Challenge,  Kickstarter Campaign

Update on Kickstarter Campaign… 7 Days Left…

Getting Close to 5th Stretch Goal…

With seven days left, that means we might hit the 6th Stretch Goal as well.

So when we do hit the 5th in a few days, I will add in a 7th Stretch Reward with a new Pulphouse collection of stories and a new Pop-Up class as well.

So if anyone has any ideas of a Pop-Up class topic they would love to have Kris and I talk about that I could put in the 7th stretch goal, please send the suggestion in the next day or so. I have a number of fun ideas, but figured this would be a good time to get ideas from all of you.

Granted, hitting a 7th stretch goal with seven days left is going to be a push (almost said stretch), but I think with Pulphouse, it might be very possible.

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Subscription Drive 2021.  Check it out. Some great reading and workshops.


  • Julie

    I’m really hoping we make it to the stretch goals because there are some great pop-up rewards there! Your Kickstarters always offer such brilliant stuff for writers. Thank you!

    You were asking for pop-up ideas. How about one on how to write short stories that aren’t on the seven-point-plan model? I come across ones with twist endings now and again, with no conventional validations, and would like to know how to do them well.

    Or a pop-up on how to write ghost stories?

    • dwsmith

      Julie, thanks for the kind words. Appreciated.

      There are no short stories that don’t fit on the 7-point plan if the story is in western literature. Asian follow a different structure for the most part. Not always.

      Trick endings and twists and such all fit. Just a point is assumed if the writer does it correctly.

      Even the movie Pulp Fiction follows it, just the order is scattered. The ending is closer to the middle. All advanced storytelling techniques, but no story in the western tradition does not have those seven points. (I am not talking about flash fiction which good ones assume the seven point, bad one are just a scene for nothing.)

      Ghost Stories are a full workshop we have had on our list for some time. Very complex and difficult, which is why we have not started that workshop yet. It will be a future full workshop at some point. Just like floating viewpoints and advanced pacing.

      • Linda Niehoff

        I’m wondering – do you mean stories told out of chronological order? Or stories told in order time-wise, but out of order for the 7 point plot outline – is that even possible?

        Could it ever be a pop-up. I know you already found another topic for the latest Kickstarter, but I thought I’d throw it out there. Seems like in a recent pop-up or lecture I listened to, you mentioned Kris having some?? one?? that were out of order from the 7 pt outline. If it were a pop-up, would be fun to have a list of stories that you or she wrote that we could buy and read. Or maybe you’d consider a blog post where you list some? I’d love to buy and read any examples you both might have! And another part of what I’m curious about is how to study it and then try it consciously without slipping into critical voice. I’m so intrigued by this.

        • dwsmith

          Out of order 7 point plot wise. Very possible. Just watch the movie Pulp Fiction. Not sure it would be possible. Very advanced.

          Basically the idea is to take a straight-forward seven point plot story and tell it in a way that will hold readers. King and Koontz both do this at times, mostly in short fiction, so does Grisham. Kris does it all the time in her short fiction.

  • Connor whiteley

    Hi Dean, very excited about the stretch goals. I tweet about the kickstarter every few days. Looking forward to my workshops and subscription.

    What about a power word pop up to help gage interest for full workshop please?

    • dwsmith

      Connor, thanks for the help passing the word on the campaign. Really appreciated.

      We have moved Power Words to the top of the list and we are working on it. Kris and I came to the conclusion that it might be the second most important class we do after Depth. Like Depth, you don’t realize how important it is until you see it. Well, we’re looking and going “Holy shit!” this is important. But taking us some time because typing in examples of say a Dean Koontz, taking out the power words and phrases to show how an early stage writer would write it, then showing how Koontz wrote it. And the difference the power words make.

      A stage four level class, but going to be critical, so more than likely we will fire it up and offer it every month. That’s why a few other classes are going to classic status. So thanks!!


    Hey Dean, as far as ideas for Pop Ups go I came up with these.
    How to find the Creative Voice after a devastating life roll.
    Finding a title after a story is finished.
    Hope this helps. I doubt it, but I hope it does.

    • dwsmith

      Mark, thanks for the suggestions. Both of those are great ideas and the right size for Pop-Up topics, but honestly I have no answers to either one of those. Not one damn idea. So afraid I couldn’t do much with those. You stumped the band. (Very old reference there.)

      But thanks.

  • Britt Malka

    I know that I’ve previously in comments asked for pop-ups or workshops that you said you may create one day, but I couldn’t find them.

    So here are two new suggestions:

    A pop-up about editing, the way you and Kris do it, not the scamming way.

    A pop-up about romance short stories (maybe). Pulp style would be great.

    I found one comment where I said it would be great if you did a “tag” workshop, but I saw a classic one, so perhaps you created that after the comment.

    Good luck with the kickstarter. I’ve emailed my whole list of fiction writers about it Tuesday, haha. I have very selfish reasons 😉

    • dwsmith

      Britt, thanks for the suggestions. Appreciate it.

      I can give you how I edit here. I cycle when I write and when finished with the story I never look at it again. Pretty simple. A reader finds typos. So don’t think “editing” is a topic for us. Anything you do to a story after you have done your best and finish it will always hurt the story.

      Yup, did a tag workshop. And romance short stories are almost always just the meet cute. Not much to them.

      And thanks for the help with passing the word on the campaign. Really, really appreciate it.

  • Thomas Bennett

    The only recommendation I have is Making a Living with novels which I think will be covered by selling without promoting Good luck to us all for those last stretch goals!

  • Steve Lewis

    I have a couple ideas for Pop-Ups, though I have no idea what you’d call them.

    1) I’ve noticed in several of your novels, that you slowly build up the story, getting me more and more engrossed in the story, pulling me deeper and deeper. And you do this without using the stereotypical whiz, bang, pow type of stuff. (I like the whiz bang pow type of stuff, too, you just seem to be able to do it without needing that).

    The first Cold Poker Gang novel is a phenomenal example of this. Things just seemed to ratchet up until the climax of the novel, BUT without the stereotypical types of devices. I don’t know how you did that, but like to.

    2) You seem to do something similar with scenes. I have an understanding of the opening part with depth and the endings of scenes with cliffhangers, but there’s something similar going on in the middle of scenes that I’m not familiar with. Part of it is the characters reacting to each and their reactions pulling me in deeper, but I feel like there’s more to it than that.

    Both of these feel like they’re Depth related, but I’m not sure. I know in the past you’ve mentioned that advanced writers can move a reader through a story just using depth so maybe that’s what this is.

    Anywho, that’s just my thoughts, don’t know if it helps any.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Steven for the kind comments. All of what you mention is character related, depth related, information flow related, and just simply letting a story flow.

      I actually work on keeping my stories pretty surface and simple, with basic characters. So the fact that is pulls you along is likable characters with depth and information flow. Don’t think any of those topics would be the right shape for a Pop-Up. But thanks.

  • Frank Theodat

    I might be late to the party, but what about a “Adding humor to your story” pop-up?

    Recently I’ve been reading the Nick Velvet stories by Hoch and some Raymond Chandler classics. Each have a sprinkle of humor that captures my attention as a reader and I’d love to learn how to do the same. Not sure if that would be a pop-up or full workshop but I think it would be fun….for me anyway.

    Excited that a workshop around power words is top of mind! And super excited for the pulp writers tribute!!

    • dwsmith

      Two of the new Vegas workshops have humor added. A humor workshop would more than likely be a six week workshop for just the basics and would have an advanced class as well. We are going to see how it goes in the Vegas workshops first. (grin)