Online Workshops

Online Workshop Details


Structure of every regular workshop:

— Each week for six weeks video lectures will be available for the writer to listen and watch in their own time.  (Video lectures will be about 4 to 7 or so minutes long each and there will be about six or so of them per week depending on topic.)

— Each week will include an assignment which will need to be sent as an attached file within five days. We will work personally with each writer or book designer, and send the assignments back to each person before the end of the week. (The assignments are not mandatory, but suggested to get the most out of each workshop.)

— Then each week we will record a short (5 minutes or so) video talking in general (never giving names) about the assignment for everyone in the class to watch. Then the following week’s assignment and lectures will be available.

— Each new video will be released on the same day of the week as the first one for six weeks. So if the workshop starts on Tuesday, the new weekly video sessions will be released every Tuesday.

— Once you are signed up for a workshop, you can come back over the years to review at any point you want.


— The classic workshops used to be regular workshops, but you can sign up for them, and go through all the videos as fast as you would like. All six weeks are there. The homework assignments are still there, as well as some of the responses from a previous workshop, but you do not send in any assignments. You just do them for yourself. And you can come back over the years as often as you want without any extra costs.

Classic workshops and lectures are at:

Standard workshops are all SIX WEEKS LONG.

Classic workshops you can go through as slow or as fast as you want.


Cost of online workshops is $300.00 each. (Payment instructions either on Teachable or through Dean. Instructions below.)

Cost of Classic online workshops is $150.00 each. (Payment instructions when you buy the workshop on

Cost of Subscription to All Workshops is $3,000. (Payment instructions when you buy the subscription on Write Dean for more information. Over $18,000 in value.)


NO REFUNDS. However, your money can be moved to a different workshop down the road if you have schedule or health problems. We will work with you.

My e-mail address for these workshops is Please put only WORKSHOPS in the subject line. Or if I do not respond, please try again. I try to respond fairly quickly, meaning within the same day, two at most.


We have put together a curriculum of the workshops. You can find it at

We will be updating it regularly…


Regular Workshop Schedule

Each regular workshop is 6 weeks long.

Again, it will take you about three hours per week on your own pace to do each of these if you do the assignments. These are the starting dates of upcoming regular workshops on

Class #11… Aug 2nd … Covers 101
Class #12… Aug 2nd … Heinlein’s Rules
Class #13… Aug 2nd … Writing into the Dark
Class #14… Aug 2nd… Writing with Speed
Class #15… Aug 2nd … Teams in Fiction
Class #16… Aug 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Aug 3rd … Writing Sales Copy
Class #18… Aug 3rd … Short Stories
Class #19… Aug 3rd … Approaching Pulp Speed
Class #20… Aug 3rd … Killing Critical Voice
Class #21… Aug 3rd … Media Kit
Class #22… Aug 3rd … Advanced Depth


A List of All Regular Monthly Workshops (no real order)

Depth in Writing

(Start with this one. It is offered every month.)

Advanced Depth
Writing with Speed
Writing into the Dark
Teams in Fiction
Writing Short Stories
Writing Sales Copy
Covers 101
Killing Critical Voice
Approaching Pulp Speed
Media Kit
Heinlein’s Rules 

A List of Special Regular Workshops

(Six weeks long but you take these at your own pace, can start at any time and can turn in homework or not, your choice.)

Futures Workshop: Refresh and Renew
Futures Workshop: Opportunities
Futures Workshop: Structure
Futures Workshop: Patience

A List of All Classic Workshops (no real order)

— How To Use Tags
— Dialog
— Novel Structure
— Author Voice
— Point of View
— Writing Mystery
— Writing Fantasy
— Character Development
— Point of View
— Research
— Writing Westerns
— Writing Dialogue
— Magic Bakery
— Writing Thrillers
— Writing Series
— Adding Suspense
— Character Voice
— Productivity
— Ideas to Story
— Genre Structure
— Plotting with Depth
— Expectations
— Writing Science Fiction
— Writing Time Travel
— Cliffhanger
— Pacing
— Think Like a Publisher
— Business of Writing 
— Writing Secondary Plot Lines 
— How to Edit Your Own Work
— Emotion
— Licensing 101
— How To Study Writing


Workshop Descriptions



Start With This Workshop!!

A sentence-by-sentence, clause-by-clause look at how you can write fiction, characters, settings, and plots with depth. Your writing, your characters, your fiction will take a huge jump forward with this workshop.

A number of years back, Kris and I did a workshop called “Strengths” that looked at writers’ work up close and helped them, we hope, understand where they are strong, and where they need work. Almost everyone who took that class needed work consistency developing characters at a deeper level. But how?

In workshop after workshop, I often told writers they were just skimming over the surface and they needed to stay down in character’s heads more. But how?

The Depth in Writing workshop shows you exactly how.

Kris and I have finally worked out a way to get down into the details to show you exactly how to add depth to your characters and your work without hurting your plotting or your pacing.

Not a theory workshop. We show you directly how to do it and you practice it and get feedback from us on how to make your work even deeper.



Learn even more ways to keep your readers from ever leaving your stories.

Requirement: You must have already taken the Depth Online Workshop to take this one. (Information on that below.) This advanced workshop takes off where the Depth workshop ended.

And here are just some of the things we are going to cover in this workshop.

— How to hold readers in chapter and scene openings, once you have a reader down at depth.
— Shortcuts of depth.
— How to set character mood to help depth.
— How to use suspense to increase the power of depth in a story.
— How to use the correct levels of depth in different projects.
— Character voice and character attitude in creating depth.
— Depth with tags of all sorts, including character tags and setting tags.
— Depth increased by the correct use of pacing.
— Character pacing to increase depth. (If you don’t think characters inside stories have different pacing levels, just sit in an airport and watch people.)
— Depth killers to avoid. Things that will knock readers out of books faster than anything, such as too many names for the same character (among many other killer problems).

And so much more.

This workshop will also talk regularly about reader expectations in stories. It will be taught in the same style as the first Depth workshop with examples of each concept and assignments to test your skills in certain areas.

If you want to know what levels are possible to take your writing, this is the workshop for you.

It will be an eye-opening workshop, we promise.



Attitude is everything in fiction writing. From beating back fears, to taking the courage to try something new, to believing your work is worth publishing. Attitude can help you overcome doubts, believe in yourself on the outside while you doubt everything on the inside.

A good attitude in fiction writing can be learned.

There are also some really bad attitudes in fiction writing, ones that will quickly or eventually kill your writing. This workshop will deal with those as well, give you warning signs.

Mostly this workshop teaches attitude and the confidence it takes to believe in yourself, in your work, and in your future.

This workshop will help you strengthen your good attitudes and kill your bad ones.

In fiction writing, attitude is everything. And you can learn how to have a great attitude with this workshop.



Understanding this very complex element of fiction writing is difficult, at best. It seems on the surface to be so easy. Any writer can give a character emotions, right? Well, on a light surface level, maybe, but just below that surface is one of the most powerful tools a writer has in his or her craft toolbox.

Emotion makes characters come alive and readers care about the character and thus stay in your story.

Emotion gives characters a past.

There are many ways to add emotion into stories. Some work, some do not. And not all emotion is making a reader cry. Humor is a form of emotion. So is something simple (when done correctly) as hunger.

Emotion adds depth to a character, which I suppose this workshop could be called Character Depth. A character, without emotion, has no depth.

This workshop is designed to help you see when emotion is present in a story and learn how to put it in. There are five major ways to add emotion in a story and a hundred minor ways. We will cover the five and try to get to as many of the minor ones as possible in these six weeks.

Presented in a similar fashion as the Depth Workshop, you must have taken the Depth Workshop to take this class.



