On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Two New Online Workshops Announced

Starting In July…

We have put together two great new online workshops. Depth #3: Research and Writing Fantasy.

Both of these are going to be great fun for me and Kris. And I’m going to have fun recording these as well. I think the Research workshop might be one of the most important ones we will do, considering how many times we have been asked about it.

And Writing Fantasy is a massive topic to cover, but I think we have roped it down to something we can do and that would be fun and help you learn how to write better fantasy that will sell more. And get it on the right place on the shelves.

(And this online workshop will be very different from the Fantasy coast workshop next April. Very different and you could easily take both and really learn about fantasy. But the April workshop is full.)

The full Online Workshop schedule for the rest of the year is below and set as well. You can see how to sign up at https://deanwesleysmith.com/online-workshops/

Writing with Depth Workshop is required to take either one of these workshops. Without it, you would be lost in these two workshops I’m afraid.

One other change. Instead of pushing some workshops to classic status, we just added two new workshops per month for the rest of the year. This is only temporary. The reason is that we are still working on three other workshops to get to classic plus moving a few from the old site to Teachable.com.

So this is just through December. Or we may cut back to ten a month in October or do two more workshops then. Depends, as I have said for years, on how I am enjoying doing this.

Let me give you a personal writing story on the new workshop Research.

Back in my traditional publishing days, I was hired by Random House to ghost write a book for a Christian bestseller of nonfiction. They wanted him to do a novel and he agreed and they hired me to write it. (It turned out my name was inside the cover so I can talk about it.) It was a Christian thriller and for some reason the powers-that-be at Random House thought it would be fun to put four guys on a raft trip in Northern Thailand being chased by bandits or some such thing.

Now, I sure wasn’t going to Northern Thailand for a mere $20,000 to write a book. Nope. Not a chance.

And this was before the internet age, so off I went to Powell’s Bookstore and found a Fodor guide on the area. They had a small map, the name of a couple towns, and a picture of a tree near a dirt road and the normal weather conditions. Two whole pages on Northern Thailand.

I opened the novel with a guy hiding behind that tree getting shot at, described the setting I saw in detail around that tree in that picture, (depth) and went from there. (They spent a lot of time in those trees.) Reviewers in the trade journals and the editor and the guy I wrote it for all thought the setting was super rich and how I must have spent time there.

Nope. I just knew how to do it from what I had and that’s what this workshop is about.

Also, realize, I have been in the center wilderness of Idaho and in Las Vegas and I write series novels in both. And I use what I know and my research of both in the series. And I know how much to put in and how much to not put in and what detail to pick because I know far, far more about those two areas than would ever fit in any novel.

So this workshop is for both sides. Too much information to deal with, too little to feel comfortable. We’ll show you how to write from both and make your setting and research some alive.

And we will help you contain your time in research so that it does not chew up your valuable writing time.

Just getting this one area wrong in either direction can kill entire novels and make readers put your book down. That’s why this Depth 3: Research is such an important workshop.


DEPTH #3: Research

Starting July, 2017… Taking sign-ups now (got a hunch this one will fill)

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.



Starting July 2017… Taking sign-ups now. (Got a hunch this one might fill as well.)

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.


Here is the entire new schedule through December.

Any workshop on this schedule can be signed up for at any point unless I mark it full.

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

Class #13… Aug 8th … Depth #3: Research
Class #14… Aug 8th … Endings
Class #15… Aug 8th … Point of View
Class #16… Aug 8th … Writing Mysteries
Class #17… Aug 8th … Speed
Class #18… Aug 8th … Teams in Fiction
Class #19… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #20… Aug 9th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #21… Aug 9th … Character Development
Class #22… Aug 9th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #23… Aug 9th … Advanced Depth
Class #24… Aug 9th … Writing Fantasy

Class #25… Sept 5th … Depth #3: Research
Class #26… Sept 5th … Author Voice
Class #27… Sept 5th … Business
Class #28… Sept 5th … Endings
Class #29… Sept 5th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #30… Sept 5th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #31… Sept 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #32… Sept 6th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #33… Sept 6th … Cliffhangers
Class #34… Sept 6th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #35… Sept 6th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #36… Sept 6th … Writing Fantasy

Class #37… Oct 3rd … (TBA)
Class #38… Oct 3rd … Endings
Class #39… Oct 3rd … Point of View
Class #40… Oct 3rd … Writing Mysteries
Class #41… Oct 3rd … Speed
Class #42… Oct 3rd … Teams in Fiction
Class #43… Oct 4th … Depth in Writing
Class #44… Oct 4th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #45… Oct 4th … Character Development
Class #46… Oct 4th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #47… Oct 4th … Advanced Depth
Class #48… Oct 4th … (TBA)

Class #49… Nov 7th … Depth #3: Research
Class #50… Nov 7th … Author Voice
Class #51… Nov 7th … Business
Class #52… Nov 7th … (TBA)
Class #53… Nov 7th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #54… Nov 7th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #55… Nov 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #56… Nov 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #57… Nov 8th … Cliffhangers
Class #58… Nov 8th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #59… Nov 8th … (TBA)
Class #60… Nov 8th … Writing Fantasy

Class #61… Dec 5th … (TBA)
Class #62… Dec 5th … Endings
Class #63… Dec 5th … Point of View
Class #64… Dec 5th … Writing Mysteries
Class #65… Dec 5th … Speed
Class #66… Dec 5th … Teams in Fiction
Class #67… Dec 6th … Depth in Writing
Class #68… Dec 6th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #69… Dec 6th … Character Development
Class #70… Dec 6th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #71… Dec 6th … Advanced Depth
Class #72… Dec 6th … (TBA)


  • Vera Soroka

    I would love to learn more about fantasy writing. I enjoy epic or high fantasy as well as some urban fantasy. I write in both. I just finished reading a high fantasy novel yesterday. This is a bestselling series and the one thing that you made me think was that she did not go into great detail of the world that she created. It’s very character driven and even what they look like almost is up to you. All she has ever described is hair and eye color and maybe some of the clothing at times. The rest is left up to the readers imagination. The one character is a shapeshifter and one of the things she changes into is a cat wolf thing with a bushy tail. Readers have to imagine what that looks like in their head or a dragon serpent thing. Maybe she could have went into detail of what they looked like. But for the most part I think readers were okay with having this setting to what they saw as in their own imaginations. I’m okay with that too. Some readers hate descriptions as they want to imagine as how they envision the world.
    At some point I hope I can take some of these courses. Depth I guess is the first one I would take so I could take the fantasy one.

    • dwsmith


      Readers don’t hate descriptions when done correctly through a character. What readers hate is when a writer describes something outside of a character’s opinion or senses. That’s boring and almost never works for readers. But when a character experiences a setting, readers love that.

      And that’s the depth workshop. And readers need to experience the research through a character as well, which is why that is called Depth #3: Research. You just pile in your research as a writer, it’s dull. If a character experiences the world you researched, readers love it.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Once again, if I may? I highly recommend the Depth Workshop. Dean gives out tools you can use right away. You’ll see a difference immediately in your writing.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Mark. And this new Depth workshop will do the same. Only at a more advanced level. Every writer I know struggles at times with how to get research into stories without bogging down the story. This workshop will help you never worry about that again.

  • Stefon Mears

    I hope these two are going to stick around for a while. There are a few workshops I want to take, but I won’t get to do any of them until after the Mystery Workshop.

    (Also, I”m glad you explained more about the fantasy class. I took the one at the coast, and would have skipped this one if you hadn’t clarified.)

    • dwsmith

      No idea if they will stick around, honestly. Chances are they will. But first we have to get them off the ground and in the summer that is always a trick.