward to this every year, to be honest.

I am also finishing up the last notes on the novel challenge and will get those back in the next day or so to everyone in the last novel challenge. So really fun writing there as well.

So having fun reading. Not as much fun as writing, but still great fun.

And also writing the interstitials for Fiction River: Hard Choices. That’s great fun looking back over those stories again.

Interesting Workshop Stuff…

In the last week or so we cancelled two new online workshops and one coast workshop for lack of interest. Actually, the coast workshop called “The Great Bundle” was going to be wonderful fun and a lot of writing. And a lot of people signed up for it when we announced it a year ago.

Then, over the year, things happened and schedules got in the way and so on and people had to cancel and pretty soon there weren’t enough people left signed up to make it work. So sadly we had to cancel it. Maybe we’ll try it at a different time of the year at some point in the future.

The other two online workshops got not one lick of interest until the day after I cancelled them both. Then one person wanted to sign up not realizing they had been cancelled. I thought they were great ideas for workshops. Ahh, well.

So I figured I would see if anyone was interested in an idea someone gave me for a workshop yesterday.

The workshop idea is… “Flash Fiction: How to Write It.”

Not taking any kind of sign-up, just wondering if there is any interest. You can write me directly or respond in the comments here.

Another workshop idea another person gave me is… “Writing Fight Scenes.”

Again, not taking sign-ups, just wondering if there is any interest. And they would not be started for a while. I have Pop-up workshops to record, including how to make a living in 2018 with your fiction. Lots of cool stuff in that one that starts in March.

One of the Pop-Up Weekend workshops going on right now only has one person in it. So that person is getting a private lesson. (grin)

Anyway, thought I would ask about those two workshops. Fine to write me privately with your opinion or put your comment here. And workshop ideas are always welcome.

—- One more interesting workshop thing. Finally figured out a way to set up a lifetime subscription to the workshops, meaning for one price you can get them all, including any new ones coming up. I’ll announce that tomorrow after some details get worked out. A couple people have asked me about that because there are so many workshops.

I am very proud of these workshops and the range and scope of writing help and business help we now offer writers of all levels. We sure never started off to do this. We thought it would last a few months, let alone build into the most extensive professional fiction writing program in existence.

Head-shaking, but I am still having fun and learning, so onward we go.


  • LInda Maye Adams

    Flash fiction – no because it’s not really that profitable. I used to do more of it, mainly because I could get the stories done quickly and they were a challenge to try to get Depth in with the word limitation. But I also had a lot of trouble finding places that paid well for flash fiction. I finally stopped altogether after I tried publishing a flash fiction piece of D2D, and nearly every book vendor refused it because of the length. I’ve published some in collections and retired others; haven’t written one in at least 3 years.

    How to Write Fight Scenes – oh, yeah, I’d go for that. I can also think of a person in my writing group (who has been taking workshops from you also) who probably would snatch that up in a heartbeat. I like action-adventure, but I also deal with a lot of women characters. I know that there’s some distinct gender differences that make writing the scenes different, and sometimes a little more difficult. When I was writing with my cowriter, we had to really stop and work out a fight scene for the female main character because she didn’t have the strength of a guy. He struggled to grasp that women were that different until we got into a discussion about carrying Diet Coke 12 packs. I’ve read some books where the writer took a shortcut and gave the woman superstrength to bypass that problem, and unfortunately, make the character more like a guy.

    • dwsmith

      Linda, no shortcuts in this fight scene workshop I promise. But tricks to help. And it will very much be focused on the character. And realistic. It would be a fun one I can tell already. Thanks a ton for the feedback.

  • Vera Soroka

    Interesting about the flash fiction. I have been writing it for the past six years on my blog every week. I take a pic and write a flash fiction piece to it. Maybe I’m doing it all wrong, LOL. You can click on my name and go read some if you want. I also post some short stories and crap poetry. This is what I would like to move over to Patreon. this year. I would be interested in the pop up one dealing with how to make a living in 2018/19 with your fiction. So I will have to see about that one.

  • Jennifer Brinn

    I am very sad abou the Middles Workshop — was just waiting on payday to sign up. I know my friend Linda was interested in doing it too.