Understanding this very complex element of fiction writing is difficult, at best. It seems on the surface to be so easy, but just below that surface is one of the most powerful tools a writer has in their craft toolbox.

For lack of a better way of describing Information Flow, think of this workshop as a way to control your readers.

(You must have taken the depth workshop before you can even begin to start into this workshop.)

Readers build the story you are telling them in their head from reading the little black coding marks you are putting in front of them. If you are coding those little black marks correctly, the reader will see and feel what you want them to see.

The reader will get to know your character the way you want them to know the character. The reader will feel the tension or lack of tension you want them to feel.

But if you allow them to make something up that does not fit your story and then try to correct it later, they get confused, annoyed, or just sort of drift out of your story and never come back. It is critical to a good storyteller to control the images and scenes the reader is seeing and feeling.

That’s what this workshop is all about on so many levels.


Long-term bestsellers with millions of readers understand this concept as well as they understand pacing.

Do you want your reader ahead of your character? How do you do that?

You want your readers to pay attention to a detail and not pay attention to other details? How do you do that?

When to put in certain details and when you can leave them out.

And so much, much more.

Even if you don’t feel you are ready for this kind of advanced workshop yet, it would be worth your time to take this and start to understand and give your creative voice permission to use much of this when it feels it is needed.

Presented in a similar fashion as the Depth Workshop, you must have taken the Depth Workshop to take this class.



Learn how to write clean, first-draft novels and stories without ever outlining or rewriting.

Yes, it can be done and most long-time professional writers do just that.

Learn how to bring the fun of storytelling back to your writing and become more prolific along the way.

This class will be full of techniques, myth-busting, and exercises to help you learn to write clean, first-draft novels that never need to be rewritten.

If you automatically thought that can’t be done, you really need this workshop.

If you are trapped in the myth of rewriting things until they are mush, you really need this workshop.

If writing is no longer fun, you really, really need this workshop.

Everyone teaches the myths of outlining and rewriting. This class shows there is another way. A better and more fun way.



Understanding how to end novels and short stories in every genre.

An old truth about fiction and selling books: Your opening sells the book the reader has in their hands. Your ending sells your next book. 

Most writers don’t understand how to write a satisfying ending. And there is a ton of misinformation about endings as well. A satisfying ending for a mystery would be completely wrong for a romance novel. And so on.

One basic area that will be covered is end-matter, since so many writers are indie publishing their own books these days. And making some horrid mistakes with their end matter, actually turning people off after their story satisfied the reader. This workshop will make sure you are not doing that to start with. A basic thing.

Another old truth in fiction is that if something is wrong in your ending, look to your beginning. This workshop will cover how endings need to build from and often wrap back to the beginning of your story.

So, basically, this workshop will deal with a lot of plotting from genre ending to genre ending.

This workshop will be designed to give you a foundation of knowledge to stand on when writing endings. You will know what is needed to help your readers finish your novel and look for more work from you.

Endings are not a mystic art and they are not necessarily formulaic on the other side either.

The knowledge of how to end a story can be learned. That’s what this workshop is all about.

This workshop will be an eye-opener and jump your writing skills forward, as well as your sales, we can promise that.



Writing quickly with Quality.

Yes, we are going there. We are going into your work habits to help you get past everything that is slowing down your writing pace. Your creation pace. Help you write clean, first drafts at a decent pace.

And yes, we can help you.

Kris and I constantly hear writers talk about how they can’t write a thousand or more words per hour of fiction. We understand that. We couldn’t either when we started off. But eventually, most long-term writers work through the problems slowing them down and get to around 750 to 1,250 words per hour depending on what part of the novel or story they are writing.

This workshop is designed to help you jump over years and years of slowly working your way up to a decent speed.

In this modern world, producing more quality product is critical to making decent money. We have Productivity Classic workshop on the schedule that helps with all the work habits, helps you get to the computer. But in that workshop we skipped this part of the equation. That workshop helps you get out of your own way and sit down at your writing computer.

This workshop will help you produce a decent number of quality words per hour once you get to the computer.

Some quick math: Say you are averaging about 500 words per hour. And you can manage to get 10 hours of writing per week for 50 weeks of the year. Simple math. You are doing 5,000 words per week and about 250,000 words per year. Decent output. About three-and-a-half novels a year at 70,000 word novels.

But imagine if in six weeks you might be able to comfortably have that pace at 700 words per hour. Comfortably and maybe cleaner. Now you would be doing about 7,000 words per week in your 10 hours and 350,000 words per year. About five novels per year at 70,000 words per novel.

Just figuring out how to increase your hourly output by 200 words average.

There are a vast number of techniques and craft tricks this workshop will cover to help you add to that hourly speed. So if you have trouble getting to the computer, take the Productivity Classic workshop. If you want to produce more words while at the computer, this workshop is for you.

And we can help you increase if your pace is 200 words per hour, 500 words per hour, 700 words per hour, or 1,000 words per hour. Yes, even at that upper pace, we can help you learn ways to be more efficient and write cleaner copy.



In the modern world of fiction, teams of characters around a central figure play a critical part of the success of any novel or series. From NCIS to Star Trek to Harry Potter and Star Wars, teams form the center of most western fiction and storytelling

This workshop gives all the techniques and methods of building a successful team in your fiction, a team that readers will want to rejoin again and again, story after story.

This workshop will take a comprehensive look at how teams have come into our fiction and storytelling. From Lester Dent with Doc Savage to modern binge-watching shows, they all have teams.

In fact, in our modern world, readers and viewers are often uncomfortable when a team is not built quickly in a story.

And each character in the team plays a set role that you must be aware of as a writer before you can control the team in your own story. Readers are aware of a team member’s role, so being able to use that reader awareness to your advantage in your stories give you a massive advantage in sales.

This is a craft workshop similar to the depth workshop, with many examples of how teams are put together and built to bring in thousands of readers. And an awareness workshop. Once you see the roles of teams in fiction, you will never not be able to see it or use it in your own work.

This workshop will change your writing, just as the depth workshop did. Don’t miss this one.



This workshop focuses on all the details in writing Fiction Sales Copy that will help your sales.

Boring always hurts stories and when boring comes through in sales copy, no one opens to the story.  

You want your stories to sell more, this workshop gives all the tricks.

Seven major ways of composing sales copy for your novels or short stories or non-fiction works. This workshop goes over it all detail by detail. When to use which technique.

How much plot do you put in?

How do you tell your readers what your book is about quickly, without too much plot.

How to grab a reader from the sales copy and make them want to open the book.

You will be practicing writing on your own work all the way through. So everything you do in this workshop will be able to be used instantly on your own books.

And even better, you will understand by the end of the six weeks why certain techniques work and why others do not. In other words, this workshop will help you understand the reasons behind the sales copy you will write.

You want more sales? This workshop can’t be missed.



In this new world of publishing, short stories suddenly became critical to the success of any writer.

This workshop functions as a business and a craft workshop. We will show you how you can make a lot of extra money from short fiction, and how to write major short stories for any genre.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who helped set this workshop up (even though I do the talking) is the only writer in history to be in all four Dell Magazines (Asimov’s, Hitchcock’s, Analog, and Ellery Queen). She has done that in the same year four times now. She won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award six times, and reader’s choice awards for Analog and Queen as well.

Kris also is the only person on the planet to win the Hugo Award for best professional editor and for her short fiction.

I was also on the Hugo Award five or six times for my editing. Kris edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Pulphouse. I also edited for Pulphouse, for VB Tech, and for Pocket Books, all in short fiction. Kris and I also won a World Fantasy Award for our editing of short fiction work.

Kris and I both have written well past 400 short stories each. And been professional short fiction editors.

We now bring that knowledge to this workshop to help others learn how to write and sell short stories.

