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Plotting With Depth Online Workshop Announced.

PLOTTING WITH DEPTH Online Workshop Announced

Starting in December, two new online workshops.

First, Plotting with Depth is now on the schedule.

You must have taken the basic Depth workshop to take Plotting with Depth.

Plotting with Depth is about the structure of all the openings throughout your novel, when to go deep with an opening, when to stay light, and how to hold a reader through a book by using Depth.

One major area in this workshop is how chapter and scene openings differ from genre to genre. Critical to know how to hold your reader in your book.

The Depth Online Workshop teaches how to get a reader down into your story. It focuses on the opening of a story or novel.

Advanced Depth also focuses on the opening of a story or novel with other ways of getting a reader into the depth of your story.

Plotting with Depth focuses on how to use Depth to keep a reader reading.  It focuses on the hundred plus different openings you have in a standard novel.

Again, you must have the basic Depth workshop before you can sign up for Plotting with Depth, but you do not need the Advanced Depth workshop.

And as some of you might guess, this is an awareness workshop. You can’t learn how to use certain tools in writing if you don’t know you even need the tool. More on awareness below.

Limited to 12 per month.


Also because a few people asked, for two months only, December and January, we are bringing back Designing Book Interiors. This is paper book interiors.

Limited to 12 and we will not extend the workshop past January, so please don’t ask.

Schedule and information on both workshops under the online workshop tab above or at



Let me just put it this way. I got exercise, I made my 10,000 steps, I had appointments that I kept, and I got 2,750 words done tonight.

This was a day to just forget otherwise.

And I started up the two new online workshops because the Plotting With Depth has finally become possible with the other workshops ahead of it and I am excited about putting it together in December.

Really excited, actually. This is going to be a fantastic challenge for me and Kris to contain and make understandable. Great fun.


December Workshop Schedule

All workshops have openings.

Class #51… Dec 7th … Advanced Depth
Class #52… Dec 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… Dec 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #54… Dec 7th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… Dec 8th … Character Development
Class #56… Dec 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… Dec 8th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… Dec 9th … Designing Covers
Class #59… Dec 9th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… Dec 9th … Designing Book Interiors

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.




Note: Amazing how little hate mail I got last night and today from people angry at me about my addiction post. Holding a mirror up to someone who is addicted often draws anger, but I only got two. And a bunch of really positive e-mails and comments. Thanks for that and if the post helped a little, I’m glad. Only reason I wrote it was to help those willing to listen.

Tonight, what I want to touch on for just a moment is the online workshops. I often talk about how young writers and some writers who are selling are standing in the lobby of a giant building and don’t even know there are skills and craft levels above them. Floors of the big building.

It does not even occur to the writers in that lobby to wonder what is above them.

These writers are often the writers who have sold a few books and think they don’t need writing help anymore. Plus the writers in the lobby are all of us early on. I was no exception. I roamed around that lobby for more years than I want to admit to myself.

What a number of the online workshops do is bring awareness of craft tools and what can be done. The workshops point to skills and thus to floors of storytelling skills above the lobby.

Last year, at the anthology workshop, the other editors asked what they hell had changed with all the writers. Basically, it was night and day between the writers who had taken the depth workshop and those who had not. Scary clear to professional editors, actually.

And a lot of the people there had taken the depth. Craft and story level overall was fantastically higher.

The writers who had taken the depth workshop, without realizing what they were doing, were forcing professional editors to read their stories until we could find a way out or reach the end. It was great fun to see for me and Kris.

Advanced Depth workshop is another workshop that is an “Awareness” workshop. Best way to describe that is “Did you know you could open a book or story this way?”

Character Development, Suspense, Cliffhangers, and Pacing workshops are awareness workshops as well.

And now we have Plotting with Depth. Again, a major awareness workshop, a workshop that sort of points writers in the lobby to doors that lead to staircases or elevators up to the higher floors of craft and storytelling.

This new workshop is described simply one way:

How do you hold readers all the way through your novel with depth of character?

Just as the Depth Workshop helped you climb out of the lobby with your openings, this new workshop will help you continue on upward so that no reader will ever leave your novel.