    Gosh, I need Middles help! So I’ll put aside the money to wait for that one to return. (Please reconsider—I was hoping for that for March!)

    Flash fiction is hard because you don’t have room for depth. I’d love to see one.

    Action scenes might be good too, especialy if you cover different types of action scenes.

    One thing that may not cover enough for a full workshop but I’ve been meaning to suggest for a lecture or a pop-up is something to go into detail on Cycling.. I’m having a hard time with it (knowing what I need to add, knowing when I’ve slipped into Critical Voice and how to stop it, etc.)

    • dwsmith


      Actually you do have room for depth in flash fiction, and it needs to be there in flash fiction. Just focused differently. And yes, fight scenes workshop would cover all types of them, focusing on staying in viewpoint a great deal.

      Yeah, the middle workshop a few people have mentioned and it does fit with the overall curriculum, so it might come back at some point later in the year. But I just couldn’t see any reason at this point to record a six week workshop when no one showed any interest at all. Sort of an indicator we have learned from the past. (grin)

      As for a workshop on cycling, or maybe a lecture. I think it would fit a lecture more than anything else. I’ll talk with Kris about that. Might be possible. We have a list right now of about eight new lectures we want to do as soon as we break a day or so free. (grin) Thanks for the feedback.

      • Jennifer Brinn

        Yeah, I figured Cycling would be more a lecture length. Or maybe a pop up working. I’m hoping to try one of those in March if my schedule allows.

        When it is working for me, it is glorious. When it isn’t, I get stuck in Critical Editing Mode, and have to walk away from that story for the day to reset. I’m practicing, but it just isn’t something that comes as intuitively to me yet.

        And yes, flash fiction does need depth, but it is hard. If it wasn’t clear, I’d be interested in it. I find the challenge of writing short very fun, and I find learning to write that concisely is useful in other writing.

        And one thing to add to the fight scene discussion, help for those of us who aren’t good at visualizing. I don’t picture things in my mind the way some people can set up a movie in their heads. I need to take a step out of the story to block out the stage direction so I know where everything is.

  • Céline Malgen

    You are perfectly right to be proud of all the workshops you and Kris offer, they’re indeed amazing. It is the very best online courses I’ve found so far, especially considering that you’re both stage 4 writers, willing to share your time to help other writers, whatever their levels.

    Not to mention the huge advantage of not having to travel to get to the workshops, especially for people who live far away from the US, while still being able to ask you questions and getting very useful answers.

    Folks, if you have never taken a workshop here, they’re really worth it, even more so if you take advantage of the Kickstarter offer (250$ instead of 300$ for each regular workshop, with a free 150$ classic workshop added as an extra bonus – it can’t get any better than that!).

    Thanks Dean and Kris once again for everything you give to newer writers, and I hope the Flash Fiction workshop will have enough people interested so that I can take it.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Celine. Very kind of you and really appreciated. Every-so-often I step back and really look at the entire group of lectures, classic, and regular workshops and wonder where all this was when I was younger. Would have saved me a decade at least. And that’s what Kris and I are trying to do to help. This business is tough enough without wasting years on a bad path. So thanks again.

    • J.M. Ney-Grimm

      I simply must say that I agree with everything you said, Celine. I’ve taken 2 on-site workshops and 6 online workshops. They were wonderful. I learned so very much. I’m sure those 8 alone have saved me the 10 years that Dean speaks of, and I hope to take more when I get through the current crop of life rolls.

  • Julie

    As the person who probably gave you the idea for a workshop about doing fight scenes, I’d certainly sign up for it! 🙂

    Particularly tricky if you’ve never been in a fight…

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Julie. And yes, especially tricky also to stay solidly in viewpoint. It would be like the Depth workshop with lots of examples from top writers.

  • Thomas Bennett

    I’m interested in the flash fiction workshop. I’m also interested in the lifetime subscription. I always learn stuff I wasn’t expecting to learn each time I take a workshop. Currently, I have six more workshops to take to round out the core curriculum. I’d take those before I look at flash fiction.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Thomas. I too think the Flash Fiction would be great fun. And as far as the lifetime, we have the details worked out and I will put it up tonight. Thanks for the input. Appreciated.