Short stories play a major role in our new world of publishing. Any writer wanting to make great money needs to know how to write short fiction, even if they only write one for an invite anthology or a promotion. Discoverability is everything these days, and short stories help in more ways than possible to imagine.

This is a nuts and bolts business and craft and money workshop. All three. We will cover it all.

And this workshop will be blunt, clear, and straight forward, as everyone has come to expect from me and Kris.

If you want to learn how to write and sell short stories and improve your discoverability and make more money with your writing, this workshop is the one for you.


Futures Workshop Series

You can buy all four on Teachable for a discounted price if you get them all at once.


You have been creating all the stories and novels. Getting them out to readers, promoting them, then moving on to the next story. Great!

Now what? What do you do with that story from last year or that novel from three years ago that is just out there?

Most long-term writers make most of their money off of their inventory. But the question is how and when to focus on that aspect. And how to even think about it.

This workshop is a workshop to help you train that thinking.

For example, do you know the answers to the following questions?

— When do you relaunch a novel or series. And how?
— How do you even think about an older book?
— What should you fix, what not to touch, and why?
— How often?

And that is only a very few of the questions that need to be worked through by each of us as we move into a future where our books never go out of print. But our job is to keep them from getting stale and to continue to help them sell for decades.

This is the first workshop of a four workshop series taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You must have this workshop before you can move onto the second because these four workshops build on each other. And even with four six-week workshops, we will only cover a small amount of this vast topic.

But we hope by the end of the workshops you will understand how to think about the future of your writing.



You have been creating all the stories and novels. Getting them out to readers, promoting them, then moving on to the next story. Great!

Now what? How do you create even more opportunities for your stories?

As we showed in the first workshop in the series, most long-term writers make most of their money off of their inventory. But the question is how to create and then take advantage of opportunities that exist for even more.

This workshop along with the others is a workshop to help you train that thinking.

This is the second workshop of a four workshop series taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You must have the first workshop in the series before you can move onto this second because these four workshops build on each other. And even with four six-week workshops, we will only cover a small amount of this vast topic.

The first one will be offered every month, so no worries about it going away at any point.

But we hope by the end of the workshops you will understand how to think about the future of your writing.



Long term writers have developed patterns and habits and structures in their business that help them survive the ups and downs of this business.

How to you keep going book after book, year after year? Is your very method and focus on your writing going to eventually stop you cold?

This workshop is about learning the habits and structures that will allow your writing business to survive into the future. Most writers never give this one ounce of thought.

This workshop along with the others is a workshop to help you train that thinking. And maybe save your entire writing career.

This is the third workshop of a four workshop series taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You must have the first two workshops in the series before you can move onto this third because these four workshops build on each other. And even with four six-week workshops, we will only cover a small amount of this vast topic.

But we hope by the end of the workshops you will understand how to think about the future of your writing. And especially in creating a structure that will stand the test of time for you.



Long term writers have developed the ability to understand time and publishing. We know when to be calm, when to get excited. We understand the concept of patience.

Beginning writers and early professionals all want the brass ring now, not tomorrow, but now, with no idea that sometimes it is easier to reach the goal with a little careful planning and some patience.

This workshop is about learning the habits and structures that will allow you to understand patience to help your business into the future. Most writers never give this one ounce of thought.

This workshop along with the others is a workshop to help you train that thinking. And maybe save your entire writing career because getting in a hurry is often the most dangerous thing you can do in publishing.

This is the fourth workshop of a four workshop series taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You must have the first three workshops in the series before you can move onto this last one because these four workshops build on each other. And even with four six-week workshops, we will only cover a small amount of this vast topic.

The workshops will be offered every month, so no worries about them going away at any point.

But we hope by the end of the workshops you will understand how to think about how powerful a tool patience is for your business. And especially in creating a business that will withstand the test of time. And we also hope these workshops will help you know how to build a writing business that will last.




I flat love writing time travel short stories and novels. In fact, my very first published novel in 1988 was a time travel novel and it got nominated for a ton of awards at the time.

Finally, I’m going to bring my love of time travel to an online workshop. This workshop will not only give you really clear knowledge of all the different forms of time travel and different mechanisms, from hard tech to rubbing a stone or stepping into a closet.

I will also talk a lot about how time travel can work in many different genres. And Kris will help a lot, since she uses time travel in completely different ways. In fact, her brand new Diving Universe novel has a form of time travel in it.

The five assignments in this workshop will go straight to the heart of the different time travel elements, from fantasy portal time travel to romance time travel to mechanical time travel to even time deletion forms of time travel.

Writing time travel seems vast in nature, but in six weeks you will feel far more confident about the stories and books you write using time travel as a plot element.

Online, we can be more focused on the craft, the techniques, and the varied ways that forms of time travel can be used. And the problems of using it. This workshop will improve your writing in a lot more ways than just writing time travel stories.

Depth Workshop is required to take this course because if you can’t do basic depth, you can’t pull a reader along with you through time.




This genre has been around since before 1850. It started off as frontier fiction and most consider James Fenimore Cooper’s five novels of the Leatherstocking Tales the real start.

From there in flourished in the Penny Dreadfuls and Dime Novels from the 1860s. Those were short novels (actually around 15,000 to 20,000 words) often based on real people like Billy the Kid, Jessie James and so on. It was in this period that the western novels became popular in Europe as well.

In the Pulp era, westerns as a genre took off, just as science fiction, mystery, and romance did. Owen Wister’s novel The Virginian published in 1902 set the stage and Zane Gray followed. Hopalong Cassidy first appeared in 1904. From there it was Max Brand and hundreds of other writers filling the pulp magazines into the 1950s.

Westerns are, and always have been, an umbrella genre, which means you can combine other genres with it. Science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, mystery, all can fit in westerns. In fact, the longest running pulp magazine of all time was Ranch Romances.

In traditional publishing today, the western died down to next to nothing outside of the bestsellers like Louis L’Amour, Larry McMurty, and Cormac McCarthy. But the growth of the freedom of the indie publishing world has brought the readers and writers back. And once again the western genre is growing.

This workshop is about writing westerns, some of the focuses and the many types and subgenres and how to use the tropes of westerns in your other genre fiction. It’s a lot to cover and a lot of fun.



(offered classic workshop)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch (also Kris Nelscott) and I both love writing mystery short stories and novels. Nominated for every major award in mystery, including three times for the Edgar Award, Kris also won the Ellery Queen Award numbers of times.

Finally, we bring our love of mysteries to an online workshop. This workshop will not only give you really clear knowledge of exactly what makes a story or novel a mystery, but we will also talk about the sometimes fine lines between the subgenres.

The five assignments in this workshop will go straight to the heart of the different mystery elements.

Writing mysteries seems vast in nature, but in six weeks you will feel far more confident about the stories and books you write and call mystery. And also, you’ll know where to put your books on the electronic bookshelves to make sure the readers who would enjoy them get to them.

Mystery and mystery elements can also be part of any novel, from young adult to science fiction and beyond. Learning mystery craft skills will help all your novels and stories hold readers. Kris taught a mystery workshop here on the coast a while back, but we will make this one very, very different.

Online, we can be more focused on the craft, the techniques, and the varied subgenres. This workshop will improve your writing in a lot more ways than just writing mystery stories.




This workshop focuses on dialog and advanced character building skills.

Details of the major workshops associated with this Dialog workshop.

Character Voice and Setting workshop focuses on how to make your characters distinct. Basic and difficult character workshop.

Depth and Advanced Depth workshops focus on how to pull a reader down into your character in openings.

Character Development workshop focuses on how to build a character through a book, including secondary characters.

Plotting with Depth focuses on how much depth you need at various points in your novel to hold a reader into the book.

Advanced Character and Dialog now focuses on how to make a living, breathing character that comes alive to your readers.