The Writing of GRAPEVINE SPRINGS: A Thunder Mountain Novel

Day 1…. 2,450 words.  Total words so far… 2,450 words.
Day 2….5,300 words.  Total words so far… 7,750 words.
Day 3….7,100 words.  Total words so far… 14,850 words.
Day 4….2,250 words.  Total words so far… 17,100 words.
Day 5….6,300 words.  Total words so far… 23,400 words.
Day 6….2,450 words.  Total words so far… 25,850 words.
Day 7….2,700 words.  Total words so far… 28,550 words.
Day 8….2,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,650 words.
Day 9….1,450 words.  Total words so far… 32,100 words.
Day 10…2,750 words.  Total words so far… 34,850 words.


Totals For Year 3, Month 4, Day 12

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 823

— Daily Fiction: 2,750 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 39,750 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 8,700 words

— E-mail: 16 e-mails. Approx. 800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 263 e-mails. Approx. 15,600 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 1 Covers


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  • Dane Tyler

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for this post, Dean. (And, I’m sorry you had a “forgettable” day. Hope it gets better for you.)

    I needed this guidance so much. I’ve been contemplating sending you an email for a long time, just to ask, “Okay, where do I go from here?” Now I have a list. I’m so grateful. I can’t say thank you enough.

    Time to get to the stairs. At long last, I know how to get to the stairs.

    Do you recommend starting with one workshop over another? Is it better to get Depth under the belt first, before branching out? Do you have a recommended “curriculum” as it were?

    Thanks again Dean. So much.

    • dwsmith

      Depth is first. It’s the key to everything in writing. And the workshop that will change your writing more than you will realize, but your first reader and fans will sure notice the improvement. From there, it splits out into areas writers want to work on. But Depth is the first and the key workshop.

  • Melissa Bitter

    I’m very excited for this new workshop, sounds like great fun!!!

    Description of the workshop: “How do you hold readers all the way through your novel with depth of character? ”

    –Does this mean that we need to take the Character workshop first?

    • dwsmith

      Melissa, nope, just the Depth workshop. Character Voice focuses on how to make characters distinct from each other. Character Development focuses on how to keep a character building through a story. Plotting with Depth will take the work you did in the depth workshop and show you how to use it correctly through your book to hold readers. All three very different.

  • Robin Brande

    I’ve gotten HUGE value out of your online workshops over the past few years, Dean, and recommend them to people all the time! It’s great that you make them available with all of the other stuff you and Kris have going on. It’s up to the writers themselves to take advantage of all the enormous experience, talent, and wisdom you two have to share.

    Horse to water…

  • David Anthony Brown

    Suspense was pure awareness and worth the time and money for me. Especially taking it right after Pacing, which is just how it worked out in my case. Can’t say I can write suspenseful now, except maybe on accident… I’m nowhere near stage four. The big take away, I felt, is having a structure to analyze books and movies that hold my attention.

    I’m bringing the lessons into my writing, too. Started up a new erotica short story last night, and finished the first scene before calling it a night. While laying in bed, I asked myself: what does the character have at stake? What does she have to lose? When I open the file later today and cycle through the scene, I’ll be sure to have stakes set up… a huge component of building suspense. All just awareness, like Dean says above.

  • Linda Jordan

    Oh Dean,
    Just when I think I’ve got it narrowed down which workshop to take next, you add in another one. So, I’ve take the Character Voice, Depth and Pacing workshops. Was going to go for Advanced Depth. But now I’m confused. Which should I take next – Plotting for Depth or Advanced Depth. I’m not clear what the difference between the two is.

    • dwsmith

      Advanced Depth will give you the full, rounded picture of how to get depth (meaning pull a reader down in your openings). Depth is the basic, Advanced Depth has some other methods writers use and don’t use, as the case might be.

      Plotting with Depth is using all the understanding of depth in openings to make sure that all the rest of your book openings (chapter and scenes) work correctly in the depth.

      So choice would be logically take Advanced Depth first to get the full picture of depth, then apply it in Plotting with Depth to hold readers through your novels.