  • Teri Babcock

    HI Dean-
    Add me to the list who are interested in Middles and Complex Plots (or whatever you called it). I would have signed up for both immediately if i wasn’t already totally swamped with tax, corporate and house stuff through March.
    I’d be interested in the Flash, but still have other courses that are higher up the priority queue for me so I probably wouldn’t take it for a while.

  • Rob Vagle

    I think fights scenes would be valuable. Actually, a how to on action scenes would be even more ideal.

    Middles would have been great, but I couldn’t sign up right now. At least you still have an endings workshop, which I’ll take sometime soon.

  • Amy Laurens

    Definitely interested in the fight scenes one, and WOW the lifetime access sounds like a good deal and now I”m crunching numbers to see how/if I can make that work……… 😀

    • dwsmith

      Got it listed on Teachable right now. I’m working on the lecture lifetime access at the moment so it will be available soon as well.

  • Melissa Bitter

    I’m interested in fight scenes (at some later point). And I also, I was really excited about there being Middles workshop. As I’ve mentioned a few times to you before, that’s often where I get stuck. But I have other things I need to finish first before I can sign up for a Middle workshop.

  • Topaz

    Hello Dean.

    My condolences for your loss.

    At the moment I’m doing advaced depth trying to become a stage 3 writer this year. Therefore I saw no good in expressing interest, while being sure I wont sign up this year at all. Family wants time too.

    Never the less, I am interested in both, the Middle and the JUGGLING: THE ART OF WRITING COMPLEX BOOKS workshop.
    I like the idea with the fighting scenes, too. I’m writing some at the moment and don’t like them. Alas, I’m doing my best writing possible at this moment in time.

    Your lifetime subscriptions sound wonderful. A very tempting offer. I have some questions, especially reading Kris’ last post on mentors, about your friend and remembering my on losses from last year of way younger people.

    Whats will happen to the availability of the worshops in case you aren’t able to do them any more? Will they stay to watch or will they vanish?

    Will the offer for the lifetime subscription last, or is it only available for a defined time?

    Looking forward to your answer.

    • dwsmith

      Topaz, great question and I should have addressed that and will in a post later today. Why we couldn’t do this before now with the lifetime subscriptions is that very worry about what would happen if I got sick or something. Now, with Teachable, the workshops remain and it is easy for others to step in. They will remain. If I got really sick or died, there might be a burp of a few months, but then they would come back because, to be honest, Kris and I feel these workshops are a sort of legacy that we want to keep going as long as they are valuable to writers coming in. So Kris or Allyson would pick up the baton (and they both know how to do that now with Teachable) and go onward with these.

      And will it last as an offer? Yes. At least that is the plan. We want to allow people to get as much information as they can to help their writing and publishing moving forward.

      As for why we can’t discount this more than what we are doing is that we right now (if we bring back The Middle and Complex Book workshops) have seven workshops planned to come online just this year and two more pencilled into 2019. That’s $2,700 worth of workshops alone. No telling what new ideas we will come up with. Kris just came into my office a few moments ago and said simply, “We need a workshop on how to write emotion in fiction.” And then she smiled and turned and left.

      So these will go on. So thanks for the great question. With Teachable, these will now last. And we have also thought of bringing in a form of classic workshop (which would be included) with other instructors down the road. Also thinking of doing lectures with other major writers. Maybe in 2019.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, I think it is needed from the stories I am reading at the moment. It would have been so easy to layer in emotion and make the story powerful instead of a pass. Sigh.

  • Barb

    “Writing Fight Scenes.” Even though I have plenty of articles on how to write fight scenes, how to maim your characters, how to write realistic injuries (including from fights), archery, swords and whatnot, maybe a lecture? If not a full course, definitely a lecture I’d listen to! 🙂

    • dwsmith

      Barb, because there are so many “stand here, put foot here, swing like this” articles, this is going to be focused on what it actually feels like inside the character. Thus making your fight scenes real. And also many tricks about how to make them feel real without actually being real. So this is a character-focused course on fight scenes, something I have not seen done much at all. We will announce it in a few months.