If you think all dialog is equal, this workshop is what you need. How a character talks, how dialog is structured, and so much more is critical to keeping a reader in your story and believing your character is really alive.

This workshop will also cover a bunch of basics in dialog, including burying your dialog and when to do it and when not to.

As with many of these workshops, this is an awareness workshop as well as a skill-learning workshop. You need to be aware that these techniques are even possible before you can use them in your own books.

Depth Workshop is a prerequisite for this workshop.




This workshop focuses on what it takes to develop your original author voice.

How to help your original author voice come out. Things to do to help. And things not to do that kill an author voice.

Boring always hurts stories. Your original author voice, your personal voice, makes stories interesting and original.  

The Character Voice workshop helps writers understand how to make characters distinct and different. Depth workshop helps you pull readers down into stories using characters.

But what sells stories and makes them memorable to readers often turns on the author voice. And since author voice is our natural voice, we can’t hear it or see it without training. That author voice seems boring to each of us, so writers often take out of their stories the very thing that makes the story original and different and memorable.

Some of the many details about this workshop

— An awareness workshop to start with. The only way to really understand some of these more advanced craft techniques is to become aware of the technique. That goes triple for author voice.

— How to see and identify an author voice, including your own. Once you see another author’s author voice and how it is used, you can see your own author voice much, much better.

— How to know when to use your author voice and when not to. How to even control author voice when you want to.

— How to do more author voice openings to pull readers into your stories. (This is talked about a little bit in Advanced Depth, but mostly Character Voice openings, not author voice openings.)

— How to sustain author voice, when to pull it back, how to spice it through your stories.

— And a ton more. A workshop suitable for a writer at any level. It never hurts to start understanding your author voice.

This might be the most eye-opening workshop we do for writers.




Understanding every detail about how to use a character point of view.

Most writers will think, “I don’t need this. I know Point of View. It’s not hard.” And yet most of those writers still work under their old beliefs and learning they got from non-writers like English teachers. 

The truth simply put: Most fiction writers know little or nothing about the power of viewpoint.

As with the Speed workshop, this area Kris and I have avoided for two reasons. First, we don’t believe many will sign up for it, believing writers think they know it all about viewpoint. Second, this is such an advanced technique area, it will be difficult to teach.

But now we are challenged by the idea of teaching this for fiction writers and feel we have a way to do it effectively finally.

First off, this will be one of those “awareness” workshops. Until you see the power of what a major writer is doing with viewpoint and what they are doing and how they are doing it, you will miss it and not be able to use the technique yourself. So we’re going to show it to you and explain how you can use it and when.

And then help you practice it.

Just a few things this workshop will cover for fiction writers.

All the standard viewpoints and tenses. What they are used for, when to use them, when not to, and so on. (We won’t be talking much English-teacher language because honestly, that doesn’t help. We will explain this all in fiction writing terms for the most part.)

In the Advanced Depth workshop we touched on summary openings, and voice openings. But we stayed away from viewpoint and why those openings work. Here we will show you why they work and how to do them purposefully. Very, very powerful tools if you understand viewpoint.

Plotting techniques with viewpoints, from single viewpoints to hold readers to multiple viewpoints. Including first person and third person viewpoints in the same book and why and how to use that technique effectively. Plotting techniques usually get forgotten by writers when picking viewpoints. A simple correct choice in the beginning of a viewpoint or multiple viewpoints can make a book come alive. And if you have taken the teams workshop, this workshop is a logical extension of that workshop as well.

You ever wonder why floating viewpoints work in the hands of a master and no reader notices, yet in the hands of a lower-skilled writer, a floating viewpoint is a mistake and everyone notices? This workshop will explain floating viewpoints, why they are used, and how to do them when you need to. And why you would ever need to. Again, a very powerful tool to have at your fingertips that most fiction writers have always been warned away from.

Reader awareness will be a major part of this workshop as well, from understanding how a viewpoint can be pushed in close or pulled back depending on what a reader will expect. Also how readers react to certain viewpoints in certain places and knowing how to use that reaction to your own use. Tightening in a viewpoint at one point in a story and pulling it back in another remains a very powerful writing skill. We will help you understand how to do it, why to do it, and when to do it in a story.

And a ton more. Far more than we can list here.

So if you have any fear of any viewpoint, if you think first person viewpoint is actually a more immediate viewpoint for a reader, if you think “omniscient” viewpoint actually exists in fiction, then you really, really need this workshop.

It will be an eye-opener and jump your writing skills forward, we can promise that.



Offered as classic workshop

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, and teams.

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.


Character Development Workshop

(Offered Classic Format)

After you set up a great character in your opening, then what? How do you develop the character into a living, breathing, memorable character?

This workshop fits with the Depth Workshop and Character Voice Workshop. All three work together and you can take them in any order. Or even all at the same time.

Instead of focusing on only the openings, this workshop will focus on the development of a character through a story. All kinds of characters in every genre.

Characters make a story memorable. We all describe books by the memorable character. A Travis McGee novel. Or a Jack Reacher novel. Or an Alex Cross novel. Or a Dirk Pitt novel. Or a Smokey Dalton novel. Or a Poker Boy story. And on and on and on.

Memorable characters, well-developed characters, are why publishers put the character names on the covers of books. Readers want to read more by those characters.

Among the many areas worked on in this workshop:
— Character background without information dumps that bore.
— Know how to do characters that become the emotional heart of a story.
— Know how to make a character memorable.
— How to make a character become larger-than-life.
— How to make a character come off the page and actually live in reader’s minds.
— Character Pacing
— How to develop memorable, living characters while writing into the dark.
— And so much more, including many, many professional writer tricks of the trade.

There are only seven basic plots. What makes a story unique is the character development. That development is what this workshop is all about.

Important for all genres.

In the Depth Workshop, writers learned how to get readers down into stories with character depth.

In Advanced Depth, the focus is how to open chapters and scenes in different ways, as well as alternate openings.

In the Character Voice Workshop, the study concerned on how to make characters different.

The new Character Development Workshop now takes the character work into the first third and middle of the books, to make characters round and alive and memorable to the readers when they finish your story or book.

Along with the Depth Workshop, this is a don’t miss workshop.



(Offered classic format)

How do you know when enough research is enough?

How do you avoid getting trapped in research without writing?

And most importantly, why this workshop is called Depth #3, is how do you use your research with information dumps and other boring lumps of information in your stories.

All writers struggle at one point or another with research.

— When to do it and when a story doesn’t need it.

— For a piece of fiction, how much is enough, how much is too little research?

— How to work in the research and knowledge you do have without making your story dull?

— And most importantly, how do you make a story feel like you know every detail about the place and the details, but you have never been to the location or know many of the details. How do you do you get that verisimilitude without taking days of your time?

Over the years, Kris and I have gotten what we call “The research question…” more times than we could ever count. And there is no really simple or easy answer to it. But there are answers and that is what this workshop is about.

This is a craft workshop. We assume you know how to look up something of interest to you and your story. We will show you when you have enough and how to avoid too much. And how to make readers say, “Wow, felt like I was there.”

Depth Workshop is required before you can take this workshop.



(Offered Classic Format)

Stemming from a simple metaphor that your writing business, from creation to sales, can be shown clearly as a bakery.

But it is a magic bakery because in your bakery, when someone buys a slice of pie, the slice is still there, to be sold again. Same with the cakes, the doughnuts, the cookies.

The bakery remains full as long as you do not do something stupid.

In essence, this workshop combines learning copyright with understanding the nature of a business in fiction writing in a clear and understandable way.

This workshop will also give you perspective on being a freelance fiction writer. When to license a copyright, when not to, when to do movie deals and why. And even some about how. Because when you are standing inside your own magic bakery, so many things about publishing become very clear.

This workshop will help your magic bakery come alive.

This workshop is the following…

— A business workshop.

— A production workshop.

— A copyright workshop.

— A subsidiary rights workshop.

Yup, all of that and a bunch more.

A well-rounded look at a writer’s publishing business that will change how you look at your writing business.


Offered as Classic


Studying writing and techniques of fiction writing is a complex process mostly because you need to know what to look for when studying.

And you need to know how to focus your study. This workshop not only helps makes sense out of studying fiction writing, but gives you techniques that you can carry for decades forward in your learning process.

This workshop will go through the major areas of study and help you find methods to study areas you need help with in your fiction writing. So many writers are constantly surprised at how Kris and I in workshop after workshop give them focused exercises and methods of study. That is because we understand how to study fiction writing and what works and what doesn’t.

So now we are combining this knowledge of study all in a way that will be logical and in a workshop you can always come back to when trying to figure out how to do something new in your fiction writing.

This workshop also covers how to practice your fiction writing. Yes, we know, writers don’t like to think of the word practice because all words are golden, right? But by the time you finish this workshop, you will understand the word practice and how it applies to writing and how to practice in fiction writing.

This might be one of the most important workshops we will ever teach. A core workshop for moving forward in your career.


Offered as a classic


Tags in fiction writing are maybe the most powerful tool an advanced fiction writer uses. Yet early on, writers don’t even know what they are, let alone how to use tags effectively. And when they do use tags, it is accidental.

This workshop will teach you how to use tags to help you not only build scenes and characters, but keep readers in your stories. A very complex topic that is another stage four workshop like information flow. 

This workshop will go through the varied areas and types of tags, how to use them, when not to use tags, and how even to use tags as a plot devices.

Character tags, setting tags, plotting tags, mood tags, and so on. All of them are critical to writing fiction. And honestly, once you understand tags (and can even see them) in fiction writing, the writing becomes easier. They are like magic shortcuts in so many areas.

This workshop will change your writing for the better going forward. Taught very much like the Writing with Depth workshop, this workshop is a game-changer for your writing.

(You must have taken the Depth in Writing workshop before taking this workshop.)


(offered as classic)


The modern world of publishing forces writers to become businesses, more than ever before in history.  

And the Business of Writing is all about Control, about you controlling your own work.

This workshop is going to try to be a comprehensive look at the many business factors you must think about as a writer.

Here are just some of what will be covered:

— Levels of business and when and why… DBA, LLC, or Full Corporation
— How to safely hire help for your production.
— When and where do you need a contract, samples of basic contracts, and problems with TOS contracts.
— Accounting in all its forms, from the basics to more advanced.
— Tracking sales. What is needed, what isn’t needed
— Cash flow… the most critical element in any business.
— When can you think of going full time?
— Naming your business, pen names, and all the factors of names
— Taxes… the more you legally save is more you have to spend or save.
— Copyrights and ownership and control.
— Dealing with the high sales and low sales and the cycles of publishing sales.
— Spreading out cash streams. The value and the problems.
— Spreading out your business base. The value and the problems.
— How to keep your writing mentally separated from your business as much as possible.
— Organization… a ton of tricks and methods that work for many.
— How to keep from being completely overwhelmed.

— And so much more.

This workshop will not only cover business basics, but advanced business because even a writer starting off can take notes and come back to them later as their business grows. Also knowing options ahead of you can help you plan your business growth.

Don’t miss this one.


Offered as a classic


Most novels have secondary plot lines.

This workshop helps you understand and build those secondary plot lines.

Ever read a book that you finished and it felt thin? As a reader you wished the author would have also done more with other characters in the book?

Secondary plot lines are critical in many novels. And not needed in others. Knowing when to add them and how and when to leave them out can be learned.

To learn how to construct secondary plot lines as you write a novel, you must first learn how the interaction of plot lines inside a novel work. That’s the first area we will cover in this workshop. Main plots and secondary plots. And how they work together to form a whole.

In other words, this will be a major workshop on novel plotting.

If you do not understand the concept of secondary plot lines, tune in any of the major television dramas such as NCIS or Hawaii Five-O or even comedy such as The Big Bang Theory. All run a major plot thread and a second plot line every episode.

So here are just a few of the areas we will cover in this expansive workshop…

— What is needed in a novel plot and the difference from genre to genre.

— How much do you weigh a secondary plot line in a novel? How much time do you give it?

— How to run more than one secondary plot line at the same time. (Often done in thrillers.)

— The themes and elements of craft needed to hold a secondary plot in place and not make it feel glued onto the main plot thread.

— How do you move from one plot line to another with scene jumps, cliffhangers, pov shifts, and so on.

— Teams and how they work in secondary plot lines. Often it is a team member or two that runs secondary plot lines. (If you are confused about teams and their place in fiction, you might want to take the Teams online workshop before this workshop.)

— When and when-not-to use secondary plot lines in a novel. And how and when to end a secondary plot line without disappointing a reader.

— And most importantly, how do you even write a secondary plot line when writing into the dark? How does that even work?

This is a very expansive workshop covering a lot of plotting elements. It will help you be far, far more comfortable with the novel structure and plotting in general by the time you are finished. We can promise that much at least.


Offered as a Classic


A Critical Workshop for So Many Writers to Take

Ever wonder how a writer makes you stay up all night reading? And sometimes when the story doesn’t really hold you? This workshop teaches you the tricks and skills that will keep your story moving at the pace you want it to move.

From writing slow family scenes to fast action scenes, you will gain the control of the reader that you always wondered about.

This will cover a vast amount of information and writing techniques. From short stories to novels and series novels, this class applies to everything you will need to know about how to keep a story moving and the readers turning pages.



(Offered as Classic)

A Critical Workshop for So Many Writers to Take

How to keep a reader reading from chapter to chapter and from scene to scene.

There are many ways besides the standard “hero hanging from a cliff” that the name of the technique is named after. In fact, there are six major cliffhangers and each week in this course will cover another way to keep your readers hooked into your stories. It will also cover how to speed up your stories and even understand when a scene or chapter should end.

Understanding how to use the major cliffhanger techniques will jump your sales and keep readers coming back to your work.


Offered as a Classic


Fantasy in this modern world covers so many areas, from high fantasy to urban fantasy to mainstream Twilight Zone fantasy to Harry Potter to even Star Wars in many people’s eyes. And each niche area of fantasy has its rules and guidelines and standards that readers expect.

Do you even know what type of fantasy your are writing or what you would like to write? Do you even know what tags to use?

This is a writing craft workshop. You will work your way through all the major sub-genres of fantasy and write in many of them, understanding reader expectations and required endings as the workshop goes along.

Fantasy is a massive genre and so complex that for years Kris and I didn’t want to tackle it. But we think now we have a way to teach the core of fantasy, to help writers understand what fantasy really is and what they are really writing.

And help their fantasy stories sell better. Pleasing reader expectations is always a good thing for word-of-mouth sales.

If you love fantasy of every type and want to improve your writing skills in this massive genre, this workshop is for you.

Depth workshop is required before you can take this workshop.


Offered as a Classic


How do you get clean manuscripts without spending a fortune and ruining your story?

How do you avoid rewriting yet get your story to the best it can be?

This workshop tackles those two major questions and a ton more.

Kris and I get the most questions, all good questions for the most part, about the process of editing your own work. And honestly, there is no easy or completely right answer for everyone. But there are hundreds of ways, one of which will be right for you.

Between writing into the dark and following Heinlein’s Rules, how do you make sure your work is what you want, clean enough for readers to not notice any problems?

How can you edit without the deadly rewriting that kills voice and all originality?

Those are just a couple of the questions we get in one form or another, including how to find copyeditors, first readers, and so on.

Basically, how to maintain control over your own work and yet get it clean. That is what every smart writer is looking to do these days.

So finally, after much hesitation (as you might imagine), we put it all together in a very intense and informative six week online workshop to help all levels of writers.

If you are just starting off or are an experienced professional wondering how to spend less time on the editing process, this workshop will help you.

Here are just some of the areas we are going to cover.

— The process. How to write cleaner copy right from the start.
— Do’s and Don’ts of finding help.
— The finding and feeding and care of copyeditors. What to look for and how to talk with them.
— The finding and feeding and care of first readers. Again, what to tell them you are looking for and what you are not looking for.
— How to edit in creative voice. Yes, this includes cycling and there are tricks.
— How to keep your voice in your work. And recognize when you are taking it out.
— How to edit without breaking Heinlein’s Rules of never rewriting.
— How to write into the dark, without outline, and still create a process that is clean.
— How to deal with audience and reader feedback.

At least a hundred tricks and techniques of professional writers in this area. Not kidding (we will try to get to that number over the six weeks). We have collected a lot of information about not only how we do it, but how other writers do this. It is a puzzling area for many writers and an area writers often stumble into trouble.

And it is a huge area that covers a lot of ground. This is not a how-to-rewrite workshop. This is how to edit your own work before getting it to readers. If you do not understand the difference, you really need this workshop.

Longer term writers have developed ways that work and keep voice and story in place while making sure the typing and manuscript is as clean as it can be for readers.

Writers often have their stories killed and their voice taken out by simply trying to clean up their manuscript. We will teach you how to avoid those critical mistakes. And help you find a way that other professionals use that will work for you.

More than likely this will be our most intensive information workshop yet.


(Offered as classic)


Writers in 2017 not only must deal with their writing business, but they must learn to think like a publisher for sales, promotion, production, schedules, getting help, and so much more.

Thinking like a publisher is a skill most writers haven’t yet learned.

And they need to. Desperately.

We do a workshop called Business which is for writers and their writing business. We don’t talk in that workshop about how to build a publishing business. This workshop is how to build a publishing business right from the ground up. Even if you have no intention of outgrowing your own laptop, you need this workshop to understand how the modern world of publishing works and thinks.

This workshop will incorporate elements of common sense business, from how to promote a book to how to set up a business for taxes to how to understand what a book actually costs to produce.

If you fear business, you are holding yourself and your writing back. Making money is fun when it comes from your writing, but you need to know how to deal with the money and how to even know if your business is profitable, no matter the size.

This workshop goes hand-in-hand with the business for writers workshop we do, as well as the Sales Copy workshop. But you do not need to take the other two. This is the nuts and bolts of thinking like a publisher.

If you ever saw my book Think Like a Publisher 2012 and wondered when I was going to update it, this is the update. This new world of publishing has gotten so complex, it is beyond one simple book at the moment.

A workshop for those who want to learn more about how to be a publisher and think like a publisher in 2018.



(Offered as Classic)

You now know how to get a reader down into the depths of your story. But now, how do you hold the reader in your story through your entire novel?

Depth Workshop is a prerequisite for this workshops.

Once you know how to hold a reader with basic depth in openings, which is what the Depth Workshop focused completely on, how do you use that knowledge for chapter and scene openings later in the book?

When do you need to go back into heavy depth, when can you use light depth, and when should you use almost no depth?

Every book has a different structure, a different plot, but there are patterns, just as there are patterns in openings.

And every genre has a slightly different requirement for depth later in the book. That will be covered as well.

This workshop will cover many of the later chapter and scene patterns with a “if this happens, think about doing this” sort of style.

Also, there are many, many more tools in depth when it comes to later chapters and later scenes in a novel. You need to train your subconscious with these tools. That’s what this workshop does.

In other words, this workshop will give you an awareness of the tools and techniques you can use to make sure that once you have a reader down in a book, they will not leave.

This is made to follow Depth Workshop. You do not need to have taken the Advanced Depth workshop to take this workshop, but you need to have taken the basic Depth Online Workshop.

This workshop also goes nicely with Adding Suspense. But is not the same in the slightest. This workshop focuses on the structure of a book and when to use Depth tools and when to go light.

Plotting with depth is a critical skill to learn to hold a reader through a book. Or at least be aware the skills and techniques are there.


Adding Suspense to Your Writing Workshop

(Offered only as classic.)

If a person comes up to you and asks you how you add suspense to your writing and you don’t automatically know the four or five main ways, this workshop is for you.

Suspense is a major plotting and craft tool to keep readers from leaving your books. And suspense can and often should be part of every type of fiction. Romance, science fiction, thriller, mystery, you name it, any book can be improved with knowledge about how to add suspense to your writing.

Suspense is where plot connects to craft.

And yes, we will talk in passing about the small sub-genre of “suspense” one week.

But this new workshop is about adding suspense to all your books to hold your readers in your story. Don’t let another reader stop on one of your books. Learn how to add in suspense.



(Offered only as Classic)

Kris and I are two of the most prolific long-term writers working today. And we have done that year-after-year for thirty years. Well, finally we decided to tackle the one area we have been avoiding in teaching.


That’s right, we’re finally going to teach that skill. And in this new indie world, productivity is a critical skill to have.

If you followed my blog last year and watched me write twelve novels, three nonfiction books, and thirty-plus short stories while working a day job with WMG Publishing and workshops, you know what productivity is. Kris and I can teach you how to do that and a lot of other ways of being productive.

If you are tired of looking back at a year and wondering why you didn’t write more, this workshop is for you.

If you think you just write too slow, this workshop is for you.

So for a six week workshop online, we are going to help writers become more productive and learn habits and techniques that will keep you productive for years to come. Six weeks of videos, five assignments. If you want an extra book per year, or just more stories, and can never seem to make it happen, this new workshop starting in September is for you.

We can all find extra time, but most writers don’t know how to convert that extra time over months and a year into more stories and novels.

This is a nuts and bolts workshop, not on craft workshop. This workshop will work if you want to write a first novel or just add more novels and stories to your yearly output. The techniques and methods we will teach in this workshop will work for all levels.



(Offered only as Classic.)

Taught by Dean Wesley Smith, author of at least two dozen thriller novels under various names. First taught here at the coast, this workshop will help you not only learn how to write a thriller, the hardest genre of them all to write, but this workshop will help you speed up all books when you want to.

This workshop combines a lot of different areas of how to relay to the reader to keep reading. From plotting to pacing to character and so much more. Some people call thrillers “big books.” That’s because thrillers often require scope, multiple characters, and other skills this workshop will help you get a handle on.

If readers can put your books down while reading them, if they stop along the way, if they give reviews that it was slow, this workshop will fix those problems.



(Offered Only as a Classic Workshop)

Put together by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Kris is the only person to have won the Hugo Award for her writing and her professional editing of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Dean edited as well at Pulphouse and Pocket Books, writing and editing Star Trek for over ten years. He also wrote Men in Black original novels and many, many other very popular science fiction books.

Right now Dean is also writing two science fiction series under his own name and Kris is also writing two science fiction series under her own name as well as have short stories appear regularly in Asimov’s and Analog magazines. In fact, she’s won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award five times and the Analog one a few times.

Kris and Dean, with Dean doing most of the talking, will lead you through how to write science fiction short stories and novels. You’ll learn all the sub-genres of the field, as well as how to write in each and what is required of each.

How to do science fiction series? That’s included, as well as some study of the classics and what made them classics in the field.

How to come up with ideas, how to build your science fiction worlds without needing orbital mechanics, and so much more.

Again, this will cover both short fiction and novels. Science fiction is such a huge genre, but we’ll try to pack it all in a short six weeks.



(Offered only as Classic)

Taught by Dean Wesley Smith with the help of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. For both of them, many of their hundred plus novels each have been in series. And there are many, many skills to writing successful series books that hold readers from one book to another.

This workshop will cover series in all genres, from fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and even romance, which is a genre difficult to write series in. This workshop will talk about character threads through novels, plot arches, setting threads, and so much more, including how to even see that you might have a series idea. And with this new indie world, series are popular and sell better when a writer can do it correctly.

So everything you need to know about writing a successful series.



 (Offered only as Classic.)

If you want to learn how to get down inside character’s heads and stay there, this workshop teaches you that and so much more. And if critiques tell you your setting seems thin, you need this workshop.

An intense craft workshop that will help you learn how to develop memorable characters, memorable settings, and learn how to write multiple characters that can be told apart. Gain control over your own characters and learn the techniques that make a character and the setting around each character come alive to a reader.

Taught for six years here on the coast, but now has moved online.



(Offered only as Classic.)

Reader Expectations or Writing on the Rails

There is often a fine line to writing to market, which can often hurt a writer, to writing so that a reader’s expectations can be filled. To have a reader be satisfied that the promises you  made to them in your cover, your blurb, your opening is critical to a reader buying the next book in your series or the next book you write.

So how do you know what a reader is expecting in all the different genres and subgenres?

That’s what this workshop is about. That’s what this workshop will teach you to understand so you can do it automatically.

“Writing on the Rails” is a term to describe when a writer starts a story off in a certain direction with promises of a certain ending and those promises are fulfilled. But there is a problem. If that sort of writing is obvious, characters cardboard, and readers are way ahead of your story, the readers will stop.

So “On the Rails” means reader expectations are met and you have done your job with the characters and pacing and such.

In every genre there are a bunch of reader expectations that if you follow, you sell more copies and get readers telling others about your book. Doesn’t mean the book isn’t original, not at all. It means that in your original story you gave readers what they wanted.

Reader expectations for me are so ingrained now, I don’t even much think about them and never as I write.

Readers need to care about your story and your characters while at the same time allowing the reader to feel secure that you will fill your promise you made to them for a certain type of book.

For example: You promise a cozy mystery, then have a gunfight in the middle of the book with blood and lots of dead bodies. Cozy readers will put the book down because you promised them a cozy and didn’t deliver.

Or you put a spaceship on the cover of your most recent sf book and there is no spaceship.

Readers hate having promises broken and won’t buy more of your books.

So this workshop is all about all those expectations a reader has coming into all the varied genres and subgenres. Once you know about the expectations, understand deeply that you are writing for someone else on the other side of the typing, you can then just go ahead and write for yourself.

In other words, a lot of this workshop will be awareness. A massive amount of awareness that has never been covered in any way in any other workshop we have done. We did one workshop that is now a classic called Genre Structure, but that workshop didn’t cover any of this. In fact, it would be a nice fit with this one.

After you get through this workshop, you will have faith that you are fulfilling reader expectations. And that faith will help your sales and your writing.



(Offered only as Classic)

Writers seldom know what genre they write in. Every wonder why your book isn’t selling well?

Maybe it’s because you put your book on the wrong electronic shelf. Not only will this workshop teach you how to identify genres, but also will teach you the structure of all the major genres. That way if you decide to write a story or a novel in a certain genre, you will understand what you need to do.

This workshop goes down inside the structure of each genre and many subgenres. You will understand genre when you finish this workshop.



(Offered only as Classic)

How to generate ideas for stories and then how to turn the ideas into solid stories. Professional writers never wait for the muse.

We know how to take anything and make it into a story. This workshop will get you over all the fears of starting and give you an entire bag of tools and tricks to take almost nothing and turn it into a story that sells.

From basic opening tricks to story structure, this workshop covers it all.



Since all workshops are now on, there are two ways to sign up for a regular six-week workshop now.

The First Way…. Go to Teachable and find the workshop you would like and sign in.

The second way… Write me at with the following information.

  1. Full Name
  2. e-mail address
  3. Name of workshop…
  4. Then Pay for workshop through Paypal.

Regular workshops are $300.

For Classic workshops or lectures, just go to:

Sign up through the workshop or lecture of your choice.

Any questions on anything, feel free to write me with the subject line “Workshops.”


  • Karen Fonville

    Hi, Dean,

    If your two new kitties came from a single person home, and that person never had anyone over except maintenance people or movers, there would not be any chance for them to have been socialized other than to their human. That’s what I’m facing with my two now… I tried to board them when I came out for one of the workshops and it did NOT go well because of that fact… My boys are just fine with me, but let there be a knock at the door, or people in conversation walking past the windows, and those two hide inside the chair or head upstairs for safety. Hopefully, when they do meet Ella, Gally and Sir Duke, they will bond with them. Sometimes it takes observing trust to generate trust….


    • dwsmith

      They came from a house with a massive amount of cats. Forty or more, sort of a hoarding situation, or a collector of cats gone over the top. No real human contact at all. And from what I understand, they were isolated in a basement area and only brought food. They are going to take time to socialize in, that’s for sure.

      • Donna

        If anyone can help these babies along, it will be you and Kris. Your love of and devotion to furbies is one of the reasons you two are some of my favorite people.

  • Melissa Bitter

    Since I would like your workshops to succeed and do well, so that they stick around long enough for me to take the several I’m really interested in taking, (Just finished Depth last month, would like to take Suspense, Character Development, Advanced Depth, Cliffhangers, Thrillers, etc.) I thought I would pass along a tip.

    I’ve begun listening to Joanna Penn’s podcasts again last week (listened to several episodes as I drove to and from work and on lunch breaks), and she has found good success with targeted facebook ads for her non-fiction work. You might try the same. Take a small percentage of your income from the workshops or non-fiction books and put it toward marketing efforts.

    I know you and Kris always talk about how the best marketing you can do is to write the next book, but for your non-fiction work, you might try dangling a fishing line in some new fishing holes to see if you can snag some new people. 🙂 Your classes are great, I’d like to see them filled to capacity so that they stick around long enough for me to afford to take them all.


    • dwsmith

      Took me a moment there to follow you, Melissa, but I finally got what you were saying through my thick skull. You were suggesting we market the workshops. We do all sorts of marketing on our books but have always left the workshops to just word of mouth. Pretty sure we might just leave them that way.

      The problem isn’t the money coming in, the problem is my interest. As long as I keep coming up with new stuff and also am challenged by the teaching of an ongoing workshop, they will keep going.

      But also, you are right. For example, we have a couple workshops in October that have no one signed up. I do tend to look at those, even though I am still interested in keeping them going, as a “what’s the point.” So sort of between a spot here.

      And yes, Joanna’s postcasts are great. We know marketing, just never thought of doing it for the workshops. Thanks, but I kind of doubt we will. Word of mouth is good enough for now and when it isn’t, the workshops fade away.

      • Melissa Bitter

        Dang! Sorry for completely dropping the context on that one. Yes, I was referring to you letting workshops fade away.

        I can totally see your points, of just doing what interests you, while keeping the WMG flotilla of boats heading downstream. Totally justifiable and reasonable, no objections here. But, I have to admit that a lightning bolt of panic shoots through me each time you mention dropping a workshop. (It happened again when I read your reply above, ha ha, I know, stupid.) I worry that you’ll drop one that I’m planning/hoping to take in the future.

        My comment above was me jumping in with an alternative suggestion to save the drifting workshops that you were considering cutting loose, with the hopes you’d add an oar through marketing–or an off-board motor–to give those little, magic-bakery boats of knowledge a chance to build or regain momentum before you completely let them go.

        For example, I’m really, really interested in taking your suspense workshop, but I need to focus on the more foundational workshops first: Character Development and Advanced Depth. And then there are all the other workshops that would help round out my writing…. See, little lightning bolts of worry shooting through me as I wonder if I have enough months to take all these classes before you sink them, or be able to show interest in a new class while it’s being built.

        Okay, I just had an idea spark in my desperate, plea filled mind. What if you turned the workshops you decide to scuttle into books? I know how much you like to write writing books, and you already have an outline for the structure of the book, and the content you would want to go into it. (Maybe this existing outline would be a deterrent?) Would it be interesting enough for you to convert the workshops that bore you into books? This way, we could still learn those topics from you, but you wouldn’t have to do a thing with them other than collect a check every month?…

        I’ll shut up now, no more begging, I promise. I’ll deal with whatever you decide to to. 🙂
        Looking forward to signing up for one of your classes in November.

  • Patrick R

    Kicking off 2016, I thought to share that I’m having way more fun in writing after doing the Depth online workshop (and nearing the end of Plotting with Depth). So, there are big opportunities for more output. All up to me now.

    Great workshops. Dive in.

    Thanks Dean, Kris. All the best in 2016 – and to all.


  • B

    Hey Dean,

    Are you guys no longer offering pitches and blurbs after March? It’s not listed at any point after that. I was considering taking it after I got through all the craft related workshops first.

  • Miguel Angel Alonso Pulido

    Hello, Dean. I have a question concerning your workshops. As a beginning writer I want to improve my craft and I’m thinking on taking some of your workshops. As english is not my native language I’m a little worried. Have you ever had a foreign writer in your workshops? How did they fare?

    • dwsmith

      All the time and they fare just fine. And from how you typed this question, you won’t have an issue at all. Lots of overseas writers take the online workshops and this year at the Anthology workshop we had two from Europe and one a French-speaking Canadian. All three did great.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Hi Dean! I’ve been trying to write a short story every Monday, but I don’t seem to be able to stick to the program. I’ve ended up with two novellas instead. It’s messing me up. I think the problem is, I got so invested into writing rich, deep openings, it’s become hard to let go of the depth and make the plot move forward. This is so frustrating. And with the anthology workshop next year, I need to write shorter than 8 K (my minimum length record so far.) Do you think your short story online workshop would help with that?

    • dwsmith


      First off, don’t learn something like this for a conference. Artificial. But learning to write shorter has advantages in your career. Many, actually, in selling. But more so, I find it interesting you are blaming depth for length. It really doesn’t work that way if depth is done right. 400 words or so is more than enough, more than that without movement forward means you are plowing the readers into the bottom of the lake and readers will hate that and leave just as much as they do without depth. So writing with depth should have nothing to do with length. I can write a very deep short story in two thousand words without an issue. So you are looking first off, in the wrong place for the reason you are writing long.

      There are many actual reasons a person writes long. One is walking to plot points instead of trusting the reader and jumping. That always adds in boring stuff. Or basically coming up with ideas that don’t contain into a short story but must be longer. Those two are the main reasons writers write longer than they want. Never depth done correctly.

      So would the short story workshop help you? Maybe, but not for the reason you suggested. Other than I would be able to tell if you are going overboard on depth. Or just walking to plot points, or what. But don’t do it for an artificial deadline like a workshop. Do it to improve your sales and writing.

      • Kate Pavelle

        Your reply made me smile, Dean! When I learn something, I tend to overdo it for a while (In any discipline, not just in writing.) It’s quite possible I plow the reader into the lake bed sediment, yeah. Also, the walking? I can see myself doing that. I’ll be mindful of that and see what happens. Regarding the seminar, I’ll wait till summer or fall and see if you offer it again. Aside from saving up for the Anthology workshop, I’ve been really busy writing and publishing and making book covers. Workshops slow down my RAM a lot and I tend to drop projects, and this would be a bad time. But I”d like to do it this year, it’s a good skill I don’t have. Thank you!

  • Julie

    Dean, in your new business workshop, how much of the course is on US-specific things? I live in the UK and am wondering how much of it would apply to me (certainly the kinds of business you can set up here are different – limited company, sole trader, etc.).

    • dwsmith

      Julie, some would be US specific, but most would be the idea, the principle behind it. The structures, the reasons for doing something, what writers in general need to know. Not being a tax accountant or lawyer, I can’t get into specifics much at all. But the principles behind doing a task will work for all countries and businesses. How to do them exactly will different slightly is all.

    • dwsmith


      Writing with Depth Workshop, basically called just Depth. It is the place to start and the foundation under so much stuff. Basically, the workshop will teach your the fundamental way to pull readers into your stories and hold them.

      I did a curriculum of workshops at

      I need to update it since I did it back in November, but it will give you an idea. Any questions, feel free to write me.

  • Harvey Stanbrough

    I just finished the Writing Mysteries workshop and wanted to offer this critique in case it will help other writers.

    First, I found that the actual workshop more than nailed the description on the website (above).

    This is an actual writing workshop. Dean teaches you how to write mysteries in the ten most popular subgenres. Plus there are extensive notes on writing Thrillers (used to be a subgenre of Mystery, but is now on its own).

    He doesn’t teach plotting, but he does teach what’s required in each subgenre of Mystery (in other words, How To Write it).

    In each subgenre, he provides instruction on five areas:

    1. Focus-of and details-about the sub-genre.
    2. Types of writers best suited to write the sub-genre (with examples).
    3. Can it be used in other genres?
    4. Focus on the POV character “type” needed and the focus of the POV character.
    5. Focus of the opening. What needs to be in the opening. What will draw readers in.

    Those five areas make this workshop pretty much invaluable if you want to learn to write mysteries or how to inject mystery/suspense elements in other genres. (He also offers a full Suspense workshop.)

    The weekly assignments were also good. I won’t comment specifically on those because how well they work for you will depend on your level of skill. If you’re a beginning writer (a few novels/a couple dozen short stories under your belt), I have no doubt you’ll find them all very useful.

    So I recommend this workshop if you

    1. Want to write in a Mystery subgenre, or
    2. If you want to learn Mystery elements to include in other genres (SF, Young Adult, etc.).

    Thanks Dean.

  • LInda Maye Adams

    I did the Depth – Research workshop. I’ve always thought that I could never do historical fiction. Every time I heard writers about historical fiction, they treated it like they were doing a term paper for college and were being graded by the readers. In some cases, it was because they liked the research more than the writing itself, and in other cases, it was outright fear that the 1% of the reader who knew the actual fact was going to call them out. So what I saw from other writers was actually very discouraging. I’m not detail-oriented, and researching the weather on a particular date or the size of a sewer grate (actual things I saw from other writers) was huge turn-off.

    But this class showed me that there was a different way of doing research, and that it could actually be fun! It also gave me a method to store the research that I happily stole for work. And it showed that I already had the bones of the direction I should go, some of which were in my stories already, but others I wasn’t taking advantage of. I’m currently using it to write a story for anthology call.

  • Camille

    I have what might be a quite silly question, for which I apologize in advance:

    Is the “Novel Structure” workshop what the “Genre” classic workshop used to me? (I need to choose my Kickstarter reward and have been dying to, but too poor to, take the genre structure workshop for some years now, until now. *sheepish*)

    • dwsmith


      Nope, very, very different. Genre Structure works on how to identify each genre and the main elements in them. Novel structure is about the overall structure of novels. So far, in three weeks, I think there is one video skimming over genre. There will be another or two later on, but nope, very different workshops with very different focuses. Feel free to write me if you have more questions on anything.

  • Amy Laurens

    Dean, the character development workshop is listed as classic in the descriptions, butnot elsewhere. Is this a preemptive indication that it will be classic soon? I have two classic credits up my sleeve and if character development is available it’s top of my list! :3

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